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nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.” “By my sword,” said Benedick, “ you love me, and I protest I love you. Come, bid me do any thing for you.” “Kill Claudio, said Beatrice. “Ha! not for the wide world,” said Benedick: for he loved his friend Claudio, and he believed he had been imposed upon. “ Is not Claudio a villain that has slandered, scorned, and dishonoured my cousin ?" said Beatrice : “ Othat I were a man !" “ Hear me, Beatrice !” said Benedick. But Beatrice would hear nothing in Claudio's defence; and she continued to urge on Benedick to revenge her cousin's wrongs: and she said, “ Talk with a man out of the window; a proper saying ! Sweet Hero! she is wronged; she is slandered ; she is undone. O that I were a man for Claudio's sake! or that I had any friend, who would be a man for my sake! but valour is melted into courtesies and compliments. I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.” “ Tarry, good Beatrice,” said Benedick : “ by this hand, I love you.” “Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it,” said Beatrice. « Think you on your soul, that Claudio has wronged Hero ?” asked Benedick. « Yea," answered Beatrice ; “ as sure as I have a thought, or a soul.” “ Enough,” said Benedick; “ I am engaged; I will challenge him. I will kiss your hand, and so leave you. By this hand Claudio shall render me a dear account ! As you hear from me, so think of. me. Go, comfort your cousin.”
While Beatrice was thus powerfully pleading with Benedick, and working his gallant temper by the spirit of her angry words, to engage in the cause of Hero, and fight even with his dear friend Claudio, Leonato was challenging the prince and Claudio to answer with their swords the injury they had done his child, who, he affirmed, had died for grief. But they respected his age and his sorrow, and they said, “ Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.” And now came Benedick, and he also challenged Claudio to answer with his sword the injury he had done to Hero : and Claudio and the prince said to each other, 6" Beatrice has set bim on to : do this.” Claudio nevertheless must have ac-' cepted this challenge of Benedick, had not the justice of Heaven at the moment brought to pass a better proof of the innocence of Hero than the uncertain fortune of a duel.
While the prince and Claudio were yet talking of the challenge of Benedick, a magistrate brought Borachio as a prisoner before the prince. · Borachio had been overheard talking with one,
of his companions of the mischief he had been employed by Don John to do.
Borachio made a full confession to the prince in Claudio's hearing, that it was Margaret dressed · in her, lady's clothes that he had talked with
from the window, whom they had mistaken for the lady Hero herself; and no doubt continued on the minds of Claudio, and the prince of the innocence of Hero. If a suspicion had remained, it must have been removed, by the flight of Don John, who, finding his villanies were der. tęçted, fled from Messina to avoid the just anger. of his brother.
The heart of Claudio was, sorely, grieved, when he found he had falsely accused Hero, who, he thought, died upon hearing his cruel words.;. and the memory of his beloved. Here's, image. came over him, in the rare, semblance that he loved it first: and the prince asking him if what. he heard did not run like iron through his soul, he answered, that he felt as if he had taken poison while Borachio was speaking.
And the repentant Claudio implored forgivehess of the old man Leonato for the injury he had done his child ; and promised, that whatever penance Leonató would lay upon him for his fault in believing the false accusation against his betrothed wife, for her dear sake he would endure it. · The penance Leonat o enjoinedhim was, to marry the next morning'a cousin of Hero's who, he said, was now his heir, and in person very like Hero. Claudio, regarding the solemn promise he had made to Leonato, said, he would marry this unknown-lady, even though she were an Ethiop: but his heart was very sorrowful, and he passed that night in tears, and in remorseful grief, at the tomb which Leonato had erected for Hero.
When the morning came, the prince accom. panied Claudio to the church, where the good friar, and Leonato and his niece, were already assembled, to celebrate a second' nuptial: and Leonato presented to Claudio his promised bride; and she wore a mask, that Claudio might not discover her face. And Claudio said to the lady in the mask, “Give me your hand, before this holy friar; I am your husband, if you' will marry
me.” “ And when I lived, I was your other wife," said this unknown lady; and, taking off her mask, she proved to be no niece (as was pretended), but Leonato's very daughter, the lady Hero herself. We may be sure that this proved a most agreeable surprise to Claudios who thought her dead, so that he could scarcely. for joy believe his eyes : and the prince, who was equally amazed at what he saw, exclaimed “ Is not this Hero, Hero that was dead ?" Leonato replied, “She died, my lord, but while her slander lived." The friar promised them an explanation of this seeming miracle, after the ceremony was ended ; and was proceeding to marry them, when he was interrupted by Benedick, who desired to be married at the same time to Beatrice. Beatrice making some demur to this match, and Benedick challenging her with her love for him, which he had learned from Hero, a pleasant explanation took place; and they found they had both been tricked into a belief of love, which had never existed, and had, become lovers in truth by the power of a false jest: but the affection, which a merry invention had cheated them into, was grown too powerful to be shaken by a serious explanation ; and since