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keep my pack from fasting: they throng who should buy first; as if my trinkets had been hallowed, and brought a benediction to the buyer; by which means, I saw whose purse was best in picture; and, what I saw, to my good use, I remembered. My clown (who wants but something to be a reasonable man) grew so in love with the wenches' song, that he would not stir his pettitoes, till he had both tune and words; which so drew the rest of the herd to me, that all their other senses stuck in ears: you might have pinched a placket, it was senseless; 'twas nothing, to geld a codpiece of a purse; I would have filed keys off, that hung in chains: no hearing, no feeling, but my sir's song, and admiring the nothing of it so that, in this time of lethargy, I picked and cut most of their festival purses; and had not the old man come in with a whoobub against his daughter and the king's son, and scared. my choughs from the chaff, I had not left a purse alive in the whole army.
[Camillo, Florizel, and Perdita come forward. Cam. Nay, but my letters by this means being there
So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.
Flo. And those that you'll procure from king
Cam. Shall satisfy your father.
Happy be you!
1 A chough is a bird resembling a jackdaw.
All, that you speak, shows fair.
Who have we here?
We'll make an instrument of this; omit
Nothing, may give us aid.
Aut. If they have overheard me now
Cam. How now, good fellow? Why shakest thou so? Fear not, man: here's no harm intended to thee.
Aut. I am a poor fellow, sir.
Cam. Why, be so still; here's nobody will steal that from thee: yet, for the outside of thy poverty, we must make an exchange: therefore, discase thee instantly, (thou must think there's necessity in 't) and change garments with this gentleman. Though the pennyworth, on his side, be the worst, yet hold thee; there's some boot.1
Aut. I am a poor fellow, sir.-I know ye well enough. [aside. Cam. Nay, pr'ythee, despatch: the gentleman is half flayed already.
Aut. Are you in earnest, sir?-I smell the trick of it.
Flo. Despatch, I pr'ythee.
Aut. Indeed, I have had earnest; but I canno with conscience take it.
Cam. Unbuckle, unbuckle!
[Florizel and Autolycus exchange garments.
Fortunate mistress, let my prophecy
Come, lady, come.-Farewell, my friend.
Nay, you shall have no hat.
[they converse apart.
Flo. O Perdita, what have we twain forgot? Pray you, a word.
Cam. What I do next, shall be, to tell the king
Of this escape, and whither they are bound;
Fortune speed us!
Thus we set on, Camillo, to the sea-side.
Cam. The swifter speed, the better.
[Exeunt Florizel, Perdita, and Camillo.
Aut. I understand the business; I hear it to have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary for a cut-purse; a good nose is requisite also, to smell out work for the other senses. I see, this is the time that the unjust man doth thrive. What an exchange had this been, without boot! what a boot is here, with this exchange! Sure, the gods do this year connive at us, and we may do any thing extempore. The prince himself is about a piece of iniquity; stealing away from his father, with his clog at his heels. If I thought it were a piece of honesty to acquaint the king withal, I would not do't: I hold it the more knavery to conceal it; and therein am I constant to my profession.
Enter CLOWN and SHEPHERD.
Aside, aside :-here is more matter for a hot brain. Every lane's end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a careful man work.
Clown. See, see; what a man you are now! there is no other way, but to tell the king she's a changeling, and none of your flesh and blood.
Shep. Nay, but hear me.
Clown. Nay, but hear me.
Clown. She being none of your flesh and blood, your flesh and blood has not offended the king, and so your flesh and blood is not to be punished by
him. Show those things you found about her; those secret things, all but what she has with her. This being done, let the law go whistle; I warrant you.
Shep. I will tell the king all, every word, yea, and his son's pranks too; who, I may say, is no honest man neither to his father nor to me, to go about to make me the king's brother-in-law.
Clown. Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off you could have been to him; and then your blood had been the dearer, by I know how much an
Aut. Very wisely; puppies!
Shep. Well; let us to the king: there is that in this fardel,1 will make him scratch his beard.
Aut. I know not what impediment this complaint may be to the flight of my master.
Clown. 'Pray heartily he be at palace.
Aut. Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance-let me pocket up my pedler's excrement.2-[takes off his false beard.] How now, rustics? whither are you bound?
Shep. To the palace, an it like your worship.
Aut. Your affairs there? what? with whom? the condition of that fardel, the place of your dwelling, your names, your ages, of what having,3 breeding, and any thing that is fitting to be known, discover. Clown. We are but plain fellows, sir.