The Two Gentlemen of Verona

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 5

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SPEED

Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter.

SPEED

No, sir, less than a pound will suffice for delivering your letter.

PROTEUS

You mistake. I mean the pound—a pinfold.

PROTEUS

You misunderstood. I meant give you a pounding, pinhead.

SPEED

95From a pound to a pin? Fold it over and over,
’Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover.

SPEED

You’ve gone from a pound down to a pinhead? No, I want more than that—that’s far too little payment for delivering a letter to your lover.

PROTEUS

But what said she?

PROTEUS

So what did she say?

SPEED

[Nodding] Ay.

SPEED

(nodding) Ay.

PROTEUS

Nod-ay—why, that’s “noddy.”

PROTEUS

Nod-ay? Well, that’s “naughty.”

SPEED

100You mistook, sir. I say she did nod, and you ask me if she did nod, and I say, “Ay.”

SPEED

You misunderstood, sir. I said she nodded, and you asked me if she nodded, and I said, “Ay.”

PROTEUS

And that set together is “noddy.”

PROTEUS

And all that put together is “naughty.”

SPEED

Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains.

SPEED

Now that you’ve taken the trouble to figure it out, take that for your trouble and consider it your answer.

PROTEUS

No, no, you shall have it for bearing the letter.

PROTEUS

No, no, you shall have it for delivering the letter.

SPEED

Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.

SPEED

Well, I guess I must be willing to put up with you.

PROTEUS

105Why, sir, how do you bear with me?

PROTEUS

Why, sir, what do you mean, “put up with me”?

SPEED

Marry, sir, the letter, very orderly, having nothing but the word “noddy” for my pains.

SPEED

Geez, sir, I mean getting nothing but the word “naughty” as payment for my delivery.

PROTEUS

Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.

PROTEUS

Damn, you have a quick wit.

SPEED

And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.

SPEED

And yet I can’t speed past your slowness in paying me.

PROTEUS

Come, come, open the matter in brief. What said she?

PROTEUS

Come on, come on, tell me briefly. What did she say?

SPEED

110Open your purse, that the money and the matter may be both at once delivered.

SPEED

Open your wallet, and the money and her response will both be delivered.

PROTEUS

[Giving him money] Well, sir, here is for your pains. What said she?

PROTEUS

(giving him money) Well, sir, here’s something for your trouble. What did she say?

SPEED

Truly, sir, I think you’ll hardly win her.

SPEED

Honestly, sir, I think you’ll have a hard time winning her.

PROTEUS

Why, couldst thou perceive so much from her?

PROTEUS

Why? Did you get that from speaking with her?

SPEED

Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her, no, not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter. And being so hard to me that brought your mind, I fear she’ll prove as hard to you in telling your mind. Give her no token but stones, for she’s as hard as steel.

SPEED

Sir, I couldn’t get anything at all out of her, not even so much as a tip for delivering your letter. And since she was so stingy to me for having delivered your thoughts, I fear she’ll prove just as stingy with you. Don’t give her any little gifts except stones, because she’s as hard as steel.

PROTEUS

115What said she? Nothing?

PROTEUS

What did she say? Nothing?

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