The Taming of the Shrew By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 1

ACT IV.

SCENE I. A hall in PETRUCHIO'S country house.

[Enter GRUMIO.]

GRUMIO.
Fie, fie on all tired jades, on all mad masters, and all
foul ways! Was ever man so beaten? Was ever man so ray'd? Was
ever man so weary? I am sent before to make a fire, and they are
coming after to warm them. Now, were not I a little pot and soon
hot, my very lips might freeze to my teeth, my tongue to the roof
of my mouth, my heart in my belly, ere I should come by a fire to
thaw me. But I with blowing the fire shall warm myself; for,
considering the weather, a taller man than I will take cold.
Holla, ho! Curtis!

[Enter CURTIS.]

CURTIS.
Who is that calls so coldly?

GRUMIO.
A piece of ice: if thou doubt it, thou mayst slide from my
shoulder to my heel with no greater a run but my head and my
neck. A fire, good Curtis.

CURTIS.
Is my master and his wife coming, Grumio?

GRUMIO.
O, ay! Curtis, ay; and therefore fire, fire; cast on no
water.

CURTIS.
Is she so hot a shrew as she's reported?

GRUMIO.
She was, good Curtis, before this frost; but thou knowest
winter tames man, woman, and beast; for it hath tamed my old
master, and my new mistress, and myself, fellow Curtis.

CURTIS.
Away, you three-inch fool! I am no beast.

GRUMIO.
Am I but three inches? Why, thy horn is a foot; and so long
am I at the least. But wilt thou make a fire, or shall I complain
on thee to our mistress, whose hand, — she being now at hand, —
thou shalt soon feel, to thy cold comfort, for being slow in thy
hot office?

CURTIS.
I prithee, good Grumio, tell me, how goes the world?

GRUMIO.
A cold world, Curtis, in every office but thine; and
therefore fire. Do thy duty, and have thy duty, for my master and
mistress are almost frozen to death.

CURTIS.
There's fire ready; and therefore, good Grumio, the news?

GRUMIO.
Why, 'Jack boy! ho, boy!' and as much news as thou wilt.

CURTIS.
Come, you are so full of cony-catching.

GRUMIO.
Why, therefore, fire; for I have caught extreme cold.
Where's the cook? Is supper ready, the house trimmed, rushes
strewed, cobwebs swept, the serving-men in their new fustian,
their white stockings, and every officer his wedding-garment on?
Be the Jacks fair within, the Jills fair without, and carpets
laid, and everything in order?

CURTIS.
All ready; and therefore, I pray thee, news?

GRUMIO.
First, know my horse is tired; my master and mistress fallen out.

CURTIS.
How?

GRUMIO.
Out of their saddles into the dirt; and thereby hangs a tale.

CURTIS.
Let's ha't, good Grumio.

GRUMIO.
Lend thine ear.

CURTIS.
Here.

GRUMIO.
[Striking him.] There.

CURTIS.
This 'tis to feel a tale, not to hear a tale.

GRUMIO.
And therefore 'tis called a sensible tale; and this cuff
was but to knock at your car and beseech listening. Now I begin:
Imprimis, we came down a foul hill, my master riding behind my
mistress, —

CURTIS.
Both of one horse?

GRUMIO.
What's that to thee?

CURTIS.
Why, a horse.

GRUMIO.
Tell thou the tale: but hadst thou not crossed me, thou
shouldst have heard how her horse fell and she under her horse;
thou shouldst have heard in how miry a place, how she was
bemoiled; how he left her with the horse upon her; how he beat me
because her horse stumbled; how she waded through the dirt to
pluck him off me: how he swore; how she prayed, that never prayed
before; how I cried; how the horses ran away; how her bridle was
burst; how I lost my crupper; with many things of worthy memory,
which now shall die in oblivion, and thou return unexperienced to
thy grave.

CURTIS.
By this reckoning he is more shrew than she.

GRUMIO.
Ay; and that thou and the proudest of you all shall find
when he comes home. But what talk I of this? Call forth
Nathaniel, Joseph, Nicholas, Philip, Walter, Sugarsop, and the
rest; let their heads be sleekly combed, their blue coats brush'd
and their garters of an indifferent knit; let them curtsy with
their left legs, and not presume to touch a hair of my master's
horse-tail till they kiss their hands. Are they all ready?

CURTIS.
They are.

GRUMIO.
Call them forth.

CURTIS.
Do you hear? ho! You must meet my master to countenance my
mistress.

GRUMIO.
Why, she hath a face of her own.

CURTIS.
Who knows not that?

GRUMIO.
Thou, it seems, that calls for company to countenance her.

CURTIS.
I call them forth to credit her.

GRUMIO.
Why, she comes to borrow nothing of them.

[Enter several SERVANTS.]

NATHANIEL.
Welcome home, Grumio!

PHILIP.
How now, Grumio!

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