Author's Note:
Possibly the most incomprehensible scene in all of Shakespeare
occurs in Act 5 Scene 4 of Henry IV Part 2.  Out of the blue
Doll Tearsheet and Mistress Quickly are hauled off to prison.
Mention is made of a man or two being killed by Doll and Pistol.
Doll fakes pregnancy with cushions and claims she will miscarry.
Nothing leads up to this, and there is no reference to it again, which
may account for the scene being omitted from most productions.
 
 


 
 

Scene Three


We are back in Doll Tearsheetís room. Sunlight is now streaming through the filthy window. BENEDICT is asleep on the bed; DOLL is standing over him.
DOLL
Get up!

BENEDICT

                                                                 (rubbing his eyes)
How stands the hour?

DOLL

Time for thee to go.

BENEDICT

But last night you said---

DOLL

I had forgotten I must meet Mistress Quickly.

BENEDICT

But, Doll---

DOLL

Nay, nay.

BENEDICT

Oh, Doll! Oh, Doll!
I'm so in love what can I do?
Whenever I hear chimes at midnight
Or bells at noon,
I think of you.

When in disgrace
With fortune and men's eyes,
I see thy face
And hear thy loving sighs.

When in disgrace
And life turns grim and glum,
I see this place
Where I can always come.

A place of serenity
Where a fellow feels free,
And every amenity
Is cared for by thee.

A wonderful haven
That I cherish and prize---
When in disgrace
With fortune and men's eyes.

(During the number, BENEDICT rises from the bed and approaches her as she attempts to dress while either ignoring him or pushing him out of the way.
Even scrunching his cheeks has no effect.)
BENEDICT
Verily, I will not be in the way.

DOLL

I have things to do.

BENEDICT

I know what you do.

DOLL

Iím not talking about those things. Iím talking about things like murder.

BENEDICT

Murder?

DOLL

Thatís what I said.

BENEDICT

Murder who?

DOLL

Your guess is as good as mine.

BENEDICT

I donít understand.

DOLL

Neither do I. All I know is that as soon as I meet Mistress Quickly, we are both arrested and accused of murdering someone. That is why I am putting these cushions inside my dress. So Mistress Quickly can complain that if the Beadle mishandles me, I shall miscarry.

BENEDICT

And then?

DOLL

There is no then.

BENEDICT

You mean thatís it?

DOLL

That is it.

BENEDICT

None of that makes the slightest bit of sense.

DOLL

Donít you ever have inexplicable things happen to you?

BENEDICT

As a matter of fact just yesterday three very strange-looking women offered to make me King of Scotland.

DOLL

You see!

BENEDICT

But nothing like meeting a friend so that you can be arrested for the murder of someone whose identity is a mystery and stuffing pillows down the front of your dress so that the man who arrests you thinks youíre pregnant. And then having it add up to naught.

DOLL

                                                             (shrugging)
                                ĎTis worse if you start to question it---
                                 Why someone loses,
                                 Why someone wins,
                                 Why some are born
                                 With clefts in  their chins.
                                 Why someone conquers,
                                 Why someone hurts,
                                 Why some wear cushions
                                  Inside of their skirts.
                                  We're often tested
                                  So what can one do
                                  When one's arrested
                                  For committing a murder or two?
                                  I've no idea
                                  What it's about
                                  I only know it's worse
                                  When you try to figure it out.
 
 

BENEDICT

So be it. But I work with a whole group of messengers who go from place to place and cover a very large area and I guarantee you that whatever they are doing right now not one of them is in any situation so utterly unbelievable.
 
 

LIGHTS DIM QUICKLY