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All's Well That Ends Well

ACT III SCENE V Florence. Without the walls. A tucket afar off. 
[ Enter an old Widow of Florence, DIANA, VIOLENTA, and MARIANA, with other Citizens ]
WidowNay, come; for if they do approach the city, we
shall lose all the sight.
DIANAThey say the French count has done most honourable service.
WidowIt is reported that he has taken their greatest
commander; and that with his own hand he slew the5
duke's brother.
We have lost our labour; they are gone a contrary
way: hark! you may know by their trumpets.
MARIANACome, let's return again, and suffice ourselves with
the report of it. Well, Diana, take heed of this10
French earl: the honour of a maid is her name; and
no legacy is so rich as honesty.
WidowI have told my neighbour how you have been solicited
by a gentleman his companion.
MARIANAI know that knave; hang him! one Parolles: a15
filthy officer he is in those suggestions for the
young earl. Beware of them, Diana; their promises,
enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these engines of
lust, are not the things they go under: many a maid
hath been seduced by them; and the misery is,20
example, that so terrible shows in the wreck of
maidenhood, cannot for all that dissuade succession,
but that they are limed with the twigs that threaten
them. I hope I need not to advise you further; but
I hope your own grace will keep you where you are,25
though there were no further danger known but the
modesty which is so lost.
DIANAYou shall not need to fear me.
WidowI hope so.
[Enter HELENA, disguised like a Pilgrim]
Look, here comes a pilgrim: I know she will lie at30
my house; thither they send one another: I'll
question her. God save you, pilgrim! whither are you bound?
HELENATo Saint Jaques le Grand.
Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?
WidowAt the Saint Francis here beside the port.35
HELENAIs this the way?
WidowAy, marry, is't.
[A march afar]
Hark you! they come this way.
If you will tarry, holy pilgrim,
But till the troops come by,40
I will conduct you where you shall be lodged;
The rather, for I think I know your hostess
As ample as myself.
HELENAIs it yourself?
WidowIf you shall please so, pilgrim.45
HELENAI thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.
WidowYou came, I think, from France?
HELENAI did so.
WidowHere you shall see a countryman of yours
That has done worthy service.50
HELENAHis name, I pray you.
DIANAThe Count Rousillon: know you such a one?
HELENABut by the ear, that hears most nobly of him:
His face I know not.
DIANAWhatsome'er he is,55
He's bravely taken here. He stole from France,
As 'tis reported, for the king had married him
Against his liking: think you it is so?
HELENAAy, surely, mere the truth: I know his lady.
DIANAThere is a gentleman that serves the count60
Reports but coarsely of her.
HELENAWhat's his name?
DIANAMonsieur Parolles.
HELENAO, I believe with him,
In argument of praise, or to the worth65
Of the great count himself, she is too mean
To have her name repeated: all her deserving
Is a reserved honesty, and that
I have not heard examined.
DIANAAlas, poor lady!70
'Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
Of a detesting lord.
WidowI warrant, good creature, wheresoe'er she is,
Her heart weighs sadly: this young maid might do her
A shrewd turn, if she pleased.75
HELENAHow do you mean?
May be the amorous count solicits her
In the unlawful purpose.
WidowHe does indeed;
And brokes with all that can in such a suit80
Corrupt the tender honour of a maid:
But she is arm'd for him and keeps her guard
In honestest defence.
MARIANAThe gods forbid else!
WidowSo, now they come:85
[Drum and Colours]
[Enter BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and the whole army]
That is Antonio, the duke's eldest son;
That, Escalus.
HELENAWhich is the Frenchman?
That with the plume: 'tis a most gallant fellow.90
I would he loved his wife: if he were honester
He were much goodlier: is't not a handsome gentleman?
HELENAI like him well.
DIANA'Tis pity he is not honest: yond's that same knave
That leads him to these places: were I his lady,95
I would Poison that vile rascal.
HELENAWhich is he?
DIANAThat jack-an-apes with scarfs: why is he melancholy?
HELENAPerchance he's hurt i' the battle.
PAROLLESLose our drum! well.100
MARIANAHe's shrewdly vexed at something: look, he has spied us.
WidowMarry, hang you!
MARIANAAnd your courtesy, for a ring-carrier!
[Exeunt BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and army]
WidowThe troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will bring you
Where you shall host: of enjoin'd penitents105
There's four or five, to great Saint Jaques bound,
Already at my house.
HELENAI humbly thank you:
Please it this matron and this gentle maid
To eat with us to-night, the charge and thanking110
Shall be for me; and, to requite you further,
I will bestow some precepts of this virgin
Worthy the note.
BOTHWe'll take your offer kindly.

Next: All's Well That Ends Well, Act 3, Scene 6