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The Merry Wives of Windsor

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ACT I SCENE IV A room in DOCTOR'S CAIUS' house. 
MISTRESS QUICKLYWhat, John Rugby! I pray thee, go to the casement,
and see if you can see my master, Master Doctor
Caius, coming. If he do, i' faith, and find any
body in the house, here will be an old abusing of
God's patience and the king's English.5
RUGBYI'll go watch.
MISTRESS QUICKLYGo; and we'll have a posset for't soon at night, in
faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal fire.
[Exit RUGBY]
An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant
shall come in house withal, and, I warrant you, no10
tell-tale nor no breed-bate: his worst fault is,
that he is given to prayer; he is something peevish
that way: but nobody but has his fault; but let
that pass. Peter Simple, you say your name is?
SIMPLEAy, for fault of a better.15
MISTRESS QUICKLYAnd Master Slender's your master?
SIMPLEAy, forsooth.
MISTRESS QUICKLYDoes he not wear a great round beard, like a
glover's paring-knife?
SIMPLENo, forsooth: he hath but a little wee face, with a20
little yellow beard, a Cain-coloured beard.
MISTRESS QUICKLYA softly-sprighted man, is he not?
SIMPLEAy, forsooth: but he is as tall a man of his hands
as any is between this and his head; he hath fought
with a warrener.25
MISTRESS QUICKLYHow say you? O, I should remember him: does he not
hold up his head, as it were, and strut in his gait?
SIMPLEYes, indeed, does he.
MISTRESS QUICKLYWell, heaven send Anne Page no worse fortune! Tell
Master Parson Evans I will do what I can for your30
master: Anne is a good girl, and I wish--
[Re-enter RUGBY]
RUGBYOut, alas! here comes my master.
MISTRESS QUICKLYWe shall all be shent. Run in here, good young man;
go into this closet: he will not stay long.
[Shuts SIMPLE in the closet]
What, John Rugby! John! what, John, I say!35
Go, John, go inquire for my master; I doubt
he be not well, that he comes not home.
And down, down, adown-a, &c.
DOCTOR CAIUSVat is you sing? I do not like des toys. Pray you,
go and vetch me in my closet un boitier vert, a box,40
a green-a box: do intend vat I speak? a green-a box.
MISTRESS QUICKLYAy, forsooth; I'll fetch it you.
I am glad he went not in himself: if he had found
the young man, he would have been horn-mad.
DOCTOR CAIUSFe, fe, fe, fe! ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je45
m'en vais a la cour--la grande affaire.
MISTRESS QUICKLYIs it this, sir?
DOCTOR CAIUSOui; mette le au mon pocket: depeche, quickly. Vere
is dat knave Rugby?
MISTRESS QUICKLYWhat, John Rugby! John!50
RUGBYHere, sir!
DOCTOR CAIUSYou are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby. Come,
take-a your rapier, and come after my heel to the court.
RUGBY'Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.
DOCTOR CAIUSBy my trot, I tarry too long. Od's me!55
Qu'ai-j'oublie! dere is some simples in my closet,
dat I vill not for the varld I shall leave behind.
MISTRESS QUICKLYAy me, he'll find the young man here, and be mad!
DOCTOR CAIUSO diable, diable! vat is in my closet? Villain! larron!
[Pulling SIMPLE out]
Rugby, my rapier!60
MISTRESS QUICKLYGood master, be content.
DOCTOR CAIUSWherefore shall I be content-a?
MISTRESS QUICKLYThe young man is an honest man.
DOCTOR CAIUSWhat shall de honest man do in my closet? dere is
no honest man dat shall come in my closet.65
MISTRESS QUICKLYI beseech you, be not so phlegmatic. Hear the truth
of it: he came of an errand to me from Parson Hugh.
SIMPLEAy, forsooth; to desire her to--
MISTRESS QUICKLYPeace, I pray you.70
DOCTOR CAIUSPeace-a your tongue. Speak-a your tale.
SIMPLETo desire this honest gentlewoman, your maid, to
speak a good word to Mistress Anne Page for my
master in the way of marriage.
MISTRESS QUICKLYThis is all, indeed, la! but I'll ne'er put my75
finger in the fire, and need not.
DOCTOR CAIUSSir Hugh send-a you? Rugby, baille me some paper.
Tarry you a little-a while.
MISTRESS QUICKLY[Aside to SIMPLE] I am glad he is so quiet: if he
had been thoroughly moved, you should have heard him80
so loud and so melancholy. But notwithstanding,
man, I'll do you your master what good I can: and
the very yea and the no is, the French doctor, my
master,--I may call him my master, look you, for I
keep his house; and I wash, wring, brew, bake,85
scour, dress meat and drink, make the beds and do
all myself,--
SIMPLE[Aside to MISTRESS QUICKLY] 'Tis a great charge to
come under one body's hand.
MISTRESS QUICKLY[Aside to SIMPLE] Are you avised o' that? you 90
shall find it a great charge: and to be up early
and down late; but notwithstanding,--to tell you in
your ear; I would have no words of it,--my master
himself is in love with Mistress Anne Page: but
notwithstanding that, I know Anne's mind,--that's95
neither here nor there.
DOCTOR CAIUSYou jack'nape, give-a this letter to Sir Hugh; by
gar, it is a shallenge: I will cut his troat in dee
park; and I will teach a scurvy jack-a-nape priest
to meddle or make. You may be gone; it is not good100
you tarry here. By gar, I will cut all his two
stones; by gar, he shall not have a stone to throw
at his dog:
MISTRESS QUICKLYAlas, he speaks but for his friend.
DOCTOR CAIUSIt is no matter-a ver dat: do not you tell-a me105
dat I shall have Anne Page for myself? By gar, I
vill kill de Jack priest; and I have appointed mine
host of de Jarteer to measure our weapon. By gar, I
will myself have Anne Page.
MISTRESS QUICKLYSir, the maid loves you, and all shall be well. We110
must give folks leave to prate: what, the good-jer!
DOCTOR CAIUSRugby, come to the court with me. By gar, if I have
not Anne Page, I shall turn your head out of my
door. Follow my heels, Rugby.
MISTRESS QUICKLYYou shall have An fool's-head of your own. No, I115
know Anne's mind for that: never a woman in Windsor
knows more of Anne's mind than I do; nor can do more
than I do with her, I thank heaven.
FENTON[Within] Who's within there? ho!
MISTRESS QUICKLYWho's there, I trow! Come near the house, I pray you.120
[Enter FENTON]
FENTONHow now, good woman? how dost thou?
MISTRESS QUICKLYThe better that it pleases your good worship to ask.
FENTONWhat news? how does pretty Mistress Anne?
MISTRESS QUICKLYIn truth, sir, and she is pretty, and honest, and
gentle; and one that is your friend, I can tell you125
that by the way; I praise heaven for it.
FENTONShall I do any good, thinkest thou? shall I not lose my suit?
MISTRESS QUICKLYTroth, sir, all is in his hands above: but
notwithstanding, Master Fenton, I'll be sworn on a
book, she loves you. Have not your worship a wart130
above your eye?
FENTONYes, marry, have I; what of that?
MISTRESS QUICKLYWell, thereby hangs a tale: good faith, it is such
another Nan; but, I detest, an honest maid as ever
broke bread: we had an hour's talk of that wart. I135
shall never laugh but in that maid's company! But
indeed she is given too much to allicholy and
musing: but for you--well, go to.
FENTONWell, I shall see her to-day. Hold, there's money
for thee; let me have thy voice in my behalf: if140
thou seest her before me, commend me.
MISTRESS QUICKLYWill I? i'faith, that we will; and I will tell your
worship more of the wart the next time we have
confidence; and of other wooers.
FENTONWell, farewell; I am in great haste now.145
MISTRESS QUICKLYFarewell to your worship.
Truly, an honest gentleman: but Anne loves him not;
for I know Anne's mind as well as another does. Out
upon't! what have I forgot?

Next: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 2, Scene 1


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