Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Merry Wives of Windsor > Act I, scene IV
[Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY, SIMPLE, and RUGBY]
MISTRESS QUICKLY: What, 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.
RUGBY: I'll go watch.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Go; and we'll have a posset for't soon at night, in
faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal fire.
An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant
shall come in house withal, and, I warrant you, no
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?
SIMPLE: Ay, for fault of a better.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: And Master Slender's your master?
SIMPLE: Ay, forsooth.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Does he not wear a great round beard, like a
SIMPLE: No, forsooth: he hath but a little wee face, with a
little yellow beard, a Cain-coloured beard.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: A softly-sprighted man, is he not?
SIMPLE: Ay, 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.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: How say you? O, I should remember him: does he not
hold up his head, as it were, and strut in his gait?
SIMPLE: Yes, indeed, does he.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Well, heaven send Anne Page no worse fortune! Tell
Master Parson Evans I will do what I can for your
master: Anne is a good girl, and I wish--
RUGBY: Out, alas! here comes my master.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: We 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!
Go, John, go inquire for my master; I doubt
he be not well, that he comes not home.
And down, down, adown-a, &c.
[Enter DOCTOR CAIUS]
DOCTOR CAIUS: Vat is you sing? I do not like des toys. Pray you,
go and vetch me in my closet un boitier vert, a box,
a green-a box: do intend vat I speak? a green-a box.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Ay, 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 CAIUS: Fe, fe, fe, fe! ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je
m'en vais a la cour--la grande affaire.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Is it this, sir?
DOCTOR CAIUS: Oui; mette le au mon pocket: depeche, quickly. Vere
is dat knave Rugby?
MISTRESS QUICKLY: What, John Rugby! John!
RUGBY: Here, sir!
DOCTOR CAIUS: You 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 CAIUS: By my trot, I tarry too long. Od's me!
Qu'ai-j'oublie! dere is some simples in my closet,
dat I vill not for the varld I shall leave behind.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Ay me, he'll find the young man here, and be mad!
DOCTOR CAIUS: O diable, diable! vat is in my closet? Villain! larron!
[Pulling SIMPLE out]
Rugby, my rapier!
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Good master, be content.
DOCTOR CAIUS: Wherefore shall I be content-a?
MISTRESS QUICKLY: The young man is an honest man.
DOCTOR CAIUS: What shall de honest man do in my closet? dere is
no honest man dat shall come in my closet.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic. Hear the truth
of it: he came of an errand to me from Parson Hugh.
DOCTOR CAIUS: Vell.
SIMPLE: Ay, forsooth; to desire her to--
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Peace, I pray you.
DOCTOR CAIUS: Peace-a your tongue. Speak-a your tale.
SIMPLE: To desire this honest gentlewoman, your maid, to
speak a good word to Mistress Anne Page for my
master in the way of marriage.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: This is all, indeed, la! but I'll ne'er put my
finger in the fire, and need not.
DOCTOR CAIUS: Sir 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 him
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,
scour, dress meat and drink, make the beds and do
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
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's
neither here nor there.
DOCTOR CAIUS: You 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 good
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 QUICKLY: Alas, he speaks but for his friend.
DOCTOR CAIUS: It is no matter-a ver dat: do not you tell-a me
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 QUICKLY: Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall be well. We
must give folks leave to prate: what, the good-jer!
DOCTOR CAIUS: Rugby, 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.
[Exeunt DOCTOR CAIUS and RUGBY]
MISTRESS QUICKLY: You shall have An fool's-head of your own. No, I
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 QUICKLY: Who's there, I trow! Come near the house, I pray you.
FENTON: How now, good woman? how dost thou?
MISTRESS QUICKLY: The better that it pleases your good worship to ask.
FENTON: What news? how does pretty Mistress Anne?
MISTRESS QUICKLY: In truth, sir, and she is pretty, and honest, and
gentle; and one that is your friend, I can tell you
that by the way; I praise heaven for it.
FENTON: Shall I do any good, thinkest thou? shall I not lose my suit?
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Troth, 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 wart
above your eye?
FENTON: Yes, marry, have I; what of that?
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Well, 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. I
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.
FENTON: Well, I shall see her to-day. Hold, there's money
for thee; let me have thy voice in my behalf: if
thou seest her before me, commend me.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Will 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.
FENTON: Well, farewell; I am in great haste now.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Farewell 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?
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR