William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor in the complete original text.
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HOME > Plays > The Merry Wives of Windsor > Act I. Scene IV.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

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Act I. Scene IV.

Scene IV.—A Room in DOCTOR CAIUS'S
House.

Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY and SIMPLE.

Quick. What, John Rugby!—

Enter 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 anybody in the house,
here will be an old abusing of God's patience
and the king's English.
Rug. I'll go watch.
Quick. Go; 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, 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?
Sim. Ay, for fault of a better.
Quick. And Master Slender's your master?
Sim. Ay, forsooth.
Quick. Does he not wear a great round beard
like a glover's paring-knife?
Sim. No, forsooth: he hath but a little whey-
face, with a little yellow beard—a cane-coloured
beard.
Quick. A softly-sprighted man, is he not?
Sim. 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.
Quick. How say you?—O! I should remember
him: does he not hold up his head, as it were,
and strut in his gait?
Sim. Yes, indeed, does he.
Quick. 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—

Re-enter RUGBY.
Rug. Out, alas! here comes my master.
Quick. We shall all be shent. Run in here,
good young man; go into this closet. [Shuts SIM-
PLE in the closet.] He will not stay long. 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. [Exit RUGBY.]
[Sings.]
'And down, down, adown-a,' &c.

Enter DOCTOR CAIUS.
Caius. Vat is you sing? I do not like dese
toys. Pray you, go and vetch me in my closet
une boitine verde; a box, a green-a box: do in-
tend vat I speak? a green-a box.
Quick. Ay, forsooth; I'll fetch it you. [Aside.]
I am glad he went not in himself: if he had found
the young man, he would have been horn-mad.
Caius. Fe, fe, fe, fe! ma foi, il fait fort
chaud. Je m'en vais a la cour,—la grande
affaire.
Quick. Is it this, sir?
Caius. Ouit; mettez le au mon pocket; dé-
pêchez, quickly.—Vere is dat knave Rugby?
Quick. What, John Rugby! John!

Re-enter RUGBY.
Rug. Here, sir.
Caius. You are John Rugby, and you are
Jack Rugby: come, take-a your rapier, and
come after my heel to de court.
Rug. 'Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.
Caius. By my trot, I tarry too long.—Od's me!
Qu'ay j'oublié? dere is some simples in my
closet, dat I vill not for de varld I shall leave
behind.
Quick. [Aside.] Ay me! he'll find the young
man there, and be mad.
Caius. O diable! diable! vat is in my closet?
—Villain! larron! [Pulling SIMPLE out.] Rugby,
my rapier!
Quick. Good master, be content.
Caius. Verefore shall I be content-a?
Quick. The young man is an honest man.
Caws. Vat shall de honest man do in my
closet? dere is no honest man dat shall come in
my closet.
Quick. I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic.
Hear the truth of it: he came of an errand to
me from Parson Hugh.
Caius. Vell.
Sim. Ay, forsooth, to desire her to—
Quick. Peace, I pray you.
Caius. Peace-a your tongue!—Speak-a your
tale.
Sim. To desire this honest gentlewoman, your
maid, to speak a good word to Mistress Anne
Page for my master in the way of marriage.
Quick. This is all, indeed, la! but I'll ne'er
put my finger in the fire, and need not.
Caius. Sir Hugh send-a you?—Rugby, baillez
me some paper: tarry you a little-a while.
[Writes.
Quick. I am glad he is so quiet: if he had
been throughly moved, you should have heard
him so loud, and so melancholy. But, notwith-
standing, man, I'll do 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 all myself,—
Sim. 'Tis a great charge to come under one
body's hand.
Quick. Are you avis'd 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,
Caius. Yon jack'nape, give-a dis letter to
Sir Hugh; by gar, it is a shallenge: I vill cut
his treat in de Park; and I vill 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 vill cut all his two stones; by gar, he shall not
have a stone to trow at his dog. [Exit SIMPLE.
Quick. Alas! he speaks but for his friend.
Caius. It is no matter-a for 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 Jartiere to measure
our weapon. By gar, I vill myself have Anne Page.
Quick. Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall
be well. We must give folks leave to prate:
what, the good-jer!
Caius. Rugby, come to the court vit me. By
gar, if I have not Anne Page, I shall turn your
head out of my door. Follow my heels, Rugby.
[Exeunt CAIUS and RUGBY.
Quick. 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.
Fent. [Within.] Who's within there? ho!
Quick. Who's there, I trow? Come near the
house, I pray you.

Enter FENTON.
Fent. How now, good woman! how dost thou?
Quick. The better, that it pleases your good
worship to ask.
Fent. What news? how does pretty Mistress
Anne?
Quick. 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.
Fent. Shall I do any good, thinkest thou?
Shall I not lose my suit?
Quick. 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?
Fent. Yes, marry have I; what of that?
Quick. 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.
Fent. 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, com-
mend me.
Quick. 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.
Fent. Well, farewell; I am in great haste now.
Quick. Farewell to your worship.—[Exit FEN-
TON.] 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? [Exit.
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