Enter Mistress Quickly and Simple
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 anybody in the house, here will be an
old abusing of God's patience and the King's English.
I'll go watch.
Go; and we'll have a posset for't
restorative hot drink, made of milk, liquor, and other ingredients
soon at night, in faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal
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?
Ay, for fault of a better.
And Master Slender's your master?
Does he not wear a great round
beard like a glover's paring-knife?
No, forsooth. He hath but a little wee face, with a
little yellow beard – a Cain-coloured beard.
A softly-sprighted man, is he not?
Ay, forsooth. But he is as tall a man of his hands
as any is between this and his head. He hath fought with
How say you? – O, I should remember
him. Does he not hold up his head, as it were,
and strut in his gait?
Yes, indeed, does he.
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
Out, alas! Here comes my master.
We shall all be shent. Run in here,
shent (v.) 1
[from obsolete verb ‘shend’] blamed, rebuked, reproached
good young man; go into this closet. He will not stay
She 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, etc.
Enter Doctor Caius
Vat is you sing? I do not like dese toys. Pray you go
and vetch me in my closet un boîtier vert – a box, a
green-a box. Do intend vat I speak? A green-a box.
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.
Exit to the closet
Fe, fe, fe, fe! Ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je m'en
vais à la cour – la grande affaire.
Enter Mistress Quickly with the box
Is it this, sir?
Oui, mette-le au mon pocket. Dépêche, quickly. Vere
is dat knave Rugby?
What, John Rugby! John!
You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby.
Come, take-a your rapier, and come after my heel to the
'Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.
By my trot, I tarry too long. 'Od's me! Qu'ai-je
oublié? Dere is some simples in my closet, dat I vill not
for the varld I shall leave behind.
Exit to the closet
Ay me, he'll find the young man
there, and be mad.
O, diable, diable! Vat is in my closet?
Enter Caius, pulling Simple out of the closet
Rugby, my rapier!
Good master, be content.
Wherefore shall I be content-a?
The young man is an honest man.
What shall de honest man do in my closet? Dere is
no honest man dat shall come in my closet.
I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic.
Hear the truth of it. He came of an errand to me from
Ay, forsooth, to desire her to –
Peace, I pray you.
Peace-a your tongue. (To Simple) Speak-a your
To desire this honest gentlewoman, your maid,
to speak a good word to Mistress Anne Page for my
master in the way of marriage.
This is all, indeed, la! But I'll
ne'er put my finger in the fire, and need not.
Sir Hugh send-a you? Rugby, baille me some
paper. (To Simple) Tarry you a little-a while.
(aside to Simple)
I am glad he is so
quiet. If he had been throughly 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 all myself –
(aside to Mistress Quickly)
'Tis a great charge to
come under one body's hand.
(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.
You, jack'nape, give-a this letter to Sir Hugh. By
gar, it is a shallenge. I will cut his troat in de park, and I will
teach a scurvy jackanape priest to meddle or make. You
may be gone. It is not good you tarry here. Exit Simple
By gar, I will cut all his two stones. By gar, he shall not
have a stone to throw at his dog.
Alas, he speaks but for his friend.
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
Jack (n.) 1
Jack-in-office, ill-mannered fellow, lout, knave
Jarteer to measure our weapon. By gar, I will myself
measure (v.) 4
check that the length of two weapons is the same [before beginning a duel]
have Anne Page.
Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall
be well. We must give folks leave to prate. What the
Rugby, come to the court with me. (To Mistress
Quickly) 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
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.
Who's within there, ho?
Who's there, I trow? Come near
the house, I pray you.
How now, good woman, how dost thou?
The better that it pleases your good
worship to ask.
What news? How does pretty Mistress Anne?
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.
Shall I do any good, thinkest thou? Shall I not
lose my suit?
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?
Yes, marry, have I. What of that?
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 –
Well, I shall see her today. Hold, there's money
for thee; let me have thy voice in my behalf. If thou
seest her before me, commend me –
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.
Well, farewell. I am in great haste now.
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?