ACT I
Scene 4
 

DOCTOR CAIUS'S house

Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY, SIMPLE, and RUGBY

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 anybody in the
house, here will be an old abusing of God's patience and
the King's English.

RUGBY
I'll go watch.

QUICKLY
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?

SIMPLE
Ay, for fault of a better.

QUICKLY
And Master Slender's your master?

SIMPLE
Ay, forsooth.

QUICKLY
Does he not wear a great round beard, like a
glover's paring-knife?

SIMPLE
No, forsooth; he hath but a little whey face, with a
little yellow beard, a Cain-colour'd beard.

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.

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.

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-

Re-enter RUGBY

RUGBY
Out, alas! here comes my master.

QUICKLY
We shall all be shent. Run in here, good young
man; go into this closet. [Shuts SIMPLE 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. [Singing]
And down, down, adown-a, etc.

Enter DOCTOR CAIUS

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.

QUICKLY
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.

QUICKLY
Is it this, sir?

CAIUS
Oui; mette le au mon pocket: depeche, quickly. Vere
is dat knave, Rugby?

QUICKLY
What, John Rugby? John!

RUGBY
Here, sir.

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.

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.

QUICKLY
Ay me, he'll find the young man there, and be
mad!

CAIUS
O diable, diable! vat is in my closet? Villainy! larron!
[Pulling SIMPLE out] Rugby, my rapier!

QUICKLY
Good master, be content.

CAIUS
Wherefore shall I be content-a?

QUICKLY
The young man is an honest man.

CAIUS
What shall de honest man do in my closet? Dere is
no honest man dat shall come in my closet.

QUICKLY
I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic; hear the
truth of it. He came of an errand to me from Parson Hugh.

CAIUS
Vell?

SIMPLE
Ay, forsooth, to desire her to-

QUICKLY
Peace, I pray you.

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.

QUICKLY
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]

QUICKLY
[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-

SIMPLE
[Aside to QUICKLY] 'Tis a great charge to come
under one body's hand.

QUICKLY
[Aside to SIMPLE] 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
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 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.

Exit SIMPLE

QUICKLY
Alas, he speaks but for his friend.

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.

QUICKLY
Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall be well. We
must give folks leave to prate. What the good-year!

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 CAIUS and RUGBY

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!

QUICKLY
Who's there, I trow? Come near the house, I pray
you.

Enter FENTON

FENTON
How now, good woman, how dost thou?

QUICKLY
The better that it pleases your good worship to
ask.

FENTON
What news? How does pretty Mistress Anne?

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, think'st thou? Shall I not lose
my suit?

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?

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.

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.

QUICKLY
Farewell to your worship. [Exit FENTON] 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