William Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well, Act III, Scene VII

Scene VII

Florence. The Widow's house

Enter Helena and Widow

Helena

If you misdoubt me that I am not she, I know not how I shall assure you further, But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.

Widow

Though my estate be fallen, I was well born, Nothing acquainted with these businesses; And would not put my reputation now In any staining act.

Helena

Nor would I wish you. First, give me trust, the count he is my husband, And what to your sworn counsel I have spoken Is so from word to word; and then you cannot, By the good aid that I of you shall borrow, Err in bestowing it.

Widow

I should believe you: For you have show'd me that which well approves You're great in fortune.

Helena

Take this purse of gold, And let me buy your friendly help thus far, Which I will over-pay and pay again When I have found it. The count he wooes your daughter, Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty, Resolved to carry her: let her in fine consent, As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it. Now his important blood will nought deny That she'll demand: a ring the county wears, That downward hath succeeded in his house From son to son, some four or five descents Since the first father wore it: this ring he holds In most rich choice; yet in his idle fire, To buy his will, it would not seem too dear, Howe'er repented after.

Widow

Now I see The bottom of your purpose.

Helena

You see it lawful, then: it is no more, But that your daughter, ere she seems as won, Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter; In fine, delivers me to fill the time, Herself most chastely absent: after this, To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns To what is passed already.

Widow

I have yielded: Instruct my daughter how she shall persever, That time and place with this deceit so lawful May prove coherent. Every night he comes With musics of all sorts and songs composed To her unworthiness: it nothing steads us To chide him from our eaves; for he persists As if his life lay on't.

Helena

Why then to-night Let us assay our plot; which, if it speed, Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed And lawful meaning in a lawful act, Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact: But let's about it.

Exeunt