William Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I, Scene IV
Enter Mistress Quickly, Simple, and Rugby
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.
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?
No, forsooth: he hath but a little wee face, with a little yellow beard, a Cain-coloured beard.
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.
How say you? O, I should remember him: does he not hold up his head, as it were, and strut in his gait?
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—
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
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.
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.
You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby. Come, take-a your rapier, and come after my heel to the court.
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.
O diable, diable! vat is in my closet? Villain! larron!
Pulling Simple out
Rugby, my rapier!
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 Parson Hugh.
To desire this honest gentlewoman, your maid, to speak a good word to Mistress Anne Page for my master in the way of marriage.
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 all myself,—
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 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:
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.
Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall be well. We must give folks leave to prate: what, the good-jer!
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
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.
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.
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?
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 to-day. 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.
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?