ACT III SCENE IV

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The Merry Wives of Windsor

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ACT III SCENE IVA room in PAGE’S house.
[Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE]
FENTONI see I cannot get thy father’s love;
Therefore no more turn me to him, sweet Nan.
ANNE PAGEAlas, how then?
FENTONWhy, thou must be thyself.
He doth object I am too great of birth–,5
And that, my state being gall’d with my expense,
I seek to heal it only by his wealth:
Besides these, other bars he lays before me,
My riots past, my wild societies;
And tells me ’tis a thing impossible10
I should love thee but as a property.
ANNE PAGEMay be he tells you true.
FENTONNo, heaven so speed me in my time to come!
Albeit I will confess thy father’s wealth
Was the first motive that I woo’d thee, Anne:15
Yet, wooing thee, I found thee of more value
Than stamps in gold or sums in sealed bags;
And ’tis the very riches of thyself
That now I aim at.
ANNE PAGEGentle Master Fenton,20
Yet seek my father’s love; still seek it, sir:
If opportunity and humblest suit
Cannot attain it, why, then,–hark you hither!
[They converse apart]
[Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and MISTRESS QUICKLY]
SHALLOWBreak their talk, Mistress Quickly: my kinsman shall
speak for himself.25
SLENDERI’ll make a shaft or a bolt on’t: ‘slid, ’tis but
venturing.
SHALLOWBe not dismayed.
SLENDERNo, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that,
but that I am afeard.30
MISTRESS QUICKLYHark ye; Master Slender would speak a word with you.
ANNE PAGEI come to him.
[Aside]
This is my father’s choice.
O, what a world of vile ill-favor’d faults
Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a-year!35
MISTRESS QUICKLYAnd how does good Master Fenton? Pray you, a word with you.
SHALLOWShe’s coming; to her, coz. O boy, thou hadst a father!
SLENDERI had a father, Mistress Anne; my uncle can tell you
good jests of him. Pray you, uncle, tell Mistress
Anne the jest, how my father stole two geese out of40
a pen, good uncle.
SHALLOWMistress Anne, my cousin loves you.
SLENDERAy, that I do; as well as I love any woman in
Gloucestershire.
SHALLOWHe will maintain you like a gentlewoman.45
SLENDERAy, that I will, come cut and long-tail, under the
degree of a squire.
SHALLOWHe will make you a hundred and fifty pounds jointure.
ANNE PAGEGood Master Shallow, let him woo for himself.
SHALLOWMarry, I thank you for it; I thank you for that good50
comfort. She calls you, coz: I’ll leave you.
ANNE PAGENow, Master Slender,–
SLENDERNow, good Mistress Anne,–
ANNE PAGEWhat is your will?
SLENDERMy will! ‘od’s heartlings, that’s a pretty jest55
indeed! I ne’er made my will yet, I thank heaven; I
am not such a sickly creature, I give heaven praise.
ANNE PAGEI mean, Master Slender, what would you with me?
SLENDERTruly, for mine own part, I would little or nothing
with you. Your father and my uncle hath made60
motions: if it be my luck, so; if not, happy man be
his dole! They can tell you how things go better
than I can: you may ask your father; here he comes.
[Enter PAGE and MISTRESS PAGE]
PAGENow, Master Slender: love him, daughter Anne.
Why, how now! what does Master Fenton here?65
You wrong me, sir, thus still to haunt my house:
I told you, sir, my daughter is disposed of.
FENTONNay, Master Page, be not impatient.
MISTRESS PAGEGood Master Fenton, come not to my child.
PAGEShe is no match for you.70
FENTONSir, will you hear me?
PAGENo, good Master Fenton.
Come, Master Shallow; come, son Slender, in.
Knowing my mind, you wrong me, Master Fenton.
[Exeunt PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER]
MISTRESS QUICKLYSpeak to Mistress Page.75
FENTONGood Mistress Page, for that I love your daughter
In such a righteous fashion as I do,
Perforce, against all cheques, rebukes and manners,
I must advance the colours of my love
And not retire: let me have your good will.80
ANNE PAGEGood mother, do not marry me to yond fool.
MISTRESS PAGEI mean it not; I seek you a better husband.
MISTRESS QUICKLYThat’s my master, master doctor.
ANNE PAGEAlas, I had rather be set quick i’ the earth
And bowl’d to death with turnips!85
MISTRESS PAGECome, trouble not yourself. Good Master Fenton,
I will not be your friend nor enemy:
My daughter will I question how she loves you,
And as I find her, so am I affected.
Till then farewell, sir: she must needs go in;90
Her father will be angry.
FENTONFarewell, gentle mistress: farewell, Nan.
[Exeunt MISTRESS PAGE and ANNE PAGE]
MISTRESS QUICKLYThis is my doing, now: ‘Nay,’ said I, ‘will you cast
away your child on a fool, and a physician? Look on
Master Fenton:’ this is my doing.95
FENTONI thank thee; and I pray thee, once to-night
Give my sweet Nan this ring: there’s for thy pains.
MISTRESS QUICKLYNow heaven send thee good fortune!
[Exit FENTON]
A kind heart he hath: a woman would run through
fire and water for such a kind heart. But yet I100
would my master had Mistress Anne; or I would
Master Slender had her; or, in sooth, I would Master
Fenton had her; I will do what I can for them all
three; for so I have promised, and I’ll be as good
as my word; but speciously for Master Fenton. Well,105
I must of another errand to Sir John Falstaff from
my two mistresses: what a beast am I to slack it!
[Exit]

Next: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3, Scene 5