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The Merry Wives of Windsor: Act 4 Scene 6
Scene VI Another room in the Garter Inn.
- [Enter FENTON and Host]
- Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy: I
- will give over all.
- Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose,
- And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee
- A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.
- I will hear you, Master Fenton; and I will at the
- least keep your counsel.
- From time to time I have acquainted you
- With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
- Who mutually hath answer'd my affection,
- So far forth as herself might be her chooser,
- Even to my wish: I have a letter from her
- Of such contents as you will wonder at;
- The mirth whereof so larded with my matter,
- That neither singly can be manifested,
- Without the show of both; fat Falstaff
- Hath a great scene: the image of the jest
- I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host.
- To-night at Herne's oak, just 'twixt twelve and one,
- Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen;
- The purpose why, is here: in which disguise,
- While other jests are something rank on foot,
- Her father hath commanded her to slip
- Away with Slender and with him at Eton
- Immediately to marry: she hath consented: Now, sir,
- Her mother, ever strong against that match
- And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
- That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
- While other sports are tasking of their minds,
- And at the deanery, where a priest attends,
- Straight marry her: to this her mother's plot
- She seemingly obedient likewise hath
- Made promise to the doctor. Now, thus it rests:
- Her father means she shall be all in white,
- And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
- To take her by the hand and bid her go,
- She shall go with him: her mother hath intended,
- The better to denote her to the doctor,
- For they must all be mask'd and vizarded,
- That quaint in green she shall be loose enrobed,
- With ribands pendent, flaring 'bout her head;
- And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
- To pinch her by the hand, and, on that token,
- The maid hath given consent to go with him.
- Which means she to deceive, father or mother?
- Both, my good host, to go along with me:
- And here it rests, that you'll procure the vicar
- To stay for me at church 'twixt twelve and one,
- And, in the lawful name of marrying,
- To give our hearts united ceremony.
- Well, husband your device; I'll to the vicar:
- Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
- So shall I evermore be bound to thee;
- Besides, I'll make a present recompense.