The Merry Wives of Windsor By William Shakespeare Act III: Scenes 4-5

ACT III SCENE 4. A room in PAGE'S house.

[Enter FENTON, ANNE PAGE, and MISTRESS QUICKLY. MISTRESS QUICKLY
stands apart.]

FENTON.
I see I cannot get thy father's love;
Therefore no more turn me to him, sweet Nan.

ANNE.
Alas! how then?

FENTON.
Why, thou must be thyself.
He doth object, I am too great of birth;
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 impossible
I should love thee but as a property.

ANNE.
May be he tells you true.

FENTON.
No, heaven so speed me in my time to come!
Albeit I will confess thy father's wealth
Was the first motive that I wooed thee, Anne:
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.
Gentle Master Fenton,
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.]

SHALLOW.
Break their talk, Mistress Quickly: my kinsman shall speak for himself.

SLENDER.
I'll make a shaft or a bolt on 't. 'Slid, 'tis but venturing.

SHALLOW.
Be not dismayed.

SLENDER.
No, she shall not dismay me. I care not for that, but that I am afeard.

QUICKLY.
Hark ye; Master Slender would speak a word with you.

ANNE.
I come to him. [Aside.] This is my father's choice.
O, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a year!

QUICKLY.
And how does good Master Fenton? Pray you, a
word with you.

SHALLOW.
She's coming; to her, coz. O boy, thou hadst a father!

SLENDER.
I 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 of a pen, good uncle.

SHALLOW.
Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.

SLENDER.
Ay, that I do; as well as I love any woman in Gloucestershire.

SHALLOW.
He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.

SLENDER.
Ay, that I will come cut and long-tail, under the degree of a squire.

SHALLOW.
He will make you a hundred and fifty pounds jointure.

ANNE.
Good Master Shallow, let him woo for himself.

SHALLOW.
Marry, I thank you for it; I thank you for that good comfort. She
calls you, coz; I'll leave you.

ANNE.
Now, Master Slender.

SLENDER.
Now, good Mistress Anne. —

ANNE.
What is your will?

SLENDER.
My will! 'od's heartlings, that's a pretty jest indeed! I ne'er
made my will yet, I thank heaven; I am not such a sickly creature,
I give heaven praise.

ANNE.
I mean, Master Slender, what would you with me?

SLENDER.
Truly, for mine own part I would little or nothing with you. Your
father and my uncle hath made 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.]

PAGE.
Now, Master Slender: love him, daughter Anne.
Why, how now! what does Master Fenton here?
You wrong me, sir, thus still to haunt my house:
I told you, sir, my daughter is dispos'd of.

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