The Merry Wives of Windsor By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 1

SHALLOW.
Ay, I think my cousin meant well.

SLENDER.
Ay, or else I would I might be hanged, la!

SHALLOW.
Here comes fair Mistress Anne.

[Re-enter ANNE PAGE.]

Would I were young for your sake, Mistress Anne!

ANNE.
The dinner is on the table; my father desires your worships' company.

SHALLOW.
I will wait on him, fair Mistress Anne!

EVANS.
Od's plessed will! I will not be absence at the grace.

[Exeunt SHALLOW and EVANS.]

ANNE.
Will't please your worship to come in, sir?

SLENDER.
No, I thank you, forsooth, heartily; I am very well.

ANNE.
The dinner attends you, sir.

SLENDER.
I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forsooth. Go, sirrah, for all you are
my man, go wait upon my cousin Shallow.

[Exit SIMPLE.]

A justice of peace sometime may be beholding to his friend for a man.
I keep but three men and a boy yet, till my mother be dead. But what
though? Yet I live like a poor gentleman born.

ANNE.
I may not go in without your worship: they will not sit till you come.

SLENDER.
I' faith, I'll eat nothing; I thank you as much as though I did.

ANNE.
I pray you, sir, walk in.

SLENDER.
I had rather walk here, I thank you. I bruised my shin th' other day
with playing at sword and dagger with a master of fence; three veneys
for a dish of stewed prunes — and, by my troth, I cannot abide the
smell of hot meat since. Why do your dogs bark so? Be there bears i'
the town?

ANNE.
I think there are, sir; I heard them talked of.

SLENDER.
I love the sport well; but I shall as soon quarrel at it as any man
in England. You are afraid, if you see the bear loose, are you not?

ANNE.
Ay, indeed, sir.

SLENDER.
That's meat and drink to me now. I have seen Sackerson loose twenty
times, and have taken him by the chain; but I warrant you, the women
have so cried and shrieked at it that it passed; but women, indeed,
cannot abide 'em; they are very ill-favoured rough things.

[Re-enter PAGE.]

PAGE.
Come, gentle Master Slender, come; we stay for you.

SLENDER.
I'll eat nothing, I thank you, sir.

PAGE.
By cock and pie, you shall not choose, sir! come, come.

SLENDER.
Nay, pray you lead the way.

PAGE.
Come on, sir.

SLENDER.
Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first.

ANNE.
Not I, sir; pray you keep on.

SLENDER.
Truly, I will not go first; truly, la! I will not do you that wrong.

ANNE.
I pray you, sir.

SLENDER.
I'll rather be unmannerly than troublesome. You do yourself wrong
indeed, la!

[Exeunt.]

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