Windsor. A street.
(Mistress Margaret Page; Mistress Quickly; William; Evans)
Mistress Page is leading her son William to school when she meets Evans (who is also the schoolmaster), who announces that there is no school today. Mistress Page asks him to put William through his paces, as Page claims the boy isn’t learning anything. Evans takes the boy through his Latin; Mistress Quickly, however, doesn’t speak the language and thinks it’s all a mass of dirty words. She is offended that a child is being taught such rude things. (49 lines)
Enter Mistress Page, Mistress Quickly, William.
Is he at Master Ford’s already, think’st thou?
Sure he is by this—or will be presently. But truly he is very courageous mad about his throwing into the water. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly.
I’ll be with her by and by; I’ll but bring my young man here to school.
Look where his master comes; ’tis a playing-day, I see. How now, Sir Hugh, no school today?
No; Master Slender is let the boys leave to play.
Blessing of his heart!
Sir Hugh, my husband says my son profits nothing in the world at his book. I pray you ask him some questions in his accidence.
Come hither, William; hold up your head; come.
Come on, sirrah; hold up your head. Answer your master, be not afraid.
William, how many numbers is in nouns?
Truly, I thought there had been one number more, because they say, “’Od’s nouns.”
Peace your tattlings! What is “fair,” William?
Poulcats? There are fairer things than poulcats sure.
You are a very simplicity oman; I pray you peace. What is lapis, William?
And what is ‘a stone,’ William?
No; it is lapis. I pray you remember in your prain.
That is a good William. What is he, William, that does lend articles?
Articles are borrow’d of the pronoun, and be thus declin’d, Singulariter, nominativo, hic, haec, hoc.
Nominativo, hig, hag, hog; pray you mark; genitivo, hujus. Well, what is your accusative case?
I pray you have your remembrance, child. Accusativo, hung, hang, hog.
“Hang-hog” is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.
Leave your prabbles, oman. What is the focative case, William?
Remember, William, focative is caret.
And that’s a good root.
What is your genitive case plural, William?
Genitivo, horum, harum, horum.
Vengeance of Jinny’s case! Fie on her! Never name her, child, if she be a whore.
For shame, oman.
You do ill to teach the child such words. He teaches him to “hic” and to “hac,” which they’ll do fast enough of themselves, and to call “horum,”—fie upon you!
Oman, art thou lunatics? Hast thou no understandings for thy cases and the numbers of the genders? Thou art as foolish Christian creatures as I would desires.
Prithee hold thy peace.
Show me now, William, some declensions of your pronouns.
Forsooth, I have forgot.
It is qui, quae, quod: if you forget your qui’s, your quae’s, and your quod’s, you must be preeches. Go your ways and play, go.
He is a better scholar than I thought he was.
He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, Mistress Page.
Adieu, good Sir Hugh.
Get you home, boy. Come, we stay too long.