The Queen's English Introduction
I'm Mistress Quickly. I'm the hostess at Boar's Head Tavern and one of Dr. Caius' household servants. I make a lot of dirty jokes without even realizing it. And you know what I think?
What, John Rugby! I pray thee, go to the casement,
and see if you can see my master, Master Doctor
Caius, coming. If he do, i' faith, and find any
body in the house, here will be an old abusing of
God's patience and the king's English. (1.4.1-5)
Who Said It and Where
Mistress Quickly always manages to place herself in the middle of the action. She acts as a go-between for hire for three different men who want to marry Anne Page and also helps the "merry wives" trick Falstaff on numerous occasions. She has no scruples and she's motivated by money. Obviously, this doesn't win her any popularity contests.
Over at Doctor Caius's house, the servant Peter Simple has arrived with a letter for Mistress Quickly. She's nervous about having a strange man in her house so she asks a servant (John Rugby) to go to the window and be on the lookout for Doctor Caius, since Caius will be crazy jealous if he comes home and finds another guy in his house. Then she talks over her deal with Peter about helping Slender hook up with Anne Page.
Just then, John Rugby runs into the room and is all "Look out! Doctor Caius is home!"
Here's where the play starts to look like a modern day TV sitcom. All that's missing is a laugh track. Mistress Quickly stashes Peter Simple in the closet. Caius enters the room, babbling to himself in French, like you do, and asks Mistress Quickly to fetch his green box. From the closet. Uh oh.
Quickly manages to grab the box without Doctor Caius seeing Peter Simple. Whew. Close call. Then Caius remembers that, hey, he also needs some medicine from the same closet. Before Mistress Quickly can stop him, he runs over, flings open the doors, and spots Peter Simple hiding. Busted. See, we told you this was like a wacky sitcom.