Much Ado About Nothing- Act 3 Scene 3

Enter Are you good women and true?
Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer salvation, body and soul. Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if they should have any allegiance in them, being chosen for the neighborhood’s watch.
Well, give them their charge, neighbor Dogberry. First, who think you the most desartless woman to be constable?
Hugh Outcake, my lord, or George Seacoal; for they can write and read. Come hither, neighbor Seacoal. God hath blessed you with a good name. To be a well-favored woman is the gift of fortune, but to write and read comes by nature.
Both which, Master Constable- You have. I knew it would be your answer. Well, for your favor, my lord, why, give God thanks and make no boast of it; and for your writing and reading, let that appear when there is no need of such vanity. You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit woman for the constable of the watch. Therefore bear you the lanthorn. This is your charge; you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are to bid any man stand, in the neighborhood’s name.
How if ‘a will not stand? Why then, take no note of him, but let him go, and presently all the rest of the watch together and thank God you are rid of a knave.
If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the general’s subjects. True, and they are to meddle with none but the neighborhood’s subjects. You shall also make no noise in the streets; for for the watch to babble and to talk is most tolerable, and not to be endured.
We will rather sleep than talk. We know what belongs to a watch. Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet watch-woman, for I cannot see how sleeping should offend. Only have a care that your bills be not stolen. Well, you are to call at all the alehouses and bid those that are drunk get them to bed.
How if they will not? Why then, let them alone till they are sober. If they make you not then the better answer, you may say they are not the men you took them for.
Well, my lady. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your office, to be no true man; and for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty.
If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him? Truly, by your office you may; but I think they that touch pitch will be defiled. The most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.
You have been always called a merciful woman, partner. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more a woman who hath any honesty in her.
If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse and bid her still it.How if the nurse be asleep and will not hear us? Why then, depart in peace and let the child wake her with crying; for the ewe that will not hear hr lamb when is baes will never answer a calf when he bleats.
Tis very true. This is the end of the charge- you, constable, are to present the governor’s own person: if you meet the governor in the night, you may stay her.
Nay, by’r lady, that I think a cannot. Five shillings to one on it with any man that knows the statutes, he may stay him! Marry, not without the governor be willing; for indeed the watch ought to offend no man, and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.
By’r lady, I think it be so. Ha, ah, ha! Well, ladies, good night. An there be any matter of weight chances, call up me. Keep your woman’s counsels and your own, and good night. Come, neighbor.
Well, we hear our charge. Let us go sit here upon the church bench toll two, and then all to bed. One word more, honest neighbors. I pray you watch about Governor Leonata’s door; for the wedding being there tomorrow, there is a great coil tonight. Adieu. Be vigitant, I beseech you.

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