CHAPTER V
PERNET AND JOHN

TEXTS. I cite from the modern reprint of the farce ( Ancien théâtre françois, i. 195-211) with marginal readings in square brackets from the sixteenth century text in the British Museum collection. Negligible editorial alterations are not noted.

I cite from the Tudor facsimile text of John, with page references to Farmer's collected edition of the plays. Thus 'B. ii, p. 80' refers to the second leaf (recto) of the second gathering in the Tudor facsimile text, and to p. 80 of Farmer's edition.

Pernet AND John APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN ROUGHLY contemporary. John, of which the first known edition is William Rastell's (dated 12 February 1533), is assigned by Chambers1 to the period 1521-31, but its precise date is unknown. Pernet survives in one sixteenth century edition, a reprint of 1548 ( British Museum collection). A reference to a fashion in headgear suggests that it can scarcely have been composed less than ten years before this date,2 and it may well go back to the early 'twenties; but this is as far as the facts will take us. We are therefore driven at once to the texts, and it will be convenient to begin by summarizing the two plots. Pernet has three persons, Pernet (the husband), Nicolle (his wife) and the Lover (later called 'le cousin'). It falls into three main phases--the last split by a soliloquy into two scenes--of about 70, 90 and 155 lines.
1. Nicolle calls Pernet, who makes no answer. She complains of his guzzling sloth.

How luckless (says the Lover) is he who lacks his lady's presence: he will go to see Nicolle.

He woos her, she hanging back a little for fear of scandal. Pernet spies them and voices his suspicions. As he approaches, they bid 'adieu cousine,' 'adieu cousin.' Exit Lover.

____________________
1
Mediaeval stage, ii. 455.
2
The dates of this and other important farces are discussed in Appendix B.

-56-

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French Farce & John Heywood
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Acknowledgments 7
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 11
  • Chapter I - The Family of Farce 13
  • Chapter II - The Matter of Farce 24
  • Chapter III - The Art of Farce 37
  • Chapter IV - The Case Stated 49
  • Chapter V - Pernet and John 56
  • Chapter VI - La Farce D'Un Pardonneur, Pardoner and Friar, the Four Pp 70
  • Chapter VII - Le Dialogue Du Fou Et Du Sage and Witty and Witless 87
  • Chapter VIII - A General Survey 97
  • Appendix A - List of Farces 121
  • Books Summarily Cited and Abbreviations 164
  • Index 169
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