PERNET AND JOHN
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.
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.
|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.