LADY CAPULET and the NURSE enter.

LADY CAPULET
Nurse, where’s my daughter? Tell her to come to me. I must speak with her.

NURSE
I swear to you by my virginity at age twelve, I already told her to see you. Come on! Where is Juliet? What is she doing? Why here she is now!

JULIET enters.

JULIET
What is it, Nurse? Who is calling for me?

NURSE
Your mother is looking for you.

JULIET
Mother, I’m here. What do you require from me?

LADY CAPULET
I’ll tell you what’s the matter. Nurse, leave us alone to talk for a minute. My daughter and I must speak privately. Nurse, come back here. I have changed my mind and just remembered you could listen to our secrets. You know how young my daughter is.

NURSE
Yes, of course, I know her age down to the hour.

LADY CAPULET
She’s not yet fourteen.

NURSE
I’d bet fourteen of my teeth. But, I’m sorry to say, I only have four teeth. She’s not fourteen. How long is it until August the 1st.

LADY CAPULET
Around a fortnight and several additional days.

NURSE

Whether it’s even or odd, of all of the days in the year, on the eve of Lammastide, she will be fourteen. She and my daughter, Susan, God bless her and all Catholic babies born on the same day. Although Susan died and remains with God. She was too good for me. But as mentioned before, on the eve of Lammastide, she will be fourteen. Yes, indeed she will. I remember it so well, its been eleven years since the great English earthquake. Young Juliet stopped nursing from me on that very day. You and your husband were away in Mantua. I was sitting under the wall of the dovehouse. The pretty little babe started to struggle against me just before the dovehouse shook with the quake. That was almost eleven years ago but I remember it as if it were yesterday. No, I swear I can remember, by then she could stand up without my assistance. I remember because she had cut her forehead the day before. My husband, he was a happy man, picked up young Juliet. “Oh” he said, “Did you fall on your face?”. You’ll fall backwards when you grow up, won’t you, Juliet? And I swear the pretty little babe stopped crying and said “Yes” Oh how great is it to watch a joke come true. Such memories of Juliet’s childhood, I bet if I live one thousand years, I’ll never forget it.

LADY CAPULET
Enough of your nonsense, Nurse. Please be quiet or leave.

NURSE
Yes, madam. But I can’t help laughing at the fact the baby stopped crying and said, “Yes.” I swear, she had a bump on her forehead as big as an egg. It was a severe bruise, and she was sobbing bitterly. “Yes,” said my husband, “Did you fall on your face? You’ll fall back when you are older, won’t you, Juliet?” And she stopped crying and said, “Yes.”

JULIET
Nurse, please, stop this ridiculous account of my childhood.

NURSE
Ok, as you wish madam. I’m done talking. You were the most beautiful baby I have ever nursed. If I live to see the day you become someone’s bride, all of my wishes will come true.

LADY CAPULET
Well now that we are on the topic, marriage is precisely what we have to discuss. Tell me, Juliet, what is your opinion on marriage?

JULIET
It is an honour that I don’t wish for.

NURSE
“An honour?” If I weren’t your only nurse, I’d say you had sucked wisdom from the woman that fed you.

LADY CAPULET
Well, you must start thinking about marriage now. Here in Verona, there are girls younger than you from noble families like ours, who have already become mothers. By my account, I was already your mother at just about your age, while you remain a virgin. Well then, I must tell you that the noble County Paris has asked for you to be his bride.

NURSE
What a man that Paris is, Juliet. He’s as high a man as any in the whole world. He’s equally as perfect as if he were sculpted from wax.

LADY CAPULET
Verona’s summer has no flower as fine as him.

NURSE
Indeed, he’s a flower. In faith, indeed a beautiful flower.

LADY CAPULET
(to JULIET) What do you say? Could you love the gentleman? Tonight at our old accustomed feast you will meet him. Study Paris’s face, read him like you would read a book. Examine every line of his gorgeous features and see how they make him such a handsome man. If you are confused, look into his eyes. This man is single, only lacking a bride to make him impeccable. As is right, fish live in the sea, it’s wrong for such a beautiful girl, like yourself to hide from a handsome man such as County Paris. That man is admired in the eyes of many. Whoever becomes his bride will be just as valued. You would share all that he possesses, and by having him as your husband, you would lose nothing.

NURSE
Lose nothing? In fact madam, you’d get much bigger. Men make women bigger through getting them pregnant.

LADY CAPULET
(to JULIET) Answer quickly, as we do not have much time until the feast. Can you accept County Paris’s love?

JULIET
I’ll look at him and try to admire him, at the very least if he seems likeable. But I can’t guarantee that I will fall for him.

PETER enters.

PETER
Madam, the guests have arrived, dinner has been served, people are beginning to ask for you and Juliet. In the pantry, people are cursing the Nurse. Everything is out of control. I must go and serve the guests now. Please, ma’am, follow straight after me to the ballroom.

LADY CAPULET
Thank you, we will follow you. Juliet, Count Paris is waiting for you downstairs.

NURSE
Go, madam, seek a man who’ll give you pleasant nights at the end of pleasant days.

Respond now!

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