Jack of Newbery Quotes
by Thomas Deloney

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I brought my eyes, quoth she, to discerne colours, my tongue to say No to questions I like not, my hands to thrust from mee the things that I loue not, my ears to iudge twixt flattery & friendship, & my féet to run from such as would wrong mée.

The lively widow of Jack's employer, an important figure in the early part of the book and pivotal to his making his fortune, shows herself to be a strong, assertive woman in the mode of Chaucer's Wife of Bath. Many suitors are after her for her money, including the parson, but this older woman has her eyes on the lusty and obedient Jack. In the quote above, she fends off would-be husbands in no uncertain terms.

.... at length the Widow came out of the Kitchen, in a faire traine gowne stucke full of siluer pinnes, a fine white Cap on her head, with cuts of curious néedle worke vnder the same, and an Apron before her as white as the driuen snow: then very modestly making curtsie to them all, shée requested them to sit downe.

The passage above shows Deloney's gift for description, which gives us a glimpse of social history by describing fashions of the time. However, it also displays Deloney's gift for comedy. The widow might be wearing the beautiful clothing of a young woman, but she is old, and as we soon find, missing teeth. Her apron, likewise, might be "white as the driven snow," but she is more bawdy than pure. The humor comes in the contrast between who she is and what she wears.

...he bent his only like to one of his owne seruants, whom he had tried in the guiding of his house a yeare or two: and knowing her carefulnesse in her businesse, faithfull in her dealing, an excellent good huswife, thought it bettsr to haue her with...

(The entire section is 482 words.)