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physician? Look on Master Fenton.' This is my doing.
Fent. I thank thee: and I pray thee, once to night
Give my sweet Nan this ring. There's for thy pains.
Quick. Now heaven send thee good fortune! Exit FENTON. A kind heart he hath: a woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart. But yet I would my master had Mistress Anne; or I would Master Slender had her; or, in sooth, I would Master Fenton had her. I will do what I can for them all three, for so I have promised, and I'll be as good as my word; but speciously for Master Fenton. Well, I must of another errand to Sir John Falstaff from my two mistresses: what a beast am I to slack it! E.cit.
SCENE V.-A Room in the Garter Inn.
Fal. Bardolph, I say,-
Fal. Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast in 't. Exit BARDOlph. Have I lived to be carried in a basket, like a barrow of butcher's offal, and to be thrown in the Thames? Well, if I be served such another trick, I'll have my brains ta'en out and buttered,
and give them to a dog for a new year's gift. The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse as they would have drowned a blind bitch's puppies, fifteen i' the litter; and you may know by my size that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking: if the bottom were as deep as hell, I should down. I had been drowned but that the shore was shelvy and shallow; a death that I abhor, for the water swells a man, and what a thing should I have been when I had been swelled! I should have been a mountain of mummy.
Re-enter BARDOLPH with sack.
Fal. Very ill-favouredly, Master Brook. Ford. How so, sir? Did she change her determination?
her husband, Master Brook, dwelling in a conFal. No, Master Brook; but the peaking Cornuto
tinual alarum of jealousy, comes me in the instant of our encounter, after we had embraced, kissed, protested, and, as it were, spoke the prologue of our comedy; and at his heels a rabble of his companions, thither provoked and instigated by his distemper, and, forsooth, to search his house for his wife's love.
Ford. What, while you were there?
Ford. And did he search for you, and could not find you?
Fal. You shall hear. As good luck would have it. comes in one Mistress Page; gives intelligence of Ford's approach; and, in her invention and Ford's wife's distraction, they conveyed me into a buck-basket.
Ford. A buck-basket!
Fal. By the Lord, a buck-basket! rammed me in with foul shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings, greasy napkins; that, Master Brook, there was the rankest compound of villanous smell that ever offended nostril.
Ford. And how long lay you there?
Fal. Nay, you shall hear, Master Brook, what I have suffered to bring this woman to evil for your good. Being thus crammed in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds, were called forth by their mistress to carry me in the name of foul clothes to Datchet-lane: they took me on their shoulders; met the jealous knave their master in the door, who asked them once or twice what they had in their basket. I quaked for fear lest the lunatic knave would have searched it; but fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold, held his hand. Well; on went he for a search, and away went I for foul clothes. But mark the sequel, Master Brook: I suffered the pangs of three several deaths: first, an intolerable fright, to be detected with a jealous rotten bell-wether;
next, to be compassed, like a good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head; and then, to be stopped in, like a strong distillation, with stinking clothes that fretted in their own grease: think of that, a man of my kidney, think of that; that am as subject to heat as butter; a man of continual dissolution and thaw it was a miracle to 'scape suffocation. And in the height of this bath, when I was more than half stewed in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown into the Thames, and cooled, glowing hot, in that surge, like a horse-shoe; think of that, hissing hot, think of that, Master Brook. Ford. In good sadness, sir, I am sorry that for my sake you have suffered all this. My suit then is desperate; you'll undertake her no more? 129 Fal. Master Brook, I will be thrown into Etna, as I have been into Thames, cre I will leave her thus. Her husband is this morning gone a-birding: I have received from her another embassy of meeting: 'twixt eight and nine is the hour, Master Brook.
Ford. "Tis past eight already, sir.
Fal. Is it? I will then address me to my appointment. Come to me at your convenient leisure, and you shall know how I speed, and the conclusion shall be crowned with your enjoying her: adieu. You shall have her, Master Brook; Master Brook, you shall cuckold Ford. Exit. 142 Ford. Hum! ha! is this a vision is this a dream? do I sleep? Master Ford, awake! awake, Master Ford! there's a hole made in your best coat, Master Ford. This 'tis to be married: this 'tis to have linen and buck-baskets. Well, I will proclaim myself what I am: I will now take the lecher; he is at my house; he cannot 'scape me; 'tis impossible he should; he cannot creep into a halfpenny purse, nor into a pepper-box; but, lest the devil that guides him should aid him, I will search impossible places. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not shall not make me tame: if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go with me: I'll be horn-mad.
SCENE I.-The Street.
Will. Genitive, horum, harum, horum. Quick. Vengeance of Jenny's case! fie on her! Never name her, child, if she be a whore. Evans. For shame, 'oman!
Quick. You do ill to teach the child such words. He teaches him to hick and to hack, which they'll do fast enough of themselves, and to call horum,' fie upon you!
Evans. 'Oman, art thou lunatics? hast thou no understandings for thy cases and the numbers of the genders? Thou art as foolish Christian creatures as I would desires.
Mrs. Page. Prithee, hold thy peace. Evans. Show me now, William, some declen. sions of your pronouns.
Will. Forsooth, I have forgot.
Evans. It is qui, quae, quod; if you forget your quies, your quaes, and your quods, you must be preeches. Go your ways and play; go.
Mrs. Page. He is a better scholar than I thought he was.
Evans. He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, Mistress Page.
Mrs. Page. Adieu, good Sir Hugh.
Exit Sir HUGH.
Get you home, boy. Come, we stay too long. Exeunt.
SCENE II. A Room in FORD'S House
Enter FALSTAFF and Mistress FORD. Fal. Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my sufferance. I see you are obsequious in your love, and I profess requital to a hair's breadth; not only, Mistress Ford, in the simple office of love, but in all the accoutrement, complement and ceremony of it. But are you sure of your husband now?
Mrs. Ford. He's a-birding, sweet Sir John. Mrs. Page. Within. What ho! gossip Ford! what ho!
Mrs. Ford. Step into the chamber, Sir John. Erit FALSTAFF.
Enter Mistress PAGE.
Mrs. Page. How now, sweetheart! who's at home besides yourself?
Mrs. Ford. Why, none but mine own people. Mrs. Page. Indeed!
Mrs. Ford. No certainly. Aside. Speak louder. Mrs. Page. Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here.
Mrs. Ford. Why?
Mr. Page. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes again: he so takes on yonder with my husband; so rails against all married mankind; so curses all Eve's daughters, of what complexion soever; and so buffets himself on the forehead, crying, Peer out, peer out!' that any madness I ever yet beheld seemed but tameness, civility and patience, to this his distemper he is in now. I am glad the fat knight is not here. Mrs. Ford. Why, does he talk of him? 29 Mrs. Page. Of none but him; and swears he was carried out, the last time he searched for him, in a basket: protests to my husband he is now here, and hath drawn him and the rest of their company from their sport, to make another experiment of his suspicion. But I am glad the knight is not here; now he shall see his own foolery.
Mrs. Ford, How near is he, Mistress Page? Mrs. Page. Hard by; at street end; he will be here anon.
Mrs. Ford. I am undone ! the knight is here. Mrs. Page. Why then you are utterly shamed, and he's but a dead man. What a woman are you! Away with him, away with him! better shame than murder.
Mrs. Ford. Which way should he go? how should I bestow him? Shall I put him into the basket again?
Mrs. Page. Alas! three of Master Ford's brothers watch the door with pistols, that none shall issue out; otherwise you might slip away ere he came. But what make you here? Fal. What shall I do? I'll creep up into the chimney.
Mrs. Ford. There they always use to discharge their birding-pieces.
Mrs. Page. Creep into the kiln-hole.
Mrs. Page. Alas the day! I know not. There is no woman's gown big enough for him; otherwise he might put on a hat, a muffler and a kerchief, and so escape.
Fal. Good hearts, devise something: any extremity rather than a mischief.
Mrs. Ford. My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brentford, has a gown above.
Mrs. Page. On my word, it will serve him ; she's as big as he is: and there's her thrummed hat and her muffler too. Run up, Sir John.
Mrs. Ford. Go, go, sweet Sir John Mistress Page and I will look some linen for your head. Mrs. Page. Quick, quick! we'll come dress you straight; put on the gown the while.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot misuse him enough.
We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
Re-enter Mistress FORD with two Servants.
Mrs. Ford. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him. Quickly; dispatch. Exit.
First Serv. Come, come, take it up. Second Serv. Pray heaven it be not full of knight again.
First Serv. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead.
Enter FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, CAIUS, and
Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again? Set down the basket, villains. Somebody call my wife. Youth in a basket! O you panderly Mrs. Ford. He will seek there, on my word. rascals! there's a knot, a ging, a pack, a conNeither press, coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault,spiracy against me: now shall the devil be
Come hither, Mistress Ford; Mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband! I suspect without cause, mistress, do I?
Mrs. Ford. Heaven be my witness you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty. Ford. Well said, brazen-face! hold it out. Come forth, sirrah!
Pulls the clothes out of the basket.
Page. This passes! Mrs. Ford. Are you not ashamed? Let the clothes alone.
Ford. I shall find you anon. Evans. 'Tis unreasonable. Will you take up your wife's clothes? Come away. Ford. Empty the basket, I say! Mrs. Ford. Why, man, why?
Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed out of my house yesterday in this basket: why may not he be there again? In my house I am sure he is: my intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable. Pluck me out all
Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there he shall die a flea's death.
Page. Here's no man. Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, Master Ford; this wrongs you.
Evans. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies.
Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.
Puge. No, nor nowhere else but in your brain. Ford. Help to search my house this one time if I find not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity; let me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of me, As jealous as Ford, that
searched a hollow walnut for his wife's leman.' Satisfy me once more; once more search with
Mrs. Ford. What think you? May we, with the warrant of womanhood and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any further revenge?
Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of him: if the devil have him not in I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again. fee-simple, with fine and recovery, he will never, Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him?
Mrs. Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband's brains. If they can find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further afflicted, we two will still be the ministers.
Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant they 'll have him publicly shamed, and methinks there would be no period to the jest, should he not be publicly
Mrs. Page. Come, to the forge with it then; shape it I would not have things cool.
SCENE III-A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter Host and BARDOLPH.
Bard. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your horses: the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him.
Host. What duke should that be comes so secretly? I hear not of him in the court. Let me speak with the gentlemen; they speak English? Bard. Ay, sir; I'll call them to you.
Host. They shall have my horses, but I'll make them pay; I'll sauce them: they have had my house a week at command; I have turned away my other guests: they must come off; I'll sauce them. Come. Exeunt.
SCENE IV.-A Room in FORD's House. Enter PAGE, FORD, Mistress PAGE, Mistress FORD, and Sir HUGH EVANS.
Ecans. "Tis one of the pest discretions of a 'oman as ever I did look upon.
Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant?
Mrs. Page. Within a quarter of an hour. Ford. Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou wilt;
I rather will suspect the sun with cold
In him that was of late an heretic,
With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads
Mrs. Page. The truth being known, We'll all present ourselves, dis-horn the spirit, And mock him home to Windsor. Ford.
The children must Be practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do 't. Evans. I will teach the children their behaviours: I will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my taber.
Ford. That will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.
Mrs. Page. My Nan shall be the queen of all the fairies,
Finely attired in a robe of white.
Page. That silk will I go buy. Aside. And in that tire
Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away, And marry her at Eton. Go send to Falstaff straight.
Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in name of Brook; He'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he'll come. Mrs. Page. Fear not you that. Go get us properties
And tricking for our fairies. Erans. Let us about it: it is admirable pleasures and fery honest knaveries.
Exeunt PAGE, FORD, and EVANS.
Mrs. Page. Go, Mistress Ford,
I'll to the doctor: he hath my good will,
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you The doctor is well money'd, and his friends know
Potent at court: he, none but he, shall have her,
Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her. Exit.
SCENE V.-A Room in the Garter Inn.
Host. What would'st thou have, boor? what, thickskin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
Sim. Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff from Master Slender.
Host. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-bed and truckle-bed: 'tis painted about with the story of the Prodigal, fresh and new. Go knock and call: he'll speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee: knock, I say. 10
Sim. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber: I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down; I come to speak with her, indeed.