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Good body, I thank thee: Let them say, 'tis grossly done; so it be fairly done, no matter.

Enter Bardolph.

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Bard. Sir John, there's one master Brook below would fain speak with you, and be acquainted with you; and hath sent your worship a morning's draught of sack.

Fal. Brook, is his name?
Bard. Ay, sir.

Fal. Call him in; [Exit Bardolph.] Such Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such liquor. Ah! ha! mistress Ford and mistress Page, have I encompassed you? go to; via!1

Re-enter Bardolph, with Ford disguised. Ford. Bless you, sir.

Fal. And you, sir: Would you speak with me? Ford. I make bold, to press with so little preparation upon you.

Fal. You're welcome; What's your will? Give us leave, drawer. [Exit Bardolph. Ford. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name is Brook.

Fal. Good master Brook, I desire more acquaintance of you.

Ford. Good sir John, I sue for yours: not to charge you; for I must let you understand, I think myself in better plight for a lender than you are : the which hath something enbolden'd me to this unseasoned intrusion; for they say, if money ga before, all ways do lie open.

Fal. Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on. Ford. Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me; if you will help me to bear it, sir John, take all, or half, for easing me of the carriage.

(1) A cant phrase of exultation.

Fal. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be

your porter.

Ford. I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing.

Fal. Speak, goc master Brook: I shall be glad to be your servant.

Ford. Sir, I hear you are a scholar,-I will be brief with you ;-and you have been a man long known to me, though I had never so good means, as desire, to make myself acquainted with you. I shall discover a thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine own imperfection; but, good sir John, as you have one eye upon my follies, as you hear them unfolded, turn another into the register of your own; that I may pass with a reproof the easier, sith1 you yourself know, how easy it is to be such an offender.

Fal. Very well, sir; proceed.

Ford. There is a gentlewoman in this town, her husband's name is Ford.

Fal. Well, sir.

Ford. I have long loved her, and, I protest to you, bestowed much on her; followed her with a doting observance; engrossed opportunities to meet her; fee'd every slight occasion, that could but niggardly give me sight of her not only bought many presents to give her, but have given largely to many, to know what she would have given: briefly, I have pursued her, as love hath pursued me; which hath been, on the wing of all occasions. But whatsoever I have merited, either in my mind, or in my means, meed,2 I am sure, I have received none; unless experience be a jewel: that I have purchased at an infinite rate; and that hath taught me to say this:

Love like a shadow flies, when substance love pur

sues;

Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues. (2) Reward,

(1) Since.

Fal. Have you received no promise of satisfaction at her hands?

Ford. Never.

Fal. Have you importuned her to such a purpose?

Ford. Never.

Fal. Of what quality was your love then?

Ford. Like a fair house, built upon another man's ground; so that I have lost my edifice, by mistaking the place where I erected it.

Fal. To what purpose have you unfolded this to me?

Ford. When I have told you that, I have told you all. Some say, that, though she appear honest to me, yet, in other places, she enlargeth her mirth so far, that there is shrewd construction made of her. Now, sir John, here is the heart of my purpose: You are a gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable discourse, of great admittance, authentic in your place and person, generally allowed2 for your many warlike, court-like, and learned preparations.

Fal. O, sir!

Ford. Believe it, for you know it :--There is money; spend it, spend it; spend more; spend all I have; only give me so much of your time in exchange of it, as to lay an amiable siege to the honesty of this Ford's wife: use your art of wooing, win her to consent to you; if any man may, you may as soon as any.

Fal. Would it apply well to the vehemency of your affection, that I should win what you would enjoy? Methinks, you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.

Ford. O, understand my drift! she dwells so securely on the excellency of her honour, that the folly of my soul dares not present itself; she is

(1) In the greatest companies. (2) Approved.

too bright to be looked against. Now, could I come to her with any detection in my hand, my desires had instance and argument to commend themselves; I could drive her then from the ward1 of her purity, her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now are too strongly embattled against me; What say you to't, sir John?

Fal. Master Brook, I will first make bold with your money; next, give me your hand; and last, as I am a gentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife.

Ford. O good sir!

Fal. Master Brook, I say you shall.

Ford. Want no money, sir John, you shall want

none.

Fal. Want no mistress Ford, master Brook, you shall want none. I shall be with her (I may tell you,) by her own appointment; even as you came in to me,. her assistant, or go-between, parted from me: I say, I shall be with her between ten and eleven; for at that time the jealous rascally knave, her husband, will be forth. Come you to me at night; you shall know how I speed.

Ford. I am blest in your acquaintance. Do you know Ford, sir?

Fal. Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I know him not-yet I wrong him, to call him poor; they say, the jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money; for the which his wife seems to me wellfavoured. I will use her as the key of the cuckoldly rogue's coffer; and there's my harvest-home.

Ford. I would you knew Ford, sir; that you might avoid him, if you saw him.

Fal. Hang him, mechanical salt-butter rogue! I will stare him out of his wits; I will awe him with my cudgel: it shall hang like a meteor o'er the cuckold's horns: master Brook, thou shalt know, (1) Guard.

VOL. I.

I will predominate o'er the peasant, and thou shalt lie with his wife.-Come to me soon at night Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his stile;! thou, master Brook, shalt know him for a knave and cuckold :-come to me soon at night. [Exit. Ford. What a damned Epicurean rascal is this! -My heart is ready to crack with impatience. Who says, this is improvident jealousy? My wife hath sent to him, the hour is fixed, the match is made. Would any man have thought this?-See the hell of having a false woman! my bed shall be abused, my coffers ransacked, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not only receive this villanous wrong, but stand under the adoption of abominable terms, and by him that does me this wrong. Terms! names!Amaimon sounds well; Lucifer, well; Barbason, well; yet they are devil's additions, the names of fiends: but cuckold! wittol2 cuckold! the devil himself hath not such a name. Page is an ass, a secure ass; he will trust his wife, he will not be jealous: I will rather trust a Fleming with my butter, parson Hugh the Welshman with my cheese, an Irishman with my aquavitæ bottle, or a thief to walk my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself: then she plots, then she ruminates, then she devises: and what they think in their hearts they may effect, they will break their hearts but they will effect. Heaven be praised for my jealousy!-Eleven o'clock the hour; I will prevent this, detect my wife, be revenged on Falstaff, and laugh at Page. I will about it; better three hours too soon, than a minute too late. Fie, fie, fie! cuckold! cuckold! cuckold! [Exiá

(1) Add to his title. (2) Contented cuckold. (3) Usquebaugh.

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