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Eva. Let us about it: It is admirable pleasures, and fery honest knaveries.
[Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans. Mrs. Page. Go, mistress Ford, Send quickly to sir John, to know his mind. [Exit Mrs. Ford. I'll to the doctor; he hath my good will, And none but he, to marry with Nan Page. That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot; And he my husband best of all affects: The doctor is well money'd, and his friends Potent at court; he, none but he, shall have her, Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave [Exit.
SCENE V-A room in the Garter Inn. Enter Host and Simple.
Host. What would'st thou have, boor? what, thick-skin? 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.
Sim. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber; I'll be so bold as to stay, sir, till she come down: I come to speak with her, indeed.
Host. Ha! a fat woman! the knight may be robbed: I'll call.-Bully knight! Bully sir John! speak from thy lungs military: Art thou there? it is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls.
Fal. [Above.] How now, mine host?
Host. Here's a Bohemian Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman: Let her descend, bully, let her descend: my chambers are honourable: Fie! privacy? fie!
Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with me; but she's gone.
Sim. Pray you, sir, was't not the wise! woman of Brentford?
Fal. Ay, marry, was it, muscle-shell; What would you with her?
Sim. My master, sır, my master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go through the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain, or no.
Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.
Fal. Marry, she says, that the very same man, that beguiled master Slender of his chain, cozened him of it.
Sim. I would, I could have spoken with the woman herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too, from him.
Fal. What are they? let us know.
Sim. I may not conceal them, sir.
Fal. Conceal them, or thou diest.
Sim. Why, sir, they were nothing but about mistress Anne Page; to know, if it were my master's fortune to have her, or no.
Fal. "Tis, 'tis his fortune.
Sim. What, sir?
Fal. To have her,- -or no: Go; say, the woman told me so.
Sim. May I be so bold to say so, sir?
(1) Cunning woman, a fortune-teller.
Sim. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings. [Exit Simple. Host. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, sir John: Was there a wise woman with thee?
Fal. Ay, that there was, mine host; one that hath taught me more wit than ever I learned before in my life and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning.
Bard. Out, alas, sir! cozenage! meer cozenage! Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.
Bard. Run away with the cozeners; for so soon as I came beyond Eton, they threw me off, from behind one of them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs, and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.
Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain: do not say, they be fled; Germans are honest
Enter Sir Hugh Evans.
Eva. Where is mine host?
Eva. Have a care of your entertainments: there
Enter Doctor Caius.
Caius. Vere is mine Host de Jarterre?
Host. Here, master doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma.
Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a me, dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Jarmany: by my trot, dere is no duke, dat the court is know to come; I tell you for good vill: adieu. [Exit. Host. Hue and cry, villain, go:-assist me, knight; I am undone :-fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone! [Exeunt Host and Bardolph. Fal. I would, all the world might be cozened; O for I have been cozen'd and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court, how I have been transformed, and how my transformation hath been washed and cudgelled, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me; I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crest-fallen as a dried pear. I never prospered since I forswore myself at Primero. Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.
Enter Mrs. Quickly.
Now! whence come you?
Quick. From the two parties, forsooth.
Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestowed! I have suffered more for their sakes, more, than the villanous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.
Quick. And have not they suffered? Yes, I warrant; speciously one of them; mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.
Fal. What tell'st thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow, and I was like to be apprehended for the
(1) A game at cards.
'witch of Brentford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman, deliver'd me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.
Quick. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber: you shall hear how things go; and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado here is to bring you together! Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so crossed.
Fal. Come up into my chamber. [Exeunt.
SCENE VI.-Another Room in the Garter Inn. Enter Fenton and Host.
Host. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy, I will give over all.
Fent. Yet hear me speak: Assist me in my
And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee
Host. I will hear you, master Fenton; and I will, at the least, keep your counsel.
Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page; Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection (So far forth as herself might be her chooser,) Even to my wish: I have a letter from her Of such contents as you will wonder at; The mirth whereof so larded with my matter, That neither, singly, can be manifested, Without the show of both ;-wherein fat Falstaff Hath a great scene; the image of the jest
[Showing the letter. I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host:
To-night at Herne's oak, just 'twixt twelve and
Must my sweet Nan present the fairy queen;