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Fent. Shall I do any good, thinkest thou? Shall I not lose my suit?
Quick. Troth, sir, all is in his hands above; but notwithstanding, Master Fenton, I'll be sworn on a book, she loves you. Have not your worship a wart above your eye?
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I'll ne'er believe that I have to show to the contrary.
Mrs. Page. Faith, but you do, in my mind. Mrs. Ford. Well, I do then; yet, I say I could show you to the contrary. O Mistress Page! give me some counsel.
Fent. Yes, marry, have I; what of that? Quick. Well, thereby hangs a tale. Good faith, it is such another Nan; but, I detest, an honest Mrs. Page. What 's the matter, woman? maid as ever broke bread: we had an hour's talk Mrs. Ford. O woman! if it were not for one of that wart. I shall never laugh but in that trifling respect, I could come to such honour. maid's company; but indeed she is given too Mrs. Page. Hang the trifle, woman; take the much to allicholly and musing. But for you-honour. What is it? dispense with trifles; what well, go to.
Fent. Well, I shall see her to-day. Hold, there's money for thee; let me have thy voice in my behalf: if thou seest her before me, commend me.
Quick. Will I? i' faith, that we will; and I will tell your worship more of the wart the next time we have confidence; and of other wooers. Fent. Well, farewell; I am in great haste now. Exit. Quick. Farewell to your worship. Truly, an honest gentleman: but Anne loves him not; for I know Anne's mind as well as another does. Out upon't! what have I forgot? Exit. 170
SCENE I.-Before PAGE's House, Enter Mistress PAGE, with a letter. Mrs. Page. What! have I 'scaped love-letters in the holiday-time of my beauty, and am I now a subject for them? Let me see.
Ask me no reason why I love you; for though Love use Reason for his physician, he admits him not for his counsellor. You are not young, no more am I go to then, there's sympathy; you are merry, so am 1: ha! ha! then, there's more sympathy; you love sack, and so do I: would you desire better sympathy? Let it suffice thee, Mistress Page, at the least, if the love of a soldier can suffice, that I love thee. I will not say, pity me, 'tis not a soldierlike phrase; but I say, love me. By me, 13
What a Herod of Jewry is this! O wicked, wicked world! one that is well-nigh worn to pieces with age, to show himself a young gallant! What an unweighed behaviour hath this Flemish drunkard picked, with the devil's name! out of my conversation, that he dares in this manner assay me? Why, he hath not been thrice in my company! What should I say to him? I was then frugal of my mirth: heaven forgive me! Why, I'll exhibit a bill in the parliament for the putting down of men. How shall I be revenged on him? for revenged I will be, as sure as his guts are made of puddings.
Mrs. Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or so, I could be knighted.
Mrs. Page. What? thou liest! Sir Alice Ford! These knights will hack; and so thou should'st not alter the article of thy gentry.
Mrs. Ford. We burn daylight: here, read, read; perceive how I might be knighted. I shall think the worse of fat men as long as I have an eye to make difference of men's liking: and yet he would not swear; praised women's modesty ; and gave such orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere and keep place together than the Hundredth Psalm to the tune of Green Sleeves.' What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor? How shall I be revenged on him? I think the best way were to entertain him with hope, till the wicked fire of lust have melted him in his own grease. Did you ever hear the like?
Mrs. Paye. Letter for letter, but that the name of Page and Ford differs! To thy great comfort in this mystery of ill opinions, here's the twinbrother of thy letter: but let thine inherit first; for, I protest, mine never shall. I warrant, he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for different names, sure more, and these are of the second edition. He will print them, out of doubt; for he cares not what he puts into the press, when he would put us two: I had rather be a giantess, and lie under Mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles ere one chaste man.
Mrs. Ford. Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the very words. What doth he think of us? Mrs. Page. Nay, I know not: it makes me almost ready to wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal; for, sure, unless he know some strain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.
Mrs. Ford. Boarding call you it? I'll be sure to keep him above deck.
Mrs. Page. So will I: if he come under my hatches, I'll never to sea again. Let's be re venged on him: let's appoint him a meeting; give him a show of comfort in his suit, and lead him on with a fine-baited delay, till he hath pawned his horses to mine host of the Garter.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villany against him, that may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O! that my husband saw this letter; it would give eternal food to his jealousy.
Ford. What name, sir?
Take heed, ere summer comes or cuckoo-birds
Away, Sir Corporal Nym!
Ford. I will be patient: I will find out this. Nym. To PAGE. And this is true; I like not the humour of lying. He hath wronged me in some humours: I should have bornet he humoured letter to her; but I have a sword and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your wife; there's the short and the long, My name is Corporal Nym: I speak, and I avouch 'tis true: my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife. Adieu. I love not the humour of bread and cheese; and there's the humour of it.
Page. The humour of it,' quoth a'! here's a fellow frights humour out of his wits. Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.
Page. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.
Ford. If I do find it: well.
Page. I will not believe such a Cataian, though the priest o' the town commended him for a
Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow: well.
Mrs. Page. Whither go you, George? Hark you. Mrs. Ford. How now, sweet Frank! why art thou melancholy?
Ford. I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.
Mrs. Ford. Faith, thou hast some crotchets in the head now. Will you go, Mistress Page?
Page. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head.
Ford. I do not misdoubt my wife, but I would be loath to turn them together. A man may be too confident: I would have nothing lie on my head: I cannot be thus satisfied. Page. Look where my ranting host of the Garter comes. There is either liquor in his pate or money in his purse when he looks so merrily. How now, mine host!
Enter Host and SHALLOW. Host. How now, bully-rook! thou 'rt a gentleman. Cavaleiro-justice, I say.
Shal. I follow, mine host, I follow. Good even and twenty, good Master Page! Master Page, will you go with us? we have sport in hand. 200 Host. Tell him, cavaleiro-justice; tell him, bully-rook.
Shal. Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir Hugh the Welsh priest and Caius the French doctor.
Ford. Good mine host o' the Garter, a word with you. Host. What say'st thou, my bully-rook? They go aside. Shal. To PAGE. Will you go with us to behold it? My merry host hath had the measuring of their weapons, and, I think, hath appointed them contrary places; for, believe me, I hear what our sport shall be. the parson is no jester. Hark, I will tell you
Host. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guest-cavalier?
Ford. None, I protest: but I'll give you a pottle of burnt sack to give me recourse to him and tell him my name is Brook, only for a jest.
Host. My hand, bully thou shalt have egress and regress; said I well? and thy name shall be Brook. It is a merry knight. Will you go, mynheers? 160
Mrs. Page. Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George? Aside to Mistress FORD. Look who comes yonder: she shall be our messenger to this paltry knight.
Mrs. Ford. Trust me, I thought on her she'll fit it.
Enter Mistress QUICKLY.
Shal. Have with you, mine host.
Page. I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in his rapier.
Shal. Tut, sir! I could have told you more :
Mrs. Page. You are come to see my daughter in these times you stand on distance, your Anne?
passes, stoccadoes, and I know not what: 'tis
the heart, Master Page; 'tis here, 'tis here. have seen the time with my long sword I would have made you four tall fellows skip like rats. 232 Host. Here, boys, here, here! shall we wag? Page. Have with you. I had rather hear them scold than fight.
Exeunt Host, SHALLOW, and PAGE. Ford. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on his wife's frailty, yet I cannot put off my opinion so easily. She was in his company at Page's house, and what they made there, I know not. Well, I will look further into 't; and I have a disguise to sound Falstaff. If I find her honest, I lose not my labour; if she be otherwise, 'tis labour well bestowed. Exit.
SCENE II. A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL.
Fal. Not a penny. I have been content, sir, you should lay my countenance to pawn: I have grated upon my good friends for three reprieves for you and your coach-fellow Nym; or else you had looked through the grate, like a geminy of baboons. I am damned in hell for swearing to gentlemen my friends, you were good soldiers and tall fellows; and when Mistress Bridget lost the handle of her fan, I took 't upon mine
honour thou hadst it not.
Pist. Didst thou not share? hadst thou not fifteen pence?
Fal. Reason, you rogue, reason: thinkest thou I'll endanger my soul gratis! At a word, hang no more about me, I am no gibbet for you: go: a short knife and a throng! to your manor of Pickt-hatch! go. You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue! you stand upon your honour! Why, thou unconfinable baseness, it is as much as I can do to keep the terms of my honour precise. I, I, I myself sometimes, leaving the fear of God on the left hand and hiding mine honour in my necessity, am fain to shuffle, to hedge and to lurch; and yet you, rogue, will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain looks, your red-lattice phrases, and your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your honour! You will not do it, you!
Pist. I do relent: what would thou more of man?
Quick. There is one Mistress Ford, sir: I pray, come a little nearer this ways: I myself dwell with Master Doctor Caius.
Fal. Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say,Quick. Your worship says very true: I pray your worship, come a little nearer this ways. 51 Ful. I warrant thee, nobody hears: mine own people, mine own people.
Quick. Are they so? God bless them, and make them his servants!
Fal. Well: Mistress Ford; what of her? Quick. Why, sir, she's a good creature. Lord, Lord! your worship's a wanton! well, heaven forgive you and all of us, I pray!
Fal. Mistress Ford; come, Mistress Ford,Quick. Marry, this is the short and the long of it. You have brought her into such a canaries as 'tis wonderful: the best courtier of them all, when the court lay at Windsor, could never have brought her to such a canary; yet there has been knights, and lords, and gentlemen, with their coaches, I warrant you, coach after coach, letter after letter, gift after gift; smelling so sweetly, all musk, and so rushling, I warrant you, in silk and gold; and in such alligant terms; and in such wine and sugar of the best and the fairest, that would have won any woman's heart; and, I warrant you, they could never get an eye-wink of her. I had myself twenty angels given me this morning; but I defy all angels, in any such sort, as they say, but in the way of honesty: and, I warrant you, they could never get her so much as sip on a cup with the proudest of them all; and yet there has been earls, nay, which is more, pensioners; but, I warrant you, all is one with her.
Fal. But what says she to me? be brief, my good she-Mercury.
Quick. Marry, she hath received your letter, for the which she thanks you a thousand times; and she gives you to notify that her husband will be absence from his house between ten and eleven.
Fal. Ten and eleven?
and see the picture, she says, that you wot of: Quick. Ay, forsooth; and then you may come Master Ford, her husband, will be from home. Alas! the sweet woman leads an ill life with him; he's a very jealousy man; she leads a very frampold life with him, good heart.
Fal. Ten and eleven. Woman, commend me to her; I will not fail her.
Quick. Why, you say well. But I have another messenger to your worship: Mistress Page hath her hearty commendations to you too; and let me tell you in your ear, she's as fartuous a civil modest wife, and one, I tell you, that will not miss you morning nor evening prayer, as any is in Windsor, whoe'er be the other and she bade me tell your worship that her husband is seldom from home; but she hopes there will come a time. I never knew a woman so dote upon a man surely, I think you have charms, la; yes, in truth.
Fal. Not I, I assure thee; setting the attraction of my good parts aside, I have no other charms.
Quick. Blessing on your heart for 't!
Fal. But, I pray thee, tell me this: has Ford's wife and Page's wife acquainted each other how they love me?
Quick. That were a jest indeed! they have not so little grace, I hope: that were a trick indeed! But Mistress Page would desire you to send her your little page, of all loves: her husband has a marvellous infection to the little page; and truly Master Page is an honest man. Never a wife in Windsor leads a better life than she does do what she will, say what she will, take all, pay all, go to bed when she list, rise when she list, all is as she will; and, truly she deserves it; for if there be a kind woman in Windsor, she is one. You must send her your page; no remedy,
Fal. Why, I will.
Quick. Nay, but do so, then: and, look you, he may come and go between you both; and in any case have a nay-word, that you may know one another's mind, and the boy never need to understand anything: for 'tis not good that children should know any wickedness; old folks, you know, have discretion, as they say, and know the world.
Fol. Fare thee well: commend me to them both. There's my purse; I am yet thy debtor. Boy, go along with this woman.
140 Exeunt Mistress QUICKLY and ROBIN. This news distracts me.
Pist. This punk is one of Cupid's carriers. Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights: Give fire! She is my prize, or ocean whelm them all! Exit. Fal. Sayest thou so, old Jack? go thy ways; I'll make more of thy old body than I have done. Will they yet look after thee? Wilt thou, after the expense of so much money, be now a gainer? Good body, I thank thee: let them say 'tis grossly done; so it be fairly done, no matter. 150
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! 160
Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised. Ford. Bless you, sir.
Pul. 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. 170 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 emboldened me to this unseasoned intrusion, for they say, if money go 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 to bear it, Sir
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, good 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, sith 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, 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 pursues ; Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues. Ful. Have you received no promise of satis faction at her hands? Ford. Never.
Ful. 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. 252
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 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 ward of her purity, her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now are too 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.
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 cuckoldy 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 cuckoldy 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 I will predominate over the peasant, and thou shalt lie with his wife. Come to me soon at night. Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his style; thou, Master Brook, shalt know him for a knave and cuckold. Come to me soon at night.
Exit. 300 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 devils' additions, the names of fiends: but Cuckold! Wittol-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 aqua-vitæ 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. God 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! cuckExit. 220 old! cuckold!
Caius. By gar, de herring is no dead so as I vill kill him. Take your rapier, Jack; I vill tell you how I vill kill him.
Rug. Alas, sir, I cannot fence.
Enter Host, SHALLOW, SLENDER, and PAGE.
Shal. Save you, Master Doctor Caius ! Page. Now, good Master doctor! Slen. Give you good morrow, sir. Caius. Vat be all you, one, two, tree, four, come for?
Host. To see thee fight, to see thee foin, to see thee traverse; to see thee here, to sce thee there; to see thee pass thy punto, thy stock, thy reverse, thy distance, thy montant. Is he dead, my Ethiopian? is he dead, my Francisco? ha, bully! What says my Esculapius? my Galen? my heart of elder? ha! is he dead, bully stale? is he dead?
Cuius. By gar, he is de coward Jack priest of de vorld; he is not show his face.
Host. Thou art a Castilian, King Urinal: Hector of Greece, my boy!
Caius. I pray you, bear vitness that me have stay six or seven, two, tree hours for him, and he is no come.
Shal. He is the wiser man, Master doctor: he is a curer of souls, and you a curer of bodies : if you should fight, you go against the hair of your professions. Is it not true, Master Page?
Page. Master Shallow, you have yourself been a great fighter, though now a man of peace.
Shal. Bodykins, Master Page, though I now be old and of the peace, if I see a sword out, my finger itches to make one. Though we are justices and doctors and churchmen, Master Page, we have some salt of our youth in us; we are the sons of women, Master Page. Page. 'Tis true, Master Shallow.
Shal, It will be found so, Master Page. Master