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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 revenged 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.
Mrs. Page. Why, look, where he comes; and my good man too; he's as far from jealousy, as I am from giving him cause : and that, I hope, is an unmeasurable distance.
Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman.
Mrs. Page. Let's consult together against this greasy knight: Come hither.
[They retire. Enter FORD, PISTOL, PAGE, and NYM. Ford. Well, I hope it be not so.
Pist. Hope is a curtailt dog in some affairs : Sir John affects thy wife.
Ford. Why, Sir, my wife is not young.
Pist. He wooes both high and low, both rich and poor,
Ford. Love my wife?
Pist. With liver burning hot: Prevent, or go thou,
Pist. The horn, I say: Farewell.
[Exit PISTOL. Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this.
Nym. And this is true. [To PAGE.] of lying. He hath wronged me in some humours; I should have borne the humoured letter to her: but I have a sword, and * Caution. † A dog that misses his game.
A medley Consider.
not tha hu
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. Adieu.
[Exit Nym. Page. The humour of it, quoth 'a! here's a fellow frights humour out of its wits.
Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.
Page. I will not believe such a Cataian,* though the priest oo the town commended him for a true man.
Ford. "Twas a good sensible fellow : Well.
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 thy head now.Will you go, mistress Page ?
Mrs. Page. Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George ! -Look, who comes yonder: she shall be our messenger to this paltry knight.
[Aside to MRS. FORD. Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY. Mrs. Ford. Trust me, I thought on her : she'll fit it. Mrs. Page. You are come to see my daughter Anne ?
Quick. Ay, forsooth; And, I pray, how does good mistress Anne ?
Mrs. Page. Go in with us, and see; we have an hour's talk with you. (Exeunt MRS. PAGE, MRS. FORD, and Mrs. QUICKLY.
Page. How now, master Ford ?
Page. Hang 'em, slaves! I do not think the knight would offer it: but these that accuse him in his intent towards our wives are a yoke of his discarded men; very rogues, now they be out of service.
Ford. Were they his men ?
Ford. I like it never the better for that.-Does he lie at the Garter ?
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 :
* A lying sharper.
there is either liquor in his pate, or money in his purse, when he looks so merrily.—How now, mine host ?
en LVU - AGE] go with us to behold it was
Enter Host and SHALLOW. Host. How now, bully-rook ? thou’rt a gentleman : cavalerojustice, 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.
Host. Tell him, cavalero-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.
[They go aside. Shal. Will you [to PAGE) go with us to behold it? my merry
measuring of their weapons; and, I think ho hath appointed them contrary places : for, believe me, I hear the parson is no jester. Hark, I will tell you what our sport shall be.
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 on, hearts ?
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: In these times, you stand on distance, your passes, stoccadoes, and I know not what: 'tis the heart, master Page; 'tis here, 'tis here. I have seen the time, with my long sword, I would have made you four tall* fellows skip like rats.
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 madet 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.
Which I with sword will open.
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,t 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: Think'st 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 thong, I-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 heaven on the left hand, and hiding mine honour in my ne cessity, am fain to shufile, to hedge, and to lurch; and yet you, rogue, will ensconcell 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 wouldst thou more of man?
Enter: MISTRESS QUICKLY.
Quick. I'll be sworn; as my mother was, the first hour I was born.
Fal. I do believe the swearer: What with me?
Fal. Two thousand, fair woman; and I'll vouchsafe thee the hearing.
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.
Fal. I warrant thee nobody hears :-mine own people, mine own people.
Quick. Are they so ? Heaven bless them, and make them his servants !
Fal. Well, mistress Ford ;-what of her?
& Pickt-hatch was in Clerkenwell. I Protect.
Ale-house. VOL, I.
Quick. Why, Sir, she is 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 rusling, 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?
Quick. Ay, forsooth; and then you may come and see the picture, she says, that you wott of ;-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 frampoldi 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 vour 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 your 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 fort!
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,
* A mistake of Mrs. Quickly's for quandaries. # Fretful, peevish.
By all means.