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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 pe, 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,
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.] I like not the humour 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. I A medley
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 o the town commended him for a true man.
Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow : Well.
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 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 ? Ford, You heard what this knave told me, did you not? Page. Yes; and you heard what the other told me? Ford. Do you think there is truth in them? 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: there is either liquor in his pate, or money in his purse, when he looks so merrily.-How now, mine host ?
* A lying sharper.
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 oʻthe Garter, a word with you.
Shal. Will you [to PAGE] go with us to behold it? my merry host hath had the measuring of their weapons; and, I think, he 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.
* Stout, bold.
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:-00:-A short knife and a thong, 1-to your manor of Pickt-hatch, S 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 shuffle, 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 ?
* Pay you again in stolen goods.
To cut purses in crowd.
+ Draws along with you.
Pickt-hatch was in Clerkenwell. Ale-house.
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 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 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.