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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 !
Mrs. Page. What's the matter, woman?
Mrs. Ford. O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I could come to such honor!
Mrs. Page. Hang the trifle, woman; take the honor: What is it?-dispense with trifles ;-what is it?
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 day-light :: 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 woman'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, 1 trow, threw this whale, with so many tons 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. Page. 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 twin brother 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
1 To hack was the appropriate term for chopping off the spurs of a knight when he was to be degraded. The meaning therefore appears to be—“ These knights will degrade you for an unqualified pretender.” Another explanation has been offered-supposing this to be a covert reflection upon the prodigal distribution of the honor of knighthood by King James :—“ These knights will soon become so hackneyed that your nonor will not be increased by becoming one."
2 A proverb applicable to superfluous actions in general.
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
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. 23
Enter FORD, Pistol, Page, and Nym. Ford. Well, I hope it be not so.
Pist. Hope is a curtail dog in some affairs : Sir John affects thy wife.
Ford. Why, sir, my wife is not young.
young and old, one with another, Ford: He loves the gally-mawfry;' Ford, perpend.”
Ford. Love my wife? Pist. With liver burning hot :- Prevent, or go thou, Like Sir Actæon he, with Ring-wood at thy heels: O, odious is the name ! Ford. What name, sir ?
Pist. The horn, I say: Farewell. Take heed; have open eye; for thieves do foot by
night: Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo-birds do
sing. Away, Sir corporal Nym.Believe it, Page; he speaks sense. [Exit Pistol.
Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this.
Nym. And this is true. [To Page.] I like not the humor of lying. He hath wronged me in some humors; I should have borne the humored 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 humor of bread and cheese ; and there's the humor of it. Adieu. .
[Exit Nym. 1 A curtail dog was a common dog not meant for sport, part of the tails of such dogs being commonly cut off while they are puppies; it was a prevalent notion that the tail of a dog was necessary to him in running; hence a dog that missed his game was called a curtail, from which cur is probably derived. 2 A medley 3 Consider.
4 The liver was anciently supposed to be the inspirer of amorous passions.
Page. The humor of it, quoth’a! here's a fellow frights humor 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 of 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 ?
1 i. e. a Chinese; Cataia, Cathay, being the name given to China by the old travellers, some of whom have mentioned the dextrous thieving of the people there: hence a sharper or thief was sometimes called a Cataian.
2 This and the two preceding speeches are soliloquies of Ford, and have no connection with what Page says, who is also making comments on what had passed, without attending to Ford.
Ford. You heard what this knave told me; did
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?
Enter Host and SHALLOW. Host. How now, bully-rook ? thou’rt a gentleman: cavalero-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.
Host. Tell him, cavalero-justice; tell him, bullyrook.
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, bully-rook ?
[They go aside. Shal. Will you [to Page] go with us to behold it?