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ready to wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal; for, sure, unless he knew 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 pawn'd 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 un
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 curtail 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, Both young and old, one with another, Ford; He loves thy gally-mawfry; Ford, perpend. Ford. Love my wife?
Pist. With liver burning hot: Prevent, or go thou, Like sir Acteon 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.
[Erit. 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 wrong'd me in some humours: I should have borne the humour'd 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. Adien. [Exit Nym. Page. The humour of it, quoth'a! here's a fellow frights humour ont 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 true man. Ford. Twas a good sensible fellow: Well. Page. How now, Meg?
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 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?
Page. Marry, were they.
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 toward 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 loth to turn them together: A man may be too con fident: I would have nothing lie on my head: I can
not 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
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, 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, bully-rook? [They go aside. Shal. Will you [To Page] go with us to behold it? My merry host hath had the measuring of their wea. pons; 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
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.
times you stand on distances, your passes, stoccadoes, Shal. Tut, sir, I could have told you more: In these Page; lis 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 [Exeunt Host, Shallow, and Page.
scold than fight.
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 weil bestow'd.
SCENE II. A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL.
Fal. Not a penny. I have been content, sir, yon
Fal. Reason, you rogue, reason: Think'st thon, I'll
Enter Mistress QUICKLY.
Quick. Give your worship good-morrow.
Quick. Not so, an't please your worship.
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 way :-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?
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!
Fa. 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, 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 cap 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.