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then frugal of my mirth. Heaven forgive me!-Why, I'll exhibit a bill in the Parliament for the putting down of fat men. How shall I be reveng'd on him? for reveng'd I will be, as sure as his guts are made of puddings.

Enter MISTRESS FORD.

MRS. FORD. Mistress Page! trust me, I was going to your house.

MRS. PAGE. And, trust me, I was coming to you. look very ill.

You

31

MRS. FORD. Nay, I'll ne'er believe that: I have to shew to the contrary.

MRS. PAGE. 'Faith, but you do, in my mind.

MRS. FORD. Well, I do then; yet, I say, I could shew 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 honour!

40

MRS. PAGE. Hang the trifle, woman: take the honour.
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.

47

MRS. FORD. We burn day-light.1 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; prais'd women's modesty ;
and gave such
orderly and well-behav'd 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 Hundred
Psalms 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 reveng'd
on him? I think, the best way were to entertain him

1 we waste time.

ACT II
Sc. I

F

ACT II
Sc. I

62

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.

74

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.

82

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 reveng'd 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 villainy
against him, that may not sully the chariness1 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 unmeasur-
able distance.

MRS. FORD. You are the happier woman.

98

MRS. PAGE. Let's consult together against this greasy
Knight. Come hither.
[They go apart.

1 niceness.

Enter FORD, PISTOL, PAGE, and NYM.

FORD. Well, I hope it be not so.

PIST. Hope is a curtall1 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
Both young and old, one with another, Ford:
He loves the gally-mawfry. Ford, perpend!
FORD. Love my wife?

poor,

PIST. With liver burning hot. Prevent, or go thou,
Like Sir Acteon he, with Ring-wood at thy heels 110
O, odious is the name!

FORD. What name, Sir?

PIST. The horn, I say. Farewell.

sense.

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 [Exit PISTOL. FORD. [aside.] I will be patient; I will find out this. 117 NYм. 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. Adieu. [Exit NYM. PAGE. The humour of it quoth 'a! here's a fellow frights English out of his wits.

FORD. [aside.] I will seek out Falstaff.

PAGE. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.

FORD. [aside.] If I do find it, well.

130

PAGE. I will not believe such a Cataian3 though the priest o' th' town commended him for a true man.

FORD. [aside.] 'Twas a good sensible fellow. Well

[MRS. FORD and MRS. PAGE come forward.

PAGE. How now, Meg?

1 scentless and paceless.

2 the sex at large.

3 (slang) Heathen Chinee.'

ACT II

Sc. I

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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?

150

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.

160

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 loth to turn them together. A man may be too confident. I would have nothing lie on my head. I cannot be thus satisfied.

172

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?

ACT II

Sc. I

Enter Host and SHALLOW.

HOST. How now, bully-rook? thou'rt a gentleman:
Cavaliero-Justice, I say.

178

SHAL. I follow, mine Host, I follow. Good even, and
twenty,1 good Master Page! Master Page, will you
go with us? we have sport in hand.

HOST. Tell him, Cavaliero-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 apart.
SHAL. [to PAGE.] Will you 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?

191

FORD. None, I protest: but I'll give you a pottle of burn'd 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. Will you go, Mynheers?

It is a merry Knight.

SHAL. Have with you, mine Host.

200

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, stoccados, 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.

208

HOST. Here, boys, here, here! Shall we wag
wag?2
PAGE. Have with you:-I had rather hear them scold
than see them fight. [Exeunt Host, SHAL., and Page.

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