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FAL. Very well, Sir; proceed.

180

ACT II
Sc. II

FORD. There is a gentlewoman in this town, her husband's

name is Ford.

FAL. Well, Sir.

FORD. I have long lov'd her, and, I protest to you, bestow'd much on her, follow'd her with a doting observance; engross'd opportunities to meet her; fee'd every slight occasion that could but niggardly give me sight of her; not only bought many presents to give her, but have given largely to many, to know what she would have given; briefly I have pursu'd her, as love hath pursu'd me; which hath been on the wing of all occasions. But whatsoever I have merited, either in my mind or in my means, meed,' I am sure, I have receiv'd none; unless experience be a jewel. That I have purchas'd at an infinite rate; and that hath taught me to say this:

"Love like a shadow flies, when substance love pursues ; Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.'

FAL. Have you receiv'd no promise of satisfaction at her

hands?

FORD. Never.

FAL. Have you importun'd her to such a purpose ?
FORD. Never.

FAL. Of what quality was your love then?

200

FORD. Like a fair house, built upon another man's ground: so that I have lost my edifice by mistaking the place where I erected it.

FAL. To what purpose have you unfolded this to me? 208 FORD, When I have told you that, I have told you all. Some say, that though she appear honest to me, yet in other places she enlargeth her mirth so far that there is shrewd construction made of her. Now, Sir John, here is the heart of my purpose. You are a gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable discourse, of great admittance, authentic in your place and person, generally allow'd for your many warlike, courtlike, and learned preparations———

FAL. O, Sir!—

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218

ACT II
Sc. II

FORD. Believe it, for you know it!

There is money:

spend it, spend it, spend more; spend all I have; only give me so much of your time in exchange of it as to lay an amiable siege to the honesty of this Ford's wife : use your art of wooing, win her to consent to you; if any man may, you may as soon as any.

FAL. Would it apply well to the vehemency of your affection, that I should win what you would enjoy? Methinks you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.

228

FORD. O, understand my drift! She dwells so securely

on the excellency of her honour, that the folly of my wit dares not present itself: she is too bright to be look'd against. Now, could I come to her with any detection in my hand, my desires had instance and argument to commend themselves: I could drive her then from the ward1 of her purity, her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now are too strongly embattl'd against me. What say you to 't, Sir John?

FAL. Master Brook, I will first make bold with your money; next give me your hand; and last, as I am a gentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife. 241 FORD. O good Sir!

FAL. I say you shall.

FORD. Want no money, Sir John: you shall want none.
FAL. Want no Mistress Ford, Master Brook: you shall
want none. I shall be with her (I may tell you) by
her own appointment; even as you came in to me,
her assistant, or go-between, parted from me:
I say

I shall be with her between ten and eleven; for at that
time the jealous rascally knave, her husband, will be
forth. Come you to me at night: you shall know how
I speed.

252

FORD. I am blest in your acquaintance. Do you know
Ford, Sir?

FAL. Hang him, poor cuckoldy knave! I know him not.
Yet I wrong him to call him poor: they say the
jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money; for the
which his wife seems to me well-favour'd. I will use
1 (fencing) guard.

260

Sc. II

her as the key of the cuckoldy rogue's coffer; and ACT II there's my harvest-home. FORD. I would you knew Ford, Sir: that you might avoid him, if you saw him.

FAL. Hang him, mechanical, salt-butter rogue! I will
stare him out of his wits; I will awe him with my
cudgel; it shall hang like a meteor o'er the cuckold's
horns. Master Brook, thou shalt know, I will pre-
dominate o'er the peasant, and thou shalt lie with his
wife. Come to me soon at night. Ford's a knave,
and I will aggravate his style.1 Thou, Master Brook,
shalt know him for a knave and cuckold. Come to me
soon at night.
[exit.
FORD. What a damn'd Epicurean rascal is this! My
heart is ready to crack with impatience. Who says
this is improvident jealousy? My wife hath sent to
him, the hour is fix'd, the match is made. Would any
man have thought this? See the Hell of having a false
woman! My bed shall be abus'd, my coffers ransack'd,
my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not only receive
this villainous wrong, but stand under the adoption of
abominable terms, and by him that does me this wrong.
Terms! names ! - Amaimon sounds well; Lucifer,
well; Barbason, well: yet they are devils' additions,
the names of fiends. But Cuckold! Wittol cuckold!3
The Devil himself hath not such a name. Page is an
ass, a secure ass; he will trust his wife, he will not be
jealous. I will rather trust a Fleming with my butter,
Parson Hugh the Welshman with my cheese, an
Irishman with my aqua-vitæ bottle, or a thief to walk
my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself: then
she plots, then she ruminates, then she devises; and
what they think in their hearts they may effect, they
will break their hearts but they will effect. Heaven
be prais'd for my jealousy!-Eleven o'clock the hour.
I will prevent this, detect my wife, be reveng'd on
Falstaff, and laugh at Page. I will about it.
three hours too soon, than a minute too late.
fie! Cuckold! Cuckold! Cuckold!

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Better Fie, fie, [exit.

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CAIUS. Vat is the clock, Jack?

RUG. 'Tis past the hour, Sir, that Sir Hugh promis'd

to meet.

CAIUS. By gar, he has save his soul, dat he is no come: he has pray his Pible vell, dat he is no come. By gar, Jack Rugby, he is dead already, if he be come.

RUG. He is wise, Sir: he knew your Worship would kill him, if he came.

ΙΟ

CAIUS. By gar, de herring is no dead so as I vill kill him. Take your rapier, Jack; I vill tell you how I vill kill him.

RUG. Alas, Sir, I cannot fence.

CAIUS. Villainy, take your rapier.

RUG. Forbear; here's company.

Enter Host, SHALLOW, SLENDER, and PAGE.

HOST. 'Bless thee, bully Doctor.

SHAL. Save you, Master Doctor Caius.

PAGE. Now, good Master Doctor!

SLEN. Give you good-morrow, Sir.

3

20

CAIUS. Vat be all you, one, two, tree, four, come for? HOST. To see thee fight, to see thee foin,' to see thee traverse,2 to see thee here, to see thee there; to see thee pass thy punto, thy stock, thy reverse," thy distance, thy montánt. Is he dead, my Ethiopian? is he dead, my Francisco? ha, bully! What says my Esculapius? my Galen? my Heart of Elder?" ha! is he dead, Bully-stale ?8 is he dead?

CAIUS. By gar, he is de coward Jack-priest of de vorld: he is not shew his face.

30

HOST. Thou art a Castalion-King-Urinal! Hector of
Greece, my boy!

CAIUS. I pray you, bear witness that me have stay six
or seven, two, tree hours for him, and he is no come.

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SHAL. He is the wiser man, Master Doctor: he is a curer of souls, and you a curer of bodies; if you should fight, you go against the hair1 of your professions. Is it not true, Master Page?

PAGE. Master Shallow, you have yourself been a great fighter, though now a man of peace.

40

SHAL. Bodykins, Master Page, though I now be old, and of the Peace, if I see a sword out, my finger itches to make one. Though we are justices, and doctors, and churchmen, Master Page, we have some salt of our youth in us: we are the sons of women, Master Page.

PAGE. 'Tis true, Master Shallow.

SHAL. It will be found so, Master Page. Master Doctor Caius, I am come to fetch you home. I am sworn of the Peace; you have shew'd yourself a wise physician, and Sir Hugh hath shewn himself a wise and patient churchman. You must go with me, Master Doctor. 52 HOST. Pardon, Guest-Justice- Ah, Monsieur Muck

water.

CAIUS. Muck-vater; vat is dat?

HOST. Muck-water, in our English tongue, is valour,
bully.

CAIUS. By gar, then I have as much muck-vater as de
Englishman. Scurvy Jack-dog priest; by gar, me vill

cut his ears.

HOST. He will clapper-claw2 thee tightly, bully.

CAIUS. Clapper-de-claw! vat is dat?

HOST. That is, he will make thee amends.

60

CAIUS. By gar, me do look he shall clapper-de-claw me;

for, by gar, me vill have it.

HOST. And I will provoke him to 't, or let him wag.
CAIUS. Me tank you for dat.

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HOST. And moreover, bully- But first, Master Guest, and Master Page, and eke Cavaliero Slender, go you through the town to Frogmore.

PAGE. Sir Hugh is there, is he?

[aside to them.

71

HOST. He is there: see what humour he is in; and I will bring the Doctor about by the fields. Will it do well? SHAL. We will do it.

ACT II

Sc. III

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