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ACT IV
Sc. IV

That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot;
And he my husband best of all affects.
The Doctor is well money'd, and his friends
Potent at Court; he, none but he, shall have her,
Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.

[exit.

SCENE V. A Room in the Garter.

Enter Host and SIMPLE.

HOST. What would'st thou have, boor? what, thick-skin?
Speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
SIM. Marry, Sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff
from Master Slender.

Go,

HOST. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his
standing-bed and truckle-bed: 'tis painted about
with the story of the Prodigal, fresh and new.
knock and call: he'll speak like an Anthropophaginian
unto thee. Knock, I say.

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SIM. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber. I'll be so bold as stay, Sir, till she come down: I come to speak with her, indeed.

HOST. Ha! a fat woman! the Knight may be robb'd: I'll call.-Bully Knight! Bully Sir John! speak from thy lungs military. Art thou there? it is thine Host, thine Ephesian,' calls.

FAL. [above.] How now, mine Host?

HOST. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let her descend; my chambers are honourable. Fie, privacy, fie!

Enter FALSTAFF.

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FAL. There was, mine Host, an old fat woman even now
with me; but she's gone.

SIM. Pray you, Sir, was 't not the Wise Woman of
Brentford ?

FAL. Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell. What would you
with her?

SIM. My master, Sir, Master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go through the streets, to know, Sir, whether

1 (slang) cup-fellow.

one Nym, Sir, that beguil'd him of a chain, had the ACT IV

chain, or no.

FAL. I spake with the old woman about it.

SIM. And what

says she, I pray, Sir?

31 Sc. V

FAL. Marry, she says, that the very same man that beguil❜d Master Slender of his chain, cozen'd him of it. SIM. I would I could have spoken with the woman herself: I had other things to have spoken with her too, from him.

FAL. What are they? Let us know.

HOST. Ay, come; quick.

SIM. I may not conceal them, Sir.

HOST. Conceal them, or thou diest.

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SIM. Why, Sir, they were nothing but about Mistress Anne Page: to know if it were my master's fortune to have her, or no.

FAL. "Tis, 'tis his fortune.

SIM. What, Sir?

FAL. To have her-or no. Go: say, the woman told

me so.

SIM. May I be so bold to say so, Sir?

FAL. Ay, Sir: like who more bold?

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SIM. I thank your Worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings.

[Exit SIMPLE.

HOST. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was there a wise woman with thee?

FAL. Ay, that there was, mine Host: one that hath taught me more wit than ever I learn'd before in my life; and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid1 for my learning.

Enter BARDOLPH.

BARD. Out, alas, Sir! HOST. Where be my varletto.

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Cozenage! mere cozenage!
horses? Speak well of them,

BARD. Run away with the cozeners: for so soon as I came beyond Eton, they threw me off, from behind one of them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs, and away like three German Devils, three Doctor Faustuses.

1 (slang) beaten.

ACT IV HOST. They are gone but to meet the Duke, villain. Do not say they be fled. Germans are honest men.

Sc. V

Enter SIR HUGH EVANS.

EVANS. Where is mine Host?

HOST. What is the matter, Sir?

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EVANS. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a
friend of mine come to town, tells me, there is three
cozen-Germans, that has cozen'd all the Hosts of
Readings, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and
money. I tell
I tell you for good-will, look you: you are
wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-stogs; and 'tis not
convenient you should be cozen'd. Fare you well.

[exit.

Enter DOCTOR CAIUS.

CAIUS. Vere is mine Host de Jarteer?

HOST. Here, Master Doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma.

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CAIUS. I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a me, dat
you make grand preparations for a Duke de Jamanie:
by my trot, dere is no Duke dat the Court is know to
come. I tell you for good will: adieu.
[exit.
HOST. Hue and cry, villain, go! Assist me, Knight; I
am undone. Fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am
undone !
[Exeunt Host and BARDOLPH.
FAL. I would all the world might be cozen'd; for I
have been cozen'd and beaten too. If it should come
to the ear of the Court, how I have been transform'd,
and how my transformation hath been wash'd and
cudgell'd, they would melt me out of my fat drop
by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me: I
warrant they would whip me with their fine wits, till
I were as crest-fallen as a dried pear. I never prosper'd
since I forswore myself at Primero.1 Well, if my wind
were but long enough to say. my prayers, I would
repent.-

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FAL. The Devil take one party, and his Dam the other,

1 a game at cards.

and so they shall be both bestow'd!

I have suffer'd more for their sakes, more than the villainous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear. QUICK. And have not they suffer'd? Yes, I warrant, speciously one of them: Mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.

109

FAL. What tell'st thou me of black and blue! I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow, and I was like to be apprehended for the Witch of Brentford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman deliver'd me, the knave Constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.

your

QUICK. Sir, let me speak with you in chamber: you shall hear how things go; and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado here is to bring you together! Sure, one of you does not serve Heaven well, that you are so cross'd. FAL. Come up into my chamber.

[exeunt.

ACT IV

Sc. V

SCENE VI. Another Room in the Garter.

Enter FENTON and Host.

HOST. Master Fenton, talk not to me: my mind is heavy,

I will give over all.

FENT. Yet hear me speak: assist me in my purpose,

And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee

A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.

HOST. I will hear you, Master Fenton; and I will, at the least, keep your counsel.

FENT. From time to time I have acquainted you

With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection
(So far forth as herself might be her chooser),
Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
Of such contents as you will wonder at;
The mirth thereof so larded with my matter
That neither, singly, can be manifested

ΙΟ

ACT IV
Sc. VI

Without the shew of both. Herein fat Falstaff
Hath a great scene: the image of the jest

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[showing the letter.
I'll shew you here at large. Hark, good mine Host:
To-night at Herne's Oak, just 'twixt twelve and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen :
The purpose why, is here: in which disguise,
While other jests are something rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to slip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eton

Immediately to marry. She hath consented. Now, Sir,
Her mother, ever strong against that match,
And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he likewise shall shuffle her away,
While other sports are tasking of their minds,
And at the Deanery, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her. To this her mother's plot
She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
Made promise to the Doctor. Now, thus it rests:
Her father means she shall be all in white,
And in that habit, when Slender sees his time

To take her by the hand, and bid her go,

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She shall go with him; her mother hath intended,
The better to denote her to the Doctor
(For they must all be mask'd and vizarded),
That quaint in green she shall be loose enrob'd,
With ribands pendant flaring 'bout her head;
And when the Doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and on that token
The maid hath given consent to go with him.
HOST. Which means she to deceive? Father or mother?
FENT. Both, my good Host, to go along with me:
And here it rests that you '11 procure the Vicar
To stay for me at church 'twixt twelve and one,
And, in the lawful name of marrying,

To give our hearts united ceremony.

HOST. Well, husband your device: I'll to the Vicar :
Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
FENT. So shall I ever more be bound to thee:
Besides, I'll make a present recompense.

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[exeunt.

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