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Nan Page, (my daughter) and my little fon,
Mrs. Ford. And 'till he tell the truth,
Mrs. Page. The truth being known,
Ford. The children must
Eva. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will be like a jack-anapes also, to burn the Knight with my taper.
Ford. This will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.
Mrs.Page. My Nan shall be the Queen of all the Fairies; Finely attired in a robe of white.
Page. That filk will I go buy, and in that tire (24) Shall Mr. Slender steal my Nan away,
[-Afide. And marry her at Eaton. Go, send to Falstaf Itraight.
(24) That filk will I go buy, and in that time Sball Mr. Slender feał, &c.] What! muft Slender steal Mrs. Ana, while her father goes to buy the filk she was to be dress'd in This was no part of the scheme. Her gaib was to be the signal for Slender to know her by. The alleration of a fingle letter gives us the Poet's seading. Tire is as common with our Poct, and other Writers of his age, as atrire; to signify, dress. And my emendation is clearly juftified, by what Fenton afierwards tells the Hoft.
Her father means hall be all in white,
Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in the name of Brook ; he'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he'll come.
Mrs. Page. Fear not you that ; go get us properties and tricking for our Fairies.
Eva. Let us about it, it is admirable pleasures, and ferry honeft knaveries. [Exe. Page, Ford and Evans.
Mrs. Page. Go, Mrs. Ford,
[Exit Mrs. Ford.
Enter Hoft and Simple.
thick-skin ; speak, breathe, discuss; brief, fhort, quick, fnap.
Simp. Marry, Sir, I come to speak with Sir Jobn Falstaff, from Mr. Slender.
Hojl. There's his chamber, his house, his caftle, his ftanding-bed and truckle-bed ; 'tis painted about with the story of the prodigal, fresh and new; go, knuck and call; he'll fpeak like an anthropophaginian unto thee: krock, I tay.
Sinp. There's an old woman, a fat woman gone up into his chamber ; I'll be so bold as ftay, Sir, 'till The come down; I come to speak with her, indeed.
(25) Send quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.] The whole set of printed copies downwards lave sunk our messenger here into an adverb. Dame Quickly is the person intended to be sent to Sir John; and accordingly when we next find her with him, she tells him, she comes from ibe two parties; viz. Mrs, Ford and Mrs. Page,
Hoft. Ha! a fat woman? the Knight may be robbd: I'll call. Bully-Knight! bully-Sir John! speak from thy lungs military : art thou there it is thine Hoft, thine Ephesian calls.
. tarries the coming down of thy fat woman: let her descend, bully, let her defcend'; my chambers are honourable. Fy, privacy? fy.
Enter Falstaff. Fal. There was, mine Hoft, an old fat woman even now with me, but she's
gone. Simp. Pray you, Sir, was't not the wise woman of Brainford?
Fal. Ay, marry was it, mussel-shell, what would you with her?
Simp. My master, Sir, my master Slender sent to her, seeing her go thro' the street, to know, Sir, whether one Nym, Sir, that beguild him of a chain, had the chain, or no.
Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.
Fal. Marry, the fays, that the very fame man, that beguild master Slender of his chain, cozen'd him of it.
Simp. 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,
Simp. Why, Sir, they were nothing but about mistress Ann Page; to know, if it were my master's fortune to have her or no.
Fal. 'T'is, 'tis bis fortune.
Fal. To have her, or no: go; say, the woman told me fo.
Simp. May I be so bold to say ro, Sir :
Simp. I thank your worthip: I laall make my tafter glad with these tidings.
(Exit Simple. Hoft. Thou art clarkly; thou art clarkly, Sir Jökn: was there a wife woman with thee?
Fal. Ay, that there was mine Heft; 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 paid for my learning
Hoft. Where be my horses? Ipeak well of them, varletto.
Bard. Run away with the coženers; for fo foon as I came beyond Eaton, they threw me off from behind one of them in a flough of inire, and set spurs, and away i like three German devils, three Doctor fauftus's.
tiut. They are gone but to meet the Duke, villain ; do not iay they be fled; Gernians are honeft men.
tva. Have a care of your entertainments; there is a friend o’mine come to town, tells me, there is three cozen-jermans that has cozen'd all the Hofts of Readings, of Maiien-kend, of Cileticok, of horses and money. I tell you for good will, look you ; you are wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-socks, and 'tis not convenient you should be cozend ; fare you well. [Exit.
Heft. Here, matter Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma.
Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat ; but it is tell-a-me, dat you make a grand preparation for a Duke de Famany; by my trot, der is no Duke, dat the court is know, to come: I tell you for good will; adieu. [Exit. VOL. I.
Do arrant, felves with words, without any regard to the ring. What!
Hoft. Hue and cry, villain, go! aslift me, Knight, I amn: undone ; y; run, hue and cry!' Villain, I am undone!
(Exit. Fat: [ would, all the world might he cozen d, for I have been cczenied and beaten too. If it thould come to the ear of the court, how I have been t'ansformed, and howl myo transformation hath been wath'd and cudgeld, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fithermens boots with me. I they would whip me with their fme wits, 'till I were as crest-faln as a dryd pear. never profper'd fince I forswore myself at Primero. Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.
Enter M1iArefs Quickly. 1979 Now, whence come 'you?
L 0115 | 2f boa Puic. From the two parties, forfooth to biura in Fol. The devił take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestowdi? I have luf: fered more for their fakes, more than the villainous inconftancy of man's difpofition is able to bear.
Quic. And have not ihey suffer’d? yes, I speciously one of them; mifrels Fod, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot fee a white spot about ler. Fal. What tell'At thou me of black
and bloc? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brainford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, counterfeiting the (26) action of a wood woman, (26) AElion of an old woman, ] This
$ reading is no great complito the fagacity of our former Editors, who
themwas it any dexterity of wit in Sir John Falfaff, to counterfeit the action of an old woman in order to escape being apprehended for a quiteb ? Surely, one would imagine, this was the readieft means to Bring him into such a Icrape:
for none but old women have ever been fufpeted of being witches. The text must certainly be restor’d, as I have corrected it, a zised woman, ved a crazy, frantick woman; one too wild, and li ly, and unmeaning, to have either the malice, or michievous fubelety of a witch in her, I have already explain'd, and prov'd the ufe of this term, in one of my notes on the Two Gentlequats of Verona,