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there is either liquor in his pate, or money in his purse, when he looks so merrily.-How now, mine host?

Enter HOST and SHALLOW.

Host. How now, bully-rook? thou'rt a gentleman: cavalerojustice, 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 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? 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.

Shal. Tut, Sir, I could have told you more: In these times, you stand on distance, your passes, stoccadoes, 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.

Host. Here, boys, here, here! shall we wag?

Page. Have with you:-I had rather hear them scold than fight. [Exeunt HOST, SHALLOW, and PAGE. 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 madet 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 well bestowed.

SCENE II-A Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL.

Fal. I will not lend thee a penny.

Pist. Why, then, the world's mine oyster,

[blocks in formation]

[Exit.

Which I with sword will open.

I will retort the sum in equipage.*

Fal. Not a penny. I have been content, Sir, you should lay my countenance to pawn: I have grated upon my good friends for three reprieves for you and your coach-fellow, Nym; or else you had looked through the grate like a geminy of baboons. I am damned in hell, for swearing to gentlemen my friends, you were good soldiers and tall fellows: and when mistress Bridget lost the handle of her fan, I took't, upon mine honour, thou hadst it not.

Pist. Didst thou not share? hadst thou not fifteen pence?

Fal. Reason, you rogue, reason: Think'st thou I'll endanger my soul gratis? At a word, hang no more about me; I am no gibbet for you-go-A short knife and a thong,-to your manor of Pickt-hatch,§ go.-You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue!-you stand upon your honour!-Why, thou unconfinable baseness, it is as much as I can do to keep the terms of my honour precise. I, I, I myself, sometimes, leaving the fear of heaven on the left hand, and hiding mine honour in my necessity, am fain to shuffle, to hedge, and to lurch; and yet you, rogue, will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain looks, your red-lattice phrases, and your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your honour! You will not do it,-you? Pist. I do relent: What wouldst thou more of man?

Enter ROBIN.

Rob. Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.

Fal. Let her approach.

Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.

Quick. Give your worship good-morrow.

Fal. Good-morrow, good wife.

Quick. Not so, an't please your worship.

Fal. Good maid, then.

Quick. I'll be sworn; as my mother was, the first hour I was born.

Fal. I do believe the swearer: What with me?

Quick. Shall I vouchsafe your worship a word or two?

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 ways:-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?

*Pay you again in stolen goods. To cut purses in a crowd.

Protect.

VOL. I.

C

+ Draws along with you.

$ Pickt-hatch was in Clerkenwell. Ale-house.

Quick. Why, Sir, she is a good creature. Lord, lord! your worship's a wanton: Well, heaven forgive you and all of us, I pray! Fal. 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 rusling, I warrant you, in silk and gold; and in such alligant 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 cup 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.

Fal. But what says she to me? be brief, my good she-Mercury. Quick. Marry, she hath received your letter; for the which she thanks you a thousand times: and she gives you to notify, that her husband will be absence from his house between ten and eleven.

Fal. Ten and eleven ?

Quick. Ay, forsooth; and then you may come and see the picture, she says, that you wott of;-master Ford, her husband, will be from home. Alas! the sweet woman leads an ill life with him; he's a very jealousy man; she leads a very frampold life with him, good heart.

Fal. Ten and eleven: Woman, commend me to her; I will not fail her.

Quick. Why, you say well: But I have another messenger to your worship: Mistress Page hath her hearty commendations to you too; and, let me tell you in your ear, she's as fartuous a civil modest wife, and one (I tell you) that will not miss your morning nor evening prayer, as any is in Windsor, whoe'er be the other: and she bade me tell your worship, that her husband is seldom from home; but, she hopes, there will come a time. I never knew a woman so dote upon a man; surely, I think you have charms, la; yes, in truth.

Fal. Not I, I assure thee; setting the attraction of my good parts aside, I have no other charms.

Quick. Blessing on your heart for't!

Fal. But, I pray thee, tell me this: has Ford's wife and Page's wife acquainted each other how they love me?

Quick. That were a jest, indeed!-they have not so little grace, I hope:-that were a trick, indeed! But mistress Page would desire you to send her your little page of all loves;§ her husband has a marvellous infection to the little page: and, truly

*A mistake of Mrs. Quickly's for quandaries.

Fretful, peevish.

By all means.

+ Know.

master Page is an honest man: Never a wife in Windsor leads a better life than she does; do what she will, say what she will, take all, pay all, go to bed when she list, rise when she list, all is as she will; and truly, she deserves it; for, if there be a kind woman in Windsor, she is one. You must send her your page;no remedy.

Fal. Why, I will.

Quick. Nay, but do so then: and, look you, he may come and go between you both; and, in any case, have a nay-word,* that you may know one another's mind, and the boy never need to understand anything; for 'tis not good that children should know any wickedness; old folks, you know, have discretion, as they say, and know the world.

Fal. Fare thee well: commend me to them both: there's my purse; I am yet thy debtor.-Boy, go along with this woman.This news distracts me! [Exeunt QUICKLY and ROBIN. Pist. This punk is one of Cupid's carriers:-Clap on more sails; pursue, up with your fights; Give fire; she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all! [Exit PISTOL.

Fal. Say'st thou so, old Jack? go thy ways; I'll make more of thy old body than I have done. Will they yet look after thee? Wilt thou, after the expense of so much money, be now a gainer? Good body, I thank thee: Let them say, 'tis grossly done; so it be fairly done, no matter.

Enter BARDOLPH.

Bard. Sir John, there's one master Brook below would fain speak with you, and be acquainted with you; and hath sent your worship a morning's draught of sack.

Fal. Brook, is his name?

Bard. Ay, Sir.

Fal. Call him in. [Exit BARDOLPH. Such Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such liquor. "Ah! ha! mistress Ford and mistress Page, have I encompassed you? go to; via !+ Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised.

Ford. Bless you, Sir.

Fal. And you, Sir; Would you speak with me?

Ford. I make bold, to press with so little preparation upon

you.

Fal. You're welcome; What's your will? Give us leave, [Exit BARDOLPH.

drawer.

Ford. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name is Brook.

Fal. Good master Brook, I desire more acquaintance of you. Ford. Good Sir John, I sue for yours: not to charge you; for I must let you understand, I think myself in better plight for a lender than you are: the which hath something embolden'd me to this unseasoned intrusion; for they say, if money go before, all ways do lie open.

Fal. Money is a good soldier, Sir, and will on.

Ford. Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me; if

*A watch-word.

† A cant phrase of exultation.

you will help me to bear it, Sir John, take all, or half, for casing me of the carriage.

Fal. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter. Ford. I will tell you, Sir, if you will give me the hearing.

Fal. Speak, good master Brook; I shall be glad to be your servant.

Ford. Sir, I hear you are a scholar,-I will be brief with you; -and you have been a man long known to me, though I had never so good means, as desire, to make myself acquainted with you. I shall discover a thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine own imperfection: but, good Sir John, as you have one eye upon my follies, as you hear them unfolded, turn another into the register of your own; that I may pass with a reproof the easier, sith* you yourself know, how easy it is to be such an offender.

Fal. Very well, Sir; proceed.

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

Fal. Well, Sir.

Ford, I have long loved her, and, I protest to you, bestowed much on her; followed her with a doting observance; engrossed 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 pursued her, as love hath pursued me; which hath been, on the wing of all occasions. But whatsoever I have merited, either in my mind, or in my means, meed,t I am sure, I have received none; unless experience be a jewel: that I have purchased 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 received no promise of satisfaction at her hands?

Ford. Never.

Fal. Have you importuned her to such a purpose?

Ford. Never.

Fal. Of what quality was your love, then?

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?

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 allowed§ for your many warlike, court-like, and learned preparations.

* Since.

In the greatest companies.

† Reward.
§ Approved.

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