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Slen. Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and speaks small, like a woman.
Era. It is that fery person for all the orld; as just as you will desire, and seven hundred pounds of monies, and gold, and silver, is her grandsire, upon his death'sbed, (Got deliver to a joyful resurrections !) give, when she is able to overtake seventeen years old. It were a goot motion, if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage between master Abraham, and mistress Anne Page.
Slen. Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound"?
Eva. Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny. Slen. I know the young gentlewoman; she has good
Eva. Seven hundred pounds, and possibilities, is good gifts.
Shal. Well, let us see honest master Page. Is Falstaff there?
Eva. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar, as I do despise one that is false; or, as I despise one that is not true. The knight, sir John, is there; and, I beseech you, be ruled by your well-willers. I will peat the door for master Page. [Knocks] What, hoa! Got pless your house here!
Enter PAGE. Page. Who's there?
Eva. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and justice Shallow; and here young master Slender, that, peradventures, shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.
5 Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound ?] There seems no adequate reason for depriving Slender of this and the next speech with his name prefixed : they are given to him in all the folios, and he may very naturally make the inquiry, and follow it up by observing that he knows her, &c. All modern editors vary from the authentic copies, some with insufficient reasons assigned, and some without any.
Page. I am glad to see your worships well. I thank you for my venison, master Shallow.
Shal. Master Page, I am glad to see you: much good do it your good heart. I wished your venison better; it was ill kill'd.—How doth good mistress Page?—and I thank you always with my heart, la; with my heart.
Page. Sir, I thank you.
Slen. How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say, he was outrun on Cotsall 6.
Page. It could not be judg’d, sir.
Shal. That he will not ;—'tis your fault, 'tis your fault.—'Tis a good dog.
Page. A cur, sir.
Shal. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog ; can there be more said ? he is good, and fair. Is sir John Falstaff here?
Page. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a good office between you.
Era. It is spoke as a Christians ought to speak.
Shal. If it be confess'd, it is not redress'd: is not that so, master Page? He hath wrong'd me; indeed, he hath ;—at a word, he hath ;-believe me :-Robert Shallow, Esquire, saith, he is wrong’d.
Page. Here comes sir John.
6 — he was out-run on COTSALL.] i. e. on Cotswold downs, in Gloucestershire, celebrated for coursing.
Fal. I now answe shall kn
Enter Sir John FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, Nym, and
PISTOL. Fal. Now, master Shallow; you'll complain of me to the king??
Shal. Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and broke open my lodge.
Fal. But not kiss d your keeper's daughter?
Fal. I will answer it straight :-I have done all this. —That is now answer'd.
Shal. The council shall know this.
Fal. 'Twere better for you, if it were known in counsel 8: you'll be laughed at.
Eva. Pauca verba, sir John; good worts.
Fal. Good worts? good cabbage'.-Slender, I broke your head; what matter have you against me?
Slen. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your coney-catching rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. They carried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and afterwards picked my pocket'.
7- you'll complain of me to the king? “To the Council” in the quartos ; and hence we may infer that the passage was so far altered after James I. came to the throne.
8 "Twere better for you, if it were known in COUNSEL:] “ Counsel ” seems here equivalent to secresy, as in Heywood's “ Edward IV.” part i. edit. Field, p. 45.—“ Nay, that's counsel, and two may keep it, if one be away.” Steevens suggests that Falstaff means to play upon the words “ Council” and “counsel,” and he is probably right : in the quartos of 1602 and 1619 this difference of spelling is observed, but in the folio, 1623, both words are printed councell, though in the first instance with a capital letter, and in the second without. Of course, if we do not understand Falstaff as Steevens interprets him, we must suppose him to speak ironically. Mr. Halliwell is the owner of a MS. of this play, which he states is in a hand-writing of the time of the Commonwealth, where the passage runs, “it were better not known in council,” which, of course, puts an end to the joke, if any were designed.
Good worts ? good cabbage.] Worts (says Steevens) was the ancient name of all the cabbage kind.
1 They carried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and afterwards picked my pocket.] These words are from the quarto, 1602, and are not found in any folio impression. Unless we suppose Falstaff to have obtained information of the charge elsewhere, (which however is very possible) when he asks “ Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse ?” they are necessary to the sense.
Bard. You Banbury cheese?!
Nym. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca ; slice! that's my humour.
Slen. Where's Simple, my man ?- can you tell, cousin ?
Era. Peace! I pray you. Now let us understand : there is three umpires in this matter, as I understand ; that is—master Page, fidelicet, master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet, myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.
Page. We three, to hear it, and end it between them.
Era. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-book; and we will afterwards 'ork upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can.
Fal. Pistol !
Era. The tevil and his tam ! what phrase is this? “ He hears with ear?” Why, it is affectations.
Fal. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse?
Slen. Ay, by these gloves', did he, (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else) of seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward shovel-boards', that cost me two shilling and two pence a-piece of Yed Miller, by these gloves.
Fal. Is this true, Pistol ?
2 You BANBURY CHEESE !] Bardolph terms him so on account of his thinness, for which “ Banbury cheese” was proverbial. Pistol calls Slender Mephostophilus, or Mephostophilis, a character in Marlowe's play of “ Faustus," which was perhaps represented by a very slender actor: “Faustus” continued popular many years after it was brought out, about 1590.
3 Ay, by these GLOVES,] In the quarto, 1602, Slender's asseveration is, “ By this handkercher.” The 4to. 1619, is a mere reprint of it.
4 - two Edward SHOVEL-BOARDS,] Shovel-board was a game, not yet discontinued, as it is not unfrequently played by the lower orders in the coal trade. The broad shillings of Edward VI. were well adapted to it, and hence they were sometimes, as here, called “shovel-boards” merely; in the quarto, 1602, it stands, “ Two fair shovel-board shillings.”
Eva. No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.
Slen. By these gloves, then 'twas he.
Nym. Be avised, sir, and pass good humours. I will say, “marry trap," with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on me; that is the very note of it.
Slen. By this hat, then he in the red face had it; for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.
Fal. What say you, Scarlet and John??
Bard. Why, sir, for my part, I say, the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences.
Eva. It is his five senses : fie, what the ignorance is !
Bard. And being fapS, sir, was, as they say, cashier'd; and so conclusions pass’d the carieres.
Slen. Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but ’tis no matter. I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again, but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick: if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.
Eva. So Got 'udge me, that is a virtuous mind.
Fal. You hear all these matters denied, gentlemen; you hear it.
5 — this LATTIN BILBO :] “ Bilbo” was used for the blade of a sword, or a sword, (in consequence of the manufacture of blades at Bilboa) and “lattin" is a mixed metal of copper and calamine : Steevens tells us that it is “a common word for tin in the North." According to Holloway's “General Provincial Glossary," 8vo., 1838, it is used in the same way in Somersetshire and Norfolk.
6 — in thy LABRAS here,] i. e, in thy lips : the quarto, 1602, has it “ in thy
7 Scarlet and John ?] Alluding to Robin Hood's well-known men, and to the red face of Bardolph.
& And being FAP,] “Fap” is drunk, or fuddled. It may have been derived from the Latin, rappa, although Todd states that it was merely a cant word of the time.“ To pass the carieres” was a phrase in horsemanship, but its application by Bardolph seems very doubtful.