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Mrs. Ford. We burn day-light; here read, read; perceive how I might be knighted: I fhall think the worfe of fat men as long as I have an eye to make difference of men's liking; and yet he would not fwear; prais'd women's modefty; and gave fuch orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I would have fworn his difpofition would have gone to the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere, and keep place together, than the hundredth pfalm to the tune of Green Sleeves. What tempeft, I trow, threw this whale, with fo many tun of oyl in his belly, a'fhore at Windfor? how fhall I be reveng'd on him? I think the best way were to entertain him with hope, 'till the wicked fire of luft have melted him in his own grease. Did you ever hear the like?

Mrs. Page. Letter for letter, but that the name of Page and Ford differs. To thy great comfort in this myftery of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy letter; but let thine inherit firft, for I proteft mine never fhall. I warrant he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank-fpace for different names; nay, more; and these are of the fecond edition: he will print them out of doubt, for he cares not what he puts into the prefs, when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantefs, and lye under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lafcivious turtles, ere one chafte man.

Mrs. Ford. Why, this is the very fame, the very hand, the very words: what doth he think of us?

Mrs. Page. Nay, I know not; it makes me almost ready to wrangle with mine own honefty. I'll entertain my felf like one that I am not acquainted withal; for fure, unless he knew some stain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.

Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call it you? I'll be sure to keep him above deck.

Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never to fea again. Let's be reveng'd on him; let's appoint him a meeting, give him a fhow of comfort in his fuit, and lead him on with a fine baited delay, 'till he hath pawn'd his horses to mine host of the garter,


Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will confent to act any villainy against him that may not fully the charinefs of our honesty: oh that my husband faw this letter! it would give eternal food to his jealoufie.

Mrs. Page. Why, look where he comes, and my good man too; he's as far from jealoufie as I am from giving him caufe; and that, I hope, is an unmeasurable diftance. Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman.

Mrs. Page. Let's confult together against this greafie Knight. Come hither.


Enter Ford with Pistol, Page with Nym. Ford, Well, I hope it be not fo.

Pift. Hope is a cur-tail-dog in fome affairs. Sir John affects thy wife.

Ford, Why, Sir, my wife is not young.

Pift. He wooes both high and low, both rich and poors Both young and old, one with another, Ford;

He loves thy gally-mawfry, Ford, perpend.

Ford, Love my wife?

Pift. With liver burning hot: prevent, or go thou, like Sir Acteon, with a Ring-wood at thy heels-0 odious is the name.

Ford. What name, Sir?

Fift. The horn, I fay: farewel.

Take heed, have open eye; for thieves do foot by night. Take heed ere fummer comes, or cuckoo-birds do fing. Away; Sir.corporal Nym

Believe it, Page,, he speaks fenfe.

[Exit Piftol

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Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this. Nym. And this is true: I like not the hu-~ mour of lying; he hath wrong'd me in fome humours: I fhould have born the humour'd letter to her; but I have a fword, and it fhall bite upon my neceffity. He loves your wife; there's the fhort and the long. My name is Corporal Nym; I fpeak, and I avouch; 'tis true; my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves. your wife. Adieu; I love not the humour of bread and cheese: adieu.


to Page

[Exit Nym.


Page. The humour of it, quoth 'a? here's a fellow frights humour out of its wits.

Ford. I will feek out Falstaff.

Page. I never heard fuch a drawling, affected rogue.
Ford. If I do find it--well!

Page. I will not believe fuch a Cataian, tho' the priest o'th' town commended him for a true man.

Ford. 'Twas a good fenfible fellow well.



Page. How now, Meg? [Page and Ford meeting their wives. Mrs. Page. Whither go you, George? hark Mrs. Ford. How now, fweet Frank, why art thou melancholy?

Ford. I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.

Mrs. Ford. Faith thou haft fome crotchets in thy head now. Will you go, mistress Page?

Mrs. Page. Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George? Look who comes yonder; fhe fhall be our meffenger to this paultry Knight.

Enter Miftrefs Quickly.

Mrs. Ford. Truft me, I thought on her, fhe'll fit it. Mrs. Page. You are come to fee my daughter Anne? Quic. Ay, forfooth; and, I pray, how does good miftress Anne?

Mrs. Page. Go in with us, and fee; we have an hour's talk with you. [Ex. Mrs. Page, Mrs. Ford, and Mrs. Quic. SCENE V.

Page. How now, mafter Ford?

Ford. You heard what this knave told me, did you not? Page. Yes; and you heard what the other told me? Ford. Do you think there is truth in them?

Page. Hang 'em flaves; I do not think the Knight would offer it? but these that accufe him in his intent towards our wives are a yoak of his difcarded men, very rogues now they be out of fervice.

Ford. Were they his men?

Page. Marry were they.

Ford. like it never the better for that. Does he lye at the Garter?



Page. Ay marry does he. If he fhould intend -his voyage toward my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than fharp words, let it lye on my head.

Ford. I do not mifdoubt my wife, but I would be loth to turn them together; a man may be too confident; I would have nothing lye on my head; I cannot be thus fatisfy'd.

Page. Look where my ranting host of the garter comes; there is either liquor in his pate, or mony in his purfe, when he looks fo merrily. How now, mine host?

SCENE VI. Enter Hoft and Shallow.

Hoft. How now, bully Rock? thou'rt a gentleman; cavaliero-juftice, I say.

Shal. I follow, mine hoft, I follow. Good even, and twenty, good mafter Page, Mafter Page, will you go with us? we have fport in hand.

Hoft. Tell him, cavaliero-juftice; tell him, bully Rock. Shal. Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir Hugh the Welch Prieft, and Caius the French Doctor.

Ford. Good mine hoft o'th' garter, a word with you.

Hoft. What fay'ft thou, bully Rock?

Shal. Will you go with us to behold it? my merry hoft hath had the measuring of their weapons, and, I think, hath appointed them contrary places; for, believe me, Į hear the parfon is no jefter. Hark, I will tell you what our fport fhall be.

Hoft. Haft thou no fuit against my Knight, my guestcavalier?

Ford. None, I proteft; but I'll give you a pottle of burnt fack to give me recourfe to him, and tell him my name is Brook; only for a jeft.

Hoft. My hand, bully; thon fhalt have egrefs and regrefs; faid I well!? and thy name fhall be Brook. It is a merry Knight. Will you go, myn-heers?.

Shal. Have with you, mine hoft.

Page. I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in his rapier.

Shal. Tut, Sir; I could have told you more; in thefe times you stand on diftance, your paffes, ftoccado's, and I


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know not what: 'tis the heart, mafter Page; 'tis here,
'tis here. I have seen the time, with my long sword, I
would have made you four tall fellows fkip like rats.
Hoft. Here, boys, here, here: fhall we wag?

Page. Have with you; I had rather have them fcold
than fight.
[Exeunt Hoft, Shallow and Page.
Ford. Tho' Page be a fecure fool, and ftand fo firmly
on his wife's fealty, yet I cannot put off my opinion fo
eafily. She was in his company at Page's houfe, and what
made them there I know not. Well, I will look further
into't; and I have a difguife to found Falstaff: if I find
her honeft, I lofe not my labour; if fhe be otherwife, 'tis
labour well beftow'd.

SCENE VII. The Garter-Inn.
Enter Falftaff and Piftol.

Fal. I will not lend theé a penny.

Pift. Why then the world's mine oyfter, which I with fword will open.

Fal. Not a penny. I have been content, Sir, you fhould lay my countenance to pawn; I have grated upon my good friends for three reprieves for you, and your couch-fellow Nym; or else you had look'd through the grate, like a geminy of baboons. I am damn'd in hell for fwearing to gentlemen, my friends, you were good foldiers, and tall fellows. And when miftrefs Bridget loft the handle of her fan, I took't upon mine honour thou hadft it not.

Pift. Didft thou not fhare? hadft thou not fifteen pence? Fal. Reafon, you' rogue, reafon: think'ft thou I'll endanger my foul gratis? At a word, hang no more about me, I am no gibbet for you: go, a fhort knife, and a thong, to your manor of Pickt-hatch; go, you'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue; you ftand upon your ho nour? why, thou unconfinable bafenefs, it is as much as I can do to keep the term of my honour precife. I my felf fometimes, leaving the fear of heaven on the left hand, and hiding mine honour in my neceffity, am fain to fhuffle, to hedge, and to lurch; and yet you rogue will enfconfe your rags, your cat-a-mountain looks, your red-lettice A noted harbour for thieves and pick pockets.


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