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Pist. I do relent: what would thou more of man?

Enter ROBIN.

Rob. Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.
Fal. Let her approach.


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? God bless them, and make them his servants!

Fal. Well, Mistress Ford;-what of her?

Quick. Why, sir, she's a good creature.-Lord, Lord!

26 relent] FfQ3. recant (Q1Q3).

would thou] wouldst thou Rowe (ed. 2). would you Anon. conj.

Enter Robin.] Rowe.

29 SCENE VIII. Pope.

Enter...] Rowe.

33 I'll That I am I'll Wheatley, from


42 on: Mistress] one Mistress Grant White (Douce conj.).

47 God] (Q1Q2) Clark and Glover.

heaven FfQ3.

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 I warrant you, coach after coach, letter after letter, gift after gift; smelling so sweetly, all musk, and so rushling, 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 sheMercury.

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 wot 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.

62 in such wine] such wine Hanmer.

65 this] of a Collier MS.

77 eleven.] eleven? Steevens (1785).


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 you 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, 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

86 hath] has F.

103 loves] love Rowe.

109 she is one] truly she is one Rowe.

the boy never need to understand any thing; 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. [Exeunt Mistress Quickly and Robin.]

news distracts me!

Pist. This punk is one of Cupid's carriers:

more of thy old



Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights: Give fire: she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all! [Exit. Fal. Say'st thou so, old Jack? go thy ways; I'll make body than I have done. than I have done. Will they yet 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.

look after thee?



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.

[blocks in formation]


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!

[blocks in formation]


Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised.


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

[blocks in formation]


Good Master Brook, I desire more acquaintance

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 emboldened 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 you will help to bear it, Sir John, take all, or half, for easing 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

137 Re-enter...] Theobald. Enter Ford

disguis'd. Rowe.

138 Bless] F4. 'Blesse F1Q3F2F3. God save (Q1Q2).

143 [Exit...] Theobald.
144 spent] seen Gould conj.

155 all, or half] half, or all Staunton

(Collier MS.).

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