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ACT IV

SCENE I. (A street.) Enter MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS QUICKLY,

and WILLIAM. Mrs. Page. Is he at Master Ford's already, think'st thou ?

Quick. Sure he is by this, or will be presently. But, truly, he is very courageous mad about his throwing into the water. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly.

Mrs. Page. I'll be with her by and by; I 'll but bring my young man here to school.

[Enter Sir Hugh Evans.] Look, where his master comes; 't is a playingday, I see. How now, Sir Hugh! no school to day?

Evans. No; Master Slender is let the boys leave to play.

Quick. Blessing of his heart !

Mrs. Page. Sir Hugh, my husband says my $un profits nothing in the world at his book. [1s I pray you, ask him some questions in his accidence.

Evans. Come hither, William ; hold up your bead ; come.

Mrs. Page. Come on, sirrah, hold up, your head. Answer your master, be not afraid.

Erans. William, how many numbers is in nouns ?

Will. Two. Quick. Truly, I thought there had been one number more, because they say, “ 'Od 's nouns."

Erans. Peace your tattlings! What is “ fair," William ?

Will. Pulcher. Quick. Polecats! There are fairer things than polecats, sure.

Erans. You are a very simplicity 'oman. I pray, you, peace. What is lapis, William ?

Will. A stone.
Erans. And what is “ a stone,” William ?
Will. A peeble.

Evans. No, it is lapis. I pray you, remember in your prain.

Will. Lapis. Evans. That is a good William. What is he, William, that does lend articles ?

Will. 'Articles are borrowed of the pronoun, and be thus declined, Singulariter, nominativo, hic, hæc, hoc.

Evans. Nominativo, hig, hag, hog; pray you, mark; genitivo, hujus. Well, what is your accurative case ?

Will. Accusativo, hinc. Evans. I pray you, haşe your remembrance, child. Accusativo, hing, hang, hog.

Quick. Hang-hog" is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.

Evans. Leave your prabbles, 'oman. What is the focative case, William ?

Will. 0, – vocativo, O.
Evans. Remember, William ;

focative is caret.

Quick. And that's a good root.
Evans. 'Oman, forbear.
Mrs. Page. Peace!

Evans. What is your genitive case plural, William ?

Will. Genitive case ?
Evans. Ay.
Will, Genitive, horum, harum, horum.

Quick. Vengeance of Jenny's case! Fie on her ! Never name her, child, if she be a whore.

Evans. For shame, 'oman.

Quick. You do ill to teach the child such words. He teaches him to hick and to hack, which they'll do fast enough of themselves, and to call “horum," – fie upon you !

Evans. 'Oman, art thou lunatics? Hast thou no understandings for thy cases and the numbers of the genders? Thou art as foolish Christian creatures as I would desires. Mrs. Page. Prithee, hold thy peace.

Evans. Show me now, William, some declensions of your pronouns.

Will. Forsooth, I have forgot.

Evans. It is qui, quæ, quod : if you forget your quies, your quæs, and your quods, you (80 must be preeches. Go your ways, and play; go.

Mrs. Page. He is a better scholar than I thought he was.

Evans. He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, Mistress Page.

Mrs. Page. Adieu, good Sir Hugh. [Exit Sir Hugh.] Get you home, boy. Come, we stay too long.

(Exeunt. SCENE II. (A room in Ford's house.] Enter FALSTAFF and MISTRESS FORD. Fal. Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my sufferance. I ree you are obsequious in your love, and I profess requital to a hair's breadth ; not only, Mistress Ford, in the simple office of love, but in all the accoutrement, [o complement, and ceremony of it. But are you sure of your husband now?

Mrs. Ford. He's a-birding, sweet Sir John. Mrs. Page. (Within.] What, ho, gossip Ford! What, ho! Mrs. Ford. Step into the chamber, Sir John.

(Exit Falstaff.] [Enter MISTRESS Page.] Mrs. Page. How now, sweetheart! who's at home besides yourself ?

Mrs. Ford. Why, none but mine own people. Mrs. Page. Indeed !

Mrs. Ford. No, certainly. [Aside to her.] Speak louder.

Mrs. Page. Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here. Mrs. Ford. Why?

Mrs. Page. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lines again. He so takes on yonder with my husband; so rails against all married mankind; so curses all Eve's daughters, of what complexion soever; and so buffets himself on the forehead, crying, “Peer out, peer (26

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out!" that any madness I ever yet beheld seemed but tameness, civility, and patience, to this his distemper he is in now. I am glad the fat knight is not here.

Mrs. Ford. Why, does he talk of him?

Mrs. Page. Of none but him; and swears he was carried out, the last time he search'd for him, in a basket ; protests to my husband he is now here, and hath drawn him and the rest of their company from their sport, to make another experiment of his suspicion. But I [85 am glad the knight is not here. Now he shall see his own foolery.

Mrs. Ford. How near is he, Mistress Page ?

Mrs. Page. Hard by; at street end. He will be here anon.

Mrs. Ford. I am undone! The knight is here.

Mrs. Page. Why then you are utterly sham'd, and he's but a dead man. What a woman are you ! - Away with him, away with him! Better shame than murder.

Mrs. Ford. Which way should he go? How should I bestow him ? Shall I put him into the basket again?

[Re-enter FALSTAFF.] Fal. No, I'll come no more i' the basket. May I not go out ere he come ?

Mrs. Page. Alas, three of Master Ford's brothers watch the door with pistols, that none shall issue out; otherwise you might slip away ere he came. But what make you here?

Fal. What shall I do? I 'll creep up into the chimney.

Mrs. Ford. There they always use to discharge their birding-pieces. Creep into the kiln-hole.

Fal. Where is it?

Mrs. Ford. He will seek there, on my word. Neither press, coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an abstract for the remembrance of such places, and goes to them by his note. There is no hiding you in the house.

Fal. I'll go out then.

(Mrs. Page.] If you go out in your own semblance, you die, Sir John. Unless you go out disguisd

Mrs. Ford. How might we disguise him ? 70

Mrs. Page. Alas the day, I know not! There is no woman's gown big enough for him ; otherwise he might put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchief, and so escape,

Fal. Good hearts, devise something. Any extremity rather than a mischief.

Mrs. Ford. My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brainford, has a gown above.

Mrs. Page. On my word, it will serve him. She's as big as he is; and there's her thrumm'd hat and her nuffler too. Run up, [80 Sir John.

Mrs. Ford. Go, go, sweet Sir John. Mistress Page and I will look some linen for your head.

Mrs. Page. Quick, quick! we 'll come dress you straight. Put on the gown the while.

(Erit Falstaff.] Mrs. Ford. I would my husband would meet

him in this shape. He cannot abide the old woman of Brainford. He swears she's a witch; forbade her my house, and hath threat'ned to beat her.

Mrs. Page. Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel, and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards! Mrs. Ford. But is my husband coming ?

Mrs. Page. Ay, in good sadness, is he; and talks of the basket too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.

Mrs. Ford. We'll try that; for I 'll appoint my men to carry the basket again, to meet him at the door with it, as they did last time.

Mrs. Page. Nay, but he 'll be here presently. Let's go dress him like the witch of Brainford.

Mrs. Ford. I'll first direct my men what they shall do with the basket. Go up;

I'll bring linen for him straight.

(Exit.) Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet! We cannot misuse him enough. We 'U leave a proof, by that which we will do, Wives may be merry, and yet honest too. We do not act that often jest and laugh; 'Tis old, but true, Still swine eats all the draff.

(Erit.] (Re-enter MISTRESS FORD with two SERVANTS.]

Mrs. Ford. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders. Your master is hard at [110 door. If he bid you set it down, obey him, Quickly, dispatch

[Exit.) 1. Serv. Come, come, take it up:

2. Serv. Pray heaven it be not full of knight again.

1. Serv. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead. Enter FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW (CAIUS), and SIR

Hugh EVANS. Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again? Set down the basket, villain ! Somebody call (138 my wife. Youth in a basket! O you panderly rascals ! there 's a knot, a ging, a pack, a conspiracy against me. Now shall the devil be sham'd. What, wife, I say ! Come, come forth! Behold what honest clothes you send forth to bleaching!

Page. Why, this passes, Master Ford. You are not to go loose any longer; you must be pinion'd.

Evans. Why, this is lunatics! This is mad as a mad dog!

Shal. Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well, indeed. Ford. So say I too, sir.

(Re-enter MISTRESS FORD.] Come hither, Mistress Ford ; Mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the vir- (155 tuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband ! I suspect without cause, mistress, do I?

Mrs. Ford. Heaven be my witness you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty.

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Ford. Well said, brazen-face ! hold it out. Evans. By yea and no, I think the 'oman is Come forth, sirrah!

a witch indeed. I like not when a 'oman has a [Pulling clothes out of the basket.] great peard. I spy a great peard under his Page. This passes !

muffler. Mrs. Ford. Are you not asham'd? Let the Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen ? I beclothes alone.

seech you, follow; see but the issue of my Ford. I shall find you anon.

jealousy. If I cry out thus upon no trail, never Evans. Tis unreasonable! Will you take trust me when I open again. up your wife's clothes? Come away.

Page. Let's obey his humour a little furFord. Empty the basket, I say !

ther. Come, gentlemen. Mrs. Ford. Why, man, why?

[Exeunt (Ford, Page, Shal., Caius, Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there

and Evans). was one conveyd out of my house yesterday in Mrs. Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitithis basket. Why may not he be there again? fully. In my house I am sure he is. My intelligence Mrs. Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did is true; my jealousy is reasonable. Pluck me not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought. out all the linen.

Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd (216 Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall and hung o'er the altar. It hath done meritodie a flea's death,

rious service. Page. Here's no man.

Mrs. Ford. What think you? May we, Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, Master with the warrant of womanhood and the witFord ; this wrongs you.

ness of a good conscience, pursue him with any Evans. Master Ford, you must pray, and not further revenge? follow the imaginations of your own heart. Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is, This is jealousies.

sure, scar'd out of him. If the devil have him Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for. not in fee-simple, with fine and recovery, he Page. No, nor nowhere else but in your brain. will never, I think, in the way of waste, at

Ford. Help to search my house this one tempt us again. time. If I find not what I seek, show no colour Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how for my extremity, let me forever be your table- we have serv'd him ? sport. Let them say of me, As jealous as Mrs. Page. Yes, by all means ; if it be but Ford, that search'd a hollow walnut for his (170 to scrape the figures out of your husband's wife's lemar." Satisfy me once more; once brains. If they can find in their hearts the more search with me.

poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further Mrs. Ford. What, ho, Mistress Page! come afflicted, we two will still be the ministers. 234 you and the old woman down; my husband Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant they'll have him will come into the chamber.

publicly sham'd; and methinks there would Ford. Old woman! What old woman 's that? be no period to the jest, should he not be pub

Mrs. Ford. Why, it is my maid's aunt of licly sham'd. Brainford.

Mrs. Page. Come, to the forge with it then ; Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening shape it. I would not have things cool. quean! Have I not forbid her my house ? She

[Exeunt. comes of errands, does she? We are simple men; we do not know what's brought to pass SCENE III. (A room in the Garter Inn.] under the profession of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by the figure ;

Enter Host and BARDOLPH. and such daubery as this is beyond our ele- (185 Bard. Sir, the German desires to have three ment; we know nothing. Come down, you of your horses. The Duke himself will be towitch, you hag, you ; come down, I say! morrow at court, and they are going to meet

Mrs. Ford. Nay, good, sweet husband ! him. Good gentlemen, let him not strike the old Host. What duke should that be comes so

secretly? I hear not of him in the court. Let Re-enter FALSTAFF disguised like an old wo

me speak with the gentlemen. They speak

English ? man, and MISTRESS PAGE with him.

Bard. Ay, sir ; I'll call them to you. Mrs. Page. Come, Mother Prat; come, Host. They shall have my horses; but I'll give me your hand.

make them pay, I 'll sauce them. They have Ford. I'll prat her. Out of my door, you had my houses a week at command. I have witch, you hag, you baggage, you polecat, you turn'd away my other guests. They must come ronyon! out, out! I'll conjure you, I'll (195 off ; I'll sauce them. Come.

(Exeunt. fortune-tell you !

(Ford beats him, and he runs away. SCENE IV. (A room in Ford's house.] Mrs. Page. Are you not asham'd ? I think

Enter Page, FORD, MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS you have kill'd the poor woman,

FORD, and Sir Hugh Evans. Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it. 'T is a goodly credit for you.

Evans. 'Tis one of the best discretions of a Ford. Hang her, witch !

'oman as ever I did look upon.

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Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant ?

Mrs. Page. Within a quarter of an hour.
Ford. Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do

what thou wilt. I rather will suspect the sun with cold Than thee with wantonness. Now doth thy

honour stand, In him that was of late an heretic, As firm as faith.

Page. 'Tis well, 't is well; no more. Be not as extreme in submission As in offence. But let our plot go forward. Let our wives Yet once again, to make us public sport, Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow, 15 Where we may take him and disgrace him for

it. Ford. There is no better way than that they

spoke of. Page. How? To send him word_they 'll meet him in the park at midnight? Fie, fie ! he'll never come.

Evans. You say he has been thrown in the rivers and has been grievously peaten as an old 'oman. Methinks there should be terrors in him that he should not come; methinks his flesh is punish'd; he shall have no desires. Page.

So think I too.
Mrs. Ford. Devise but how you 'll use him

when he comes, And let us two devise to bring him thither. Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes that

Herne the hunter, Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest, Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight, Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd

horns ; And there he blasts the tree, and takes the

cattle, And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes

a chain In a most hideous and dreadful manner. You have heard of such a spirit, and well you

know The superstitious idle-headed eld Receiv'd and did deliver to our age This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth. Page. Why, yet there want not many that

do fear In deep of night to walk by this Herne's oak. But what of this ?

Mrs. Ford. Marry, this is our device; That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us [Disguis'd like Herne, with huge horns on his

head). Page. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll

come; And in this shape when you have brought him

thither, What shall be done with him ? What is your

plot? Mrs. Page. That likewise have we thought

upon, and thus : Nan Page my daughter and my little son And three or four more of their growth we'll

dress

Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies, green and

white, With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads, And rattles in their hands. Upon a sudden, As Falstaff, she, and I are newly met, Let them from forth a sawpit rush at once With some diffused song. Upon their sight, We two in great amazedness will fiy. Then let them all encircle him about And, fairy-like, to pinch the unclean knight, And ask him why, that hour of fairy revel, In their so sacred paths he dares to tread In shape profane.

(Mrs.) Ford. And till he tell the truth, 6 Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound And burn him with their tapers.

Mrs. Page. The truth being known, We'll all present ourselves, dis-horn the spirit, And mock him home to Windsor. Ford.

The children must Be practis'd well to this, or they 'll ne'er

do 't. Evans. I will teach the children their behaviours ; and I will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my taber.

Ford. That will be excellent. I'll go and buy them vizards. Mrs. Page. My Nan shall be the queen of all

the fairies, Finely attired in a robe of white. Page. That silk will I go buy. (Aside.] And

in that time Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away And marry her at Eton. Go send to Falstaff

straight. Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in 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.

Evans. Let us about it. It is admirable pleasures and fery honest knaveries.

(Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans.] Mrs. Page. Go, Mistress Ford, Send Quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.

[Exit Mrs. Ford.) I'll to the doctor ; he hath my good will, And none but he, to marry with Nan Page. S3 That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot : And he my husband best of all affects. The doctor is well money'd, and his friends Potent at court. He, none but he, shall have

her, Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.

(Exit.) SCENE V. (A room in the Garter Inn.]

Enter Host and SIMPLE. Host. What wouldst thou have, boor? What, thick-skin? Speak, breathe, discuss ; brief, 'short, quick, snap.

Sim. Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff from Master Slender,

Host. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-bed and truckle-bed, 't is

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painted about with the story of the Prodigal, fresh and new. Go knock and call; he'll speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee. Knock,

Sim. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber. I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down. I come to speak with her, indeed.

Host. Ha! a fat woman? The knight may be robb’d. I'll call. Bully knight! bully Sir John! speak from thy lungs military. Art thou there? It is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls. Fal. (Above,) How now, mine host?

Host. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman. Let her de scend,

bully, let her descend ; my chambers are honourable. Fie! privacy ? 'fie!

Enter FALSTAFF. Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with me; but she's gone.

Sim. Pray you, sir, was 't not the wise woman of Brainford ?

Fal. Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell. What would you with her ?

Sim. My master, sir, my Master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go thorough the streets, 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. 85
Sim. And what says she, I pray, sir?
Fal. Marry,

she says that the very same man that beguild Master Slender of his chain cozen'd him of it.

Sim. 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.
Host. Ay, come; quick.
Sim. I may not conceal them, sir.
Host. Conceal them, or thou diest.
Sim. Why, sir, they were nothing but about
Mistress Anne Page; to know if it were my
master's fortune to have her or no.

Fal. T is, 't is his fortune.
Sim. What, sir ?

Fal. To have her, or no. Go; say the woman told me so.

Sim. May I be bold to say so, sir ?
Fal. Ay, sir ; like who more bold ?

Sim. I thank your worship. I shall make my master glad with these tidings. [Erit.] Host.

Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was there a wise woman with thee? 59

Fal. Ay, that there was, mine host; 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.

Enter BARDOLPH. Bard. Out, alas, sir! cozenage, mere cozenage.

Host. Where be my horses? Speak well of them, varletto.

Bard. Run away with the cozeners; for so soon as I came beyond Eton, they threw me off from behind one of them, in a slough of mire ;

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and set spurs and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.

Host. They are gone but to meet the Duke, villain ; do not say they be fled. Germans are honest men.

Enter Sir Hugh EVANS. Evans. Where is mine host ? Host. What is the matter, sir? Evans. Have a care of your entertainments. There is a friend of mine come to town, tells me there is three cozen-germans that has cozen'd all the hosts of Readins, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell [80 you for good will, look you. You are wise and full of gibes and vlouting-stocks, and 't is not convenient you should be cozened. Fare you well.

(Exit.] Enter DOCTOR CAIUs. Caius. Vere is mine host de Jarteer ?

Host. Here, Master Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma.

Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat; but it is tell-a me dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Jamany. By my trot, dere is no duke that de court is know to come. I tell you for good will ; adieu.

(Exit.] 91 Host. Hue and cry, villain, go! Assist me, knight. I am undone! Fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone!

(Exeunt Host (and Bard.] Fal. I would all the world might be cozen’d; for I have been cozen'd and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court, how I have been transformed and how my transformation hath been wash'd and cudgellid, they would melt me out of my fat drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me. I (100 warrant they would whip me with their fine wits till I were as crestfallen as a dri'd never prosper'd since I forswore myself at primero. 'Well, if my wind were but long enough (to say my prayers,] I would repent.

Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY. Now, whence come you?

Quick. From the two parties, forsooth. Fal. The devil take one party and his dam the other! and so they shall be both bestowed. I have suffer'd more for their sakes, more than the villanous inconstancy of man's disposi- (110 tion is able to bear.

Quick. And have not they suffer'd? Yes, I warrant; speciously one of them. Mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.

Fal. What tellest thou me of black and blue? 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, my counter- (120 feiting the action of an old woman, deliver'd me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.

Quick. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber. You shall hear how things go, an

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