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Fent. I thank thee; and I pray thee, once to-night Give my sweet Nan this ring: There's for thy pains. [Exit.
Quick. Now heaven send thee good fortune! A kind heart he hath: a woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart. But yet, I would my master had mistress Anne; or I would master Slender had her; or, in footh, I would master Fenton had her : I will do what I can for them all three ; for so I have promised, and I'll be as good as my word ; but fpeciously 9 for master Fenton. Well, I must of another errand to fir John Falstaff from my two mistresses ; What a beast am I to llack it ? 2
A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH.
Fal. Go fetch me a quart of fack; put a toast in't. [Exit Bard.] Have I lived to be carried in a basket, like a bar. row of butcher's offal; and to be thrown into the Thames ? Well; if I be served such another trick, I'll have my brains ta'en out, and butter'd, and give them to a dog for a new year's gift. The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse as they would have drown'd a bitch’s blind
puppies, Mir. Dennis, of irascible memory, who altered this play, and brought it on the stage, in the year 1702, under the title of The Comical Gallant, (when, thanks to the alterer, it was fairly damn’d,) has introduced the proverb at which Mrs. Quickly's allusion appears to be pointed.
STEEVENS. I believe the old copy, is right, and that Mrs. Quickly means to infinu. ate that she had addrefled at the same time both Mr. and Mrs. Page on the subject of their daughter's marriage, one of whom favoured Slender, and the other Caius: "-on a fool or a physician," would be more accurate, but and is sufficiently suitable to dame Quickly, referendo fingula fingulis.
Thus : “ You two are going to throw away your daughter on a fool and a physician ; you, fir, on the former, and you, madam, on the latter."
MALONE. 8 i. e. sometime to-night. STEEVENS. 9 She means to say Specially. STEEVENS. 2 i. e. neglect. STEEVENS.
puppies, 3 fifteen i' the litter : and you may know by my size,
Re-enter BARDOLPH, with the wine.
Fal. Come, let me pour in fome fack to the Thames wa.
Enter Mrs. QUICKLY.
Fal. Take away these chalices : Go brew me a pottle of fack finely.
Bar. With eggs, fir?
Fal. Simple of itself; I'M no pallet-sperm in my brewage. [Exit BARDOLPH.)-How now?
Quick. Marry, sir, I come to your worship from mistress Ford.
Fal. Mistress Ford ! I have had ford enough: I was thrown into the ford ; I have my belly full of ford.
Quick. Alas the day! good heart, that was not her fault: The does so take on with her men; they mistook their erection.
Fal. So did I mine, to build upon a foolish woman's promise.
Quick. Well, the laments, fir, for it, that it would yearn your heart to see it. Her husband goes this morning a birding; the desires you once more to come to her between eight
3 The old copy reads 66 a blind bitch's puppies.” STEEVENS.
I have ventured to transpose the adjective here, against the authority of the printed copies. I know, in horfes, a colt from a blind ftallion loses much of the value it might otherwise have; but are puppies ever drown'd the fooner, for coming from a blind bitcb? The author certainly wrote, as sbey would bave drown'd a bit ob's blind puppiesi THSOBA!).
and nine : I must carry her word quickly: The'll make you amends, I warrant you.
Fal. Well, I will visit her: Tell her so; and bid her think, what a man is : let her consider his frailty, and then judge of
Quick. I will tell her.
Exit. Fal. I marvel, I hear not of master Brook; he sent me word to stay within : I like his money well. O, here he
Enter FORD. Ford. Bless you, fir!
Fal. Now, master Brook? you come to know what hath pass’d between me and Ford's wife?
Ford. That, indeed, fir John, is my business.
Fal. Master Brook, I will not lie to you ; I was at her house the hour she appointed me.
Ford. And how sped you, fir ?
Fal. No, master Brook : but the peaking cornuto her husband, master Brook, dwelling in a continual ’larum of jealousy, comes me in the instant of our encounter, after we bad embrac'd, kiss'd, protested, and, as it were, spoke the prologue of our comedy; and at his heels a rabble of his companions, thither provoked and instigated by his diftemper, and, forsooth, to search his house for his wife's love.
Ford. What, while you were there?
Fal. You shall hear. As good luck would have it, comes in one mistress Page; gives intelligence of Ford's approach; and, by her invention, and Ford's wife's distraction, they convey'd me into a buck-basket. 4 M 6
Ford, 4 As it does not appear that his being convey'd into the buck.basket was owing to the supposed diffraction of Mrs. Ford, I have no doubt but we fhould read and Ford's wife's direction," which was the fact.
i Ford. A buck-basket!
Fal. By the Lord, a buck-basket : 5 ramm'd me in with ful shirts and fmocks, focks, foul stockings, and greasy napkins; that, master Brook, there was the rankeft compound of villainous smell, that ever offended noftril.
Ford. And how long lay you there?
Fal. Nay, you shalĩ hear, master Brook, what I have fuffer'd to bring this woman to evil for your good. Being thus cramm'd in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds, were callid forth by their mistress, to carry me in the name of foul clothes to Datchet-lane : they took me on their shoulders; met the jealous knave their master in the door ; who ask'd them once or twice, what they had in their basket :: I quaked for fear left the lunatic knave would have search'd it; but fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold, held his hand. Well ;, on went he for a fearch, and away went I for foul clothes. But mark the sequel, master Brook : I suffer'd the pangs of three several deaths: first, an intolerable fright, to be detected with a jealous rotten bell-weather ; next, to be compass’d, like a good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck,
hilt 5 By the Lord, a buck-basket:] Thus the old quarto. The editor of the firit folio, to avoid the penalty of the statute of King James I. reads Yes, &c. and the editor of the second, which has been followed by the moderns, has made Falstaff defert his own character, and assume the language of a Puritan. MALONI.
The fecond folio reads--yea; and I cannot discover wby this affirmative should be considered as a mark of puritanism. Yea, at the time our comedy appeared, was in as frequent use as-yes; and is certainly put by Shakspeare into the mouths of many of his characters whose manners are widely different from those of canting purifts. STEEVINS.
6 So, before: “What a taking was he in, when your husband ask'd who was in the basket !” but Ford had asked no such question. Our av. thor seems seldom to have revised his plays. MALONE.
Falstaff, in the present instance, may purposely exaggerate his alarms, that he may thereby enhance his merit with Ford, at whose purse his designs are ultimately levelled. STEEVENS.
7 A bilbo is a Spanish blade, of which the excellence is flexibleness and elasticity. JOHNSON. Bilvo, from Bilboa, a city of Biscay, where the best blades are made.
STEEVENS. 8 T the folio. The old quarto reads of
and perhap rightly. Pedlar's packs are sometimes of such a size as to admit of Fal.
hilt to point, heel to head; and then, to be stopp'd in, like a ftrong diftillation, with stinking clothes that fretted in their own grease : think of that, a man of my kidney, I think of that ; that am as subject to heat, as butter ; a man of continual dissolution and thaw; it was a miracle, to 'scape fuffocation. And in the height of this bath, when I was more than half stew'd in grease, like a Dutch dish, 10 be thrown into the Thames, and coold, glowing hot, in that surge, like a horse-lhoe; think of that,hisling hot,—think of that, mafter Brook.
Ford. In good sadness, fir, I am forry that for my fake you have suffer'd all this. My suit then is desperate; you'll undertake her no more.
Fal, Master Brook, I will be thrown into Ætna, as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her thus. Her husband is this morning gone a birding : I have received from her another embaffy of meeting ; 'twixt eight and nine is the hour, master Brook.
Ford, 'Tis past eight already, fir.
Fal. Is it?' I will then address me to my appointment. Come to me at your convenient leisure, and you shall know how I fpeed; and the conclufion shall be crown’d with your enjoying her : Adieu. You shall have her, master Brook ; shall cuckold Ford.
[Exit. Ford. Hum! ha! is this a vision ? is this a dream? do I Sleep? Mafter Ford, awake; awake, master Ford ; there's a hole made in your beft coat, mafter Ford. This 'tis to be
married ! Aaff's description ; but who but a Lilliputian could be “compaffed in a peck ?” MALONE.
Falstaff designedly exaggerates the inconveniences of his situation. When he tells us, that formerly he " was not an eagle's talon in the waist, and could have crept through an alderman's thumb-ring,' to suppose he has a literal meaning ?--and may not some future critick enquire of us whether we ever saw any Pedlar's pack of such a size as would contain a person of Falstaff's bulk ?" Besides;
;-to try the flexibility of swords, it might have been usual to incurvate them within a wooden circuit like that of a peck measure; but who would have thoughc of making the same experiment within a pedlar's pack? STIIVENS.
9 Kidney in this phrase now signifies kind or qualities, but Falstaff means, * man wbose kidnies are as far as mine. JOHNSON.
se e. make myself ready. STEEVENS.
master Brook, you