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place together, than the hundredth psalm to the tune of
Mrs. Page. Letter for letter; but that the name of
I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles, ere one chaste
Mrs. Ford. Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the very words: what doth he think of us?
Mrs. Page. Nay, I know not: it makes ine almost ready to wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal; for, sure, unless he know some strain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.
Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call you it? I'll be sure to keep him above deck,
Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never to sea again. Let's be revenged on him : let's appoint liim a meeting; give him a show of comfort in his suit; 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 consent to act any villany against him, that may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O, that my husband saw this letter! it would give eternal food to his jealousy.
Mrs. Page. Why, look, where he comes; and my good man too: he's as far from jealousy, as I am from
giving him cause; and that, I hope, is an unmeasurable distance.
Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman.
Mrs. Page. Lets consult together against this greasy knight: come hither.
[They retire. Enter Ford, Pistol, PAGE, and Nym. Ford. Well, I hope, it be not so.
Pist. Hope is a curtail dog in some affairs :
Pist. He wooes both high and low, both rich and poor,
Ford. Love my wife?
Pist. With liver burning hot : prevent, or go thou, Like Sir Actæon he, with Ring-wood at thy heels: 0, odious is the name! Ford. What name,
sir? Pist. The horn, I say: farewell, Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo-birds do Away, sir corporal Nym.
[singBelieve it, Page; he speaks sense. [Exit Pistol.
Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this.
Nym. And this is true; [To Page.] I like not the humour of lying. He hath wrong'd me in some humours; I should have borne the humoured letter to her: but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your
wife; there's the short and the long. My name is corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch. "Tis true :--my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife. -Adieu! I love not the humour of bread and cheese ; and there's the humour of it. Adieu. [Exit Nym.
Page. The humour of it, quoth ’a! here's a fellow frights humour out of his wits.
Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.
Page. I will not believe such a Cataian, though the priest o'the town commended him for a true inan.
Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow: Well.
Page. How now, Meg?
Mrs. Ford. How now, sweet Frank? why art thou melancholy?
Ford. I melancholy! I am not melancholy.—Get you home, go.
Mrs. Ford. 'Faith, thou hast some 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: she shall be our messenger to this paltry knight. [Aside to Mrs. Ford.
Enter Mistress QUICKLY. Mrs. Ford. Trust me, I thought on her: she'll fit it. Mrs. Page. You are come to see my daughter Anne, Quick. Ay, forsooth; And, I pray, low does good mistress Anne?
Mrs. Page. Go in with us, and see; we have an hour's talk with you.
[Exeunt Mrs. Page, Mrs. Ford, and Mrs. Quickly. Page. How now, master 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, slaves! I do not think the knight would offer it: but these that accuse him in his intent towards our wives, are a yoke of his discarded men; very rogues, now they be out of service.
Ford. Were they his men?
Ford. I like it never the better for that Does he lie at the Garter?
Page. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my bead.
Ford. I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loth to turn them together: A man may be too confident: I would have nothing lie op my head; I cannot be thus satisfied.
Page. Look, where my ranting host of the Garter comes : there is either liquor in his pate, or money in his purse, when he looks so merrily.-How now, mine host?
Enter Host and SHALLOW. Host. How now, bully-rook? thou'rt a gentleman: cavalero-justice, I say.
Shal. I follow, mine host, I follow.-Good even, and twenty, good master Page! Master Page, will you go with us? we have sport in hand.
Host. Tell him, cavalero-justice; tell him, bully-rook.
Shal. Sir, there is a fray to be fought, between Sir Hugh the Welsh priest, and Caius the French doctor.
Ford. Good mine host o'the Garter, a word with you.
Shal. Will you [To Page.] go with us to behold it? my merry host hath had the measuring of their weapons; and, I think, he hath appointed them contrary places : for, believe me, I hear, the parson is no jester. Hark, I will tell you what our sport shall be.
Host. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guestcavalier?
Ford. None, I protest : but I'll give you a pottle of burnt sack to give me recourse to him, and tell him, my name is Brook; only for a jest.
Host. My hand, bully: thou shalt have egress and regress; said I well? and thy name shall be Brook : It is a merry knight.--Will you go on, hearts?
Shal. Have with you, mine host.
Shul. Tut, sir, I could have told you more: In these times you stand on distance, your passes, stoccadoes, and I know not what: 'tis the heart, master Page; 'tis here, 'tis here. I have seen the time, with my long sword, I would have made you four tall fellows skip like rats.
Host. Here, boys, here, here! shall we wag?
Page. Have with you :I had rather hear them scold than light.
[Exeunt Host, Shullow, and Page.
in his rapier.
Ford. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on his wife's frailty, yet I cannot put off my opinion so easily: She was in his company at Page's house; and, what they made there, I know not. Well, I will look further into't: and I have a disguise to sound Falstaff: if I find her honest, I Jose not my labour: if she be otherwise, 'tis labour well bestowed.
SCENE II. A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FALSTAFF and Pistol.
Pist. Why, then the world's mine oyster,
Fal. Not a penny. I have been content, sir, you should lay my countenance to pawn: I have grated upon my good friends for three reprieves for you and your coach-fellow Nym; or else you had looked through the grate like a geminy of baboons. I am damned in hell, for swearing to gentlemen my friends, you were good soldiers, and tall fellows : and when mistress Bridget lost the handle of her fan, I took't upon my honour, thou hadst it not. Pist. Didst thou not share? hadst thou not fifteen
pence? Fal. Reason, you rogue, reason : Think’st thou, I'll endanger my soul grutis? At a word, hang no more about me,
I am no gibbet for you :-g0.-A short knife and a throng :-to your manor of Pickthatch, go.You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue!-you stand upon your honour !—Why, thou unconfinable baseness, it is as much as I can do, to keep the terms of my honour precise. I, I, I myself sometimes, leaving the fear of heaven on the left hand, and hiding mine honour in my necessity, am fain to shuffle, to hedge, and to lurch; and yet you, rogue, will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain looks, your red-lattice phrases, and