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ACT II FORD. Though Page be a secure1 fool, and stands so Sc. I firmly on his wife's fealty, 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 lose not my labour; if she be otherwise, 'tis labour well bestow'd. [exit.

SCENE II. A Room in the Garter.


FAL. I will not lend thee a penny.

PIST. Why, then the world's mine oyster,

Which I with sword will open.


FAL. Not a penny. I have been content, Sir, you should
lay my countenance to pawn. I have grated upon3
my good friends for three reprieves for you and your
coach-fellow Nym; or else you had look'd through
the grate like a gemini of baboons. I am damn'd 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 mine
honour, thou hadst it not.
PIST. Didst not thou share? hadst thou not fifteen pence ?
FAL. Reason, you rogue, reason. Think'st thou I'll
endanger my soul gratis? At a word, hang no more
about me, I am no gibbet for you: go!-A short knife
and a throng!5 To your manor of Pickt-hatch, 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, ay, 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-lattices
phrases, and your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter
of your honour! You will not do it, you ?

PIST. I do relent: what would'st thou more of man?

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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!
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 canaries1 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 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

1 quandary.


Sc. II

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 she-

QUICK. Marry, she hath receiv'd 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.


FAL. Ten and eleven? Woman, commend me to her; I
will not fail her.
QUICK. Why, you say well. But I have another mes-
senger 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?

1 troubled.

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:1 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 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 QUICKLY and ROBIN.] This news distracts me!

PIST. This punk3 is one of Cupid's carriers!


Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights:* Give fire! She is my prize, or Ocean whelm them all! [Exit PISTOL.

FAL. Say'st thou so, old Jack? Go thy ways; I'll make more of thy old body than I have done. Will they yet look after thee? 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.


you: and

BARD. Sir John, there's one Master Brook below would
fain speak with you, and be acquainted with
hath sent your Worship a morning's draught of sack.
FAL. Brook is his name?

BARD. Ay, Sir.



Sc. II

1 for love's sake.

3 harlot.

4 battle-screens.


2 with a privy and peculiar meaning.

Sc. II

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 encompass'd you? Go to; via!1

Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised.

FORD. '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?

leave, drawer.


Give us [Exit BARDOLPH.

FORD. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my

name is Brook.

FAL. Good Master Brook, I desire more acquaintance of


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 embolden'd me to this unseason'd 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 me 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
youand 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 I must very much lay open mine own
imperfection: but, good Sir John, as you have one eye
upon my follies, as you hear them unfolded, turn
another into the register of your own; that I may pass
with a reproof the easier, sith you yourself know how
easy it is to be such an offender.

1 'an adverb of encouragement' (Florio).

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