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Eva. 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.
That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot;
And him 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.

SCENE V.-A Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter Host and SIMPLE.

Host. What wouldst thou have, boor? what, thickskin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick,


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

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 robbed : 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 descend, bully, let her descend: my chambers are honourable; fie! privacy? fie!


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 Brentford ?

Fal. Ay, marry, was it, muscle-shell: what would you with her?

Sim. My master, sir, my master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go through the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain, or no.

Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.

Sim. And what says she, I pray, sir?

Fal. Marry, she says, that the very same man that beguiled master Slender of his chain, cozened 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.

Fal. You may not conceal them, sir.

Host. Conceal them, and 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. 'Tis, 't is his fortune.

Sim. What, sir?

Fal. To have her, or no.

told me so.

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Go; say, the woman

Sim. May I be bold to say so, sir?

Fal. Ay, sir, tike, who more bold?

Sim. I thank your worship. I shall make my mas

ter glad with these tidings.

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Host. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, sir John. Was there a wise woman with thee?

Fal. Ay, that there was, mine host; one, that hath taught me more wit than ever I learned before in my life and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning.


Bard. Out, alas, sir! cozenage; mere cozenage! Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.

Bard. Run away with by3 the cozeners; for so soon as I came beyond Eton, they threw me off from behind one of them in a slough of mire; and set spurs, and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.

1 I: in f. e. 2 or in f. e. 3 Not in f. e.

VOL. I.-17

Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain. Do not say, they be fled; Germans are honest men. Enter Sir HUGH EVANS.

Eva. Where is mine host?

Host. What is the matter, sir?

Eva. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town tells me, there is three couzin germans, that has cozened all the hosts of Readings, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell you for good will, look you: you are wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-stogs, and 't is not convenient you should be cozened. Fare you well.

Enter Doctor CAIUS.


Caius. Vere is mine Host de Jarretière ? 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 Jarmany: by my trot, dere is no duke, dat de court is know to come. I tell you for good vill: adieu.


Host. Hue and cry, villain! go.-Assist me, knight; I am undone.-Fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone !

[Exeunt Host and BARDOLPH. Fal. I would all the world might be cozened, for I have been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court how I have been transformed, and how my transformation hath been washed and cudgelled, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me: I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crestfallen as a dried pear. I never prospered since I forswore myself at primero.' Well, if my wind were but long enough, I would pray and 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 suffered more for their sakes, more, than the villainous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.

1 A game of cards. 2 to say my prayers from the quartos: in f. e

Quick. And have not they suffered? 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 tell'st thou me of black and blue? was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting 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, and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts! what ado here is to bring you together. Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so crossed.

Fal. Come up into my chamber.


SCENE VI.-Another Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter FENTON and Host.

Host. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy; I will give over all.

Fent. Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose, And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee

A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.

Host. I will hear you, master Fenton; and I will, at the least, keep your counsel.

Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection
(So far forth as herself might be her chooser)
Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
Of such contents as you will wonder at;
The mirth whereof so larded with my matter,
That neither, singly, can be manifested,
Without the show of both ;-wherein fat Falstaff
Hath a great scene: the image of the jest

[Showing the Letter.
I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine Host:
To-night at Herne's oak, just 'twixt twelve and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the fairy queen;
The purpose why, is here; in which disguise,

While other jests are something rank on foot,

Her father hath commanded her to slip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
Immediately to marry: she hath consented.
Now, sir,

Her mother, even strong against that match,
And firm for Dr. Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
While other sports are tasking of their minds,
And at the deanery, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her: to this her mother's plot
She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
Made promise to the doctor.-Now, thus it rests:
Her father means she shall be all in white;
And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
To take her by the hand, and bid her go,

She shall go with him :-her mother hath intended,
The better to denote her to the doctor,

(For they must all be mask'd and vizarded)
That quaint in green she shall be loose enrob'd,
With ribands pendant, flaring 'bout her head;
And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and on that token
The maid hath given consent to go with him.

Host. Which means she to deceive? father or mother?

Fent. Both, my good host, to go along with me: And here it rests,-that you'll procure the vicar To stay for me at church 'twixt twelve and one, And in the lawful name of marrying,

To give our hearts united ceremony.

Host. Well, husband your device: I'll to the vicar. Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest. Fent. So shall I evermore be bound to thee; Besides, I'll make a present recompense.



SCENE I.-A Room in the Garter Inn.

Fal. Pr'ythee, no more prattling;-go:-I'll hold. This is the third time; I hope, good luck lies in odd numbers. Away, go. They say, there is divinity in

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