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Mrs. Page. I pray you come; hold up the jest no higher.
Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives?
Ford. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now!-Master Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns, master Brook: and, master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money, which must be paid to master Brook: his horses are arrested for it, master Brook.
Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have had ill-luck; we could never meet. I will never take you for my love again, but I will always count you my deer.
Fal. I do begin to perceive, that I am made an ass. Ford. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs are
Fal. And these are not fairies! I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies; and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now, how wit may be made a Jack-a-lent, when 't is upon ill employment! Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.
Eva. And leave you your jealousies too, I pray
Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able to woo her in good English.
Fal. Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross o'er-reaching as this? Am I ridden with a Welch goat too? shall I have a coxcomb of frize ? 'Tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.
Eva. Seese is not good to give putter: your pelly is all putter.
Fal. Seese and putter! have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This is enough to be the decay of lust, and late-walking, through the realm.
1 A fool's cap of frieze.
Mrs. Page. Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?
Ford. What, a hog-pudding? a bag of flax?
Page. Old, cold, withered, and of intolerable entrails?
Ford. And as wicked as his wife?
Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings, and starings, pribbles and prabbles?
Fal. Well, I am your theme: you have the start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welch flannel. Ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me use me as you will.
Ford. Marry, sir, we 'll bring you to Windsor, to one master Brook, that you have cozened of money, to whom you should have been a pander: over and above that you have suffered, I think, to repay that money will be a biting affliction.1
Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt eat a posset to-night at my house; where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee. Tell her, master Slender hath married her daughter.
Mrs. Page. Doctors doubt that: if Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this, doctor Caius' wife.
Enter SLENDER, crying. Slen. Whoo, ho! ho! father Page!
Page. Son, how now! how now, son! have you despatched ?
Slen. Despatched!-I'll make the best in Glouces-. tershire know on 't; would I were hanged, la, else. Page. Of what, son?
Slen. I came yonder at Eton to marry mistress Anne Page, and she's a great lubberly boy: if it had not been i' the church, I would have swinged him, or he should have swinged me. If I did not think it had
1 The quartos here have
Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, let that go to make amends: Forgive that sum and so we 'll all be friends.
Ford. Well, here 's my hand all 's forgiven at last.
Fal. It hath cost me well: I have been well pinched and wash'd.
been Anne Page, would I might never stir, and 't is a post-master's boy.
Page. Upon my life, then, you took the wrong.
Slen. What need you tell me that? I think so, when I took a boy for a girl: if I had been married to him, for all he was in woman's apparel, I would not have had him.
Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you, how you should know my daughter by her garments?
Slen. I went to her in white, and cried "mum," and she cried "budget," as Anne and I had appointed; and yet it was not Anne, but a post-master's boy.
Mrs. Page. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose; turned my daughter into green; and, indeed, she is now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.
Enter Doctor CAIUS.
Caius. Vere is mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened; I ha' married un garçon, a boy; un paisan, by gar, a boy it is not Anne Page; by gar, I am cozened.
Mrs. Page. Why, did you take her in green? Caius. Ay, by gar, and 't is a boy by gar, I'll raise all Windsor. [Exit CAIUS. Ford. This is strange. Who hath got the right Anne? Page. My heart misgives me. Here comes master Fenton.
Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE.
How now, master Fenton ! [They kneel Anne. Pardon, good father! good my mother, pardon. Page. Now, mistress; how chance you went not with master Slender ?
Mrs. Page. Why went you not with master doctor,
Fent. You do amaze her: hear the truth of it.
1 title: in f. e.
Since therein she doth evitate and shun
A thousand irreligious cursed hours,
Which forced marriage would have brought upon her.
Fal. I am glad, though you have ta'en a special stand to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanced. Page. Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give
What cannot be eschew'd must be embrac'd.
Fal. When night-dogs ́ run, all sorts of deer are
Mrs. Page. Well, I will muse no farther.-Master
Heaven give you many, many merry days.-
Ford. Let it be so.-Sir John,
To master Brook you yet shall hold your word;