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do no more adhere and keep place together, than the hundredth psalm * to the tune of Green Sleeves. (1) What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor? How shall I be revenged on him ? I think, the best way were to entertain him with hope, till the wicked fire of lust have melted him in his own grease. Did you ever hear the like ?
MRS. PAGE. Letter for letter ; but that the name of Page and Ford differs ! To thy great comfort in this mystery of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy letter: but let thine inherit first; for, I protest, mine never shall. I warrant, he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for different names, (sure more,) and these are of the second edition : he will print them out of doubt; for he cares not what he puts into the press, when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles, ere one chaste man.
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 me 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 a 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 him a meeting; give him a show of comfort in his suit; and lead him on with a fine-baited delay, till he hath pawned his horses to mine Host of the Garter.
MRS. FORD. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy 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. Let's consult together against this greasy knight: come hither.
[They retire. Enter FORD, PAGE, PISTOL, and NYM. FORD. Well, I hope it be not so.
Pist. Hope is a curtail doge in some affairs : Sir John affects thy wife.
(*) Old text, hundred psalms. * Some strain in me,-] Some turn, tendency. b O, that my husband-] That is, 0, if that my husband, &c. The early quarto reads,
“O Lord, if my husband should see this letter!" c A curtail dog-] It was supposed that the tail of a dog assisted him in running. A curtail dog may mean a halting, lingering dog, as it certainly implied a worthless one; “ A curtald dogg, chien courtaud, c'est à dire chien sans queuë ou esqueue bon à tout service."'-HOWELL's Lexicon Tet 1660.
FORD. Why, sir, my wife is not young.
Pist. He woos both high and low, both rich and poor,
FORD. Love my wife?
Pist. With liver burning hot : prevent:
FORD. What name, sir?
Pist. The horn, I say: farewell.
[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 wronged 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 humourb out of his wits. (2)
FORD. I will seek out Falstaff.
PAGE. I will not believe such a Cataian,ç though the priest o'th' town (3) commended him for a true man,
FORD. 'Twas a good sensible fellow :d well. PAGE. How now, Meg? MRS. PAGE. Whither go you, George ? hark you. 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.
And there's the humour of it.] These words, so necessary to the sense because echoed by Page, are omitted in the folio..
b Frights humour out of his wits.) So the quarto: the folio reads, Frights English, &c.
e Cataian,-) A term of reproach, of which the precise meaning is not known. Sir Toby, in " Twelfth Night,” Act II. Sc. 3, applies it to Olivia :
"My lady's a Cataian;" and it occurs in Sir William D'Avenant's play, called, “ Love and Honour," 1649, Act II. Sc. 1,
“ Hang him, bold Cataian !” d'Twas a good sensible fellow:] In this and the two preceding speeches, Ford must be supposed to be speaking to himself.
MRS. FORD. Trust me, I thought on her : she'll fit it.
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY. MRS. PAGE. You are come to see my daughter Anne? QUICK. Ay, forsooth; and, I pray, how does good mistress Anne? Mrs. PAGE. Go in with us, and see; we have an hour's talk with
[Exeunt MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS FORD,
and MISTRESS QUICKLY.
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 ?
PAGE. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage toward my wife, I would turn her loose to him ; and what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head.
FORD. I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loath to turn them together: a man may be too confident: I would have nothing lie on 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, behind. Host. How now, bully-rook? thou ’rt a gentleman: cavalerojustice, 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'th' Garter, a word with you.
[They go aside. SHAL. Will you [To PAGE.] go with us to behold it? My merry Host hath had the measuring of their weapons; and, I think, 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 guest-cavalier ? FORD. None, I protest: but I'll give you a pottle of burnt sack to
Good even and twenty,–] An old popular salutation, meaning twenty good evenings. Similar to which is, * God night and a thousand to every body."- ELIOT's Fruits of the French, 1593, quoted by Halliwell.
give me recourse to him, and tell him, my name is Brook;a 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, myn-heers ?
SHÁL. Have with you, mine Host.
SHAL. Tut, sir, I could have told you more. In these times you stand on distance, your passes, stoccadoes, and I know not what: 't is the heart, master Page; 't is here, 't is 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 ?
[Exeunt Host, SHALLOW, and PAGE. FORD. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on his wife's fealty,d yet I cannot put off my opinion so easily: she was in his company at Page's house; and, what they madee 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, 't is 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 mine honour, thou hadst it not.
2 My name is Brook ;] The folio prints Broome throughout, as the assumed name of Ford, and assigns the present speech to Shallow.
b Will you go, myn-heers ?] The folio reads, An-heires, an evident corruption, for which Theobald proposed the word we adopt. Warburton, Heris, an old Scotch word for master; Malone, and hear us; Steevens, on, heroes,or on, hearts ; Boaden, Cavaliers ; and Mr. Collier's annotator, on here.
c A secure fool,–] An over-confident, or careless fool.
d And stands so firmly on his wife's fealty,-) That is, insists so stoutly upon his wife's fidelity. The old text has, " on his wife's frailty." An antithesis was possibly intended between firmly and frailty. The meaning being, “Who thinks himself su secure on what is a most brittle foundation " “ Fealty” is the correction of Theobald.
e And, what they made there,-) A mode of speech now almost obsolete, implying, “What they did there.” As in “Hamlet,” Act I. Sc. 2,
“And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?" ! I will retort the sum in equipage.] This line is not in the folio, and it forms the whole of Pistol's reply in the quarto.
Pist. Didst thou not 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 ;a to your manor of Pickthatch, (4) 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-amountain looks, your red-latticeb phrases, and your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your honour! You will not do it, you ! Pist, I do relent;c what would thou more of man?
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
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 ? Heaven 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 canaries,d as 't is wonderful. The best courtier of them all, when the court lay at Windsor, could never have
* A short knife and a throng;] Falstaff bids him get a cut-purse's knife, and seek out a crowd. Purses, it must be remembered, were formerly hung at the girdle.
b Red-lattice phrases,-) Ale-house expressions. Ale-houses, in old times, were distinguished by red-lattices, as dairies have since been by green ones. : I do relent;] Relent here must mean repent. The quarto has recant, which is the better word.
a Canaries,–] Mrs. Q. means, quandaries.