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Sim. May I be so bold to say so, sir ?
Sim. I thank your worship : I shall make my master glad with these tidings. (Exit Simple.
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.
Enter Bardolph. Bard. Out, alas, sir! cozenage ! meer cozenage!
Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.
Bard. Run away with 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.
Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, yil. lain : do not say, they be fled; Germans are honest
Enter Sir Hugh Evans.
Eva. Have a care of your entertainments : there is a friend of mine come to town, tells me, there is three cousin 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 'tis not convenient you should be cozened : Fare you well.
(Exit. . Enter Doctor Caius. Caius. Vere is mine Host de Jarterre ? ..
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 will : adieu.
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 cozen'd 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 fisherman's boots with me; I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crest-fallen as a dried pear. I never prospered since I foreswore myself at Primero*. "Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.. .
. Enter Mrs. Quickly. Now! whence come you?
Quick. From the two parties, forsooth.
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.
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? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rain
of Brentford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman,
* A game at cards.
me, the OF WINT
Scene VI.] OF WINDSOR.
215 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. [Exeunt.
Enter Fenton and Host.
pose, 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'II 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,
* In the letter,
Her father hath commanded her to slip
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 recompence. [Exeunt.
Enter Falstaff and Mrs. Quickly, Fal. Pry'thee, 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 odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death. -Away.
Quick. I'll provide you a chain, and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns.
Fal. Away, I say; time wears: hold up your head, and mince.
(Exit Mrs. Quickly.
Enter Ford. How now, master Brook? Master Brook, the matter will be known to-night, or never. Be you in the Park about midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall see wonders.
Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, sir, as you told me you had appointed ?
Fal. I went to her, master Brook, as you see, like a poor old man : but I came from her, master Brook, like a poor old woman. That same knave, Ford her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, master Brook, that ever governed phrensy. I will tell you.-He beat me grievously, in the shape of a woman ; for in the shape of man, master Brook, I fear not Goliath with a weaver's beam ; because I know also, life is a shuttle. I am in haste; go along with me; I'll tell you all, master Brook. Since I plucked geese, played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what it was to be beaten, till lately. Follow me: I'll tell you strange things of this knave Ford : on whom to-night I will be revenged, and I will deliver his wife into your hand. Follow : Strange things in hand, master Brook ! follow.
[Exeunt. * Keep to the time. VOL. I.