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Ford. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the buck! Buck, buck, buck? Ay, buck; I warrant you, buck; and of the season too; it shall appear.' (Ereunt Servants with the basket] Gentlemen, I have dreamed to-night; I'll tell you my dream. Here, here, here be my keys: ascend my chambers, search, seek, find out: I'll warrant, we ’ll unkennel the fox:-Let me stop this way first:—So, now uncape.?
it shall appear.] Ford seems to allude to the curkold's horns. So afterwards : “ -- and so buffets himself on the fore. head, crying, peer out, peer out.” Of the scason is a phrase of the forest. Malone.
Mr. Malone points the passage thus: Ay, buck; I warrant you, buck, and of the season too; it shall appear." I am satisfied with the old punctuation. In The Rape of Lucrece, our poet makes his heroine compare herself to an “unseasonable doe;"! and, in Blunt's Customs of Manors, p. 168, is the same phrase employed by Ford: “ A bukke delivered him of seyssone, by the woodmaster and keepers of Needwoode.” Steevens.
So, in a letter written by Queen Catharine, in 1526, Howard's Collection, Vol. I, p. 212: “We will and command you, that ye delyver or cause to be delyvered unto our trusty and well-beloved John Creusse—one buck of season.”—“ The season of the hynd or doe (says Manwood) doth begin at Holy-rood-day, and lasteth till Candelmas.” Forest Laws, 1598. Malone.
So, now uncape.] So the folio of 1623 reads, and rightly. It is a term in fox-hunting, which signifies to dig out the fox when earthed. And here is as much as to say, take out the foul linen under which the adulterer lies hid. The Oxford editor reads—uncouple, out of pure love to an emendation.
Warburton. Dr. Warburton seems to have forgot that the linen was alrea. dy carried away. The allusion in the foregoing sentence is to the stopping every hole at which a fox could enter, before they uncape or turn him out of the bag in which he was brought. I suppose every one has heard of a bag-fox. Strevens.
Warburton, in his note on this passage, not only forgets that the foul linen had been carried away, but he also forgets that Ford did not at that time know that Falstaff had been hid under it; and Steevens forgets that they had not Falstaff in their possession, as hunters have a bag-fox, but were to find out where he was hid. They were not to chase him, but to rouze him. I therefore believe that Hanmer's amendment is right, and that we ought to read-uncouple.–Ford, like a good sportsman, first stops the earths, and then uncouples the hounds." M. Mason.
Mr. M. Mason also seems to forget that Ford at least thought he had Falstaff secure in his house, as in a bag, and therefore speaks of him in terms applicable to a bag-fox. Steevens.
Page. Good master Ford, be contented; you wrong yourself too much.
Ford. True, master Page.-Up, gentlemen; you shall see sport anon: follow me gentlemen. [Erit.
Eva. This is ferry fantastical humours, and jealousies.
Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France: it is not jealous in France.
Page. Nay, follow him gentlemen; see the issue of his search.
[Exeunt Eva. Page, and Caius. Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this?
Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that
my husband is deceived, or sir John. Mrs. Page. What a taking was he in, when your husband asked who was in the basket !3
Mrs. Ford. I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would all of the same strain were in the same distress.
Mrs. Ford. I think, my husband hath some special suspicion of Falstaff's being here; for I never saw him so gross in his jealousy till now.
Mrs. Page. I will lay a plot to try that: And we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff: his dissolute disease will scarce obey this medicine.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we send that foolish carrion, mistress Quickly, to him, and excuse his throwing into the water; and give him another hope, to betray him to another punishment?
Mrs. Page. We'll do it; let him be sent for to-morrow,
eight o'clock, to have amends. Re-enter Ford, PAGE, Caius, and Sir Hugh EVANS.
Ford. I cannot find him: may be the knave bragg’d of that he could not compass.
Mrs. Page. Heard you that?
who was in the basket!] We should read—what was in the basket: for though in fact Ford has asked no such question, he could never suspect there was either man or woman in it. The propriety of this emendation is manifest from a subsequent passage, where Falstaff tells Master Brook-"the jealous knave asked them once or twice what they had in their basket.” Ritson.
Mrs. Ford. Ay, ay, peace: _You use me well, master Ford, do
Ford. Ay, I do so.
Mrs. Ford. Heaven make you better than your thoughts !
Mrs. Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, master Ford.
Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.
Eva. If there be any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses, heaven forgive my sins at the day of judgement !
Caius. By gar, nor I too; dere is no bodies. Page. Fie, fie, master Ford! are you not ashamed? What spirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I would not have your distemper in this kind, for the wealth of Windsor Castle.
Ford. 'Tis my fault, master Page: I suffer for it.
Eva. You suffer for a pad conscience: your wife is as honest a 'omans, as I will desires among five thousand, and five hundred too.
Caius. By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman.
-Come come, walk in the park: I pray you, pardon me; I will hereafter make known to you, why I have done this. Come, wife ;-come, mistress Page; I pray you pardon me; pray heartily, pardon me.
Page. Let's go in, gentlemen; but, trust me, we 'll mock him. I do invite you to-morrow morning to my house to breakfast; after, we'll a birding together; I have a fine hawk for the bush: Shall it be so?
Ford. Any thing.
Eva. If there is one, I shall make two in the company.
Caius. If there be one or two, I shall make-a de turd.
Eva. I pray you now, remembrance to-morrow on the lousy knave, mine host.
Caius. Dat is good; by gar, vit all my heart.
Eva. A lousy knave; to have his gibes, and his mockeries.
· A Room in Page's House.
Enter FENTON and Mistress ANNE PAGE.
Anne. Alas! how then?
Why, thou must be thyself.
Anne. May be, he tells you true.
Fent. No, heaven so speed me in my time to come!
Gentle master Fenton,
[They converse apart. Enter Shallow, SLENDER, and Mrs. QUICKLY.
Shal. Break their talk, mistress Quickly; my kinsman shall speak for himself.
- father's wealth – ] Some light may be given to those whoʻshall endeavour to calculate the increase of English wealth, by observing, that Latymer, in the time of Edward VI, mentions it as a proof of his father's prosperity, That though but a yeoman, he gave his daughters five pounds each for her portion. At the latter end of Elizabeth, seven hundred pounds were such a temptation to courtship, as made all other motives suspected. Congreve makes twelve thousand pounds more than a counterbalance to the affectation of Belinda. No poet will now fly his favourite character at less than fifty thousand. Johnson,
Slen. I 'll make a shaft or a bolt on 't:5 slid, 'tis but venturing
Shal. Be not dismay’d.
Slen. No, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that, but that I am afeard. Quick. Hark ye; master Slender would speak a word
Anne. I come to him.—This is my father's choice. 0, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a year!
(Aside. Quick. And how does good master Fenton? Pray you, a word with you.
Shal. She 's coming; to her, coz. O boy, thou hadst a father!
Slen I had a father, mistress Anne ;—my uncle can tell you good jests of him:-Pray you, uncle, tell mistress Anne the jest, how my father stole two geese out of a pen, good uncle.
Shal. Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.
Slen. Ay, that I do; as well as I love any woman in Glocestershire.
Shal. He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.
Slen. Ay, that I will, come cut and long-tail,6 under the degree of a 'squire.
5 I'll make a shaft or a bolt on't:) To make a bolt or a shaft of a thing is enumerated by Ray, amongst others, in his collection of proverbial phrases. Ray's Proverbs, p. 179, edit. 1742.
So, in a letter from James Howell, dated 19 Aug. 1623: “ The prince is preparing for his journey. I shall to it again closely when he is gone, or make a shaft or bolt of it.” Howell's Letters, p. 146, edit. 1754. Reed.
The shaft was such an arrow as skilful archers employed. The bolt in this proverb means, I think, the fool's bolt. Malone.
A shaft was a general term for an arrow. A bolt was a thick short one, with a knob at the end of it. It was only employed to shoot birds with, and was commonly called a “ bird-bolt.” The word occurs again in Much Ado about Nothing, Love's Labour's Lost, and Twelfth Night. Steevens.
come cut and long-tail,} i. e. come poor, or rich, to offer himself as my rival. The following is said to be the origin of the phrase:- According to the forest laws, the dog of a man, who had no right to the privilege of chace, was obliged to cut, or law his dog among other modes of disabling him, by depriving him