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with foul shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings, greasy napkins; that, Master Brook, there was the rankest compound of villanous smell that ever offended nostril.

FORD. And how long lay you there?

FAL. Nay, you shall hear, Master Brook, what I have suffered to bring this woman to evil for your good. Being thus crammed in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds, were called forth by their mistress to carry me in the name of foul clothes to Datchet-lane they took me on their shoulders; met the jealous knave their master in the door, who asked them once or twice 90 what they had in their basket: I quaked for fear, lest the lunatic knave would have searched it; but fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold, held his hand. Well: on went he for a search, and away went I for foul clothes. But mark the sequel, Master Brook: I suffered the pangs of three several deaths; first, an intolerable fright, to be detected with a jealous rotten bellwether; next, to be compassed, like a good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head, 99 and then, to be stopped in, like a strong distillation, with stinking clothes that fretted in their own grease: think of that, a man of my kidney, - think of that, -that am as subject to heat as butter; a man of continual dissolution and thaw: it was a miracle to 'scape suffocation. And in the height of this bath, when I

97 detected with] detected by. The usage is common.

Cf. Jul. Cæs.,

III, ii, 197: "Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors." 98 bilbo] the blade of a bilbo, i. e. a Spanish sword from Bilbao, which was extremely flexible and elastic. Cf. I, i, 146, supra.

was more than half stewed in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown into the Thames, and cooled, glowing hot, in that surge, like a horse-shoe; think of that, - hissing hot, think of that, Master Brook.

FORD. In good sadness, sir, I am sorry that for my sake you have suffered all this. My suit, then, is desperate; you'll undertake her no more?

Her

FAL. Master Brook, I will be thrown into Etna, as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her thus. husband is this morning gone a-birding: I have received from her another embassy of meeting; 'twixt eight and nine is the hour, Master Brook.

FORD. 'Tis past eight already, sir.

111

FAL. Is it? I will then address me to my appointment. Come to me at your convenient leisure, and you shall know how I speed; and the conclusion shall be crowned with your enjoying her. Adieu. You shall have her, Master Brook; Master Brook, you shall cuckold Ford. [Exit. 122

FORD. Hum! ha! is this a vision? is this a dream? do I sleep? Master Ford, awake! awake, Master Ford! there's a hole made in your best coat, Master Ford. This 't is to be married! this 't is to have linen and buckbaskets! Well, I will proclaim myself what I am: I will now take the lecher; he is at my house; he cannot 'scape me; 'tis impossible he should; he cannot creep into a halfpenny purse, nor into a pepper-box: but, lest

109 In good sadness] In sober earnest. Cf. IV, ii, 93, infra, and note on T. of Shrew, V, ii, 63.

129 halfpenny purse] The halfpenny, which was of silver, was a very

the devil that guides him should aid him, I will search impossible places. places. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not shall not make me tame: if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go with me, I'll be horn-mad.

[Exit. 134

small coin. Cf. Bacon's Essays, 1597, Dedication: "The new halfpence which, though the silver were good, yet the pieces were small."

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

S HE AT MASTER FORD'S already, think'st thou ?

QUICK. Sure he is by this, or will be presently: but, truly, he is very courageous mad about his throwing into the water. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly.

MRS PAGE. I'll be with her by and by; I'll but bring my young man here to school. Look, where his master comes; 't is a playing-day, I see.

Enter SIR HUGH EVANS

[graphic]

How now, Sir Hugh! no school to-day?

EVANS. NO; Master Slender is let the boys leave to 10

play.

QUICK. Blessing of his heart!

MRS PAGE. Sir Hugh, my husband says my son profits nothing in the world at his book. I pray you, ask him some questions in his accidence.

EVANS. Come hither, William; hold up your head;

come.

MRS PAGE. Come on, sirrah; hold up your head; answer your master, be not afraid.

EVANS. William, how many numbers is in nouns ?
WILL. Two.

QUICK. Truly, I thought there had been one number more, because they say, "Od's nouns."

EVANS. Peace your tattlings! What is "fair," William? WILL. Pulcher.

QUICK. Polecats! there are fairer things than polecats, sure.

EVANS. You are a very simplicity 'oman: I pray you, peace. What is "lapis," William?

WILL. A stone.

EVANS. And what is "a stone," William ?

WILL. A pebble.

EVANS. No, it is "lapis": I pray you, remember in your prain.

WILL. Lapis.

EVANS. That is a good William. What is he, William, that does lend articles?

20

30

Act IV, Sc. I This scene is omitted from the two earliest Quartos. It was first printed in the First Folio.

4 courageous] apparently a blunder for "outrageous."

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