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Page. The humor of it, quoth’a! here's a fellow frights humor out of his wits.
Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.
Page. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.
Ford. If I do find it, well.
Page. I will not believe such a Cataian," though the priest of the town commended him for a true man.
Ford. 'Twas a good, sensible fellow : Well.?
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. Enter Mistress Quickly. Mrs. Ford. Trust me, I thought on her: she'll fit it.
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 you.
[Exeunt Mrs. Page, Mrs. Ford, and
MRs. Quickly. Page. How now, master Ford ?
1 i. e. a Chinese; Cataia, Cathay, being the name given to China by the old travellers, some of whom have mentioned the dextrous thieving of the people there: hence a sharper or thief was sometimes called a Cataian.
2 This and the two preceding speeches are soliloquies of Ford, and have no connection with what Page says, who is also making comments on what had passed, without attending to Ford.
Ford. You heard what this knave told me; did
Page. Yes; and you heard what the other told me? Ford. Do you think there is truth in them?
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 ?
Ford. I like it never the better for that.-Does he lie at the Garter ?
Page. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage towards 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
I be thus satisfied.
Page. Look, where my ranting host of the Garter comes: there is either liquor in his pate, or money his purse, when he looks so merrily.—How now, mine host?
Enter Host and SHALLOW. Host. How now, bully-rook ? thou’rt a gentleman. cavalero-justice, 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, bullyrook.
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' the Garter, a word with you. Ilost. What say'st thou, bully-rook ?
[They go aside. Shal. Will you [to Page] go with us to behold it ? guest-cavalier ?
My merry host hath had the measuring of their weapons; and I think he 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
Ford. None, I protest : but I'll give you a pottle of burnt sack to give me recourse to him, and tell him, my name is Brook; 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, Cavaliers ? 1
Shal. Have with you, mine host.
Page. I have heard, the Frenchman hath good skill in his
rapier. Shal. Tut, sir, I could have told you more : In these times you stand on distance, your passes, stoccadoes, and I know not what: 'tis the heart, master Page : 'tis here, 'tis 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?
Page. Have with you :-) had rather hear them scold than fight. Exeunt Host, Shal. and Page.
Ford. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on his wife's frailty, yet I cannot put off my opinion so easily. She was in his company at Page's house; and, what they made 3 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 labor ; if she be otherwise, 'tis labor well bestowed.
1 The folio of 1623 reads An-heires, which is unintelligible: the word in the text, the conjecture of Mr. Boaden, Malone considered the best that had been offered. Caualeires would have been the orthography of the old copy, and the host has the term frequently in his mouth. Mr. Steevens substituted on hearts.
2 Before the introduction of rapiers, the swords in use were of an enorinous length, and sometimes used with both hands.
3 An obsolete phrase, signifying—“what they did there."
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 gemini 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 honor, thou hadst it not.
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 :-90.-A short
I knife and a throng; 3-to your manor of Pickt-hatch, go.—You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue ! you stand upon your honor !—Why, thou unconfinable baseness, it is as much as I can do to keep the terms of my honor precise. I, I, I myself sometimes, leaving the fear of heaven on the left hand, and hiding mine honor in my necessity, am fain to shuffle, to hedge, and to lurch ; and yet you, rogue, will ensconce your
1 Equipage appears to have been a cant term, which Warburton conjectured to mean stolen goods. Mr. Steevens thinks it means attendance; i. e. “ if you will lend me the money, I will pay you again in attendance," but has failed to produce an example of the use of the word in that sense.
2 i. e. he who draws along with you, who is joined with you in all your 3 i. e. go and cut purses in a crowd. 4 Pick'l-hatch was in Turnbull Street, Cow Cross, Clerkenwell, a haunt of the worst part of both sexes. The unseasonable and obstreperous irruptions of the swash-bucklers of that age rendered a hatch, or half-door with spikes upon it, a necessary defence to a brothel.
rags, your cat-a-mountain looks, your red-lattice? phrases, and your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your honor! You will not do it, you ?
Pist. I do relent; what would'st thou more of man?
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
Quick. I'll be sworn; as my mother was, the first hour I was born.
Fal. I do believe the swearer: What with me?
Quick. Shall I vouchsafe your worship a word or two? 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:-1 myself dwell with master doctor Caius.
Fal. Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say, —
-I 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,–
1 Alehouse language. Red lattice windows formerly denoted an alehouse.