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never get an eye-wink of her. I had myself twenty angels given me this morning ; but I defy all angels in any such sort as they say, but in the way of honesty.--And, I warrant you, they could never get her so much as sip on a cup with the proudest of them all. And yet there has been earls, nay, which is more, pensioners; but, I warrant you, all is one with her.
Fal. But what says she to me? be brief, my good The Mercury.
Quic. Marry, she hath receiv'd your letter, for the which she thanks you a thousand times; and she gives you to notify, that her husband will be absence from his house between ten and eleven.
Fal. Ten and eleven.
Quic. Ay, forsooth : and then you may come and see the picture, she says, that you wot of-Master Ford, her husband, will be from home. Alas! the sweet woman leads an ill life with him, he's a very jealousy man ; she leads a very frampold life with him, good heart.
Fal. Ten and eleven : woman, commend me to her, I will not fail her.
Quic. Why, you say well. But I have another messenger to your Worship. Mistress Page has her hearty commendations to you 100; and let me tell you in your ear, the's as fartuous a civil modest wife, and one (I tell you) that will not miss you morning nor evening prayer, as any is in Windsor, whoe'er be the other; and she bade me tell your Worship, that her husband is seldom from home, but, the hopes, there will come a time I never knew a woman so doat upon a man; surely, I think you have charms, la ; yes, in truth.
Fal. Not I, I assure thee; setting the attraction of iny good parts afide, I have no other charms. Quic. Bleīling on your heart fort!
Fal. But I pray thee, tell me this; has Ford's wise, and Page's wife, acquainted each other how they love me?
Quic. That were a jest indeed; they have not Lo little grace, I hope ; that were a trick, indeed!
but Mistress Page would desire you to send her your little page, of all loves : her husband has a marvellous infection to the little page ; and, truly, Master Page is an honest man. Never a wife in Windfor leads a better life than she does; do what she will, fay what she will, take all, pay all, go to bed when the list, rise when she list, all is as she will; and truly the deserves it; for if there be a kind woman in Windsor, truly she is one. You must send her your page; no remedy.
Fal. Why, I will
Quic. Nay, but do fo then ; and, look you, he may come and go between you both, and in any cale have a nay-word, that you may know one another's mind : and the boy never need to understand any thing; for 'tis not good that children Thould know any wickedness: old folks, you know, have discretion, as they say, and know the world.
Fal. Fare thee well; commend me to them both : there's my purse, I am yet thy debtor. along with this woman.-This news distracts me!
[Exeunt Quickly and Robin. Pift. This pink is one of Cupid's carriers : Clap on more fails; pursue; up with your fights ; Give fire ; she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all!
[Exit Pistol, Fal. Say'st thou so, old Jack? go thy waysI'll make more of thy old body than I have done --will they yet look after thee? Wilt thou, after the expence of so much money, be now a gainer ? Good body, I thank thee; let them fay 'tis grossly done; so it be fairly done, no maiter.
S CE N E IX.
Enter Bardolph Bard. Sir John, there's one Master Brook below would fain speak with yoli, and be acquainted with you; and hath sent your Worship a moruing's draught of fack.
Fol. Brook, is his naine?
Fal. Call him in; [Exit Bardolph.] such Brooks are welcome to me, that o’erflow with such liquor. Ah! ah! Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, have I encompass'd you go to, via!
Re-enter Bardolph, with Ford disguised.
Ford. I make bold to press with so little prepà-
Fal. You're welcome; what's your will ? give us leave, drawer.
[Exit Bardolph. Ford. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much ; my name is Brook.
Fal. Good Master Brook, I defire more acquaintance of you.
Ford. Good Sir John, I fue for yours; not to charge you, for I must let you understand I think myself in better plight for a lender than you are, the which hath something einbolden'd me to this unseafon d intrusion; for they say, if money go before, all ways do ly open. Fal. Money is a good foldier, Şir, and will on.
Ford. Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me; if you will help me to bear it, Sir John, take all, or half, for easing me of the carriage.
Fal. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter.
Ford. I will tell you, Sir, if you will give me the hearing
Fal Speak, good Master Brook, I sliall be glad to be your servant.
Ford. Sir, I hear you are a schelar; (I will be brief with you); and you have been a man long known to me, though I had never so good means, as desire, to make myself acquainted with you: I Mali discover a thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine.own imperfections; but, good Sir John, as you have one eye upon my follies, as you hear them unfolded, turn another into the register of your own, that I may pass with a reproof VOL. III.
the easier ; fith you yourself know how easy it is to be such an offender.
Fal. Very well, Sir; proceed.
Ford. There is a gentlewoman in this town, her husband's name is Ford.
Fal. Well, Sir.
Ford. I have long lov'd her ; and, I protest to you, bestow'd much on her; follow'd her with a doating obfervance; engrofs'd opportunities to meet her; fee'd every slight occafion that could but niggardly give me sight of her ; not only bought many presents to give her, but have given largely to many, to know what he would have given: briefly, I have pursued her, as love hath pursued me, which hath been on the wing of all accasions. But whatsoever I have merited, either in my mind or in my means, meed, I am sure, I have received none, unless experience be a jewel ; that I have purchas'd at an infinite rate, and that hath taught me to say this; " Love like a shadow flies, when substance love
pursues; “ Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pur
fues.” Fal. Have you receiv'd no promise of satisfaction ät her hands?
Ford. Like a fair house built upon another man's ground; so that I have lost my edifice, by mistaking the place where I have erec?ed it.
Fal. To what purpose have you unfolded this to me ?
Ford. When I have told you that, I have told you all. Some say, that though the appear honest to me, yet in other places she enlargeth her mirth so far, that there is shrewd construction made of her. Now, Sir John, here is the heart of my purpose: you are a gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable discourse, of great admittance, autneua
tic in your place and person, generally allow'd for your many war-like, court-like, and learned preparations
Fal. O Sir!
Ford. Believe it, for you know it: there is money, spend it, spend it; spend more, spend all I have; only give nie so much of your time in exchange of it, as to lay an amiable fiege to the honekty of this Ford's wife; use your art of wooing, win her to consent to you; if any man may, you may as soon as any.
Fal. Would it apply well to the vehemence of your affection, that I should win what you would enjoy ? methinks you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.
Ford. O, understand my drift; she dwells so fecurely on the excellency of her honour, that the tolly of my soul dares not present itself; she is too bright to be look'd against. Now, couid I come to her with any detection in my hand, any desires had instance and argument to commend themselves; I could drive her then from the ward of her purity, her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now are too strongly embatteld against me. What say you to't, Sir John ?
Fal. Master Brook, I will first make bold with your money; next, give me your hand; and last, as I am a gentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife.
Ford. O good Sir!
Ford. Want no money, Sir John, you shall want none.
Fal. Want no Mistress Ford, Master Brook, you shall want none. I shall be with her, I may tell you, by her own appointment. Even as you came in to me, her assistant, or go-between, parted from me; I say I shall be with her between ten and eleven; for at that time the jealous rascally knave, her husband, will be forth. Come you to me at night, you Mall know how I speed.