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Fal. But what says she to me? be brief, my good she Mercury.
Quick. 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?
Quick. 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 50 life with him, good heart.
Fal. Ten and eleven: Woman, commend me to her; I will not fail her.
Quick. Why you say well : But I have another messenger to your worship: Mistress Page hath her hearty commendations to you too ;—and let me tell you in your ear, she'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, she hopes, there will come a time. I never knew a woman so dote
upon a man ; surely, I think you have charms, la; yes, in truth.
Fal. Not I, I assure thee; setting the attraction of my good parts aside, I have no other charms.
Quick. Blessing on your heart fort!
wife, and Page's wife, acquainted each other how they love me?
Quick. That were a jest, indeed !--they have not so 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 Windsor leads a better life than she does ; do what she will, say what she will, take all, pay all, go to bed when she list, rise when she list, all is as she will; and, truly, she deserves it; for if there be a kind woman in Windsor, she is one. You must send her your page; no remedy.
Fal. Why, I will.
Quick. Nay, but do so then : and, look you, he may come and go between you both; and, in any case, 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 should 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.-Boy, go along with this woman.--This news distracts me!
[Exeunt Quickly and Robin. Pist. This punk is one of Cupid's carriers :Clap on more sails ; pursue, up with your fights 52; Give fire; she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all!
[Erit Pistol. Fal. Say'st thou so, old Jack ? go thy ways; I'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 say, 'tis grossly done ; so it be fairly done, no matter.
Enter BARDOLPH. Bard. Sir John, there's one master Brook below would fain speak with you, and be acquainted with you; and hath sent your worship a morning's draught of sack.
Fal. Brook, is his name?
Fal. Call him in ; [Exit Bardolph.] Such Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such liquor. Ah! ha! mistress Ford and mistress Page, have I encompass'd you ? go to; via 58 !
Re-enter BARDOLPIT, with FORD disguised. Ford. Bless
sir. Fal. And you, sir : Would you speak with me?
Ford. I make bold, to press with so little preparation upon you.
Fal. You're welcome; What's your will ? Give us leave, drawer.
[Erit Bardolph. Ford. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name is Brook.
Fal. Good master Brook, I desire more acquaintance of you.
Ford. Good sir John, I sue for yours : not to charge
you 54; for I must let you understand, I think myself in better plight for a lender than you are: the which hath something embolden'd me to this unseason'd intrusion; for they say, if money go before, all ways do
Fal. Money is a good soldier, sir, 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 shall be glad to be your servant.
Ford. Sir, I hear you are a scholar,- 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 shall discover a thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine own imperfection : 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 the easier, sith 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.
bestow'd much on her; follow'd her with a doting observance; engross'd opportunities to meet her; fee'd every slight occasion, 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 she would have given : briefly, I have pursued her, as love hath pursued me; which hath been, on the wing of all occasions. 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 purchased 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 pursues.
Fal. Have you received no promise of satisfaction at 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 erected 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 she 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