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gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable discourse, of great admittance 55, authentick in your place and person, generally allowed 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 me so much of your time in exchange of it, as to lay an amiable siege 56 to the honesty 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 vehemency 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 securely on the excellency of her honour, that the folly of my soul dares not present itself; she is too bright to be look'd against. Now, could I come to her with any detection in my hand, my 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 embattled 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 !
Fal. Master Brook, I say you
shall. 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 shall know how I speed.
Ford. I am blest in your acquaintance. Do you know Ford, sir ?
Fal. Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I know him not :-yet I wrong him, to call him poor; they say, the jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money; for the which his wife seems to me well-favour’d. I will use her as the key of the cuckoldly rogue's coffer; and there's my
harvest-home. Ford. I would you knew Ford, sir; that you might avoid him, if you saw him.
Fal. Hang him, mechanical salt-butter rogue! I will stare him out of his wits; I will awe him with my cudgel : it shall hang like a meteor o'er the cuckold's horns : master Brook, thou shalt know, I will predominate over the peasant, and thou shalt lie with his wife.-Come to me soon at night :-Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his stile 57; thou, master Brook, shalt know him for knave and cuckold :to me soon at night.
Ford. What a damn'd Epicurean rascal is this — My heart is ready to crack with impatience.—Who says, this is improvident jealousy? My wife hath sent to him, the hour is fixed, the match is made. Would any man have thought this ?--See the hell of having a false woman! my bed shall be abused, my coffers ransacked, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not only receive this villainous wrong, but stand under the adoption of abominable terms, and by him that does me this wrong.
Terms! names! -Amaimon sounds well; Lucifer, well; Barbason, well 58 ; yet they are devils' additions, the names of fiends : but cuckold! wittol-cuckold! the devil himself hath not such a name, Page is an ass, a secure ass; he will trust his wife, he will not be jealous : I will rather trust a Fleming with my butter, parson Hugh the Welchman with my cheese, an Irishman with my aqua-vitæ bottle, or a thief to walk my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself: then she plots, then she ruminates, then she devises : and what they think in their hearts they may effect, they will break their hearts but they will effect. Heaven be praised for my jealousy !-Eleven o'clock the hour ;-I will prevent this, detect my wife, be revenged on Falstaff, and laugh at Page. I will about it; better three hours too soon, than a minute too late. Fie, fie, fie! cuckold! cuckold! cuckold ! [Exit.
Enter Caius and RUGBY.
Rug. 'Tis past the hour, sir, that sir Hugh promised to meet.
Caius. By gar, he has save his soul, dat he is no come; he has pray his Pible vell, dat he is no come: by gar, Jack Rugby, he is dead already, if he be come.
Rug. He is wise, sir ; he knew, your worship would kill him, if he came.
Caius. By gar, de herring is no dead, so as I vill kill him. Take your rapier, Jack; I vill tell you how I vill kill him.
Rug. Alas, sir, I cannot fence. :: Caius. Villainy, take your rapier.
Rug. Forbear; here's company.
Enter Host, SHALLOW, SLENDER and Page.
Caius. Vat be all you, one, two, tree, four, come for