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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 ?
Ford. You heard what this knave told me ; did you not?
Page. Yes; And you heard what the other told me?
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 his 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 should 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 be thus satisfied.
Page. Look, where my ranting host of the Garter comes : there is either liquor in his pate, or money in 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 Welch priest, and Caius the French doctor.
Ford. Good mine host o'the Garter, a word with you. Host. What say'st thou, bully-rook ?
[They go aside. Shal. Will you [TO PAGE] go with us to behold it? 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 guestcavalier ?
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 on, hearts ?
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 Paye ; '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 :-I had rather hear them scold than fight.
[Exeunt Host, Shallow, 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 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 labour ; if she be otherwise, 'tis labour well bestowed.
SCENE II.-A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter Falstaff and Pistol.
Pist. Why, then the world's inine 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 geminy of baboons. I am damned in hell, for swearing to gentlemen my friends, you were good soldiers, and tall fellows : and when Mrs Bridget lost the handle of her fan, I took’t upon mine honour, 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 :-go.—A short knife and a throng;—to your manor of Pickt-hatch, go.—You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue !—you stand upon your honour !—Why, thou unconfinable baseness, it is as much as I can do, to keep the terms of my honour precise. I, I, I myself sometimes, leaving the fear of heaven on the left hand, and hiding mine honour in mine necessity, am fain to shuffle, to hedge, and to lurch ; and yet you, rogue, willensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain looks, your red-lattice
phrases, and your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your honour ! 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 Mrs Ford, sir ;-I pray, come a little nearer this ways :-I myself dwell with master doctor Caius.
Fal. Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say,• Quick. Your worship says very true: I pray your 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 ?