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Being thus crammed in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds, were called forth by their mistress, to carry me in the name of foul clothes to Datchetlane : they took me on their shoulders; met the jealous knave their master in the door; who asked them once or twice what they had in their basket: I quaked for fear, least the lunatic knave would have searched it; but fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold, held his hand. Well; on went he for a search, and away went I for foul clothes. But mark the sequel, master Brook : I suffered the pangs of three several deaths : first, an intolerable fright, to be detected with a jealous rotten bell-wether: next, to be compassed, like a good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head: and then, to be stopped in, like a strong distillation, with stinking clothes that fretted in their own grease: think of that,-a man of my kidney,-think of that; that am as subject to heat as butter; a man of continual dissolution and thaw; it was a miracle, to 'scape suffocation. And in the height of this bath, when I was more than half stewed in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown into the Thames, and cooled, glowing hot, in that surge, like a horse shoe; think of that,-hissing hot,—think of that, master Brook.
Ford. In good sadness, sir, I am sorry that for any sake you have suffered all this. My suit then is desperate ; you'll undertake her no more.
Fal. Master Brook, I will be thrown into Ætna, as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her thus. Her husband is this morning gone a birding : I have received froin her another embassy of meeting ; 'twixt eight and nine is the hour, master Brook.
Ford. 'Tis past eight already, sir.
Fal. Is it? I will then address me to my appointment. Come to me at your convenient leisure, and you shall know how I speed; and the conclusion shall be crowned with your enjoying her: Adieu. You shall have her, master Brook; master Brook, you shall cuckold Ford.
[Erit. Ford. Hum! ha! is this a vision ? is this a dream ? do I sleep? Master Ford, awake; awake, master Ford ; there's a hole made in your best coat, master Ford. This 'tis to be married! this 'tis to have linen, and buck-baskets !-Well, I will proclaim myself what I am: I will now take the lecher ; he is at my house: he cannot 'scape me; 'tis impossible he should; he cannot creep into a halfpenny purse, nor into a pepper box: but, jest the devil that guides him should aid him, I will search impossible places. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not, shall not make me tame: if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go with me, I'll be horn mad.
[Erit. ACT IV.
SCENE I.—The Street.
Enter Mrs Page, Mrs Quickly, and WILLIAM. Mrs Page. Is he at master Ford's already, think'st thou?
Quick. Sure, he is by this; or will be presently : but truly, he is very courageous mad, about his throwing into the water. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly.
Mrs Page. I'll be with her by and by; I'll but bring my young man here to school : Look, where his master comes ; 'tis a playing-day, I see.
Enter Sir Hugh Evans. How now, sir Hugh ? no school to-day?
Eva. No; master Slender is let the boys leave to play.
Quick. Blessing of his heart!
Mrs Page. Sir Hugh, my husband says, my son profits nothing in the world at his book; I pray you, ask bim some questions in his accidence.
Eva. Come hither, William; hold up your head ; come.
Mrs Page. Come on, sirrah ; hold up your head; answer your master, be not afraid.
Eva. William, how many numbers is in nouns ?
Quick. Truly, I thought there had been one number more; because they say, od's nouns.
Eva. Peace your tattlings. What is fair, William ? Will. Pulcher.
Quick. Poulcats! there are fairer things than poulcats, sure.
Eva. You are a very simplicity ’oman ; I pray you, peace. What is lapis, William ? Will. A stone. Eva. And what is a stone, William ? Will. A pebble.
Eva. No, it is lapis : I pray you remember in your prain. Will. Lapis.
Eva. That is good William. What is he, William, that does lend articles ?
Will. Articles are borrowed of the pronoun; and be thus declined, Singulariter, nominativo, hic, hæc, hoc.
Eva. Nominativo, hig, hag, hog;—pray you, mark : genitivo, hujus : Well, what is your accusative case ?
Will. Accusativo, hinc.
Eva. I pray you, have your remembrance, child; Accusativo, hing, hang, hog. Quick. Hang hog is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.
Eva. Leave your prabbles, 'oman. What is the focative case, William ? Will 0–vocativo, O. Eva. Remember, William ; focative is, caret. Quick. And that's a good root. Eva. 'Oman, forbear.
Mrs Page. Peace.
Quick. 'Vengeance of Jenny's case ! fie on her! never name her, child, if she be a whore.
Eva. For shame, 'oman.
Quick. You do ill to teach the child such words : he teaches him to hick and to hack, which they'll do fast enough of themselves; and to call horum :—fie upon
Eva. 'Oman, art thou lunatics ? hast thou no understandings for thy cases, and the numbers of the genders? Thou art as foolish christian creatures as I would desires.
Mrs Page. Pr’ythee hold thy peace.
Eva. Shew me now, William, some declensions of your pronouns. Will. Forsooth, I have forgot.
Eva. It is ki, ka, cod; if you forget your kies, your kas, and your cods, you must be preeches. Go your ways, and play, go.
Mrs Page. He is a better scholar, than I thought he was.
Eva. He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, mistress Page.
Mrs Page. Adieu, good sir Hugh. [Exit Sir Hugh.] Get you home, boy.-Come, we stay too long.