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your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your ho-
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?
Fal. Two thousand, fair woman; and I'll vouchsafe thee the hearing.
Quick. There is one mistress Ford, sir ;-) 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?
Quick. Why, sir, she's a good creature. Lord, lord! your worship's a wanton: Well, heaven forgive you, and all of us, I pray!
Fal. Mistress Ford-come, mistress Ford.
Quick. Marry, this is the short and the long of it; you have brought her into such a canaries, as 'tis wonderful. The best courtier of them all, when the court lay at Windsor, could never have brought her to such a canary. Yet there has been knights, and lords, and gentlemen, with their coaches; 1 warrant you, coach
after coach, letter after letter, gift after gift; smelling so sweetly, (all musk,) and so rushling, I warrant you, in silk and gold; and in such alligant terms; and in sach wine and sugar of the best, and the fairest, that would have won any woman's heart; and, I warrant you, they could 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 she Mercury.
Quick. Marry, she hath received 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 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 your 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 for’t !
Fal. But, I pray thee, tell me this : has Ford's wife, and Page’s' wile, 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 lier your page; no remedy.
Fal. Why, I will."
Quick. Nay, but do so then: and, look you, he may come and
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 ; Give fire; she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all!
[Exit 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 expense 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 overflow such liquor. Ah! ha! 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 preparation upon you.
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 desire more acquaintance
Ford. Good Sir John, I sue 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 embolden'd me to this unseasoned intrusion; for they say, if money go before, all ways do lie open.
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
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, wlierein I must very much lay open mine
with you ;
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.
Ford. I have long loved her, and, I protest to you, bestowed much on her; followed her with a doting observance; engrossed opportunities to meet her; fee'd every slight occasion, that could bat 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.
Ful. 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 gentleman