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me so.

Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.
Simp. And what says the, I pray, Sir ?

Fal. Marry, she says, that the very fame man, that beguil'd master Slender of his chain, cozen’d him of it.

Simp. I would, I could have spoken with the woman herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too, from him.

Fal. What are they? let us know.
Hoft. Ay, come; quick.
Şimp. I may not conceal them, Sir.
Fal. Conceal them, or thou dy'st.

Siup. Why, Sir, they were nothing but about miftress Anne Page ; to know, if it were my master's fortune to have her or no.

Fal. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.
Simp. What, Sir?
Fal. To have her, or no: go; fay, the woman told
Simp. May I be so bold to say so, Sir?
Fal. Ay, Sir; like who more bold.

Simp. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings.

[Exit Simple. Hoft. Thou art clarkly; thou art clarkly, Sir John: was there a wise woman with thee?

Fal. Ay, that there was, mine Hoit; one, that hath taught me more wit than ever I learn's before in

my

life; and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning

Enter Bardolph.
Bard. Out, alas, Sir, cozenage ! meer cozenage !

Hoft. Where be my horses, speak well of them, varletto.

Bard. Run away with the cozeners; for so soon as I came beyond Eaton, they threw me off from behind one of them in a sough of mire, and set spurs, and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faupus's.

Hoft. They are gone but to meet the Duke; villain; do not say, they are fied : Germans are honeft men.

Enter

Enter Evans.
Eva, Where is mine Hoft.
Hoft. What is the matter, Sir ?

Eva. Have a care of your entertainments; there is a friend o'mine come to town, tells me, there is three cozen-jermans that has cozen'd all the Hofts of Reading, of Maidenbead, of Colebrook, of horses and mony. I tell you for good will; look you; you are wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-stocks, and 'tis not convenient you Thould be cozen'd; fare you well.

[Exit. Enter Caius. Caius. Ver' is mine Hoft de Jartere ? Hoft. Here, master Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma.

Caius, I cannot tell vat is dat ; but it is tell-a-me, dat you make a grand preparation for a Duke de famany; by my trot, der is no Duke, dat the Court is know, to come; I tell you for good will; adieu.

[Exit. HA. Hue and cry, villain, go! aflit me, Knight, I am undone ; fly, run, hue and cry! Villain, I am undone!

[Exit. Fal. I would, all the world might be cozen'd, for [ have been cozened and beaten too. If it should come · to the ear of the Court, how I have been transformed, and how my transformation hath been washid and cudgeld, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermens boots with me. rant, they would whip me with their fine wits, 'till [ were as creft faln as a dry'd pear. I never prosper'd since I forswore myfelf at Primero. Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.

Enter Mistress Quickly. Now, whence come you?

Quic. From the two parties, forfooth.

Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other. and so they shall be both bestow'd. I have suffer'd more

for

I war

for their fakes, more than the villainous inconfancy of man's disposition is able to bear.

Quic. And have not they suffer'd, yes, I warrant, speciously one of them; mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.

Fal. What tell'At thou me of black and blue ? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brainford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, counterfeiting the (17) a&ion of a wood woman, deliver'd me, the knave constable had set me i'th' ftocks, i'the common Atocks, for a witch.

Quic. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber; you hall hear how things go, and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will fay somewhat. Good hearts what ado is here to bring you together ? fure, one of you does not serve heav'n well, that you are fo cross'd. Fal. Come up into my chamber.

fExeunt,

Enter Fenton and Hoit.

Hoft. Master Fenton, talk not to me, my mind is heavy, I will give over all.

Fent. Yet hear me speak; affift me in my purpose, And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee

(17) Action of an old Woman." This Reading is no great Compliment to the Sagacity of our former Editors, who could content themselves with Words, without any Regard to the Reasoning. What! was it any Dexterity of Wit in Sir Jubn Falfiaf, to counterfeit the Action of an Old Woman, in order to escape being.apprehended for a Witch? Surely, one would imagine, This was the readiest Meins to bring him into such a Scrape, for none but Old Women have ever been suspected of being Witches.' The Text must certainly be restor'd, as I have corrected it, a wood Woman ; 'i. e, a crazy, frantick Woman; ene too wild, and filly, and unmeaning, to have either the Malice, or mischievous Sublety of a Witch in her. I have already explain'd, and prov'd the use of this Term, in one of my Notes on the Two Gentlemen of Verona.

A

A hundred pound in gold more than your lofs.

Hoft. I will hear you, master Fenton ; and I will, at the least, keep your counsel.

Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection,
(So far forth as herself might be her chuser)
Ev'n to my wish. I have a letter from her
Of such contents, as you will wonder at;
The mirth whereof's so Jarded with my matter,
That neither fingly can be manifefted,
Without the fhew of both., Fat Sir John Fallaf
Hath a great Scene; the image of the jest
I'll shew you here at large. Hark, good mine Hot ;
To night at Herne's Oak, juft 'twixt twelve and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen ;
The purpose why, is here ; in which disguise,
While other jests are something rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to flip
Away with Şlender, and with him at Eaton
Immediately to marry; she hath consented. Now, Sir,
Her mother, ever strong against that match,
And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise fhuffle her away,
While other sports are tasking of their minds ;
And at the Deanry, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her; to this her mother's plot
She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
Made promise to the Doctor Now, thus it refts ;
Her father means the shall be all in white,
And in that dress when Slender fees his time
To take her by the hand, and bid her go,
She shall go with him. Her mother hath intended,
The better to devote her to the Doctor,
(For they must all be mask'd and vizarded)
That, quaint in green, she shall be loose enrobid,
With ribbands-pendent, faring 'bout her head;
And when the Doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and on that token,
The maid hath given consent to

go
with him.

Hot.

HA. Which means the to deceive? father or mother ?

Fent. Both, my good Host, to go along with me;
And here it rests, that you'll procure the Vicar
To stay for me at church, 'twixt twelve and one,
And in the lawful name of marrying,
To give our hearts united ceremony.

Hoft. Well, husband your device ; f'll to the Vicar. Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.

Fent. So shall I evermore be bound to thee; Beside, I'll make a present recompence.

[Exeunt. Re-enter Falstaff and Mistress Quickly. Fal. Pr’ythee, no more pratling; go, I'll hold. This is the third time; I hope, good luck lies in odd numbers ; away, go; they say, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance or death ; away.

Quic. I'll provide you a chain, and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns.

Exit Mrs. Quickly. Fal. Away, I say, time wears: hold up your head and mince.

Enter Ford.

How now, mafter Brook? master Brook, the matter will be known to night, or never.

Be you in the Park about midnight, at Herne's Oak, and you shall fee wonders.

Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, Sir, as you told me you had appointed ?

Ful. I went to her, master Brook, as you fee, like a poor old man; but I came from her, master Brook, like a poor old woman. That same knave, Ford her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, master Brook, that ever govern'd frenzy... I will tell you ; he beat me grievoutly, in the shape of a woman ; for in the shape of a man, master Brook, I fear not Goliah with a weaver's beam ; becaufe I know also, life is a shuttle ; I am in hafte ; go along with me, I'll tell you all, matter Brook. Since I plucke geese, play'd truant, and whipt top, I knew not what 'twas to be beaten, 'till larely.

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