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Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.
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.
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. 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
life; and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning
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.
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 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.
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 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
HA. Which means the to deceive? father or mother ?
Fent. Both, my good Host, to go along with me;
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.
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.