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Enter ANNE PAGE with wine; MISTRESS FORD and MISTRESS PAGE
following. PAGE. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in ; we'll drink within.
[Exit ANNE PAGE. SLEN. O heaven! this is mistress Anne Page. PAGE. How now, mistress Ford ?
FAL. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met: by your leave, good mistress.
[Kissing her. PAGE. Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome: come, we have a hot venison pasty to dinner; come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness. [Exeunt all but SHAL., SLENDER, and EVANS.
SLEN. I had rather than forty shillings, I had my book of Songs and Sonnets here :
Enter SIMPLE. how now, Simple! where have you been ? I must wait on myself, must I? You have not The Book of Riddles about you, have you?
SIM. Book of Riddles! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ? a
SHAL. Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with you, coz: marry, this, coz; there is, as 't were, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by sir Hugh here ;-do you understand me?
SLEN. Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so, I shall do that that is reason.
SHAL, Nay, but understand me.
Eva. Give ear to his motions, master Slender: I will description the matter to you, if you pe capacity of it.
SLEN. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says: I pray you, pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his country, simple though I stand here.
Eva. But that is not the question ; the question is concerning your marriage.
SHAL. Ay, there's the point, sir.
SLEN. Why, if it be so, I will marry her, upon any reasonable demands.
Eva. But can you affection the 'oman? Let us command to know that of your mouth, or of your lips; for divers philosophers hold, that the lips is parcelb of the mouth ;—therefore, precisely, can you carry your good will to the maid ?
SHAL. Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her?
SLEN. I hope, sir,—I will do, as it shall become one that would do reason.
Eva. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies, you must speak possitable, if you can carry her your desires towards her.
* 4 fortnight afore Michaelmas ?] Theobald proposed to read Martlemas, but the blunder was perhaps designed
0 Parcel of the mouth;-) Parcel is part ; and is still so used in law language
SHAL. That you must: will you, upon good dowry, marry her?
SLEN. I will do a greater thing than that, upon your request, cousin, in any reason.
SHAL. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz: what I do, is to pleasure you, coz: can you love the maid ?
SLEN. I will marry her, sir, at your request; but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are married, and have more occasion to know one another: I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt :* but if you say, marry loer, I will marry her, that I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely.
EvĄ. It is a fery discretion answer ; save, the faul is in the 'ort dissolutely: the port is, according to our meaning, resolutely ;-his meaning is goot.
SHAL. Ay, I think my cousin meant well.
Re-enter ANNE PAGE.
ANNE. The dinner is on the table; my father desires your worships' company.
SHAL. I will wait on him, fair mistress Anne.
[Exeunt SHALLOW and SIR HUGH EVANS.
SLEN. I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forsooth: go, sirrah, for all you are my man, go, wait upon my cousin Shallow. [Exit SIMPLE.] A justice of peace sometime may be beholden to his friend for a man :-I keep but three men and a boy yet, till my mother be dead : but what though? yet I live like a poor gentleman born.
ANNE. I may not go in without your worship: they will not sit till you come.
SLEN. I' faith, I'll eat nothing; I thank you as much as though I did.
ANNE. I pray you, sir, walk in.
SLEN. I had rather walk here, I thank you: I bruised my shin the other day with playing at sword and dagger with a master of fence, a three veneysb for a dish of stewed prunes; and, by my troth, I cannot abide the smell of hot meat since. Why do your dogs bark so ? be there bears i'th' town?
ANNE. I think there are, sir; I heard them talked of.
SLEN. I love the sport well; but I shall as soon quarrel at it, as any man in England. You are afraid, if you see the bear loose, are you not?
(*) Old copy, content. • A master of fence,-) One who had taken his master's degree in the “Noble Science of Defence." bThree veneys-] Three hits; from the French, venue or veney, a touch or hit in
ANNE. Ay, indeed, sir.
SLEN. That's meat and drink to me now: I have seen Sackerson (5) loose, twenty times; and have taken him by the chain : but, I warrant you, the women have so cried and shrieked at it, that it passed :& —but women, indeed, cannot abide 'em : they are very ill-favoured rough things.
Re-enter PAGE. PAGE. Come, gentle master Slender, come; we stay for you. SLEN. I'll eat nothing, I thank you, sir. • PAGE. By cock and pye, you shall not choose, sir : come, come. SLEN. Nay, pray you, lead the way. PAGE. Come on, sir. SLEN. Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first. ANNE. Not I, sir ; pray you, keep on.
SLEN. Truly, I will not go first ; truly, la: I will not do you that wrong.
ANNE. I pray you, sir.
SLEN. I'll rather be unmannerly, than troublesome : you do yourself wrong, indeed, la.
SCENE II.—The same.
Enter Sir Hugh Evans and SIMPLE. Eva. Go your ways, and ask of Doctor Caius' house, which is the way: and there dwells one mistress Quickly, which is in the manner of his nurse, or his dry nurse, or his cook, or his laundry, his washer, and his ringer.
SIM. Well, sir?
Eva. Nay, it is petter yet :-give her this letter ; for it is a 'oman that altogether's acquaintance with mistress Anne Page: and the letter is to desire and require her to solicit your master's desires to mistress Anne Page: I pray you, pe gone; I will make an end of my dinner; there's pippins and cheese to come.
SCENE III.-A Room in the Garter Inn. Enter FALSTAFF, Host, BARDOLPH, NYM, PISTOL, and ROBIN. FAL. Mine Host of the Garter,— Host. What says my bully-rook ?b speak scholarly and wisely. FAL. Truly, mine host, I must turn away some of my followers.
. That it passed :) Meaning it surpassed belief or expression. So in “Troilus and Cressida,” Act I. Sc. 2: “And all the rest so laughed, that it passed;" again, in the present play, Act. IV. Sc. 2, Page, amazed at Ford's vehemence, exclaims, “this passes !" And in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona," Act II. Sc. 1: “Your own present folly and her passing deformity," i.e. surpassing deformity. So, too, in the Scriptures, * And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”—Pħil, iv. 7.
b Bully-rook?] In Shakespeare's day this epithet bore much the same meaning as “jolly dog" now; but it came subsequently to have a more offensive signification, and was applied to a cheat and sharper.
Host. Discard, bully Hercules ; cashier: let them wag; trot, trot. FAL. I sit at ten pounds a week.
Host. Thou ’rt an emperor, Cæsar, Keisar, and Pheezar. I will entertain Bardolph; he shall draw, he shall tap: said I well, bully Hector ?
FAL. Do so, good mine host.
Host. I have spoke ; let him follow. Let me see thee, froth and lime:a I am at a word; follow.
[Exit Host. FAL. Bardolph, follow him ; a tapster is a good trade: an old cloak makes a new jerkin ; a withered serving-man, a fresh tapster : go; adieu.
BARD. It is a life that I have desired; I will thrive. [Exit BARD. PIST. O base Gongarian * wight! wilt thou the spigot wield ?
NYM. He was gotten in drink : is not the humour conceited ? His mind is not heroic, and there's the humour of it."
FAL. I am glad, I am so acquit of this tinder-box; his thefts were too open : his filching was like an unskilful singer, he kept not time.
Nym. The good humour is, to steal at a minute's rest.
FAL. No quips, now, Pistol ; indeed I am in the waist two yards about: but I am now about no waste; I am about thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make love to Ford's wife; I spy entertainment in her ; she discourses, she carves, she gives the leer of invitation : I can construe the action of her familiar style ; and the hardest voice of her behaviour, to be englished rightly, is, I am sir John Falstaff's.
Pist. He hath studied her will, and translated her will ; out of honesty into English.
NYM. The anchor is deep:e will that humour pass?
FAL. Now, the report goes, she has all the rule of her husband's purse; she hath legions of angels.
(*) First folio, Hungarian. Froth and lime :) The folio reads live, for lime. Froth and lime was an old cant term for a tapster, in allusion to the practice of frothing beer, and adulterating sack. The host means, let me see thee turn tapster. “To keep a tapster from frothing his potsProvide in a readiness the skin of a red-herring, and when the tapster is absent, do but rub a little on the inside of the pots, and he will not be able to froth them, do what he can in a good while after.”-COʻTGRAVE's Wit's Interpreter, 1671, p. 92, ap. IIalliwell.
b He was gotten in drink, &c.] This speech of Nym's is made up from the quarto of 1602, and the folio 1623, the latter part being only found in the early sketch.
c Kibes-] Chilblains.
e The anchor is deep :] Nym, in his fustian language, perhaps means, that he does not fathom the object of this love to Ford's wife; when he hears, however, that the ultimate end is to pocket her “legions of angels,” “the humour rises; it is good.”
| She hath legions of angels.) So the quarto; the folio reads, " he hath a legend of angels."
Pist. As many devils entertain; and, To her, boy, say I.
Fal. I have writ me here a letter to her: and here another to Page's wife; who even now gave me good eyes too, examined my parts with most judicious ceiliads :: sometimes the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes my portly belly.
Pist. Then did the sun on dung-hill shine.
FAL. O, she did so course o'er my exteriors with such a greedy intention, that the appetite of her eye did seem to scorch me up like a burning glass! Here's another letter to her: she bears the purse too; she is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty. I will be cheatersb to them both, and they shall be exchequers to me; they shall be my East and West Indies, and I will trade to them both. Go, bear thou this letter to mistress Page; and thou this to mistress Ford: we will thrive, lads, we will thrive.
PIST. Shall I sir Pandarus of Troy become,
NYM. I will run no base humour: here, take the humour letter ; I will keep the 'haviour of reputation.
FAL. Hold, sirrah, [To Robin.] bear you these letters tightly ;c Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores. Rogues, hence, avaunt! vanish like hail-stones, go! Trudge, plod, away, o'th'* hoof; seek shelter, pack! Falstaff will learn the humour of this f age, French thrift, you rogues; myself, and skirted page.d
[Exeunt FALSTAFF and ROBIN. PIST. Let vultures gripe thy guts! for gourd, and fullam holds, And high and low beguiles the rich and poor :e Tester I 'll have in pouch, when thou shalt lack, Base Phrygian Turk!
Nym. I have operations in my head, I which be humours of revenge.
Pist. Wilt thou revenge?
(+) First folio, honor of the. " () First folio omits, in my head. * Eiliads :] From the French Oëillade, an ogle, or amorous glance, to cast a sheep's eye. Sometimes written eye-lids.
b Cheaters-] The popular name for escheators, those officers employed to certify to the Exchequer what escheats fall to the Crown through forfeiture, the death of tenants without heirs, &c.
c Tightly ;j Briskly, promptly.
d French thrift, you rogues ; myself, and skirted page.] Alluding to the custom then prevalent in France of making a smart page serve the purpose of a tribe of retainers.
For gourd, and fullam holds,
And high and low beguiles the rich and poor :) Gourd, fullam, high-men, and low-men, were the professional terms for false dice.
“What should I say more of false dice, of fulloms, high-men, lowe-men, gourds and brizled dice, graviers, demies, and contraries="-GREEN's Art of Juggling, &c. 1612, quoted by Steevens.
i Dy welkin, and her star!] For star, the quarto reads Fairics.