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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 washed and cudgeled, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me; I warrant they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crest-fallen as a dried pear. I never prospered since I forswore myself at Primero.? Well, if my mind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.
Enter Mrs. QUICKLY. Now! whence come you 1 ?
Quick. From the two parties, forsooth.
Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestowed! I have suffered more for their sakes, more than the villanous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.
Quick. And have not they suffered? 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'st thou me of black and blue! I was beaten myself into all the colors of the rainbow, and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford : but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman, delivered me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i’ the common stocks, for a witch.
Quick. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber; you shall hear how things go; and, l warrant, to your content.
Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado here is to bring you together! Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so crossed. Fal. Come up into my my chamber.
1 Primero was tne fashionable game at cards in Shakspeare's time.
SCENE VI. Another Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FENTON and Host. Host. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy, I will give over all.
Fent. Yet hear me speak : Assist me in my purpose, And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee A hundred pound in gold, more than your loss. Host. I will hear you, master Fenton ; and I will
, at the least, keep your counsel.
Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you
[Showing the letter
1 In the letter.
She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
Host. Well, husband your device; I'll to the vicar: Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
Fent. So shall I ever more be bound to thee; Besides, I'll make a present recompense. [Exeunt.
SCENE I. A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter Falstaff and Mrs. QUICKLY. Fal. Pr’ythee, no more prattling ;-go. -I'l1 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.
1 Keep to the time. 30
Quick. I'll provide you a chain ; and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns.
Fal. Away, I say; time wears: hold up your head and mince.
[Exit Mrs. Quickly.
Enter FORD. How now, master Brook? Master Brook, the matter will be known to-night, or never.
you in the Park about midnight, at Herne's oak, and
Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, sir, as you told me you had appointed ?
Fal. I went to her, master Brook, as you see, 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 governed frenzy. I will tell you.—He beat me grievously, in the shape of a woman; for in the shape of man, master Brook, I fear not Goliath with a weaver's beam; because I know, also, life is a shuttle. I am in haste; go along with me; I'll tell you all, master Brook. Since I plucked geese, played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what it was to be beaten, till lately. Follow me: I'll tell
you strange things of this knave Ford; on whom to-night I will be revenged, and I will deliver his wife into your hand.–Follow: Strange things in hand, master Brook! follow.
SCENE II. Windsor Park.
Enter Page, Shallow, and SLENDER. Page. Come, come; we'll couch i’ the castle-ditch, till we see the light of our fairies.-Remember, son Slender, my daughter.
Slen. Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word how to know one another. I come to her in white, and cry, mum; she cries, budget; and by that we know one another.
Shal. That's good, too: But what needs either your mum, or her budget? the white will decipher her well enough.-It hath struck ten o'clock.
Page. The night is dark; light and spirits will become it well. Heaven prosper our sport! No man means evil but the devil, and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away; follow me. [Exeunt.
SCENE III. The Street in Windsor.
Enter Mrs. Page, Mrs. FORD, and Dr. Cajus.
Mrs. Page. Master doctor, my daughter is in green; when you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the deanery, and despatch it quickly: Go before into the park; we two must go together.
Caius. I know vat I have to do: Adieu. Mrs. Page. Fare you well, sir. [Exit Caius.] My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff, as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter: but 'tis no matter; better a little chiding, than a great deal of heart-break.
Mrs. Ford. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies? and the Welsh devil, Hugh?
Mrs. Page. They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscured lights; which, at the very instant of Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once display to the night.
Mrs. Ford. That cannot choose but amaze him.
Mrs. Page. If he be not amazed, he will be mocked; if he be amazed, he will every way be mocked.
Mrs. Ford. We'll betray him finely.
Mrs. Page. Against such lewdsters, and their lechery, Those that betray them do no treachery.
Mrs. Ford. The hour draws on: To the oak, to the oak!
1 Page indirectly alludes to Falstaff, who was to have horns on his head.