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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

ore 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
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 chooser)
Even to

my

wish. I have a letter from her
Of such contents as you will wonder at;
The mirth whereof so larded with my matter,
That neither, singly, can be manifested,
Without the show of both; wherein fat Falstaff
Hath a great scene: the image of the jest

[Showing the letter.
I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host:
To-night at Herne’s oak, just '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 slip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
Immediately to marry: she hath consented.
Now, sir,
Her mother, even strong against that match,
And firm for Dr. Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away,

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WHEREIN fat Falstaff] “Wherein " is from the 4tos: the folio, 1623, reads only, “fat Falstaff,” and the folio, 1632, “ fat Sir John Falstaff,” for the sake of supplying the deficiency of the metre. This is one of the few cases, where we are disposed to make a change on this ground.

While other sports are tasking of their minds,
And at the deanery, 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 rests :
Her father means she shall be all in white;
And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
To take her by the hand, and bid her go,
She shall go with him :-her mother hath intended,
The better to denote her to the doctor?,
(For they must all be mask'd and vizarded)
That quaint in green she shall be loose enrob’d,
With ribands pendant, flaring '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.

Host. Which means she 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.

Host. Well, husband your device: I'll to the vicar.
Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.

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

[Exeunt.

ACT V. SCENE I.

A Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter FALSTAFF and Mrs. QUICKLY.

Fal. Pr’ythee, no more prattling ;-go:-I'll hold. This is the third time; I hope, good luck lies in odd numbers.

2

to DENOTE her to the doctor,] The folio, 1623, reads “ deuote her," and in the other folios the u is changed to v. There can be no doubt that the n was accidentally turned, and that the true word is “ denote,” which we find in the margin of the corr. fo. 1632.

Away, go. They say, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.-Away!

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. Be you in the park about midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall see wonders.

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 Goliah 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.

[Exeunt.

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'.

3 Remember, son Slender, my DAUGHTER.] “ Daughter" is from the folio, 1632, the word, perhaps, having accidentally dropped out in the folio, 1623. It is clearly necessary, as is shown by the context, where Slender says, “ Ay, forsooth ; I have spoke with her,” &c.

Slen. Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her, and we have a nayword', how to know one another. I come to her in white, and cry, “mum;" she cries, “budget',

5," 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. CAIUS. 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 dispatch 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 heartbreak.

Mrs. Ford. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies ? and the Welsh devil, Hugho?

Mrs. Page. They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscured lights; which, at the very instant of

4

5

and cry,

and we have a NAYword,] i, e. A byword, or password: see this comedy, A. ii. sc. 2, p. 199.

mum;" she cries, “budget,"] This seems to have been an ordinary “nayword.” In Sir J. Haringtou's “ Ulysses upon Ajax,” 1596, we have Mum, budyet ; not a word.”

and the Welsh devil, Hugh?] It stood Herne until the time of Theobald ; but “ Hugh" is certainly right: Sir Hugh had undertaken to perform a principal part in the conspiracy against Fal-taff. The error, no doubt, arose from “ Hugh having been indicated in the old MS. by the initial letter, which the compositor erroneously applied to Herne. Herne is altered to Evans in the corr. fo. 1632, but “ Hugh " is undoubtedly preferable.

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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!

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV.

Windsor Park.

Enter Sir Hugh Evans, and Fairies. Eva. Trib, trib, fairies : come; and remember your parts. Be pold, I pray you; follow me into the pit, and when I give the watch-ords, do as I pid you. Come, come; trib, trib.

[Exeunt.

SCENE V.

Another Part of the Park.

Enter FALSTAFF disguised, with a buck's head on. Fal. The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute draws on. Now, the hot-blooded gods assist me!-remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa ; love set on thy horns. -Oh powerful love! that, in some respects, makes a beast a man, in some other, a man a beast. You were also, Jupiter, a swan, for the love of Leda :-Oh omnipotent love ! how near the god drew to the complexion of a goose !-A fault done first in the form of a beast ;—Oh Jove, a beastly fault! and then another fault in the semblance of a fowl: think on't, Jove; a foul fault.-—When gods have hot backs, what shall poor men do? For me, I am here a Windsor stag; and the fattest, I think, i' the forest : send me a cool rut

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