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Mrs. Ford. O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I could come to such honour !
Mrs. Page. Hang the trifle, woman; take the honour: What is it?-dispense with trifles ;-what is it?
Mrs. Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment, or so, I could be knighted. Mrs. Page. What ?-thou liest!-Sir Alice Ford !
- These knights will hack 36; and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.
Mrs. Ford. We burn day-lights7:-here, read, read; -perceive how I might be knighted.—I shall think the worse of fat men, as long as I have an eye to make difference of men's liking : And yet he would not swear; prais'd women's modesty : and gave such orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words : but they do no more adhere, and keep place together, than the hundredth psalm to the tune of Green sleeves 58. What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor ? How shall I be revenged on him? I think, the best way were to entertain him with hope, till the wicked fire of lust have melted him in his own grease.—Did you ever hear the like?
Mrs. Page. Letter for letter ; but that the name of Page and Ford differs !—To thy great comfort in this mystery of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy letter : but let thine inherit first ; for, I protest, mine never shall. I warrant, he hath a thousand of these
letters, writ with blank space for different names, (sure more,) and these are of the second edition : He will print them out of doubt ; for he cares not what he puts into the press, when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles, ere one chaste
Mrs. Ford. Why, this is the very same;
very hand, the
words: : What doth he think of us ? Mrs. Page. Nay, I know not: It makes me almost ready to wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal ; for, sure, unless he knew some strain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.
Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call you it? I'll be sure to keep him above deck.
Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never to sea again. Let's be revenged on him : let's appoint him a meeting; give him a show of comfort in his suit; and lead him on with a finebaited delay, till he hath pawn'd his horses to mine Host of the Garter.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him, that may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O, that my husband saw this letter 39 ! it would give eternal food to his jealous
Mrs. Page. Why, look, where he comes; and my good man too: he's as far from jealousy, as I am from
giving him cause; and that, I hope, is an unmeasureable distance.
Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman.
Mrs. Page. Let's consult together against this greasy knight: Come hither.
[They retire. Enter Ford, Pistol, Page, and Nym. Ford. Well, I hope, it be not so.
Pist. Hope is a curtail dog in some affairs :
Ford. Why, sir, my wife is not young.
young and old, one with another, Ford ; He loves thy gally-mawfry; Ford, perpend.
Ford, Love my wife?
Pist. With liver burning hot: Prevent, or go thou, Like Sir Actæon he, with Ring-wood at thy heels:O, odious is the name !
Ford. What name, sir?
Pist. The horn, I say : Farewel. Take heed; have open eye; for thieves do foot by
night : Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo-birds de
sing.Away, sir corporal Nym. Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.
[Erit Pistol, Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this. Nym. And this is true; (To Page.] I like not the
humour of lying. He hath wrong'd me in some humours : I should have borne the humour'd letter to her; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your wife; there's the short and the long. My name is corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch. 'Tis true :-my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife.-Adieu ! I love not the humour of bread and cheese ; and there's the humour of it. Adieu.
[Exit Nym. Page. The humour of it, quoth 'a! here's a fellow frights humour out of his wits.
Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.
Page. I will not believe such a Cataian “, though the priest o' the town commended him for a true man.
Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow: Well.
Mrs. Ford. How now, sweet Frank ? why art thou melancholy?
Ford. I melancholy! I am not melancholy.--Get you home, go.
Mrs. Ford. 'Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now.-Will you go, mistress Page ?
Mrs. Page. Have with you.—You'll come to dinner, George ?-Look, who comes yonder : she shall be our messenger to this paltry knight.
[Aside to Mrs. Ford. VOL. II.
Enter Mistress QUICKLY.
Mrs. Page. You are come to see my daughter Anne ?
Quick. Ay, forsooth; And, I pray, how does good mistress Anne ?
Mrs. Page. Go in with us, and see; we have an hour's talk with
you. [Exeunt Mrs. Page, Mrs. Ford, and Mrs. Quickly. Page. How now, master Ford ?
Ford. You heard what this knave told me; did you not? Page. Yes; and
heard what the other told me ? Ford. Do you think there is truth in them?
Page. Hang 'em, slaves ! I do not think the knight would offer it: but these that accuse him in his intent towards our wives, are a yoke of his discarded men; very rogues, now they be out of service.
Ford. Were they his men ?
Ford. I like it never the better for that.-Does he lie at the Garter ?
Page. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head.
Ford. I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loth to turn them together : A man may be too con