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A room in the Garter Inn.

I will not lend thee a penny.

Why, then the world's mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open.

Not a penny. I have been content, sir,
you should lay my countenance to pawn: I
have grated upon my good friends for three
reprieves for you and your coach-fellow
Nym; or else you had looked through the
grate, like a geminy of baboons. I am damned
in hell for swearing to gentlemen my friends,
you were good soldiers and tall fellows; and
when Mistress Bridget lost the handle of her
fan, I took 't upon mine honor thou hadst it not.

Didst not thou share? hadst thou not fifteen pence?

Reason, you rogue, reason: thinkest
thou I'll endanger my soul gratis? At a word,
hang no more about me, I am no gibbet for
you. Go. A short knife and a throng! To your
manor of Pickt-hatch! Go. You'll not bear a
letter for me, you rogue! you stand upon your
honor! Why, thou unconfinable baseness, it
is as much as I can do to keep the terms of
my honor precise: I, I, I myself sometimes,
leaving the fear of God on the left hand and
hiding mine honor in my necessity, am fain to
shuffle, to hedge and to lurch; and yet you,
rogue, will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain
looks, your red-lattice phrases, and
your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of (30)
your honour! You will not do it, you!

I do relent: what would thou more of man?
Enter ROBIN.

Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.

Let her approach.

Give your worship good morrow.

Good morrow, good wife.

Not so, an 't please your worship.

Good maid, then.

I'll be sworn,
As my mother was, the first hour I was born.

I do believe the swearer. What with me?

Shall I vouchsafe your worship a
word or two?

Two thousand, fair woman: and I'll
vouchsafe thee the hearing.

There is one Mistress Ford, sir:--
I pray come a little nearer this ways:--I myself
dwell with Master Doctor Caius,--

Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say,--

Your worship says very true: I
pray your worship, come a little nearer this

I warrant thee, nobody hears; mine
own people, mine own people.

Are they so? God bless them and
make them his servants!

Well, Mistress Ford; what of her?

Why, sir, she's a good creature.
Lord, Lord! your worship's a wanton! Well,
heaven forgive you and all of us, I pray!

Mistress Ford; come, Mistress Ford,--

Marry, this is the short and the
long of it; you have brought her into such a
canaries as 'tis wonderful. The best courtier
of them all, when the court lay at Windsor,
could never have brought her to such a canary.
Yet there has been knights, and lords,
and gentlemen, with their coaches, I warrant
you, coach after coach, letter after letter, gift
after gift; smelling so sweetly, all musk, and
so rushling, I warrant you, in silk and gold;
and in such alligant terms; and in such wine
and sugar of the best and the fairest, that
would have won any woman's heart; and I
warrant you, they could never get an eye-wink
of her: I had myself twenty angels given me
this morning; but I defy all angels, in any
such sort, as they say, but in the way of honesty:
and, I warrant you, they could never
get her so much as sip on a cup with the
proudest of them all: and yet there has been
earls, nay, which is more, pensioners; but, I (80)
warrant you, all is one with her.

But what says she to me? be brief,
my good she-Mercury.

Marry, she hath received your letter,
for the which she thanks you a thousand
times; and she gives you to notify that her
husband will be absence from his house between
ten and eleven.

Ten and eleven?

Ay, forsooth; and then you may
come and see the picture, she says, that you
wot of: Master Ford, her husband, will be
from home. Alas! the sweet woman leads an
ill life with him: he's a very jealousy man:
she leads a very frampold life with him, good

Ten and eleven. Woman, commend
me to her; I will not fail her.

Why, you say well. But I have another
messenger to your worship. Mistress
Page hath her hearty commendations to you
too: and let me tell you in your ear, she's as
fartuous a civil modest wife, and one, I tell
you, that will not miss you morning nor evening
prayer, as any is in Windsor, whoe'er be
the other: and she bade me tell your worship
that her husband is seldom from home; but
she hopes there will come a time. I never
knew a woman so dote upon a man: surely
I think you have charms, la; yes, in truth.

Not I, I assure thee: setting the attraction
of my good parts aside I have no (111)
other charms.

Blessing on your heart for't!

But, I pray thee, tell me this: has
Ford's wife and Page's wife acquainted each
other how they love me?

That were a jest indeed! they have
not so little grace, I hope: that were a trick
indeed! but Mistress Page would desire you to
send her your little page, of all loves: her
husband has a marvellous infection to the
little page; and truly Master Page is an honest
man. Never a wife in Windsor leads a better
life than she does: do what she will, say what
she will, take all, pay all, go to bed when she
list, rise when she list, all is as she will: and
truly she deserves it; for if there be a kind
woman in Windsor, she is one. You must
send her your page; no remedy.

Why, I will.

Nay, but do so, then: and, look
you, he may come and go between you both;
and in any case have a nay-word, that you
may know one another's mind, and the boy
never need to understand any thing; for 'tis
not good that children should know any wickedness:
old folks, you know, have discretion,
as they say, and know the world.

Fare thee well: commend me to them
both: there's my purse; I am yet thy debtor
Boy, go along with this woman.
[Exeunt Mistress Quickly and Robin.] This news
distracts me!

This punk is one of Cupid's carriers:

'Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights:

Give fire: she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all! [Exit.

Sayest thou so, old Jack? go thy
ways; I'll make more of thy old body than I
have done. Will they yet look after thee? Wilt
thou, after the expense of so much money,
be now a gainer? Good body, I thank thee.
Let them say 'tis grossly done; so it be fairly
done, no matter.

Sir John, there's one Master Brook
below would fain speak with you, and be acquainted
with you; and hath sent your worship
a morning's draught of sack.

Brook is his name?

Ay, sir.

Call him in. [Exit Bardolph.] Such
Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such
liquor. Ah, ha! Mistress Ford and Mistress
Page, have I encompassed you? go to; via!
Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised. (160)

Bless you, sir!

And you, sir! Would you speak with me?

I make bold to press with so little
preparation upon you.

You're welcome. What's your will?
Give us leave, drawer. [Exit Bardolph.

Sir, I am a gentleman that have
spent much: my name is Brook.

Good Master Brook, I desire more
acquaintance of you.

Good Sir John, I sue for yours: not
to charge you; for I must let you understand
I think myself in better plight for a lender
than you are: the which hath something emboldened
me to this unseasoned intrusion; for
they say, if money go before, all ways do lie

Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on.

Troth, and I have a bag of money
here troubles me: if you will help to bear it,
Sir John, take all, or half, for easing me of
the carriage.

Sir, I know not how I may deserve to (181)
be your porter.

I will tell you, sir, if you will give
me the hearing.

Speak, good Master Brook: I shall
be glad to be your servant.

Sir, I hear you are a scholar,--I will
be brief with you,--and you have been a man
long known to me, though I had never so good
means, as desire, to make myself acquainted
with you. I shall discover a thing to you,
wherein I must very much lay open mine own
imperfection: but good Sir John, as you have
one eye upon my follies, as you hear them unfolded,
turn another into the register of your
own; that I may pass with a reproof the
easier, sith you yourself know how easy it is
to be such an offender.

Very well, sir; proceed.

There is a gentlewoman in this
town; her husband's name is Ford. (200)

Well, sir.

I have long loved her, and, I protest
to you, bestowed much on her; followed her
with a doting observance; engrossed opportunities
to meet her; fee'd every slight occasion
that could but niggardly give me sight
of her; not only bought many presents to give
her, but have given largely to many to know
what she would have given; briefly, I have
pursued her as love hath pursued me; which
hath been on the wing of all occasions. But
whatsoever I have merited, either in my mind
or in my means, meed, I am sure, I have received
none; unless experience be a jewel that
I have purchased at an infinite rate, and that
hath taught me to say this:

'Love like a shadow flies when substance love pursues;

Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.

Have you received no promise of satisfaction
at her hands?

Never. (221)

Have you importuned her to such a purpose?


Of what quality was your love, then?

Like a fair house built on another
man's ground; so that I have lost my edifice
by mistaking the place where I erected it.

To what purpose have you unfolded
this to me?

When I have told you that, I have
told you all. Some say, that though she appear
honest to me, yet in other places she enlargeth
her mirth so far that there is shrewd
construction made of her. Now, Sir John, here
is the heart of my purpose: you are a gentleman
of excellent breeding, admirable discourse,
of great admittance, authentic in your
place and person, generally allowed for your
many war-like, court-like, and learned preparations. (239)

O, sir!

Believe it, for you know it. There
is money; spend it, spend it; spend more;
spend all I have; only give me so much of
your time in exchange of it, as to lay an amiable
siege to the honesty of this Ford's wife:
use your art of wooing; win her to consent
to you: if any man may, you may as soon
as any.

Would it apply well to the vehemency
of your affection, that I should win what you
would enjoy? Methinks you prescribe by yourself (250)
very preposterously.

O, understand my drift. She dwells
so securely on the excellency of her honor,
that the folly of my soul dares not present itself:
she is too bright to be looked against.
Now, could I come to her with any detection
in my hand, my desires had instance and argument
to commend themselves: I could drive
her then from the ward of her purity, her reputation,
her marriage-vow, and a thousand
other her defences, which now are too too
strongly embattled against me. What say you (261)
to't, Sir John?

Master Brook, I will first make bold
with your money; next, give me your hand;
and last, as I am a gentleman, you shall, if
you will, enjoy Ford's wife.

O good sir!

I say you shall.

Want no money, Sir John; you shall
want none.

Want no Mistress Ford, Master
Brook: you shall want none. I shall be with
her, I may tell you, by her own appointment;
even as you came in to me, her assistant or
go-between parted from me: I say I shall be
with her between ten and eleven; for at that
time the jealous rascally knave her husband
will be forth. Come you to me at night; you
shall know how I speed.

I am blest in your acquaintance. Do (280)
you know Ford, sir?

Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I
know him not: yet I wrong him to call him
poor; they say the jealous wittolly knave hath
masses of money; for the which his wife seems
to me well-favored. I will use her as the key
of the cuckoldly rogue's coffer; and there's
my harvest-home.

I would you knew Ford, sir, that
you might avoid him if you saw him.

Hang him, mechanical salt-butter
rogue! I will stare him out of his wits; I will
awe him with my cudgel: it shall hang like a
meteor o'er the cuckold's horns. Master
Brook, thou shalt know I will predominate
over the peasant and thou shalt lie with his
wife. Come to me soon at night. Ford's a
knave, and I will aggravate his style; thou,
Master Brook, shalt know him for knave and
cuckold. Come to me soon at night. [Exit.

What a damned Epicurean rascal is
this! My heart is ready to crack with impatience.
Who says this is improvident jealousy?
my wife hath sent to him; the hour is
fixed; the match is made. Would any man
have thought this? See the hell of having a
false woman! My bed shall be abused, my
coffers ransacked, my reputation gnawn at;
and I shall not only receive this villanous
wrong, but stand under the adoption of abominable
terms, and by him that does me this
wrong. Terms! names! Amaimon sounds
well; Lucifer, well; Barbason, well; yet they
are devils' additions, the names of fiends: but
Cuckold! Wittol!--Cuckold! the devil himself
hath not such a name. Page is an ass, a
secure ass: he will trust his wife: he will not
be jealous. I will rather trust a Fleming with
my butter, Parson Hugh the Welshman with
my cheese, an Irishman with my aqua-vitae
bottle, or a thief to walk my ambling gelding,
than my wife with herself: then she plots,
then she ruminates, then she devises; and
what they think in their hearts they may effect,
they will break their hearts but they will
effect. God be praised for my jealousy!
Eleven o'clock the hour. I will prevent this,
detect my wife, be revenged on Falstaff, and
laugh at Page. I will about it; better three
hours too soon than a minute too late. Fie, fie,
fie! cuckold! cuckold! cuckold! [Exit.

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