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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 eyewink 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 warrant you, all is one with her.
Fal. But what says she to me? be brief, my good she Mercury.
Quick. 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.
Fal. Ten and eleven?
Quick. Ay, forsooth; and then you may come and see the picture, she says, that you wot 10 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 11 life with him, good heart.
Fal. Ten and eleven: Woman, commend me to her; I will not fail her.
9 i.e. Gentlemen of the band of Pensioners. Their dress was remarkably splendid, and therefore likely to attract the notice of Mrs. Quickly. Hence Shakspeare, in a Midsummer Night's Dream, has selected the golden-coated cowslips to be pensioners to the Fairy Queen.
10" To wot is to know. So in K. Henry VIII. wot you what I found ?
11 Frampold here means fretful, peevish, or vexatious. This obsolete word is of uncertain etymology.
Quick. Why, you say well: But I have another messenger to your worship: Mrs. 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.
Fal. Not I, I assure thee; setting the attraction of my good parts aside, I have no other charms.
Quick. Blessing on your heart fort!
Fal. But, I pray thee, tell me this: has Ford's wife, and Page's wife, acquainted each other how they love me?
Quick. 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 12; 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.
Fal. Why, I will.
Quick. Nay, but do so then: and, look you, he may come and go between you both; and, in any case, have a nay word 13, 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.
12 Of all loves, is an adjuration only, and signifies no more than by all means, for the sake of all love. It is again used in Othello and in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
13 A watchword.
Fal. Fare thee well: commend me to them both: there's my purse; I am yet thy debtor.- Boy, go along with this woman.--This news distracts me!
: [Exeunt QUICKLY and Robin. Pist. This punk is one of Cupid's carriers :Clap on more sails; pursue, up with your fights 14; Give fire; she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all !
[Exit Pistol. Fal. Say'st 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.
Enter BARDOLPH. Bard. 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 15.
14 Fights are the waist cloths which hang round about the ship to hinder men from being seen in fight; or any place wherein men may cover themselves, and yet use their arms.-Phillips's World of Words.
15 It seems to have been a common custom in taverns in Shakspeare's time, to send presents of wine from one room to another either as a memorial of friendship, or (as in the present instance), by way of introduction to acquaintance. The practice was continued as late as the Restoration. In the Parliamentary History, vol. xxii. p. 114, we have the following passage from The Life of General Monk, by Dr. Price. “I came to the Three Tuns, before Guildhall, where the general had quartered two nights before. I entered the tavern with a servant and portmanteau, and asked for a room, which I had scarce got into but wine followed me as a present from some citizens desiring leave to drink their morning's draught with me.”
Fal. Brook is his name?
Fal. 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 encompass’d you? go to; via 16!
Re-enter BARDOLPH, with Ford disguised.
Ford. I make bold to press with so little preparation upon you.
Fal. You're welcome; What's your will? Give us leave, drawer.
[Exit BARDOLPH. Ford. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name is Brook.
Fal. Good master Brook, I desire more acquaintance of you.
Ford. 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 embolden'd me to this unseason'd intrusion; for they say, if money go before, all ways do lie open.
Fal. Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on.
Ford. Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me: if you will help me to bear it, Sir John, take all, or half, for easing me of the carriage.
Fal. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter.
Ford. I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing
16 Via, an Italian word, which Florio explains :-“ an adverb of encouragement, on away, go to, away forward, go on, dispatch.” It appears to have been a common exclamation in Shakspeare's time. Antonini renders it in Latin eja, age.
Fal. Speak, good master Brook; I shall be glad to be your servant. .
Ford. 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 17 you yourself know, how easy it is to be such an offender.
Fal. Very well, sir; proceed.
Ford. There is a gentlewoman in this town, her husband's name is Ford.
Fal. Well, sir.
Ford. I have long loved her, and, I protest to you, bestowed much on her; followed her with a doting observance 18; 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 Aying what pursues.
17 Since. 18 Observance is diligent heed, or attention.—Bullokar.