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S ce

CEN E VII.

Changes to Ford's House.
Enter Page, Ford, Mistress Page, Mistress Ford

and Evans. Eva. TIS one of the best discretions of a 'oman as TIS

ever I did look upon. Page. And did he send you both these letters at an inftant?

Mrs. Page. Within a quarter of an hour.

Ford. Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou wilt ;
I rather will suspect the sun with cold,
Than thee with wantonness; thy honour stands,
In him that was of late an heretick,
As firm as faith.

Page. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more.
Be not as extream in submission
As in offence, but let our plot go forward :
4 'Let our wives once again, to make us sport,
Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow,
Where we may take him, and disgrace him for it.

Ford. There is no better way than that they spoke of.

Page. How? to fend him word they'll meet him in the park at midnight? fie, fie, he'll never come.

Eva. You say he hath been thrown into the river; and has been grievously peaten, as an old roman; methinks there should be terrors in him, that he should not come; methinks his flesh is punish’d, he shall have no desires.

Page. So think I too
Mrs. Ford. Devise but how you'll use him when he

comes ; And let us two devise to bring him thither. [hunter, Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne the

Some-
Let our wives
Yet once again to make us publick sport,

4

Sometime a keeper in our Windsor forest,
Doth all the winter-time at still of midnight
Walk round about an Oak, with ragged horns,
And there he blasts the trees, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You've heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed Eld
Receiv'd, and did deliver to our age
This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth.

Page. Why, yet there want not many that do fear
In deep of night to walk by this Herne's Oak;
But what of this ?

Mrs. Ford. Marry, this is our device,
That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us.
We'll send him word to meet us in the field
Disguis'd like Herne with huge horns on his head.

Page. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come.
And in this shape when you have brought him thither,
What shall be done with him ? what is your plot?

Mrs. Page. That likewise we have thought upon, and Nan Page, (my daughter) and my little son, [thus: And three or four more of their growth, we'll dress Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies, green and white, With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads, And rattles in their hands; upon a sudden, As Falstaff, she, and I, are newly met, Let them from forth a faw-pit rush at once With some diffused a song: upon their sight, We two in great amazedness will fly; Then let them all encircle him about, And slike to fairies' pinch the unclean Knight; And ask him why, that hour of fairy-revel, In their so sacred paths he dares to tread In shape profane? Mrs. Ford. And 'till he tell the truth,

Lec (a) Diffused here means, wild, irregular, extravagant.

Warb. 5 fairy like to

T 4

Let the supposed fairies pinch him round,
And burn him with their tapers.

Mrs. Page. The truth being known,
We'll all present our selves; dis-horn the spirit,
And mock him home to Windfor.

Ford. The children must
Be practis'd well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.

Ēva. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will be like a jack-a-napes also, to burn the Knight with my taper.

Ford. This will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.

Mrs. Page. My Nan shall be the Queen of all the fairies Finely attired in a robe of white.

Page. That silk will I go buy, and in that 'tire! Shall Mr. Slender steal my Nan away,

[Afide. And marry her at Eaton. Go, send to Falstaff straight.

Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in the name of Brook; he'll tell me all his purpose. Sure he'll come.

Mrs. Page. Fear not you that; go get us properties and tricking for your fairies.

Eva. Let us about it, it is admirable pleasures, and ferry honest knaveries. (Exeunt Page, Ford and Evans.

Mrs. Page. Go, Mrs. Ford,
Send Quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.

[Exit Mrs. Ford.
I'll to the Doctor; he hath my good will,
And none but he, to marry with Nan Page.
That Slender, tho' well landed, is an ideot ;
And 7 'him my husband best of all affects;
The Doctor is well mony'd, and his friends
Potent at court; he, none but he shall have her,
Tho'twenty thousand worthier came to crave her. [Exit.

6 time

. . old edit. Theob, emend.

7 he

SCENE

S CE N E. VIII.

The Garter-Inn.

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Enter Hoft and Simple.
Hop. WHat wouldft thou have, boor? what, thick-

skin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.

Simp. Marry, Sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falftaff from Mr. Slender.

Hoft. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his ftanding-bed and truckle-bed; 'tis painted about with the story of the prodigal, fresh and new; go, knock and call ; he'll speak like an anthropophaginian unto thee: knock, i say.

Simp. There's an old woman, a fat woman gone up into his chamber; I'll be so bold as stay, Sir, 'till the come down; I come to speak with her indeed.

Hoft. Ha! a fat woman? the Knight may be robb’d: I'll call. Bully-Knight! bully-Sir John! speak from thy lungs military: art thou there? it is thine host, thine Epbefian calls.

Enter Falstaff.

Fal. How now, mine hoft?

Hoft. Here's a Bobemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman: let her descend, bully, let her descend ; my chambers are honourable. Fie, privacy ? fie!

Fal. There was, mine hoft, an old fat woman even now with me, but she's gone.

Simp. Pray you, Sir, was't not the wise woman of Brainford?

Fal. Ay marry was’t, muscle-shell, what would you with her? Simp. My master, Sir, my master Slender sent to her,

seeing (a) He means to say, thine Ephæstion.

seeing her go thro' the street, to know, Sir, whether one Nym, Sir, that beguild him of a chain, had the chain,

or no.

Fal. I spake with the old woman about it. .
Simp. And what says she, I pray, Sir?

Fal. Marry, she says, that the very fame man that beguild master Slender of his chain cozen'd him of it.

Simp. I would I could have spoken with the woman her self; I had other things to have spoken with her too from him.

Fal. What are they? let us know.
Hot. Ay, come; quick.
Simp. I may not conceal them, Sir?
Host. Conceal them, & /and thou dy'st.
Simp. Why, Sir, they were nothing but about mistress
Anne Page, to know if it were my master's fortune to have
her or no.

Fal. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune,
Simp. What, Sir?

Fat. To have her, or no: go; fay the woman told ine so.

Simp. May I be so bold to say fo, Sir?
Hoft. Ay, Sir; like who more bold.

Simp. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings.

[Exit Simple. Hoft. Thou art clarkly; thou art clarkly, Sir John: was there a wise woman with thee?

Fal. Ay, that there was, mine hoft, one that hath taught me more wit than ever I learn'd before in my life ; and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning.

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Enter Bardolph. Bard. Out, alas, Sir, cozenage! meer cozenage ! Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto. Berd. Run away with the cozeners; for fo soon as I

came

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