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no use of them. Why, this boy will carry a letter
twenty miles, as easy as a cannon will shoot point
blank twelve score. He pieces-out his wife's incli-
nation; he gives her folly motion and advantage:
and now she's going to my wife, and Falstaff's boy
with her. A man may hear this shower sing in the
wind !--and Falstaff's boy with her !-Good plots!
—they are laid; and our revolted wives share dam-
nation together. Well; I will take him; then tor-
ture my wife, pluck the borrowed veil of modesty
from the so-seeming mistress Page, divulge Page
himself for a secure and wilful Actæon; and to these
violent proceedings all my neighbours shall cry aim 1.
[Clock strikes.] The clock gives me my cue, and
my assurance bids me search; there I shall find
Falstaff: I shall be rather praised for this, than
mocked; for it is as positive as the earth is firm,
that Falstaff is there: I will go.
Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, SLENDER, Host, Sir

Hugh EvANS, CAIUS, and RUGBY.
Shal. Page, &c. Well met, master Ford.

Ford. Trust me a good knot: I have good cheer at home; and, I pray you all, go with me.

Shal. I must excuse myself, master Ford.

Slen. And so must I, sir; we have appointed to dine with mistress Anne, and I would not break with her for more money than I'll speak of.

Shal. We have lingered about a match between

· 1 To cry aim, in archery was to encourage the archers by crying out aim when they were about to shoot. Hence it came to be used for to applaud or encourage, in a general sense. It seems that the spectators in general cried aim occasionally, as a mere word of encouragement or applause. Thus, in K. John, Act ii. Sc. 1.

• It ill beseems this presence to cry aim
To these ill tuned repetitions,'

Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our answer.

Slen. I hope, I have your good will, father Page.

Page. You have, master Slender; I stand wholly for you:—but my wife, master doctor, is for you altogether. I

Caius. Ay, by gar; and de maid is love-a me; my nursh-a Quickly tell me so mush.

Host. What say you to young master Fenton ? he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holyday?; he smells April and May: he will carry't, he will carry't; 'tis in his buttons ; he will carry't.

Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman is of no having 4: he kept company with the wild Prince and Poins; he is of too high a region,

he knows too much. No, he shall not knit a knot · in his fortunes with the finger of my substance: if

he take her, let him take her simply; the wealth I have waits on my consent, and my consent goes not that way.

Ford. I beseech you, heartily, some of you go home with me to dinner: besides your cheer, you shall have sport; I will show you a monster.

2 To speak out of the common style, superior to the vulgar, in allusion to the better dress worn on holidays. So in K. Henry IV. P. 1.

With many holiday and lady terms. 3 Alluding to an ancient custom among rustics, of trying whether they should succeed with their mistresses by carrying the flower called bachelor's buttons in their pockets. They judged of their good or bad success by their growing or not growing there. Hence, to wear bachelor's buttons, seems to have grown into a pbrase for being unmarried. 4 i.e. Fortune or possessions. So, in Twelfth Night:

- My having is not much ;
I'll make division of my present with you:
Hold, there is half my coffer.'

di Master doctor, you shall go;—so shall you, master Page;— And you, Sir Hugh.

Shal. Well, fare you well :-we shall have the freer wooing at master Page’s.

[Exeunt SHALLOW and SLENDER. Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.

[Exit RUGBY. Host. Farewell, my hearts: I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.

[Exit Host. Ford. [Aside.] I think, I shall drink in pipewine 5 first with him; I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles ? All. Have with you, to see this monster.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III. A Room in Ford's House.

Enter Mrs. FORD and Mrs. PAGE.
Mrs. Ford. What, John! what, Robert !

Mrs. Page. Quickly, quickly: Is the buck-
basket-
Mrs. Ford. I warrant:—What, Robin, I say.

Enter Servants with a basket.
Mrs. Page. Come, come, come.
Mrs. Ford. Here, set it down.

Mrs. Page. Give your men the charge; we must be brief.

Mrs. Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John and Robert, be ready here hard by in the brewhouse; and when I suddenly call you, come forth, and (without any pause, or staggering) take this basket on your shoulders : that done, trudge with it in all haste, and carry it among the whitsters 1 in Datchet mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch, close by the Thames' side.

5 Canary is the name of a dance as well as of a wine. Pipe-wine is wine, not from the bottle but the pipe or cask. The jest consists in the ambiguity of the word, which signifies both a cask of wine and a musical instrument.— I'll give him pipe wine, which will make him dance.'

Mrs. Page. You will do it?

Mrs. Ford. I have told them over and over; they lack no direction: Be gone, and come when you are called.

[Exeunt Servants. Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin.

Enter ROBIN. Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket?? what news with you?

Rob. My master Sir John is come in at your back door, mistress Ford; and requests your company.

Mrs. Page. You little Jack-a-lent", have you been true to us?

Rob. Ay, I'll be sworn: My master knows not of your being here; and hath threatened to put me into everlasting liberty, if I tell you of it; for, he swears, he'll turn me away.

Mrs. Page. Thou art a good boy; this secrecy of thine shall be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hose.—I'll go hide me.

Mrs. Ford. Do so:-Go tell thy master, I am alone. Mistress Page, remember you your cue.

[Exit ROBIN. Mrs. Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me.

[Exit Mrs. PAGE. 1 Bleachers of linen. 2 Young sparrow-hawk, here used as a jocular term for a small child.

3 A stuffed puppet thrown at throughout lent, as cocks were at shrovetide. So, in “The Weakest goes to the Wall,' 1600.

A mere anatomy a Jack of Lent.'

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· Mrs. Ford. Go to then: we'll use this unwholesome humidity, this gross watry pumpion ;-we'll teach him to know turtles from jays 4.

Enter FALSTAFF. Fal. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewels ? Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough; this is the period of my ambition: O this blessed hour!

Mrs. Ford. O sweet Sir John !

Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my wish: I would thy husband were dead : I'll speak it before the best lord, I would make thee my lady.

Mrs. Ford. I your lady, sir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady.

Fal. Let the court of France show me such another; I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond: Thou hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance?

Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, Sir John: my brows become nothing else; nor that well neither.

Fal. By the lord, thou art a traitor to say so: thou would'st make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an excellent mo

4 i. e. honest women from loose ones. The word Putta in Italian signifies both a jay and a loose woman. So, in Cymbeline :

“ some jay of Italy Whose mother was her painting,” &c. 5 This is the first line in the second song of Sidney's Astrophel and Stella.

6 First folio:-beauty.

7 That is, any fanciful bead-dress worn by the celebrated beauties of Venice, or approved by them. In how much request the Venetian tire or bead-dress was formerly held, appears from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 1624. “Let her have the Spanish gait, the Venetian tire, Italian compliments and endowments.”

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