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We do not act, that often jest and laugh; 'Tis old but true, Still swine eat all the draff. [Erit. Re-enter Mrs Ford, with two Servants. Mrs Ford. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders; your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him: quickly, despatch' [Exit. 1 Serv. Come, come, take it up ! 2 Serv. Pray heaven, it be not full of the knight again. 1 Serv. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead. Enter Food, PACE, St Allow, CAius, and Sir Hugh - Evaxs. Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again?—Set down the basket, villain; somebody call my wife:–You, youth in a basket, come out here ! – 0, you panderly rascals | there’s a knot, aging, a pack, a conspiracy against me: now shall the devil be shamed. What! wife, I say! come, come forth; behold, what honest clothes you send forth to the bleaching ! Page. Why, this passes! Master Ford, you are not to go loose any longer; you must be pinioned. Eva. Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as a mad dog! Shal. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well; indeed. Enter Mrs Ford. Ford. So say I too, sir.—Come hither, mistress Ford; mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband' I suspect without cause, mistress, do I ? Mrs Ford. Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty. Ford. Well said, brazen-face; hold it out. — Comc forth, sirrah! [Pulls the clothes out of the basket. Page. This passes : Mrs Ford.Are you not ashamed?let the clothes alone. Ford. I shall find you anon. Eva. "Tis unreasonable! Will you take up your wife's clothes? Come away. Ford. Empty the basket, I say! Mrs Ford. Why, man, why — Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one con– veyed out of my house yesterday in this basket. Why may not he be there again? In my house I am sure he is: my intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable. Pluck me out all the linen Mrs Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's Page. Here's no man. - death. Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford; this wrongs you. Eva. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies. Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for. Page. No, nor no where else, but in your brain. Ford. Help to search my house this one time: if I find not what I seek,show no colour for my extremity,let me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of me, As jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow walnut for his wife's leman.Satisfy me once more; once more search with me ! Mrs Ford. What hoa, mistress Page! come yotr, and the old woman, down; my husband will come into the chamber. Ford. Old woman What old woman's that? Mrs Ford. Why, it is my maid’s uunt of Brentford. Ford. A witch, a quean, and old cozening quean : Have I not forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does she? We are simple men; we do not know what’s brought to pass under the profession of fortune-telling. She works hy charms, by spells, by the figure, and such daubery as this is; beyond our element: we know nothing.--Come down, you witch, you hag you; come down, I say! Mrs Ford. Nay, good, sweethusband ;-good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman.

Enter FalsTAFF in women's clothes, led by Mrs PAGE.

Mrs Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me your hand. Ford. I’ll prat her:——Out of my door, you witch! [beats him] you rag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon' out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell woul. [Exit Falstaff. Mrs Page. Are you not ashamed? I think, you have killed the poor woman. Mrs Ford. Nay, he wily do it!—"Tis a goodly credit for you. Ford. Hang her, witch Eva. By yea and no, I think the 'oman is a witch indeed: I like mot, when a 'oman has a great peard; I spy a great peard under her muffler. Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, follow; see but the issue of my jealousy: if I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust me, when I open again. Page. Let's obey his humour a little farther! Come, gentlemen. [Eveunt Page, Ford, Shallow, and Evans. Mrs Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully. Mrs Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought. Mrs Page. I’ll have the cudgel hallowed, and hang o'er the altar; it hath doue meritorious service. Mrs Ford. What think you? May we, with the warrant of womanhood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any farther revenge 2 Mrs Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of him; if the devil have him not in fee simple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again. Mrs Ford. Shall we tell our husbands, how we have served him 2 Mrs Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband’s brains. If they can find in their hearts, the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any farther afflicted, we two will still be the initiisters. Mrs Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publicly shamed: and, methinks, there would be no period to the jest, should he not be publicly shamed. Mrs Page. Come, to the forge with it then, shape it! I would not have things cool. [Exeunt.

SCENEIII.- A room in the Garter Inn. Enter Host and BARDolph. Bard. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your Ilorses: the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him. . Host. What duke should that be, comes so scoretly? I hear not of him in the court. Let me speak with the gentlemen; they speak English 2 Bard. Ay, sir; I'll call them to you. Host. They shall have my horses; but I'll make them pay, I’ll sance them; they have had my houses a week at command; I have turned away my other guests: they must come off; I'll sauce them: come ! [Ereunt.

SCENEIV.—f room in Ford's house. Enter PAGE, Ford, Mrs Pace, Mrs Ford, and Sir - Hugh Evans. Eva: 'Tis one of the pest discretions of a 'oman as ever I did look upon. Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant 2 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: now doth thy honour

stand

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In him, that was of late an heretic, Mrs Page. My Nan shall be the queen of all the fairies,
As firm as faith. Finely attired in a robe of white.
Page. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more. Page. That silk will I go buy;—and in that time
Be not as extremein submission, Shall master Slender steal my Nan away, [Aside.
Asin offence; And marry her at Eton.—Go, send to Falstaff straight!
Butlet our plot go forward: let our wives Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in name of Brook.
Yet once again, to make us public sport, He'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he’ll come.
Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow, Mrs Page. Fear not you that! Go, get us properties,
Where we may take him, and disgrace him for it. And tricking for our fairies.
Ford. There is no better way than that they spoke of. | Eva. Let us about it! It is admirable pleasures, and

Page. How! to send him word, they'll meet him in fery honest knaveries!

the park at midnight! fie, fie; he’ll never come. Era. You say, he has been thrown into the rivers;

[Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans. Mrs Page. Go, mistress Ford,

and has been grievously peaten, as an old 'oman: me– Send Quickly to sir John, to know his mind.

thinks, there should be terrors in him, that he should

not come; methinks,his flesh is punished, he shall have
modesires.
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.
Mrs Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne the
hunter,
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest,
Doth all the winter time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle ;
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a
chain w
In a most hideous and dreadful manner:
You have heard of such a spirit; and well you know,
The superstitious idle–headed eld
Received, 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 might to walk by this IIerne's oak:
But what of this?
Mrs Ford. Marry, this is our device;
That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us,
Disguised 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 thi-
ther,
What shall be done with him? what is your plot?
Mrs Page. That likewise have we thought upon, and
thus:
Nan Page my daughter, and my little son,
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 saw-pit rush at once
With some diffused song; upon their sight,
Wetwoin great amazedness will fly:
Then let them allencircle him about,
And, fairy-like, to pinch the unclean knight;
And ask him, why, that hour of fairy revel,
In their so secret paths he dares to tread,
In shape profane.
Mrs Ford. And till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound,
And burn him with their tapers.
Mrs Page. The truth being known, -
We'll all present ourselves; dis-horn the spirit,
And mock him home to Windsor.
Ford. The children must -
Bepractis'd well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.
Eva. I will teach the children their behaviours; and
'*ill be like ajack-an-apes also; to burn the knight
with my taber.

Ford. That will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards. t

[Exit Mrs Ford. I'll to the doctor; he hath my good will, And none but he, to marry with Nan Page. That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot; And he my husband best of all affects: The doctor is well money'd, and his friends Potent at court: he, none but he, shall have her, Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her. [Exit.

SCENEV.— A room in the Carter Inn. Lnter Host and Si MPLE. Host. What would'st thou have, boor? what, thickskin? speak, breathe, discuss : brief, short, quick,snap! Sim. Marry, sir, I come to speak with sir John Falstaff from master Slender. Host. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-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! Sim. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber : I’ll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down: I come to speak with her, indeed. Host. Ha! a fat woman the knight may be robbed: I'll call.—Bully knight! Bully sir John! speak from thy lungs military: art thou there? it is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls. Fal. [Above..] How now, mine host? Host. Here's a bohemian Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let her descend; my chambers are honourable: Fye! privacy? fve' y Enter FALst AFF. t Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even with me; but she's gone. Sim. Pray you, sir, was’t not the wise woman of Brentford 2 Fal. Ay, marry, was it, muscle—shell: what would you with her? Sin. My master, sir, my master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go thorough the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain, or no. Fal. I spake with the old woman about it. Sim. And what says she, I pray, sir? Fal. Marry, she says, that the very same man, that beguiled master Slender of his chain, cozened him of it. Sin. I would, I could have spoken with the woman herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too, from him. Fal. What are they? let us know. Host. Ay, come; quick! Som. I may not conceal them, sir. Fal. Conceal them, or thou diest' Sin. 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.

We do not act, that often jest and laugh; 'Tis old but true, Still swine eat all the draff. [Exit. Re-enter Mrs Foxd, u'ith two Servants. Mrs Ford. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders; your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him: quickly, despatch! [Exit. 1 Serv. Come, come, take it up ! 2 Serv. Pray heaven, it be not full of the knight again. 1 Serv. I hope mot; I had as lief bear so much lead. Enter Ford, PAGE, SHAllow, CAius, and Sir Hugh - Ev ANs. Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again?—Set down the basket, villain; somebody call my wife:–You, youth in a basket, come out here ! – 0, you panderly rascals' there’s a knot, aging, a pack, a conspiracy against me: now shall the devil be shamed. What! wife, I say! come, come forth; behold, what honest clothes you send forth to the bleaching ! Page. Why, this passes! Master Ford, you are not to go loose any longer; you must be pinioned. Eva. Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as a mad dog Shal. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well; indeed. Enter Mrs Ford. Ford. So say I too, sir.—Come hither, mistress Ford; mistress Ford, the homest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband I suspect without cause, mistress, do I ? Mrs Ford. Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty. Ford. Well said, brazen-face; hold it out. — Come forth, sirrah! [Pulls the clothes out of the basket. Page. This passes : Mrs Ford.Are you not ashamed?let the clothes alone. Ford. I shall find you anon. Eva. "Tis unreasonable! Will you take up your wife's clothes? Come away. Ford. Empty the basket, I say! Mrs Ford. Why, man, why — Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one con–

veyed out of my house yesterday in this basket. Why

may not he be there again? In my house I am sure he is:
my intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable.
Pluck me out all the linen
Mrs Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's
Page. Here's no man. - death.
Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford;
this wrongs you.
Eva. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the
imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies.
Ford. Well, he's nothere I seek for.
Page. No, nor no where else, but in your brain.
Ford. Help to search my house this one time: if I find
not what I seek,show no colour for my extremity, let me
for ever be your table-sport; let them say of me, As
jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow walnut for his
wife's leman.Satisfy me once more; once more search
with me !
Mrs Ford. What hoa, mistress Page! conc you, and
the old woman, down; my husband will come into the
chamber.
Ford. Old woman What old woman's that?
Mrs Ford. Why, it is my maid’s uunt of Brentford.
Ford. A witch, a quean, and old cozeming quean :
Have H not forbid her my house? She comes of errands,
does she? We are simple men; we do not know what’s
brought to pass under the profession of fortune-tel-
ling. She works hy charms, by spells, by the figure,
and such daubery as this is ; beyond our element: we
know nothing.—-Come down, you witch, you hag
you; come down, I say!
Mrs Ford. Nay, good, sweethusband;—good gentle-
men, let him not strike the old woman. |

Enter FAlstaff in women’s clothes, led by Mrs PAce.

Mrs Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me your hand. Ford. I’ll prat her:--Out of my door, you witch! [beats him] you rag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon' out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you. [Erit Falstaff. Mrs Page. Are you not ashamed? I think, you have killed the poor woman. Mrs Ford. Nay, he wily do it!—'Tis a goodly credit for you. Ford. Hang her, witch Eva. By yea and mo, I think the 'oman is a witch indeed: I like not, when a ’oman has a great peard; I spy a great peard under her muffler. Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, follow; see but the issue of my jealousy: if I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust me, when I open again. Page. Let's obey his humour a little farther! Come, gentlemen. [Eveunt Page, Ford, Shallow, and Evans. Mrs Page. Trust ine, he beat him most pitifully. Mrs Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought. Mrs Page. I'll have the cudgel hallowed, and hang o'er the altar; it hath doue meritorious service. Mrs Ford. What think you? May we, with the warrant of womanhood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any farther revenge 2 Mrs Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of him; if the devil have him not in fee simple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again. Mrs Ford. Shall we tell our husbands, how we have served him 7 Mrs Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband's brains. Ho they can find in their hearts, the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any farther afflicted, we two will still be the ministers. Mrs Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publicly shamed: and, methinks, there would be no period to the jest, should he not be publicly shamed. Mrs Page. Come, to the forge with it then, shape it! I would not have things cool. [Ereunt.

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In him, that was of late an heretic,

As firm as faith.
Page. "Tis well, 'tis well; no more.

Be not as extremein submission,

Asin oilence;
Butlet our plot go forward: let our wives
Yet once again, to make us public 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.

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 time Shall master Slender steal my Nan away, {_{side. And marry her at Eton.—Go, send to Falstaff straight! Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in 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 our fairies. Eva. Let us about it! It is admirable pleasures, and

Page. How! to send him word, they'll meet him in fery honest knaveries'

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Era. You say, he has been thrown into the rivers;

and has been grievously peaten, as an old 'oman: me-
thinks, there should be terrors in him, that he should
wotcome; methinks, his flesh is punished, he shall have I'll to the doctor; he hath my good will,

modesires. Page. So think I too.

[Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans. Mrs Page. Go, mistress Ford,

Send Quickly to sir John, to know his mind.
[Exit Mrs Ford.

And none but he, to marry with Nam Page. That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot;

Mrs Ford. Devise but, how you'll use him, when he And he my husband best of all affects:

comes, And let us two devise to bring him thither.

Mrs Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne the

hunter, Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest, Doth all the winter time, at still midnight, Walk round about an oak with great ragg’d horns; And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle ;

And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a

chain w In a most hideous and dreadful manner:

The doctor is well money'd, and his friends
Potent at court: he, none but he, shall have her,
Though twenty thousandworthier come to crave her.

[Exit.

SCENEV.- A room in the Garter Inn. Enter Host and Simple. Host. What would'st thou have, boor? what, thickskin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick,snap! Sim. Marry, sir, I come to speak with sir John Falstaff from master Slender.

You have heard of such aspirit; and well you know, Host. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his

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Mrs Page. Thatlikewise have we thought upon, and down of thy fat woman. Lether descend, bully, let her

thus:

Nan Page my daughter, and my little son,
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,
Letthem from forth a saw-pit rush at once
With some diffused song; upon their sight,
Wetwoingreat amazedness will fly:
Then let them allencircle him about,
And, fairy-like, to pinch the unclean knight;
And ask him, why, that hour of fairy reyel,
In their so secret paths he daresto tread,
In shape profane.

Mrs Ford. And till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound,”
And burn him with their tapers.

Mrs Page. The truth being known, . .
We'll all present ourselves; dis-horm the spirit,
And mock him home to Windsor.

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

descend; my chambers are honourable: Fye! privacy? fye! Enter FAlst Afr. o Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even with me; but she's gone. Sim. Pray you, sir, was’t not the wise woman of Brentford 2 Fal. Ay, marry, was it, muscle-shell: what would wou with her? Sim. My master, sir, my master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go thorough the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain, or no. Fal. I spake with the old woman about it. Sim. And what says she, I pray, sir? Fal. Marry, she says, that the very same "on. that beguiled master Slender of his chain, cozened him of it. Som. I would, I could have spoken with the woman herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too, from him. Poll. What are they?, let us know. Host. Ay, come; quick! Sim. I may not conceal them, sir.

- - liest' Eva. I will teach the children their behaviours; and ** Conceal them, or thou dies

I will belike ajack-an-apes also; to burn the knight

with my taber.

Sim. Why, sir, they were nothing but about mistress Anne Page: to know, if it were my master's for

Ford. That will be excellent. I'll go buy them vi-tune to have her: "..."?:

zards,

rat. Tis, 'tis his fortune.

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Sim. What, sir? Fal. To have her, — or mo: go; say, the woman told me so. Sim. May I be so bold to say so, sir? Fal. Ay, sir Tike; who more bold? Sim. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings. [Exit Simple. Host. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, sir John: was there a wise woman with thee? Fal. Ay, that there was, mine host; one, that hath taught me more wit, than ever I learned before in my life; and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning. Enter BARDolph. Bard. Out, alas, sir! cozenage! mere cozenage! Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto' Bard. Run away with the cozemers' for so soon as I came beyond Eton, they threw me off, from behind one of them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs, and away, like three German devils, three doctor Faustuses. Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, villaim: do not say, they be fled; Germans are honest men. Enter Sir Hugh Evans. Eva. Where is mine host? Host. What is the matter, sir? Eva. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town, tells me, there is three cousin germans, that has cozened all the hosts of Readings, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell you for good-will, look you : you are wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-stogs; and 'tis not conveniend you should be cozened! Fare you well [Exeunt. Enter Doctor CAtts. Caius. Were is mime host de Jarterre 2 Host. Here, master doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma. Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell—a me, dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Jarmany by my trot, dere is no duke, dat de court is know to come: I tell you for good vill: adieu ! | Erie. Host. Hue and cry, villain, go!—assist me, knight; I am undone:—sly, run, hue and cry, villain I am undone | Ereunt Host and Bardolph. Fal. I would, all the world might be cozened; for I have been cozemed,and beaten too. lf it should come to the ear of the court, how I have been transformed, and how my trausformation hath been washed and cudgelled, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me; I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crestfallen as a dried pear. I never prospered, since I forswore myself at primero.Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.— Enter Mistress Quickly. Now! whence come you? Quick. From the two parties, forsooth. Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestowed I have suffered more for their sakes, more, than the villainous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear. Quick. And have not they suffered 2 Yes, I warrant; speciously one of them; mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her. Fas. What tell'st thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman, delivered me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i.” the common stocks, for a witch.

Quick. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber : you shall hear how things go ; and, I warrant, to vour content. Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado here is to bring you together! Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so crossed. Fal. Come up into my chamber. [Breunt.

SCENE WI.-Another room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FENToN and Host. -

Host. Master Fenton, talk not to me! my mind is heavy,I will give overall.

Fent. Yet hear me speak! Assist me in my purpose, And, as I am a gentleman, I’ll give thee A hundred pound in gold, more than your loss.

Host. I will hear you, master Fenton; and I will, at the least, keep your counsel.

Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection
(So far forth as herself might be her chooser.)
Even to my wish : I have a letter from her
Of such contents as you will wonder at ;
The mirth whereof so larded with my matter,
That neither, singly, can be manifested,
Without the show of both ;-wherein fat Falstaff
Hath a great scene: the image of the jest

[Showing the letter.

I’ll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host!
To-night at Herne's oak, just 'twixt twelve and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the fairy queen;
The purpose why, is here; in which disguise,
While other jests are something rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to slip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
Immediately to marry: she hath consented:
Now, sir,

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| | Her mother, even strong against that match,

And firm for doctor Caius, hath appointed,
That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
While othersports are tasking of their minds,
And at the deanery, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her: to this her mother's plot
She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
Made promise to the doctor. —Now, thus it rests:
Her father means, she shall be all in white;
And in that habit, when Slendersees his time
To take her by the hand, and bid her go,
She shall go with him: – her mother hath intended,
The better to denote her to the doctor,
(For they must all be mask'd and vizarded.)
That, quaint in green, she shall be loose enrob'd,
With ribbands pendant, flaring 'bout her head;
And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and, on that token,
The maid hath given consent to go with him.
Host. Wich means she to deceive? father or mother?
Fent. Both, my good host, to go along with me:
And here it rests, that you'll procure the vicar
To stay for me at church, 'twixt twelve and one,
And, in the lawful name of marrying,
To give our hearts united ceremony.
Host. Well, husband your device; I'll to the vicar:
Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
Fent. So shall I evermore be bound to thce:
Besides, I'll make a present recompense. [Ereunt.

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[ocr errors]
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