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Simp. Why, fir, they were nothing but about mistress Anne Page, to know if it were my mafter's fortune to have her, or no. Fal. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.

Simp. What, fir?

Fal. To have her, or no: go; fay, the woman told me fo.
Simp. May I be fo bold to fay fo, fir?
Hoft. Ay, fir; like who more bold.

Simp. I thank your worship: I fhall make my master glad
with these tidings.
[Exit Simple.
Host. Thou art clerkly; thou art clerkly, fir John: was there
a wife 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 pay'd nothing for it neither, but was pay'd for my learning.



Enter Bardolph.

Bard. Out, alas, fir, cozenage! meer cozenage! Hoft. Where be my horses? fpeak well of them, varletto. Bard. Run away with the cozeners; for fo foon as I came beyond Eaton, they threw me off from behind one of them in flough of mire, and set spurs, and away; like three German devils, three doctor Fauftus's.

Hoft. They are gone but to meet the duke; villain, do not Lay they be fled; Germans are honest men.

Enter Evans.

Eva. Where is mine hoft?

Hoft. What is the matter, fir?

Eva Have a care of your entertainments; there is a friend o mine come to town tells me there is three cozen-jermans that has cozen'd all the hofts of Reading, of Maiden-head, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell you for good will, look you; you are wife, and full of gibes and vlouting-stocks, and 'tis not convenient you should be cozened; fare you well.

[Exit. Enter

Enter Caius.

Caius. Ver is mine hoft de jartere ?

Hoft. Here, mafter doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma. Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat; but it is tell-a me, dat you make a grand preparation for a duke de Jamany; by my trot, dere is no duke, dat de court is know, to come: I tell you for good will; adieu. [Exit.

Hoft. Hue and cry, villain, go; affift me, knight, I am undone; fly, run, hue and cry, villain; I am undone. [Exit.

Fal. I would, all the world might be cozen'd, for I have been cozened, and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court how I have been transformed, and how my transformation hath been wash'd and cudgel'd, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermens boots with me. I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, 'till I were as crest-faln as a dry'd pear. I never profper'd fince I forfwore myself at Primero. Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent. Now, whence come you?


Enter mistress Quickly.

Quic. From the two parties, forfooth.

Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestow'd! I have fuffer'd more for their fakes, more than the villanous inconftancy of man's difpofition is able to bear.

Quic. And have they not fuffer'd? yes, I warrant, fpeciously one of them; mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot fee a white spot about her.

Fal. What tell'ft thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rain-bow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brainford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, counterfeiting the action of a wode woman, deliver'd me, the knave constable had fet me i' th' stocks, i' th' common stocks, for a witch.

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Quic. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber; you shall hear how things go, and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will fay fomewhat. Good hearts, what ado is here to bring you together! fure, one of you does not ferve heav'n well, that you are fo crofs'd.

Fal. Come up into my chamber.




Enter Fenton, and Hoft.

Hoft. Master Fenton, talk not to me, my mind is heavy, I will give over all.

Fent. Yet hear me speak; affift me in my purpose,

And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee
A hundred pound in gold more than your lofs.

Hoft. I will hear you, mafter Fenton; and I will, at the least, keep your counfel.

Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page,
Who, mutually, hath anfwer'd my affection,
(So far forth as herself might be her chooser)
Ev'n to my wish. I have a letter from her
Of fuch contents, as you will wonder at;
The mirth whereof's fo larded with my matter,
That neither fingly can be manifested,
Without the show of both. Fat fir John Falstaff
Hath a great scene; the image of the jest

I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine hoft;
To-night at Herne's oak, juft 'twixt twelve and one,
Muft my fweet Nan prefent the fairy queen;
The purpose why, is here; in which disguise,
While other jefts are fomething rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to flip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eaton
Immediately to marry; she hath confented. Now, fir,
Her mother, ever ftrong against that match,

N n



And firm for doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise fhuffle her away,
While other sports are tasking of their minds,
And at the deanery, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her; to this her mother's plot
She, feemingly obedient, likewise hath

Made promise to the doctor. Now, thus it refts;
Her father means fhe fhall be all in white;
And in that drefs when Slender fees his time

To take her by the hand, and bid her go,


She fhall go with him. - Her mother hath intended,
The better to devote her to the doctor,

(For they must all be mask'd and vizarded)
That, quaint in green, fhe fhall be loose enrob'd,
With ribbands-pendent, flaring 'bout her head;
And when the doctor fpies his vantage ripe
To pinch her by the hand, upon that token
The maid hath given confent to go with him.

Hoft. Which means fhe to deceive? father, or mother?
Fent. Both, my good hoft, to go along with me;
And here it refts, 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 fhall I evermore be bound to thee;
Befide, I'll make a present recompence.



Re-enter Falstaff, and mistress Quickly.

Fal. Pr'ythee, no more pratling; go, I'll hold. This is the third time; I hope, good luck lyes in odd numbers; away, go; they say, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death; away.

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Quic. I'll provide you a chain, and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns. [Exit Mrs. Quickly. Fal. Away, I fay; time wears: hold up your head, and mince.

Enter Ford.

How now, master Brook? mafter Brook, the matter will be known to-night, or never. Be you in the park about mid-night at Herne's oak, and you shall fee wonders.

Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, fir, as you told me you had appointed ?

Fal. I went to her, master Brook, as you see, like a poor old man; but I came from her, mafter Brook, like a poor old woman. That fame knave, Ford her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, master Brook, that ever govern'd frenzy. I will tell you; he beat me grievously, in the shape of a woman: for in the shape of a man, mafter Brook, I fear not Goliah with a weaver's beam; because I know also, life is a fhuttle: I am in haste; go along with me, I'll tell you all, mafter Brook. Since I pluck'd geefe, play'd truant, and whipt top, I knew not what 'twas to be beaten, 'till lately. Follow me, I'll tell you strange things of this knave Ford, on whom to-night I will be reveng'd, and I will deliver his wife into your hand. Follow; ftrange things in hand, mafter Brook! follow.






Enter Page, Shallow, and Slender.



NOME, come; we'll couch i' th' caftle-ditch, 'till we see the light of our fairies. Remember, fon Slender, my daughter., Slen. Ay, forfooth, I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word how to know one another. I come to her in white Nn 2 and

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