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Home > Merry Wives of Windsor > ACT II - SCENE II. A room in the Garter Inn.

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ACT II - SCENE II. A room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL

FALSTAFF
1    I will not lend thee a penny.
PISTOL
2    Why, then the world's mine oyster.
3    Which I with sword will open.
FALSTAFF
4    Not a penny. I have been content, sir, you should
5    lay my countenance to pawn; I have grated upon my
6    good friends for three reprieves for you and your
7    coach-fellow Nym; or else you had looked through
8    the grate, like a geminy of baboons. I am damned in
9    hell for swearing to gentlemen my friends, you were
10   good soldiers and tall fellows; and when Mistress
11   Bridget lost the handle of her fan, I took't upon
12   mine honour thou hadst it not.
PISTOL
13   Didst not thou share? hadst thou not fifteen pence?
FALSTAFF
14   Reason, you rogue, reason: thinkest thou I'll
15   endanger my soul gratis? At a word, hang no more
16   about me, I am no gibbet for you. Go. A short knife
17   and a throng! To your manor of Pickt-hatch! Go.
18   You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue! you
19   stand upon your honour! Why, thou unconfinable
20   baseness, it is as much as I can do to keep the
21   terms of my honour precise: I, I, I myself
22   sometimes, leaving the fear of God on the left hand
23   and hiding mine honour in my necessity, am fain to
24   shuffle, to hedge and to lurch; and yet you, rogue,
25   will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain
26   looks, your red-lattice phrases, and your
27   bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your
28   honour! You will not do it, you!
PISTOL
29   I do relent: what would thou more of man?
Enter ROBIN

ROBIN
30   Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.
FALSTAFF
31   Let her approach.
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

MISTRESS QUICKLY
32   Give your worship good morrow.
FALSTAFF
33   Good morrow, good wife.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
34   Not so, an't please your worship.
FALSTAFF
35   Good maid, then.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
36   I'll be sworn,
37   As my mother was, the first hour I was born.
FALSTAFF
38   I do believe the swearer. What with me?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
39   Shall I vouchsafe your worship a word or two?
FALSTAFF
40   Two thousand, fair woman: and I'll vouchsafe thee
41   the hearing.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
42   There is one Mistress Ford, sir:--I pray, come a
43   little nearer this ways:--I myself dwell with master
44   Doctor Caius,--
FALSTAFF
45   Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say,--
MISTRESS QUICKLY
46   Your worship says very true: I pray your worship,
47   come a little nearer this ways.
FALSTAFF
48   I warrant thee, nobody hears; mine own people, mine
49   own people.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
50   Are they so? God bless them and make them his servants!
FALSTAFF
51   Well, Mistress Ford; what of her?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
52   Why, sir, she's a good creature. Lord Lord! your
53   worship's a wanton! Well, heaven forgive you and all
54   of us, I pray!
FALSTAFF
55   Mistress Ford; come, Mistress Ford,--
MISTRESS QUICKLY
56   Marry, this is the short and the long of it; you
57   have brought her into such a canaries as 'tis
58   wonderful. The best courtier of them all, when the
59   court lay at Windsor, could never have brought her
60   to such a canary. Yet there has been knights, and
61   lords, and gentlemen, with their coaches, I warrant
62   you, coach after coach, letter after letter, gift
63   after gift; smelling so sweetly, all musk, and so
64   rushling, I warrant you, in silk and gold; and in
65   such alligant terms; and in such wine and sugar of
66   the best and the fairest, that would have won any
67   woman's heart; and, I warrant you, they could never
68   get an eye-wink of her: I had myself twenty angels
69   given me this morning; but I defy all angels, in
70   any such sort, as they say, but in the way of
71   honesty: and, I warrant you, they could never get
72   her so much as sip on a cup with the proudest of
73   them all: and yet there has been earls, nay, which
74   is more, pensioners; but, I warrant you, all is one with her.
FALSTAFF
75   But what says she to me? be brief, my good
76   she-Mercury.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
77   Marry, she hath received your letter, for the which
78   she thanks you a thousand times; and she gives you
79   to notify that her husband will be absence from his
80   house between ten and eleven.
FALSTAFF
81   Ten and eleven?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
82   Ay, forsooth; and then you may come and see the
83   picture, she says, that you wot of: Master Ford,
84   her husband, will be from home. Alas! the sweet
85   woman leads an ill life with him: he's a very
86   jealousy man: she leads a very frampold life with
87   him, good heart.
FALSTAFF
88   Ten and eleven. Woman, commend me to her; I will
89   not fail her.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
90   Why, you say well. But I have another messenger to
91   your worship. Mistress Page hath her hearty
92   commendations to you too: and let me tell you in
93   your ear, she's as fartuous a civil modest wife, and
94   one, I tell you, that will not miss you morning nor
95   evening prayer, as any is in Windsor, whoe'er be the
96   other: and she bade me tell your worship that her
97   husband is seldom from home; but she hopes there
98   will come a time. I never knew a woman so dote upon
99   a man: surely I think you have charms, la; yes, in truth.
FALSTAFF
100  Not I, I assure thee: setting the attractions of my
101  good parts aside I have no other charms.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
102  Blessing on your heart for't!
FALSTAFF
103  But, I pray thee, tell me this: has Ford's wife and
104  Page's wife acquainted each other how they love me?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
105  That were a jest indeed! they have not so little
106  grace, I hope: that were a trick indeed! but
107  Mistress Page would desire you to send her your
108  little page, of all loves: her husband has a
109  marvellous infection to the little page; and truly
110  Master Page is an honest man. Never a wife in
111  Windsor leads a better life than she does: do what
112  she will, say what she will, take all, pay all, go
113  to bed when she list, rise when she list, all is as
114  she will: and truly she deserves it; for if there
115  be a kind woman in Windsor, she is one. You must
116  send her your page; no remedy.
FALSTAFF
117  Why, I will.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
118  Nay, but do so, then: and, look you, he may come and
119  go between you both; and in any case have a
120  nay-word, that you may know one another's mind, and
121  the boy never need to understand any thing; for
122  'tis not good that children should know any
123  wickedness: old folks, you know, have discretion,
124  as they say, and know the world.
FALSTAFF
125  Fare thee well: commend me to them both: there's
126  my purse; I am yet thy debtor. Boy, go along with
127  this woman.
Exeunt MISTRESS QUICKLY and ROBIN
128  This news distracts me!
PISTOL
129  This punk is one of Cupid's carriers:
130  Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights:
131  Give fire: she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all!
Exit

FALSTAFF
132  Sayest thou so, old Jack? go thy ways; I'll make
133  more of thy old body than I have done. Will they
134  yet look after thee? Wilt thou, after the expense
135  of so much money, be now a gainer? Good body, I
136  thank thee. Let them say 'tis grossly done; so it be
137  fairly done, no matter.
Enter BARDOLPH

BARDOLPH
138  Sir John, there's one Master Brook below would fain
139  speak with you, and be acquainted with you; and hath
140  sent your worship a morning's draught of sack.
FALSTAFF
141  Brook is his name?
BARDOLPH
142  Ay, sir.
FALSTAFF
143  Call him in.
Exit BARDOLPH
144  Such Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such
145  liquor. Ah, ha! Mistress Ford and Mistress Page
146  have I encompassed you? go to; via!
Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised

FORD
147  Bless you, sir!
FALSTAFF
148  And you, sir! Would you speak with me?
FORD
149  I make bold to press with so little preparation upon
150  you.
FALSTAFF
151  You're welcome. What's your will? Give us leave, drawer.
Exit BARDOLPH

FORD
152  Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name is Brook.
FALSTAFF
153  Good Master Brook, I desire more acquaintance of you.
FORD
154  Good Sir John, I sue for yours: not to charge you;
155  for I must let you understand I think myself in
156  better plight for a lender than you are: the which
157  hath something embolden'd me to this unseasoned
158  intrusion; for they say, if money go before, all
159  ways do lie open.
FALSTAFF
160  Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on.
FORD
161  Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me:
162  if you will help to bear it, Sir John, take all, or
163  half, for easing me of the carriage.
FALSTAFF
164  Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter.
FORD
165  I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing.
FALSTAFF
166  Speak, good Master Brook: I shall be glad to be
167  your servant.
FORD
168  Sir, I hear you are a scholar,--I will be brief
169  with you,--and you have been a man long known to me,
170  though I had never so good means, as desire, to make
171  myself acquainted with you. I shall discover a
172  thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine
173  own imperfection: but, good Sir John, as you have
174  one eye upon my follies, as you hear them unfolded,
175  turn another into the register of your own; that I
176  may pass with a reproof the easier, sith you
177  yourself know how easy it is to be such an offender.
FALSTAFF
178  Very well, sir; proceed.
FORD
179  There is a gentlewoman in this town; her husband's
180  name is Ford.
FALSTAFF
181  Well, sir.
FORD
182  I have long loved her, and, I protest to you,
183  bestowed much on her; followed her with a doting
184  observance; engrossed opportunities to meet her;
185  fee'd every slight occasion that could but niggardly
186  give me sight of her; not only bought many presents
187  to give her, but have given largely to many to know
188  what she would have given; briefly, I have pursued
189  her as love hath pursued me; which hath been on the
190  wing of all occasions. But whatsoever I have
191  merited, either in my mind or, in my means, meed,
192  I am sure, I have received none; unless experience
193  be a jewel that I have purchased at an infinite
194  rate, and that hath taught me to say this:
195  'Love like a shadow flies when substance love pursues;
196  Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.'
FALSTAFF
197  Have you received no promise of satisfaction at her hands?
FORD
198  Never.
FALSTAFF
199  Have you importuned her to such a purpose?
FORD
200  Never.
FALSTAFF
201  Of what quality was your love, then?
FORD
202  Like a fair house built on another man's ground; so
203  that I have lost my edifice by mistaking the place
204  where I erected it.
FALSTAFF
205  To what purpose have you unfolded this to me?
FORD
206  When I have told you that, I have told you all.
207  Some say, that though she appear honest to me, yet in
208  other places she enlargeth her mirth so far that
209  there is shrewd construction made of her. Now, Sir
210  John, here is the heart of my purpose: you are a
211  gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable
212  discourse, of great admittance, authentic in your
213  place and person, generally allowed for your many
214  war-like, court-like, and learned preparations.
FALSTAFF
215  O, sir!
FORD
216  Believe it, for you know it. There is money; spend
217  it, spend it; spend more; spend all I have; only
218  give me so much of your time in exchange of it, as
219  to lay an amiable siege to the honesty of this
220  Ford's wife: use your art of wooing; win her to
221  consent to you: if any man may, you may as soon as
222  any.
FALSTAFF
223  Would it apply well to the vehemency of your
224  affection, that I should win what you would enjoy?
225  Methinks you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.
FORD
226  O, understand my drift. She dwells so securely on
227  the excellency of her honour, that the folly of my
228  soul dares not present itself: she is too bright to
229  be looked against. Now, could I could come to her
230  with any detection in my hand, my desires had
231  instance and argument to commend themselves: I
232  could drive her then from the ward of her purity,
233  her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand
234  other her defences, which now are too too strongly
235  embattled against me. What say you to't, Sir John?
FALSTAFF
236  Master Brook, I will first make bold with your
237  money; next, give me your hand; and last, as I am a
238  gentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife.
FORD
239  O good sir!
FALSTAFF
240  I say you shall.
FORD
241  Want no money, Sir John; you shall want none.
FALSTAFF
242  Want no Mistress Ford, Master Brook; you shall want
243  none. I shall be with her, I may tell you, by her
244  own appointment; even as you came in to me, her
245  assistant or go-between parted from me: I say I
246  shall be with her between ten and eleven; for at
247  that time the jealous rascally knave her husband
248  will be forth. Come you to me at night; you shall
249  know how I speed.
FORD
250  I am blest in your acquaintance. Do you know Ford,
251  sir?
FALSTAFF
252  Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I know him not:
253  yet I wrong him to call him poor; they say the
254  jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money; for the
255  which his wife seems to me well-favored. I will
256  use her as the key of the cuckoldly rogue's coffer;
257  and there's my harvest-home.
FORD
258  I would you knew Ford, sir, that you might avoid him
259  if you saw him.
FALSTAFF
260  Hang him, mechanical salt-butter rogue! I will
261  stare him out of his wits; I will awe him with my
262  cudgel: it shall hang like a meteor o'er the
263  cuckold's horns. Master Brook, thou shalt know I
264  will predominate over the peasant, and thou shalt
265  lie with his wife. Come to me soon at night.
266  Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his style;
267  thou, Master Brook, shalt know him for knave and
268  cuckold. Come to me soon at night.
Exit

FORD
269  What a damned Epicurean rascal is this! My heart is
270  ready to crack with impatience. Who says this is
271  improvident jealousy? my wife hath sent to him; the
272  hour is fixed; the match is made. Would any man
273  have thought this? See the hell of having a false
274  woman! My bed shall be abused, my coffers
275  ransacked, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not
276  only receive this villanous wrong, but stand under
277  the adoption of abominable terms, and by him that
278  does me this wrong. Terms! names! Amaimon sounds
279  well; Lucifer, well; Barbason, well; yet they are
280  devils' additions, the names of fiends: but
281  Cuckold! Wittol!--Cuckold! the devil himself hath
282  not such a name. Page is an ass, a secure ass: he
283  will trust his wife; he will not be jealous. I will
284  rather trust a Fleming with my butter, Parson Hugh
285  the Welshman with my cheese, an Irishman with my
286  aqua-vitae bottle, or a thief to walk my ambling
287  gelding, than my wife with herself; then she plots,
288  then she ruminates, then she devises; and what they
289  think in their hearts they may effect, they will
290  break their hearts but they will effect. God be
291  praised for my jealousy! Eleven o'clock the hour.
292  I will prevent this, detect my wife, be revenged on
293  Falstaff, and laugh at Page. I will about it;
294  better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
295  Fie, fie, fie! cuckold! cuckold! cuckold!
Exit

< (Previous) ACT II, SCENE IACT II, SCENE III (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V

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