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should not come; methinks, his felh is punith'd, he shall have no desires.
Page. So think I too.
comes ; And let us two devise to bring him thither. Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne the
Page. Why yet there want not many, that do fear
Mrs. Ford. Marry, this is our device, (23)
Page. Well, let it not be doubted, but he'll come.
(23) Mrs. Ford, Marry, this is our device,
And is this shape when you bave brought bim tbither,] Thus this passage has been transmitted down to us, from the time of the first edition by the Players : But what was this shape, in which Falstaff was to be appointed to meet ? For the women have not said one word to ascertain it. This makes it more than suspicious, the defeet in this point must be owing to some wife retrenchment. The two intermediate lines, which I have restored from the old Quarto, are absolutely necessary, and clear up the matter.
Nan Page, (my daughter) and my little son,
from forth a faw-pit rush at once
Mrs. Ford. And 'till he tell the truth,
Mrs. Page. The truth being known,
Ford. The children must
Ēve. I will teach the children their behaviours 3 and I will be like a jack-anapes also, to burn the Knight with my taper.
Ford. This will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.
Mrs. Page. My Nan fhall be the Queen of all the Fairies; finely attired in a robe of white.
Page. That filk will I go buy, and in that tire (24) Shall Mr. Slender steal my Nan away,
[Aide. And marry her at Eaton.' Go, send to Falstaff straight.
(24) That filk will I go buy, and in that time
Sball Mr. Slender freal, &c.] What! muft Slender steal Mrs. Ann, while her father goes to buy the silk she was to be dress'd in? This was no part of the scheme. Her garb was to be the fignal for Slender to know her by. The alteration of a single letter gives us the Poet's reading. Tire is as common with our Poet, and other Writers of his age, as attire; to signify, dress. And my emendation is clearly justified, by what Fenton afterwards tells the Hoft.
Her father means the shall be all in white,
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 our Fairies.
Eva. Let us about it, it is admirable pleasures, and ferry honeft knaveries.
[Exe. Page, Ford, and Evans. Mrs. Page. Go, Mrs. Ford, Send Quickly to Sir John, to know his mind. (25)
[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 he 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. SCENE changes to the Garter-Inn.
Enter Hoft and simple.
thick-skin; speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
Simp. Marry, Sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff, from Mr. Slender.
Hox. 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.
Simp. There's an old woman, a fat woman gone up into his chamber ; I'll be fo bold as stay, Sir, 'till the come down; I come to speak with her, indeed.
Hop. W , ,
(25) Send quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.] The whole set of printed copies downwards have sunk our messenger here into an adverb. Dame Quickly is the person intended to be sent to Sir John; and accordingly when we next find her with him, she tells him, she comes from the two parties ; viz. Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page,
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 Hoft, thine Ephefian calls.
Falstaff, above. Fal. How now, mine Host?
Hoft. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman : let her descend, bully, let her descend; my chambers are honourable. Fy, privacy? fy.
Enter Falstaff. 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 it, mussel-shell, what would you with her!
Simp. My master, Sir, my master Slender sent to her, feeing 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.
Fal. Marry, she says, that the very fame man, that beguil'd master Slender, of his chain, cozen'd him of it,
Simp. 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.
Simp. Why, Sir, they were nothing but about miftrefs Ann Page; to know, if it were my master's fortune to have her or no.
Fal. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune. Simp. What, Sir ? Fal. To have her or no: go ; fay, the old woman told me so.
Simp. May I be so bold to say fo, Sir?
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 .
Hoft. Where be my horses ? speak 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 a slough of mire, and set spurs, and away ; like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.
Hoft. They are gone but to meet the Duke, villain ; do not say they be fed ; Germans are honest men.
Enter Evans. Eva. Where is mine Hoft ?? Hoft. What is the matter, Sir ?
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 Hoft of Reading, of Maiden-bead, of cclebrook, 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 cozen; fare you well. [Exit.
Hoft. Here, master Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma.
Caius. I cannot tell what is dat; but it is tell-a-me, dat you make a grand preparation for a Duke de Jamany ; by my trot, der is no Duke, dat the court is know, to come: I tell you for good will ; adieu. [Exit.
. VOL. I.