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The Merry Wives of Windsor

Act IV, Scene 5

A room in the Garter Inn.
 
[Enter Host and SIMPLE]
 
HOST
What wouldst thou have, boor? what: thick-skin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
 
SIMPLE
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; hell speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee: knock, I say.
 
SIMPLE
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.
 
FALSTAFF [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 honorable: fie! privacy? fie!
 
[Enter FALSTAFF]
 
FALSTAFF
There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with me; but she's gone.
 
SIMPLE
Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman of Brentford?
 
FALSTAFF
Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell: what would you with her?
 
SIMPLE
My master, sir, Master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go through the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain or no.
 
FALSTAFF
I spake with the old woman about it.
 
SIMPLE
And what says she, I pray, sir?
 
FALSTAFF
Marry, she says that the very same man that beguiled Master Slender of his chain cozened him of it.
 
SIMPLE
I would I could have spoken with the woman herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too from him.
 
FALSTAFF
What are they? let us know.
 
HOST
Ay, come; quick.
 
SIMPLE
I may not conceal them, sir.
 
HOST
Conceal them, or thou diest.
 
SIMPLE
Why, sir, they were nothing but about Mistress Anne Page; to know if it were my master's fortune to have her or no.
 
FALSTAFF
'Tis, 'tis his fortune.
 
SIMPLE
What, sir?
 
FALSTAFF
To have her, or no. Go; say the woman told me so.
 
SIMPLE
May I be bold to say so, sir?
 
FALSTAFF
Ay, sir; like who more bold.
 
SIMPLE
I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings.
 
[Exit]
 
HOST
Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was there a wise woman with thee?
 
FALSTAFF
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]
 
BARDOLPH
Out, alas, sir! cozenage, mere cozenage!
 
HOST
Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.
 
BARDOLPH
Run away with the cozeners; 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, villain: do not say they be fled; Germans are honest men.
 
[Enter SIR HUGH EVANS]
 
SIR HUGH EVANS
Where is mine host?
 
HOST
What is the matter, sir?
 
SIR HUGH EVANS
Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town tells me there is three cozen-germans that has cozened all the hosts of Readins, 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-stocks, and 'tis not convenient you should be cozened. Fare you well.
 
[Exit. Enter DOCTOR CAIUS]
 
DOCTOR CAIUS
Vere is mine host de Jarteer?
 
HOST
Here, master doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma.
 
DOCTOR CAIUS
I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a me dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Jamany: by my trot, dere is no duke dat the court is know to come. I tell you for good vill: adieu.
 
[Exit]
 
HOST
Hue and cry, villain, go! Assist me, knight. I am undone! Fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone!
 
[Exeunt Host and BARDOLPH]
 
FALSTAFF
I would all the world might be cozened; 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 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 crest-fallen 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. Now, whence come you?
 
MISTRESS QUICKLY
From the two parties, forsooth.
 
FALSTAFF
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 villanous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.
 
MISTRESS QUICKLY
And have not they suffered? 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.
 
FALSTAFF
What tellest thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colors 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 in the stocks, in the common stocks, for a witch.
 
MISTRESS QUICKLY
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 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.
 
FALSTAFF
Come up into my chamber.
 
[Exeunt]

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