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Peters del

Sterling sc

MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR

M'Ford ŁM Page

Ac I Scene I

this mystery of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy letter : but let thine inherit first; for, I protest, mine never shall. I warrant, he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for different names, (sure more) and these are of the second edition. He will print them out of doubt ; for he cares not what he puts into the press, when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles, ere one chaste man.

Mrs. Ford. Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the very words. What doth he think of us ?

Mrs. Page. Nay, I know not; it makes me almost ready to wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal ; for, sure, unless he knew some strain 1 in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.

Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call you it? I'll be sure to keep him above deck.

Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I 'll never to sea again. Let's be revenged on him : let's appoint him a meeting; give him a show of comfort in his suit; and lead him on with a fine-baited delay, till he hath pawned his horses to mine host of the Garter.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villany against him, that may not sully the chariness

1 Fault.

of our honesty. O, that my husband saw this letter! it would give eternal food to his jealousy.

Mrs. Page. Why, look, where he comes; and my good man too : he's as far from jealousy, as I am from giving him cause; and that, I hope, is an unmeasurable distance,

Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman.

Mrs. Page. Let's consult together against this greasy knight. Come hither.

[they retire.

Enter FORD, PISTOL, PAGE, and nym, Ford. Well, I hope, it be not so.

Pis. Hope is a curtail dog? in some affairs :
Sir John affects thy wife.

Ford. Why, sir, my wife is not young.
Pis. He wooes both high and low, both rich and

poor,
Both young and old, one with another, Ford ;
He loves the gally-mawfry; 3 Ford, perpend,

Ford. Love my wife?

Pis. With liver burning hot. Prevent, or go thou, Like Sir Actæon he, with Ringwood at thy heels :O, odious is the name!

Ford. What name, sir ?

Pis. The horn, I say. Farewell. Take heed; have open eye; for thieves do foot by

night:

I Caution which our honor requires.
2 A dog that misses his game.
^ Attend to my advice.

3 A medley.

Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo-birds do

sing.-Away, sir corporal Nym,Believe it, Page; he speaks sense. [Exit Pistol.

Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this.

Nym. And this is true: [to Page.] I like not the humor of lying. He hath wronged me in some humors : I should have borne the humored letter to her; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your wife; there's the short and the long. My name is corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch. 'Tis true :—my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife.—Adieu ; I love not the humor of bread and cheese; and there's the humor of it. Adieu.

[Exit Nym. Page. The humor of it,' quoth 'a! here's a fellow frights humor out of his wits.

Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.

Page. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.

Ford. If I do find it, well.

Page. I will not believe such a Cataian,” though the priest o' the town commended him for a true man.

Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow. Well.
Page. How now, Meg?

1 My sword shall bite when my need drives me to unlawful expedients.

2 The Chinese, anciently called Cataians, were expert sharpers.

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