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Sim. Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman' of Brentford?

Fal. Ay, marry, was it, muscle-shell: Wha' would you with her?

Sim. My master, sir, my master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go thorough the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguil'd him of a chain, had the chain, or no.

Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.

Sim. And what says she, I pray, sir?

Fal. Marry, she says that the very same man that beguil'd master Slender of his chain, cozen'd him of it.

Sim. 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.

Host. Ay, come; quick.

5

Sim. I may not conceal them, sir.

Fal. Conceal them, or thou diest.

Sim. Why, sir, they were nothing but about mis tress Anne Page; to know if it were my master's fortune to have her, or no.

Fal. "Tis, 'tis his fortune.
Sim. What, sir?

Fal. To have her, or no: Go; say, the wo

man told me so.

Sim. May I be so bold to say so, sir?

6

Fal. Ay, Sir Tike; who more bold?

3 Scott in his Discovery of Witchcraft says: "At this day n is indifferent in the English tongue to say, She is a witch, or, She is a wise-woman."

H.

4 He calls poor Simple muscle-shell, because he stands with his

inouth open.

The "muscle-shell" means reveal.

H.

The force of tike as here used may be seen in Burns's tale

Sim. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings. [Exit SIMPLE. Host. Thou art clerkly,' thou art clerkly, Sir John Was there a wise woman with thee?

Fal. Ay, that there was, mine Host; 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.

Enter BARDOLph.

Bard. Out, alas, sir! cozenage; mere cozenage! Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them. varletto.

Bard. 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.8

Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain: Do not say, they be fled: Germans are honest men.

Enter Sir HUGH EVANS.

Eva. Where is mine Host?

Host. What is the matter, sir?

of The Twa Dogs; one of which was a dog "o' high degree.' whose

"locked, letter'd, braw brass collar

Show'd him the gentleman and scholar;"

the other was "a ploughman's collie:"

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'He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke

As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.

His honest, sonsie, braws'nt face

Aye gat him friends in ilka place."

The word is still used thus in Yorkshire and Scotland.

H.

7 That is, scholar-like.

Dr. Faustus was a German necromancer, made popular by the story of his life and acts, and by Marlowe's play.

H.

Eva. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town tells me, there is three cousin germans, that has cozen'd all the hosts of Readings, 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-stogs; and it is not convenient you should be cozen'd: Fare you well. [Exit.

Enter Doctor CAIUS.

Caius. Vere is mine Host de Jarterre?

Host. Here, master doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma.

Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a me, dat you make grand preparations for a duke de Jarmany by my trot, dere is no duke, dat the court is know to come; I tell you for good vill: adieu. [Exit.

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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.

Fal. I would all the world might be cozen'd; for I have been cozen'd 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 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 prosper'd since I forswore myself at Primero. Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.

Enter Mrs. QUICKLY.

Now! whence come you?

Primero was the fashionable game at cards in Shakespeare s

time.

Quick. From the two parties, forsooth.

Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestowed! I have suffer'd more for their sakes, more than the villanous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear. Quick. And have not they suffer'd? 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.

Fal. What tell'st thou me of black and blue! I was beaten myself into all the colours 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, deliver'd me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.

Quick. 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 cross'd.

Fal. Come up into my chamber.

[Exeunt.

SCENE VI. Another Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter FENTON and Host.

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

Fent. Yet hear me speak: Assist me in my pur

pose,

And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee

A hundred pound in gold, more than your loss.

Host. I will hear you, master Fenton; and I will, at the least, keep your counsel.

Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page; Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection, (So far forth as herself might be her chooser,) Even to my wish: I have a letter from her Of such contents as you will wonder at; The mirth whereof so larded with my matter, That neither, singly, can be manifested, Without the show of both;

wherein fat Falstaff

Hath a great scene: the image of the jest

[Showing the letter
I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine Host:
To-night at Herne's oak, just 'twixt twelve and one
Must my sweet Nan present the fairy queen;
The purpose why, is here;' in which disguise,
While other jests are something rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to slip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
Immediately to marry: she hath consented.
Now, sir,

Her mother, ever strong against that match,
And firm for doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle 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, seemingly obedient, likewise hath

Made promise to the doctor. Now, thus it rests: Her father means she shall be all in white;

And in that habit, when Slender sees his time

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

She shall go with him:- her mother hath intended The better to denote her to the doctor,

(For they must all be mask'd and vizarded,)

In the letter.

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