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SCENE I-Windsor. Before Page's house. Enter Justice Shallow, Slender, and Sir1 Hugh Evans.
SIR Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Starchamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir John Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.
Slen. In the county of Gloster, justice of peace, and coram.
Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and cust-alorum.2 Slen. Ay, and ratolorum too; and a gentleman born, master parson; who writes himself armigero; in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, armigero.
Shal. Ay, that we do; and have done any time these three hundred years.
Slen. All his successors, gone before him, have done't; and all his ancestors, that come after him,
(1) A title formerly appropriated to chaplains. Custos rotulorum."
heard say, he was outrun on Cotsale.1
Sten. You'll not confess, you'll not confess.
Page. A cur, sir.
Shal. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog; can there be more said? he is good, and fair.-Is sir John Falstaff here?
Page. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a good office between you.
Eva. It is spoke as a christians ought to speak.
Enter Sir John Falstaff, Bardolph, Nym, and
Fal. Now, master Shallow; you'll complain of me to the king?
Shal. Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and broke open my lodge.
Fal. But not kiss'd your keeper's daughter.
Fal. I will answer it straight;-I have done all this-that is now answer'd.
Shal. The council shall know this.
Fal. "Twere better for you, if it were known in
Eva. Pauca verba, Sir John, good worts.
(1) Cotswold in Gloucestershire.
Worts was the ancient name of all the catbage kind.
broke your head; what matter have you against me?
Slen. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your coney-catching! rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. They carried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and afterwards picked my pocket.
Bar. You Banbury cheese!2
Slen. Ay, it is no matter.
Pist. How now, Mephostophilus ?3
Nym. Šlice, I say! pauca, pauca,4 slice! that's my humour.
Slen. Where's Simple, my man?-can you tell, cousin?
Eva. Peace, I pray you! Now let us understand: there is three umpires in this matter, as I understand: that is, master Page, fidelicet, master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet, myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine host of
Page. We three, to hear it, and end it between them.
Eva. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-book; and we will afterwards 'ork upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can. Fal. Pistol,
Pist. He hears with ears.
Eva. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, He hears with ear? Why, it is affectations.
Fal. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse? Slen. Ay, by these gloves, did he (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else,) of seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward shovel-boards,5 that cost me two shilling
(1) Sharpers. (2) Nothing but paring. (3) The name of an ugly spirit. (4) Few words. (5) King Edward's shillings, used in the game of shuffle-board.
and two pence apiece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.
Fal. Is this true, Pistol?
Eva. No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.
Pist. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner!-Sir John, and master mine,
I combat challenge of this latten bilbo :1
Nym. Be advised, sir, and pass good humours: I will say, marry trap, with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on me; that is the very note of it.
Slen. By this hat, then he in the red face had it: for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass. Fal. What say you, Scarlet and John?
Bard. Why, sir, for my part, I say, the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences. Eva. It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is !
Bard. And being fap,4 sir, was, as they say, cashier'd; and so conclusions pass'd the careires.$ Slen. Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis no matter: I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again, but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick: if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.
Eva. So Got 'udge me, that is a virtuous mind. Fal. You hear all these matters denied, gentlemen; you hear it.
Enter Mistress Anne Page with wine; Mistress Ford and Mistress Page following.
Page. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll drink within. [Exit Anne Page.
(1) Blade as thin as a lath.
3) If you say I am a thief. (5) The bounds of good behaviour.
Slen. O heaven! this is mistress Anne Page.
Fal. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met: by your leave, good mistress.
[kissing her. Page. Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome :Come, we have a hot venison pasty to dinner; come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkind
[Exeunt all but Shal. Slend. and Evans. Slen. I had rather than forty shillings, I had my book of songs and sonnets here :-
How now, Simple! where have you been? I must wait on myself, must I? You have not The Book of Riddles about you, have you?
Sim. Book of Riddles! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake, upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ?1
Shal. Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with you, coz marry, this, coz; there is, as 'twere, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by sir Hugh here;-do you understand me?
Slen. Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so, I shall do that that is reason.
Shal. Nay, but understand me.
Slen. So I do, sir.
Eva. Give ear to his motions, master Slender: I will description the matter to you, if you be capacity of it.
Slen. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says: I pray you, pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his country, simple though I stand here.
Eva. But that is not the question; the question is concerning your marriage.
Shal. Ay, there's the point, sir.
(1) An intended blunder.