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but fpeciously for master Fenton, Well, I must of another errand to Sir John Falstaff from my two mistresses; what a beast am I to slack it? [Exit.
S CE N E V.
Changes to the Garter inn.
Enter Falstaff and Bardolph.
Fal. Go fetch me a quart of fack; put a toast in't. [Ex. Bard.] Have I liv'd to be carried in a basket, like a barrow of butchers' offal ; and to be thrown into the Thames? Well; if I be serv'd such another trick, I'll have my brains ta'en out, and butter'd, and give them to a dog for a new year's gift. The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse 2 as they would have drown’d a bitch's blind puppies, fifteen i' the litter : and you may know, by my size, that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking: if the bottom were as deep as hell, I should down. I had been drown'd, but that the shore was shelvy and shallow; a death that I abhor ; for the water swells a man: and what a thing should I have been, when I had been swellid! I should have been a mountain of mummy.
Re-enter Bardolph. Now, is the fack brew'd ?
Bard. Ay, Sir : there's a woman below would speak Fal. Come, let me pour in some fack to the Thames water; for my belly's as cold as if I had swallowd snow-balls for pills to cool the reins. Call her in.
2 In former copies, -as they would have drown'd a blind bitch's puppies,-) I have ventured to transpose the adjective here, againit the authority of the printed copies. I know, in horses, a colt from a blind itallion lofes much of the value it might otherwise have ; but are puppies ever drown'd the sooner, for coming from a blind bitch ? The author certainly wrote, as they would have drown'd a bitch's blind puppies. THEOBALD.
Bard. Come in, woman.
Enter Mrs. Quickly. Quic. By your leave ;-I cry you mercy :-give your worship good morrow.
Fal. Take away these chalices: go brew me a pottle of fack finely.
Bard. With eggs, Sir?
Fal. Simple of itself; I'll no pullet-sperm in my brewage.- How now?
Quic. Marry, Sir, I come to your worship from mistress Ford.
Fal. Mistress Ford ! I have had Ford enough: I was thrown into the Ford; I have my belly full of Ford.
Quic. Alas the day! good heart, that was not her fault: she does so take on with her men; they mistook their erection.
Fal. So did I mine, to build on a foolish woman's promise.
Quic. Well, she laments, Sir, for it, that it would yern your heart to see it. "Her husband goes this morning a birding; she desires you once more to come to her between eight and nine. I must carry her word quickly: she'll make you amends, I warrant you.
Fal. Well, I will visit her : tell her so; and bid her think, what a man is : let her consider his frailty, and then judge of my merit.
Quic. I will tell her.
[Exit. Fal. I marvel, I hear not of master Brook; he sent
me word to stay within: I like his money well. Oh, here he comes.
Enter Ford Ford. Bless you, Sir!
Fal. Now, master Brook ? you come to know what hath pass’d between me and Ford's wife? Ford. That, indeed, Sir John, is my
business. Fal. Master Brook, I will not lie to you; I was at her house the hour the appointed me.
Ford. And you sped, Sir?
Fal. No, master Brook : but the peaking cornuto her husband, maiter Brook, dwelling in a continual larum of jealousy, comes to me in the instant of our encounter, after we had embrac’d, kiss’d, protested, and, as it were, spoke the prologue of our comedy ; and at his heels a rabble of his companions, thither provok'd and instigated by his distemper, and, fortooth, to search his house for his wife's love.
Ford. What, while you was there?
Ford. And did he search for you, and could not find you?
Fal. You shall her. As good luck would have it, comes in one mistress Page; gives intelligence of Ford's approach; and, by her invention, and Ford's wife’s distraction, they convey'd me into a buck-basket.
Ford. A buck-basket !
Fal. Yea, a buck-basket : ramm'd me in with foul shirts and smocks, focks, foul Atockings, and greasy napkins; that, master Brook, there was the rinkeit compound of villainous finell, that ever offended noftril.
Ford. And how long lay you there?
Fal. Nay, you shall hear, master Brook, what } have suffer'd to bring this woman to evil for your good. Vol. I.
Being thus cram:n’d in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds, were callid forth by their mistress, to carry me in the name of foul cloaths to Datchetlane: they took me on their shoulders ; met the jealous knave their master in the door, who ask'd them once or twice what they had in their basket : I quak'd for fear, left the lunatick knave would have fearch'd it ; but fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold, held his hand. Well; on went he for a search, and away went I for foul cloaths. But mark the sequel, master Brook : I suffer'd the pangs of three 3 several deaths : first, an intolerable fright, to be detected by a jealous rotten bell-weather : next, to be compass'd like a good 4 bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head : and then, to be stopp'd in, like a strong distillation, with stinking cloaths that frected in their own grease: think of that, a man of my 5 kidney ; think of that, that am as subject to heat as butter ; a man of continual diffolution and thaw; it was a miracle to 'scape suffocation. And in the height of this bath, when I was more than half stew'd in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown into the Thames, and coold, glowing hot, in that surge, like a horse-lhoe; think of that; hisfing hot ; think of that, master Brook.
Ford. In good sadness, Sir, I am sorry that for my fake you have suffer'd all this. My suit is then desperate ; you'll undertake her no more?
Fal. Master Brook, I will be thrown into Ætna, as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her thus. Her husband is this morning gone a birding : I have
- several deatls :) Thus the folio and the most corred of the quartos. The first quarto reads- egregious deaths.
STEEVENS. bilbo,-) A bilbo is a Spanish blade, of which the excellence is flexibleness and elasticity: JOHNSON.
Skidney ;) Kidney in this phrase now signifies kind or qualities, but Faltaf means a man whose kiluies are as far as mine. JOHNSON.
receiv'd from her another embassy of meeting; 'twixt eight and nine is the hour, mafter Brook.
Ford. 'Tis past eight already, Sir.
Come to me at your convenient leisure, and you shall know how I speed; and the conclusion shall be crown'd with your enjoying her: adieu, you shall have her, master Brook; master Brook, you shall cuckold Ford.
[Exit. Ford. Hum! ha! is this a vision ? is this a dream? do I neep? master Ford, awake; awake, master Ford; there's a hole made in your best coat, master Ford. This 'tis to be married ! this 'tis to have linen, and buck-baskets !-Well, I will proclaim myself what I ain: I will now take the letcher; he is at my house: he cannot 'scape me; 'tis impossible he should : he cannot creep into a half-penny purse, nor into a pepper-box : but, left the devil that guides him should aid him, I will search impossible places. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not, shall not make me tame : if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go
6 I'll be horn-mad.
-I'll be horn-mad.] There is no image which our author appears fo fond of, as that of cuckold's horns. Scarcely a light character is introduced that does not endeavour to produce merriment by some allusion to horned husbands. As he wrote his plays for the stage rather than the press, he perhaps reviewed them seldom, and did not observe this repetition, or finding the jest, however frequent, fill successful, did not think correction necessary. JOHNSON.