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would fain speak with you, and be acquainted
you; and hath sent your worship a morn- 150 ing's draught of sack. Fal. Brook is his name? Bard. Ay, sir. Fal. Call him in. [Exit Bardolph.] Such Brooks
are welcome to me, that o'erflows such liquor.
Ah, ha! Mistress Ford and Mistress Page have
I encompassed you ? go to; via !
Re-enter Bardolph with Ford disguised.
Ford. Bless you, sir !
Fal. And you, sir! Would you speak with me?
Ford. I make bold to press with so little preparation 160
Fal. You're welcome. What's
will ? - Give us leave, drawer.
[Exit Bardolph. Ford. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much;
my name is Brook. Fal. Good Master Brook, I desire more acquaint
ance of you. Ford. Good Sir John, I sue for yours : not to charge
Ι you ; for 1 must let you understand I think myself in better plight for a lender than you 170 are: the which hath something emboldened me to this unseasoned intrusion; for they say, if
money go before, all ways do lie open.
Fal. Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on.
Ford. Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles
me: if you will help to bear it, Sir John, take all,
or half, for easing me of the carriage.
Fal. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter. Ford. I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing.
180 Fal. Speak, good Master Brook : I shall be glad to
be your servant.
Ford. Sir, I hear you are a scholar,-I will be brief
with you,—and you have been a man long known
to me, though I had never so good means, as
desire, to make myself acquainted with you. I
shall discover a thing to you, wherein I must
very much lay open mine own imperfection : but,
good Sir John, as you have one eye upon my
follies, as you hear them unfolded, turn another 190
into the register of your own; that I may pass
with a reproof the easier, sith you yourself know
it is to be such an offender.
Fal. Very well, sir; proceed.
Ford. There is a gentlewoman in this town; her
husband's name is Ford.
Fal. Well, sir.
Ford. I have long loved her, and, I protest to you,
bestowed much on her ; followed her with a
doting observance; engrossed opportunities to 200
meet her; fee'd every slight occasion that could
but niggardly give me sight of her ; not only
bought many presents to give her, but have given
largely to many to know what she would have
given; briefly, I have pursued her as love hath
pursued me, which hath been on the wing of
all occasions. But whatsoever I have merited,
either in my mind or in my means, meed, I am
sure, I have received none; unless experience
be a jewel that I have purchased at an infinite 210
rate, and that hath taught me to say this:
• Love like a shadow Aies when substance love pursues;
Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.'
Fal. Have you received no promise of satisfaction at
her hands? Ford. Never. Fal. Have you importuned her to such a purpose ? Ford. Never. Fal. Of what quality was your love, then ? Ford. Like a fair house built on another man's 220
ground; so that I have lost my edifice by mis
taking the place where I erected it.
Fal. To what purpose have you unfolded this to me?
Ford. When I have told you that, I have told you all.
Some say, that though she appear honest to me,
yet in other places she enlargeth her mirth so
far that there is shrewd construction made of
her. Now, Sir John, here is the heart of my
purpose: you are a gentleman of excellent breed-
ing, admirable discourse, of great admittance, 230
authentic in your place and person, generally
allowed for your many war-like, court-like, and
Fal. O, sir !
Ford. Believe it, for you know it. There is money ;
spend it, spend it; spend more; spend all I
have; only give me so much of your time in
exchange of it, as to lay an amiable siege to the
honesty of this Ford's wife: use your art of
wooing; win her to consent to you: if any man 240
may, you may as soon as any.
Fal. Would it apply well to the vehemency of your
affection, that I should win what you would
enjoy? Methinks you prescribe to yourself
Ford. O, understand my drift. She dwells
securely on the excellency of her honour, that
the folly of my soul dares not present itself: she
is too bright to be looked against. Now, could
I come to her with any detection in my hand, 250
my desires had instance and argument to com-
mend themselves: I could drive her then from
the ward of her purity, her reputation, her
marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences,
which now are too too strongly embattled against
What say you to't, Sir John ?
Fal. Master Brook, I will first make bold with your
money; next, give me your hand; and last, as
I am a gentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy
Ford. O good sir !
Fal. I say you shall.
Ford. Want no money, Sir John; you shall want
none. Fal. Want no Mistress Ford, Master Brook; you shall want none.
I shall be with her, I may tell you, by her own appointment; even as you came in to me, her assistant, or go-between, parted from me: I say I shall be with her between ten and eleven ; for at that time the 270 jealous rascally knave her husband will be forth. Come you to me at night; you shall know how
Ford. I am blest in your acquaintance.
know Ford, sir? Fal. Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I know him
I not :-yet I wrong him to call him poor; they say the jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money; for the which his wife seems to me well-favoured. I will use her as the key of 280 the cuckoldly rogue's coffer; and there's
my harvest-home. Ford. I would you knew Ford, sir, that you might
avoid him, if you saw him.
Fal. Hang him, mechanical salt-butter rogue! I will
stare him out of his wits; I will awe him with
my cudgel : it shall hang like a meteor o'er the
cuckold's horns. Master Brook, thou shalt know
I will predominate over the peasant, and thou
shalt lie with his wife. Come to me soon at 290
night. Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his
style; thou, Master Brook, shalt know him for
knave and cuckold. Come to me soon at night. [Exit. Ford. What a damned Epicurean rascal is this! My
heart is ready to crack with impatience. Who
says this is improvident jealousy ? my wife hath
sent to him; the hour is fixed; the match is
made. Would any man have thought this?
See the hell of having a false woman! My
bed shall be abused, my coffers ransacked, my 300
reputation gnawn at; and I shall not only
receive this villanous wrong, but stand under
the adoption of abominable terms, and by him
that does me this wrong.
Terms! names ! -
Amaimon sounds well ; Lucifer, well; Barbason,