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The Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 3, scene 5
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Navigate this workThe Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 3, scene 5
Act 3, scene 5
Falstaff agrees once again to visit Mistress Ford and again informs “Brook” of his plans.Enter ⌜Sir John⌝ Falstaff.
FALSTAFF 1825 Bardolph, I say!
BARDOLPH 1826 Here, sir.
FALSTAFF 1827 Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast in ’t.
1828 Have I lived to be carried in a basket like a barrow
1829 5 of butcher’s offal, and to be thrown in the Thames?
1830 Well, if I be served such another trick, I’ll have my
1831 brains ta’en out and buttered, and give them to a
1832 dog for a New Year’s gift. ⌜’Sblood,⌝ the rogues
p. 1271833 slighted me into the river with as little remorse as
1834 10 they would have drowned a blind bitch’s puppies,
1835 fifteen i’ th’ litter! And you may know by my size
1836 that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking; if the bottom
1837 were as deep as hell, I should down. I had
1838 been drowned, but that the shore was shelvy and
1839 15 shallow—a death that I abhor, for the water swells
1840 a man, and what a thing should I have been when
1841 I had been swelled! ⌜By the Lord,⌝ I should have
1842 been a mountain of mummy.
⌜Enter Bardolph with cups of sack.⌝
BARDOLPH 1843 Here’s Mistress Quickly, sir, to speak with
1844 20 you.
FALSTAFF 1845 Come, let me pour in some sack to the
1846 Thames water, for my belly’s as cold as if I had
1847 swallowed snowballs for pills to cool the reins. ⌜He
drinks.⌝ 1848 Call her in.
BARDOLPH 1849 25Come in, woman.
Enter ⌜Mistress⌝ Quickly.
MISTRESS QUICKLY 1850 By your leave, I cry you mercy. Give
1851 your Worship good morrow.
FALSTAFF, ⌜to Bardolph⌝ 1852 Take away these chalices. Go
1853 brew me a pottle of sack finely.
BARDOLPH 1854 30With eggs, sir?
FALSTAFF 1855 Simple of itself. I’ll no pullet sperm in my
1856 brewage.⌜Bardolph exits.⌝
1857 How now?
MISTRESS QUICKLY 1858 Marry, sir, I come to your Worship
1859 35 from Mistress Ford.
FALSTAFF 1860 Mistress Ford? I have had ford enough. I
1861 was thrown into the ford, I have my belly full of
MISTRESS QUICKLY 1863 Alas the day, good heart, that was
1864 40 not her fault. She does so take on with her men;
1865 they mistook their erection.
p. 129FALSTAFF 1866 So did I mine, to build upon a foolish
1867 woman’s promise.
MISTRESS QUICKLY 1868 Well, she laments, sir, for it, that it
1869 45 would yearn your heart to see it. Her husband goes
1870 this morning a-birding; she desires you once more
1871 to come to her, between eight and nine. I must
1872 carry her word quickly. She’ll make you amends, I
1873 warrant you.
FALSTAFF 1874 50Well, I will visit her. Tell her so. And bid her
1875 think what a man is. Let her consider his frailty,
1876 and then judge of my merit.
MISTRESS QUICKLY 1877 I will tell her.
FALSTAFF 1878 Do so. Between nine and ten, say’st thou?
MISTRESS QUICKLY 1879 55Eight and nine, sir.
FALSTAFF 1880 Well, be gone. I will not miss her.
MISTRESS QUICKLY 1881 Peace be with you, sir.
⌜Mistress Quickly exits.⌝
FALSTAFF 1882 I marvel I hear not of Master ⌜Brook.⌝ He
1883 sent me word to stay within. I like his money well.
Enter Ford ⌜disguised as Brook.⌝
1884 60 O, here ⌜he⌝ comes.
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1885 ⌜God⌝ bless you, sir.
FALSTAFF 1886 Now, Master ⌜Brook,⌝ you come to know
1887 what hath passed between me and Ford’s wife.
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1888 That indeed, Sir John, is my
1889 65 business.
FALSTAFF 1890 Master ⌜Brook,⌝ I will not lie to you. I was at
1891 her house the hour she appointed me.
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1892 And sped you, sir?
FALSTAFF 1893 Very ill-favoredly, Master ⌜Brook.⌝
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1894 70How so, sir? Did she change her
FALSTAFF 1896 No, Master ⌜Brook,⌝ but the peaking cornuto
1897 her husband, Master ⌜Brook,⌝ dwelling in a continual
1898 ’larum of jealousy, comes me in the instant of
p. 1311899 75 our encounter, after we had embraced, kissed,
1900 protested, and, as it were, spoke the prologue of
1901 our comedy, and, at his heels, a rabble of his companions,
1902 thither provoked and instigated by his
1903 distemper, and, forsooth, to search his house for
1904 80 his wife’s love.
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1905 What, while you were there?
FALSTAFF 1906 While I was there.
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1907 And did he search for you and could
1908 not find you?
FALSTAFF 1909 85You shall hear. As good luck would have it,
1910 comes in one Mistress Page, gives intelligence of
1911 Ford’s approach, and, in her invention and Ford’s
1912 wife’s distraction, they conveyed me into a
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1914 90A buck-basket!
FALSTAFF 1915 ⌜By the Lord,⌝ a buck-basket! Rammed me
1916 in with foul shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings,
1917 greasy napkins, that, Master ⌜Brook,⌝ there
1918 was the rankest compound of villainous smell that
1919 95 ever offended nostril.
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1920 And how long lay you there?
FALSTAFF 1921 Nay, you shall hear, Master ⌜Brook,⌝ what I
1922 have suffered to bring this woman to evil for your
1923 good. Being thus crammed in the basket, a couple
1924 100 of Ford’s knaves, his hinds, were called forth by
1925 their mistress to carry me in the name of foul
1926 clothes to Datchet Lane. They took me on their
1927 shoulders, met the jealous knave their master in
1928 the door, who asked them once or twice what they
1929 105 had in their basket. I quaked for fear lest the lunatic
1930 knave would have searched it, but fate, ordaining
1931 he should be a cuckold, held his hand.
1932 Well, on went he for a search, and away went I for
1933 foul clothes. But mark the sequel, Master ⌜Brook.⌝
1934 110 I suffered the pangs of three several deaths: first,
p. 1331935 an intolerable fright to be detected with a jealous
1936 rotten bellwether; next, to be compassed, like a
1937 good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to
1938 point, heel to head; and then, to be stopped in, like
1939 115 a strong distillation, with stinking clothes that fretted
1940 in their own grease. Think of that, a man of my
1941 kidney—think of that—that am as subject to heat
1942 as butter; a man of continual dissolution and thaw.
1943 It was a miracle to ’scape suffocation. And in
1944 120 the height of this bath, when I was more than half-stewed
1945 in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown
1946 into the Thames and cooled, glowing hot, in that
1947 surge, like a horseshoe! Think of that—hissing
1948 hot—think of that, Master ⌜Brook.⌝
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1949 125In good sadness, sir, I am sorry that
1950 for my sake you have suffered all this. My suit,
1951 then, is desperate. You’ll undertake her no more?
FALSTAFF 1952 Master ⌜Brook,⌝ I will be thrown into Etna,
1953 as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her
1954 130 thus. Her husband is this morning gone a-birding.
1955 I have received from her another embassy of meeting.
1956 ’Twixt eight and nine is the hour, Master
FORD, ⌜as Brook⌝ 1958 ’Tis past eight already, sir.
FALSTAFF 1959 135Is it? I will then address me to my appointment.
1960 Come to me at your convenient leisure,
1961 and you shall know how I speed; and the conclusion
1962 shall be crowned with your enjoying her.
1963 Adieu. You shall have her, Master ⌜Brook.⌝ Master
1964 140 ⌜Brook,⌝ you shall cuckold Ford.⌜Falstaff exits.⌝
FORD 1965 Hum! Ha! Is this a vision? Is this a dream? Do I
1966 sleep? Master Ford, awake! Awake, Master Ford!
1967 There’s a hole made in your best coat, Master
1968 Ford. This ’tis to be married; this ’tis to have linen
1969 145 and buck-baskets! Well, I will proclaim myself
1970 what I am. I will now take the lecher. He is at my
p. 1351971 house. He cannot ’scape me. ’Tis impossible he
1972 should. He cannot creep into a half-penny purse,
1973 nor into a pepper-box. But lest the devil that
1974 150 guides him should aid him, I will search impossible
1975 places. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to
1976 be what I would not shall not make me tame. If I
1977 have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go
1978 with me: I’ll be horn-mad.