Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Merry Wives of Windsor > Act IV, scene V
[Enter Host and SIMPLE]
Host: What wouldst thou have, boor? what: thick-skin?
speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
SIMPLE: Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff
from Master Slender.
Host: There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his
standing-bed and truckle-bed; 'tis painted about
with the story of the Prodigal, fresh and new. Go
knock and call; hell speak like an Anthropophaginian
unto thee: knock, I say.
SIMPLE: There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his
chamber: I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come
down; I come to speak with her, indeed.
Host: Ha! a fat woman! the knight may be robbed: I'll
call. Bully knight! bully Sir John! speak from
thy lungs military: art thou there? it is thine
host, thine Ephesian, calls.
FALSTAFF: [Above] How now, mine host!
Host: Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of
thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let her
descend; my chambers are honourable: fie! privacy?
FALSTAFF: There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with
me; but she's gone.
SIMPLE: Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman of
FALSTAFF: Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell: what would you with her?
SIMPLE: My master, sir, Master Slender, sent to her, seeing
her go through the streets, to know, sir, whether
one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the
chain or no.
FALSTAFF: I spake with the old woman about it.
SIMPLE: And what says she, I pray, sir?
FALSTAFF: Marry, she says that the very same man that
beguiled Master Slender of his chain cozened him of
SIMPLE: I would I could have spoken with the woman herself;
I had other things to have spoken with her too from
FALSTAFF: What are they? let us know.
Host: Ay, come; quick.
SIMPLE: I may not conceal them, sir.
Host: Conceal them, or thou diest.
SIMPLE: Why, sir, they were nothing but about Mistress Anne
Page; to know if it were my master's fortune to
have her or no.
FALSTAFF: 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.
SIMPLE: What, sir?
FALSTAFF: To have her, or no. Go; say the woman told me so.
SIMPLE: May I be bold to say so, sir?
FALSTAFF: Ay, sir; like who more bold.
SIMPLE: I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad
with these tidings.
Host: Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was
there a wise woman with thee?
FALSTAFF: Ay, that there was, mine host; one that hath taught
me more wit than ever I learned before in my life;
and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for
BARDOLPH: Out, alas, sir! cozenage, mere cozenage!
Host: Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.
BARDOLPH: 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.
Host: They are gone but to meet the duke, villain: do not
say they be fled; Germans are honest men.
[Enter SIR HUGH EVANS]
SIR HUGH EVANS: Where is mine host?
Host: What is the matter, sir?
SIR HUGH EVANS: Have a care of your entertainments: there is a
friend of mine come to town tells me there is three
cozen-germans that has cozened all the hosts of
Readins, 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-stocks, and
'tis not convenient you should be cozened. Fare you well.
[Enter DOCTOR CAIUS]
DOCTOR CAIUS: Vere is mine host de Jarteer?
Host: Here, master doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma.
DOCTOR CAIUS: I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a me dat
you make grand preparation for a duke de Jamany: by
my trot, dere is no duke dat the court is know to
come. I tell you for good vill: adieu.
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]
FALSTAFF: I would all the world might be cozened; for I have
been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to
the ear of the court, how I have been transformed
and how my transformation hath been washed and
cudgelled, 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 prospered
since I forswore myself at primero. Well, if my
wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.
[Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY]
Now, whence come you?
MISTRESS QUICKLY: From the two parties, forsooth.
FALSTAFF: The devil take one party and his dam the other! and
so they shall be both bestowed. I have suffered more
for their sakes, more than the villanous inconstancy
of man's disposition is able to bear.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: And have not they suffered? 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.
FALSTAFF: What tellest 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,
delivered me, the knave constable had set me i' the
stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.
MISTRESS QUICKLY: 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 crossed.
FALSTAFF: Come up into my chamber.
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR