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 was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brainford. 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.
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.
Come up into my chamber.
Scene 6. Another room in the Garter Inn.
[Enter Fenton and host.]
Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy; I will give over all.
Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose,
And, as I am a gentleman, I’ll give thee
A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.
I will hear you, Master Fenton; and I will, at the least, keep your
From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page,
Who, mutually, hath answered my affection,
So far forth as herself might be her chooser,
Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
Of such contents as you will wonder at;
The mirth whereof so larded with my matter
That neither, singly, can be manifested
Without the show of both; wherein fat Falstaff
Hath a great scare: the image of the jest
I’ll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host:
To-night at Herne’s oak, just ’twixt twelve and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen;
The purpose why is here: in which disguise,
While other jests are something rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to slip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
Immediately to marry; she hath consented:
Her mother, even strong against that match
And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
While other sports are tasking of their minds;
And at the deanery, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her: to this her mother’s plot
She seemingly obedient likewise hath
Made promise to the doctor. Now thus it rests:
Her father means she shall be all in white;
And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
To take her by the hand and bid her go,
She shall go with him: her mother hath intended
The better to denote her to the doctor,—
For they must all be mask’d and vizarded—
That quaint in green she shall be loose enrob’d,
With ribands pendent, flaring ’bout her head;
And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand: and, on that token,
The maid hath given consent to go with him.