The Merry Wives of Windsor By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 2

ACT II. SCENE 2. A room in the Garter Inn.

[Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL.]

FALSTAFF.
I will not lend thee a penny.

PISTOL.
Why then, the world's mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open.
I will retort the sum in equipage.

FALSTAFF.
Not a penny. I have been content, sir, you should lay my countenance
to pawn; I have grated upon my good friends for three reprieves for
you and your coach-fellow, Nym; or else you had looked through the
grate, like a geminy of baboons. I am damned in hell for swearing
to gentlemen my friends you were good soldiers and tall fellows; and
when Mistress Bridget lost the handle of her fan, I took 't upon
mine honour thou hadst it not.

PISTOL.
Didst not thou share? Hadst thou not fifteen pence?

FALSTAFF.
Reason, you rogue, reason. Thinkest thou I'll endanger my soul
gratis? At a word, hang no more about me, I am no gibbet for you:
go: a short knife and a throng! — to your manor of Picht-hatch! go.
You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue! — you stand upon your
honour! — Why, thou unconfinable baseness, it is as much as I can do
to keep the terms of my honour precise. I, I, I myself sometimes,
leaving the fear of God on the left hand, and hiding mine honour in
my necessity, am fain to shuffle, to hedge, and to lurch; and yet
you, rogue, will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain looks,
your red-lattice phrases, and your bold-beating oaths, under the
shelter of your honour! You will not do it, you!

PISTOL.
I do relent; what wouldst thou more of man?

[Enter ROBIN.]

ROBIN.
Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.

FALSTAFF.
Let her approach.

[Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.]

QUICKLY.
Give your worship good morrow.

FALSTAFF.
Good morrow, good wife.

QUICKLY.
Not so, an't please your worship.

FALSTAFF.
Good maid, then.

QUICKLY.
I'll be sworn; As my mother was, the first hour I was born.

FALSTAFF.
I do believe the swearer. What with me?

QUICKLY.
Shall I vouchsafe your worship a word or two?

FALSTAFF.
Two thousand, fair woman; and I'll vouchsafe thee the hearing.

QUICKLY.
There is one Mistress Ford, sir, — I pray, come a little nearer this
ways: — I myself dwell with Master Doctor Caius.

FALSTAFF.
Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say, —

QUICKLY.
Your worship says very true; — I pray your worship come a little
nearer this ways.

FALSTAFF.
I warrant thee nobody hears — mine own people, mine own people.

QUICKLY.
Are they so? God bless them, and make them His servants!

FALSTAFF.
Well: Mistress Ford, what of her?

QUICKLY.
Why, sir, she's a good creature. Lord, Lord! your worship's a wanton!
Well, heaven forgive you, and all of us, I pray.

FALSTAFF.
Mistress Ford; come, Mistress Ford —

QUICKLY.
Marry, this is the short and the long of it. You have brought her
into such a canaries as 'tis wonderful: the best courtier of them
all, when the court lay at Windsor, could never have brought her to
such a canary; yet there has been knights, and lords, and gentlemen,
with their coaches; I warrant you, coach after coach, letter after
letter, gift after gift; smelling so sweetly, — all musk, and so
rushling, I warrant you, in silk and gold; and in such alligant
terms; and in such wine and sugar of the best and the fairest, that
would have won any woman's heart; and I warrant you, they could
never get an eye-wink of her. I had myself twenty angels given me
this morning; but I defy all angels, in any such sort, as they say,
but in the way of honesty: and, I warrant you, they could never get
her so much as sip on a cup with the proudest of them all; and yet
there has been earls, nay, which is more, pensioners; but, I warrant
you, all is one with her.

FALSTAFF.
But what says she to me? be brief, my good she-Mercury.

QUICKLY.
Marry, she hath received your letter; for the which she thanks you
a thousand times; and she gives you to notify that her husband will
be absence from his house between ten and eleven.

FALSTAFF.
Ten and eleven?

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