The Merry Wives of Windsor By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 1

MRS. FORD.
Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him that may not
sully the chariness of our honesty. O, that my husband saw this
letter! It would give eternal food to his jealousy.

MRS. PAGE.
Why, look where he comes; and my good man too: he's as far from
jealousy as I am from giving him cause; and that, I hope, is an
unmeasurable distance.

MRS. FORD.
You are the happier woman.

MRS. PAGE.
Let's consult together against this greasy knight. Come hither.

[They retire.]

[Enter FORD, PISTOL, and PAGE and NYM.]

FORD.
Well, I hope it be not so.

PISTOL.
Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs:
Sir John affects thy wife.

FORD.
Why, sir, my wife is not young.

PISTOL.
He woos both high and low, both rich and poor,
Both young and old, one with another, Ford;
He loves the gallimaufry. Ford, perpend.

FORD.
Love my wife!

PISTOL.
With liver burning hot: prevent, or go thou,
Like Sir Actaeon he, with Ringwood at thy heels. —
O! odious is the name!

FORD.
What name, sir?

PISTOL.
The horn, I say. Farewell:
Take heed; have open eye, for thieves do foot by night;
Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo birds do sing.
Away, Sir Corporal Nym.
Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.

[Exit PISTOL.]

FORD.
[Aside] I will be patient: I will find out this.

NYM.
[To PAGE] And this is true; I like not the humour of lying. He hath
wronged me in some humours: I should have borne the humoured letter
to her; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He
loves your wife; there's the short and the long. My name is Corporal
Nym; I speak, and I avouch 'tis true. My name is Nym, and Falstaff
loves your wife. Adieu. I love not the humour of bread and cheese;
and there's the humour of it. Adieu.

[Exit NYM.]

PAGE.
[Aside.] 'The humour of it,' quoth 'a! Here's a fellow frights
English out of his wits.

FORD.
I will seek out Falstaff.

PAGE.
I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.

FORD.
If I do find it: well.

PAGE.
I will not believe such a Cataian, though the priest o' the town
commended him for a true man.

FORD.
'Twas a good sensible fellow: well.

PAGE.
How now, Meg!

MRS. PAGE.
Whither go you, George? — Hark you.

MRS. FORD.
How now, sweet Frank! why art thou melancholy?

FORD.
I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.

MRS. FORD.
Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now. Will you go,
Mistress Page?

MRS. PAGE.
Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George?
[Aside to MRS. FORD] Look who comes yonder: she shall be our
messenger to this paltry knight.

MRS. FORD.
[Aside to MRS. PAGE] Trust me, I thought on her: she'll fit it.

[Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.]

MRS. PAGE.
You are come to see my daughter Anne?

QUICKLY.
Ay, forsooth; and, I pray, how does good Mistress Anne?

MRS. PAGE.
Go in with us and see; we'd have an hour's talk with you.

[Exeunt MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS FORD, and MISTRESS QUICKLY.]

PAGE.
How now, Master Ford!

FORD.
You heard what this knave told me, did you not?

PAGE.
Yes; and you heard what the other told me?

FORD.
Do you think there is truth in them?

PAGE.
Hang 'em, slaves! I do not think the knight would offer it; but these
that accuse him in his intent towards our wives are a yoke of his
discarded men; very rogues, now they be out of service.

FORD.
Were they his men?

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