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Changes to the Garter-Inn.
Enter Falstaff and Bardolph.
ARDOLPH, I' fay.
Bard. Here, Sir.
Fal. Go fetch me a quart of fack, put a toast in't. [Ex. Bard.] Have I liv'd to be carry'd in a basket, like a barrow of butchers' offal, and to be thrown into the Thames? well, if I be ferv'd fuch another trick, I'll have my brains ta'en out and butter'd, and give them to a dog for a new year's gift. The rogues flighted me into the river with as little remorfe3 as they would have drown'd a bitch's blind puppies, fifteen i'th' litter; and you may know, by my fize, that I have a kind of alacrity in finking: if the bottom were as deep as hell, I fhould down. I had been drown'd, but that the fhore was fhelvy and fhallow; a death that I abhor; for the water fwells a man: and what a thing fhould I have been, when I had been fwell'd? I fhould have been a mountain of mummy.
Now, is the Sack brew'd?
Bard. Here's Mrs. Quickly, Sir, to fpeak with you. Fal. Come, let me pour in fome fack to the Thames- .
3 In former copies,
as they would have drown'd a blind Bitch's puppies,] I have ventur'd to tranfpofe the Adjective here, against the Authority of the printed Copies. I know, in horfes, a Colt from a blind
Stallion lofes much of the Value it might otherwise have; but are puppies ever drown'd the fooner, for coming from a blind Bitch? The Author certainly wrote, as they would have drown'd a Bitch's blind puppies. THEOв.
water; for my belly's as cold as if I had fwallow'd fnow-balls, for pills to cool the reins.
Bard. Come in, woman.
Call her in.
Quic. By your leave-I cry you mercy.
worship good morrow.
Fal. Take away thefe challices: go brew me a pottle of fack finely.
Bard. With eggs, Sir?
Fal. Simple of itself; I'll no pullet-sperm in my brewage-How now?
Quic. Marry, Sir, I come to your worfhip from miftrefs Ford.
Fal. Miftrefs Ford? I have had Ford enough; I was thrown into the Ford; I have my belly full of Ford.
Quic. Alas the day! good heart, that was not her fault: fhe does fo take on with her men; they mistook their erection.
Fal. So did I mine, to build on a foolish woman's promise.
Quic. Well, he laments, Sir, for it, that it would yern your heart to fee it. Her husband goes this morning a birding; fhe defires you once more to come to her between eight and nine. I must carry her word quickly; fhe'll make you amends, I warrant you.
Fal. Well, I will vifit her; tell her fo, and bid her think, what a man is: let her confider his frailty, and then judge of my merit.
Quic. I will tell her.
Fal. Do fo. Between nine and ten, fay'ft thou?
Quic. Eight and nine, Sir.
Fal. Well, be gone; I will not miss her.
Quic. Peace be with you, Sir.
Fal. I marvel, I hear not of master Brook; he fent me word to stay within: I like his mony well. Oh, here he comes.
Ford. Blefs you, Sir.
Fal. Now, mafter Brook, you come to know what hath pafs'd between me and Ford's wife.
Ford. That, indeed, Sir John, is my
Fal. Mafter Brook, I will not lie to you; I was at her house the hour she appointed me. Ford. And you fped, Sir?
Fal. Very ill-favour'dly, mafter Brook.
Ford. How, Sir, did fhe change her determination? Fal. No, mafter Brook; but the peaking cornuto her husband, mafter Brook, dwelling in a continual larum of jealousy, comes me in the inftant of our encounter; after we had embrac'd, kiss'd, protefted, and as it were, fpoke the prologue of our comedy; and at his heels a rabble of his companions, thither provok'd and inftigated by his diftemper, and, forfooth, to fearch his houfe for his wife's love.
Ford. What, while you was there?
Fal. While I was there.
Ford. And did he search for you, and could not find you?
Fal. You fhall hear. As good luck would have it, comes in one mistress Page, gives intelligence of Ford's approach, and by her invention, and Ford's wife's diftraction, they convey'd me into a buck-basket.
Ford. A buck-basket?
Fal. Yea, a buck-basket; ramm'd me in with foul fhirts and fmocks, focks, foul ftockings, and greafy napkins; that, mafter Brook, there was the rankeft
compound of villainous fmell, that ever offended noftril.
Ford. And how long lay you there?
Fal. Nay, you fhall hear, master Brook, what I have fuffer'd to bring this woman to evil for your good. Being thus cramm'd in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds, were call'd forth by their mistress, to carry me in the name of foul cloaths to Datchetlane; they took me on their fhoulders, met the jealous knave their mafter in the door, who afk'd them once or twice what they had in their basket; I quak'd for fear, left the lunatick knave would have fearch'd it; but fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold, held his hand. Well, on went he for a fearch, and away went I for foul cloaths; but mark the fequel, master Brook; I fuffer'd the pangs of three egregious deaths: first, an intolerable fright, to be detected by a jealous rotten bell weather; next to be compafs'd like a good bilbo*, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head; and then to be stopt in, like a ftrong diftillation, with stinking cloaths that fretted in their own greafe: think of that, a man of my kidney; think of that, that am as fubject to heat as butter; a man of continual diffolution and thaw; it was a miracle to 'fcape fuffocation. And in the height of this bath, when I was more than half stew'd in greafe, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown into the Thames, and cool'd glowing hot, in that furge, like a horse-shoe; think of that; hiffing hot; think of that, mafter Brook.
Ford. In good fadness, Sir, I am forry that for my fake you have fuffer'd all this. My fuit is then defperate; you'll undertake her no more?
Fal. Mafter Brook, I will be thrown into Etna, as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her thus. Her husband is this morning gone a birding; I have re
4 A bilbo is a Spanish blade, of which the excellence is flexiblenefs and elasticity.
kidney;] Kidney in this
phrafe now fignifies kind or qualities, but Falstaff means a man whofe kidnies are as fat as mine.
ceiv'd from her another embafiy of meeting; 'twixt eight and nine is the hour, mafter Brook. Ford. 'Tis paft eight already, Sir!
Fal. Is it? I will then addrefs me to my appointment. Come to me at your convenient leifure, and you shall know how I fpeed; and the conclufion fhall be crown'd with your enjoying her; adieu, you shall have her, master Brook; mafter Brook, you fhall cuckald Ford. [Exit.
Ford. Hum! ha! is this a vifion? is this a dream? do I fleep? mafter Ford, awake; awake, master Ford; there's a hole made in your best coat, mafter Ford; this 'tis to be married; this 'tis to have linen and buck-baskets!--Well, I will proclaim myfelf what I am; I will now take the leacher; he is at my houfe; he cannot 'scape me; 'tis impoffible, he fhould; he cannot creep into a half-penny purse, nor into a pepperbox; but, left the devil that guides him fhould aid him, I will fearch impoffible places. Tho' what I am ́ I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not, fhall not make me tame: if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go with me, ' I'll be horn-mad. [Exit,..
There is no image which our author appears fo fond of as that of a cuckold's horns. Scarcely a light character is introduced that does not endeavour to produce merriment by fome allufion to horned husbands. As he wrote
his plays for the ftage rather than the prefs, he perhaps reviewed them feldom, and did not obferve this repetition, or finding the jeft, however frequent, ftill fuccefsful, did not think correction neceffary.