Act II

Scene I

London. A street

Enter Mistress Quickly, Fang and his Boy with her, and Snare following.

Mistress Quickly

Master Fang, have you entered the action?

Fang

It is entered.

Mistress Quickly

Where's your yeoman? Is't a lusty yeoman? will a' stand to 't?

Fang

Sirrah, where's Snare?

Mistress Quickly

O Lord, ay! good Master Snare.

Snare

Here, here.

Fang

Snare, we must arrest Sir John Falstaff.

Mistress Quickly

Yea, good Master Snare; I have entered him and all.

Snare

It may chance cost some of us our lives, for he will stab.

Mistress Quickly

Alas the day! take heed of him; he stabbed me in mine own house, and that most beastly: in good faith, he cares not what mischief he does. If his weapon be out: he will foin like any devil; he will spare neither man, woman, nor child.

Fang

If I can close with him, I care not for his thrust.

Mistress Quickly

No, nor I neither: I'll be at your elbow.

Fang

An I but fist him once; an a' come but within my vice,—

Mistress Quickly

I am undone by his going; I warrant you, he's an infinitive thing upon my score. Good Master Fang, hold him sure: good Master Snare, let him not 'scape. A' comes continuantly to Pie-corner—saving your manhoods—to buy a saddle; and he is indited to dinner to the Lubber's-head in Lumbert street, to Master Smooth's the silkman: I pray ye, since my exion is entered and my case so openly known to the world, let him be brought in to his answer. A hundred mark is a long one for a poor lone woman to bear: and I have borne, and borne, and borne, and have been fubbed off, and fubbed off, and fubbed off, from this day to that day, that it is a shame to be thought on. There is no honesty in such dealing; unless a woman should be made an ass and a beast, to bear every knave's wrong. Yonder he comes; and that errant malmsey-nose knave, Bardolph, with him. Do your offices, do your offices: Master Fang and Master Snare, do me, do me, do me your offices.

Enter Falstaff, Page, and Bardolph

Falstaff

How now! whose mare's dead? what's the matter?

Fang

Sir John, I arrest you at the suit of Mistress Quickly.

Falstaff

Away, varlets! Draw, Bardolph: cut me off the villain's head: throw the quean in the channel.

Mistress Quickly

Throw me in the channel! I'll throw thee in the channel. Wilt thou? wilt thou? thou bastardly rogue! Murder, murder! Ah, thou honeysuckle villain! wilt thou kill God's officers and the king's? Ah, thou honey-seed rogue! thou art a honey-seed, a man-queller, and a woman-queller.

Falstaff

Keep them off, Bardolph.

Fang

A rescue! a rescue!

Mistress Quickly

Good people, bring a rescue or two. Thou wo't, wo't thou? Thou wo't, wo't ta? do, do, thou rogue! do, thou hemp-seed!

Falstaff

Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.

Enter the Lord Chief-Justice, and his men

Lord Chief-justice

What is the matter? keep the peace here, ho!

Mistress Quickly

Good my lord, be good to me. I beseech you, stand to me.

Lord Chief-justice

How now, Sir John! what are you brawling here?
Doth this become your place, your time and business?
You should have been well on your way to York.
Stand from him, fellow: wherefore hang'st upon him?

Mistress Quickly

O most worshipful lord, an't please your grace, I am a poor widow of Eastcheap, and he is arrested at my suit.

Lord Chief-justice

For what sum?

Mistress Quickly

It is more than for some, my lord; it is for all, all I have. He hath eaten me out of house and home; he hath put all my substance into that fat belly of his: but I will have some of it out again, or I will ride thee o' nights like the mare.

Falstaff

I think I am as like to ride the mare, if I have any vantage of ground to get up.

Lord Chief-justice

How comes this, Sir John? Fie! what man of good temper would endure this tempest of exclamation? Are you not ashamed to enforce a poor widow to so rough a course to come by her own?

Falstaff

What is the gross sum that I owe thee?

Mistress Quickly

Marry, if thou wert an honest man, thyself and the money too. Thou didst swear to me upon a parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my Dolphin-chamber, at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, upon Wednesday in Wheeson week, when the prince broke thy head for liking his father to a singing-man of Windsor, thou didst swear to me then, as I was washing thy wound, to marry me and make me my lady thy wife. Canst thou deny it? Did not goodwife Keech, the butcher's wife, come in then and call me gossip Quickly? coming in to borrow a mess of vinegar; telling us she had a good dish of prawns; whereby thou didst desire to eat some; whereby I told thee they were ill for a green wound? And didst thou not, when she was gone down stairs, desire me to be no more so familiarity with such poor people; saying that ere long they should call me madam? And didst thou not kiss me and bid me fetch thee thirty shillings? I put thee now to thy book-oath: deny it, if thou canst.

Falstaff

My lord, this is a poor mad soul; and she says up and down the town that the eldest son is like you: she hath been in good case, and the truth is, poverty hath distracted her. But for these foolish officers, I beseech you I may have redress against them.

Lord Chief-justice

Sir John, Sir John, I am well acquainted with your manner of wrenching the true cause the false way. It is not a confident brow, nor the throng of words that come with such more than impudent sauciness from you, can thrust me from a level consideration: you have, as it appears to me, practised upon the easy-yielding spirit of this woman, and made her serve your uses both in purse and in person.

Mistress Quickly

Yea, in truth, my lord.

Lord Chief-justice

Pray thee, peace. Pay her the debt you owe her, and unpay the villany you have done her: the one you may do with sterling money, and the other with current repentance.

Falstaff

My lord, I will not undergo this sneap without reply. You call honourable boldness impudent sauciness: if a man will make courtesy and say nothing, he is virtuous: no, my lord, my humble duty remembered, I will not be your suitor. I say to you, I do desire deliverance from these officers, being upon hasty employment in the king's affairs.

Lord Chief-justice

You speak as having power to do wrong: but answer in the effect of your reputation, and satisfy this poor woman.

Falstaff

Come hither, hostess.

Enter Gower

Lord Chief-justice

Now, Master Gower, what news?

Gower

The king, my lord, and Harry Prince of Wales
Are near at hand: the rest the paper tells.

Falstaff

As I am a gentleman.

Mistress Quickly

Faith, you said so before.

Falstaff

As I am a gentleman. Come, no more words of it.

Mistress Quickly

By this heavenly ground I tread on, I must be fain to pawn both my plate and the tapestry of my dining-chambers.

Falstaff

Glasses, glasses is the only drinking: and for thy walls, a pretty slight drollery, or the story of the Prodigal, or the German hunting in water-work, is worth a thousand of these bed-hangings and these fly-bitten tapestries. Let it be ten pound, if thou canst. Come, an 'twere not for thy humours, there's not a better wench in England. Go, wash thy face, and draw the action. Come, thou must not be in this humour with me; dost not know me? come, come, I know thou wast set on to this.

Mistress Quickly

Pray thee, Sir John, let it be but twenty nobles: i' faith, I am loath to pawn my plate, so God save me, la!

Falstaff

Let it alone; I'll make other shift: you'll be a fool still.

Mistress Quickly

Well, you shall have it, though I pawn my gown. I hope you'll come to supper. You'll pay me all together?

Falstaff

Will I live?

To Bardolph

Go, with her, with her; hook on, hook on.

Mistress Quickly

Will you have Doll Tearsheet meet you at supper?

Falstaff

No more words; let's have her.

Exeunt Mistress Quickly, Bardolph, Officers and Boy

Lord Chief-justice

I have heard better news.

Falstaff

What's the news, my lord?

Lord Chief-justice

Where lay the king last night?

Gower

At Basingstoke, my lord.

Falstaff

I hope, my lord, all's well: what is the news, my lord?

Lord Chief-justice

Come all his forces back?

Gower

No; fifteen hundred foot, five hundred horse,
Are marched up to my lord of Lancaster,
Against Northumberland and the Archbishop.

Falstaff

Comes the king back from Wales, my noble lord?

Lord Chief-justice

You shall have letters of me presently:
Come, go along with me, good Master Gower.

Falstaff

My lord!

Lord Chief-justice

What's the matter?

Falstaff

Master Gower, shall I entreat you with me to dinner?

Gower

I must wait upon my good lord here; I thank you, good Sir John.

Lord Chief-justice

Sir John, you loiter here too long, being you are to take soldiers up in counties as you go.

Falstaff

Will you sup with me, Master Gower?

Lord Chief-justice

What foolish master taught you these manners, Sir John?

Falstaff

Master Gower, if they become me not, he was a fool that taught them me. This is the right fencing grace, my lord; tap for tap, and so part fair.

Lord Chief-justice

Now the Lord lighten thee! thou art a great fool.

Exeunt