ACT II
Scene I.
 

London. A street

Enter HOSTESS with two officers, FANG and SNARE

HOSTESS

Master Fang, have you ent'red the action?

FANG

It is ent'red.

HOSTESS

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

FANG

Sirrah, where's Snare?

HOSTESS

O Lord, ay! good Master Snare.

SNARE

Here, here.

FANG

Snare, we must arrest Sir John Falstaff.

HOSTESS

Yea, good Master Snare; I have ent'red him and all.

SNARE

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

HOSTESS

Alas the day! take heed of him; he stabb'd me in mine own
house, and that most beastly. In good faith, 'a 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.

HOSTESS

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

FANG

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

HOSTESS

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 you, since my exion is
ent'red, 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 fubb'd off, and fubb'd off, and fubb'd 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.

Enter SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, PAGE, and BARDOLPH

Yonder he comes; and that arrant 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.

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 villian's
head. Throw the quean in the channel.

HOSTESS

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!

HOSTESS

Good people, bring a rescue or two. Thou wot, wot thou!
thou wot, wot ta? Do, do, thou rogue! do, thou hemp-seed!

PAGE

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

Enter the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE and his men

CHIEF JUSTICE

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

HOSTESS

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

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 thou upon him?

HOSTESS

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

CHIEF JUSTICE

For what sum?

HOSTESS

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 a nights like a mare.

FALSTAFF

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

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?

HOSTESS

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 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 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 the 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 her 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.

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, practis'd upon the
easy yielding spirit of this woman, and made her serve your uses
both in purse and in person.

HOSTESS

Yea, in truth, my lord.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Pray thee, peace. Pay her the debt you owe her, and
unpay the villainy you have done with 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
curtsy and say nothing, he is virtuous. No, my lord, my humble
duty rememb'red, 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.

CHIEF JUSTICE

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

FALSTAFF

Come hither, hostess.

Enter GOWER

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. [Gives a letter]

FALSTAFF

As I am a gentleman!

HOSTESS

Faith, you said so before.

FALSTAFF

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

HOSTESS

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 rodigal, or
the German hunting, in water-work, is worth a thousand of these
bed-hangers and these fly-bitten tapestries. Let it be ten pound,
if thou canst. Come, and '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.

HOSTESS

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.

HOSTESS

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.

HOSTESS

Will you have Doll Tearsheet meet you at supper?

FALSTAFF

No more words; let's have her.

Exeunt HOSTESS, BARDOLPH, and OFFICERS

CHIEF JUSTICE

I have heard better news.

FALSTAFF

What's the news, my lord?

CHIEF JUSTICE

Where lay the King to-night?

GOWER

At Basingstoke, my lord.

FALSTAFF

I hope, my lord, all's well. What is the news, my lord?

CHIEF JUSTICE

Come all his forces back?

GOWER

No; fifteen hundred foot, five hundred horse,
Are march'd up to my Lord of Lancaster,
Against Northumberland and the Archbishop.

FALSTAFF

Comes the King back from Wales, my noble lord?

CHIEF JUSTICE

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

FALSTAFF

My 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.

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?

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.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Now, the Lord lighten thee! Thou art a great fool.

Exeunt