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A Room in Ford's House.
Enter FALSTAFF and Mrs. FORD.
FAL. Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my sufferance: I see, you are obsequious in your. love, and I profess requital to a hair's breadth not only, mistress Ford, in the simple office of love, but in all the accoutrement, complement, and ceremony of it. But are you sure of your husband now?
MRS. FORD. He's a birding, sweet sir John. MRS. PAGE. [Within.] What hoa, gossip Ford! what hoa! MRS. FORD. Step into the chamber, sir John.
[Exit FALSTAFF. Enter Mrs. PAGE. MRS. PAGE. How now, sweetheart? who's at home besides yourself?
Mrs. FORD. Why, none but mine own people.
[Aside. MRS. PAGE. Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here.
your sorrow hath eaten up-my sufferance : I see, you are obsequious in your love,] So, in Hamlet:
for some term “ To do obsequious sorrow.” The epithet obsequious refers, in both instances, to the seriousness with which obsequies, or funeral ceremonies, are performed. STEEVENS.
MRS. FORD. Why?
MRS. PAGE. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes' again : he so takes on yonder with my husband; so rails against all married mankind; so curses all Eve's daughters, of what complexion soever; and so buffets himself on the forehead, crying, Peer-out, peer out !3 that any madness, I ever yet beheld, seemed but tameness, civility, and patience, to this his distemper he is in now: I am glad the fat knight is not here.
Mrs. FORD. Why, does he talk of him?
MRS. PAGE. Of none but him; and swears, he was carried out, the last time he searched for him, in a basket: protests to my husband, he is now here, and hath drawn him and the rest of their company from their sport, to make another experiment of his suspicion : but I am glad the knight is not here; now he shall see his own foolery.
MRS. FORD. How near is he, mistress Page ?
lunes -] i. e. lunacy, frenzy. See a note on The Winter's Tale, Act II. sc. ii. The folio reads-lines instead of lunes. The elder quartos-his old vaine again. STEEVENS. The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE.
he so takes on-] To take on, which is now used for to grieve, seems to be used by our author for to rage. Perhaps it was applied to any passion. JOHNSON.
It is used by Nash in Pierce Penniless his Supplication to the Devil, 1592, in the same sense :
« Some will take on like a madman, if they see a pig come to the table." MALONE.
Peer-out !] That is, appear horns. Shakspeare is at his old lunes. JOHNSON.
Shakspeare here refers to the practice of children, when they call on a snail to push forth his horns :
“ Peer out, peer out, peer out of your hole,
« Or else I'll beat you black as a coal.” HENLEY. VOL. V.
MRS. PAGE. Hard by; at street end; he will be here anon.
MRS. Ford. I am undone !-the knight is here.
Mrs. PAGE. Why, then you are utterly shamed, and he's but a dead man. What a woman are you ?--Away with him, away with him; better shame than murder.
MRS. FORD. Which way should he go? how should I bestow him ? Shall I put him into the basket again?
FAL. No, I'll come no more i' the basket: May I not go out, ere he come?
MRS. PAGE. Alas, three of master Ford's brothers watch the door with pistols, that none shall issue out; otherwise you might slip away ere he But what make
here? FAL. What shall I do?—I'll creep up into the chimney.
Mrs. Ford. There they always use to discharge their birding-pieces: Creep into the kiln-hole.
- watch the door with pistols,] This is one of Shakspeare's anachronisms. Douce. Thus, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Thaliard says:
- if I “ Can get him once within my pistol's length," &c. and Thaliard was one of the courtiers of Antiochus the third, who reigned 200 years before Christ; a period rather too early for the use of pistols. STEEVENS. * But what make you here?] i. e. what do you here?
MALONE. The same phrase occurs in the first scene of As you Now, sir! what make
here? STEEVENS. creep into the kiln-hole.] I suspect, these words be
like it :
FAL. Where is it?
Mrs. FORD. He will seek there, on my word. Neither press, coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an abstract' for the remembrance of such places, and goes to them by his note: There is no hiding you in the house.
FAL. I'll go out then.
8 blance, you die, sir John. Unless you go out disguised,
Mrs. FORD. How might we disguise him?
MRS. PAGE. Alas the day, I know not. There is no woman's gown big enough for him; otherwise, he might put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchief, and so escape.
FAL. Good hearts, devise something: any extremity, rather than a mischief.
MRS. FORD. My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brentford, has a gown above.
MRS. PAGE. On my word, it will serve him ;
long to Mrs. Page. See Mrs. Ford's next speech. That, how. ever, may be a second thought; a correction of her former proposal : but the other supposition is more probable. Malone.
- an abstract -] i. e. a list, an inventory. STEEVENS. Rather, a short note or description. So, in Hamlet : “ The abstract, and brief chronicle of the times."
MALONE. • Mrs. Page. If you go &c.] In the first folio, by the mistake of the compositor, the name of Mrs. Ford is prefixed to this speech and the next. For the correction now made I am answerable. The editor of the second folio put the two speeches together, and gave them both to Mrs. Ford. The threat of danger from without ascertains the first to belong to Mrs. Page. See her speech on Falstaff's re-entrance. Malone.
she's as big as he is : and there's her thrum'd hat, and her muffler too: ' Run up, sir John.
MRS. FORD. Go, go, sweet sir John: mistress Page, and I, will look some linen for
head. MRS. PAGE. Quick, quick; we'll come dress you straight: put on the gown the while.
[Exit FalstAFF. MRS. FORD. I would, my husband would meet him in this shape: he cannot abide the old woman of Brentford; he swears, she's a witch; forbade her my house, and hath threatened to beat her.
MRS. PAGE. Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel; and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards! Mrs. Ford. But is my husband coming ?
FORD Mrs. PAGE. Ay, in good sadness, is he; and talks of the basket too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.
MRS. FORD. We'll try that; for I'll appoint my
her thrum'd hat, and her muffler too:] The thrum is the end of a weaver's warp, and, we may suppose, was used for the purpose of making coarse hats. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream :
6. O fates, come, come,
66 Cut thread and thrum.” A muffler was some part of dress that covered the face. So, in The Cobler's Prophecy, 1594:
“ Now is sħe bare fac'd to be seen :-strait on her
Muffler goes.” · Again, in Laneham's account of Queen Elizabeth's entertainiment at Kenelworth castle, 1575: his mother lent him a nu mufflar for a napkin, that was tyed to hiz gyrdl for lozyng."
STEEVENS. The muffler was a part of female attire, which only covered the lower half of the face. Douce.
A thrum'd hat was made of very coarse woollen cloth.' See Minsheu's Dict. 1617, in v. Thrum'd is, formed of thrums.