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Mrs. FORD. Boarding, call you it? I'll be sure to keep him above deck.
Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never to sea again. Let's be revenged on him: let's appoint him a meeting ; give him a show of comfort in his suit; and lead him on with a fine-baited delay, till he hath pawn'd his horses to mine Host of the Garter.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him, that may not fully 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, Pace, and Nym. Ford. Well, I hope, it be not so. Pist. Hope is a curtail dog' in some affairs :
“ With what encounter so uncurrent have I
“ Strain'd to appear thus ?” And again, in Timor :
a noble nature
the chariness of our honesty.] i. e. the caution which ought to attend on it. SteeVeNS.
8 O, that my husband saw this letter!] Surely Mrs. Ford does not wish to excite the jealousy of which the complains. I think we should read-O, if my husband, &c, and thus the copy, 1619; “O lord, if my husband should see the letter! i' faith, this would even give edge to his jealoufie." STEEVENS.
9-curtail dog -] That is, a dog that misses his game. The tail is counted necessary to the agility of a greyhound. JOHNSON, Sir John affects thy wife.
Ford. Why, sir, my wife is not young.
young and old, one with another, Ford; He loves thy gally-mawfry;: Ford, perpend. FORD. Love
wife? Pist. With liver burning hot:' Prevent, or go
curtail-dog -] That is, a dog of small value ;-what we now call a cur. MALONE.
gally-mawfry;] i. e. A medley. So, in The Winter's Tale : « They have a dance, which the wenches fay is a gallimaufry of gambols.” Pistol ludicrously uses it for a woman. Thus, in A Woman never vex'd, 1632 : “ Let us show ourselves gallants or galli-maufries."
STEEVENS. The first folio has--the gallymaufry. Thy was introduced by the editor of the second. The gallymawfry may be right: He loves a medley; all forts of women, high and low, &c. Ford's reply, • Love my wife!" may refer to what Pistol had said before: “Sir John affects thy wife.” Thy gallymawfry sounds however more like Piftol's language than the other; and therefore I have followed the modern editors in preferring it. MALONE.
4 Ford, perpend.] This is perhaps a ridicule on a pompous word too often used in the old play of Cambyses :
“ My fapient words I lay perpend.' Again :
“ My queen perpend what I pronounce." Shakspeare has put the same word into the mouth of Polonius.
STEEVENS. Piftol again uses it in K. Henry V.; so does the Clown in Twelfth Night: I do not believe therefore that any ridicule was here aimed at Preston, the author of Cambyses. MALONE. 3 With liver burning hot :] So, in Much ado about Nothing:
« If ever love had interest in his liver." The liver was anciently supposed to be the infpirer of amorous passions. Thus in an old Latin diftich:
Cor ardet, pulmo lognitur, fel commovet iras;
Splen ridere facit, cogit amare jecur, STEVENS,
Like Sir Actæon he, with Ring-wood at thy heels:0, odious is the name!
Ford. What name, sir?
Pist. The horn, I say : Farewel.
fing. Away, fir corporal Nym.Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.? [Exit Pistol.
FORD. I will be patient; I will find out this.
cuckoo-birds do fing.] Such is the reading of the folio. The quartos, 1602, and 1619, read_when cuckoo-birds appear. The modern editors
when cuckoo-birds affright. For this last reading I find no authority. STEVENS. 7 Away, for corporal Nym.
Believe it, Page; he speaks fenfe.] Nym, I believe, is out of place, and we should read thus :
Away, for corporal. Nym. Believe it, Page; be speaks fenfe. JOHNSON. Perhaps Dr. Johnson is mistaken in his conjecture. He seems not to have been aware of the manner in which the author meant this scene should be represented. Ford and Piftol, Page and Nym, enter in pairs, each pair in separate conversation; and while Píftoí is informing Ford of Falstaff's design upon his wife, Nym is, during that time, talking aside to Page, and giving information of the like plot against him. When Pistol has finished, he calls out to Nym to come away; but feeing that he and Page are still in clofe debate, he goes off alone, firft assuring Page, he may depend on the truth of Nym's story. Believe it, Page, &c. Nym then proceeds to tell the remainder of his tale out aloud. And this is true, &c. A little further on in this scene, Ford says to Page, You heard what this knave (i. e. Piftol) told me, &c. Page replies, Yes; And you heard what the other (i.e. Nym) told me. STEVENS.
Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.] Thus has the passage been hitherto printed, says Dr. Farmer; but surely we should readBelieve it, Page, he speaks; which means no more than—Page, believe what he says. This sense is expressed not only in the manner peculiar to Piftol, but to the grammar of the times.
Nrm. And this is true ; [to Page.] I like not the humour of lying. He hath wrong'd me in some humours: I should have borne the humour'd 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. The humour of it, quoth ’a! here's a fellow frights humour out of his wits.
8 - I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He lover your wife; &c.] Nym, to gain credit, says, that he is above the mean office of carrying love-letters; he has nobler means of living; he has a sword, and upon his necesity, that is, when his need drives him to unlawful expedients, his sword fhall bite. Johnson.
9 The humour of it,] The following epigram, taken from Hamor's Ordinarie, where a man may bee verie merrie and exceeding well used for his fixpence, quarto, 1607, will best account for Nym's frequent repetition of the word humour. Epig. 27: ·
“ Alke HUMORs what a feather he doth weare,
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. • When you behold his lookes pale, thin, and
poore, “ The occasion is, his humour and a whoore : “And every thing that he doth undertake, “ It is a veine, for senceless humour's fake." Steevens.
I will not believe such a Cataian,] All the mystery of the term Cataian, for a liar, is only this. China was anciently called Cataia or Cathay, by the first adventurers that travelled thither; such as M. Paulo, and our Mandeville, who told such incredible wonders of this new discovered empire (in which they have not been outdone even by the Jesuits themselves, who followed them,) that a notorious liar was usually called a Cataian. WARBURTON.
• This fellow has such an odd appearance, is so unlike a man civilized, and taught the duties of life, that I cannot credit him.” To be a foreigner was always in England, and I suppose every where else, a reason of dislike. So Pistol calls Sir Hugh in the firit act, a mountain foreigner; that is, a fellow uneducated, and of gross behaviour; and again in his anger calls Bardolph, Hungarian wight.
Johnson. I believe that neither of the commentators is in the right, but am far from professing, with any great degree of confidence, that I am happier in my own explanation. It is remarkable, that in Shakspeare, this expression—a true man, is always put in opposition (as it is in this instance) to a thief. So, in Henry IV. P. I:
now the thieves have bound true men." The Chinese (anciently called Cataians) are said to be the most dextrous of all the nimble-finger'd tribe; and to this hour they deserve the same character. Pistol was known at Windsor to have had a hand in picking Slender's pocket, and therefore might be called a Cataian with propriety, if my explanation be admitted.
That by a Cataian fome kind of sharper was meant, I infer from the following passage in Love and Honour, a play by Sir William D'Avenant, 1649:
“ Hang him, bold Cataian, he indites finely,