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Ford. I'll prat her :--Out of my door, you witch! [beats him.] you rag,' you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon!? out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.
[Exit FALSTAFP. Mrs. Page. Are you not ashamed ? I think, you have kill'd the poor woman.
Mrs. Lurd. Nay, he will do it :-'Tis a goodly
credit for you.
FORD. Hang her, witch!
Eva. By yea and no, I think, the’oman is a witch indeed: I like not when a’oman has a great peard;
a great peard under her muffler.8
-you rag,] This opprobrious term is again used in Timor of Ahens : «
- thy father, that poor ragą" Mr. Rowe unnecessarily dismissed this word, and introduced hag in its place.
MALONE. ronyon!] Ronyon, applied to a woman, means, as far as can be traced, much the same with scall or scab spoken of a man.
Johnson, From Rogneux, Fr. So, in Macbeth :
“ Aroint thee, witch, the rump-fed ronyon cries." Again, in As you like it : “ the roynish clown." STEEVENS.
-I py a great peard under her muffler.] One of the marks of a supposed witch was a beard. So, in The Duke's Mistress, 1638:
a chin, without all controversy, good “ To go a fishing with; a witches beard on’t.” See also Macbeth, Act I. fc. iii.
The mufler (as I have learnt fince our last sheet was worked off) was a thin piece of linen that covered the lips and chin. See the figures of two market-women, at the bottom of G. Hoefnagle's curious plate of Nonsuch, in Braunii Civitates Orbis Terrarum; Part V. Plate I. See likewise the bottom of the view of Shrewfbury, &c. ibid. Part VI. Plate II. where the female peasant seems to wear the same art cle of dress. See also a country-woman at the corner of Speed's map of England. Sreevens.
As the second stratagem, by which Falstaff escapes, is much the groffer of the two, I wish it had been practised firit. It is very unlikely that Ford, having been so deceived before, and knowing that he had been deceived, would suffer him to escape in so fight a disguise. JOHNSON.
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, follow; see but the issue of my jealousy: if I cry out thus upon no trail,” never trust me when I open again.
Page. Let's obey his humour a little further : Come, gentlemen.
[Exeunt Page, Ford, Shallow, and Evans. Mrs. Pagė. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought.
Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd, and hung o'er the altar; it hath done meritorious fervice.
Mrs. Ford. What think you? May we, with the warrant of woman-hood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any further revenge?
Mrs. PAGE. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of him; if the devil have him not in feesimple, with fine and recovery,” he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.
Mrs. FORD. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him?
cry out thus upon no trail,] The expression is taken from the hunters. Trail is the scent left by the passage of the game. TO cry out, is to open of bark. Johnson. So, in Hamlet :
“ How cheerfully on the false trail they cry:
if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with fine and recovery,] Our author had been long enough in an attorney's office to learn that fee-fimple is the largeji eftate, and fine and recovery the Atrongest assurance, known to English law. Rítson.
in the way of waste, attempt us again.] i. e. he will not make further attempts to ruin us, by corrupting our virtue, and destroying our reputation. Steevens.
Mrs. Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband's brains. If they can find in their hearts, the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further afflicted, we two will still be the ministers.
Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publickly shamed : and, methinks, there would be no period * to the jest, should he not be publickly shamed.
Mrs. Page. Come, to the forge with it then, shape it: I would not have things cool. [Exeunt,
A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter Host and BARDOLPH,
BARD. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your horses: the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him.
Host. What duke should that be, comes fo fecretly? I hear not of him in the court: Let me speak with the gentlemen; they speak English?
Bard. Ay, sir ; I'll call them to you."
Host. They shall have my horses; but I'll make them pay, I'll sauce them: they have had my houses
-no period-] Shakspeare seems, by no period, to mean, *o proper catastrophe. Of this Hanmer was so well persuaded, that he thinks it necessary to read—no right period. STEEVENS.
Our author often uses period, for end or conclufion. So, in King Richard III:
0, let me make the period to my curse.” MALONE.
I'll call them to you.] Old Copy—I'll call him. Corrected in the third folio. MALONE.
a week at command; I have turn'd away my other guests: they must come off;" I'll sauce them: Come.
pay my debts?"
- they must come off;] To come off, is, to pay. In this sense it is used by Maflinger in The Unnatural Combat, A& IV. sc. ii. where a wench, demanding money of the father to keep his baftard, says: “ Will you come off, for?” Again, in Decker's If this be not a good Play the Devil is in it, 1612:
“ Do not your gallants come off roundly then ?" Again, in Heywood's If you know not me you know Nobody, 1633,
and then if he will not come off, carry him to the compter.” Again, in A Trick to catch the Old One, 1608 :
- Hark in thine ear :-will he come off think'st thou, and Again, in The Return from Parnassus, 1606:
“ It is his meaning I should come off.". Again, in The Widow, by Ben Jonson, Fletcher, and Middleton, 1542 : “ I am forty dollars better for that: an 'twould come off quicker, 'twere nere a whit the worse for me.” Again, in A merye Fift of a Man called Howleglas, bl. 1. no date : “ Therefore come of lightly, and geve me my mony.” STEEVENS.
They must come off, (says mine hoft,) I'll sauce them.” This passage has exercised the criticks. It is altered by Dr. Warburton; but there is no corruption, and Mr. Steevens has rightly interpreted it. The quotation, however, from Mafinger, which is referred to likewise by Mr. Edwards in his Canons of Criticism, scarcely satisfied Mr. Heath, and still less Mr. Capell, who gives us, • They must not come off.” It is strange that any one, conversant in old language, should hesitate at this phrase. Take another quotation or two, that the difficulty may be effectually removed for the future. In John Heywood's play of The Four P's, the pedlar says:
If you be willing to buy,
is Come off, and let me riden haftily,
SC EN E IV.
A Room in Ford's House.
Enter Page, FORD, Mrs. Page, Mrs. FORD, and
Sir Hugh EVANS.
Eva. 'Tis one of the pest discretions of a 'oman as ever I did look upon.
Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant ?
Mrs. PAGE. Within a quarter of an hour.
stand, In him that was of late an heretick, As firm as faith.
PAGE. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more.
7 I rather will fufpent the fun with cold,] Thus the modern editions. The old ones read—with gold, which may mean, I rather will suspect the fun can be a thief, or be corrupted by a bribe, than thy honour can be betrayed to wantonness. “Mr. Rowe filently made the change, which succeeding editors have as filently adopted. A thought of a similar kind occurs in Henry IV, P. I:
« Shall the blessed Sun of heaven prove a micher ?" I have not, however, displaced Mr. Rowe's emendation; as 3 zeal to preserve old readings, without distinction, may fometimes prove as injurious to our author's reputation, as a defíre to introduce new ones, without attention to the quaintness of phraseology then in use. STEEVENS.
So, in Westward for Smelts, a pamphlet which Shakspeare certainly had read : “ 1 answere in the behalfe of one, who is as fr from disloyaltie, as is the funne from darkness, or the fire from COLD.' A husband is speaking of his wife. Malone.