Act II Scene 1
In Eastcheap, London, near the Boars Head tavern, Hostess Quickly has persuaded two sergeants, Fang and Snare, to arrest Falstaff for his failure to pay her what he owes her. Falstaff enters with Bardolph and his page, and the men try to arrest him. Falstaff and Bardolph try to fight them off, and the Chief Justice enters and calls for the scuffle to stop. He rebukes Falstaff for brawling in the street, and hears Quicklys complaint. She says that not only does Falstaff owe her money, he also promised to marry her. Falstaff replies that Quickly is mad. He adds that Quickly has been saying around town that her eldest son looks like the Chief Justice (meaning that the Chief Justice is the boys father). The Chief Justice doesnt allow Falstaff to deflect the charge, however, and orders him to pay Quickly what he owes her. After some more blustering, Falstaff takes Quickly aside for a moment.
Gower enters with the news that the King and Prince Henry are nearby. He hands a letter to the Chief Justice.
Meanwhile, Falstaff has used his charm on Hostess Quickly-so much so that she has agreed to lend him more money, even though it will mean she must pawn some of her belongings.
The Chief Justice listens to Gower explain the movements of the Kings troops. The King has sent fifteen hundred men to join Prince Johns forces that are readying to confront Northumberland.
This second encounter between the Lord Chief Justice and Falstaff continues much as the first one did. Falstaff uses his verbal sallies to sidestep the direct and blunt words of the Chief Justice, a man seemingly without humor who insists, naturally enough, on upholding the law.
Although we have not yet met Prince Henry, these two scenes in which Falstaff spars with the Lord Chief Justice show clearly the choice the Prince will have to make. Will he stick with his old lawless companion Falstaff or will he live up to his responsibilities and come down on the side of law and order?
Act II Scene 1