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Mrs. Ford. Speak louder.-[Aside]-'Tis not so, I hope. Mrs. Page. Pray heaven it be not so, that you have such a man here; but 'tis most certain your husband's coming with half Windsor at his heels, to search for such a one. I come before to tell you: If you know yourself clear, why I am glad of it: but if you have a friend here, convey him, convey him out. Be not amazed; call all your senses to you; defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.

Mrs. Ford. What shall I do?-There is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear not mine own shame, so much as his peril: I had rather than a thousand pound, he were out of the house.

Mrs. Page. For shame, never stand you had rather, and you had rather; your husband's here at hand, bethink you of some conveyance: in the house you cannot hide him.-Ŏ, how have you deceived me!-Look, here is a basket; if he be of any reasonable stature, he may creep in here; and throw foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking: Or, it is whitingtime,* send him by your two men to Datchet mead.

Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there: What shall I do?

Re-enter FALSTAFF.

Fal. Let me see't, let me see't! O let me see't! I'll in, I'll in;-follow your friend's counsel;-I'll in.

Mrs. Page. What! Sir John Falstaff! Are these your letters, knight?

Fal. I love thee, and none but thee; help me away: let me creep in here; I'll never

[He goes into the basket; they cover him with foul linen. Mrs. Page. Help to cover your master, boy: Call your men, mistress Ford:-You dissembling knight.

Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John! [Exit ROBIN; Reenter Servants.] Go, take up these clothes here, quickly; Where's the cowl-staff?+ look, how you drumble: carry them to the laundress in Datchet mead; quickly, come.


Ford. Pray you, come near if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jest; I deserve it.How now? whither bear you this ?

Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.

Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it ? You were best meddle with buckwashing.

Ford. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the buck! Buck, buck, buck? Ay, buck; I warrant you buck; and of the season, too, it shall appear. [Exeunt Servants with the basket.] Gentlemen, I have dreamed to-night; I'll tell you my dream. Here, here, here be my keys: ascend my chambers, search, seek, find out I'll warrant, we'll unkennel the fox: Let me stop this way first:-So, now uncape.§


✰ Drone.

† A staff for carrying a large tub or basket. Unbag the fox.


Page. Good master Ford, be contented: you wrong yourself

too much.

Ford. True, master Page.-Up, gentlemen; you shall see sport anon: follow me, gentlemen. [Exit.

Eva. This is fery fantastical humours and jealousies.

Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France: it is not jealous in France.

Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen, see the issue of his search. [Exeunt EVANS, PAGE, and CAIUS. Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this ? Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceived, or Sir John.

Mrs. Page. What a taking was he in, when your husband asked who was in the basket!

Mrs. Ford. I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.

Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal; I would all of the same strain were in the same distress.

Mrs. Ford. I think my husband hath some special suspicion of Falstaff's being here; for I never saw him so gross in his jealousy till now.

Mrs. Page. I will lay a plot to try that: And we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff: his dissolute disease will scarce obey this medicine.

Mrs. Ford. Shall we send that foolish carrion, mistress Quickly, to him, and excuse his throwing into the water; and give him another hope, to betray him to another punishment? Mrs. Page. We'll do it; let him be sent for to-morrow eight o'clock, to have amends.

Re-enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH Evans.

Ford. I cannot find him: may be the knave bragged of that he could not compass.

Mrs. Page. Heard you that?

Mrs. Ford. Ay, ay, peace:-You use me well, master Ford, do you?

Ford. Ay, I do so.

Mrs. Ford. Heaven make you better than your thoughts.
Ford. Amen.

Mrs. Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, master Ford.

Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.

Era. If there be any pody in the house, and in the cnambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses, heaven forgive my sins at the day of judgment.

Caius. By gar, nor I too: dere is no bodies.

Page. Fie, fie, master Ford! are you not ashamed? What spirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I would not have your distemper in this kind, for the wealth of Windsor Castle. Ford. "Tis my fault, master Page: I suffer for it.

Eva. You suffer for a pad conscience: your wife is as honest a'omans, as I will desires among five thousand, and five hun dred too.

* What.

Caius. By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman.

Ford. Well;-I promised you a dinner:-Come, come, walk in the park: I pray you pardon me; I will hereafter make known to you why I have done this.-Come, wife;-come, mistress Page; I pray you pardon me; pray heartily, pardon me.

Page. Let's go in, gentlemen; but, trust me, we'll mock him. I do invite you to-morrow morning to my house to breakfast; after, we'll a-birding together; I have a fine hawk for the bush: Shall it be so?

Ford. Anything.

Eva. If there is one, I shall make two in the company.
Caius. If there be one or two, I shall make-a de turd.

Eva. In your teeth: for shame.

Ford. Pray you go, master Page.

Eva. I pray you now, remembrance to-morrow on the lousy knave, mine host.

Caius. Dat is good; by gar, vit all my heart.

Eva. A lousy knave; to have his gibes and his mockeries.

SCENE IV-A Room in Page's House.


Fent. I see I cannot get thy father's love; Therefore, no more turn me to him, sweet Ñan. Anne. Álas! how then?

Fent. Why, thou must be thyself.

He doth object, I am too great of birth;

And that, my state being gall'd with my expense,
I seek to heal it only by his wealth:

Besides these, other bars he lays before me,

My riots past, my wild societies;

And tells me, 'tis a thing impossible

I should love thee, but as a property.
Anne. May be he tells you true.

Fent. No, heaven so speed me in my time to come!
Albeit, I will confess, thy father's wealth

Was the first motive that I woo'd thee, Anne:

Yet, wooing thee, I found thee of more value

Than stamps in gold, or sums in sealed bags;
And 'tis the very riches of thyself
That now I aim at.

Anne. Gentle master Fenton,

Yet seek my father's love: still seek it, Sir:
If opportunity and humble suit

Cannot attain it, why then.-Hark you hither.


[They converse apart.

Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and MRS. QUICKLY. Shal. Break their talk, mistress Quickly; my kinsman shall speak for himself.

Slen. I'll make a shaft or a bolt on't:* slid, 'tis but venturing

* A proverb-a shaft was a long arrow, and a bolt, a thick short one.

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Shal. Be not dismayed.

Slen. No, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that,-but that I am afeard.

Quick. Hark ye; master Slender would speak a word with you.
Anne. I come to him. This is my father's choice.
O, what a world of vile, ill-favoured faults

Look handsome in three hundred pounds a year!


Quick. And how does good master Fenton? Pray you, a word with you.

Shal. She's coming; to her, coz. O boy, thou hadst a father! Slen. I had a father, mistress Anne; my uncle can tell you good jests of him:-Pray you, uncle, tell mistress Anne the jest, how my father stole two geese out of a pen, good uncle.

Shal. Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.

Slen. Ay, that I do; as well as I love any woman in Gloucestershire.

Shal. He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.

Slen. Ay, that I will, come cut and long-tail,* under the degree of a 'squire.

Shal. He will make you a hundred and fifty pounds jointure.
Anne. Good master Shallow, let him woo for himself.

Shal. Marry, I thank you for it; I thank you for that good comfort. She calls you, coz: I'll leave you.

Anne. Now, master Slender.

Slen. Now, good mistress Anne.

Anne. What is your will?

Slen. My will? od's heartlings, that's a pretty jest, indeed! I ne'er made my will yet, I thank heaven; I am not such a sickly creature, I give heaven praise.

Anne. I mean, master Slender, what would you with me?

Slen. Truly, for mine own part, I would little or nothing with you: Your father, and my uncle, have made motions: if it be my luck, so if not, happy man be his dole !+ They can tell you how things go, better than I can: you may ask your father; here he comes.


Page. Now, master Slender:-Love him, daughter Anne.Why, how now! what does master Fenton here?

You wrong me, Sir, thus still to haunt my house:

I told you, Sir, my daughter is disposed of.

Fent. Nay, master Page, be not impatient.

Mrs. Page. Good master Fenton, come not to my child.


Page. She is no match for you.

Fent. Sir, will you hear me?

Page. No, good master Fenton.

Come, master Shallow: come, son Slender, in :

Knowing my mind, you wrong me, master Fenton.


Quick. Speak to mistress Page.

Fent. Good mistress Page, for that I love your daughter

* Come poor or rich.


+ Lot.

In such a righteous fashion as I do,

Perforce, against all checks, rebukes and manners,
I must advance the colours of my love,

And not retire: Let me have your good will.

Anne. Good mother, do not marry me to yond' fool.
Mrs. Page. I mean it not; I seek you a better husband.
Quick. That's my master, master doctor.

Anne. Alas, I had rather be set quick i' the earth,

And bowled to death with turnips.

Mrs. Page. Come, trouble not yourself: Good master Fenton,

I will not be your friend nor enemy:

My daughter will I question how she loves you,

And as I find her, so am I affected;

"Till then, farewell, Sir:-She must needs go in.

Her father will be angry. [Exeunt MISTRESS PAGE and ANNE. Fent. Farewell, gentle mistress; farewell Nan.

Quick. This is my doing, now;-Nay, said I, will you cast away your child on a fool, and a physician? Look on master Fenton-this is my doing.

Fent. I thank thee; and I pray thee once to-night Give my sweet Nan this ring: There's for thy pains.


Quick. Now heaven send thee good fortune! A kind heart he hath a woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart. But yet, I would my master had mistress Anne; or I would master Slender had her; or, in sooth, I would master Fenton had her: I will do what I can for them all three; for so I have promised, and I'll be as good as my word; but speciously* for master Fenton. Well, I must of another errand to Sir John Falstaff from my two mistresses; What a beast am I to slack+ it! [Exit.

SCENE V-A Room in the Garter Inn.


Fal. Bardolph, I say,

Bard. Here, Sir.

Fal. Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast in't. [Exit BARD.] Have I lived to be carried in a basket, like a barrel of butcher's offal; and to be thrown into the Thames? Well; if I be served such another trick, I'll have my brains ta'en out and butter'd, and give them to a dog for a new year's gift. The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorset as they would have drowned a bitch's blind puppies, fifteen i' the litter: and you may know, by my size, that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking; if the bottom were as deep as hell, 1 should down. I had been drowned, but that the shore was shelvy and shallow; a death that I abhor; for the water swells a man; and what a thing should I have been, when I had been swelled! I should have been a mountain of mummy.

Re-enter BARDOLPH, with the wine.

Bard. Here's mistress Quickly, Sir, to speak with you.

* Specially.

† Neglect.

+ Pity.

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