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Ford, Ay; and as idle as he may hang together, for want of company; I think if your husbands were dead, you two would marry.

Mrs. Page. Be sure of that, two other husbands.
Ford. Where had you this pretty weather-cock ?

Mrs. Page. I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my husband had him of: what do you call your Knight's name, firrah?

Rob. Sir John Falfeff.
Ford. Sir John Faltaf?

Mrs. Page. He, he; I can never hit on's name ; there is such a league between my good man and he. Is

your wife at home, indeed? Ford. Indeed, the is.

Mrs. Page. By your leave, Sir; I am fick, 'till I see her.

[Exeunt. Mrs. Page and Robin. Ford. Has Page any brains? hath he any eyes ? hath he any thinking fare, they flecp; he hath no use of them. Why, this boy will carry a letter twenty mile, as easy as a cannon will shoot point-blank twelve-feore; he pieces out his wife's inclination; he gives her folly motion and advantage; and now she's going to my wife, and Faltaff's boy with her. A man may hear this shower sing in the wind : and Falstaff's boy with her! good plots; they are laid, and our revolted wives share damnation together. Well, I will take him, then torture my wife; pluck the borrowed vail of modesty from the fo seeming mistress Page, divulge Page himself for a secure and wilful Asteon, and to these violent proceedings all my neighbours shall cry aim. The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me search; there I shall find Falstaff : I shall be rather praised for this, than mocked; for it is as positive as the earth is firm, that Falstaff is there : I will go. To him, Enter Page, Shallow, Slender, Hoft, Evans,

and Caius. Shal. Page, &c. Well met, Mr. Ford.

Ford. Trust me, a good knot; I have good cheer at home, and, I pray you, all go with me.

Shal.

Shad. I must excuse myself, Mr. Ford.

Slen, And so muft I, Sir; we have appointed to dine with Mrs. Ann, and I would not break with her for more money than I'll speak of.

Shal. We have linger'd about a match between Ann Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our anfwer.

Slen. I hope, I have your good will, father Page.

Page. You have Mr. Slender ; I stand wholly for you ; but my wife, master Doctor, is for you altogether.

Cai. Ay, by gar, and de maid is love-a-me: my nurih-a-quickly tell me fo much.

Hoft. What say you to young Mr. Fenton ? he capers, he dances, he hath eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holy-day, he smells April and May; he will carry't, he will carry't; 'tis in his buttons, he will carry't.

Page. Not by my confent, I promise you: the Gentleman is of no having, he kept company with the wild prince and Poinz: he is of too high a region, he knows too much ; no, he shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance. If he take her, let him take her fimply; the wealth I have waits on my consent, and my consent goes not that way.

Ford. I beseech you, heartily, some of you go home with me to dinner; beside, your cheer you shall have sport; I will shew you a monster. Mr. Doctor, you Mall go; fo shall you, Mr. Page; and you, Sir Hugh.

Shal. Well, fare you well: we thall have the freer wooing at Mr. Page's.

Caius. Go home, John Rugby, I come anon.

Hoft. Farewel, my hearts ; I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.

Ford. I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with hint: I'll make him dance. Will you go gentles ?

All. Have with you, to see this, monster. [Exeunt.

SCENE

SCENE changes to Ford's House. Enter Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Page, and Servants with a basket.

Mrs. Ford. W

Mrs. Page. Quickly, quickly; is the buck basket

Mrs. Ford. I warrant. What, Robin, I say.
Mrs. Page. Come, come, come.
Mrs. Ford. Here, set it down.

Mrs. Page. Give your men the charge, we muft be brief.

Mrs. Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John and Robert, be ready here hard-by in the brew-house, and when I suddenly call you, come forth, and without any pause or staggering take this basket on your shoulders ; that done, trudge with it in all hafte, and carry it among the whitsters in Datchet-Mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch close by the Thames-side.

Mrs. Page. You will do it?

Mrs. Ford. I ha' told them over and over; they lack no direction. Be gone, and come when you are call'd. Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin.

Enter Robin. Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyes-musket, what news with you?

Rob. My master, Sir John, is come in at your backdoor, Mistress Ford, and requests your company.

Mrs. Page. You lịttle jack-a-lent, have you been true to us!

Rob. Ay, I'll be sworn ; my master knows not of your being here, and hath threaten’d to put me into everlasting liberty, if I tell you of it; for he swears, he'll turn me away.

Mrs. Page. Thou’rt a good boy; this secrecy of thine Thall be a taylor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hose. I'll go hide me.

Mrs. Ford. Do so; go tell thy Master, I am alone ; Mistress Page, remember your cue. [Exit. Robin.

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me.

Mrs. Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss

[Exit Mrs. Page Mrs. Ford. Go to then; we'll use this unwholsome humidity, this gross watery pumpion-we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.

Enter Falftaff. Fal. Have I caught thee, my heav'nly jewel? why, now let me die; for I have liv'd long enough: this is the period of my ambition : O this blessed hour!

Mrs. Ford. O sweet Sir John!

Fal. Mrs. Ford, I cannot cog; I cannot prate; Mistress Ford: now shall I fin in my wish. I would, thy husband were dead; I'll speak it before the best Lord, I would make thee my Lady.

Mrs. Ford. Ilyour Lady, Sir John? alas, I should be a pitiful Lady.

Fal. Let the Court of France shew me such another; I fee how thine eye would emulate the diamond : thou hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the fhip-tire, the tire-valiant, or any Venetian attire.

Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, Sir John: my brows become nothing else, nor that well neither.

Fal. Thou art a tyrant to say ío; thou would'st make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gate, in a femi-circled farthingale. I see what thou wert; if fortune thy foe were not, nature is thy friend : come, thou canst not hide it. Mrs. Ford. Believe '

me, there's no such thing in me. Fal. What made me love thee? let that persuade thee. There's something extraordinary in thee. Come I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklers-Berry in fimpling time; I cannot: but I love thee, none but thee; and thou deserveft it.

Mrs. Ferd. Do not betray me, Sir; I fear, you love Mistress Page. Fal. Thou might'st as well say I love to walk by

woman,

the Counter-gate, which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln. Mrs. Ford. Well, heav'n knows how I love

you,

and you shall one day find it.

Fal. Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, I muft tell you, so you do; or else I could not be in that mind.

Rob. [within.] Mistress Ford, Mistress Ford, here's Mistress Page at the door, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you prefently.

Fal. She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras. Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling

[Falstaff bides himself.

Enter Mrs. Page. What's the matter? how now?

Mrs. Page. O Mistress Ford, what have you done? you're Tham’d, y’are overthrown, you are undone for

Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good Mistress Page?

Mrs. Page. O well-a day, Mistress Ford, having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of fufpicion.

Mrs. Ford. What cause of fufpicion ?

Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion? out upon you ! how am I mistook in you ?

Mrs. Ford. Why, alas! what's the matter?

Mrs. Page. Your husband's coming 'hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a Gentleman, that, he says, is here now in the house, by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence. You are undone.

Mrs. Ford. Speak louder -[Afde.] 'Tis not so, I hope.

Mrs. Page. Pray heav'n 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, convey him out. Be not amaz’d,

ever.

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