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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; re-enter Servants.] Go take up these clothes here, quickly; where's the cowl-staff t? look, how you drumblet: carry them to the laundress in Datchet Mead; quickly, come.
Enter Ford, Page, Caius, and Sir Hugh Evans.
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?
Sero. To the laundress, forsooth.
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? you were best meddle with buck-washing.
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. (Ereunt 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, vow, uncape*.
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.
(Erit. · Eou. This is fery fantastical humours, and jealousies.
Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France: it is pot 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 whot 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 spe. cial 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: bis 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 tomorrow eight o'clock, to have amends.
Re-enter Ford, Page, Caius, and Sir Hugh Evans.
Ford. I cannot find him: may be the knare 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!
Mrs. Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, master Ford.
Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.
Eva. If thiere bé any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses, heaven forgive my sins at the day of judgement!
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 hundred too.
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 goin, 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. Any thing.
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.
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 kuave; to have his gibes and his mockeries!
A room in Page's house.
Enter Fenton, and Mistress Anne Page.
Fent. I see, I cannot get thy father's love;
Anne. Alas! how then?
Why, thou must be thyself.
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') 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
Gentle master Fenton,
[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.
Shal. Be not dismay'd.
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-favour'd faults Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a year!
(Aside. 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 Glocestershire.
Shal. He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.
Slen. Ay, that I will, come cut and long-tailt, un. der the degree of a squire.
* A proverb-a shaft was a long arrow, and a bolt a thick short one.