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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. '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, call all your senses to you, defend your reputation, or bid farewel to your good life for ever.
Mrs. Ford. What Thall 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. o, how have you deceiv’d 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 whiting time, 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; help me away; let me creep in here: I'll
[He goes into the basket, they cover him with foul linen. Mrs. Page. Help to cover your master, boy: call your men, mistress Førd. You diffembling knight!
Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John! go, take up these cloths here, quickly. Where's the cowl-staff? look how
drumble: carry them to the laundress in Datchet-mead ; quickly, come.
Enter Ford, Page, Caius, and Evans.
this? Serv. 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. [Exeunt servants with the basket.] Gentlemen, I have dream'd 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 fo, now uncouple.
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.
Eva. This is ferry fantastical humours, and jealousies.
Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France; it is not jealous
Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceiv’d, or fir John.
Mrs. Page. What a taking was he in when your husband ask'd 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. Vol. I.
VILLE DE LYON
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would, all of the fame strain were in the fame distress.
Mrs. Ford. I think, my husband hath fome special fufpicion of Falstaff's being here : I never saw him so gross in his jealousy 'till 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 fend 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 by eight o'clock, to have amends.
Re-enter Ford, Page, *°C.
Eva. If there be any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses, heav'n forgive my fins !
Caius. By gar, nor I too; dere is no bodies.
Page. Fie, fie, master Ford! are you not alham’d? what fpirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I would not ha’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 honeft a’omans as I will defires among five thousand, and five hundred
Caius. By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman.
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. Any thing.
Eva. I pray you now, remembrance to-morrow on the lousy knave mine hoft.
Caius. Dat is good, by gar, vith all my heart.
Changes to Page's house.
Enter Fenton, and mistress Anne Page. Fent.
see, I cannot get thy father's love;
Therefore no more turn me to him, sweet Nan.
Fent. Why, thou muft be thyself.
Anne. May be, he tells you true.
Albeit, I will confess, thy father's wealth
Anne. Gentle master Fenton,
SCENE XIII. Enter Shallow, Slender, and mistress Quickly. Shal. Break their talk, mistress Quickly; my kinsman fhall speak for himself.
Slen. I'll make a shaft or a bolt on’t: ’d’slid ’tis but venturing. Shal. Be not dismay’d.
Slen. No, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that, but I am affeard.
Quic. Hark ye; master Slender would speak a word with you.
Ànne. I come to him. This is my father's choice.
Quic. And how does good master. Fenton? pray you, a word
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 jefts of him. Pray you, uncle, tell mistress Anne the jest
, how my father stole two geese out of a pen, good uncle.
Shai. Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.
Slen. Ay, that I do, as well as I love any woman in Glocesterfire.
Shal. He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.
Slen. Ay, that I will; come cut and long-tail, under the degree of a squire.