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SHAL., PAGE, etc. Well met, Master Ford.

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

SHAL. I must excuse myself, Master Ford.


SLEN. And so must I, Sir: we have appointed to dine with Mistress Anne, and I would not break with her for more money than I'll speak of.

SHAL. We have linger'd about a match between Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our answer.


SLEN. I hope I have your good will, father Page.
PAGE. You have, Master Slender; I stand wholly for
But my wife, Master Doctor, is for you altogether.
CAIUS. Ay, by gar; and de maid is love-a me; my
nursh-a Quickly tell me so mush.


HOST. What say you to young Master Fenton ? He capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holiday," 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 consent, I promise you. The gentle-
man is of no having: he kept company with the wild
Prince and Poins; 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 simply; 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: besides your cheer you shall have
sport; I will shew you a monster.-Master Doctor,
you shall go; so shall you, Master Page; and you,
Sir Hugh.


SHAL. Well, fare you well. We shall have the freer wooing at Master Page's.

ound Hou

[Exeunt SHALLOW and SLENDER. CAIUS. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon. Tempat

[Exit RUGBY.

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Sc. II

HOST. Farewell, my hearts: I will to my honest Knight Falstaff, and drink canary1 with him. [Exit Host. FORD. [aside.] I think I shall drink in pipe2-wine first with him: I'll make him dance. [aloud.] Will you go, gentles?

ALL. Have with you, to see this monster.


SCENE III. A Room in FORD's House.


MRS. FORD. What, John! what, Robert!

MRS. PAGE. Quickly, quickly! Is the buck-basket—
MRS. FORD. I warrant. What, Robin, I say !

Enter Servants with a Basket.

MRS. PAGE. Come, come, come.
MRS. FORD. Here, set it down.

MRS. PAGE. Give your men the charge: we must be brief.
MRS. FORD. Marry, as I told you before, John and
Robert, be ready here hard by in the brewhouse; 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 haste, 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 have told them over and over: they lack
no direction. Be gone, and come when you are call'd.
[Exeunt Servants.

MRS. PAGE. Here comes little Robin.

Enter ROBIN.

MRS. FORD. How now, my eyas-musket ? what news with you?


ROB. My master Sir John is come in at your back-door,
Mistress Ford, and requests your company.

MRS. PAGE. You little Jack-a-lent," have you been true
to us?

ROB. Ay, I'll be sworn. My master knows not of your

1 (1) a dance, (2) a wine. 2 (1) a vessel, (2) a musical instrument. 3 bleachers.
182 4 nestling sparrow-hawk.
a Lenten cock-shy.


being here; and hath threaten'd to put me into ever- ACT III lasting liberty if I tell you of it; for he swears he'll Sc. III

turn me away.

MRS. PAGE. Thou art a good boy. This secrecy of thine


shall be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hose. I'll go hide me. MRS. FORD. Do so.-[to ROBIN.] Go tell thy master I am alone. Mistress Page, remember you your cue. [Exit ROBIN. MRS. PAGE. I warrant thee: if I do not act it, hiss me. [Exit MRS. PAGE. MRS. FORD. Go to, then! We'll use this unwholesome humidity, this gross watery pumpion-we'll teach him to know turtles1 from jays.2


FAL. Have I caught my heavenly 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. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate,
Mistress Ford. Now shall I sin 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. I your Lady, Sir John! Alas, I should be
a pitiful Lady.

FAL. Let the Court of France shew me such another!

I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond.
Thou hast the right arch'd beauty of the brow, that
becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of
Venetian admittance.5


MRS. FORD. A plain kerchief, Sir John: my brows be-
come nothing else; nor that well neither.

FAL. By the Lord, thou art a tyrant to say so! Thou
would'st make an absolute courtier; and the firm
fixture of thy foot would give an excellent motion to
thy gait in a semi-circl'd farthingale. I see what
thou wert, if Fortune thy foe were not, Nature thy
friend. Come, thou canst not hide it.
MRS. FORD. Believe me, there's no such thing in me.


1 honest women. 2 (slang) harlots. 3 cheat. 4 head. 5 approved at Venice.

ACT III FAL. What made me love thee? Let that persuade Sc. III thee there's something extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog, and say thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping hawthorn-buds,' that come like women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklersbury in simple2-time. I cannot but I love thee; none but thee; and thou deservest it.

MRS. FORD. Do not betray me, Sir. I fear you love
Mistress Page.


FAL. Thou might'st as well say I love to walk by the Counter-gate; which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.

MRS. FORD. Well, Heaven 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 must 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 presently.

FAL. She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind [hides. MRS. FORD. Pray you, do so she's a very tattling

the arras.1


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What's the matter? how now?

MRS. PAGE. O Mistress Ford, what have you done?
Y'are sham'd, y' are overthrown, y' are undone for ever.
MRS. FORD. What's the matter, good Mistress Page? 90
MRS. PAGE. O well-a-day, Mistress Ford! having an

honest man to your husband, to give him such cause
of suspicion!

MRS. FORD. What cause of suspicion?

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, 3 prison.

2 herb.

4 tapestry.

1 dandies.

that, he says, is here now in the house, by your consent, ACT III to take an ill advantage of his absence. You are Sc. III Coundone.dw toonto


MRS. FORD. Tis not so, I hope.js Jur

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, convey him out. Be not amaz’d:
call all your senses to you: defend your reputation,
bor bid farewell to your good life for ever.
MRS. FORD. What shall I do?-There is a gentleman,
hmy 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.

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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 1-time, send him by your two men to Datchet Mead.

1 bleaching.

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MRS. FORD. He's too big to go in there. What shall
I do?

FAL. [appearing.] Let me see 't; me see 't! I'll in, I'll in! Brcounsel. 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 never-

MRS. PAGE. Help to cover your master, boy. Call your
men, Mistress Ford.-You dissembling Knight!
MRS. FORD. What, John! Robert! John! Go take up
these clothes here, quickly; where's the cowl-staff?2
look, how you drumble! Carry them to the laundress
in Datchet Mead! Quickly, come.


2 'Bicollo, a cowle-staffe, to carie behind and before with.'-Florio, 1598.
3 drone.

let me see 't! O, let
Follow your friend's

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