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Ford. 'Tis past eight already, sir.

do I sleep? Master Ford, awake! awake, master Ford! there's a hole made in your best coat, master Ford. This 't is to be married this 't is to have linen, and buck-baskets.-Well, I will proclaim myself what I am : I will now take the lecher; he is at my house: he cannot 'scape me; 't is impossible he should he Fal. Is it? I will then address me to my appoint- cannot creep into a half-penny purse, nor into a pepperment. Come to me at your convenient leisure, and box; but, lest the devil that guides him should aid you shall know how I speed, and the conclusion shall him, I will search impossible places. Though what I be crowned with your enjoying her: adieu. You shall am I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not, shall have her, master Brook; master Brook, you shall not make me tame: if I have horns to make me mad, cuckold Ford. [Exit. let the proverb go with me, I'll be horn mad.

Ford. Hum: ha! is this a vision? is this a dream?

[Exit.

Fal. Master Brook, I will be thrown into Etna, as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her thus. Her husband is this morning gone a birding: I have received from her another embassy of meeting; 'twixt eight and nine is the hour, master Brook.

ACT IV.

SCENE I-The Street.

Enter Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. QUICKLY, and WILLIAM. Mrs. Page. Is he at master Ford's already, think'st thou?

Quick. Sure he is, by this, or will be presently; but truly, he is very courageous mad about his throwing into the water. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly.

Mrs. Page. I'll be with her by and by: I'll but bring my young man here to school. Look, where his master comes; 't is a playing day, I see. Enter Sir HUGH EVANS. How now, sir Hugh! no school to-day?

Eva. No; master Slender is get1 the boys leave to play.

Quick. Blessing of his heart!

Mrs. Page. Sir Hugh, my husband says, my son profits nothing in the world at his book: I pray you, ask him some questions in his accidence.

Eva. Come hither, William : hold up your head;

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Eva. 'Oman, art thou lunatics? hast thou no understandings for thy cases, and the numbers and the genders? Thou art as foolish Christian creatures as I would desires.

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SCENE II-A Room in FORD'S House.
Enter FALSTAFF and Mrs. FORD.

Fal. Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my sufferance. I see, you are obsequious in your love, and I profess requital to a hair's breadth; not only, Mrs. Ford, in the simple office of love, but in all the accoutrement, complement, and ceremony of it. But are you sure of your husband now?

Mrs. Ford. He's a birding, sweet sir John.

Mrs. Page. [Within.] What hoa! gossip Ford! what hoa!

Mrs. Ford. Step into the chamber, sir John.

[Exit FALSTAFF.

Enter Mrs. PAGE.

Mrs. Page. How now, sweetheart! who's at home besides yourself?

Mrs Ford. Why, none but mine own people.

Mrs. Page. Indeed?

Mrs. Ford. No, certainly.-[Aside.] Speak louder. Mrs. Page. Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here.

Mrs. Ford. Why?

Mrs. Page. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes again he so takes on yonder with my husband; so rails against all married mankind; so curses all Eve's daughters, of what complexion soever; and so buffets himself on the forehead, crying, "Peer-out, Peer-out!" that any madness I ever yet beheld seemed but tameness, civility, and patience, to this distemper he is in now. I am glad the fat knight is not here.

Mrs. Ford. Why, does he talk of him?

Mrs. Page. Of none but him; and swears, he was carried out, the last time he searched for him, in a basket: protests to my husband he is now here, and hath drawn him and the rest of their company from their sport, to make another experiment of his suspicion. But I am glad the knight is not here; now he shall see his own foolery.

Mrs. Ford. How near is he, mistress Page?
Mrs. Page. Hard by; at street end: he will be here

anon.

Mrs. Ford. I am undone ! the knight is here.

Mrs. Page. Why, then you are utterly shamed, and he's but a dead man. What a woman are you! Away with him, away with him: better shame, than murder.

:

| Mrs. Page. Quick, quick we'll come dress you straight; put on the gown the while. [Exit FALSTAFF.

Mrs. Ford. I would my husband would meet him in this shape he cannot abide the old woman of Brentford; he swears, she's a witch; forbade her my house, and hath threatened to beat her.

May I

Mrs. Ford. There they always use to discharge their birding-pieces. Creep into the kiln-hole.

Fal. Where is it?

Mrs. Ford. He will seek there, on my word. Neither press, coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an abstract for the remembrance of such places, and goes to them by his note; there is no hiding you in the house.

Fal. I'll go out, then.

Mrs. Page. If you go out in your own semblance, you die, sir John. Unless you go out disguised,— Mrs. Ford. How might we disguise him?

Mrs. Ford. Which way should he go? how should I bestow him? Shall I put him into the basket again? Re-enter FALSTAFF in fright.1 Fal. No, I'll come no more in the basket. not go out, ere he come?

Mrs. Page. Alas, three of master Ford's brothers watch the door with pistols, that none shall issue out; otherwise you might slip away ere he came. But what make you here? Fal. What shall I do?—I'll creep up into the chim-bleaching.

ney.

Mrs. Page. Alas the day! I know not. There is no woman's gown big enough for him; otherwise, he might put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchief, and so

escape.

Fal. Good hearts, devise something: any extremity, rather than a mischief.

Mrs. Page. Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel, and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards! Mrs. Ford. But is my husband coming?

Mrs. Page. Ay, in good sadness, is he; and talks of the basket too, howsoever he hath had intelligence. Mrs. Ford. We'll try that; for I'll appoint my men to carry the basket again, to meet him at the door with it, as they did last time.

Mrs. Page. Nay, but he 'll be here presently: let's go dress him like the witch of Brentford.

Mrs. Ford. I'll first direct my men, what they shall do with the basket. Go up, I'll bring linen for him straight. Exit. Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot misuse him enough.

We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
Wives may be merry, and yet honest too:
We do not act, that often jest and laugh;
'T is old but true, "Still swine eat all the draff.”

[Exit.

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Re-enter Mrs. FORD, with two Servants.

Mrs. Ford. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders: your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him. Quickly; despatch. 1 Serv. Come, come, take it up.

[Exit.

2 Serv. Pray heaven, it be not full of knight again.
1 Serv. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead.
Enter FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, CAIUS, and Sir HUGH
EVANS.

Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again?—Set down the basket, villains.-Somebody call my wife.-Youth in a basket!-O you panderly rascals! there's a knot, a ging2, a pack, a conspiracy against me: now shall the devil be shamed.-What, wife, I say? Come, come forth: behold what honest clothes you send forth to

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Mrs. Ford. My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brentford, has a gown above.

Mrs. Page. On my word it will serve him; she's as big as he is: and there's her thrum'd hat, and her muffler too.-Run up, sir John.

Mrs. Ford. Go, go, sweet sir John: mistress Page and I will look some linen for your head. 3 The rest of the direction not in f. e.

1 in fright: not in f. e.

2 Gang.

Page. This passes!

Mrs. Ford. Are you not ashamed? let the clothes alone.

Ford. I shall find you anon.

Eva. 'Tis unreasonable. Will you take up your wife's clothes? Come away.

Ford. Empty the basket, I say.

Mrs. Ford. Why, man, why,

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Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed out of my house yesterday in this basket: why may not he be there again? In my house I am

sure he is my intelligence is true; my jealousy is shall be any farther afflicted, we two will still be the reasonable.--Pluck me out all the linen.

Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death. [All Clothes thrown out.1

Page. Here's no man.

Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford this wrongs you.

;

Eva. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies. Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.

Page. No, nor no where else, but in your brain. Ford. Help to search my house this one time: if I find not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity, let me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of me, "As jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow walnut for his wife's leman?" Satisfy me once more; once more search with me.

Mrs. Ford. What hoa! mistress Page! come you, and the old woman, down; my husband will come into the chamber.

Ford. Old woman! What old woman's that? Mrs. Ford. Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brentford. Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean? Have I not forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does she? We are simple men; we do not know what's brought to pass under the profession of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by the figure, and such daubery as this is; beyond our element we know nothing.-Come down, you witch, you hag you; come down I say.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, good, sweet husband.-Good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman. Enter FALSTAFF in Women's Clothes, led by Mrs. PAGE. Mrs. Page. Come, mother Prat; come, give me your hand.

Ford. I'll prat her.--Out of my door, you witch! [beats him] you rag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyons! out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell [Exit FALSTAFF. Mrs. Page. Are you not ashamed! I think, you have killed the poor woman. Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it.-'T is a goodly credit for you.

you.

Ford. Hang her, witch!

Eva. By yea and nay, I think, the 'oman is a witch indeed; I like not when a 'oman has a great peard; I spy a great peard under her muffler.

Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, follow see but the issue of my jealousy. If I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust me when I open again. Page. Let's obey his humour a little farther. Come, gentlemen. [Exeunt FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, and EVANS. Mrs. Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully. Mrs. Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought.

ministers.

Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publicly shamed, and, methinks, there would be no period to the jest. Should he not be publicly shamed ?

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SCENE III-A Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter Host and BARDOLPH.

Bard. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your horses: the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him.

Host. What duke should that be, comes so secretly? I hear not of him in the court. Let me speak with the gentlemen; they speak English ?

Bard. Ay, sir; I'll call them to you.

Host. They shall have my horses, but I'll make them pay; I'll sauce them: they have had my house a week at command; I have turned away my other guests: they must come off*; I'll sauce them. Come. [Exeunt.

SCENE IV.-A Room in FORD's House. Enter PAGE, FORD, Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. FORD, and Sir HUGH EVANS.

Eva. 'T is one of the pest discretions of a 'oman as ever I did look upon.

Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant?

Mrs. Page. Within a quarter of an hour.

Ford. Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou
wilt;

I rather will suspect the sun with cold,
Than thee with wantonness; now doth thy honour
stand,

In him that was of late a heretic,
As firm as faith.

Page. 'T is well, 't is well; no more.
Be not as extreme in submission,
As in offence;

But let our plot go forward let our wives
Yet once again, to make us public sport,
Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow,
Where we may take him, and disgrace him for it.

Ford. There is no better way than that they spoke of. Page. How? to send him word they 'll meet him in the park at midnight? fie, fie! he'll never come.

Eva. You see, he has been thrown into the rivers, and has been grievously peaten, as an old 'oman; methinks, there should be terrors in him, that he should not come; methinks, his flesh is punished, he shall have no desires.

Page. So think I too.

Mrs. Ford. Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,

And let us two devise to bring him thither.

Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne
the hunter,
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest,
Doth all the winter time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns ;
And there he blasts the trees, and takes the cattle;
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.

You have heard of such a spirit; and well you know,
The superstitious idle-headed eld

Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallowed, and hung o'er the altar; it hath done meritorious service.

Mrs. Ford. What think you? May we, with the warrant of womanhood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any farther revenge ?

Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness, is, sure, scared out of him if the devil have him not in fee simple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.

Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him?

Mrs. Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband's brains. If they can Received, and did deliver to our age, find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth. 1 Not in f. e. 2 Lover; also used for mistress. 3 Fr. rogue, for scurf. 4 come down. say: in f. e. 6 possesses.

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5

Page. Why, yet there want not many, that do fear In deep of night to walk by this Herne's oak. But what of this?

Mrs. Ford. Marry, this is our devise;
That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us,
Disguis'd like Herne, with huge horns on his head.

Page. Well, let it not be doubted but he 'll come, And in this shape: when you have brought him thither, What shall be done with him? what is your plot?

Mrs. Page. That likewise have we thought upon, and thus.

Nan Page my daughter, and my little son,
And three or four more of their growth, we'll dress
Like urchins, .ouphes1, and fairies, green and white,
With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
And rattles in their hands. Upon a sudden,
As Falstaff, she, and I, are newly met,
Let them from forth a saw-pit rush at once
With some diffused2 song: upon their sight,
We two in great amazedness will fly:
Then, let them all encircle him about,
And, fairy-like, to-pinch3 the unclean knight;
And ask him, why, that hour of fairy revel,
In their so sacred paths he dares to tread,
In shape profane.
Mrs. Ford. And till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him soundly,
And burn him with their tapers.

Mrs. Page. The truth being known, We'll all present ourselves, dis-horn the spirit, And mock him home to Windsor.

Ford.

The children must Be practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do 't. Eva. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my taber.

Ford. That will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.

Mrs. Page. My Nan shall be the queen of all the fairies,

Finely attired in a robe of white.

Page. That silk will I go buy ;—[Aside.] and in that time

Shall master Slender steal my Nan away,

And marry her at Eton. [To them.] Go, send to Falstaff straight.

Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in name of Brook; He'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he'll come.

Mrs. Page. Fear not you that. Go, get us properties, And tricking for our fairies.

Eva. Let us about it: it is admirable pleasures, and fery honest knaveries.

[Exeunt PAGE, FORD, and EVANS. Mrs. Page. Go, mistress Ford, Send Quickly to sir John, to know his mind. [Exit Mrs. FORD.

I'll to the doctor: he hath my good will,
And none but he, to marry with Nan Page.
That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot;
And him my husband best of all affects:
The doctor is well money'd, and his friends
Potent at court: he, none but he, shall have her,
Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.
[Exit.

Sim. Marry, sir, I come to speak with sir John Falstaff from master Slender.

Host. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-bed, and truckle-bed: 't is painted about with the story of the prodigal, fresh and new. Go, knock and call; he'll speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee: knock, I say.

Sim. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber: I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down; I come to speak with her, indeed.

Host. Ha! a fat woman? the knight may be robbed: I'll call.-Bully knight! Bully sir John! speak from thy lungs military; art thou there? it is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls.

Fal. [Above.] How now, mine host?

Host. Here's a Bohemian Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let her descend: my chambers are honourable; fie! privacy? fie!

Enter FALSTAFF.

Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with me, but she's gone.

Sim. Pray you, sir, was 't not the wise woman of Brentford ?

Fal. Ay, marry, was it, muscle-shell: what would you with her?

Sim. My master, sir, my master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go through the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain, or no.

Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.
Sim. And what says she, I pray, sir?

Fal. Marry, she says, that the very same man that beguiled master Slender of his chain, cozened him of it.

Sim. I would I could have spoken with the woman herself: I had other things to have spoken with her, too, from him.

Fal. What are they? let us know.

Host. Ay, come; quick.

Fal. You may not conceal them, sir.
Host. Conceal them, and thou diest.

Sim. Why, sir, they were nothing but about mistress Anne Page; to know, if it were my master's fortune to have her, or no.

Fal. 'Tis, 't is his fortune.
Sim. What, sir?

Fal. To have her, or no. told me so.

Sim. May I be bold to say so, sir?

Fal. Ay, sir, tike, who more bold?

Sim. I thank your worship. I shall make my master glad with these tidings.

[Exit SIMPLE. Host. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, sir John. Was there a wise woman with thee?

Go; say, the woman

Fal. Ay, that there was, mine host; one, that hath taught me more wit than ever I learned before in my life and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning.

Enter BARDolph.

Bard. Out, alas, sir! cozenage; mere cozenage!

Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.

SCENE V.—A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter Host and SIMPLE.

Bard. Run away with by the cozeners; for so soon as
I came beyond Eton, they threw me off from behind one
of them in a slough of mire; and set spurs, and away,
like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.
Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain.

Host. What wouldst thou have, boor? what, thickskin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap. | Do not say, they be fled; Germans are honest men.

1 Elves. 2 Irregular. 3 Be-pinch. 4 I: in f. e. 5 or in f. e. 6 Not in f. e.

Enter Sir HuUGH EVANS.

Enter Doctor CAIUS.

Caius. Vere is mine Host de Jarretière ?

Host. Here, master doctor, in perplexity, and

Eva. Where is mine host?

Host. What is the matter, sir?

Eva. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town tells me, there is three Fent. Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose, couzin germans, that has cozened all the hosts of Read-And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee ings, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money; A hundred pound in gold more than your loss. I tell you for good will, look you you are wise, and Host. I will hear you, master Fenton; and I will, full of gibes and vlouting-stogs, and 't is not convenient at the least, keep your counsel. you should be cozened. Fare you well.

[Exit.

Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection
(So far forth as herself might be her chooser)
doubt-Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
Of such contents as you will wonder at;
The mirth whereof so larded with my matter,
That neither, singly, can be manifested,
Without the show of both;-wherein fat Falstaff
Hath a great scene: the image of the jest
I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine Host:
[Showing the Letter.
To-night at Herne's oak, just 'twixt twelve and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the fairy queen;
The purpose why, is here; in which disguise,
While other jests are something rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to slip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
Immediately to marry: she hath consented.
Now, sir,

Her mother, even strong against that match,
And firm for Dr. Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
While other sports are tasking of their minds,
And at the deanery, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her to this her mother's plot
She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
Made promise to the doctor.-Now, thus it rests:
Her father means she shall be all in white;
And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
To take her by the hand, and bid her go,
She shall go with him :-her mother hath intended,
The better to denote her to the doctor,
(For they must all be mask'd and vizarded)
That quaint in green she shall be loose enrob'd,
And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
With ribands pendant, flaring 'bout her head;
To pinch her by the hand, and on that token
The maid hath given consent to go with him.

I

Host. Which means she to deceive? father or
mother?

Fent. Both, my good host, to go along with me:
And here it rests,—that you'll procure the vicar
To stay for me at church 'twixt twelve and one,
And in the lawful name of marrying,
To give our hearts united ceremony.

ful dilemma.

Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat; but it is tell-a me, dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Jarmany: by my trot, dere is no duke, dat de court is know to come. I tell you for good vill: adieu.

SCENE VI.-Another Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FENTON and Host.

Host. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy; I will give over all.

undone !

I

[Exit Host. Hue and ery, villain! go.-Assist me, knight; I am undone.-Fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am [Exeunt Host and BARDOLPH. Fal. I would all the world might be cozened, for have been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court how I have been transformed, and how my transformation hath been washed and cudgelled, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me: I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crestfallen as a dried pear. I never prospered since I forswore myself at primero.' Well, if my wind were but long enough,2 I would pray and repent. Enter Mistress QUICKLY. Now, whence come you?

Quick. From the two parties, forsooth.

Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestowed. I have suffered more for their sakes, more, than the villainous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.

Quick. And have not they suffered? Yes, I warrant; speciously one of them: mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.

Fal. What tell'st thou me of black and blue? was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman, deliver'd me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.

Quick. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber; you shall hear how things go, and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts! what ado here is to bring you together. Sure, Host. Well, husband your device: I'll to the vicar. one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest. Fent. So shall I evermore be bound to thee; [Exeunt. Besides, I'll make a present recompense.

crossed.

Fal. Come up into my chamber.

સ્ત્ર

[Exeunt.

ACT V.

SCENE I-A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FALSTAFF and Mrs. QUICKLY.

Fal. Pr'ythee, no more prattling;-go:—I'll hold. | Away.
1 A game of cards. 2 to say my prayers from the quartos: in f. e.

This is the third time; I hope, good luck lies in odd numbers. Away, go. They say, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.

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