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

Mrs. Page. Be sure of that, two other husbands.
Fored. 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 Fa:feff.
Ford. Sir John Falsaf?

Mrs. Page. He, he; I can never hit on's name'; there is such a league between my good man and hea Is your wife at home, indeed ?

Ford. Indeed, the is,

Mrs. Page. By your leave, Sir ; Tam sick, 'rill I see her.

(Exeunt Mrs. Page and Robin. Ford. Has Page any brains ? hath he any eyes ? hath he any thinking ? sure, they sleep; 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-score;. he pieces out his wife's inclination; he gives her folly motion and advantage; and now she's going to my wise, and Falformes boy with her. A man may hear this thower fing in the wind : and Falstaf's boy with her! good plots; they are iaid, and our revolted wives hare damnation together. Well, I will take him, then torture iny wife; pluck the borrowed vail of molefty from the 19 seeining mistress Page, divulze Page hiinself for a secure and wilful Azren, and

thefe volent proceedings all my neighbours thall cry aim. The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me search ; there ! Thall find Falstaff: I ihall be rather praised for this, than mocked; to it is as positive as the earth is firin, that Fa!taf is, there : I will go. 7. bim, Enter Page, Shallow, Slender, Hoft, Evans,

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

Ferd. Trust me, a good knot; I have good cheer at home, and, Ip ay you,

with me.


Shal. I muft excuse myself, Mr. Fura. 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 Paze and my cousin Slender, and this day we fall have our answer.

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

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

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

Hoft. What say you to young Mr. Fenton ?? he cam pers, he dances, he has 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 confint, 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 two much; no, he Mall not knit a klot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance. It he take her, let him take her fimply; the wealth I have waits on my consent, and my confent goes not that way.

Ford, I be feech you, heartily, some of you go home with me to dinner; beside, your cheer you hall have sport ; 1 will thew you a monster. Mr. Doctor, you fhall go; ro shall you, Mr. Page ; and you,

Sir Huz!. Shal. Well, fare you well : we fall have che freer wooing at Mr. Page’s.

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

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

l'ord. I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with hiin: I'll make hiin dance. Will

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


SCENE changes to Ford's House. Enter Mrs Ford, Mrs. Page, and Servants with a bafket. Mrs. Ford. I HAT, John, what, Robert !


Mrs. Puge. Quickly, quickly; is the buck-basket

Mrs. Ford. I warrant. What, Robin, I say.
Mrs. Page. Come, come, come.
Mrs. Ford. Here, fet 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 whitfters in Datchet-Mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch close by the Thames-fide.

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 callid. 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

backdoor, Mistress Ford, and requests your company.

Mrs. Page. You little jack-a-lent, have you been trae 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 fecrecy of thine shall be a taylor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hofe. I'll


hide me. Mrs. Ford. Do so; go tell thy Master, I am alones Mistress Page, remember you your cue.


[Exit Robin.


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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 watry pumpion-we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.

Enter Falstaff. 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, Miltress Ford: now shall I fin in my with. I would, thy husband were dead; I'll speak it before the beít Lord, I would make thee my Lady.

Mrs. Ford. I your Lady, Sir John ? alas, I fould be a pitiful Lady.

Fal. Ler the Court of France thew me such another ; I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond : thou haft the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any Venetian attire.

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

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

Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no fuch 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 bat thee; and thou deservest it.

Mrs. Ford. Do not betray'me, Sir; I fear, you love Mistress Pege. Fal. Thou might as well fay, I love to walk by


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


and you Mall one day find it.

Fal. Keep in that mind; I'll de!erve it.

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

Rob. [within.] Mistress Ford, Mistress Ford, here's Mittress 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 en conce me behind the arras.

Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do fo; she's a very tattling woman.

{Falstaff bides bimjelf,

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

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


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

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

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

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

Mrs. Page. Pray heav'n it be noi so, that you have such a man here; but 'tis most certain, your husband's coming with half Windsor at his hee's, 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 friend here, convey, convey him out. Be not amaz’d,


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