Page images

call all your senses to you, defend your reputation, or bid farewel to your good life for ever.

Mrs. Ford. What Mall I do? there is a Gentleman, my dear friend ; and I fear not mine own shame, só 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. Oh, 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 linnen 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 fee't, О let me see't ; I'll in, l’ll in; follow your friend's counsel; I'll in.

Mrs. Page. What! Sir John Falsaf? are these your letters, Knight?

Fal. I love thee, help me away; let me creep in here : I'll never

(He goes into the basket, they cover him with foul linnen,

Mrs. Page. Help to cover your Mafter, boy: call your men, Mistress Ford. You diffembling Knight!

Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, Johx, go take up these cloaths here, quickly.

Where's the cowl-staff ? look, how

drumble : carry

them to the landress in Datchet-mead ; quickly, come.

Enter Ford, Page, Caius, and 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


this ? Serv. To the landress, forfooth.

Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were beit meddle with buck-washing. Ford. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the VOL. I.



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, feek, find out. l'll warrant, we'll unkennel the fox. Let me stop this way first. So, now uncape.

Page. Good maiter Ford, be contented: you wrong yourlelf 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 the fashion of France; it is not jealous in France.

Page. Nay, follow him, Gentlemen, see the iffue of his search.

[Exeunt. Manent Mifress Page and Mistress Ford. Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this?

Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceiv'd, or Sir 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.

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 special suspicion of Falfaff's being here ! 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 Falstaf: his diffolute disease will scarce obey this medicine.

Mrs. Ford. Shall we send that foolish carrion, Miltress 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-mor. now by eight a clock, to have amends,


Re-enter Ford, Page, &c. Ford. I cannot find him; may be, the knave bragg'd of that he could not compass. Mrs. Page. Heard you

that ? Mrs. Ford. I, I; peace :-You use me well, master Ford, do you?

Ford. Ay, ay, I do so.

Mrs. Ford. Heav'n make you better than your thoughts !

Ford. Amen.
Mrs. Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, Mr. Ford.
Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.

Eva. If there be any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the preffes, heav'n forgive my fins at the day of judgment.

Caius. By gar, nor I too; there is no bodies.

Page. Fy, fy, Mr. Ford, are you not afham'd? what {pirit, what devil suggests this imagination ? I would not ha' your distemper in this kind, for the wealth of Windsor Castle.

Ford. 'Tis my fault, Mr. Page : I suffer for it.

Eva. You suffer for a pad conscience ; your wife is as honest a o'mans, as I will defires among five thousand, and five hundred too.

Caius. By gar, I see 'tis an honeft woman.

Ford. Well, I promis'd 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 go in, Gentlemen ; but trust me, we'll mock him. I de 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 the turd.
Eva. In your teech, for shame.
N 2


Ford. Pray you go, Mr. Page.

Eva. I pray you now, remembrance to-morrow Ox the lousy knave, mine hoft. Caius. Dat is good, by gar, with all


heart. Eva. A loufy knave, to have his gibes, and his mockeries.

[Exeunt. SCENE changes to Page's House.

Enter Fenton and Mistress Ann Page. Fent. 1

See, I cannot get thy father's love ;

Therefore no more turn me to him, sweet Nax, Ann. Alas! how then ?

Fent. Why, thou must be thyself.
He doth object, I am too great of birth ;
And that my state being gall’d with my expence,
I seek to heal it only by his wealth.
Besides these, other bars he lays before me,
My riots paft, my wild societies :
And tells me, 'tis a thing impoflible
I fhould love thee, but as a property.

Ang. May be, he tells you true.

Fent. No, heav'n so speed me in my time to come!
Albeit, I will confess, thy father's wealth
Was the first motive that I woo'd thee, Ann:
Yet wooing thee, I found thee of more value
Than ftamps in gold, or sums in seakd bags;
And 'tis the very riches of thyself
That now I aim at.

Ann. Gentle Mr. Fenton,
Yet seek my father's love: still seek it, Sir;
If opportunity and humbleft fuit (19)
Cannot attain it, why then--hark you hither.

[Fenton and Mrs. Ann go apart. (19) If opportunity and humbleft fuit] Ds. Thirlby imagines, that our Author with more propriety wrote;

If importurity and humblest suit I have not ventur'd to di urb the text, because, tho' an equal exactness be not maintain'd the expreffion, it may mean, “ If the frequent appor* :nitie you find of folliciting my father, and your cietis iubim, cannot get him over to your party, &c.


with you.

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 that I am affeard.

Quick. Hark ye, Mr. Slender, would speak a word

Ann. I come to him.—This is my father's choice.
O, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
Look handsome in three hundred pounds a year!

Quic. And how does good master Fenton ? pray you, a word with you.

Shal. She's coming; to her, coz. O boy, thou hadft a father!

Slen. I had a father, Mrs. Ann; my uncle can tell you good jefts of him. Pray you, uncle, tell Mrs. Ann the jest, how my father stole two geese out of a pen, good uncle.

Shal. Mistress Ann, my cousin loves you.

Slen. Ay, that I do, as well as I love any woman in Gloucestershire.

Shal. He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.

Slen. Ay, that I will; come cut and long-tail, under the degree of a squire.

Shal. He will make you a hundred and fifty pounds jointure.

Ann. Good master Shallow, let him woo for himself.

Shal. Marry, I thank you for it; I thank you for that. Good comfort z me calls you, coz : I'll leave you.

Ann. Now, master Slender.
Slen. Now, good miftress Ann.
Ann. What is your will ?
Slen. My will í od's-heart-lings, that's a pretty jeft,


N 3

« PreviousContinue »