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not only, mistress Ford, in the simple office of love, but in all the accoustrement, 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, gosip Ford! what hoa! Mrs. Ford. Step into th' chamber, Sir John.
Mrs. Ford. Why none but mine own people.
Mrs. Page. Truly, I am so glad you have no body here,
Mrs. Ford. Why?
Mrs. Page. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes again ; he to takes on yonder with my husband, so rails against all married mankind, so curses all Eve's. daughters, of what complexion foever, and fo buffets: himself on the forehead, crying, peer-out, peer-out ! that any madness I ever yet beheld feem'd but tame. ness, civility, and patience, to this diftemper 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 carry'd out, the last time he search'd 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 fhall see his own foolery.
Mrs. Ford. How near is he, mistress Page ?
Mrs. Page. Hard by, at ftreet's end, he will be here anon.
Mrs. Ford. I am undone, the Knight is here.
Mrs. Page. Why, then thou art utterly sham'd, and he's but a dead man. What a woman are you ? away
with him, away with him; better shame than murder.
Mrs. Ford. Which way should he go? how should I bestow him? shall I put him into the baket again?
Enter Falstaff. Fal. No, I'll come no more i'th' basket: may I not go out, ere he come?
Mrs. Page. Alas! alas! three of master Ford's bro thers watch the door with piftols, that none hould iffue 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 chimney.
Mrs. Ford. There they always use to discharge their birding-pieces; creep into the kill-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. Ford. If you go out in your own semblance, you die, Sir John, unless you go out disguis’d. How might we disguise him?
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 kerchiet, and so escape.
Fal. Good heart, devise something; any extremity, rather than mischief.
Mrs. Ford. My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Broine ford, has a gown above.
Mrs. Page. On my word, it will serve him ; The's as big as he is, and there's her thrumb ħat, and her muffler too. Run up, Sir John.
Mrs. Ford. Go, go, sweet Sir John; mistress Page and I will look some linnen for your head.
Mrs. Page. Quick, quick, we'll come dress you Itraight; put on the gown the while. [Exit Falstaff.
Mrs. Ford. I would, my husband would meet him in this Mape; he cannot abide the old woman of Brainford; he swears, she's a witch, forbade her my house, and hath threatened to beat her.
Mrs. Page. Heav'n guide him to thy husband's cud. gel, 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, however 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 Brainford.
Mrs. Ford. I'll first direct my men, what they shall do with the basket; go up, I'll bring linnen for him straight.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishoneft varlet, we cannot misuse him enough. We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do, Wives
honest too. We do not act, that often jest and laugh: 'Tis old but true, Still fwine eats all the draugh.
Mrs. Ford. Go, Sirs, take the basket again on your Moulders ; your master is hard at door ; if he bid you set it down, obey him : quickly, dispatch.
[Exeunt Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford.
Enter Servants with the basket. , Serv. Come, come, take up.
2 Serv. Pray heav'n, it be not full of the Knight again. i Serv. I hope not. I had as lief bear so much lead.
Enter Ford, Shallow, Page, Caius and Evans. Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again ? let down the basket, villain; somebody call my wife: youth in a basket! oh you panderly rascals, there's a knot, a ? gang, a pack, a conspiracy, against me; now fhall the
devil be fham’d. What! wife, I say; come, come
-you are not to go loose any longer, you must be pinnion'd. Eva.Why,this is lunaticks; this is mad as a mad dog.
Enter Mrs. Ford.
Ford. So say I too, Sir. Come hither, mistress Ford; mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her hufband! I suspect without cause, mistress, do I?
Mrs. Ford. Heav'n be my witness you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty.
Ford. Well said, brazen-face ; hold it out: come forth, firrah. [Pulls the cloaths out of the basket.
Page. This passes,
Eva. 'Tis unreasonable; will you take up your wife's cloaths ? come away.
Ford. Empty the basket, I say.
Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one convey'd 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 reaSonable ; pluck me out all the linnen.
Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a fea's death,
Page. Here's no man.
Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford; 15 this wrongs you.
Eva. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow
Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.
Ford. Help to search my house this one time ; if I fad not what I feek, shew 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 wall 'nut for his wife's leman. Satisfy me once more, once niore 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?
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 th' figure ; and such dawbry 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 womens cloathes, and Mrs. Page. Mrs. Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me your hand.
Ford, I'll Prat her. Out of my door, you witch ! [Beats bim.) you hag, yoo baggage, you poulcat, you runnion ! out, out, out; I'll conjure you, I'll fortune
Mrs. Page. Are you not alhamd? I think, you have kill'd the poor woman.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it; 'tis a goodly credit
Ford. Hang her, witch.
Eva. By yea and no, I think, the o’man is a witch indeed : I like not, when a o'man 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 ; (21) if I cry
out (21) If I cry out thus upon no tryal, never trust me when I opet again.] This is a corruption of the modern editions: the consequence