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Mrs. Page. O, you are a Aattering boy; now, I fee, you'll be a courtier.

Enter Ford.
Ford. Well met, mistress Page; whither go you?
Mrs. Page. Truly, sir, to see your wife; is the at home?

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

Mrs. Page. Be sure of that, two other husbands.
Ford. Where had

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, sirrah?

Rob. Sir John Falstaff
Ford. Sir John Falstaff ?

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

Ford. Indeed, she is.
Mrs. Page. By your leave, fir; I am sick ’till I see her.

[Exeunt Mrs. Page and Robin.

you this

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SCENE V. Ford. Has Page any brains ? hath he any eyes ? hath he any thinking? fure, they fleep; 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 wife, and Falstaff's boy with her. A man may hear this shower sing in the wind : and Falstaf's boy with her! good plots; they are lay'd, and our revolted wives share damnation together. Well, I will take him, then torture my wife, pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming mistress Page, divulge Page himself for a secure and wilful Asteon, and to these violent

proceedings all my neighbours shall cry aim. The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me search; there I shall find Falstaff : I shall


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be rather praised for this than mocked; for it is as positive as the earth is firm, that Falstaff is there: I will go.

SCENE VI. To him, Enter Page, Shallow, Slender, Hoft, Evans, and Caius.

Shal. Page, * c. Well met, master Ford.

Ford. Trust me, a good knot: I have good cheer at home, and, pray you all, go with me.

Shal. I must excuse myself, master Ford.

Slen. And so must I, fir; 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 consin 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 you: 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.

Hoft. What say you to young master Fenton ? he capers, 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 consent, 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 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 fimply; 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


you shall have sport; I will show you a monster. Master doctor, you shall so shall


master Page ; and you, sir Hugh.

Shal. Well, fare you well: we shall have the freer wooing at master Page’s.

shall go ;

sofitive a

Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.

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

Ford. I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with him, I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles ? All. Have with you to see this monster.


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Ford's house.
Enter mistress Ford, mistress Page, and servants with a basket.
Mrs. Ford. HAT, John! what, Robert !

Mrs. .
basket -

Mrs. Ford. I warrant. What, Robin, I say!
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 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 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 ha’told them over and over; they lack no di-
rection. Be gone, and come when you are call’d.
Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin.

Enter Robin.
Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket, what news with you?

Rob. My master fir 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 ?


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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 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; 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 mistress Page Mrs. Ford. Go to then; we'll use this unwholsome humidity, this gross watry pumpion, — we'll teach him to know turtles

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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 fir John !

Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford: now shall I fin 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 show me such another; I see how thine


would emulate the diamond: thou hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valianto, or any tire of Venetian addition.

Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, fir John: my brows become nothing else, nor that well neither.

Fal. Thou art a tyrant to say so; thou would'st make an absolute courtier, and the firm fixure of thy foot would give an

a 'Tis probable this should be tire-volant or voilant, and that both this and the ship-tire were names given to women's head-dresses by the Venetians from whom the fine ladies heretofore took their fashions, as the lace then most in esteem was the point de Venise.


excellent motion to thy gait in a semi-circled farthingale. I see what thou wert; if fortune thy foe were not, nature is thy friend: come, thou canst not hide it.

Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such 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 many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel, and smell like BucklersBury in fimpling-time; I cannot: but I love thee, none but thee; and thou deservest it.

Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, fir; I fear, you love mistress Page.

Fal. Thou might'st as well say, I love to walk by the countergate, which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.

Mrs. Ford. Well, heav'n 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 fee me; I will ensconce me behind the arras. Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling woman.


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

Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you done? you're fham’d, y’are overthrown, you are undone for ever.

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 suspicion !

Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion?

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


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