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Mrs. Page. Heav'n 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 fadness, 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 firft direct my men what they shall do with the basket; go up, I'll bring linen for him straight.

Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet ! we cannot misuse him
We'ls leave a proof, by that which we will do,
Wives may be merry,

honeft too.
We do not act, that often jest and laugh:
'Tis old but true, still swine eat all the draff.

Mrs. Ford. Go, firs, take the basket again on your shoulders ; your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him: quickly, dispatch.

[Ex. Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford. Enter servants with the basket. i 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

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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? Set down the basket, villain; somebody call my wife: youth in a basket ! o, you panderly rascals ! there's a knot, a gang, a pack, a conspiracy against me; now shall the devil be fham'd. What, wife, I say ! come, come forth; behold what honest cloths you send forth to bleaching.



Page. Why, this passes“, master Ford; you are not to go loose any longer, you must be pinion'd.

Eva. Why, this is lunaticks; this is mad as a mad dog.
Shal. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well, indeed.
Ford. So say I too, fir.

Enter mistress Ford. Come hither, mistress Ford, mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband : 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 cloths out of the basket. Page. This passes. Mrs. Ford. Are you not asham'd ? let the cloths alone. Ford. I shall find you anon.

Eva. 'Tis unreasonable; will you take up your wife's cloths ? come away.

Ford. Empty the basket, I say.
Mrs. Ford. Why, man, why

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 linen. Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death. 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

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 fearched


a See the note, p. 223.

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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 Brainford.

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 cloths, and mistress 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 hag, you baggage, you poulcat, you ronion ! out, out, out?
I'll conjure you, I'lĩ fortune-tell you.

[Exit. Fal.
Mrs. Page. Are you not asham’d? I think, you have kill'd
the poor woman.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it; 'tis a goodly credit for you.
Ford. Hang her, witch.

Eva. By yea and no, 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 iffue 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 further: come, gentle-

Mrs. Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, by th' mass, that he did not; he beat him
most unpitifully, methought.
Vol. I.

M m



Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd, 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

further revenge? Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scar'd 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 brain. If they can find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further afflicted, we two will still be ministers.

Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publickly sham’d; and, methinks, there would be no right period to the jest, should he not be publickly sham’d.

Mrs. Page. Come, to the forge with it then, shape it: I would not have things cool.


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Changes to the Garter-Inn.

Enter Host, and Bardolph. Bard. YIR, the German desires to have three of your horses;

the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him.

Hoft. What duke should that be comes fo fecretly; I hear not of him in the court: let me speak with the gentlemen; they speak Englis?

Bard. Sir, I'll call them to you.

Hoft. They shall have my horses, but I'll make them pay, I'll fauce them. They have had my house a week at command; I have turn'd away my other guests ; they must count off; I'll fauce them; come.

[Exeunt. SCENE

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Changes to Ford's house. Enter Page, Ford, mistress Page, mistress Ford, and Evans. Eva. TIS one of the best discretions of a 'oman as ever I

'T'did look upon

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; thy honour stands,
In him that was of late an heretick,
As firm as faith.

Page. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more.
Be not as extreme in submission
As in offence, but let our plot go forward:
Let our wives once again, to make us 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 say, he hath been thrown into the river; 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 punish’d, 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 in our Windsor forest, Doth all the winter-time at still of midnight Walk round about an oak, with ragged horns,


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