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Re-enter FALSTAFF. Fal. Let me see't; let me see't! O let me see't ! I'll in, I'll in ; — follow your friend's counsel :- I'll in.
Mrs. Page. What! Sir John Falstaff! Are these your letters, knight?
Fal. I love thee, and none but thee; help me away: let me creep in here; I'll never[He goes into the basket; they cover him with foul linen.]
Mrs. Page. Help to cover your master, boy: Call your men, mistress Ford:-You dissembling knight!
Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John! Exit ROBIN; Re-enter Servants.] Go, take up these clothes here, quickly; where's the cowl-staff? look, how you drumble: carry them to the laundress in Datchet mead; quickly, come.
Enter FORD, PAGE, Caius, and Sir Hugh 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 you this?
Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle with buck-washing.
Ford. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the 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 dreamed to-night; I'll tell you my dream. Here, here be my keys: ascend my chambers, search, seek, find out: I'll warrant we'll unkennel the - Let me stop
first: So, now uncape. Page. Good master Ford, be contented; you wrong yourself too much.
Ford. True, master Page. — Up, gentlemen; you shall see sport anon: follow me, gentlemen.
[Exit. Eva. This is fery fantastical humors, and jealousies.
Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France: it is not jealous in France.
Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen ; see the issue of his search.
[Exeunt Evans, Page, and Caius. Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this?
Mrs. Ford. I know not what pleases me better, that my husband is deceived, or Sir John.
Mrs. Page. What a taking was he in, when your husband asked 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 Falstaff's being here ; for 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 Falstaff: his dissolute disease will scarce obey this medicine.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we send that foolish carrion, mistress 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-morrow eight o'clock to have amends.
Re-enter FORD, PAGE, Caius, and SIR HUGH EVANS.
Ford. I cannot find him: may be the knave bragged of that he could not compass.
Mrs. Page. Heard you that?
You use me well, master Ford, do you?
Ford. Ay, I do so.
Eva. If there be any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses, heaven forgive my sins at the day of judgment.
Caius. By gar, nor I too; dere is no bodies.
Page. Fie, fie, master Ford! are you not ashamed ? What spirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I would not have your distemper in this kind for the wealth of Windsor Castle.
Ford. 'Tis my fault, master Page: I suffer for it.
Eva. You suffer for a pad conscience: your wife is as honest a 'omans as I will desires among five thousand, and five hundred too.
Caius. By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman.
Ford. Well; I promised 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 do 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. I pray you now remembrance to-morrow, on the lousy knave, mine host.
Caius. Dat is good; by gar, vit all my heart.
[Exeunt. SCENE IV. A Room in Page's House.
Enter FENTON and MISTRESS ANNE PAGE.
Anne. Alas! how then ?
Why, thou must be thyself.
Anne. May be, he tells you true.
Fent. No, heaven so speed me in my time to come!
Gentle master Fenton,
[They converse apart. Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and MRS. QUICKLY. Shal. Break their talk, mistress Quickly; my kinsman shall speak for himself.
Slen. I'll make a shaft or a bolt on't ; slid, 'tis but venturing
Shal. Be not dismayed.
Slen. No, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that, - but that I am afeard.
Quick. Hark ye; master Slender would speak a word
Anne. I come to him. - This is my father's choice. 0, what a world of vile ill-favored faults Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a year!
[Aside. Quick. And how does good master Fenton? Pray you, a word with you.
Shal. She's coming; to her, coz. O boy, thou hadst a father!
Slen. I had a father, mistress Anne; - my uncle can tell you good jests of him :- Pray you, uncle, tell mistress Anne the jest, how my father stole two geese out of a pen, good uncle.
Shal. Mistress Anne, 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.
Anne. Good master Shallow, let him woo for himself.
Shal. Marry, I thank you for it; I thank you for that good comfort. She calls you, coz: I'll leave you.
Anne. Now, master Slender.
Slen. My will ? od's heartlings, that's a pretty jest, indeed! I ne'er made my will yet, I thank heaven; I am not such a sickly creature, I give heaven praise.
Anne. I mean, master Slender, what would you with me? Slen. Truly, for mine own part, I would little or nothing with you: Your father and my uncle have made motions ; if it be my luck, so: if not, happy man be his dole! They can tell you how things go, better than I can : You may
ask your father; here he comes.
Enter Page and MISTRESS PAGE.
Page. Now, master Slender: - Love him, daughter
You wrong me, sir, thus still to haunt my house :
Fent. Nay, master Page, be not impatient.
No, good master Fenton. Come, master Shallow; come, son Slender; in:Knowing my mind, you wrong me, master Fenton.
[Exeunt PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER. Quick. Speak to mistress Page.
Fent. Good mistress Page, for that I love your daughter In such a righteous fashion as I do, Perforce, against all checks, rebukes, and manners, I must advance the colors of my love, And not retire: Let me have your good will.
Anne. Good mother, do not marry me to yond’ fool. Mrs. Page. I mean it not; I seek you a better husband. Quick. That's my master, master doctor.
Anne. Alas, I had rather be set quick i the earth,
[Exeunt MRS. Page and ANNE. Fent. Farewell, gentle mistress; farewell, Nan.
Quick. This is my doing, now:- Nay, said I, will you cast away your child on a fool, and a physician? Look on master Fenton :- this is my doing.
Fent. I thank thee; and I pray thee once to-night give my sweet Nan this ring: There's for thy pains. [Exit.
Quick. Now heaven send thee good fortune! A kind heart he hath: a woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart. But yet, I would my master had mistress Anne; or I would master Slender had her; or, in sooth, I would master Fenton had her: I will do what I can for them all three ; for so I have promised, and I'll be as good as my word; but speciously for master Fenton. Well, I must of another errand to Sir John Falstaff from my two mistresses : What a beast am I to slack it?