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Ford. What, while you were there? Fal. While I was there. Ford. And did he search for you, and could not find you ? Fal. You shall hear. As good luck would have it, comes in one mistress Page; gives intelligence of Ford's approach; and, by her invention, and Ford's wife's distraction, they conveyed me into a buck-basket.

Ford. A buck-basket!

Fal. By the Lord, a buck-basket: rammed me in with foui shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings, and greasy napkins; that, master Brook, there was the rankest compound of villanous smell that ever offended nostril.

Ford. And how long lay you there?

Fal. Nay, you shall hear, master Brook, what I have suffered to bring this woman to evil for your good. Being thus crammed in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds, were called forth by their mistress, to carry me in the name of foul clothes to Datchet-lane: they took me on tlieir shoulders; met the jealous knave their master in the door; who asked them once or twice what they had in their basket: I quaked for fear, lest the lunatic knave would have searched it;

but Fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold, held his hand. Well; on went he for a search, and away went I for foul clothes. But mark the sequel, master Brook: I suffered the pangs of three several deaths: first, an intolerable fright, to be detected with a jealous rotten bellwether: next to be compassed like a good bilbo,* in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head : and then, to be stopped in, like a strong dístillation, with stinking clothes that fretted in their own grease: think of that,--a man of my kidney, -think of that; that am as subject to heat as butter; å man of continual dissolution and thaw; it was a miracle to 'scape suffocation. And in the height of this bath, when I was more than half stewed in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown into the Thames, and cooled, glowing hot, in that surge, like a horse-shoe; think of that;-hissing hot, ---think of that, master Brook.

Ford. In good sadness, + Sir, I am sorry that for my sake you have suffered all this. My suit then is desperate; you'll undertake her no more?

Fal. Master Brook, I will be thrown into Ætna, as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her thus. Her husband is this morning gone a birding: I have received from her another embassy of meeting ; 'twixt eight and nine is the hour, master Brook. Ford. 'Tis past eight already, Sir.

Fal. Is it? I will then address I me to my appointment. Come to me at your convenient leisure, and you shall know how I speed; and the conclusion shall be crowned with your enjoying her : Adieu. You shall have her, master Brook; master Brook, you shall cuckold Ford.

(Exit. Ford. Hum! ha! is this a vision ? is this a dream ? do I sleep?



* Bilboa, where the best blades are made.

# Make myself ready.

+ Seriousness.

Master Ford, awake; awake, master Ford; there's a hole made in your best coat, master Ford. This 'tis to be married! this 'tis to have linen, and buck-baskets ! Well, I will proclaim myself what I am: I will now take the lecher; he is at my house: he cannot 'scape me; 'tis impossible he should; he cannot creep into a halfpenny purse, nor into a pepper-box: but, lest the devil that guides him should aid him, I will search impossible places. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not shall not make me tame : if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go with me, I'll be horn mad.

| Erit. !



SCENE 1.-The Street.
Mrs. Page. Is he at master Ford's already, think’st thou ?

Quick. Sure he is by this; or will be presently: but truly, he is very courageous* mad, about his throwing into the water. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly.

Mrs. Page. I'll be with her by-and-by; I'll but bring my young man bere to school: Look, where his master comes; 'tis a playing-day, I see.

How, now, Sir Hugh ? no school to-day ?

Eva. No; master Slender is let the boys leave to play.
Quick. Blessing of his heart.

Mrs. Page. Sir Hugh, my husband says, my son profits nothing in the world at his book; I pray you, ask him some questions in his accidence. Eva. Come hither, William ; hold up your head; come.

Mrs. Page. Come on, sirrah; hold up your head; answer your master, be not afraid.

Era. William, how many numbers is in nouns?
Will. Two.

Quick. Truly, I thought there had been one number more; because they say, od's nouns.

Eva. Peace your tattlings. What is fair, William ?
Will. Pulcher.
Quick. Poulcats ! there are fairer things than poulcats, sure.
Éva. You are a very simplicity 'oman; I pray you, peace.
What is lapis, William ?

Will. A stone.
Eva. And what is a stone, William ?
Will. A pebble.
Eva. No, it is lapis: I pray you remember in your prain.
Will. Lapis.

Eva. That is a good William. What is he, William, that does lend articles ?

* Outrageous.

Will. Articles are borrowed of the pronoun; and be thus declined, Singulariter, nominativo, hic, hæc, hoc.

Eva. Nominativo, hig, hag, hog; pray you, mark: genitivo, hujus : Well, what is your accusative case ?

Will. Accusativo, hinc.

Eva. I pray you, have your remembrance, child; Accusativo, hung, hang, hog.

Quick. Hang hog is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.
Éva. Leave your prabbles, 'oman. What is the focative case,
William ?

Will. 0–Vocativo, ().
Eva. Remember, William ; focative is, caret.
Quick. And that's a good root.
Éva. 'Oman, forbear.
Mrs. Page. Peace.
Eva. What is your genitive case plural, William ?
Will. Genitive case ?
Eva. Ay.
Will. Genitive,--horum, harum, horum.

Quick. 'Vengeance of Jenny's case! fie on her!-never name her, child, if she be a whore.

Eva. For shame, 'oman.

Quick. You do ill to teach the child such words: he teaches him to hick and to hack, which they'll do fast enough of them. selves; and to call horum:-fie upon you !

Eva. 'Oman, art thou lunatics ? hast thou no understandings for thy cases, and the numbers of the genders ? Thou art as foolish Christian creatures as I would desires.

Mrs. Page. Prythee hold thy peace. Eva. Show me now, William, some declensions of your proWill. Forsooth, I have forgot. Eva. It is ki, , cod; if you forget your kies, your kæes and your cods, you

must be preeches. * Go your ways, and play, go. Mrs. Page. He is a better scholar than I thought he was. Eva. He is a good spragt memory. Farewell, mistress Page.

Mrs. Page. Adieu, good Sir Hugh. [Exit Sír HUGH.] Get you home, boy.—Come, we stay too long.

[Exeunt. SCENE II.-A Room in Ford's House.

Enter FALSTAFF and MRS. FORD. Fal. Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my sufferance: I see, you are obsequioust in your love, and I profess requital to a hair's breadth; not only, mistress Ford, in the simple office of love, but in all the acoutrement, 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, gossip Ford! what hoa!
Mrs. Ford. Step into the chamber Sir John. [Exit FALSTAFF.


* Breeched, i. e. flogged.

4 Apt to learn.

# Sorrowful.

Enter MRS. PAGE. Mrs. Page. How now, sweetheart ? who's at home beside yourself?

Mrs. Ford. Why, none but mine own people.
Mrs. Page. Indeed ?
Mrs. Ford. No, certainly;-speak louder.

[Aside. Mrs. Page. Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here. Mrs. Ford. Why?

Mrs. Page. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes* again: he so takes on yonder with my husband ! so rails against all married mankind; so curses all Eve's daughters, of what complexion soever; and so buffets himself on the forehead, crying, Peer out, peer out !t that any madness, I ever yet beheld, seemed but tameness, civility, and patience, to this distemper 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 carried out, the last time he searched 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 shall see his own foolery.

Mrs. Ford. How near is he, mistress Page ?
Mrs. Page. Hard by; at street end; he will be here anon.
Mrs. Ford. I am undone !-the knight is here.

Mrs. Page. Why, then you are utterly shamed, 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 basket again?

Re-enter FALSTAFF. Fal. No, I'll come no more i' the basket: May I not go out ere he come?

Mrs. Page. Alas, three of master Ford's brothers watch the door with pistols, that none should issue 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 birdingpieces : Creep into the kiln-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 abstractI 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. Page. If you go out in your own semblance, you die, Sir John. Unless you go out disguised, —,

Mrs. Ford. How might we disguise him ? Mrs. Page. Alas the day, I know not. There is no woman's * Mad fits.

† As children call on a snail to push forth his horns.

# Short note of.

gown big enough for him; otherwise, he might put on a hat, a inuffler, and a kerchief, and so escape.

Fal. Good hearts, devise something: any extremity, rather than mischief.

Mrs. Ford. My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brentford, has å gown above.

Mrs. Page. On my word, it will serve him; she's as big as he is: and there's her thrumm'd hat, and her muffler too : Run up, Sir John.

Mrs. Ford. Go, go, sweet Sir John: mistress Page and I will look some linen for your head.

Mrs. Page. Quick, quick; we'll come dress you straight: put on the gown the whíle.

[Exit FALSTAFF. Mrs. Ford. I would my husband would meet him in this shape: he cannot abide the old woman of Brentford; he swears, she's a witch; forbade her my house, and hath threatened to beat her.

Mrs. Page. Heaven 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 sadness,* is be; and talks of the basket too; howsoever, 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 Brentford.

Mrs. Ford. I'll first direct my men, what they shall do with the basket. Go up, I'll bring linen for him straight. [Exit.

Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet ! we cannot misuse him enough.

We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
Wives may be merry, and yet honest too:
We do not act, that often jest and laugh;
'Tis old but true, Still swine eat all the draff. [Exit.

Re-enter Mrs. FORD, with two servants. Mrs. Ford. Go, Sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders; your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him: quickly, despatch.

[Exit. 1. Serv. Come, come, take it up. 2. Serv. Pray heaven, it be not full of the knight again.

1. Serv. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead. Enter FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS.

Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again ?-Set down the basket, villain :-Šomebody call my wife: You, youth in a basket, come out here!O, you panderly rascals ! there's a knot, a ging,ť a pack, a conspiracy against me:-Now shall the devil be shamed. What! wife, I say! come, come forth; behold what honest clothes you send forth to bleaching. * Seriousness.

| Gang


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