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are call'd.

house, and when I suddenly call on 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 direction. Be gone, and come when you

[Exeunt Servants. Mrs Page. Here comes little Robin.

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

Rob. My master, Sir John, is come in at your back-door, Mrs Ford, and requests your company.

Mrs Page. You little Jack-a-lent, have you been true to us?

Rob. Ay, I'll be sworn; my master knows not of your being here, and hath threatened to put me into everlafting liberty if I tell you of it; for he fwears 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 Rob. Mrs Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss

[Exit Mrs Page. Mrs Ford. Go to then; we'll use this unwholsome humidity, this grofs watery pompion-we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.

me.

S CE N E VIII.

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:Q this blesled hour!

A young sparrow-hawk. Warburtor.

Mrs Ford. O sweet Sir 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 New me such another. I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond : thou hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire, the tire valiant, or any Venetian attire.

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

Fal. Thou art a tyrant to say so; thou would'n make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixure of thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gate 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 pera suade thee there's something extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog, and lay thou art this and that, like a-many of these lisping hawthorn-buds, that come like women in men's apparel, and imell like Bucklers-Bury in simpling time; I cannot : but I love thee, none but thee; and thou deservest it.

Mrs Fórd. Do not betray me, Sir ; I fear you love Mrs Page.

Fal. Thou might'st as well say I love to walk by the Counter-gate, 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 inind ; I'll deserve it. Mrs Ford. Nay, I must tell you so you do, or elle 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 prefently.

Fal. She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras.

Mrs Ford. Pray you do fo; she's a very tattling voman.

(Falstaff hides himself.

ever.

SC E N E

IX. Enter Mistress Page. What's the matter? how now?

Mr: Page. O Mistress Ford, what have you done? you're sham’d, y'are overthrown, you are undone for

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 fufpicion?

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

Mrs Ford. Why, alas! what's the matter?

Mirs Page. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman that, he says, is here now in the house by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence. You are undone.

Mrs Ford. Speak louder [Aside. ]—Tis not fo, I hope. Mrs Page. Pray heav'n it be not so, that

you

have such a man here; but 'tis most certain your hus. band's coming with half Windsor at his heels, to search for such a one. I come before to tell you: if you know yourself clear, why, I am glad of it; but if you have a friend here, convey, convey him out. Be not amaz’d, call all your senses to you, der fend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.

Mrs Ford. What shall I do? there is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear' not mine own shame, so much as his peril. I had rather than a thousand pound he were out of the house.

Mrs Page. For shame, never stand you had rather, and you had rather; your husband's here at hand; bethink

you

of some conveyance, in the house you cannot hide him. Oh, how have you deceiv'd me? look, here is a basket ; if he be of any reasonable stature, he may creep in here, and throw foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking: or, it is whiting time, send him by your two men to Datchet-mead.

Mrs Ford. He's too big to go in there: what Mall I do?

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-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, Mistrels Ford.—You dissembling knight!

Mrs Ford. What, John, Robert, Jolin, go take up these cloaths here, quickly, Where's the cowlstaff? Look, how you drumble: carry them to the .landress in Datched-mead; quickly, come.

S CE N E X. Enter Ford, Page, Caius, an:l Evans. Ford. Pray you, come near: if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jelt, I deserve it. How now? whither bear

Serv. To the landress, forsooth.

Mrs Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle with buckwashing.

Ford. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the buck. Buck, buck, buck? ay buck: I warrant you, buck, and of the seaton too, it shall appear. [Exeunt Servants with the basket.] Gentlemen, I have

you this?

dream'd to night, I'll tell you my dream. Here here, here be my keys; afcend my chambers, search, seek, find out ; I'll warrant we'll unkennel the fox. Let me stop this way first. So now uncape.

Pige. Good master Ford, be contented; you wrong yourself too much.

Ford. True, Mafter Page. Up, gentlemen, you fhall see sport anon; follow me, gentlemen.

Eva. This is ferry fantastical humours and jea. lousies.

Caius By gar 'uis no the fashion of France; it is not jealous in France

Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen, see the issue of his search.

[Exeunt.

XI.

S CE N E
Manent Mistress Page and Mistress Ford.
Mrs Page. Is there not a double excellency in
this?

Mrs Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceivd, or Sir John.

'Mrs Page. What a taking was he in, when your husband ask'd 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 fpecial suspicion of Falstaff's being here. 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 tomorrow by eight o'clock, to have'amends.

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