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Shal. I must excuse myself, master Ford.

Slen. And so must I, sir ; 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 cousin 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.

Host. What say you to young master. Fenton ? he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holiday 63, he smells April and May: he will carry't, he will carry't ; 'tis in his buttons 64 ; he will carry't.

Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman is of no having 65: he kept company with the wild prince and Poins; 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 simply; 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 your cheer, you shall have sport; I will show you a monster.-Master doctor, you shall go ;-so shall you, master Page ;-and you, Sir Hugh.

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

[Exeunt Shallow and Slender. Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.

[Exit Rugby. Host. Farewell, my hearts : I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.

[Exit Host. Ford. [Aside.] 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.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.

A Room in Ford's House.

Enter Mrs. FORD and Mrs. PAGE. Mrs. Ford. What, John! what, Robert ! Mrs. Page. Quickly, quickly: Is the buck-basketMrs. Ford. I warrant :- What, Robin, I say.

Enter Scrvants with a Basket,

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;

66

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 have told them over and over ; they lack no direction : Be gone, and come when you are called.

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

Enter ROBIN.

Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket 87 ? what news with you?

Robin. My master sir John is come in at your backdoor, mistress Ford ; and requests your company.

Mrs. Page. You little Jack-a-lent 68, have you been true to us?

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 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 Mrs. Page.

hide me.

Mrs. Ford. Go to then ; we'll use this unwholsome humidity, this gross watry pumpion ;-we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.

Enter FALSTAFF. Fal. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel 69? Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough; this is the period of my ambition : O this blessed hour !

Mrs. Ford. O sweet sir John !

Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford. Now shall I sin 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 eye would emulate the diamond: Thou hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire?0, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.

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

Fal. Thou art a traitor 71 to say so: thou would'st make an absolute courtier ; and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an 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 a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklersbury in simple-time; I cannot : but I love thee; none but thee; and thou deservest it.

Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, sir; I fear, you love mistress 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, heaven 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 see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras. Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling

[Falstaff hides himself.

woman.

Enter Mistress Page and Robin.

What's the matter ? how now?

Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have You're shamed, you are overthrown, you are undone for ever.

you done?

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