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I find not what I seek, shew no colour for my extremity; let me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of me, as jealous as Ford, that search'd a hollow wall-nut 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; wha: vid woman's that?
Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean; have I not forbid her my house? she comes of errands, does fhe? We are simple men, we do not know what's brought to pass under the profeflion of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by th' figure; and fuch dawbry as this is beyond our element; we know nothing. Come down, you witch; you hag you, come down, I say.
Mrs Ford. Nav, good sweet husband; good gentlemen, let him not itrike the old woman.
S CE N E V. Enter Falstaff in wonien's cloaths, and Mrs Page. Mrs Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me
Ford. I'll Prat her. Out of my door, you witch! [Beats him,] you hag, you baggage, you poulcat, you runnion ! out, out, out. I'll conjure you, I'll 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
crecit 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 lpy a great peard under her muffler.
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen ? I beseech you, follow ; fee but the issue 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, gentlemen.
[Exeunt. 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.
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 woman-hood, 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 feefimple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.
Mr's Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have ferv'd him?
Mrs Page. Yea, by all means; if it be but to fcrape 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 the ministers.
Mrs Ford. I'll warrant they'll have him publicly Main'd; and, methinks, there would be no period to the jest, should he not be publicly siam'd.
Mrs Page. Come to the forge with it, then shape it: I would not have things cool. [Exeunt.
S CE N E VI.
Enter Host and Bardolph. Bard. Sir, 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 so secretly? I hear not of him in the court : let me speak with the gentlemen; they speak English?
Bard. Sir, I'll call them to you.
Hojt. They shall have my horses, but I'll make them pay I'll swace them. They have had my house a week at command; I have turn’d away my
other guests; they must come off; I'll fawce them;
[Exeunt. Ś C E N E VII.
Changes to Ford's House. Enter Page, Ford, Mrs Page, Mrs Ford, and Evans.
Eva. 'Tis one of the best discretions of 'oman, as ever I 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 I rather will suspect the fun with cold, [wilt; Than thee with wantonness; thy honour stands, In him that was of late an heretic, As firın as faith.
Page. 'Tis well; 'tis well; no more. Be not as extream in submission, as in offence, But let our plot go forward; let our wives Yet once again, to make us public 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 hiin in the park at midnight? fy, fy, 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 fielh is punish'd, he shall have no desires.
Page. So think I too.
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 here in Windsor forest, Doth all the winter-time, at still of midnight, Walk round about an oak, with ragged horns ; And there lie blasts the tree, and takes the cattle;
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and makes a
chain In a most hideous and dreadful manner. You've heard of such a spirit; and well you
know The fuperftitious idle-headed Eld Receiv'd, and did deliver to our age, This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth.
Page. Why, yet there want not many that do fear, In deep of night, to walk by this Herne's oak; But what of this?
Mrs Ford. Marry this is our device, That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us. We'll send him word to meet us in the field, Disguis'd like Herne, with huge horns on his head.
Page. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come. And in this shape when you have brought him thi
ther, What shall be done with him? what is your plot ? Mrs Page. That likewise we have thought upon,
and thus : Nan Page my daughter, and my little son, And three or four more of their growth, we'll dress Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies, green and white, With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads, And rattles in their hands : upon a sudden, As Falstaff, she, and I, are newly met, Let them from forth a saw-pit rush at once With some diffused fung: upon their fight, We two, in great amazedness, will fly; Then let them all encircle him about, And fairy-like to pinch the unclean knight; And ask him why, that hour of fairy-revel, In their so sacred paths he dares to tread In shape profane?
Mrs Ford. And 'till he tell the truth,
Mrs Page. The truth being known,
Ford. The children must
Eva. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my taber.
Ford. This will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards. Mrs Page. My Nan shall be the queen of all the
fairies; Finely attired in a robe of white.
Page. That silk will I go buy. And in that time Shall Mr Slender steal my Nan away, [241dr. And marry her at Eaton. Go, fend to Falstaff
straight. Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in the name of Brook; he'll tell me all his purpose. Sure he'll come.
Mrs Page. Fear not you that; go, get us pro, perties and tricking for our fairies.
Eva. Let us about it; it is admirable pleasures, and ferry honest knaveries.
[Exeunt Page, Ford and Evans. Mrs Page. Go, Mrs Ford, Send Quickly to Sir John to know his mind.
[Exit Mrs Ford. I'll to the Doctor; he hath my good will, And none but he, to marry with Nan Page. That Slender, tho' well landed, is an ideot; And he my husband best of all affects: The doctor is well money'd, and his friends Potent at court; he, none but he shall have her ; Tho' twenty thousand worthier came to crave her.
SC EN E VIII.
Enter Hoft and simple. Hoft. What wouldst thou have, boor? what, thick-skin ? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
Simp. Marry, Sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff, from Mr Slender.
Hoft. There's his chamber, his house, his castleg