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Page. Why, this passes!* Master Ford, you are not to go loose any longer; you must be pinioned.

Eva. Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as a mad dog!
Shal. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well; indeed.

Enter MRS. FORD.

Ford. So say I too, Sir.-Come hither, mistress Ford; mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband!-I suspect without cause, mistress, do I?

Mrs. Ford. Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty.

Ford. Well said, brazen-face; hold it out.- -Come forth, [Pulls the clothes out of the basket.


Page. This passes.

Mrs. Ford. Are you not ashamed? let the clothes alone.

Ford. I shall find you anon.

Eva. 'Tis unreasonable! will you take up your wife's clothes? Come away.

Ford. Empty the basket, I say.

Mrs. Ford. Why, man, why ?

Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed out of my house yesterday in this basket: Why may not he be there again? In my house I am sure he is my intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable: Pluck me out all the linen. Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death. Page. Here's no man.

Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford; this wrongs you.

Eva. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart;-this is jealousies.

Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.

Page. No, nor nowhere else, but in your brain.

Ford. Help to search my house this one time: if I find not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity, let me for ever be your table sport; let them say of me, As jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow walnut for his wife's leman.t 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! What old woman's that?

Mrs. Ford. Why, it is my maid's aunt, of Brentford. Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have I not forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does she? We are simple men; we do not know what's brought to pass under the profession of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by the figure, and such daubery as this is: beyond our element: we know nothing.- -Come down, you witch, you hag,

you: come down, I say.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, good, sweet husband;-good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman.

*Surpasses, to go beyond bounds.

† Lover.

Enter FALSTAFF, in women's clothes, led by MRS. PAGE. Mrs. Page. Come, mother Pratt, come, give me your hand. Ford. I'll prat her:-Out of my door, you witch! [Beats him.] You rag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon!* out! out; I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you. [Exit FALSTAFF. Mrs. Page. Are you not ashamed? I think you have killed the poor woman.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it:-'Tis a goodly credit 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 spy a great peard under her muffler.

Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you follow; see but the issue of my jealousy: if I cry out thus, upon no trail,t never trust me when I opent again.

Page. Let's obey his humour a little further: Come, gentle[Exeunt PAGE, FORD, SHALLOW, and EVANS. Mrs. Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.


Mrs. Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought.

Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallowed, and hang 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, scared out of him; if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.

Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him?

Mrs. Page. Yes, by all means if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband's brains. 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 shamed: and, methinks, there would be no period to the jest, should he not be publicly shamed.

Mrs. Page. Come, to the forge with it then, shape it: I would not have things cool.

SCENE III-A Room in the Garter Inn.



Bard. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your horses: the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him.

Host. 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. Ay, Sir, I'll call them to you.

Host. They shall have my horses; but I'll make them pay,

* Scab.

+ Scent.

+ Cry out.

I'll sauce them: they have had my houses a week at command; I have turned away my other guests: they must come off; I'll sauce them: Come.

SCENE IV-A Room in Ford's House.




Eva. 'Tis one of the pest discretions of a '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 wilt;

I rather will suspect the sun with cold,

Than thee with wantonness: now doth thy honour stand,
In him that was of late an heretic,

As firm as faith.

Page. "Tis well, 'tis well; no more.

Be not as extreme 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 him in the park at midnight! fie, fie; he'll never come.

Eva. You say, he has been thrown in the rivers; and has beer. grievously peaten, as an old 'oman: methinks, there should be terrors in him, that he should not come: methinks, his flesh is punished, he shall have no desires.

Page. So think I too.

Mrs. Ford. Devise but how you'll use him when 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 midnight,

Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle;

And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner :

You have heard of such a spirit; and well you know,
The superstitious, idle-headed eld†

Received, 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,
Disguised like Herne, with huge horns on his head.

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Page. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come,

And in this shape: When you have brought him thither,
What shall be done with him? what is your plot?

Mrs. Page. That likewise have we 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† song; upon their sight,
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,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound,‡
And burn him with their tapers.

Mrs. Page. The truth being known,

We'll all present ourselves; dis-horn the spirit,
And mock him home to Windsor.

Ford. The children must

Be practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.

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. That 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 master Slender steal
Nan away.

And marry her at Eton.- Go, send to Falstaff straight.
Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in name of Brook:
He'll tell me all his purpose: Sure, he'll come.

Mrs. Page. Fear not you that: Go, get us properties,§
And tricking for our fairies.


Eva. Let us about it: It is admirable pleasures, and fery honest knaveries. [Exeunt PAGE, FORD, and EVANS.

Mrs. Page. Go, mistress 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, though well landed, is an idiot;

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,

Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.

* Elf, hobgoblin.

+ Wild, discordant.


* Soundly.

SCENE V-A Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter HOST and SIMPLE.

Host. What wouldst thou have, boor? what, thick-skin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.

Sim. Marry, Sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff from master Slender.

Host. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standingbed, and truckle-bed; 'tis painted about with the story of the prodigal, fresh and new: Go, knock and call; he'll speak like an Anthropophaginian* unto thee: Knock, I say.

Sim. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber; I'll be so bold as stay, Sir, till she come down: I come to speak with her, indeed.

Host. Ha! a fat woman! the knight may be robbed: I'll call. -Bully knight! Bully Sir John! speak from thy lungs military: Art thou there? it is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls. Fal. [above]. How now, mine host?

Host. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman: let her descend, bully, let her descend; my chambers are honourable: Fye! privacy? fye!


Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with me; but she's gone.

Sim. Pray you, Sir, was't not the wiset woman of Brentford? Fal. Ay, marry, was it, muscle-shell; What would you with her?

Sim. My master, Sir, master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go through the streets, to know, Sir, whether one Nym, Sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain, or no.

Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.

Sim. And what says she, I pray, Sir?

Fal. Marry, she says, that the very same man, that beguiled master Slender of his chain, cozened him of it.

Sim. I would I could have spoken with the woman herself; I

had other things to have spoken with her, too, from him. Fal. What are they? let us know.

Host. Ay, come; quick.

Sim. I may not conceal them, Sir.

Fal. Conceal them, or thou diest.

Sim. Why, Sir, they were nothing but about mistress Anne

Page; to know, if it were my master's fortune to have her, or no. Fal. "Tis, 'tis his fortune.

Sim. What, Sir?

Fal. To have her,- or no: Go; say, the woman told me so. Sim. May I be so bold to say so, Sir?

Fal. Ay, Sir Tike; who more bold?

Sim. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings.

A cannibal.


† A cunning woman, a fortune teller.

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