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Rob. Ay, I'll be fworn; 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 fecrecy of thine shall be a tailor to thee, and fhall make thee a new doublet and hofe. I'll go hide me.

Mrs. Ford. Do fo; 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, hifs me. [Exit miftrefs Page.

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


Enter Falftaff.

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: o this bleffed hour!

Mrs. Ford. O fweet fir John!

Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford: now fhall I fin in my wifh. I would, thy hufband were dead, I'll speak it before the beft lord, I would make thee my lady. Mrs. Ford. I your lady, fir John? alas, I fhould be a pitiful lady.

Fal. Let the court of France fhow me fuch another; I fee how thine eye would emulate the diamond: thou haft the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the fhip-tire, the tire-valiant*, or any tire of Venetian addition.

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

Fal. Thou art a tyrant to say fo; thou would'st make an absolute courtier, and the firm fixure of thy foot would give an

a 'Tis probable this fhould be tire-volant or voilant, and that both this and the hip-tire were names given to women's head-dreffes by the Venetians from whom the fine ladies heretofore took their fashions, as the lace then moft in efteem was the Point de Venise.


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excellent motion to thy gait in a semi-circled farthingale. I fee what thou wert; if fortune thy foe were not, nature is thy friend: come, thou canft not hide it.

Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no fuch thing in me.

Fal. What made me love thee? let that perfuade thee there's fomething extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel, and smell like BucklersBury in fimpling-time; I cannot: but I love thee, none but thee; and thou deferveft it.

Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, fir; I fear, you love miftrefs Page. Fal. Thou might'ft as well fay, I love to walk by the countergate, 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.

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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, fweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs fpeak with you presently.

Fal. She fhall not fee me; I will enfconce me behind the arras.
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do fo; she's a very tattling woman.



Enter miftrefs Page.

What's the matter? how now?

done? you're

Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you fam'd, y'are overthrown, you are undone for ever. Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page? Mrs. Page. O well-a-day, mistress Ford! having an honeft man to your husband, to give him fuch cause of suspicion!

Mrs. Ford. What cause of fufpicion ?

Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion? out upon you; how am Iniftook in you!


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

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

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Mrs. Ford. 'Tis not fo, I hope.

Mrs. Page. Pray heav'n it be not so that you have such a man here; but 'tis moft certain, your husband'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 fenfes to you, defend your reputation, or bid farewel to your good life for ever.

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

Mrs. Page. For fhame! never stand you had rather, and you had rather; your husband's here at hand, bethink you of fome conveyance: in the house you cannot hide him. O, 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 shall I do?

Re-enter Falstaff.

Fal. Let me fee't, let me fee't, o let me fee't! I'll in, I'll in; follow your friend's counfel; I'll in.


Mrs. Page. What, fir John Falstaff? are these your letters,knight? Fal. I love thee; help me away; let me creep in here: I'll [He goes into the basket, they cover him with foul linen. Mrs. Page. Help to cover your mafter, boy: call your men, mistress Ford. You diffembling knight!

Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John! go, take up these cloths here, quickly. Where's the cowl-staff? look how you drumble: carry them to the laundress in Datchet-mead;

quickly, come.


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Enter Ford, Page, Caius, and Evans.

Ford. Pray you, come near; if I fufpect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jeft, I deserve it. How now? whither bear you this?

Serv. To the laundress, forfooth.

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

Ford. Buck? I would, I could wash myself of the buck! buck, buck, buck? ay, buck; I warrant you, buck: and of the season too, it shall appear. [Exeunt fervants with the basket.] Gentlemen, I have dream'd to-night; I'll tell you my dream: here, here, here be my keys; afcend my chambers, fearch, seek, find out. I'll warrant, we'll unkennel the fox. Let me ftop this way firft; fo, now uncouple.

Page. Good mafter Ford, be contented: you wrong yourself too much.

Ford. True, mafter Page. Up, gentlemen, you shall see sport anon; follow me, gentlemen.

Eva. This is ferry fantastical humours, and jealoufies.

Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France; it is not jealous in France.

Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen, see the iffue of his search. [Exeunt.



Manent miftrefs 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
ufband is deceiv'd, or fir 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.


K k


Biblioth. du Palais des Arts

Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest rafcal! I would, all of the fame ftrain were in the fame diftrefs.

Mrs. Ford. Shall we fend 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 fent for to-morrow by eight o'clock, to have amends.

to y

Mrs. Ford. I think, my husband hath some special suspicion of [pr Falstaff's being here: I never saw him so gross in his jealousy 'till


Mrs. Page. I will lay a plot to try that; and we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff: his diffolute difeafe will scarce obey this medicine.

Re-enter Ford, Page, &c.

Ford. I cannot find him; may be, the knave bragg'd of that he could not compass.

Mrs. Page. Heard you that?

Mrs. Ford. You ufe me well, mafter Ford, do you?

Ford. Ay, ay, I do so.

Mrs. Page. Heav'n make you better than your thoughts!
Ford. Amen.

Mrs. Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, master Ford.
Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.

Eva. If there be any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the preffses, heav'n forgive my fins!

Caius. By gar, nor I too; dere is no bodies.

Page. Fie, fie, mafter Ford! are you not afham'd? what fpirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I would not ha’your diftemper in this kind for the wealth of Windfor caftle.

Ford. 'Tis my fault, mafter Page: I fuffer for it.

Eva. You suffer for a pad confcience; your wife is as honest a'omans as I will defires among five thoufand, and five hundred



Caius. By gar, I fee 'tis an honeft woman.

Ford. Well, I promis'd you a dinner; come, come, walk in


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