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Mrs. Page. Heav'n guide him to thy husband's cudgel, and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards!
Mrs. Ford. But is my husband coming?
Mrs. Page. Ay, in good fadness, is he, and talks of the basket too, however he hath had intelligence.
Mrs. Ford. We'll try that; for I'll appoint my men to carry the basket again, to meet him at the door with it, as they did laft time.
Mrs. Page. Nay, but he'll be here presently; let's go drefs him like the witch of Brainford.
Mrs. Ford. I'll firft direct my men what they fhall do with the basket; go up, I'll bring linen for him ftraight.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot mifufe him enough.
We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
"Tis old but true, ftill fwine eat all the draff.
Mrs. Ford. Go, firs, take the basket again on your fhoulders; your master is hard at door; if he bid you fet it down, obey him: quickly, difpatch. [Ex. Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford.
Enter fervants with the basket.
I Serv. Come, come, take up.
2 Serv. Pray heav'n, it be not full of the knight again.
Enter Ford, Shallow, Page, Caius, and Evans.
Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, mafter Page, have you any way then to unfool me again? Set down the basket, villain; fomebody call my wife: youth in a bafket! o, you panderly rafscals! there's a knot, a gang, a pack, a confpiracy against me; now shall the devil be fham'd. What, wife, I fay! come, come forth; behold what honeft cloths you fend forth to bleaching.
Page. Why, this paffes, mafter Ford; you are not to go loofe any longer, you must be pinion'd.
Eva. Why, this is lunaticks; this is mad as a mad dog.
Enter mistress Ford.
Come hither, mistress Ford, mistress Ford, the honeft woman, the modeft wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband: I fufpect without cause, mistress, do I?
Mrs. Ford. Heav'n be my witness you do, if you fufpect me in any dishonesty.
Ford. Well faid, brazen-face, hold it out: come forth, firrah. [Pulls the cloths out of the basket.
Page. This paffes. *
Mrs. Ford. Are you not asham'd? let the cloths alone.
Eva. 'Tis unreasonable; will you take up your wife's cloths?
Ford. Empty the basket, I fay.
Mrs. Ford. Why, man, why
Ford. Mafter Page, as I am a man, there was one convey'd out my house yesterday in this basket; why may not he be there again? in my house, I am fure, 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
Eva. Mafter Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart; this is jealoufies.
Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.
Page. No, nor no where else but in your brain.
Ford. Help to fearch my house this one time; if I find not what I feek, fhow no colour for my extremity; let me for ever be your table-sport; let them fay of me, as jealous as Ford, that fearched
a hollow walnut for his wife's leman. Satisfy me once more; once more fearch 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 Brainford.
Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! have I not forbid her my house? the comes of errands, does the? we are fimple men, we do not know what's brought to pass under the profession of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by fpells, 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. Nay, good fweet husband; good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman.
Enter Falstaff in womens cloths, and mistress Page.
Mrs. Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me your hand.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it; 'tis a goodly credit for you.
Eva. By yea and no, I think, the 'oman is a witch, indeeď:
under her muffler.
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, follow; see but the iffue of my jealoufy; 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, gentle[Exeunt. Mrs. Page. Truft me, he beat him moft pitifully. Mrs. Ford. Nay, by th' mafs, that he did not; he beat him moft unpitifully, methought.
Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd, and hung o'er the altar;
it hath done meritorious fervice.
Mrs. Ford. What think you? may we, with the warrant of womanhood, and the witness of a good confcience, pursue him with further revenge?
Mrs. Page. The fpirit of wantonnefs is, fure, scar'd out of him ; if the devil have him not in fee-fimple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of wafte, attempt us again. Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have ferved him? Mrs. Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape 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 ftill be minifters.
Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publickly fham'd; and, methinks, there would be no right period to the jest, should he not be publickly fham'd.
Mrs. Page. Come, to the forge with it then, shape it: I would not have things cool.
Changes to the Garter-Inn.
Enter Hoft, and Bardolph.
IR, the German defires 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 fo fecretly; I hear not of him in the court: let me fpeak with the gentlemen; they speak English?
Bard. Sir, I'll call them to you.
Hoft. They fhall have my horses, but I'll make them pay, I'll fauce them. They have had my house a week at command; I have turn'd away my other guests; they must count off; I'll fauce them; come.
Enter Page, Ford, mistress Page, mistress Ford, and Evans. IS one of the best 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 fufpect the fun with cold,
Than thee with wantonnefs; thy honour stands,
In him that was of late an heretick,
As firm as faith.
Page. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more.
As in offence, but let our plot go forward:
Ford. There is no better way than that they spoke of. Page. How? to fend him word they'll meet him in the park at midnight? fie, fie; he'll never come.
Eva. You fay, 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 flesh is punish'd, he shall have no defires.
Page. So think I too.
Mrs. Ford. Devife but how you'll ufe him when he comes; And let us two devife to bring him thither.
Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne the hunter, Sometime a keeper in our Windfor foreft,
Doth all the winter-time at ftill of midnight
Walk round about an oak, with ragged horns,
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