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Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page?
Mrs. Page. O well-a-day, mistress Ford! having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion !
Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion ?
Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion ?-Out upon you ! how am I mistook in you?
Mrs. Ford. Why, alas ! what's the matter?
Mrs. Page. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman, that, he says, is here now in the house, by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence : You are undone.
Mrs. Ford. Speak louder.-[Aside.]—'Tis not so, I hope.
Mrs. Page. Pray heaven it be not so, that you have such a man here; but 'tis most 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 amazed; call all your senses to you ; defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.
Mrs. Ford. What shall I do? --- There is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear not mine own shame, so much as his peril : I had rather than a thousand pound, he were out of the house.
Mrs. Page. For shame, never stand you had rather, and you had rather ; your husband's here at hand, bethink you of some conveyance : in the house you can
not hide him.-0, how have you deceived 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 whitingtime, send him by your two men to Datchet mead.
Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there: What shall I do?
Mrs. Page. What! sir John Falstaff! Are these your letters knight?
Fal. I love thee, and none but thee; help me away: let me creep in here ; I'll never[He goes into the basket ; they cover him with foul
linen.] Mrs. Page. Help to cover your master, boy: Call your men, mistress Ford :-You dissembling knight!
Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John ! [Erit Robin. Re-enter Servants.] Go take up these clothes here, quickly; Where's the cowl-staff? look, how you drumble
them to the laundress in Datchet mead; quickly, come. Enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and Sir Hugh Evans.
Ford. Pray you, come near : if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jest; I deserve it.-How now? whither bear
72 : carty
Sero. To the laundress, forsooth.
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle with buckwashing
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 Servants with the basket.] Gentlemen, I have dream'd to-night; I'll tell you my dream. Here, here, here be my keys: ascend my chambers, search, seek, find out: I'll warrant, we'll unkennel the fox:-Let me stop this way first :-So, now uncape.
Page. Good master Ford, be contented: you wrong yourself too much.
Ford. True, master Page.-Up, gentlemen ; you shall see sport anon: follow me, gentlemen. [Exit.
Eva. This is fery fantastical humours, and jealousies.
Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France: it is not jealous in France.
Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen ; see the issue of his search. [Exeunt Evans, Page, and Caius.
Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this?
Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my
husband is deceived, or sir 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.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal ! I would, all of the same strain were in the same distress.
Mrs. Ford. I think, my husband hath some special suspicion of Falstaff's being here ; for I never saw him so gross in his jealousy till now.
Mrs. Page. I will lay a plot to try that : And we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff : his dissolute disease will scarce obey this medicine.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we send 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 sent for tomorrow eight o'clock, to have amends. Re-enter FORD, PAGE, Caius, and Sir HUGH
EVANS. Ford. I cannot find him: may be the knave bragg'd of that he could not compass. Mrs. Page. Heard you
that? Mrs. Ford. Ay, ay, peace:—You use me well, master Ford, do
? Ford. Ay, I do so.
Mrs. Ford. Heaven make you better than your thoughts?
Mrs. Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, master Ford.
Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.
the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses, heaven forgive my sins at the day of judgement !
Caius. By gar, nor I too; dere is no bodies.
Page. Fie, fie, master Ford! are you not ashamed? What spirit, what devil suggests this imagination ? I would not have your distemper in this kind, for the wealth of Windsor Castle.
Ford. 'Tis my fault, master Page : I suffer for it.
Eva. You suffer for a pad conscience: your wife is as honest a 'omans, as I will desires among five thousand, and five hundred too.
Caius. By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman.
Ford. Well ;-I promised you a dinner :-Come, come, walk in the park : I pray you, pardon me; I will hereafter make known to you, why I have done this.-Come, wife ;-come, mistress Page; I pray you pardon me; pray heartily, pardon me.
Page. Let's go in, gentlemen; but, trust me, we'll mock him. I do invite you to-morrow morning to my house to breakfast; after, we'll a birding together; I have a fine hawk for the bush : Shall it be so ?
Ford. Any thing
Eda. If there is one, I shall make two in the company.
Caius. If there be one or two, I shall make-a de turd.
Eva. In your teeth : for shame.