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Mrs. Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me.
[Exit Mrs. Page. Mrs. Ford. Go to then; we'll use this unwholesome humidity, this gross watry pumpion ;-we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.
Enter FALSTAFF. Fal. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough; this is the period of my ambition : O this blessed hour!
Mrs. Ford. O sweet sir John!
Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my wish: I would thy husband were dead; I'll speak it before the best lord, I would make thee my lady.
Mrs. Ford. I your lady, sir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady.
Fal. Let the court of France show me such another; I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond: Thou hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire, of Venetian admittance. 8
Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, sir John: my brows become nothing else; nor that well neither. .
Fal. Thou art a traitor to say so: thou would'st make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gait, in a semi-circled farthingale. I see what thou wert, if fortune thy foe were not; nature is thy friend: Come, thou canst not hide it. I
s Venetian fashions.
Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in me.
Fal. What made me love thee? let that persuade thee, there's something extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklers-bury' in simple-time; I cannot: but I love thee; none but thee; and thou deservest it.
Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, sir; I fear, you love mistress Page.
Fal. Thou might'st as well say, I love to walk by the Counter-gate; which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.
Mrs. Ford. Well, heaven knows, how I love you; and you shall one day find it.
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, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you presently.
Fal. She shall not see me; I will ensconce2 me behind the arras.
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling woman.
[FALSTAFF hides himself.
Enter Mistress PAGE and Robin. What's the matter? how now? 9 Formerly chiefly inhabited by druggists. · · Prison. 2 Hide.
Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed, you 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 honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion!
Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion ?
Mrs. Puge. 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.-[ 4side.]—'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 cannot 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 whiting-time, 4 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! [Exit Robin; Re-enter Servants.] Go'take up these clothes here, quickly; Where's the cowl-staff?s look, how you drumble:6 carry them to the laundress in Datchet mead ; quickly, come.
Enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and Sir Hugh Evans.1. Ford. Pray you, come near: if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be
4 Bleaching time,
your jest; I deserve it.—How now? whither bear you this?
Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle with buckwash- :
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 dreamed 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.
Era. This is fery fantastical humours, and jea." lousies. . '
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 mę better, that my husband is deceived, or sir John.
Mrs. Page What a taking was he in, when your husband asked who was in the basket!
Mrs. Ford. I am half afraid he will have need of