Page images

Caius. By gar, vit all my heart; he promise to bring me vere is Anne Page : by gar, he deceive me too.

Eva. Well, I will smite his noddles :-Pray you, follow.



The Street in Windsor.

Enter Mistress Page and ROBIN. Mrs. Page. Nay, keep your way, little gallant; you were wont to be a follower, but now you are a leader : Whether had you rather, lead mine eyes, or eye your master's heels ?

Rob. I had rather, forsooth, go before you like a man, than follow him like a dwarf.

Mrs. Page. O you are a flattering boy; now, I see, you'll be a courtier.

Enter FORD.

Ford. Well met, mistress Page : Whither go you?

Mrs. Page. Truly, sir, to see your wife: Is she at home?

Ford. Ay; and as idle as she may hang together, for want of company: I think, if your husbands were dead, you two would marry.

Mrs. Puge. Be sure of that,-two other husbands.
Ford. Where had


weather-cock? Mrs. Page. I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my husband had him of: What do you call your knight's name, sirrah

this pretty

Rob. Sir John Falstaff.
Ford. Sir John Falstaff!

Mrs. Page. He, he; I can never hit on's name.
There is such a league between my good man and he!
Is your wife at home, indeed ?
Ford. Indeed, she is.

Mrs. Page. By your leave, sir ;-I am sick, till I see her.

[Exeunt Mrs. PAGE and Robin. Ford. Has Page any brains ? hath he any eyes ? hath he any thinking? Sure, they sleep; he hath no use of them. Why, this boy will carry a letter twenty miles, as easy as a cannon will shoot point-blank twelve score. He pieces-out his wife's inclination; he gives her folly motion, and advantage: and now she's going to my wife, and Falstaff's boy with her. A man may hear this shower sing in the wind !-and Falstaff's boy with her!-Good plots !--they are laid ; and our revolted wives share damnation together. Well; I will take him, then torture my wife, pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming! mistress Page, divulge Page himself for a secure and wilful Actæon; and to these violent proceedings all my neighbours shall cry aim.2 [Clock strikes.] The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me search; there I shall find Falstaff: I shall be rather praised for this, than mocked; for it is as positive as the earth is firm, that Falstaff is there : I will go.


Hugh Evans, Caius, and RUGBY.
Shal. Page, &c. Well met, master Ford.

i Specious.

2 Shall encourage.

Ford. Trust me, a good knot: I have good cheer at home; and, I pray you,

all go with me. Shal. I must excuse myself, master Ford.

Slen. And so must I, sir; we have appointed to dine with mistress Anne, and I would not break with her for more money than I'll speak of.

Shal. We have lingered about a match between Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our answer.

Slen. I hope, I have your good-will, father Page.

Paye. You have, master Slender; I stand wholly for you :--but my wife, master doctor, is for you


Caius. Ay, by gar; and de maid is love-a me; my nursh-a Quickly tell me so mush.

Host. What say you to young master Fenton ? he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holyday," he smells April and May: he will carry't, he will carry't; 'tis in his buttons ; he will carry't.

Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman is of no having : 4 he kept company with the wild Prince and Poins; he is of too high a region, he knows too much. No, he shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance: if he take her, let him take her simply; the wealth I have waits on my consent, and my consent goes not

that way.

Ford. I beseech you, heartily, some of you go home with me to dinner : besides your cheer, you shall have sport; I will show you a monster.

3 Out of the common style.

4 Not rich.

Master doctor, you



you, master Page ;-and you, sir Hugh.

Shal. Well, fare you well :-We shall have the freer wooing at master Page's.

[Ereunt SHALLOW and SLENDER. Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.

(Exit. RUGBY. Host. Farewell, may hearts : I will to my

honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.

[Exit Hust. Ford. [Aside.] I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with him ; I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles?

All. Have with you, to see this monster. [Exeunt.


A Room in Ford's House.

Enter Mrs. FORD and Mrs. Page.

Mrs. Ford. What, John! what, Robert !
Mrs. Page. Quickly, quickly : Is the buck-basket---
Mrs. Ford. I warrant :- What, Robin, I say.

Enter Servants with a basket.
Mrs. Page. Come, come, come.
Mrs. Ford. Here, set it down.

Mrs. Page. Give your men the charge; we must be brief.

Mrs. Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John, and Robert, be ready here hard by in the brewhouse; and



when I suddenly call you, come forth, and (without any pause, or staggering,) take this basket on your shoulders : that done, trudge with it in all haste, and carry it among the whitsters 5 in Datchet mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch, close by the Thames' side.

Mrs. Page. You will do it?

Mrs. Ford. I have told them over and over; they lack no direction: Be gone, and come when you are called.

[Exeunt Servants. Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin.

Enter ROBIN.

Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket 6 what news with you?

Rob. My master sir John is come in at your backdoor, mistress Ford; and requests your company.

Mrs. Page. You little Jack-a-lent, 7 have you been true to us?

Rob. Ay, I'll be sworn: My master knows not of your being here; and hath threatened 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 secrecy

of thine shall be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hose.--I'll go hide me.

Mrs. Ford. Do so:-Go tell thy master, I am alone. Mistress Page, remember you your cue.

[Exit Robin,

[ocr errors]

5 Bleachers of linen.

6 A young small hawko 7'A puppet thrown at in Lent, like shrove-cocks.

« PreviousContinue »