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Caius. Ha! do I perceive dat? have you make-a de sot 1 of us ? ha, ha!

Evans. This is well ; he has made us his vloutingstog.--I desire you, that we may be friends; and let us knog our prains together, to be revenge on this same scall,? scurvy, cogging companion, the host of the Garter.

Caius. By gar, vit all my heart : he promise to bring me vere is Anne Page: by gar, he deceive me too. Evans. Well, I will smite his noddles.—Pray

[Exeunt.

you, follow.

SCENE II.

The street in Windsor.

Enter MRS. 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?

i Fool.

2 Scabby.

3 Cheating.

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. Page. Be sure of that,--two other husbands.

Ford. Where had you this pretty 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 ?

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 pointblank 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

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from the so seeming 1 mistress Page, divulge Page himself for a secure and wilful Actæon; and to these violent proceedings all my neighbors shall cry aim.? [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.

Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, SLENDER, HOST, SIR HUGH

EVANS, CAIUS, and RUGBY. Shal. Page, &c. Well met, master Ford.

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.

Page. You have, master Slender; I stand wholly for you :—but my wife, master doctor, is for you altogether.

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?

1 Specious.

2 Shall give encouragement.

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 ; 2 he will carry ’t.

Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman is of no having :3 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. Master doctor, you shall go; so shall you, master Page ;—and you, Sir Hugh.

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

[Exeunt Shallow and Slender. Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.

[Exit Rugby. Host. Farewell, my hearts : I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.

[Exit Host.

1

In a style superior to the vulgar.

Alluding to an ancient custom among rustic swains, of wearing the flowers called bachelors' buttons in their pockets, and judging of their success in courtship, by their growing or not growing there. 3 Of no estate or fortune.

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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.

SCENE III.

A room in Ford's house.

Enter MRS. FORD and MRS. PAGE.

Mrs. Ford. What, John! what, Robert !

Mrs. Page. Quickly, quickly! Is the buckbasket 2

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 3 in Datchet

1 I will give him pipe-wine, which shall make him dance. Canary is the name of a dance as well as of a wine.

2 Basket in which clothes are carried to the wash. 3 Bleachers of linen.

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