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for want of company; I think, if I think, if your husbands were dead, you two would marry.

Mrs. Page. Be fure 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, firrah?

Rob. Sir John Falstaff.

Ford. Sir John Falstaff?

Mrs. Page. He, he; I can never hit on's name; there is fuch a league between my good man and he.Is your wife at home, indeed?

Ford. Indeed, the is.

Mrs. Page. By your leave, Sir.-I am fick, 'till I fee her.

[Exeunt Mrs. Page and Robin.

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Ford. Has Page any brains? hath he any eyes? hath he any thinking? fure, they fleep; he hath no ufe of them. Why, this boy will carry a letter twenty mile, as eafy as a cannon will fhoot point blank twelve-fcore. He pieces out his wife's inclination; he gives her folly motion and advantage; and now fhe's going to my wife, and Falstaff's boy with her. A man may hear this fhower fing in the wind-and Falstaff's boy with her!-good plots—they are laid, and our revolted wives fhare damnation together. Well, I will take him, then torture my wife; pluck the borrow'd veil of modefty from the fo feeming mistress Page, divulge Page himself for a fecure and wilful Acteon, and to thefe violent proceedings all my neighbours fhall cry aim. The clock gives me my cue, and my affurance bids me fearch; there I fhall find Falstaff. I fhall be rather praised for this, than mocked; for it is as pofitive as the earth is firm, that Falstaff is there: I SCENE

will go.

Kk 4


To him, Enter Page, Shallow, Slender, Hoft, Evans, and Caius.

Shal. Page, &c. Well met, Mr. Ford.

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

Shal. I muft excufe myfelf, Mr. Ford.

Slen. And fo muft I, Sir; we have appointed to dine with Mrs. Anne, and I would not break with her for more mony than I'll speak of.

Shal. We have linger'd about a match between Anne Page and my coufin Slender, and this day we fhall have our answer.

Slen. I hope, I have your good will, father Page. Page. You have, Mr. Slender; I ftand wholly for you; but my wife, mafter Doctor, is for you altogether.

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

Hoft. What fay you to young Mr. Fenton? he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he fpeaks holy-day, he fmells April and May; he will carry't, he will carry't; 'tis in his buttons; he will carry't.

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Page. Not by my confent, I promise you. The Gentleman is of no having, he kept company with the

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of no Having,] Hav ing is the fame as eftate or fortune.

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wild Prince and Poins. He is of too high a region, he knows too much. No, he fhall not knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my fubftance. If he take her, let him take her fimply; the wealth I have waits on my confent, and my confent goes not that


Ford. I befeech you, heartily, fome of you go home with me to dinner; befides your cheer, you fhall have fport; I will fhew you a monster. Mr. Doctor, you fhall go; fo fhall you, Mr. Page; and you, Sir Hugh. Shal. Well, fare you well, we fhall have the freer wooing at Mr. Page's.

Caius. Go home, John Rugby, I come anon.

Hoft, Farewel, my hearts; I will to my honest Knight Falstaff, and drink Canary with him.

Ford. [Afide.] I think, I fhall drink in Pipe-wine firft with him: I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles?

All. Have with you, to see this monster.


Changes to Ford's Houfe.


Enter Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Page, and Servants with a

Mrs. Ford.



THAT, John! what, Robert!
Mrs. Page. Quickly, quickly is

the buck-basket

Mrs. Ford. I warrant..

What, Robin, I say.

Mrs. Page. Come, come, come.

Mrs. Ford. Here, fet 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 brew-house, and when I fuddenly call on you, come forth, and without

any pause or staggering take this basket on your fhoulders; that done, trudge with it in all hafte, and carry it among the whitfters in Datchet-Mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch close by the Thames fide. Mrs. Page. You will do it?

Mrs. Ford. I ha' told them over and over; they lack no direction. Be gone, and come when you are call'd. [Exeunt Servants. Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin.

Enter Robin.

Mrs. Ford. How now, my Eyas-musket', what news with you?

Rob. My mafter Sir John is come in at your backdoor, miftrefs Ford, and requests your company.

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

Rob. Ay, I'll be fworn: my mafter knows not of your being here, and hath threaten'd to put me into everlasting liberty, if I tell you of it; for he fwears, he'll turn me away.

Mrs. Page. Thou'rt a good boy; this fecrecy of thine fhall be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hofe. I'll go hide me.

Mrs. Ford. Do fo; go tell thy mafter, I am alone; miftrefs Page, remember you your cue. [Exit Robin. Mrs. Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hifs


7 How now, my Eyas mufket,] Eyas is a young unfledg'd hawk. I fuppofe from the Italian Niafo, which originally fignified any young bird taken from the neft unfledg'd, afterwards, a young hawk. The French, from hence, took their niais, and used it in both thofe fignifications; to which they added a third, metaphorically a filly fellow; un garçon fort

[Exit Mrs. Page.

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we'll teach

Mrs. Ford. Go to then; we'll ufe this unwholfome humidity, this grofs watry pumpion

him, to know turtles from jays.


Enter Falstaff.

Fal. Have I caught thee, my heav'nly jewel? why, now let me die! for I have liv'd long enough: this is the period of my ambition: O this bleffed hour! 1 Mrs. Ford. O fweet Sir John!

Fal. Miftrefs Ford, I cannot cog; I cannot prate, miftrefs Ford. Now fhall I fin in my wifh; I would, thy husband were dead; I'll fpeak 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 fhew me fuch another; I fee how thine eye would emulate the diamond: thou haft the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the fhip tire, the tire-valiant, or any Venetian attire.


that becomes the ship tire, the tire-VALIANT, or any Venetian attire.] The old Quarto reads, Tire-vellet, and the old Folio reads, Or any tire of Venetian admittance. So that the true reading of the whole is this, That becomes the ship tire, the tireVALIANT, or any 'tire of Venetian admittance. The fpeaker tells his mistress, fhe had a face that would become all the headdreffes in fashion. The hip-tire was an open head-drefs, with a kind of fcarf depending from behind. Its name of hip-tire was, I prefume, from its giving the wearer fome refemblance of a fhip (as Shakespeare fays) in all

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