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with all the officers in Windfor, to fearch for a gentleman, that, he fays, is here now in the houfe, by your confent, to take an ill advantage of his abfence. You are undone.
Mrs. Ford. Speak louder Afide.] 'Tis not fo, I
Mrs. Page. Pray heav'n it be not fo, that you have fuch a man here; but 'tis moft certain, your husband's coming with half Windfor at his heels, to fearch for fuch a one. I come before to tell you: if you know yourfelf clear, why, I am glad of it; but if you have a friend here, convey, convey him out. Be not amaz’d, call all your Senfes to you, defend your reputation, or bid farewel to your good life for ever..
Mrs. Ford. What fhall I do? there is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear not mine own fhame, fo much as his peril. I had rather than a thousand pound, he were out of the houfe.
Mrs. Page. For fhame, never ftand you had rather, and you had rather; your husband's here at hand; be think you of fome conveyance, in the houfe you cannot hide him. Oh, how have you deceiv'd me? look, hére is a basket, if he be of any reasonable ftature, he may creep in here, and throw foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking: or it is whiting time, fend him by your two men to Datchet-mead.
Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there: what fhall I do?
Fal. Let me fee't, let me fee't, O let me fee't. I'll in, I'll in.-Follow your friend's counfel. I'll in. ›
Mrs. Page. What! Sir John Falstaff? are thefe your letters, Knight?
Fal. I love 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 mafter, boy;-call your men, miftrefs Ford.-You diffembling Knight! Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John, go take up these clothes here, quickly. Where's the cowl-ftaff? Look, how you drumble: carry them to the landrefs in Datchet-mead; quickly, come.
Enter Ford, Page, Caius, and Evans.
Ford. Pray you, come near; if I fufpect without caufe, why then make fport at me, then let me be your jeft, I deferve it. How now? whither bear you this? Serv. To the landrefs, forfooth.
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were beft meddle with buck-washing.
Ford. Buck? I would, I could, wash myself of the buck. Buck, buck, buck? ay, buck: I warrant you, buck, and of the feafon too, it fhall 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; afcend my chambers, fearch, feek, find out, I'll warrant, we'll unkennel the fox. Let me ftop this way firft. So, now uncape ".
Page. Good mafter Ford, be contented; you wrong yourself too much.
Ford. True, mafter Page. Up, gentlemen, you fhall fee fport anon; follow me, gentlemen. Eva. This is ferry fantaftical humours and jealou
Caius. By gar, 'tis no the fashion of France; it is not jealous in France.-
So now uncape.] So the Folio of 1623 reads, and rightly. It is a term in Fox hunting, which fignifies to dig out the Fox when earth'd. And here is as
much as to fay, take out the foul linnen under which the adulterer lies hid. The Oxford Editor reads uncouple, out of pure love to an emendation. WARBURT.
Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen, fee the iffue of his fearch,
Manent Miftrefs Page and Miftrefs Ford.
Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this? Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceiv'd, 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 wafhing; fo throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, difhoneft rafcal; I would, all of the fame ftrain were in the fame distress.
Mrs. Ford. I think, my husband hath fome fpecial fufpicion of Falstaff's being here. I never faw him fo grofs 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 diffolute difeafe will scarce obey this medicine.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we fend that foolish carrion, miftrefs Quickly, to him, and excufe 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 to-mor row by eight o'clock, to have amends.
Re-enter Ford, Page, and the rest at a distance.
Ford. I cannot find him; may be, the knäve brág'd of that he could not compafs.
Mrs. Page. Heard you that?
Mrs. Ford. I, I; peace:--You ufe me well, mafter Ford, do you?
Ford. Ay, ay, I do fo.
Mrs. Ford. Heav'n make you better than your thoughts!
Mrs. Page. You do yourfelf mighty wrong, Mr. Ford.
Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.
Eva. If there be any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the preffes, heav'n forgive my fins at the day of judgment!
Caius. By gar, nor I too; there is no bodies.
Page. Fie, fie, Mr. Ford, are you not afham'd? what fpirit, what devil, fuggefts this imagination? I would not ha' your diftemper in this kind, for the wealth of Windsor Castle.
Ford. "Tis my fault, Mr. Page: I fuffer for it.
Eva. You fuffer for a pad confcience; your wife is as honeft a o'mans, as I will defires among five thoufand, and five hundred too.
Caius. By gar, I fee, 'tis an honeft woman.
Ford. Well I promis'd 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, miftrefs 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 houfe to breakfaft; after, we'll a birding together; I have a fine hawk for the bufh. Shall it be fo? Ford. Any thing.
Eva. If there is one, I fhall make two in the company.
Caius. If there be one or two, I fhall make-a de turd.
Eva. In your teeth-for fhame.
Ford. Pray you go, Mr. Page.
Eva. I pray you now, remembrance to-morrow on the lousy knave, mine Host.
Caius. Dat is good, by gar, with all my heart.
Eva. A loufy knave, to have his gibes, and his mockeries.
Changes to Page's House.
Enter Fenton and Mistress Anne Page..
Fent. Therefore no more turn me to him, fweet Nan.
SEE, I cannot get thy father's love;
Anne. Alas! how then?
Fent. Why, thou must be thyself.
He doth object, I am too great of birth;
And that my state being gall'd with my expence,
Befides thefe, other bars he lays before me,
Fent. No, heav'n fo fpeed me in my time to come!
Anne. Gentle Mr. Fenton,
Yet feek my father's love: ftill feek it, Sir;
-father's wealth] Some light may be given to thofe who fhall endeavour to calculate the encrease of English wealth, by obferving, that Latymer in the time of Edward VI. mentions it as a proof of his father's profperity, That though but a yeoman, be gave bis daughters five pounds each for her portion. At the latter end of Elizabeth, seven hun
Candred pounds were fuch a temptation to courtship, as made all other motives fufpected. Congreve makes twelve thousand pounds more than a counterballance to the affectation of Belinda. No poet would now fly his favourite character at less than fifty thoufand.
If opportunity and humbleft Juit] Dr. Thirlby imagines,