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Enter Mrs. Page. Mrs. Page. How now, sweet heart, who's at home besides yourself?
Mrs. Ford. Why, none but mine own people.
Mrs. Page. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes again; he so takes on yonder with my husband, so rails against all married mankind, so curses all Eve's daughters, of what complexion foever, and so buffets himself on the forehead, crying, peer-out, peer-out! that any madness I ever yet beheld seem'd but tameness, civility, and patience, to this distemper he is in now; I am glad, the fat knight is not here.
Mrs. Ford. Why, does he talk of him?
Mrs. Page. Of none but him; and fwears, he was carry'd out, the last time he search'd for him, in a basa ket; protests to my husband, he is now here; and bath drawn him and the rest of their company from their sport, to make another experiment of his suspicion ; but I am glad, the knight is not here; now he shall see his own foolery.
Mrs. Ford. How near is he, mistress Page ?
Mrs. Ford. I am undone, the knight is here.
Mrs. Page. Why, then thou art atcerly tham'd, and he's but a dead man. What a woman are you? away with him, away with him; better shame than murder.
Mrs. Ford. Which way should he go: how should I bestow him: shall I put him into the baket again?
Fal. No, I'll come no more i'th' basket: may I not go out, ere he come?
Mrs Page. Alas! alas ! three of master Ford's brothers watch che door with piftols, that none should issue out, otherwise you might flip away ere he came : but what make
here? Fal. What shall I do? I'll creep up into the chimney.
Mrs. Ford. There they always use to discharge their birding-pieces; creep into the kill-hole.
Fal. Where is it?
Mrs. Ford. He will feek there, on my word : neither press, coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an abftract for the remembrance of fuch places, and goes to them by his note; there is no hiding you in the house.
Fal. I'll go out then.
Mrs. Ford, If you go out in your own semblance, you die, Sir John, unless you go out disguis?d. How might we disguise him?
Mrs. Page. Alas-the-day, I know not; there is no woman's gown big enough for him ; otherwise, he might put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchief, and so escape.
Fal. Good heart, devise something; any extremity, rather than mischief.
Mrs. Ford, My maid's aunt the fat woman of Brain. ford, has a gown above.
Mrs. Page. On my word, it will serve him ; fhe's as big as he is, and there's her thrum hat, and her muffler too. Run up, Sir John.
Mrs. Ford. Go, go, fweet Sir John; mistress Page and I will look some linnen for your head.
Mrs. Page. Quick, quick, we'll come dress you straight; put on the gown the while.
[Exit Faliiaff. Mrs. Ford. I would, my husband would meet him in this fape; he cannot abide the old woman of Brainford; he swears, she's a witch, forbade her my house, and hath threatned to beat her.
Mrs. Page. Heav'n guide him to thy husband's cudgel, and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards !
Mrs. Ford. But is my husband coming ?
Mrs. Page. Ay, in good sadness, is he ; and talks of the basket too, however he hath had intelligence.
Mrs. Ford. We'll try that ; for I'll appoint my men to carry the basket again, to meet him at the door with it, as they did last tiine.
Mrs. Page. Nay, but he'll be here presently ; let's go dres: him like the witch of Brainford.
Mrs. Ford. I'll first direct my men, what they shall do with the basket; go up, l’il bring linnen for him Straight.
Mrs, Page. Hang him, dishoneft varlet, we cannot mifufe him enough. We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do, Wives may be merry, and yet honest too. We do not act, that often jest and laugh: 'Tis old but true, Still fwine eats all the draugh.
Mrs. Ford. Go, Sirs, take the basket again on your f.oulders ; your master is hard at door ; if he bid you fet it down, obey him : quickly, dispatch.
[Exeunt Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford. Enter Servants with the basket.
i Ser. Come, come, take up.
2 Ser. Pray heav'n it be not full of the knight again.
i Sir. I hope not. I had as lief bear so much lead.
Enter Ford, Shallow, Page, Caius and Evans.
Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again ? set down the basket, villain ; somebody call my wife : youth in a basket! on, you pandesly rascals ! there's a knot, a gang, a pack, a conspiracy, against me ; now shall the devil be Tham'd. What! wife, I say ; come, come forth, be. hold what honeft cloaths you send forth to bleaching.
Paze. Why, this passes, master Ford you are not to go loose any longer, you must be pinnion'd.
Eva. Why, this is lunaticks; this is mad as a mad
Enter Mrs. Ford.
Ford. So say I too, Sir. Come hither, mistress Ford;. mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband, I suspect without cause, mistress, do 1?
Mrs. Ford. Heav'n be my witness, you do, if you sufpeet me in any dishonelty.
Ford. Well said, brazen-face; hold it out: come forth, Sirrah.
[Pulls the cloaths out of the basket. Page. This paffes
Mrs. Ford. Are you not aham'd ? let the cloaths alone.
Ford. I shall find you anon.
Eva. 'Tis unreasonable; will you take up your wife's cloaths i come away.
Ford. Empty the basket, I say.
Ford, Master Page, as I am a man, there was one convey'd out of my house yesterday in this basket; why may not he be there again? in my house I am sure he is; my intelligence is true, my jealousy is reasonable ; plock me out all the linnen.
Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death.
Page. Here's no man.
Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford ; this wrongs you.
Eva. Malter Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart ; this is jealousies.
Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.
brain. Ford. Help to search my house this one time ; if I find not what I seek, shew no colour for my extremity ; let me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of me, as jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow wall-nut for his wife's leman. Satisfy me once more, once more search with me. Mrs. Ford. What hoa, mistress Page ! come you, and N 4
the old woman down; my husband will come into the chamber.
Ford. Old woman! what old woman's that?
Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean; have J' not forbid her my house? she comes of errands, does the! we are simple men, we do not know what's brought to pass under the profession of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by th' figure ; and such dawbry as this is beyond our element; we know nothing. Come down, you witch; you hag you, come down, I say.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, good sweet husband; good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman,
Enter Falstaff in womens cleaths, and Mrs. Page. Mrs. i age. Come, mother Prat, come, give me your hand.
Ford, I'll Prat her. Out of my door, you witch! [Bears him.) you hag, you baggage, you poulcat, you sunnion ! out, out, out; I'll conjure you, I'll fortune
[Exit Fal. Mrs Page. Are you not afham'd ? I think, you have kill'd the
poor woman. Mrs. Ferd. Nay, he will do it ; 'tis a goodly credit Ford. Hang her, witch.
Eva. By yea and no, I think, the 'oman is a witch indeed : I like not when a 'oman has a great peard ; I Spy a great peard under her muffler.
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen ? I beseech you follow ; see but the iffue of my jealousy ; if I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust me when I open again.
Page. Let's obey his humour a little further : come, gentlemen.
[Exeunt. Mrs. Page. Trust me, he beat him moft pitifully.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, by th' mass, that he did not: he beat him most unpitifuliy. methought.
Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd and hang o'er the altar ; it hath done meritorious service.
Mrs. Ford. What think you i may we, with the war