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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 fadness, 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 time.
Mrs. Page. Nay, but he'll be here presently; let's go dress him like the witch of Brainford.
Mrs. Ford. I'll furft direct my men what they shall do with the basket; go up, I'll bring linen for him straight.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet ! we cannot misuse him
merry, and yet honest too.
Mrs. Ford. Go, firs, take the basket again on your shoulders; your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him: quickly, dispatch.
[Ex. Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford. Enter servants with the basket. I Serv. Come, come, take up. 2 Serv. Pray heav'n, it be not full of the knight again. I Serv. I hope not. I had as lief bear so much lead
SCENE IV. 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 ! o, you panderly rascals ! there's a knot, a gang, a pack, a conspiracy against me; now shall the devil be fhamd. What, wife, I say ! come, come forth; behold what honest cloths you send forth to bleaching.
Page. Why, this passes“, master Ford; you are not to go loose any longer, you must be pinion'd.
Eva. Why, this is lunaticks; this is mad as a mad dog.
Enter mistress Ford. 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 I?
Mrs. Ford. Heav'n be my witness you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty. Ford. Well said, brazen-face, hold it out: come forth, firrah.
[Pulls the cloths out of the basket. Page. This passes. Mrs. Ford. Are you not asham’d? let the cloths alone. Ford. I shall find you anon.
Eva. 'Tis unreasonable; will you take up your wife's cloths ? 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 ; pluck me out all the linen. 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. Master 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, show no colour for my extremity; let me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of me, as jealous as Ford, that fearched
* See the note, p. 223.
a hollow walnut for his wife's leman. Satisfy me once more;
Mrs. Ford. What hoa, mistress Page ! come you, and the old
Ford. Old woman! what old woman's that?
Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! have I not
Mrs. Ford. Nay, good sweet husband; good gentlemen, let
SCEN E V.
Ford. I'll Prat her. Out of my door, you witch, [beats him.]
Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it; 'tis a goodly credit for you.
Eva. By yea and no, I think, the ’oman is a witch, indeed':
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen ? I beseech you, follow; see
Mrs. Ford. Nay, by th' mass, that he did not; he beat him
Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd, and hung o'er the altar; it hath done meritorious service.
Mrs. Ford. What think you? may we, with the warrant of womanhood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any
further revenge? Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scar'd out of him; if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him? Mrs. Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures
. out of your husband's brain. If they can find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further afflicted, we two will still be ministers.
Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publickly sham'd; and, methinks, there would be no right period to the jest, should he not be publickly sham’d.
Mrs. Page. Come, to the forge with it then, shape it: I would not have things.cool.
Changes to the Garter-Inn.
Enter Host, and Bardolph. Bard. YIR, the German desires to have three of your horses;
the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him.
Hoft. What duke should that be comes fo fecretly; I hear not of him in the court: let me speak with the gentlemen; they speak Englis?
Bard. Sir, I'll call them to you.
Hoft. They shall have my horses, but I'll make them pay, I'll fauce them. They have had my house a week at command; I have turn'd away my other guests ; they must count off; I'll fauce them; come.
Changes to Ford's house. Enter Page, Ford, mistress Page, mistress Ford, and Evans. Eva. TIS one of the best discretions of a 'oman as ever I
did look upon.
Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant ? Mrs. Page. Within a quarter of an hour.
Ford. Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou wilt;
Page. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more.
Ford. There is no better way than that they spoke of.
Page. How? to send him word they'll meet him in the park at midnight? fie, fie; he'll never come.
Eva. You say, he hath been thrown into the river; and has been grievously peaten, as an old ’oman ; methinks, there should be terrors in him, that he should not come; methinks, his flesh is punish’d, he shall have no desires.
Page. So think I too.
Mrs. Ford. Devise but how you'll use him when he comes; And let us two devise to bring him thither.
Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne the hunter, Sometime a keeper in our Windsor forest, Doth all the winter-time at still of midnight Walk round about an oak, with ragged horns,
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