Give your men the charge; we must be brief.
Marry, as I told you before, John and Robert, be
ready here hard by in the brew-house; 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
in Datchet Mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch
close by the Thames side.
Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate,
Mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my wish; I would thy
husband were dead; I'll speak it before the best lord, I
would make thee my lady.
I your lady, Sir John? Alas, I should be a pitiful
Let the court of France show me such another. I
see how thine eye would emulate the diamond; thou hast
the right arched beauty of the brow that becomes the
ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.
A plain kerchief, Sir John; my brows become
nothing else, nor that well neither.
By the Lord, thou art a tyrant to say so; thou
wouldst make an absolute courtier, and the firm fixture of
thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gait in a
semi-circled farthingale. I see what thou wert, if Fortune
thy foe were, not Nature, thy friend. Come, thou canst not
Believe me, there's no such thing in me.
What made me love thee? Let that persuade thee
there's something extra-ordinary in thee. Come, I cannot
cog, and say thou art this and that, like a many of these
lisping hawthorn-buds that come like women in men's
apparel, and smell like Bucklersbury in simple time; I
cannot; but I love thee, none but thee; and thou deserv'st it.
Do not betray me, sir; I fear you love Mistress
Thou mightst as well say I love to walk by the
Counter-gate, which is as hateful to me as the reek of a
Well, heaven knows how I love you; and you
shall one day find it.
Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all
the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman that he
says is here now in the house, by your consent, to take an
ill advantage of his absence. You are undone.
Pray heaven it be not so that you have such a
man here; but 'tis most certain your husband's coming,
with half Windsor at his heels, to search for such a one. I
come before to tell you. If you know yourself 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 senses to you;
defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life
What shall I do? There is a gentleman, my dear
friend; and I fear not mine own shame as much as his peril.
I had rather than a thousand pound he were out of the
For shame, never stand 'you had rather' and 'you
had rather'! Your husband's here at hand; bethink you of
some conveyance; in the house you cannot hide him. O,
how have you deceiv'd me! Look, here is a basket; if he be
of any reasonable stature, he may creep in here; and throw
foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking, or-it is
whiting-time-send him by your two men to Datchet
He's too big to go in there. What shall I do?
FALSTAFF [Coming forward] Let me see 't, let me see 't. O,
let me see 't! I'll in, I'll in; follow your friend's counsel;
What, Sir John Falstaff! [Aside to FALSTAFF]
Are these your letters, knight?
FALSTAFF [Aside to MRS. PAGE] I love thee and none but
thee; help me away.-Let me creep in here; I'll never- [Gets into the basket; they cover him with foul linen]
Help to cover your master, boy. Call your men,
Mistress Ford. You dissembling knight!
Why, what have you to do whither they bear it?
You were best meddle with buck-washing.
Buck? I would I could wash myself of the buck!
Buck, buck, buck! ay, buck! I warrant you, buck; and of
the season too, it shall appear. [Exeunt SERVANTS with
basket] Gentlemen, I have dream'd to-night; I'll tell you my
dream. Here, here, here be my keys; ascend my chambers,
search, seek, find out. I'll warrant we'll unkennel the fox.
Let me stop this way first. [Locking the door] So, now
Good Master Ford, be contented; you wrong yourself
True, Master Page. Up, gentlemen, you shall see sport
anon; follow me, gentlemen.
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,
Mistress Page; I pray you pardon me; pray heartly,
Let's go in, gentlemen; but, trust me, we'll mock him.
I do invite you to-morrow morning to my house to breakfast;
after, we'll a-birding together; I have a fine hawk for
the bush. Shall it be so?