Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my
sufferance. I see you are obsequious in your love, and I
profess requital to a hair's breadth; not only, Mistress Ford, in
the simple office of love, but in all the accoutrement,
complement, and ceremony of it. But are you sure of your
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 soever; 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 his distemper he is in now. I am glad the fat knight
is not here.
Of none but him; and swears he was carried out,
the last time he search'd for him, in a basket; protests to
my husband he is now here; and hath 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.
He will seek there, on my word. Neither press,
coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an abstract for
the remembrance of such places, and goes to them by his
note. There is no hiding you in the house.
Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot misuse
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 swine eats all the draff.
Pray heaven it be not full of knight again.
I hope not; I had lief as bear so much lead.
Enter FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS
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 ging, a pack, a conspiracy
against me. Now shall the devil be sham'd. What, wife, I
say! Come, come forth; behold what honest clothes you
send forth to bleaching.
Why, this passes, Master Ford; you are not to go loose
any longer; you must be pinion'd.
Why, this is lunatics. This is mad as a mad dog.
Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well, indeed.
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.
If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's
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 search'd a hollow walnut for his wife's leman.'
Satisfy me once more; once more search with me.
What, hoa, Mistress Page! Come you and the old
woman down; my husband will come into the chamber.
A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have I not
forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does she? 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 daub'ry as this
is, beyond our element. We know nothing. Come down, you
witch, you hag you; come down, I say.
Nay, good sweet husband! Good gentlemen, let
him not strike the old woman.
Re-enter FALSTAFF in woman's clothes, and MISTRESS PAGE
Come, Mother Prat; come. give me your hand.
I'll prat her. [Beating him] Out of my door, you
witch, you hag, you. baggage, you polecat, you ronyon!
Out, out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.
Nay, by th' mass, that he did not; he beat him
most unpitifully methought.
I'll have the cudgel hallow'd and hung o'er the
altar; it hath done meritorious service.
What think you? May we, with the warrant of
womanhood and the witness of a good conscience, pursue
him with any further revenge?
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.
Shall we tell our husbands how we have serv'd
Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the
figures out of your husband's brains. If they can find in their
hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further
afflicted, we two will still be the ministers.
I'll warrant they'll have him publicly sham'd;
and methinks there would be no period to the jest, should
he not be publicly sham'd.
Come, to the forge with it then; shape it. I
would not have things cool.