« AnteriorContinua »
Mrs. Ford. Which way should he go? how should I bestow him? shall I put him into the basket 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 the door with pistols, that none should ifsue out, otherwise you might Nip away ere he came. -But what make
here? Fal. What shall I do? I'll creep up into the chim. ney.
Mrs. Ford. There they always use to discharge their birding-pieces ; creep into the kill-hole.
Fal. Where is it?
Mrs. Ford. 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.
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 muffer, 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 Brainford, has a gown above.
Mrs. Page. On my word, it will serve him ; she's as big as he is, and there's her thrum hat, and her mumer too. Run up, Sir John.
Mrs. Ford. Go, go, sweet Sir John; mistress Page and I will look some linen for your head.
Mrs. Page. Quick, quick, we'll come dress you straight; put on the gown the while. [Exit Falstaff.
Mrs. Ford. I would, my husband would meet him in this shape; he cannot abide the old woman of Brainford; he swears, she's a witch, forbade her my house, and hath threatened 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 tóo, 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 cf Brainford.
Mrs. Ford. I'll first 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
enough. We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do, Wives may be merry, and yet
honeft too. We do not act, that often jest and laugh: 'Tis old but true, Still fwine eat all the draugh.
Mrs. Ford. Go, Sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders; your master is hard at door ; if he bid you set it down, obey him : quickly, dispatch.
[Exeunt Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford.
Enter Servants with the basket. 1 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.
Enter Ford, Shallow, Page, Caius and Evans.
Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way to unfool me again ?-Set down the basket, villain ;-—somebody call my wife--youthIn a basket! oh, you panderly rascals ! there's a knot, a gang, a pack, a conspiracy, against me : now shall the devil be sham'd. What, wife, I say ; come, come'forth, behold what honest cloaths you send forth to bleaching.
Page. Why, this passes, inaster 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 Mrs. Ford.
Shal. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well, indeed.
Ford. So say I too, Sir. Come hither, mistress Ford ;-mistress Ford, the honest woman, the moiet 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, Sirrah. [Pulls the cloaths out of the basket.
Page. This paffes
Mrs. Ford. Are you not afham'd ? let the cloaths alone.
Ford. I shall find you anon.
Eva. 'Tis unreasonable ; will you take up your wife's cloaths ? 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 reafonable; pluck me out all the linen.
Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a Aea'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.
Ford. Help to search my house this one time ; if I find not what I feek, shew 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 wallnut for his wife's leman. Satisfy me once more, once more search with me.
Mrs. Ford. What hoa, mistress Page, come you, and the old woman down; my husband will come into the chamber.
Ford. Old woman; what old woman's that ?
Mrs. Ford. Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brainford.
Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean; have I not forbid her my house? she comes of errands, does fhe? we are simple men, we do not know what's brought to pass under the profeffion of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by th' figure; and such dawbry as this is beyond our element ; we know
? This wrongs you.] This is ill treated by her rugged fifter, below your character, unworthy fays, of your understanding, injurious
You wrong me much, indeed to your honour. So in the Tam.
you wrong yourself. ing of the Shrere Bianca being
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.
SC E N E V.,
Enter Falstaff in woman's cloalhs, and Mrs. Page.
Mrs. Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me
Ford. I'll Pret her. Out of my door, you witch ! [Beats bim.] you hag, you baggage, you poulcat, you runnion ! 'out, out, out. I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.
[Exit Fal. Mrs. Page. Are you not asham’d? I think, you have kill'd the poor woman.
Mrs. Ferd. Nay, he will do it-'Tis a goodly cre
dit for you.
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 fpy a great peard under her muffler
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen ? I beseech you follow ; see but the issue of my jealousy; if I cry out thus upon no trail', never trust me when I open again.
Poge. Let's obey his humour a little further : come, gentlemen.
& Rænnion, applied to a wo. ing been so deceived before, and man, means, as far as can be knowing that he had been de. traced, much the same with scall ceived, would feffer him to efand scab spoken of a man. cape in so flight a disguise.
9 I spy a great peard under her Cry out upon no trail] The muffler. As the second Arata- expression is taken from the han. gem, by which Faljzaff escapes, ters. Trail is the scent left by is much the grosser of the two, the passage of the game. 70 I wish it had been practised first. cry out, is to open or bark. It is very unlikely that Ford hav