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The Merry Wives of Windsor: Act 3, Scene 3

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 3, Scene 3

A room in Ford’s house.

  1. Enter Mistress Ford, Mistress Page.

Mistress Ford

2
  1. What, John! What, Robert!

Mistress Page

3
  1. Quickly, quickly! Is the buck-basket

Mistress Ford

4
  1. I warrant. What, Robin, I say!
  1. Enter Servants with a great buck-basket.

Mistress Page

6
  1. Come, come, come.

Mistress Ford

7
  1. Here, set it down.

Mistress Page

8
  1. Give your men the charge, we must be brief.

Mistress Ford

9 - 14
  1. Marry, as I told you before, John and Robert, be ready here
  2. hard by in the brew-house, and when I suddenly call you,
  3. come forth, and (without any pause or staggering) take this
  4. basket on your shoulders. That done, trudge with it in all
  5. haste, and carry it among the whitsters in Datchet-mead, and
  6. there empty it in the muddy ditch close by the Thames side.

Mistress Page

15
  1. You will do it?

Mistress Ford

16 - 17
  1. I ha’ told them over and over, they lack no direction. Be
  2. gone, and come when you are call’d.
  1. Exeunt Servants.

Mistress Page

19
  1. Here comes little Robin.
  1. Enter Robin.

Mistress Ford

21
  1. How now, my eyas-musket, what news with you?

Robin

22 - 23
  1. My master, Sir John, is come in at your back door, Mistress
  2. Ford, and requests your company.

Mistress Page

24
  1. You little Jack-a-Lent, have you been true to us?

Robin

25 - 27
  1. Ay, I’ll be sworn. My master knows not of your being here,
  2. and hath threat’ned to put me into everlasting liberty if I
  3. tell you of it; for he swears he’ll turn me away.

Mistress Page

28 - 30
  1. Thou’rt a good boy. This secrecy of thine shall be a tailor
  2. to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hose. I’ll go
  3. hide me.

Mistress Ford

31 - 33
  1. Do so. Go tell thy master I am alone.
  2. Exit Robin.
  3. Mistress Page, remember you your cue.

Mistress Page

34
  1. I warrant thee, if I do not act it, hiss me.
  1. Exit.

Mistress Ford

36 - 37
  1. Go to then. We’ll use this unwholesome humidity, this gross
  2. wat’ry pumpion. We’ll teach him to know turtles from jays.
  1. Enter Falstaff.

Falstaff

39 - 41
  1. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel?” Why, now let me
  2. die, for I have liv’d long enough. This is the period of my
  3. ambition. O this blessed hour!

Mistress Ford

42
  1. O sweet Sir John!

Falstaff

43 - 46
  1. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, Mistress Ford.
  2. Now shall I sin in my wish: I would thy husband were dead.
  3. I’ll speak it before the best lord, I would make thee my
  4. lady.

Mistress Ford

47
  1. I your lady, Sir John? Alas, I should be a pitiful lady!

Falstaff

48 - 51
  1. Let the court of France show me such another. I see how
  2. thine eye would emulate the diamond. Thou hast the right
  3. arch’d beauty of the brow that becomes the ship-tire, the
  4. tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.

Mistress Ford

52 - 53
  1. A plain kerchief, Sir John. My brows become nothing else,
  2. nor that well neither.

Falstaff

54 - 58
  1. By the Lord, thou art a tyrant to say so. Thou wouldst make
  2. an absolute courtier, and the firm fixture of thy foot would
  3. give an excellent motion to thy gait in a semicircled
  4. farthingale. I see what thou wert, if Fortune thy foe were
  5. not, Nature thy friend. Come, thou canst not hide it.

Mistress Ford

59
  1. Believe me, there’s no such thing in me.

Falstaff

60 - 65
  1. What made me love thee? Let that persuade thee there’s
  2. something extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog and say
  3. thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping
  4. hawthorn buds, that come like women in men’s apparel, and
  5. smell like Bucklersbury in simple timeI cannot; but I love
  6. thee, none but thee; and thou deserv’st it.

Mistress Ford

66
  1. Do not betray me, sir. I fear you love Mistress Page.

Falstaff

67 - 68
  1. Thou mightst as well say I love to walk by the Counter-gate,
  2. which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kill.

Mistress Ford

69 - 70
  1. Well, heaven knows how I love you, and you shall one day
  2. find it.

Falstaff

71
  1. Keep in that mind, I’ll deserve it.

Mistress Ford

72 - 73
  1. Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could not be in
  2. that mind.
  1. Enter Robin.

Robin

75 - 77
  1. Mistress Ford, Mistress Ford! Here’s Mistress Page at the
  2. door, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would
  3. needs speak with you presently.

Falstaff

78
  1. She shall not see me, I will ensconce me behind the arras.

Mistress Ford

79 - 82
  1. Pray you do so, she’s a very tattling woman.
  2. Falstaff stands behind the arras.
  3. Enter Mistress Page.
  4. What’s the matter? How now?

Mistress Page

83 - 84
  1. O Mistress Ford, what have you done? You’re sham’d, y’ are
  2. overthrown, y’ are undone forever!

Mistress Ford

85
  1. What’s the matter, good Mistress Page?

Mistress Page

86 - 87
  1. O well-a-day, Mistress Ford, having an honest man to your
  2. husband, to give him such cause of suspicion!

Mistress Ford

88
  1. What cause of suspicion?

Mistress Page

89 - 90
  1. What cause of suspicion? Out upon you! How am I mistook in
  2. you!

Mistress Ford

91
  1. Why, alas, what’s the matter?

Mistress Page

92 - 95
  1. Your husband’s coming hither, woman, with all the officers
  2. in Windsor, to search for a gentleman that he says is here
  3. now in the house; by your consent to take an ill advantage
  4. of his absence. You are undone.

Mistress Ford

96
  1. ’Tis not so, I hope.

Mistress Page

97 - 103
  1. Pray heaven it be not so, that you have such a man here; but
  2. ’tis most certain your husband’s coming, with half Windsor
  3. at his heels, to search for such a one. I come before to
  4. tell you. If you know yourself clear, why, I am glad of it;
  5. but if you have a friend here, convey, convey him out. Be
  6. not amaz’d, call all your senses to you, defend your
  7. reputation, or bid farewell to your good life forever.

Mistress Ford

104 - 106
  1. What shall I do? There is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I
  2. fear not mine own shame so much as his peril. I had rather
  3. than a thousand pound he were out of the house.

Mistress Page

107 - 113
  1. For shame, never stand you had rather and you had
  2. rather.” Your husband’s here at hand, bethink you of some
  3. conveyance. In the house you cannot hide him. O, how have
  4. you deceiv’d me! Look, here is a basket; if he be of any
  5. reasonable stature, he may creep in here, and throw foul
  6. linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking; orit is
  7. whiting-timesend him by your two men to Datchet-mead.

Mistress Ford

114
  1. He’s too big to go in there. What shall I do?

Falstaff

115 - 117
  1. Starting from his concealment.
  2. Let me see’t, let me see’t, O, let me see’t! I’ll in, I’ll
  3. in. Follow your friend’s counsel. I’ll in.

Mistress Page

118 - 120
  1. What, Sir John Falstaff?
  2. Aside.
  3. Are these your letters, knight?

Falstaff

121 - 122
  1. To Mrs. Page.
  2. I love thee. Help me away.—Let me creep in here. I’ll never
  1. Goes into the basket; they put clothes over him.

Mistress Page

124 - 125
  1. Help to cover your master, boy. Call your men, Mistress
  2. Ford. You dissembling knight!

Mistress Ford

126 - 131
  1. What, John! Robert! John!
  2. Exit Robin.
  3. Enter Servants.
  4. Go take up these clothes here quickly. Where’s the
  5. cowl-staff? Look how you drumble! Carry them to the
  6. laundress in Datchet-mead; quickly, come.
  1. Enter Ford, Page, Caius, Evans.

Ford

133 - 135
  1. Pray you come near. If I suspect without cause, why then
  2. make sport at me, then let me be your jest, I deserve it.
  3. How now? Whither bear you this?

First Servant

136
  1. To the laundress, forsooth.

Mistress Ford

137 - 138
  1. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best
  2. meddle with buck-washing.

Ford

139 - 148
  1. Buck! I would I could wash myself of the buck! Buck, buck,
  2. buck! Ay, buck! I warrant you, buck, and of the season too,
  3. it shall appear.
  4. Exeunt Servants with the basket.
  5. Gentlemen, I have dream’d tonight; I’ll tell you my dream.
  6. Here, here, here be my keys. Ascend my chambers, search,
  7. seek, find out. I’ll warrant we’ll unkennel the fox. Let me
  8. stop this way first.
  9. Locking the door.
  10. So, now uncape.

George

149
  1. Good Master Ford, be contented. You wrong yourself too much.

Ford

150 - 151
  1. True, Master Page. Up, gentlemen, you shall see sport anon.
  2. Follow me, gentlemen.
  1. Exit.

Evans

153
  1. This is fery fantastical humors and jealousies.

Caius

154 - 155
  1. By gar, ’tis no the fashion of France; it is not jealous in
  2. France.

George

156
  1. Nay, follow him, gentlemen, see the issue of his search.
  1. Exeunt Page, Caius, and Evans.

Mistress Page

158
  1. Is there not a double excellency in this?

Mistress Ford

159 - 160
  1. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is
  2. deceiv’d, or Sir John.

Mistress Page

161 - 162
  1. What a taking was he in when your husband ask’d who was in
  2. the basket!

Mistress Ford

163 - 164
  1. I am half afraid he will have need of washing, so throwing
  2. him into the water will do him a benefit.

Mistress Page

165 - 166
  1. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would all of the same strain
  2. were in the same distress.

Mistress Ford

167 - 169
  1. I think my husband hath some special suspicion of Falstaff’s
  2. being here, for I never saw him so gross in his jealousy
  3. till now.

Mistress Page

170 - 172
  1. I will lay a plot to try that, and we will yet have more
  2. tricks with Falstaff. His dissolute disease will scarce obey
  3. this medicine.

Mistress Ford

173 - 175
  1. Shall we send that foolish carrion, Mistress Quickly, to
  2. him, and excuse his throwing into the water, and give him
  3. another hope, to betray him to another punishment?

Mistress Page

176 - 177
  1. We will do it. Let him be sent for tomorrow, eight a’ clock,
  2. to have amends.
  1. Enter Ford, Page, Caius, and Evans.

Ford

179 - 180
  1. I cannot find him. May be the knave bragg’d of that he could
  2. not compass.

Mistress Page

181 - 182
  1. Aside to Mrs. Ford
  2. Heard you that?

Mistress Ford

183
  1. You use me well, Master Ford, do you?

Ford

184
  1. Ay, I do so.

Mistress Ford

185
  1. Heaven make you better than your thoughts!

Ford

186
  1. Amen!

Mistress Page

187
  1. You do yourself mighty wrong, Master Ford.

Ford

188
  1. Ay, ay; I must bear it.

Evans

189 - 191
  1. If there be any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and
  2. in the coffers, and in the presses, heaven forgive my sins
  3. at the day of judgment!

Caius

192
  1. Be-gar, nor I too; there is no-bodies.

George

193 - 195
  1. Fie, fie, Master Ford, are you not asham’d? What spirit,
  2. what devil suggests this imagination? I would not ha’ your
  3. distemper in this kind for the wealth of Windsor Castle.

Ford

196
  1. ’Tis my fault, Master Page. I suffer for it.

Evans

197 - 199
  1. You suffer for a pad conscience. Your wife is as honest a
  2. omans as I will desires among five thousand, and five
  3. hundred too.

Caius

200
  1. By gar, I see ’tis an honest woman.

Ford

201 - 204
  1. Well, I promis’d you a dinner. Come, come, walk in the park.
  2. I pray you pardon me; I will hereafter make known to you why
  3. I have done this. Come, wife, come, Mistress Page, I pray
  4. you pardon me; pray heartly pardon me.

George

205 - 208
  1. Let’s go in, gentlemen, but (trust me) we’ll mock him. I do
  2. invite you tomorrow morning to my house to breakfast; after,
  3. we’ll a-birding together. I have a fine hawk for the bush.
  4. Shall it be so?

Ford

209
  1. Any thing.

Evans

210
  1. If there is one, I shall make two in the company.

Caius

211
  1. If there be one or two, I shall make-a the turd.

Ford

212
  1. Pray you go, Master Page.
  1. Exit with Page.

Evans

214 - 215
  1. I pray you now remembrance tomorrow on the lousy knave, mine
  2. host.

Caius

216
  1. Dat is good, by gar; with all my heart!

Evans

217
  1. A lousy knave, to have his gibes and his mockeries!
  1. Exeunt.
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