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The Merry Wives of Windsor: Act IV, Scene 2

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act IV, Scene 2

A room in Ford’s house.

  1. Enter Falstaff, Mistress Ford.

Falstaff

1 - 5
  1. Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my sufferance. I
  2. see you are obsequious in your love, and I profess requital
  3. to a hair’s breadth, not only, Mistress Ford, in the simple
  4. office of love, but in all the accoutrement, complement, and
  5. ceremony of it. But are you sure of your husband now?

Mistress Ford

6
  1. He’s a-birding, sweet Sir John.

Mistress Page

7
  1. Within.
  2. What ho, gossip Ford! What ho!

Mistress Ford

8
  1. Step into th’ chamber, Sir John.
  1. Exit Falstaff.
  1. Enter Mistress Page.

Mistress Page

9
  1. How now, sweet heart, who’s at home besides yourself?

Mistress Ford

10
  1. Why, none but mine own people.

Mistress Page

11
  1. Indeed?

Mistress Ford

12 - 13
  1. No, certainly.
  2. Aside to her.
  3. Speak louder.

Mistress Page

14
  1. Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here.

Mistress Ford

15
  1. Why?

Mistress Page

16 - 23
  1. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lines again. He so
  2. takes on yonder with my husband; so rails against all
  3. married mankind; so curses all Eve’s daughters, of what
  4. complexion soever; and so buffets himself on the forehead,
  5. crying, Peer out, peer out!” , that any madness I ever yet
  6. beheld seem’d but tameness, civility, and patience to this
  7. his distemper he is in now. I am glad the fat knight is not
  8. here.

Mistress Ford

24
  1. Why, does he talk of him?

Mistress Page

25 - 30
  1. Of none but him, and swears he was carried out, the last
  2. time he search’d for him, in a basket; protests to my
  3. husband he is now here, and hath drawn him and the rest of
  4. their company from their sport, to make another experiment
  5. of his suspicion. But I am glad the knight is not here. Now
  6. he shall see his own foolery.

Mistress Ford

31
  1. How near is he, Mistress Page?

Mistress Page

32
  1. Hard by, at street end; he will be here anon.

Mistress Ford

33
  1. I am undone! The knight is here.

Mistress Page

34 - 36
  1. Why then you are utterly sham’d, and he’s but a dead man.
  2. What a woman are you? Away with him, away with him! Better
  3. shame than murder.

Mistress Ford

37 - 38
  1. Which way should he go? How should I bestow him? Shall I put
  2. him into the basket again?
  1. Enter Falstaff.

Falstaff

39 - 40
  1. No, I’ll come no more i’ th’ basket. May I not go out ere he
  2. come?

Mistress Page

41 - 43
  1. Alas! Three of Master Ford’s brothers watch the door with
  2. pistols, that none shall issue out; otherwise you might slip
  3. away ere he came. But what make you here?

Falstaff

44
  1. What shall I do? I’ll creep up into the chimney.

Mistress Ford

45 - 46
  1. There they always use to discharge their birding-pieces.
  2. Creep into the kill-hole.

Falstaff

47
  1. Where is it?

Mistress Ford

48 - 51
  1. He will seek there, on my word. Neither press, coffer,
  2. chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an abstract for the
  3. remembrance of such places, and goes to them by his note.
  4. There is no hiding you in the house.

Falstaff

52
  1. I’ll go out then.

Mistress Page

53 - 54
  1. If you go out in your own semblance, you die, Sir
  2. Johnunless you go out disguis’d.

Mistress Ford

55
  1. How might we disguise him?

Mistress Page

56 - 58
  1. Alas the day, I know not! There is no woman’s gown big
  2. enough for him; otherwise he might put on a hat, a muffler,
  3. and a kerchief, and so escape.

Falstaff

59 - 60
  1. Good hearts, devise something; any extremity rather than a
  2. mischief.

Mistress Ford

61 - 62
  1. My maid’s aunt, the fat woman of Brainford, has a gown
  2. above.

Mistress Page

63 - 65
  1. On my word, it will serve him; she’s as big as he is. And
  2. there’s her thrumm’d hat and her muffler too. Run up, Sir
  3. John.

Mistress Ford

66 - 67
  1. Go, go, sweet Sir John. Mistress Page and I will look some
  2. linen for your head.

Mistress Page

68 - 69
  1. Quick, quick! We’ll come dress you straight. Put on the gown
  2. the while.
  1. Exit Falstaff.

Mistress Ford

70 - 72
  1. I would my husband would meet him in this shape. He cannot
  2. abide the old woman of Brainford. He swears she’s a witch,
  3. forbade her my house, and hath threat’ned to beat her.

Mistress Page

73 - 74
  1. Heaven guide him to thy husband’s cudgel; and the devil
  2. guide his cudgel afterwards!

Mistress Ford

75
  1. But is my husband coming?

Mistress Page

76 - 77
  1. Ay, in good sadness, is he, and talks of the basket too,
  2. howsoever he hath had intelligence.

Mistress Ford

78 - 80
  1. We’ll try that; for I’ll appoint my men to carry the basket
  2. again, to meet him at the door with it, as they did last
  3. time.

Mistress Page

81 - 82
  1. Nay, but he’ll be here presently. Let’s go dress him like
  2. the witch of Brainford.

Mistress Ford

83 - 84
  1. I’ll first direct my men what they shall do with the basket.
  2. Go up, I’ll bring linen for him straight.
  1. Exit.

Mistress Page

85 - 89
  1. Hang him, dishonest varlet! We cannot misuse him enough.
  2. We’ll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
  3. Wives may be merry, and yet honest too:
  4. We do not act that often jest and laugh;
  5. ’Tis old, but true: still swine eats all the draff.
  1. Exit.
  1. Enter Mistress Ford with two Servants.

Mistress Ford

90 - 92
  1. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders. Your
  2. master is hard at door. If he bid you set it down, obey him.
  3. Quickly, dispatch.
  1. Exit.

First Servant

93
  1. Come, come, take it up.

Second Servant

94
  1. Pray heaven it be not full of knight again.

First Servant

95
  1. I hope not, I had lief as bear so much lead.
  1. Enter Ford, Page, Caius, Evans, Shallow.

Ford

96 - 102
  1. Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page, have you any way then
  2. to unfool me again? Set down the basket, villain! Somebody
  3. call my wife. Youth in a basket! O you panderly rascals,
  4. there’s a knot, a ging, a pack, a conspiracy against me. Now
  5. shall the devil be sham’d. What, wife, I say! Come, come
  6. forth! Behold what honest clothes you send forth to
  7. bleaching!

George

103 - 104
  1. Why, this passes, Master Ford. You are not to go loose any
  2. longer, you must be pinion’d.

Evans

105
  1. Why, this is lunatics! This is mad as a mad dog!

Shallow

106
  1. Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well indeed.

Ford

107 - 111
  1. So say I too, sir.
  2. Enter Mistress Ford.
  3. Come hither, Mistress Ford, Mistress Ford, the honest woman,
  4. the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the
  5. jealous fool to her husband! I suspect without cause,
  6. mistress, do I?

Mistress Ford

112 - 113
  1. Heaven be my witness you do, and if you suspect me in any
  2. dishonesty.

Ford

114
  1. Well said, brazen-face! Hold it out. Come forth, sirrah!
  1. Pulling clothes out of the basket.

George

115
  1. This passes!

Mistress Ford

116
  1. Are you not asham’d? Let the clothes alone.

Ford

117
  1. I shall find you anon.

Evans

118 - 119
  1. ’Tis unreasonable! Will you take up your wive’s clothes?
  2. Come away.

Ford

120
  1. Empty the basket, I say!

Mistress Ford

121
  1. Why, man, why?

Ford

122 - 125
  1. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one convey’d out of my
  2. house yesterday in this basket. Why may not he be there
  3. again? In my house I am sure he is. My intelligence is true,
  4. my jealousy is reasonable. Pluck me out all the linen.

Mistress Ford

126
  1. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea’s death.

George

127
  1. Here’s no man.

Shallow

128 - 129
  1. By my fidelity, this is not well, Master Ford; this wrongs
  2. you.

Evans

130 - 131
  1. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations
  2. of your own heart. This is jealousies.

Ford

132
  1. Well, he’s not here I seek for.

George

133
  1. No, nor no where else but in your brain.

Ford

134 - 138
  1. Help to search my house this one time. If I find not what I
  2. seek, show no color for my extremity; let me forever be your
  3. table-sport. Let them say of me, As jealous as Ford, that
  4. search’d a hollow walnut for his wive’s leman.” Satisfy me
  5. once more, once more search with me.

Mistress Ford

139 - 140
  1. What ho, Mistress Page! Come you and the old woman down; my
  2. husband will come into the chamber.

Ford

141
  1. Old woman? What old woman’s that?

Mistress Ford

142
  1. Why, it is my maid’s aunt of Brainford.

Ford

143 - 149
  1. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have I not forbid
  2. her my house? She comes of errands, does she? We are simple
  3. men, we do not know what’s brought to pass under the
  4. profession of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by
  5. spells, by th’ figure, and such daub’ry as this is, beyond
  6. our element; we know nothing. Come down, you witch, you hag
  7. you, come down, I say!

Mistress Ford

150 - 151
  1. Nay, good, sweet husband! Good gentlemen, let him not strike
  2. the old woman.
  1. Enter Falstaff disguised like an old woman, and Mistress
  2. Page with him.

Mistress Page

152
  1. Come, Mother Prat, come give me your hand.

Ford

153 - 155
  1. I’ll prat her. Out of my door, you witch, you rag, you
  2. baggage, you poulcat, you runnion! Out, out! I’ll conjure
  3. you, I’ll fortune-tell you!
  1. Ford beats him, and he runs away.

Mistress Page

156
  1. Are you not asham’d? I think you have kill’d the poor woman.

Mistress Ford

157
  1. Nay, he will do it.—’Tis a goodly credit for you.

Ford

158
  1. Hang her, witch!

Evans

159 - 161
  1. By yea and no, I think the oman is a witch indeed. I like
  2. not when a oman has a great peard. I spy a great peard under
  3. his muffler.

Ford

162 - 164
  1. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you follow; see but
  2. the issue of my jealousy. If I cry out thus upon no trail,
  3. never trust me when I open again.

George

165
  1. Let’s obey his humor a little further. Come, gentlemen.
  1. Exeunt Ford, Page, Shallow, Caius, and Evans.

Mistress Page

166
  1. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.

Mistress Ford

167 - 168
  1. Nay, by th’ mass, that he did not; he beat him most
  2. unpitifully, methought.

Mistress Page

169 - 170
  1. I’ll have the cudgel hallow’d and hung o’er the altar; it
  2. hath done meritorious service.

Mistress Ford

171 - 173
  1. What think you? May we, with the warrant of womanhood and
  2. the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any
  3. further revenge?

Mistress Page

174 - 176
  1. The spirit of wantonness is sure scar’d out of him. If the
  2. devil have him not in fee-simple, with fine and recovery, he
  3. will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.

Mistress Ford

177
  1. Shall we tell our husbands how we have serv’d him?

Mistress Page

178 - 181
  1. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of
  2. your husband’s brains. If they can find in their hearts the
  3. poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further afflicted,
  4. we two will still be the ministers.

Mistress Ford

182 - 184
  1. I’ll warrant they’ll have him publicly sham’d, and methinks
  2. there would be no period to the jest, should he not be
  3. publicly sham’d.

Mistress Page

185 - 186
  1. Come, to the forge with it, then shape it. I would not have
  2. things cool.
  1. Exeunt.
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