Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Merry Wives of Windsor > Act III, scene III


MISTRESS FORD: What, John! What, Robert!

MISTRESS PAGE: Quickly, quickly! is the buck-basket--

MISTRESS FORD: I warrant. What, Robin, I say!

	[Enter Servants with a basket]

MISTRESS PAGE: Come, come, come.

MISTRESS FORD: Here, set it down.

MISTRESS PAGE: Give your men the charge; we must be brief.

MISTRESS FORD: 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 PAGE: You will do it?

MISTRESS FORD: I ha' told them over and over; they lack no
	direction. Be gone, and come when you are called.

	[Exeunt Servants]

MISTRESS PAGE: Here comes little Robin.

	[Enter ROBIN]

MISTRESS FORD: How now, my eyas-musket! what news with you?

ROBIN: My master, Sir John, is come in at your back-door,
	Mistress Ford, and requests your company.

MISTRESS PAGE: You little Jack-a-Lent, have you been true to us?

ROBIN: Ay, I'll be sworn. My master knows not of your
	being here and hath threatened to put me into
	everlasting liberty if I tell you of it; for he
	swears he'll turn me away.

MISTRESS PAGE: Thou'rt a good boy: this secrecy of thine shall be
	a tailor to thee and shall make thee a new doublet
	and hose. I'll go hide me.

MISTRESS FORD: Do so. Go tell thy master I am alone.

	[Exit ROBIN]

	Mistress Page, remember you your cue.

MISTRESS PAGE: I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me.


MISTRESS FORD: Go to, then: we'll use this unwholesome humidity,
	this gross watery pumpion; we'll teach him to know
	turtles from jays.


FALSTAFF: Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? Why, now let
	me die, for I have lived long enough: this is the
	period of my ambition: O this blessed hour!

MISTRESS FORD: O sweet Sir John!

FALSTAFF: 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.

MISTRESS FORD: I your lady, Sir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady!

FALSTAFF: 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.

MISTRESS FORD: A plain kerchief, Sir John: my brows become nothing
	else; nor that well neither.

FALSTAFF: By the Lord, thou art a traitor 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 hide it.

MISTRESS FORD: Believe me, there is no such thing in me.

FALSTAFF: What made me love thee? let that persuade thee
	there's something extraordinary 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 deservest it.

MISTRESS FORD: Do not betray me, sir. I fear you love Mistress Page.

FALSTAFF: Thou mightst as well say I love to walk by the
	Counter-gate, which is as hateful to me as the reek
	of a lime-kiln.

MISTRESS FORD: Well, heaven knows how I love you; and you shall one
	day find it.

FALSTAFF: Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.

MISTRESS FORD: Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could not
	be in that mind.

ROBIN: [Within]  Mistress Ford, Mistress Ford! here's
	Mistress Page at the door, sweating and blowing and
	looking wildly, and would needs speak with you presently.

FALSTAFF: She shall not see me: I will ensconce me behind the arras.

MISTRESS FORD: Pray you, do so: she's a very tattling woman.

	[FALSTAFF hides himself]


	What's the matter? how now!

MISTRESS PAGE: O Mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed,
	you're overthrown, you're undone for ever!

MISTRESS FORD: What's the matter, good Mistress Page?

MISTRESS PAGE: O well-a-day, Mistress Ford! having an honest man
	to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion!

MISTRESS FORD: What cause of suspicion?

MISTRESS PAGE: What cause of suspicion! Out pon you! how am I
	mistook in you!

MISTRESS FORD: Why, alas, what's the matter?

MISTRESS PAGE: 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 assence: you are undone.

MISTRESS FORD: 'Tis not so, I hope.

MISTRESS PAGE: 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
	amazed; call all your senses to you; defend your
	reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.

MISTRESS FORD: What shall I do? There is a gentleman my dear
	friend; and I fear not mine own shame so much as his
	peril: I had rather than a thousand pound he were
	out of the house.

MISTRESS PAGE: 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 deceived 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-mead.

MISTRESS FORD: 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. I'll in.

MISTRESS PAGE: What, Sir John Falstaff! Are these your letters, knight?

FALSTAFF: I love thee. Help me away. Let me creep in here.
	I'll never--

	[Gets into the basket; they cover him with foul linen]

MISTRESS PAGE: Help to cover your master, boy. Call your men,
	Mistress Ford. You dissembling knight!

MISTRESS FORD: What, John! Robert! John!

	[Exit ROBIN]

	[Re-enter Servants]

	Go take up these clothes here quickly. Where's the
	cowl-staff? look, how you drumble! Carry them to
	the laundress in Datchet-meat; quickly, come.


FORD: Pray you, come near: if I suspect without cause,
	why then make sport at me; then let me be your jest;
	I deserve it. How now! whither bear you this?

Servant: To the laundress, forsooth.

MISTRESS FORD: Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You
	were best meddle with buck-washing.

FORD: 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 the basket]

	Gentlemen, I have dreamed 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 uncape.

PAGE: Good Master Ford, be contented: you wrong yourself too much.

FORD: True, Master Page. Up, gentlemen: you shall see
	sport anon: follow me, gentlemen.


SIR HUGH EVANS: This is fery fantastical humours and jealousies.

DOCTOR CAIUS: By gar, 'tis no the fashion of France; it is not
	jealous in France.

PAGE: Nay, follow him, gentlemen; see the issue of his search.


MISTRESS PAGE: Is there not a double excellency in this?

MISTRESS FORD: I know not which pleases me better, that my husband
	is deceived, or Sir John.

MISTRESS PAGE: What a taking was he in when your husband asked who
	was in the basket!

MISTRESS FORD: I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so
	throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.

MISTRESS PAGE: Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would all of the same
	strain were in the same distress.

MISTRESS FORD: I think my husband hath some special suspicion of
	Falstaff's being here; for I never saw him so gross
	in his jealousy till now.

MISTRESS PAGE: I will lay a plot to try that; and we will yet have
	more tricks with Falstaff: his dissolute disease will
	scarce obey this medicine.

MISTRESS FORD: Shall we send that foolish carrion, Mistress
	Quickly, to him, and excuse his throwing into the
	water; and give him another hope, to betray him to
	another punishment?

MISTRESS PAGE: We will do it: let him be sent for to-morrow,
	eight o'clock, to have amends.

	[Re-enter FORD, PAGE, DOCTOR CAIUS, and

FORD: I cannot find him: may be the knave bragged of that
	he could not compass.

MISTRESS PAGE: [Aside to MISTRESS FORD]  Heard you that?

MISTRESS FORD: You use me well, Master Ford, do you?

FORD: Ay, I do so.

MISTRESS FORD: Heaven make you better than your thoughts!

FORD: Amen!

MISTRESS PAGE: You do yourself mighty wrong, Master Ford.

FORD: Ay, ay; I must bear it.

SIR HUGH EVANS: If there be any pody in the house, and in the
	chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses,
	heaven forgive my sins at the day of judgment!

DOCTOR CAIUS: By gar, nor I too: there is no bodies.

PAGE: Fie, fie, Master Ford! are you not ashamed? What
	spirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I
	would not ha' your distemper in this kind for the
	wealth of Windsor Castle.

FORD: 'Tis my fault, Master Page: I suffer for it.

SIR HUGH EVANS: You suffer for a pad conscience: your wife is as
	honest a 'omans as I will desires among five
	thousand, and five hundred too.

DOCTOR CAIUS: By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman.

FORD: Well, I promised 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 heartily, pardon me.

PAGE: 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?

FORD: Any thing.

SIR HUGH EVANS: If there is one, I shall make two in the company.

DOCTOR CAIUS: If dere be one or two, I shall make-a the turd.

FORD: Pray you, go, Master Page.

SIR HUGH EVANS: I pray you now, remembrance tomorrow on the lousy
	knave, mine host.

DOCTOR CAIUS: Dat is good; by gar, with all my heart!

SIR HUGH EVANS: A lousy knave, to have his gibes and his mockeries!



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