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SCENE II

A street. Enter MISTRESS PAGE and ROBIN.

Mrs. Page.
Nay, keep your way, little gallant;
you were wont to be a follower, but now
you are a leader. Whether had you rather
lead mine eyes, or eye your master's heels?

Rob.
I had rather, forsooth, go before you
like a man than follow him like a dwarf.

Mrs. Page.
O, you are a flattering boy:
now I see you'll be a courtier.
Enter FORD.

Ford.
Well met, Mistress Page. Whither
go you?

Mrs. Page.
Truly, sir, to see your wife. Is
she at home?

Ford.
Ay; and as idle as she may hang
together, for want of company. I think, if
your husbands were dead, you two would
marry.

Mrs. Page.
Be sure of that,--two other
husbands.

Ford.
Where had you this pretty weather-cock?

Mrs. Page.
I cannot tell what the dickens
his name is my husband had him of. What (21)
do you call your knight's name, sirrah?

Rob.
Sir John Falstaff.

Ford.
Sir John Falstaff!

Mrs. Page.
He, he; I can never hit on's
name. There is such a league between my
good man and he! Is your wife at home
indeed?

Ford.
Indeed she is.

Mrs. Page.
By your leave, sir: I am sick
till I see her.
[Exeunt Mrs. Page and Robin.

Ford.
Has Page any brains? hath he any
eyes? hath he any thinking? Sure, they sleep;
he hath no use of them. Why, this boy will
carry a letter twenty mile, as easy as a cannon
will shoot point-blank twelve score. He pieces
out his wife's inclination; he gives her folly
motion and advantage: and now she's going to
my wife, and Falstaff's boy with her. A man
may hear this shower sing in the wind. And
Falstaff's boy with her! Good plots, they
are laid; and our revolted wives share damnation
together. Well; I will take him,
then torture my wife, pluck the borrowed veil
of modesty from the so seeming Mistress
Page, divulge Page himself for a secure and
wilful Actaeon; and to these violent proceedings
all my neighbours shall cry aim.
[Clock heard.] The clock
gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me
search: there I shall find Falstaff: I shall be
rather praised for this than mocked; for it is
as positive as the earth is firm that Falstaff is (50)
there: I will go.
Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, SLENDER, HOST, SIR HUGH EVANS, CAIUS, and RUGBY.

Shal., Page, &c.
Well met, Master Ford.

Ford.
Trust me a good knot: I have good
cheer at home; and I pray you all go with me.

Shal.
I must excuse myself, Master Ford.

Slen.
And so must I, sir: we have appointed
to dine with Mistress Anne, and I
would not break with her for more money
than I'll speak of.

Shal.
We have lingered about a match between
Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and (60)
this day we shall have our answer.

Slen.
I hope I have your good will, father
Page.

Page.
You have, Master Slender; I stand
wholly for you: but my wife, master doctor,
is for you altogether.

Caius.
Ay, be-gar; and de maid is love-a
me: my nursh-a-Quickly tell me so mush.

Host.
What say you to young Master Fenton?
he capers, he dances, he has eyes of
youth, he writes verses, he speaks holiday, he
smells April and May: he will carry't, he
will carry't; 'tis in his buttons; he will (71)
carry't.

Page.
Not by my consent, I promise you.
The gentleman is of no having: he kept company
with the wild prince and Poins; he is
of too high a region; he knows too much. No,
he shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with
the finger of my substance: if he takes her, let
him take her simply; the wealth I have waits
on my consent, and my consent goes not that
way.

Ford.
I beseech you heartily, some of you
go home with me to dinner: besides your
cheer, you shall have sport; I will show you a
monster. Master doctor, you shall go; so
shall you, Master Page; and you, Sir Hugh.

Shal.
Well, fare you well: we shall have
the freer wooing at Master Page's.
[Exeunt Shal. and Slen.

Caius.
Go home, John Rugby: I come anon.
[Exit Rugby.


Host.
Farewell, my hearts: I will to my
honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with
him.
[Exit.

Ford.
[Aside]
I think I shall drink in
pipe-wine first with him: I'll make him dance.
Will you go, gentles?

All.
Have with you to see this monster.
[Exeunt.

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