The Merry Wives of Windsor By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scenes 2-4

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.
Heaven 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 too, howsoever
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 of 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.

[Exit.]

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 honest too.
  We do not act that often jest and laugh;
  'Tis old but true: 'Still swine eats all the draff.'

[Exit.]

[Re-enter MISTRESS FORD, with two SERVANTS.]

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.

[Exit.]

FIRST SERVANT.
Come, come, take it up.

SECOND SERVANT.
Pray heaven, it be not full of knight again.

FIRST SERVANT.
I hope not; I had lief as bear so much lead.

[Enter FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS.]

FORD.
Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page, have you any way then to
unfool me again? Set down the basket, villain! Somebody call my
wife. Youth in a basket! O you panderly rascals! there's a knot,
a ging, a pack, a conspiracy against me. Now shall the devil be
shamed. What, wife, I say! Come, come forth! behold what honest
clothes you send forth to bleaching!

PAGE.
Why, this passes, Master Ford! you are not to go loose any longer;
you must be pinioned.

EVANS.
Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as a mad dog.

SHALLOW.
Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well, indeed.

FORD.
So say I too, sir. —

[Re-enter MISTRESS FORD.]

Come hither, Mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife,
the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband!
I suspect without cause, Mistress, do I?

MRS. FORD.
Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty.

FORD.
Well said, brazen-face! hold it out. Come forth, sirrah.

[Pulling clothes out of the basket.]

PAGE.
This passes!

MRS. FORD.
Are you not ashamed? Let the clothes alone.

FORD.
I shall find you anon.

EVANS.
'Tis unreasonable. Will you take up your wife's clothes? Come away.

FORD.
Empty the basket, I say!

MRS. FORD.
Why, man, why?

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