Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could not be in that mind.
[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.
She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras.
Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling woman.
[FALSTAFF hides himself.]
[Re-enter MISTRESS PAGE and ROBIN.]
What's the matter? How now!
O Mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed, you are
overthrown, you are undone for ever!
What's the matter, good Mistress Page?
O well-a-day, Mistress Ford! having an honest man to your husband,
to give him such cause of suspicion!
What cause of suspicion?
What cause of suspicion? Out upon you! how am I mistook in you!
Why, alas, what's the matter?
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 absence:
you are undone.
[Aside.] Speak louder. —
'Tis not so, I hope.
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.
What shall I do? — There is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear
not mine own shame as much as his peril: I had rather than a
thousand pound he were out of the house.
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
He's too big to go in there. What shall I do?
[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.
What, Sir John Falstaff! Are these your letters, knight?
I love thee and none but thee; help me away: let me creep in here.
I'll never —
[He gets into the basket; they cover him with foul linen.]
Help to cover your master, boy. Call your men, Mistress Ford. You
What, John! Robert! John!
Go, take up these clothes here, quickly; where's the cowl-staff?
Look how you drumble! Carry them to the laundress in Datchet-Mead;
[Enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS.]
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?
To the laundress, forsooth.
Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle
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.