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Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, Sir John: my brows become nothing else ; nor that well neither.
Fal. Thou art a traitor to say so: thou would'st make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixure 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 is thy friend : come, thou canst not hide it.
Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in me.
Fal. 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 amany of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklers-bury in simpling time; I cannot : but I love thee; none but thee; and thou deservest it.
a new fignification, and means only the head-dress. Hence tire-woman, for a dresser of the head. As to the meaning or the latter part of the sentence, this may be seen by a paraphrafe of the whole speech. —Your face is so good, says the ípeaker, that it would become any head-dress worn at court, either the open or the close, or indeed any rich and fathionable one worth adorning with Venetian point, or which will admit to be adorneda TOf Venetian admittance.] The fashionable lace, at that time, was Venetian point. WARBURTON.
This note is plausible, except in the explanation of Venetian admittance : but I am afraid this whole system of dress is unsupported by evidence. JOHNSON
of Venetian admittance.) i. e. of a fashion received from Venice. Dr. Warburton might have found the same reading in the quarto, 1630. Instead of tire-valiant, I would read tire-volant. Stubbs, who describes moft minutely every article of female dress, has mentioned none of these terms, but speaks of vails depending from the top of the head, and flying behind in loose folds. The word volant was in use before the age of Shakespeare. I find it in V'ilfride Holme's Fall and evil Succelle of Rebellion, of which book the reader will find a sufficient account in a note in the firit scene of the fifth act of Love's Lab. Lojt:
" high volani in any thing divine,” STEEVENS.
Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, Sir ; I fear, you love mistress Page.
Fel. Thou migiit ft as well fay, I love to walk by the Counter-gate, which is as hateful to me as the reck of a lime-kiln.
Mrs. Ford. Well, heaven knows how I love you; and you shall one day find it.
Fál. Keep in that mind; I'll deferve it.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could not be in that mind.
Rob. (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.
Fal. She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras.
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do fo; she's a very tattling woman.
[Falstaff bides himself.
Enter Mistress Page. What's the matter ? how now?
Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you done? you're sham’d, you are overthrown, you are undone for ever. Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page ?
Mrs. Page. O well-a-day, mistress Ford! having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion !
Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion ?
Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion ?--Out upon you!-how am I mistook in you?
Mrs. Ford. Why, alas! what's the matter ?
Mrs. Page. Your husband's conjing 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.
Mrs. Ford. Speak louder—[Aside.] 'Tis not so, I hope.
Mrs. 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 amaz’d, call all your senses to you ; defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.
Mrs. Ford. What shall I do? There is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear not mine own shaine, lo much as his peril. I had rather than a thousand pound, he were out of the house.
Mrs. 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. Oh, how have you deceiv'd 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.
Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there: what shall I do?
Re-enter Folfioff. Fal. Let me fee’t, let me see't! O let me see't! I'll in, I'll in. Follow your friend's countel.-I'll in.
Mrs. Page. What! Sir John Faittaff? Are these your letters, knight?
Fal. I love thet--help me away : let me creep in here; I'll never
[He goes into the basket, they cover him with foul liner.
Mrs. Page. Help to cover your master, boy:--call your men, mistress Ford. You difiemuling knight!
Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John! go take up these clothes here, quickly. Where's the co vl
staff? Look, 5 how you drumble : carry them to the laundress in Datchet mead; quickly, come.
Enter Ford, Page, Caius, and Evans. 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?
Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bcar it? You were best meddle with buck-washing.
Fcrd. 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 dream'd to-night, I'll tell you my dream. Here, here, here be my keys: ascend my chan bers, search, seek, find out; I'll warrant, we'll unkennel the fox. Let me stop this way first. 6 So now uncape.
Page. Good master Ford, be contented: you wrong yourself too much.
Ford. True, master Page. Up, gentlemen ; you shall fee sport anon : follow me, genclemen. [Exit.
Eva. This is fery fantastical humours and jealoufies.
Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France : it is pot jealous in France.
5- how you drumble :-) If I was certain that there was no such word as drumble, I thould propose to read, fumble. T. T.
6 —So now uncape.) So the folio of 1623 reads, and rightly. It is a term in fox-hunting, which fignifies to dig out the fox when earth’d. And here is as much as to say, take out the foul linen under which the adulterer lies hid. The Oxford editor reado uncouple, out of pure love to an emendation.
WARBURTON. Dr. Warburton seems to have forgot that the linen was already carried away. The allusion in the foregoing line is to the Popping every hole at which a fux could escape, before they dig for him. STEEYENS,
Page, Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen; see the issue of his search.
[Exeunt. Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this ?
Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceiv’d, or Sir John. .
Mrs. Page. What a taking was he in, when your husband ask'd who was in the basket !
Mrs. Ford. I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would, all of the fame strain were in the fame distress.
Mrs. Ford. I think, my husband hath fome special suspicion of Falstaff's being here ; for I never saw him so gross in his jealousy till now. .
Mrs. Page. I will lay a plot to try that; and we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff: his diffolute disease will scarce obey this medicine.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we send that foolish carrion, miftress Quickly, to him, and excuse his throwing into the water; and give him another hope, to betray him to another punishment ?
Mrs. Page. We'll do it; let him be sent for to-morrow by eight o'clock, to have amends.
Re-enter Ford, Page, and the rest at a distance.
Ford. I cannot find him: may be the knave bragd of that he could not compass.
Mrs. Page. Heard you that ?
Mrs. Ford. I, I; peace :- you use me well ; master Ford, do you?
Ford. Ay, I do so.
Mrs. Ford. Heaven make you better than your thoughts !
Mrs. Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, master Ford. Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.