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Mrs. Ford. Go, go, sweet fir John: mistress Page, and I, will look some linen for your head.
Mis. Page. Quick, quick; we'll coine dress you straight : put on the gown the while. [Exit Falstaff.
Mrs. Ford. I would, my husband would meet him in this shape: he cannotabidethe old woman of Brent-' ford; he swears, she's a witch; forbade her my house, and hath threatened to beat her.
Mis. 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 Brentford.
Mrs. Ford. I'll first direct my men what they shall do with the basket. Go up, I'll bring linen for him straight.
Mrs. Page. Hang hin, dishoneft 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 eat all the draugh.
for the purpose of making coarse hats. In the Midjummer Night's Dream :
" O fates, come, come,
66 Cut thread and thrum.' A muffler was some part of dress that covered the face. So, in the Cobler's Prophecy, 1594: “ Now is the bare-fac'd to be seen :-strait on her Muffier
goes.” Again, in Laneham's account of Queen Elizabeth's entertainment at Kenelworth castle, 1575: " his mother lent him a nu muflar for a napkin, that was tyed to hiz gyrdl for lozyng."
Mrs. Ford. Go, firs, take the basket again on your shoulders; your master is hard at door ; if he bid you. set it down, obey himn : quickly, dispatch..
[Exeunt Mrs. Page and Mrs. Pord. Enter Servants with the basket. I Serv. Come, come, take up.
2 Serv. Pray heaven, it be not full of the knight again.
°1 Serv. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead. Enter Ford, Shallow, Page, 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 !-Oh, you panderly rascals! there's a knot, a gang, a pack, a conspiracy, against me: Now shall the devil be sham'd. What! wife, I say ! come, come forth; behold what honest cloaths you send forth to bleaching.
Page. Why, this passes?! Master Ford, you are not to go loose any longer; you must be pinion'd.
Éva. Why, this is lunatics ! this is mad as a mad dog!
Shal. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well; indeed.
9_this passes !] The force of the phrase I did not understand when our former in pression of Shakespeare was prepared ; and therefore gave these two words as part of an imperfect sentence. One of the obsolete senses of the verb, to pass, is, to go beyond bounds. So, in Sir Clyomon, &c. Knight of the Golden Shield, 1599:
" I have such a deal of subitance here when Brian's men
6. That it palseth. Oh that I had while to stay!” Again, in the tranilation of the Menachmi, 1595: “This palleth, that I meet with none, but thus they vexe me with strange. ? speeches." STEEVENS.
Enter Mrs. Fordo Ford. So say I too, fir.-Come hither, mistress Ford;-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. Tord. Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty.
Ford. Well said, brazen-face; hold it out.-Come forth, sirrah. [Pulls the cloaths out of the baket.
Page. This passes.
Mrs. Ford. Are you not afham'd ? let the cloaths alone.
Ford. I shall find you anon.
Eva. 'Tis unreasonable! Will you take up your wife's cloaths ? come away.
Ford. Empty the basket, I say.
Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one convey'd out of my house yesterday in this basket; Why may not he be there again in my house I am sure he is : my intelligence is true ; my jealousy is reasonable : Pluck me out all the linen.
Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death.
Page. Here's no man,
Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford; *this wrongs you.
Eva. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies.
Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.
I t his wrongs you.] This is below your character, unwerthy of your understanding, injurious to your honour. So, in Tire Taming of the Shrew, Bianca, being ill treated by her rugged fifter,
6. You wrong me much, indeed you qurong yourself.”
Page. No, nor no where else but in your brain.
Ford. Help to search my house this one time: if I find not what I seek, shew no colour for my extremity, let me for ever be your table-sport ; let them fay of me, As jealous as Ford, that search'd a hollow wall-nut for his wife's leman”, Satisfy me once more, once more search with me.
Mrs. Ford. What hoa, mistress Page ! come you, and the old woman down; my husband will come into the chamber.
Ford. Old woman ! what old woman's that?
Mrs. Ford. Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brentford.
Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have I not forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does she? We are fimple men ; we do not know what's brought to pass under the professon of fortune-telling. She works by charms }, by spells, by the figure, and such daubery 4 as this is: beyond our element : we know nothing - Come down, you witch; you hag you, coine down, I say.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, good, sweet husband;-good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman.
Enter Faltaff in women's cloaths, led by Mrs. Page.
Mrs. Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me your hand.
Ford. I'll prat her :-Out of my doors, you witch! [Beats him.) you hag, you baggage, you poulcat,
Bremford, there charms, com STEE VENGver, is derived from
2- his wife’s leman.) Leman, i. e. lover, is derived from hef, Dutch, beloved, and man. STEEVENS.
3 She works by charms, &c.] Concerning some old woman of Brentford, there are several ballads ; among the rest, Julian of Brentford's last Will and Teftament, 1599. STEEVENS.
+ such daubery ] Dauheries are disguises. So, in K. Lear, Edgar says; “I cannot daub io further." STEEVENS.
you s ronyon! out! out ! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.
[Exit Fal. Mrs. Page. Are you not asham'd? I think, you have kill'd the poor woman.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it:— "Tis a goodly credit for you.
Ford. Hang her, witch !
Eva. By yea and no, I think, the 'oman is a witch indeed : I like not when a 'omans has a great peardo; ? I spy a great peard under his muffler.
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen ? I beseech you, follow ; see but the iffue of my jealousy: if I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust me when I open again.
5 ronyon! - ] Ronyon, applied to a woman, means, as far as can be traced, much the same with scall or fiab spoken of a man. Johnson. So, in Macbeth :
" Aroint thee witch, the rump-fed ronyon cries.” From Rogneux, Fr. So again : “ The roynish clown,” in As yoa like it. STEEVENS.
a great peard ;--] One of the marks of a supposed witch, was a beard. So in Macbeth:
you should be women,
" That you are so.”
" a chin, without all controversy, good
STEEVENS. ? I Spy a great peard under his mufier.] As the second stratagem, by which Falstaff escapes, is much the grosser of the two, I wish it had been practised first. It is very unlikely that Ford, having been so deceived before, and knowing that he had been deceived, would suffer him to escape in so flight a disguise.
JOHNSON. 8 - cry out thus upon no trail,-) The expression is taken from the hunters. Trail is the scent left by the passage of the game. To cry out, is to open or bark. Johnson. So, in Hamlet :
“ How chearfully on the false trail they cry: