William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor in the complete original text.
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The Merry Wives of Windsor

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Act III. Scene II.

Scene II.—A Street in Windsor.


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! yon are a flattering boy: now
I see you'll be a courtier.

Enter FORD.
Ford. Well met, Mistress Page. Whither go
Mrs. Page. Truly, sir, to see your wife: is
she at home?
Ford. Ay; and as idle as she may hang to-
gether, for want of company. I think, if your
husbands were dead, you two would marry.
Mrs. Page. Be sure of that,—two other
Ford. Where had you this pretty weather-
Mrs. Page. I cannot tell what the dickens
his name is my husband had him of. What 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 MISTRESS 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 Fal-
staff's boy with her! Good plots! they are laid;
and our revolted wives share damnation to-
gether. Well; I will take him, then torture my
wife, pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from
the so seeming Mistress Page, divulge Page him-
self for a secure and wilful Actæon; and to
these violent proceedings all my neighbours
shall cry aim. [Clock strikes.] 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 posi-
tive as the earth is firm, that Falstaff is there:
I will go.

Page, Shal., &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 be-
tween Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and
this day we shall have our answer.
Slen. I hope I have your good will, father
Page. You have, Master Slender; I stand
wholly for you: but my wife, Master doctor, is
for you altogether.
Caius. Ay, by 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 carry't.
Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The
gentleman is of no having: he kept company
with the wild prince and Pointz; 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 take 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.
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 Host.
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.
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