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Speeches (Lines) for Mistress Ford
in "Merry Wives of Windsor"

Total: 85

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(stage directions). [Enter MISTRESS FORD]

Mistress Ford. Mistress Page! trust me, I was going to your house.



Mistress Page. And, trust me, I was coming to you. You look very

Mistress Ford. Nay, I'll ne'er believe that; I have to show to the contrary.



Mistress Page. Faith, but you do, in my mind.

Mistress Ford. Well, I do then; yet I say I could show you to the
contrary. O Mistress Page, give me some counsel!



Mistress Page. What's the matter, woman?

Mistress Ford. O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I
could come to such honour!



Mistress Page. Hang the trifle, woman! take the honour. What is
it? dispense with trifles; what is it?

Mistress Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or so,
I could be knighted.



Mistress Page. What? thou liest! Sir Alice Ford! These knights
will hack; and so thou shouldst not alter the
article of thy gentry.

Mistress Ford. We burn daylight: here, read, read; perceive how I
might be knighted. I shall think the worse of fat
men, as long as I have an eye to make difference of
men's liking: and yet he would not swear; praised
women's modesty; and gave such orderly and
well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I
would have sworn his disposition would have gone to
the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere
and keep place together than the Hundredth Psalm to
the tune of 'Green Sleeves.' What tempest, I trow,
threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his
belly, ashore at Windsor? How shall I be revenged
on him? I think the best way were to entertain him
with hope, till the wicked fire of lust have melted
him in his own grease. Did you ever hear the like?



Mistress Page. Letter for letter, but that the name of Page and
Ford differs! To thy great comfort in this mystery
of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy
letter: but let thine inherit first; for, I
protest, mine never shall. I warrant he hath a
thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for
different names—sure, more,—and these are of the
second edition: he will print them, out of doubt;
for he cares not what he puts into the press, when
he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess,
and lie under Mount Pelion. Well, I will find you
twenty lascivious turtles ere one chaste man.

Mistress Ford. Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the very
words. What doth he think of us?



Mistress Page. Nay, I know not: it makes me almost ready to
wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain
myself like one that I am not acquainted withal;
for, sure, unless he know some strain in me, that I
know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.

Mistress Ford. 'Boarding,' call you it? I'll be sure to keep him
above deck.



Mistress Page. So will I. if he come under my hatches, I'll never
to sea again. Let's be revenged on him: let's
appoint him a meeting; give him a show of comfort in
his suit and lead him on with a fine-baited delay,
till he hath pawned his horses to mine host of the Garter.

Mistress Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villany against him,
that may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O,
that my husband saw this letter! it would give
eternal food to his jealousy.



Mistress Page. Why, look where he comes; and my good man too: he's
as far from jealousy as I am from giving him cause;
and that I hope is an unmeasurable distance.

Mistress Ford. You are the happier woman.



Mistress Page. Whither go you, George? Hark you.

Mistress Ford. How now, sweet Frank! why art thou melancholy?



Ford. I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.

Mistress Ford. Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head. Now,
will you go, Mistress Page?



Mistress Page. Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George.
Look who comes yonder: she shall be our messenger
to this paltry knight.

Mistress Ford. [Aside to MISTRESS PAGE] Trust me, I thought on her:
she'll fit it.



(stage directions). [Enter MISTRESS FORD and MISTRESS PAGE]

Mistress Ford. What, John! What, Robert!



Mistress Page. Quickly, quickly! is the buck-basket—

Mistress Ford. I warrant. What, Robin, I say!



Mistress Page. Come, come, come.

Mistress Ford. Here, set it down.



Mistress Page. Give your men the charge; we must be brief.

Mistress Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John and Robert, be
ready here hard by in the brew-house: and when I
suddenly call you, come forth, and without any pause
or staggering take this basket on your shoulders:
that done, trudge with it in all haste, and carry
it among the whitsters in Datchet-mead, and there
empty it in the muddy ditch close by the Thames side.



Mistress Page. You will do it?

Mistress Ford. I ha' told them over and over; they lack no
direction. Be gone, and come when you are called.



(stage directions). [Enter ROBIN]

Mistress Ford. How now, my eyas-musket! what news with you?



Mistress Page. Thou'rt a good boy: this secrecy of thine shall be
a tailor to thee and shall make thee a new doublet
and hose. I'll go hide me.

Mistress Ford. Do so. Go tell thy master I am alone.
[Exit ROBIN]
Mistress Page, remember you your cue.



(stage directions). [Exit]

Mistress Ford. Go to, then: we'll use this unwholesome humidity,
this gross watery pumpion; we'll teach him to know
turtles from jays.



Falstaff. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? Why, now let
me die, for I have lived long enough: this is the
period of my ambition: O this blessed hour!

Mistress Ford. O sweet Sir John!



Falstaff. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate,
Mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my wish: I would
thy husband were dead: I'll speak it before the
best lord; I would make thee my lady.

Mistress Ford. I your lady, Sir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady!



Falstaff. Let the court of France show me such another. I see
how thine eye would emulate the diamond: thou hast
the right arched beauty of the brow that becomes the
ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of
Venetian admittance.

Mistress Ford. A plain kerchief, Sir John: my brows become nothing
else; nor that well neither.



Falstaff. By the Lord, thou art a traitor to say so: thou
wouldst make an absolute courtier; and the firm
fixture 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
thy friend. Come, thou canst not hide it.

Mistress Ford. Believe me, there is no such thing in me.



Falstaff. 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 a
many of these lisping hawthorn-buds, that come like
women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklersbury
in simple time; I cannot: but I love thee; none
but thee; and thou deservest it.

Mistress Ford. Do not betray me, sir. I fear you love Mistress Page.



Falstaff. Thou mightst as well say I love to walk by the
Counter-gate, which is as hateful to me as the reek
of a lime-kiln.

Mistress Ford. Well, heaven knows how I love you; and you shall one
day find it.



Falstaff. Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.

Mistress Ford. Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could not
be in that mind.



Falstaff. She shall not see me: I will ensconce me behind the arras.

Mistress Ford. Pray you, do so: she's a very tattling woman.
[FALSTAFF hides himself]
What's the matter? how now!



Mistress Page. O Mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed,
you're overthrown, you're undone for ever!

Mistress Ford. What's the matter, good Mistress Page?



Mistress Page. O well-a-day, Mistress Ford! having an honest man
to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion!

Mistress Ford. What cause of suspicion?



Mistress Page. What cause of suspicion! Out pon you! how am I
mistook in you!

Mistress Ford. Why, alas, what's the matter?



Mistress Page. 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 assence: you are undone.

Mistress Ford. 'Tis not so, I hope.



Mistress 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
amazed; call all your senses to you; defend your
reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.

Mistress Ford. What shall I do? There is a gentleman my dear
friend; and I fear not mine own shame so much as his
peril: I had rather than a thousand pound he were
out of the house.



Mistress 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. 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 Datchet-mead.

Mistress Ford. He's too big to go in there. What shall I do?



Mistress Page. Help to cover your master, boy. Call your men,
Mistress Ford. You dissembling knight!

Mistress Ford. What, John! Robert! John!
[Exit ROBIN]
[Re-enter Servants]
Go take up these clothes here quickly. Where's the
cowl-staff? look, how you drumble! Carry them to
the laundress in Datchet-meat; quickly, come.



Servant. To the laundress, forsooth.

Mistress Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You
were best meddle with buck-washing.



Mistress Page. Is there not a double excellency in this?

Mistress Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband
is deceived, or Sir John.



Mistress Page. What a taking was he in when your husband asked who
was in the basket!

Mistress Ford. I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so
throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.



Mistress Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would all of the same
strain were in the same distress.

Mistress Ford. I think my husband hath some special suspicion of
Falstaff's being here; for I never saw him so gross
in his jealousy till now.



Mistress Page. I will lay a plot to try that; and we will yet have
more tricks with Falstaff: his dissolute disease will
scarce obey this medicine.

Mistress Ford. Shall we send that foolish carrion, Mistress
Quickly, to him, and excuse his throwing into the
water; and give him another hope, to betray him to
another punishment?



Mistress Page. [Aside to MISTRESS FORD] Heard you that?

Mistress Ford. You use me well, Master Ford, do you?



Ford. Ay, I do so.

Mistress Ford. Heaven make you better than your thoughts!



Falstaff. Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my
sufferance. I see you are obsequious in your love,
and I profess requital to a hair's breadth; not
only, Mistress Ford, in the simple
office of love, but in all the accoutrement,
complement and ceremony of it. But are you
sure of your husband now?

Mistress Ford. He's a-birding, sweet Sir John.



Mistress Page. [Within] What, ho, gossip Ford! what, ho!

Mistress Ford. Step into the chamber, Sir John.



Mistress Page. How now, sweetheart! who's at home besides yourself?

Mistress Ford. Why, none but mine own people.



Mistress Page. Indeed!

Mistress Ford. No, certainly.
[Aside to her]
Speak louder.



Mistress Page. Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here.

Mistress Ford. Why?



Mistress Page. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes again:
he so takes on yonder with my husband; so rails
against all married mankind; so curses all Eve's
daughters, of what complexion soever; and so buffets
himself on the forehead, crying, 'Peer out, peer
out!' that any madness I ever yet beheld seemed but
tameness, civility and patience, to this his
distemper he is in now: I am glad the fat knight is not here.

Mistress Ford. Why, does he talk of him?



Mistress Page. Of none but him; and swears he was carried out, the
last time he searched for him, in a basket; protests
to my husband he is now here, and hath drawn him and
the rest of their company from their sport, to make
another experiment of his suspicion: but I am glad
the knight is not here; now he shall see his own foolery.

Mistress Ford. How near is he, Mistress Page?



Mistress Page. Hard by; at street end; he will be here anon.

Mistress Ford. I am undone! The knight is here.



Falstaff. What shall I do? I'll creep up into the chimney.

Mistress Ford. There they always use to discharge their
birding-pieces. Creep into the kiln-hole.



Falstaff. Where is it?

Mistress Ford. He will seek there, on my word. Neither press,
coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an
abstract for the remembrance of such places, and
goes to them by his note: there is no hiding you in the house.



Mistress Page. If you go out in your own semblance, you die, Sir
John. Unless you go out disguised—

Mistress Ford. How might we disguise him?



Falstaff. Good hearts, devise something: any extremity rather
than a mischief.

Mistress Ford. My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brentford, has a
gown above.



Mistress Page. On my word, it will serve him; she's as big as he
is: and there's her thrummed hat and her muffler
too. Run up, Sir John.

Mistress Ford. Go, go, sweet Sir John: Mistress Page and I will
look some linen for your head.



(stage directions). [Exit FALSTAFF]

Mistress Ford. I would my husband would meet him in this shape: he
cannot abide the old woman of Brentford; he swears
she's a witch; forbade her my house and hath
threatened to beat her.



Mistress Page. Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel, and the
devil guide his cudgel afterwards!

Mistress Ford. But is my husband coming?



Mistress Page. Ah, in good sadness, is he; and talks of the basket
too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.

Mistress 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.



Mistress Page. Nay, but he'll be here presently: let's go dress him
like the witch of Brentford.

Mistress Ford. I'll first direct my men what they shall do with the
basket. Go up; I'll bring linen for him straight.



(stage directions). [Re-enter MISTRESS FORD with two Servants]

Mistress 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.



Ford. So say I too, sir.
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?

Mistress Ford. Heaven be my witness you do, if you suspect me in
any dishonesty.



Page. This passes!

Mistress Ford. Are you not ashamed? let the clothes alone.



Ford. Empty the basket, I say!

Mistress Ford. Why, man, why?



Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed
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.

Mistress Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death.



Ford. Help to search my house this one time. If I find
not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity; let
me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of
me, 'As jealous as Ford, Chat searched a hollow
walnut for his wife's leman.' Satisfy me once more;
once more search with me.

Mistress Ford. What, ho, Mistress Page! come you and the old woman
down; my husband will come into the chamber.



Ford. Old woman! what old woman's that?

Mistress Ford. Nay, 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 simple men; we do not know what's
brought to pass under the profession of
fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells,
by the figure, and such daubery as this is, beyond
our element we know nothing. Come down, you witch,
you hag, you; come down, I say!

Mistress Ford. Nay, good, sweet husband! Good gentlemen, let him
not strike the old woman.



Mistress Page. Are you not ashamed? I think you have killed the
poor woman.

Mistress Ford. Nay, he will do it. 'Tis a goodly credit for you.



Mistress Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.

Mistress Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most
unpitifully, methought.



Mistress Page. I'll have the cudgel hallowed and hung o'er the
altar; it hath done meritorious service.

Mistress Ford. What think you? may we, with the warrant of
womanhood and the witness of a good conscience,
pursue him with any further revenge?



Mistress Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of
him: if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with
fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the
way of waste, attempt us again.

Mistress Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him?



Mistress Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the
figures out of your husband's brains. If they can
find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight
shall be any further afflicted, we two will still be
the ministers.

Mistress Ford. I'll warrant they'll have him publicly shamed: and
methinks there would be no period to the jest,
should he not be publicly shamed.



Page. So think I too.

Mistress Ford. Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,
And let us two devise to bring him thither.



Page. Why, yet there want not many that do fear
In deep of night to walk by this Herne's oak:
But what of this?

Mistress Ford. Marry, this is our device;
That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us.



Mistress Page. That likewise have we thought upon, and thus:
Nan Page my daughter and my little son
And three or four more of their growth we'll dress
Like urchins, ouphes and fairies, green and white,
With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
And rattles in their hands: upon a sudden,
As Falstaff, she and I, are newly met,
Let them from forth a sawpit rush at once
With some diffused song: upon their sight,
We two in great amazedness will fly:
Then let them all encircle him about
And, fairy-like, to-pinch the unclean knight,
And ask him why, that hour of fairy revel,
In their so sacred paths he dares to tread
In shape profane.

Mistress Ford. And till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound
And burn him with their tapers.



Mistress Page. Fare you well, sir.
My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of
Falstaff as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying
my daughter: but 'tis no matter; better a little
chiding than a great deal of heart-break.

Mistress Ford. Where is Nan now and her troop of fairies, and the
Welsh devil Hugh?



Mistress Page. They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak,
with obscured lights; which, at the very instant of
Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once
display to the night.

Mistress Ford. That cannot choose but amaze him.



Mistress Page. If he be not amazed, he will be mocked; if he be
amazed, he will every way be mocked.

Mistress Ford. We'll betray him finely.



Mistress Page. Against such lewdsters and their lechery
Those that betray them do no treachery.

Mistress Ford. The hour draws on. To the oak, to the oak!



(stage directions). [Enter MISTRESS FORD and MISTRESS PAGE]

Mistress Ford. Sir John! art thou there, my deer? my male deer?



Falstaff. My doe with the black scut! Let the sky rain
potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Green
Sleeves, hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes; let
there come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me here.

Mistress Ford. Mistress Page is come with me, sweetheart.



Mistress Page. Alas, what noise?

Mistress Ford. Heaven forgive our sins



Falstaff. What should this be?

Mistress Ford. [with Mistress Page] Away, away!



Ford. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now? Master Brook,
Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his
horns, Master Brook: and, Master Brook, he hath
enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buck-basket, his
cudgel, and twenty pounds of money, which must be
paid to Master Brook; his horses are arrested for
it, Master Brook.

Mistress Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never meet.
I will never take you for my love again; but I will
always count you my deer.

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