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Act III, Scene 5
Falstaff meets Bardolph at the Garter Inn and indignantly relates how he had been dumped into the Thames from the laundry basket. Fortunately, the water was shallow, and he was able to reach the surface quickly. Mistress Quickly then enters with another invitation from Mrs. Ford. Falstaff agrees to meet her. After Quickly leaves, Ford-as-Brook enters. Falstaff, still duped by the appearance of Mr. Brook, speaks of his rendezvous with Mrs. Ford and unknowingly reveals the fact that he was in the buck-basket while Mr. Ford was searching for him. When Falstaff leaves, Ford laments his wife's lack of faithfulness and decides to catch Falstaff and his wife in the act.
Falstaff is indignant at being thrown in the river. He is, however, thankful that he is still alive after the horrible experience. He relates what has happened in a semi-intoxicated state and in terms so exaggerated that all appears highly humorous. Falstaff has not changed or learned anything from the previous episode, because on hearing of Mrs. Ford's second invitation to him, he again jumps at the offer. Furthermore, when Ford-as-Brook offers to pay him more money, he cannot resist.
It is entertaining to listen to Falstaff describe his experience to Ford, without realizing that he is speaking to the husband. When Ford asks him whether he would want to meet Mrs. Ford again, Falstaff claims, "I will be thrown into Aetna, as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her thus." Ford's jealousy is understandable, since he is aware of the story only from Falstaff's side and not from his wife's. It is not surprising that he is motivated now more than ever to punish the two offenders.