Course Hero. "The Merry Wives of Windsor Study Guide." Course Hero. 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 17 Dec. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Merry-Wives-of-Windsor/>.
Course Hero. (2018, March 22). The Merry Wives of Windsor Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 17, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Merry-Wives-of-Windsor/
(Course Hero, 2018)
Course Hero. "The Merry Wives of Windsor Study Guide." March 22, 2018. Accessed December 17, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Merry-Wives-of-Windsor/.
Course Hero, "The Merry Wives of Windsor Study Guide," March 22, 2018, accessed December 17, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Merry-Wives-of-Windsor/.
That night in Windsor Park, Page meets with Shallow and Slender. They rehearse the latter's plot to steal away with Anne Page during the upcoming fairy dance. Anne, they recall, will be dressed in white, making her easy to recognize despite her mask. Slender and Anne have even come up with passwords—mum and budget—to make doubly sure he has the right maiden. Satisfied their plan will work, the three men hide themselves to await the appointed hour.
The trap is set for Slender and Page, though neither knows it yet. The idea for Anne to wear a white dress came from Mistress Page in Act 4, Scene 4. Though her suggestion may have seemed innocent at the time, she chose the color to disguise her own plan of having Anne wear green. Both Page and Slender now expect to see a white dress, making it easy for Mistress Page to set up a decoy and keep Slender from marrying her daughter.
The silly passwords, mum and budget (a meddlesome person or worrywart) is Slender's idea, or perhaps Anne's. Either way, it provides another means of throwing Slender off Anne's trail in Act 5, Scene 5. When he calls out "mum" and hears "budget" back, he will be certain he is talking to Anne. Thus Anne and Mistress Page—each working for her own purpose—have inadvertently colluded to deceive both Slender and Page even more soundly.