FAIN. Damn him, that had been mine, had 690 you not made that fond discovery -- that had been forfeited, had they been married. My wife had added lustre to my horns, by that increase of fortune; I could have worn 'em tipt with gold, though my forehead had been furnished like a deputy 695 lieutenant's hall.1
MRS. MAR. They may prove a cap of maintenance2 to you still, if you can away with your wife. And she's no worse than when you had her -- I dare swear she had given up her game be 700 fore she was married.
FAIN. Hum! That may be. ----- She might throw up her cards; but I'll be hanged if she did not put Pam3 in her pocket.
MRS. MAR. You married her to keep you; 705 and if you can contrive to have her keep you better than you expected, why should you not keep her longer than you intended?
FAIN. The means, the means!
MRS. MAR. Discover to my lady your wife's 710 conduct; threaten to part with her. My lady loves her, and will come to any composition to save her reputation. Take the opportunity of breaking it, just upon the discovery of this imposture. My lady will be enraged beyond bounds, and sacrifice 715 niece, and fortune, and all at that conjuncture. And let me alone to keep her warm; if she should flag in her part, I will not fail to prompt her.
FAIN. Faith, this has an appearance.
MRS. MAR. I'm sorry I hinted to my lady 720 to endeavor a match between Millamant and Sir Wilfull; that may be an obstacle.
FAIN. Oh, for that matter leave me to manage him; I'll disable him for that; he will drink like a Dane: after dinner, I'll set his hand in.4725
MRS. MAR. Well, how do you stand affected towards your lady?
FAIN. Why, faith, I'm thinking of it. -- Let me see -- I am married already, so that's over; -- my wife has played the jade with me -- well, that's 730 over too; -- I never loved her, or if I had, why that would have been over too by this time. -- Jealous of her I cannot be, for I am certain; so there's an end of jealousy. Weary of her, I am, and shall be -- no, there's no end of that; no, no, that were 735 too much to hope. Thus far concerning my repose. Now for my reputation. -- As to my own, I married not for it; so that's out of the question. -- And as to my part in my wife's -- why, she had parted with hers before; so bringing none to me, she can 740 take none from me; 'tis against all rule of play, that I should lose to one who has not wherewithal to stake.
MRS. MAR. Besides, you forget, marriage is honorable. 745
FAIN. Hum! Faith, and that's well thought on; marriage is honorable, as you say; and if so, wherefore should cuckoldom be a discredit, being derived from so honorable a root?
MRS. MAR. Nay, I know not; if the root be 750 honorable, why not the branches?5
FAIN. So, so, why this point's clear. Well, how do we proceed?
MRS. MAR. I will contrive a letter which shall be delivered to my lady at the time when that 755 rascal who is to act Sir Rowland is with her. It shall come as from an unknown hand -- for the less I appear to know of the truth, the better I can play the incendiary. Besides, I would not have Foible provoked if I could help it, -- because you know 760 she knows some passages. Nay, I expect all will come out -- but let the mine be sprung first, and then I care not if I'm discovered.
FAIN. If the worst come to the worst, I'll turn my wife to grass. -- I have already a deed of 765 settlement of the best part of her estate, which I wheedled out of her, and that you shall partake at least.
MRS. MAR. I hope you are convinced that I hate Mirabell; now you'll be no more jealous. 770
FAIN. Jealous, no! -- by this kiss -- let husbands be jealous, but let the lover still believe; or if he doubt, let it be only to endear his pleasure, and prepare the joy that follows, when he proves his mistress true; but let husbands' doubts convert to 775 endless jealousy; or if they have belief, let it corrupt to superstition, and blind credulity. I am single, and will herd no more with 'em. True, I wear the badge, but I'll disown the order. And since I take my leave of 'em, I care not if I leave 'em a 780 common motto to their common crest:
All husbands must, or pain, or shame, endure;
The wise too jealous are, fools too secure. Exeunt.
LADY WISHFORT and FOIBLE.
LADY WISH. Is Sir Rowland coming, say'st thou, Foible? and are things in order?____________________