Why, then, Foible's a bawd, an errant, rank match-making
bawd. And I, it seems, am a husband, a rank husband, and my wife a
very errant, rank wife,--all in the way of the world. 'Sdeath, to
be a cuckold by anticipation, a cuckold in embryo! Sure I was born
with budding antlers like a young satyr, or a citizen's child,
'sdeath, to be out-witted, to be out-jilted, out-matrimonied. If I
had kept my speed like a stag, 'twere somewhat, but to crawl after,
with my horns like a snail, and be outstripped by my wife--'tis
Then shake it off: you have often wished for an
opportunity to part, and now you have it. But first prevent their
plot:- the half of Millamant's fortune is too considerable to be
parted with to a foe, to Mirabell.
Damn him, that had been mine--had 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-lieutenant's hall.
They may prove a cap of maintenance 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 before she was married.
Discover to my lady your wife's 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 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.
I'm sorry I hinted to my lady to endeavour a match
between Millamant and Sir Wilfull; that may be an obstacle.
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
Well, how do you stand affected towards your lady?
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 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 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 take none from me: 'tis against all
rule of play that I should lose to one who has not wherewithal to
Besides you forget, marriage is honourable.
Hum! Faith, and that's well thought on: marriage is
honourable, as you say; and if so, wherefore should cuckoldom be a
discredit, being derived from so honourable a root?
Nay, I know not; if the root be honourable, why not the
So, so; why this point's clear. Well, how do we proceed?
I will contrive a letter which shall be delivered to my
lady at the time when that 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, 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 am
If the worst come to the worst, I'll turn my wife to grass.
I have already a deed of settlement of the best part of her estate,
which I wheedled out of her, and that you shall partake at least.
I hope you are convinced that I hate Mirabell now?
You'll be no more jealous?
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 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 common motto to their
All husbands must or pain or shame endure;
The wise too jealous are, fools too secure.