Mrs. Marwood has been eavesdropping (a common comedy of manners plot
Indeed, Mrs. Engine, is it thus with you? Are you become a go-between of this importance? Yes, I shall watch you. Why this wench is thepasse-partout, a very master-key to everybody’s strong box. My friend Fainall, have you carried it so swimmingly? I thought there was something in it; but it seems it’s over with you. Your loathing is not from a want of appetite then, but from a surfeit. Else you could never be so cool to fall from a principal to be an assistant, to procure for him! A pattern of generosity, that I confess. Well, Mr. Fainall, you have met with your match.—O man, man! Woman, woman! The devil’s an ass: if I were a painter, I would draw him like an idiot, a driveller with a bib and bells. Man should have his head and horns, and woman the rest of him. Poor, simple fiend! ‘Madam Marwood has a month’s mind, but he can’t abide her.’ ’Twere better for him you had not been his confessor in that affair, without you could have kept his counsel closer. I shall not prove another pattern of generosity; he has not obliged me to that with those excesses of himself, and now I’ll have none of him. Here comes the good lady, panting ripe, with a heart full of hope, and a head full of care, like any chymist upon the day of projection.
Congreve, William. The Way of the World. Project Gutenberg. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1292/1292-h/1292-h.htm