Mincing arrives in the dressing room with news: Waitwell has been released from prison, while Wishfort is terribly upset over something that Fainall has told her. He is shouting at a crying Wishfort that he’ll have her fortune or get divorced. Mincing continues that Mirabell and Millamant have sent her to find Wilfull. She believes that Millamant will indeed marry Wilfull in order not to lose her dowry.
As relayed by Mincing, the audience can see how Mirabell’s plot has completely fallen apart. Fainall has gone through with his threat to extort Wishfort’s fortune by revealing Mrs. Fainall’s former relationship with Mirabell. Even further, it seems that to save her fortune Millamant has been forced to sacrifice both her love and her independence.
Mrs. Fainall orders Foible to tell Mincing that she must reveal what she knows about Marwood’s affair with Fainall when called on. Mincing promises to help no matter what happens to her.
Mrs. Fainall takes matters into her own hands and begins to organize a counter scheme for Mirabell’s benefit and her own, as well.