Eaten me out of house and home Introduction
I'm Mistress Quickly. I'm the hostess at Boar's Head Tavern where Falstaff and his rebel friends hang out. I drop dirty jokes like they're going out of style—sometimes without even realizing it. And you know what I think?
It is more than for some, my lord; it is for all,
all I have. He hath eaten me out of house and home;
he hath put all my substance into that fat belly of
his: but I will have some of it out again, or I
will ride thee o' nights like the mare. (2.1.71-74)
Who Said It and Where
Poor Mistress Quickly in Henry IV, Part II. She's recently been widowed. Then she falls for Falstaff's seductive lines and utter deception. He swindles her out of a bunch of money after promising to marry her.
Ouch. What's a girl to do?
Get litigious, that's what. She decides to sue Falstaff. That ought to put him in his place. In this scene, two officers, Fang and Snare, show up to arrest Falstaff. But Mistress Quickly is not satisfied. She warns the officers to be careful because Falstaff is armed and dangerous. You know, "fool me once," and all that.
One time he even "stabbed" Mistress Quickly in her own house. She warns them to be careful because once Falstaff whips out his "weapon," he's not afraid to use it. (You may have noticed the bawdy double entendre here. Mistress Quickly has a tendency to talk this way but she doesn't quite seem to be aware that she's doing it.)
Fang talks a little smack about what he's about to do to Falstaff if the guy tries to put up a fight. Luckily, Mistress Quickly says she'll help out if Falstaff tries anything. Okay. Phew.
Enter Falstaff and his Page.
Fang announces that Falstaff's under arrest, so Falstaff draws his sword and tells Bardolph to cut off Fang's head. He also says "Throw the quean in the channel." Translation: "Throw the [insert derogatory word for prostitute here] in the gutter." Mistress Quickly's not having any of that so she says she's going to throw Falstaff in the gutter. Oh snap.
A brawl ensues. During the dust up, Mistress Quickly calls Falstaff a "bastardly rogue" and a killer. Falstaff's Page screams at Quickly to get away from Falstaff before he gives her a spanking. (Seriously. He threatens to "tickle [her] catastrophe" with his whip. Here's hoping we never hear that turn of phrase again.)
Just when things are getting interesting, the Lord Chief Justice enters and breaks up the tussle. Mistress Quickly plays the martyr card, calling herself a "poor widow" who's suing Falstaff because he's "eaten her out of house and home."