Laugh oneself into stitches
If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourselves into
follow me. Yon gull Malvolio is turn'd heathen, a very
for there is no Christian that means to be sav'd by believing
rightly can ever believe such impossible passages of grossness.
in yellow stockings.
Most villainously; like a pedant that keeps a school i' th'
The noun "stitch" originally meant "a stab," as with a sharp
implement. From this meaning we have derived most other senses of
the word, as a noun or verb. One "stitches" cloth by stabbing it
with a needle; one gets "stitches" from jogging and experiences
stabbing pains. Maria, inviting her cohorts to "laugh yourselves
into stitches," refers to the facial contortions and stabbing pains
induced by the strenuously aerobic activity of laughing. Such
hilarity, in Renaissance psychobiology, was thought to reside in
the spleen, also the seat of other sudden passions. What will rouse
this organ is the sight of the steward Malvolio who, duped into
thinking his employer, the lady Olivia, is in love with him, has
also been duped into thinking she has a fetish for yellow stockings
and cross-garters. These hideously affected fashions, which are
hardly in Malvolio's style, will only help convince Olivia that
Malvolio is mad.