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Full text of "The dramatic works of Moliere : rendered into English by Henri Van Laun ; illustrated with nineteen engravings on steel from paintings and designs by Horace Vernet, Desenne, Johannot and Hersent; complete in six volumes.."

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M O L I E R E 



With a Prefatory Memoir, Introductory Notices and Notes 




Horace Vernet, Desenne, Johannot and Hersent 














BORES (THE) 2 43 





PRINCE i 201 

















MISER (THE) 5 i 





PSYCHE 5 277 





BAND 2 169 









L'Etourdi, ou les Contre-temps I 


Le Depit Amoureux 73 


Les Predeuses Ridicules 133 


Sganarelle ; ou, le Cocu Imaginaire 169 


Don Garde de Navarre ; ou, le Prince Jaloux .... 201 





BLUNDERER. Act IV., Scene 8. 

L? Etourdi, ou les Contre-temps 56 

LOVE- TIFF. Act IV., Scene 3. 

Le Depit Amoureux 116 


Les Pr&cieuses Ridicules 1 60 



I THINK it will be generally admitted that Moliere is 
the greatest comic poet France has produced, and that 
he is equal, if not superior, to any writer of character- 
comedies on the ancient or modern stage. His plays 
may be divided into six classes or groups : First, the 
small dramatic poems or pastorals, such as Psyche, Ics 
Amants magnifiques, la Princesse d 'Elide, Ics FacJieux, 
Melicerte, la Pastorale comique, and Amphitryon, which- 
he wrote for court festivals, by order of Louis XIV. ; 
Second, his farces, written to suit the taste of the less 
refined, such as Ics Fourbcrics de Scapin, le Bourgeois- 
gentilhomme , la Comtesse d'Escarbagnas, Monsieur de 
Pourceaugnac, le Medecin malgre lui, George Dandin, le 
Sicilien, V Amour Medecin, le Manage force, Sganarelle t 
and les Precieuses Ridicules, and yet, notwithstanding 
their absurdity, attracting the higher classes by their 
witty descriptions of grotesque characters ; Third, his 
comedies r Etourdi, I'Ecole des Maris, lEcole des 
femmes, /' Avare, Don Garde de Navarre, le Depit 
amour eux, and le Malade imaginaire, in each of which 
the principal object seems to have been to bring into 
prominence one particular vice or folly, with all its 
necessary consequences ; Fourth, those splendidly con- 



ceived plays, Don Juan, Ics Femmes savantes, Tartuffe, 
and Ic Misanthrope, which pourtray humanity in all its 
aspects ; Fifth, those critical short pieces, la Critiqiie de 
I Ecole des femmes and r Impromptu de Versailles, in 
which, with masterly acumen, he defends his own 
plays and attacks his adversaries ; and Sixth, those 
early attempts of his comic muse le Medecin volant 
and/a Jalousie duBarbouille, which gave ample promise 
of what he afterwards became. 

It is always difficult to state when a playwright has 
taken from any other author, for the saying, " Je 
prends mon bien partout ou je le trouve" has covered, 
and still covers, a multitude of literary sins. More- 
over, Moliere possessed a power of absorption and 
assimilation which enabled him so to vivify the ma- 
terials he borrowed that they became new creations 
of incomparable value. In this sense, to take an idea 
or a mere thought from another author can hardly be 
called an imitation ; and though Moliere, in his first 
two or three plays, translated several scenes from 
Italian authors, he has scarcely ever done so in his 
latter pieces. To mention which of his comedies I 
consider, or rather which are generally thought, the 
best, would be difficult, where everything is so emi- 
nent ; for in all his plays characters will be found 
which demonstrate his thorough knowledge of human 
nature, and display his genius. To discover these 
little peculiarities in which the specific difference of 
character consists ; to distinguish between what men 
do from custom or fashion, and what they perform 
through their own natural idiosyncracy ; to select, 


unite, and draw these peculiarities to a dramatic point, 
demands real genius, and that of the highest order. 

Generally Moliere's satire is directed against hypo- 
crites, against quacks, against the affectation of learn- 
ing amongst ladies, and against snobbishness. If I 
were to enumerate, however, all the characters our 
author has created, I should arrive at the sum total 
of all human passions, all human feelings, all human 
vices, and at every type of the different classes of 
society. In I'Avare sordid avarice is represented by 
Harpagon, and want of order and lavish prodigality by 
his son Cleante ; in le Festin de Pierre the type of 
shameless vice is Don Juan, Donna Elvira displays 
resignation amidst love disgracefully betrayed, Ma- 
thurine primitive and uncultivated coquetry, and 
Mons. Dimanche the greed of a tradesman who wishes 
to make money. Tartuffe, in the comedy of that 
name, represents hypocrisy and downright wicked- 
ness. M. Jourdain, a tradesman who has made 
money and who imitates a nobleman, is, in le Bour- 
geois-gentilhomme, no bad specimen of self-sufficient 
vanity, folly, and ignorance ; whilst Dorantc, in the 
same play, is a well-copied example of the fashionable 
swindler of that period. In le Misanthrope, Alceste 
pourtrays great susceptibility of tenderness and hon- 
our, Celimene, wit without any feeling, and Philinte, 
quiet common sense, amiability, intelligence, instruc- 
tion, knowledge of the world, and a spirit of refined 
criticism. This is also displayed by Chrysalde in 
rEcole des Femmes, by Beralde, in le Malade imaginaire, 
and by Ariste in VEcole des Marts; whilst Sganerelle 


in the latter play is an example of foolish and coarse 
jealousy. George Dandin, in the comedy of that 
name, is a model of weakness of character and irreso- 
lution. Angelique, an impudent and heartless woman, 
and her father, Monsieur de Sotenville, the coarse, 
proud, country squire of that age. Argan, in le Ma- 
lade imaginare, represents egotism and pusillanimity ; 
Vadius and Trissotin, in les Femmes savantes, pedantic 
foolishness and self-conceit ; Agnes, in I 'Ecole des 
Femmes, cunning as well as ingenuity ; and Aglaure, 
in Psyche, feminine jealousy. Finally, Nicole, Dorine, 
Martine, Marotte, Toinetfe, and Lisette personify the 
homely servant-girls, who, possessing plain, down- 
right common sense, point out the affectation and 
ridiculous pretensions of their companions and supe- 
riors; whilst Claudine, in George Dandin, Nerine, in 
Mons. de Pourceaugnac, and Frosine, in the Avare, 
represent the intriguant in petticoats, a female Mas- 

In how far it is true that many of Moliere's cha- 
racters were copied from persons well known at the 
time his plays were represented, there is now no cer- 
tain means of judging ; but I think it extremely un- 
likely that he should have brought on the stage and 
ridiculed persons of the highest rank, as it is said he 
has done ; though it is very probable that a general 
likeness existed between the character produced and 
the person whom it was thought he imitated. In the 
Introductory Notice to each play of this translation, 
due attention will be paid to any such inuendos, and 
to the degree of credence which they deserve. 


The style of Moliere is the style suitable for comedy, 
and therefore extremely difficult, if not impossible, to 
render into any other language. Perhaps of no writer 
are so many phrases quoted in French conversation ; 
not seldom by people who have never read him, and 
who only, parrot-like, repeat what they have heard. 
Several of his expressions have become proverbial, or 
are used as wise saws to be uttered with solemn face 
and bated breath. 

Another not less remarkable faculty of Moliere is 
that the language his personages employ is precisely 
suited to them. It varies according to their age, 
character, rank, and profession, whilst the very sen- 
tence becomes long or short, stilted or tripping, pe- 
dantic or elastic, finical or natural, coarse or over- 
refined, according as an old or young man, a marquis 
or a citizen, a scholar or a dunce, has to speak. It 
can be said of Moliere, more than of any other author 
we know, that he always employs the right word in 
the right place. Hence different commentators have 
tried to show that he was a kind of Admirable Crich- 
ton, and that he knew and understood everything. 
Mons. Castil-Blaze wrote a book to prove that Mo- 
liere was a perfect musician ; MM. Truinet and Parin- 
gault, barristers, printed one to convince the world he 
was a most able and learned lawyer ; Mons. M. Ray- 
naud, that he must have studied medicine most tho- 
roughly in order to be able to imitate so accurately 
the medical jargon of his time. And still a number 
of books might have been written to prove that he 
knew perfectly many more things. Even his peasants 


speak correctly the dialect of the province or county 
Moliere gives them as the land of their birth ; all his 
creations bear proofs of his genius in an incisiveness 
of expression and clearness of thought which no other 
writer has equalled. 

Moliere has written some of his comedies in prose, 
others in verse, and in verse that has none of the 
stiffness of the ordinary French rhyme, but which 
becomes in his hands a delightful medium for spark- 
ling sallies, bitter sarcasms, well sustained and sprightly 
conversations. He has also managed blank verse with 
wonderful precision, a rare gift among French au- 
thors. The whole of le Sicilien, the love scenes of the 
Avare, the monologues of Georges Dandin, and certain 
scenes of le Fcstin de Pierre, are written in this metre. 

Moliere's plays have been translated into every 
language of Europe, and some of them even into the 
classical tongues ; they have found admirers wherever 
intellectual beings are congregated ; they have been 
carefully conned and studied by literary men of every 
age and clime; and Goethe himself read some of 
these comedies every year. 

I have attempted to give a new translation of all 
Moliere's plays. After mature consideration the idea 
has been abandoned of reproducing, either in rhyme 
or blank verse, those which in the original are in 
poetry. The experiments which have been made to 
represent some of these in metre have not greatly 
charmed me ; and as they were tried by men of talent, 
and as I do not pretend to possess greater gifts than 
my predecessors, I have come to the conclusion that 


an imitation of Moliere's style in any metre is next to 
an impossibility, but that a faithful and literal transla- 
tion in prose, even if it cannot preserve the fire of the 
original, may still render the ideas, and represent to 
the English reader as clear a perception of Moliere's 
characters as can be obtained in a foreign tongue. 

I have however endeavoured not to be satisfied with 
a mere verbal version, but to preserve and convey the 
genuine spirit, as far as is consistent with the differ- 
ence of the two languages. In the Introductory No- 
tices a compact, critical judgment of the merits or 
demerits of each play is also given. But in order to 
place ourselves on a right standpoint for judging 
them, we must not forget that Moliere wrote his plays 
to be represented on the stage, and not to be read in 
the study only; that therefore we must recall, on 
reading him, the change of voice, the step, the smile, 
the gesture, the twinkle of the eye or movement of 
the head in the actor. Thus we are never tired of 
perusing him ; he never cloys ; we can remember 
all his good sayings, quote them, study him again 
and again, and every time discover fresh beauties. 

A remarkable characteristic of Moliere is that he 
does not exaggerate; his fools are never over-witty, 
his buffoons too grotesque, his men of wit too anxious 
to display their smartness, and his fine gentlemen too 
fond of immodest and ribald talk. His satire is always 
kept within bounds, his repartees are never out of 
place, his plots are but seldom intricate, and the moral 
of his plays is not obtruded, but follows as a natural 
consequence of the whole. He rarely rises to those 


lofty realms of poetry where Shakespeare so often 
soars, for he wrote, not idealistic but character-come- 
dies ; which is, perhaps, the reason that some of his 
would-be admirers consider him rather common-place. 
His claim to distinction is based only on strong 
common sense, good manners, sound morality, real 
wit, true humor, a great facile, and accurate command 
of language, and a photographic delineation of nature. 
It cannot be denied that there is little action in his 
plays, but there is a great deal of natural conversation : 
his personages show that he was a most attentive 
observer of men, even at court, where a certain varnish 
of over-refinement conceals nearly all individual fea- 
tures. He always makes vice appear in its most ridi- 
culous aspect, in order to let his audience laugh at and 
despise it ; his aim is to correct the follies of the age 
by exposing them to ridicule. Shakespeare, on the 
contrary, has no lack of incidents ; he roves through 
camp, and court, and grove, through solitary forests 
and populous cities ; he sketches in broad outlines 
rather than with minute strokes ; he defines classes 
rather than individuals, and instead of pourtraying 
petty vanities and human foibles prefers to deal with 
deep and tumultuous passions, to such an extent that 
some of his comedies are highly dramatic. But both 
poets are great, and perhaps unsurpassed in their own 
way, and both have many similar passages. When- 
ever these occur I have taken notice of them. As 
specimens, let me refer to Mascarille's soliloquy in the 
Blunderer (iii. i), and Launcelot Gobbo's speech in 
the Merchant of Venice (ii. 2) ; in the same play Mas- 


carille refusing money, and Autolycus in the Win- 
ter's Tale, (iv. 3) doing the same ; the speech of Gros- 
Rene in Sganarellc (i. 7), and the scene between Sir 
Valentine and Speed (ii. i) in the Two Gentlemen of 
Verona. Monsieur Jourdain, in The Citizen iv/io apes 
the Nobleman (le Bourgeois-gcntilJwmme), when putting 
on his hat at the entreaty of Dorante, says " J'aime 
mieux etre civil qit' importnn ; Master Slender, upon 
entering the house before Mrs. Page, says, in the 
Merry Wives of Windsor, (i. i), " I'll rather be un- 
mannerly than troublesome ; " Sosia, in Amphitryon 
(i. 2), sings, in order to show that he is not afraid 
when Mercury appears; Nick Bottom, in A Midsum- 
mer Night's Dream (iii. i) says, " I will sing, that they 
shall hear I am not afraid." The description of the 
horse in the Bores (les Fdcheux) is also worthy of 
being compared with that spoken by the Dauphin in 
Henry V. (iii. 6), and with the " round-hoof d, short- 
jointed " horse in Venus and Adonis. 

Moliere's plays have been already several times 
translated into English. I shall give a short history 
of each of these translations, observing however, be- 
forehand, that though many faults may be found in 
them, I have no inclination to cavil at anything that 
my predecessors may have badly done or wholly 
omitted. And I here once and for all state that I 
have never scrupled to adopt any expression, turn of 
thought, or even page, of any or every translation of 
my predecessors, whenever I found I could not im- 
prove upon it. 

The oldest of these English translations is by Mr. 


John Ozell, appeared in six volumes, was published in 
London, and printed for Bernard Lintott, at the 
Cross-Keys, between the Two Temple Gates, in Fleet 
Street, MDCCXIV. It is full of racy and sometimes 
even witty expressions. Unfortunately where Mo- 
liere slightly hints at something indelicate, Ozell em- 
ploys the broadest language possible. Moreover, he 
very often paraphrases or imitates, and on the whole 
translates rather too freely. This work is dedicated to 
the Earl of Dorset, in words which are rather a genea- 
logical history of the Sackville family than an intro- 
duction to Moliere. 

The second translation is called, " Select Comedies 
of M. de Moliere, French and English, in eight vol- 
umes, with a frontispiece to each Comedy ; to which 
is prefix'd a curious print of the author, with his life 
in French and English. Hie meret aera liber Sociis ; 
hie et mare transit et longum noto scriptori prorogat 
aevum. Horat. London, printed for John Watts, at 
the Printing-Office in Wild-Court near Lincoln' s-Inn 
Fields, MDCCXXXII." This translation is less racy, but 
far more literal than the former. One of the transla- 
tors, in the Preface to The Self-deceived Husband (see 
page 172), oddly enough dedicated to Miss Wolsten- 
holme, dates from Enfield, Jan. ist, 1731-2, and signs 
himself " H. B.," probably Henry Baker; the other, 
in the Preface to Tartuffe, dedicated to Mr. Wyndham, 
dates from the Academy in Soho-Square, London, 
July 25, 1732, and subscribes himself, " Your most 
obliged and obedient humble servant, Martin Clare;" 
who appears to fame unknown. Some of the pictures 


in this edition have been drawn by Hogarth, of which 
the one before Sganarelle ou le Cocu imaginaire is the 
best. Of the thirty-one plays then known to have 
been written by Moliere, only seventeen are translated ; 
each of them is dedicated to a separate person, and 
the whole to the Queen, in the following words : 


MADAM, When MAJESTY vouchsafes to patronize the wise 
and the learned, and a QUEEN recommends KNOWLEDGE and 
VERTUE to her people, what blessings may we not promise 
ourselves in such happy circumstances ? That this is the 
great intention and business of your MAJESTY'S Life, witness 
the reception, which the labours of a Clark, a Newton, a Locke, 
and a Wollaston have met with from your MAJESTY, and the 
immortal honours you have paid their names. Whatever 
therefore can any ways conduce to those glorious ends, need 
not question your royal approbation and favour; and upon 
this presumption MOLIERE casts himself at your MAJESTY'S 
feet for protection. 

This merry philosopher, MADAM, hath taken as much pains 
to laugh ignorance and immorality out of the world, as the 
other great sages did to reason 'em out ; and as the general- 
ity of mankind can stand an argument better than a jest, and 
bear to be told how good they ought to be, with less concern 
than to be shown how ridiculous they are, his success, we con- 
ceive, has not been much inferior. 

Your MAJESTY need not be informed how much the manners 
and conduct of a people are dependent on their diversions ; 
and you are therefore convinced how necessary it is (since 
diversions are necessary) to give 'em such as may serve to 
polish and reform 'em. With this view, MADAM, was the 
following translation undertaken. By a perusal of these 
scenes, every reader will plainly perceive that obscenities and 
immoralities are no ways necessary to make a diverting com- 
edy ; they'll learn to distinguish betwixt honest satire and 

scurrilous invective ; betwixt decent repartee and tasteless 
ribaldry ; in short, between vicious satisfactions and rational 
pleasures. And if these plays should come to be read by the 
generality of people (as your Majesty's approbation will un- 
questionably make 'em), they'll by degrees get a more just 
and refined taste in their diversions, be better acquainted, and 
grow more in love with the true excellencies of dramatick 
writings. By this means our poets will be encouraged to aim 
at those excellencies, and blush to find themselves so much 
outdone in manners and vertue by their neighbours. Nay, 
there's no reason can possibly be given, MADAM, why these 
very pieces should not most of 'em be brought upon the Eng- 
lish stage. For, tho' our translation of 'em, as it now stands, 
may be thought too literal and close for that purpose, yet the 
dramatick writers might, with very little pains, so model and 
adapt them to our theatre and age, as to procure 'em all the 
success could be wished; and we may venture to affirm, that 
'twould turn more to their own account, and the satisfaction 
of their audiences, than anything they are able to produce 
themselves. This, too, they ought to be the more earnest to 
attempt, as the most probable means of drawing down a 
larger share of royal influence on the stage, which has been 
too justly forfeited by the licentious practice of modern play- 

We might here, MADAM, take occasion to particularize our 
author's perfections and excellencies, but those your MAJESTY 
wants no information of. All we shall therefore observe to 
your MAJESTY is, that wherever learning, wit, and politeness 
flourish, MOLIERE has always had an extraordinary reputa- 
tion ; and his plays, which are translated into so many lan- 
guages, and acted in so many nations, will gain him admiration 
as long as the stage shall endure. But what will contribute 
more than all to his glory and happiness, will be the patronage 
of a BRITISH PRINCESS, and the applause of a BRITISH audi- 

We dare not think, MADAM, of offering anything in this 
address that might look like panegyrick, lest the world should 


condemn us for meddling with a task above our talents, and 
saying too little Your MAJESTY, for presuming to say 
anything at all. There are many vertues and perfections, so 
very peculiar in your MAJESTY'S character, and so rarely 
found amongst the politicks of princes, that they require a 
masterly and deliberate hand to do 'em justice Such a zeal 
for religion moderated by reason such a benevolent study 
for composing all factions and dissensions such a laudable 
ambition, which aims at power only in order to benefit man- 
kind, and yet such a glorious contempt, even of empire itself, 
when inconsistent with those Principles whose Truth, you 
were satisfy'd of. These are such elevated and shining ver- 
tues, as even the vicious themselves must have a secret vene- 
ration for But as your MAJESTY'S great pleasure is privately 
to merit applause, not publickly to receive it ; for fear we 
should interrupt you in that noble delight, we'll beg leave to 
subscribe Our Selves, May it please your MAJESTY, your 
MAJESTY'S most obedient and most devoted humble servants, 


The third translation is "The works of Moliere, 
French and English, in ten volumes, a new edition, 
London, printed for John Watts, MDCCXXXIX." This 
translation appears to be precisely the same as the 
former one, a few words slightly altered ; the motto 
from Horace on the title-page is the same ; and the 
plays not found in the " Select Comedies " are here 
translated. The pictures are identical with those of 
the translation mentioned above, with the exception of 
those in front of the fourteen comedies added, which 
have engravings, and very good ones too, drawn by 
the celebrated Boucher. According to Lowndes, this 
translation was executed by Henry Baker and the 
Rev. Mr. Miller. The work is dedicated to the Prince 


and Princess of Wales, and the dedication of the for- 
mer translation to the Queen does duty here, some- 
what abridged. The chief difference is, that whilst, 
in the former, the virtues of the Queen are all specified 
and catalogued in the paragraph beginning, " We dare 
not think," under the headings " zeal for religion," 
" benevolent study," " laudable ambition," and " glor- 
ious contempt," they are only mentioned in the pre- 
sent preface in a lump as "many vertues and perfec- 
tions ;" but, to make up for it, the Prince and Princess 
of Wales are praised for their " unparallel'd union of 
hearts and affections." 

The dedication begins thus : 


May it please your Royal Highnesses, The refined taste 
your Royal Highnesses are both so celebrated for in the Belles 
Lettres, and the peculiar countenance you have shewn to thea- 
trical performances, have embolden'd the editors and transla- 
tors of the following work to lay it at your feet. 

Moliere has been translated into most of the languages, and 
patroniz'd by most of the Princes in Europe: But if we have 
been capable of doing him as much justice in our ''version, 
as we have been prudent enough to do him in the choice of 
patrons, he'll be more happy in speaking English than all 
the rest. 

The rest of the dedication is taken from that to the 
queen, beginning from " Your Majesty (your Royal 
Highnesses) need not be informed " until " with the 
true excellencies of Dramatick Writings." The end- 
ing varies, and we give it here below : 


By this means our poets will be encourag'd to aim at those 
excellencies, and be assisted in producing entertainments 
more agreeable to nature, good sense, and your Royal High- 
nesses taste. 

We dare not think of offering anything in this address that 
might look like panegyrick ; there are many vertues and per- 
fections so singular in your Royal Highnesses characters, that 
they require a masterly and deliberate hand to do 'em justice. 
Give us leave, SIR and MADAM, only to hint at one, which is 
that unparallel'd union of hearts and affections so rarely 
found in the palaces of princes, and which shines so conspic- 
uously in your Royal Highnesses that we durst not presume 
so much as to separate your very names, or make our ad- 
dress to either singly. 

That your Royal Highnesses may long enjoy that mutual bliss 
is the universal prayer of mankind, and of none more than 
of your Royal Highnesses' most obedient and most devoted 
humble servants, 


Another similar edition of our author was pub- 
lished by the same firm in MDCCXLVIII. 

Two editions of the same translation of Moliere's 
works were also published by D. Browne and A. 
Millar in MDCCXLVIII. and in MDCCLV. 

The next Moliere, an elegant Scottish reprint of the 
English part of the above edition in ten volumes, was 
published in Glasgow in five volumes, "printed by 
Robert Urie, and sold by John Gilmour, Bookseller 
in the Saltmarcat, MDCCLI." 

An edition of our author, according to Lowndes, 
Was also published in Berwick-on-Tweed, 1770, 6 
vols., but I have not been able to get hold of a copy 
of this translation. In the British Museum there is 


however a translation of five plays by Moliere, pub- 
lished in one volume, and printed at Berwick for R. 
Taylor, 1771. 

Seven comedies of Moliere, most spiritedly trans- 
lated from the fourth and fifth volumes of the " Comic 
Theatre, being a free translation of all the best French 
Comedies by Samuel Foote, Esq., and others, London : 
printed by Dry den Leach, for J. Coote, in Paternoster 
Row ; G. Kearsly, in Ludgate Street ; and S. Crow- 
der & Co., in Paternoster Row, MDCCLXII." The pro- 
prietors state, however, to the public, "One Comedy 
in each volume of this work will be translated by Mr. 
Foote, his other avocations not permitting him to 
undertake more ; and the rest by two other gentlemen, 
who, it is presumed, will acquit themselves in such a 
manner as to merit the approbation of the public." 

It appears that of the above " Comic Theatre " an 
edition was prepared for Ireland. At least I have 
seen a volume with a separate printed title page; 
" printed for J. Coote, and sold by R. Bell, in Stephen 
Street, Dublin. MDCCLXV." 

Of single translated comedies of Moliere no notice 
has been taken, in order not to increase these already 
too long bibliographical remarks. 

Generally the proper names used by Moliere have 
not been Italianized or rendered into an English form 
in this translation, for wherever the scene of his play is 
laid, his characters, manners, and customs are always 
thoroughly French, and should therefore as much as 
possible remain so. 

English dramatic authors have borrowed, and then 


adapted or imitated from Moliere. Dryden, Van- 
brugh, Flecknoe, Fielding, Bickerstaffe, Murphy, Miller, 
Ravenscroft, Shadwell, Mrs. Centlivre, Mrs. Aphra Behn, 
Crowne, Lacy, Wycherley, Colman, Garrick, Swiney, 
Sheridan, Otway, Foote, Gibber, and several other less 
known dramatic authors, are among the borrowers ; 
and though not rarely showing great talent in their 
adaptation, yet as a general rule they have always 
been careful to leave nothing to the imagination, and 
to emphasize the slightest mot of our author in the 
broadest language possible. Too often they have veri- 
fied the saying of one of the admirers of our poet, "La 
ou Moliere glisse, ses traducteurs apptcyent ct s 1 enfoncent." 

Several farces which have never been printed have 
been attributed to Moliere. Two of these, Ic Medcdn 
volant and lajealonsie du Barbouille, have of late been 
added to the complete edition of his works. They 
give indications of what our author promised to be- 
come, and will be found in the last volume of this 
edition, for the first time rendered into English. 

Nearly all known editions of Moliere have been 
consulted by me whilst engaged upon this translation ; 
but in any cases of doubt I always referred to the 
literal reprints of the original editions published in 
1666 and 1682, and only lately republished in eight 
volumes by Mons. A. Lemerre, of Paris; as distin- 
guished for their accuracy and good and pithy notes 
as for their typographical excellence. 

In the Prefatory Memoir I have admitted no hypo- 
thetical or fanciful assertions, but have only stated 
what is really known of him. 


My best thanks are due to Mons. Eugene Despois, 
the learned editor of the new edition of Moliere, now 
in course of publication by Messrs. Hachette, for val- 
uable advice and elucidations kindly given. 

I have likewise to express my great obligations to 
Mons. Guillard, the archiviste of the Comedie Fran- 
qaise, for willing and kind assistance rendered with 
regard to the correct costumes of the times of Louis 

Last, but not least, I have to thank the superin- 
tendents and employes of the reading-room in the 
British Museum, for many kind suggestions, which 
have often shortened my labours, and for their untiring 
willingness to aid me, whenever required. 



JEAN BAPTISTE POQUELIN, afterwards Moliere, was born at 
Paris, January I5th, 1622. His father, Jean Poquelin, was a 
well-to-do upholsterer in the Rue St. Honore, who in 1631 
attained to the height of his ambition in becoming one of the 
" tapissiers ordinaires," and later one of the "valets de 
chambre tapissiers " to the king. It was a post which Jean 
Poquelin's brother had held before ; and he coveted nothing 
better for his son than that he should pursue the path thus 
clearly mapped out for him. But the boy did not take kindly 
to the upholsterer's shop ; and his maternal grandfather, 
Louis de Cresse, is said to have secretly encouraged him in 
his rebellion. His mother died when he was ten years old, 
and the father lost no time in providing the house with a new 
mistress. Tradition states that it was partly due to the un- 
genial influence of the stepmother that Louis de Cresse took 
every opportunity of carrying off his grandson to the hotel de 
Bourgogne, where the king's tragedians gave their bombastic 
interpretation of the classical drama. Here, the future come- 
dian was inoculated with a passion for the histrionic art, and 
when Moliere, later in life, became an actor, his father shud- 
dered at the notion of so vast a.descent from the level of re- 
spectability and prosperity to which the family had risen. 

The young Poquelin was brought up at the College de 
Clermont, at that time (1637) the best and most popular school 
in Paris. Amongst its four hundred scholars were many 



members of the first families in France ; and during this at- 
tendance on its classes, tradition mentions that he was the 
schoolfellow of the Prince de Conti, the poet Hesnaut, the 
rollicking Chapelle, Bernier the traveller, and the astronomer 
Gassendi. Poquelin distinguished himself at the College, both 
in classics and in philosophy ; and afterwards, following the 
usual course of a complete education, he proceeded to Orleans 
to attend a series of lectures on civil law. 1 

The period of Moliere's life was the period of France's 
greatest glory. Louis XIII. died in 1643, and gave place to 
Louis le Grand then only five years old, but destined to be a 
patron of literature, science, and art ; and in particular, the 
unvarying, though selfish protector of Moliere. Corneille had 
written some of his most famous tragedies before Moliere 
came of age, La Fontaine wrote his charming allegories, Pas- 
cal and Bossuet added the sparkle of literature to the dignity 
of religion, Descartes and Gassendi advanced the limits of 
scientific knowledge, Madame de Sevigne combined the 
masculine strength of her intellect with feminine grace, whilst 
Racine in his tragedies, and Boileau in his satires, aimed at 
raising and sustaining the literary taste of the age of Louis 
XIV. Port Royal, within three leagues of Versailles, made 
its conscientious effort after moral and ethical reform ; whilst 
in Paris itself, the hotel de Rambouillet the domain of three 
generations of magnificent women gathered to its alcove the 
wits, fops, and litterateurs of the Metropolis, until Moliere, in 
1659, gave a death-blow to the Precieuses. The court of Louis 

1 Grimarest (La Vie de M. de Moliere, 1705, p. 14), says, "guand Mo- 
liere eut acheve ses etudes, ilfut oblige a cause du grand age de son pere, 
cTexercer sa charge pendant quelque temps, et meme il Jit le voyage de 
Narbonneala suite de Louis XI II" This journey was in 1642, at which 
time Beffara (Dissertation sur J. B. Poquelin-Moliere, 1821, p. 25), has 
conclusively proved that the elder Poquelin was no more than forty-seven 
years old. It is also said that Jean Baptiste Poquelin studied at Orleans 
in 1642. Others of his biographers mention that Moliere performed tem- 
porarily the duties of valet- tapissier to Louis XIII. The circumstance 
appears hardly probable ; but our knowledge is not sufficiently definite 
to warrant us in describing it as absolutely impossible. 


the Grand was by far more splendid than the court of Louis 
Treize. The new and gorgeous palace at Versailles welcomed 
all who offered a fresh entertainment to the self-indulgent 
monarch and his crowd of pleasure-seeking courtiers. 
Amongst such entertainments none was more acceptable to 
the cultivated taste of the Parisians than the drama. Even in 
the time of Louis XIII. the earlier plays of Corneille obtained 
the first recognition of their merit, but before Moliere came 
French comedy was meagre in the extreme. The court and 
the people were addicted to the rounded periods and sono- 
rous enunciation of the hotel de Bourgogne ; and Torelli's 
Italian farces at the Petit Bourbon were never sufficiently 
popular to excite in the tragedians the envy and alarm after- 
wards aroused by Moliere. 

In the latter part of the year 1643 a number of young men 
and women, members of certain well to-do families of Parisian 
bourgeois, established in Paris a dramatic company, to which 
they gave the high-sounding name of L Illustre Theatre* 
One Madeleine Bejart, ? the daughter of a procureur, was the 
life and soul of the undertaking. At the time when she com- 
menced her role of impressario and manageress she was 
twenty-seven years old, and had been the mistress of Esprit 
de Raymond de Moirmoiron, Marquess of Modene, gentil- 
homme ordinaire de Monsieur (Gaston duke of Orleans), 
brother of Louis XIII. With her were her brother Joseph, 4 
and a sister Genevieve, scarcely twenty years old ; Clerin, 
Pinel, Bonenfant, Madeleine Malingre, Catherine des Urlis, 
and Catherine Bourgeois, Denis or Charles Beys, and Des- 
fontaines, two writers of comedies, and Jean Baptiste Poque- 
lin, who, on adopting the career of an actor, no doubt 
in deference to the scruples of his family, assumed the sur- 

3 The biographers of Moliere are not agreed about the date of the open- 
ing of the Illustre Theatre. Moland and several others say 1645 ; Soulie, 
in his Recherches sur Moliere, 1863, proves by official documents that it 
was either December 3ist, 1643, or at the very beginning of 1644. 

* Bejart is sometimes written *' Bejard." Soulie always spells it thus, 
though the members of that family generally wrote it with a /. 

4 Several commentators say he was called Jacques, Soulie 1 says Joseph. 


name of Moliere. He never explained the reason for this 
assumption in particular ; but the name of a popular dancer 
and musician, attached to the private chapel of the king, Louis 
de M oilier, was often written Molikre ; a novel-writer, who at 
that time enjoyed a certain reputation, was also called Fran- 
cois de Moliere, whilst the name itself was not uncommon. 

Moliere was on terms of intimate friendship with Madeleine 
Bejart, and it is natural that he should at once have obtained 
a supreme influence over the company. After trying their 
fortune successively on three stages one near the Tour de 
Nesle, another in the rue des Barres, a third in the faubourg 
St. Germain and meeting with scant fortune, seven of them 
quitted Paris in 1646, and for nearly twelve years were en- 
gaged in a tour through the provinces. Before leaving Paris 
they had run considerably into debt, and that in spite of the 
fact that they were partially supported by Gaston, duke of 
Orleans. The widowed mother of the Bejarts, Marie Herv6, 
became surety for her children, and for Moliere ; whilst the 
other associates gave bonds to their creditors for a consider- 
able amount. For the non-payment of one obligation 
Moliere was arrested and imprisoned ; nor does this seem to 
have been the only debt which brought about the like result 
during the career of the Illustre Th'e&tre in Paris. Documents 
have been discovered whfch show that he was successively 
arrested at the suit of a number of tradesmen who had fur- 
nished or supplied the different theatres. Over and over 
again he was rescued by his friends ; often at the cost of his 
entering into new engagements, bearing more or less exorbi- 
tant interest. Fourteen years later we find him discharging 
one of those debts, with interest, expenses, and " loyaux 
cotits " which had in the meantime accumulated. 5 

The plays with which the undaunted company commenced 
their histrionic career were of indifferent merit. Amongst 
them were the comedies of Scarron, and no doubt, of Denis 
Beys, such as f Hopital des fous, and of Desfontaines, such a' 
Eurymedon ou Fillustre Pirate, and nilustre Comedien, ou le 
Martyre de Saint-Genest. It would be difficult to fix the exact 

5 Eud. Soulie, Recherches sur Afolure, 1863, p. 42. 


date at which Moliere's earliest plays were produced, but it is 
probable that he began to write for his company as soon as he 
had enlisted in it. He seems, like Shakespeare, to have in 
part at least adapted the plays of others ; but in the year 1653, 
if not earlier, he had produced F Etourdi and in 1656 le Dcpit 

In 1648 we hear of the Bejart-Moliere company at Nantes, 
Limoges, and Bordeaux. From Bourdeaux they went to Tou- 
louse ; and in 1650 they were at Narbonne ; after which time 
they appear to have peregrinated to the south of France, until 
in 1653 we find them at Lyons, where / ' fetourdi, Moliere's 
earliest important venture in verse, is supposed to have been 
represented for the first time, and where Berthelot, generally 
known as Duparc, and Gros-Rene, joined them. Here the 
tide of their fortune was caught at the flood. The whole town 
flocked to hear them ; and during the next two or three years 
they made Lyons their head-quarters, from whence they 
visited the populous places in the south-east of France. Occa- 
sionally they were invited to the castles of the nobility, as for 
instance, in 1653, to the country-seat of the Prince de Conti, 
near Pezenas. Le Depit amoureux was produced in 1656 
at Beziers, during the meeting of the States of Languedoc in 
that town. It was at Grenoble, in the early spring of 1658, 
that Moliere's friends among them the painter Mignard 
persuaded him once more to try his fortune in Paris. After a 
summer trip to Rouen, he returned to Paris in the autumn, 
where he was introduced to Cardinal Mazarin, and renewed 
his acquaintance with the Prince de Conti. Through the 
latter's friend, the bishop of Valence, he was brought under 
the notice of the king's brother, Philippe, then Duke of Anjou, 
who was at that time but eighteen years of age, but who had 
already formed the design of supporting a dramatic company. 
The lllustre Theatre acted before him, and pleased him ; he 
invited Moliere to repeat the experiment before the court. 
This was what the company most desired ; the opportunity 
for which they had been conscientiously labouring through 
their twelve years' apprenticeship. They accepted the offer 
with gratitude. 


The company was not precisely the same on its return to 
Paris as it had been in 1646. There were now four ladies, 
Madeleine Bejart, Genevieve Bejart, Duparc and Debrie ; 
the two brothers Bejart, Duparc, Debrie, Dufresne, and 
Croisac, making, with Moliere himself, eleven persons. It 
may be concluded that their tour or at all events the part of 
it which dated from Lyons had been very successful ; for we 
find that Joseph Bejart, who died early in 1659, left behind 
him a fortune of twenty-four thousand golden crowns. So at 
least we are told by the physician, Guy-Patin, in a letter dated 
May 27, 1659 ; and he adds, " Is it not enough to make one 
believe that Peru is no longer in America, but in Paris ?" 

It was on the 24th of October, 1658 about the same time, in 
fact, as Sir William D'Avenant was establishing his theatre in 
London that Moliere and his fellow-actors played before Louis 
le Grand in a theatre which had been raised in the " salle des 
Gardes " of the Louvre. The piece chosen was Corneille's 
Nicomcde, and after that Moliere's farce le Docteur amoureux. 
From that time forward the Illustre Theatre was called the 
Comediens de Monsieur ; and the company was allowed the 
use of the Petit Bourbon on alternate days with Torelli's 
Italians. Moliere paid Torelli 1500 livres a-year for the mo- 
nopoly of four days in the week. On November 3d r fctourdi 
was given, with Moliere in the part of Mascarille ; and le De- 
pit amoureux followed in December. The success of those 
pieces was so great that the prices of admission had to be 
raised ; and at the close of the season each actor's share of the 
profits amounted to about 800 livres. 

There were in Paris at this time at least six theatres ; one at 
the hotel de Bourgogne, one at the Marais, the companies of 
Monsieur, of which Moliere was the manager, and of Made- 
moiselle, 6 a Spanish company, and Torelli's. The latter was 

6 Mademoiselle was the title given to Madlle de Montpensier, the 
daughter of Gaston, duke of Orleans, uncle of Louis XIV. She was 
sometimes called la grande Mademoiselle to distinguish her from the 
daughter of Philip of Orleans, brother of Louis XIV. See also note 14, 
page xxxii. 


broken up at the Easter of 1659, when Moliere had the Petit 
Bourbon to himself. This theatre was 108 feet long, by 48 
broad and high, the stage being raised six feet above the floor. 

The taste of the age, before Moliere's plays had cultivated 
an appreciation for high-class comedy, was centred in the 
tragedies of Corneille and his school, or in the grotesque 
farces of Scarron and Scudery. Moliere's own earliest efforts 
were in the latter vein, and his first encouragement arose 
from the discovery that his intermezzos were more successful 
on the stage than those of his juvenile models. Several of his 
best comedies were founded upon the less ambitious efforts 
which had laid the basis of his company's fame, such as le 
Docteur amoureux, les trots Docteurs rivaux, le Alaitre d'ecole, 
Gorgibus dans le sac, le Fagoteux, le Docteur pedant, la Ca- 
saque, la Jealousie du Barboidlle, and le Medecin -volant. The 
fourth farce appears to be the foundation of a scene of les 
Fourberies de Scapin, the fifth as well as the last that of the 
Medecin malgre lui, and the eighth that of George Diindin. 

At the commencement of the next season, November 18, 
1659, appeared les Precieuses ridicules. This admirably con- 
ceived satire upon the imitations of the hotel de Rambouillet 
was Moliere's first grand hit in the metropolis. Paris was en- 
tranced by the novelty and precision of the delineation, and 
flocked to see it. The Precieux and Precieuses themselves 
went down to the theatre of the Petit Bourbon, in order to 
criticise their critics. Madame de Rambouillet, the head of 
that famous coterie, Madame de Grignan, Chapelle and Me- 
nage, Scudery and Benserade, all were compelled to praise the 
author who ridiculed them. Chapelle sought out his old school- 
fellow, and facilitated his good reception by the Parisians. Me- 
nage, quitting the theatre on the first night, is reputed to have 
said to Chapelle, " Now, like Clovis, we must burn what we 
have adored and adore what we have burnt." According to 
tradition, a spectator was so overcome by admiration that he 
called out in the middle of the piece, "Courage Moliere ! Voilti 
la bonne comedie I " The king, who disliked the Rambouillet 
coterie, but who was at this time at the foot of the Pyrenees, 
commanded that the play should be represented before him. 


Moliere's success was unequivocal, but the incisiveness of 
his satire had raised up many enemies, and the shrinking 
receipts of the other theatres added many more. Those who 
were in authority during the king's absence were induced to 
forbid les Precieuses ridicules ; but the Parisians would not 
consent to lose the best comedy in the language. In fourteen 
days the prohibition was removed ; and then, although the 
prices of nearly the whole house was raised by about one 
half, public curiosity would hardly be satisfied. 7 

As we have already mentioned, Joseph Bejart died in 1659, 
ere he had recognized to what a height of fame and fortune the 
company was destined to reach, but having already succeeded 
in amassing a competence. In 1660 another member of the com- 
pany, Jodelet, died ; and Duparc and his wife, who had with- 
drawn, again placed themselves at Moliere's disposal fora time. 

In the month of May, 1660, was produced Sganarelle ou le 
Cocu Imaginaire, the poet again taking the leading part. It is 
recorded that one Neufvillenaine, after a few representations 
of this one-act comedy, had learned it thoroughly by heart. 
He wrote it down, had it printed, and put it up for sale through 
the bookseller Ribou. Moliere was advised to invoke the 
law in defence of his copyright, and he did so successfully. He 
did not, however, publish his play before 1663, and then it 
was found word for word the same with Neufvillenaine's copy. 

7 In general people have not a correct idea about the prices of admit- 
tance to the theatre in Moliere's time. In the theatre of the Palais Royal, 
where all his pieces were played, with the exception of the first four, the 
prices for the billets de theatre (tickets admitting on the stage) were five 
livres ten sous, representing about eighteen francs at the present time ; 
those for the boxes four livres ; those for the amphitheatre three livres ; 
for the boxes on the second tier, one livre ten sous ; for the upper boxes, 
one livre ; and for the pit, fifteen sous. In representations au double or 
a /' extraordinaire all the prices are raised except those of five livres ten 
sous. During ordinary representations, the salle du Petit-Bourbon could 
hold 1400 livres, that of the Palais Royal 2860 livres ; the Comedie Fran- 
9aise can at present hold 6000 francs : so that, considering tne relative 
value of money, the latter place cannot make more, though it has room 
for 1650 persons. 


In August 1660 Louis le Grand returned to Paris with his 
young wife, and the Louvre being committed to Claude Per- 
rault for renovation and re-decoration, the theatre of the Petit 
Bourbon was doomed. Moliere's company was transferred to 
the Palais Royal, the great hall being capable of holding four 
thousand spectators. 8 Whilst this building was preparing, the 
actors played several times at the houses and seats of the 
nobility, and even in the Louvre itself, where, on the 26th of 
October, the fctourdi and the Precieuses were performed be- 
fore the king and Cardinal Mazarin, the latter being carried 
in on his sick-bed. On this occasion the company was pre- 
sented with 3000 livres. The Palais Royal was ready by the 
2oth of January 1661, and opened with the Depit amourcaux 
and Sganarelle. In honour of the King's Spanish spouse the 
poet now wrote an inflated piece called Don Garde de Na- 
varre. It met with no success, and was dropped after five 
representations. A few of the scenes were afterwards adopted 
in the Misanthrope, Amphitryon, the Facheux, Tartuffe, and 
the Femmes savantes. 

The office of "tapissier valet de chambre," which had been 
held by Moliere's father, was probably transferred by the latter 
to his younger son, Jean Poquelin, who exercised it during his 
elder brother's absence from Paris. Jean Poquelin the younger 
died in 1660, and Moliere then assumed the office to himself. 
Apart from the emoluments attached to this position, the poet 
no doubt found it extremely useful in bringing him constantly 
into the presence of the king, and in providing him with 
abundant opportunities for making the necessary studies of 
the foibles of humanity. That he suffered somewhat in his 
dignity as a poet we may well imagine ; but Moliere's mind 
was sufficiently strong to bear the rebuffs of smaller men with 
equanimity. On one occasion a fellow-valet declined to assist 
the comedian in making the king's bed. Bellocq, a courtier, 

8 Sauval in his Histoire et Recherches des Antiquites de la ville de Paris, 
1724, 3 vols., iii., p. 47, says the theatre of the Palais Royal could contain 
4000 persons, M. Taschereau states 1000 ; the last number appears to be 
the most probable, considering the money the room could hold. See also 
note 7, page xxv. 



known by some pretty verses, heard this remark, and walking 
towards them, said, "M. de Moliere, permit me to have the 
honour of making his majesty's bed with you." But the king 
himself delighted to honour Moliere ; and the latter made his 
own position wherever he went. He was recognised not only 
as -an admirable actor, but as an author of the first rank ; 
from this time forward, although he wrote a few complimen- 
tary or farcical pieces which were not quite worthy of his 
genius, he continued to throw off, with great rapidity and yet 
with marvellous finish, the series of comedies on which his 
fame is securely built. Well might he say, " I need no longer 
Study Plautus and Terence, and filch the fragments of Me- 
nander; my models henceforth are the world and the living." 

In June 1661 Moliere produced his Ecole des Marts, and in 
August, at a grand entertainment given by Fouquet to the 
king and queen, to the former duke of Anjou, who had be- 
come duke of Orleans, and to the Princess Henrietta of 
England, a few days before he was replaced by Colbert, les 
Fctcheux made another good impression. It was during the 
representation of this play that Louis XIV. pointed out to 
Moliere his future Master of the Hunt, the marquis de Soye- 
court, as a character well worthy of his attention. In a few 
days the piece was richer by a part ; though some critics 
maintained that Moliere did not actually write the principal 
scene which sprang out of this suggestion of the king, but that 
he merely versified what had been supplied to him by another. 

On the 2oth February 1662 Moliere married Armande-Gre- 
sinde-Claire-Elizabeth Bejart, the youngest sister of Madeleine 
Bejart, and at this time aged about twenty years. 9 Her dowry 
was ten thousand livres ; her widow's portion four thousand. 
The marriage-contract and other documents relating to this 
period of Moliere's life, which were discovered by Beffara," 
the most able of his earlier biographers, show clearly that 

9 Some of Moliere's biographers state that Armande de Bejart, at the 
time of her marriage, was not yet seventeen years old ; Souli6 gives the 
very marriage-contract, which proves that she was twenty or thereabout. 
This contract is dated January 23, 1662. 

10 Dissertation sur J. B. Poquelln- Moliere, 1821, p. 7. 


Armande's mother, brother, and eldest sister were present at 
and consenting to the ceremony so that Grimarest, and sev- 
eral of Moliere's early biographers must have been mistaken 
in saying that Madeleine was opposed to this union, and that 
it was kept secret for some time. Genevieve Bejart, however, 
the second daughter of Marie Herve, does not seem to have 
been present at the marriage; and it is surmised by Soulie 
that whatever opposition existed may have come from her, 
and that Moliere's connection with her may have dated back 
to the time at which he first resolved to follow the career of 
an actor. Genevieve married two years after her younger 
sister. The affection between Moliere and Armande had been 
sincere from the beginning. Armande was brought up, if not 
born, in the company; and her wit and manners seem to have 
secured for her in after-life the tenderness which the poet dis- 
played towards her when a child. Moliere's enemies have 
coupled his name injuriously with those of Madeleine and 
Genevieve Bejart. There is hardly any evidence in support 
of such suggestions ; but there is abundant proof of his love 
and respect for his wife. His happiness with her was not, 
however, as great as he had hoped to find it. Armande was 
fond of pleasure and admiration ; Moliere, amidst the avoca- 
tions and anxieties of his position, could not always attend 
upon her with the devotion and ardour of a lover ; and she 
sought and found adulation at the hands of others. On the 
stage, therefore, he acted Sganarelle to the life, and in his 
most melancholy moods could not hold himself free from the 
twinges of but too well founded jealousy. 

In the latter part of 1662 the fccole des Femmes was per- 
formed. This play met with some opposition, and was an- 
swered by our author's La Critique de f Ecole des Femmes, 
which was brought out the ist of June 1663. The comedians 
of the hotel de Bourgogne had long envied and hated Mo- 
liere, and they took now the opportunity of attacking him. 
Boursault wrote a piece entitled le Portrait du Pelntre ou la 
Contra- critique de f Ecole des Femmes. Moliere replied in 
t Impromptu de Versailles. De Villiers and Montfleury took up 
the cudgels on the other side, and wrote la Vengeance des 


Marquis and I 1 Impromptu de t hotel de Monde. At the same 
time Montfleury's father was base enough to accuse Moliere 
before the king of having married his own daughter ; the in- 
sinuation being that Armande was the child of Madeleine Be- 
jart. The court did not listen to this tale, and presently after 
the king and Henrietta, duchess of Orleans, stood sponsors for 
Moliere's eldest son, who was born on the ipth January, i664. n 
Moliere was satisfied with his triumph, and soon after stopped 
the sale of the Impromptu de Versailles. 

Moliere regarded himself henceforth as the court dramatist 
par excellence, and he was anxious to show by every means 
in his power the gratitude aroused in him by the king's favour. 
In January 1664 he wrote, for a court high festival, /<? Mar- 
riage force a one-act piece with eight entrees de ballet and in 
which Sganarelle re-appears ; who had figured in several pre- 
vious plays. Louis himself danced in one of the acts. In May 
of the same year the Grand Monarque gave a grand festival 
in honour of Louise de Valliere, lasting over a week, to which 
Moliere contributed the Princesse d'lide, a five-act piece, 
strung together in such haste that only the first act was in 
verse, and a far more ambitious flight of the Muse, which 
had no doubt been for some time past in preparation the 
first three acts of Tartuffe. 

Tartuffe was a protest and satire against the ecclesiastical 
intolerance and religious hypocrisy which were amongst the 
characteristics of the day. A revival of orthodoxy had fol- 
lowed upon the restless period of the Ligue and the Fronde ; 
and this reaction had brought in its train more of the outward 
show than of the reality of religion. Moliere hated cant with 

11 Eud. Soulie', Recherches sur Moliere, p. 59. " This child died in the 
same year," 

12 The ballets de cour, according to M. Bazin's Notes historiques sur la. 
vie de Moliere, 1851, were composed of entrees, vers, and recits. The 
entrees were represented by persons who said nothing, but whose gestures, 
dancing, and dress sufficiently showed what the author intended to repre- 
sent ; this was, moreover, elucidated by the vers, which were not spoken 
on the stage, but only printed in the libretto. The recits were verses 
spoken, or couplets sung, generally by professional actors or actresses. 


an unfeigned hatred ; and besides, he had a private quarrel 
of his own against the ecclesiastics, who had excommunicated 
himself and his brother actors. In Tartuffe he hit the priests 
and the hypocrites very hard, and multiplied the number of 
his enemies. The play seems to have been acted tentatively 
from the first, and then only before the king, or certain select 
audiences at Versailles, Villers-Cotterets, and Raincy. Paris 
did not see it at the Palais Royal for years after ; but this par- 
tial publicity was sufficient to secure for it the abhorrence of 
those who regarded themselves as the guardians of popular 
morality and orthodoxy. Their objection to Tartuffe, and to 
le Festin de Pierre, which was first acted in February 1665, and 
which treated hypocrisy in the like ungentle fashion, was 
much akin to those raised against Paul by the coppersmiths 
of Ephesus. But it was successful ; and both pieces were 
interdicted, after the last-named had been represented for fif- 
teen days before crowded houses. Pierre Roules, cure of St. Bar- 
thelemy, and another clergyman, de Rochemont, 1 * wrote trea- 
tises to counteract the evil effects of Moliere's works ; and the 
enemies of the latter produced a disreputable pasquinade in his 
name, wherein he was made to cast shameful reflections against 
the priests. He subsequently thought it worth his while to expose 
this trick in the fifth act of the Misanthrope. The king hardly 
dared to withstand the Church in the then existing condition 
of the public mind. Unwilling to remove the prohibition by 
his royal fiat, he paid Moliere the compliment of permitting 
his troupe to be styled " Comediens du Roi," which title they 
held from this time forward : and they were subsidized by a 
yearly pension of seven thousand livres. 

An intermittent source of trouble and anxiety to Moliere was 
found in the ingratitude of his company, who now and again 
forgot that he had made the fortunes of every one of them. 
When a play did not draw, or when the public found a mo- 

13 In the re-impression of Observations sur le Festin de Pierre par de 
Rochemont et Reponses aux Observations, edited by the bibliophile Jacob, 
Geneve, 1869, it is stated, p. n, that though de Rochemont may have 
been an advocate, as many of Moliere's biographers had said, he was a 
clergyman at the time he wrote his Observations. 


mentary attraction elsewhere, they seem generally to have 
laid the blame upon their manager. Such was the case when 
"Scaramouch" (Torelli), the manager of the Italian farce- 
company, who had earned enough to buy an estate at Florence 
of about ten thousand livres per annum, being driven from 
his retirement by his wife and children, returned to Paris and 
resumed his career as an actor. The public had not lost their 
appreciation of the Italian harlequinades, the receipts of 
Moliere's theatre began to fall off, and his company espe- 
cially one of the Bejarts and Maddle. 14 Duparc pretended 
that the cause of the failure originated with him. 

Moliere's path was by no means an easy one to tread ; the 
following anecdote may serve as another illustration of the 
fact. The king's body guards, and other household troops, 
had formerly been allowed to see the play for nothing, and 
Moliere, who was doubtless more troubled by the abuse of 
"paper" than are the managers of to-day, was urged by his 
company to obtain the removal of this privilege from the king. 
His request was granted ; but the change gave great umbrage 
to the soldiers. They came down to the house in a body, 
killed the door-keeper, and uttered loud threats against the 
actors. On the next day the king had them drawn up on 
parade, and sent for Moliere to harangue them. This he did 
with so much tact and good humour, and he gave them such 
excellent reasons why they should pay for their seats like 
gentlemen, and leave the free admissions for such as could 
not afford a trifle, that they made no further difficulty in the 

Like many comic actors, Moliere was often melancholy, 
morose, and timid off the stage ; and the lack of sympathy 
from the young wife he loved so much tended to aggravate 
those symptoms. He was, moreover, afflicted by a spasmodic 
cough and pulmonary attacks, very possibly due to frequent 

U A11 ladies who were not of noble birth, or those of inferior nobility, 
were in Moliere's time called Mademoiselle, the others Madame ; never- 
theless the expressions une demoiselle, une femme demoiselle, were often 
used for a noble-born married or unmarried lady. For the use of Made- 
moiselle as a special name see note 6, page xxiv. 


exposures during his provincial tours, and compelled to live a 
most abstemious life. He had taken a house at Auteuil, where 
he passed all the time that could be spared from his arduous 
duties ; hither his friends were wont to come and visit him, 
trying, with but little success, to rouse him from his character- 
istic melancholy. A very touching story is related of one of 
these visits, which we may quote as an instance of the genuine 
friendship which existed between the poet and his friends, 
and of the essentially dramatic constitution of Moliere's mind. 
Chapelle, La Fontaine, Lulli, director of the Royal Academy 
of Music, Boileau, Mignard the artist, and Corneille, came one 
evening to Auteuil to make merry with their friend. Moliere 
was obliged to excuse himself on the ground of ill-health, but 
he requested Chapelle to do the honours of his house. The 
guests sat down, and presently, warmed with wine, they fell to 
talking of religion, futurity, the vanity of human life, and such 
other lofty and inexhaustible topics as are wont to occupy the 
vinous moments of intellectual men. Chapelle led the con- 
versation, and indulged in a long tirade against the folly of 
most things counted wise ; at length one of them suggested 
the idea of suicide, and proposed that they should all go and 
drown themselves in the river. This splendid notion was re- 
ceived with acclamation ; the tipsy philosophers hurrid down 
to the bank, and seized upon a boat in order to get into the 
middle of the stream. Meanwhile Baron, Moliere's favourite 
pupil, 15 who lived in the house with him, and who had been 
present at the debauch, aroused his master, and sent off the 
servants in quest of the would-be suicides. The latter were 
already in the water when assistance arrived, and they were 
pulled out ; but, resenting such an impertinence, they drew 
their swords on their deliverers, and pursued them to Moliere's 
house. The poet displayed complete presence of mind, and 
pretended to approve of the plan which had been formed ; but 
he professed to be much annoyed that they should have 
thought of drowning themselves without him. They admitted 
their error, and invited him to come back with them and finish 

15 Subsequently the most finished actor in France. 


the business. "Nay," said Moliere, "that would be very 
clumsy. So glorious a deed should not be done at night, and 
in darkness. Early to-morrow, when we have all slept well, 
we will go, fasting and in public, and throw ourselves in." To 
this all assented, and Chapelle proposed that in the meantime 
they should finish the wine that had been left. It need not be 
added that the next day found them in a different mood. 16 

In September, 1665, I 'Amour Medecin was written, studied, 
and rehearsed within a period of five days, and acted first at 
Versailles, afterwards in Paris. In December the Palais Royal 
had to be closed on account of Moliere's serious illness. It 
was the beginning of the end, but he fought against his weak- 
ness valiantly. The death of Anne of Austria delayed the re- 
opening of the theatre until June, 1666, in which month Moliere 
produced his Misanthrope, a play which has been ranked as 
high in comedy as Athalie is ranked in French tragedy. The 
circumstances under which it was written were such as might 
almost warrant us in calling it a tragedy itself ; for the great 
satirist, who had spent his life in copying the eccentricities of 
others, had now employed the season of his illness and con- 
valescence to commit to paper a drama in which he was 
himself the principal actor. The misanthrope, Alceste, loves 
the coquette Celimene almost against his will ; and we can 
imagine the feelings with which Moliere himself took the 
role of Alceste to his wife's Celimene. The general sarcasm 
of the piece is very bitter; but Paris heard it eagerly for close 
upon a month. It was succeeded by the Medecin malgre lui ; 
and at the beginning of the next year followed the charming 
operetta of le Sicilien ou r Amour peintre. Shortly after the 
appearance of this piece the author was again confined to his 
bed for upwards of two months. 

Philip IV. of Spain died in September 1665, and Louis XIV. 
claimed Brabant, Flanders, Hainault, and Limburg in the right 
of his wife. He went in the spring of 1667 with a corps 

16 Boileau repeated this story to Racine, whose son has recorded it in 
his Memoirs. A sceptic might perhaps suspect that the attempted suicide 
was only a trick to get Moliere to join in the revets. 


d'armee to take possession of this territory, and with him went 
the Queen, Madame de Montcspan, Mademoiselle de la Val- 
liere, and the whole court. During their absence Moliere re- 
lying on a previously implied permission of the King, once 
more produced Tartujfe, the name of which he had changed 
to / ' Imposteur. It was immediately prohibited by the Presi- 
dent de Lamoignon, and Moliere sent off two of his company 
to ask for the King's sanction. The latter gave an evasive 
reply, undertaking to inquire into the matter on his return. 
Louis returned on the yth of September, but his promise was 
not at once redeemed. In January 1668, Amphitryon appeared, 
and a little later, in the course of a festival given in the honour 
of Conde's victories in Franche-Comte, George Dandin. In 
the autumn of this year /* Avare was first acted, but it was 
coldly received by the public. It was not until February 1669 
that Tartujfe finally made its appearance before a Parisian 
audience, with the full permission and protection of the king. 
The objections raised against it were as strong as ever, but 
Louis was less anxious than formerly to please the ecclesiastics. 
The play had an immense success, and appears to have run 
for several months. In the same month (February) died 
Moliere's father, and in the papers he left behind him there is 
a bitter allusion to "Monsieur Moliere." In October of the 
same year Moliere played the title-role in his new farce Mon- 
sieur de Pourceaugnac. In reference to this bright play 
Diderot has remarked that it would be a mistake to suppose 
that there are many more men capable of writing Pourceaugnac 
than the Misanthrope ; and the judgment of later critics has 
confirmed the observation. 

As his infirmities increased upon him, and his short life 
drew to a close, Moliere's pen was more fruitful than ever. In 
the year 1670 he produced in addition to a comedy-ballet, les 
Amants magnifiques, an excellent comedy, le Bourgeois Gen- 
tilhomme, in which he played the title-role. The same year 
died Marie Herve, the mother of the Bejarts. Baron took this 
year also the place of Louis B6jart. In the following year 
(1671) were brought out Psyche, a tragedie-ballet, of which he 
only wrote a part, and two farces, les Fourberies de StQtpin and 


la Comtesse d' Escarbagnas. In 1672 was played a satire- 
comedy in the highest mood of his trenchant mind, les Femmes 
savantes, a sort of sequel to les Precieuses ridicules, though 
with more general application. 

In 1671 his friends succeeded in bringing about a better 
understanding between Moliere and his wife, who for some 
time past had rarely met except on the stage. One cause of 
disagreement between them had been the absurd jealousy with 
which Armande regarded the affection of her husband for the 
young actor, Baron, whom on one occasion she drove from the 
house by her petulant reproaches. The reconciliation extended 
to this faithful pupil of the great comedian, and the last scenes 
of Moliere's life were brightened by the affectionate devotion 
of the two people whom he loved best. The year 1672 was 
nevertheless a sad one ; and as it were by an omen of his ap- 
proaching end, more than one of the ties which bound him 
with his earlier career were broken. Madeleine Bejart, the 
companion of his life-long labours, died in February, leaving 
many legacies to religious foundations, but the bulk of her 
property to her favourite sister Armande, with reversion to 
Madeleine Esprit, Moliere's only surviving child, whose sec- 
ond son had died a few days previously. Of the famous com- 
pany which in 1646 had quited Paris on its twelve years' pro- 
vincial tour, only two now remained the poet and Genevieve 

Bowed down by sorrow and pain, weakened by a racking 
cough which never left him a day's peace, he could not be 
persuaded to spare himself. Within a few months of his 
death he wrote his Malade fmagtnaire, a happy conception, 
which must have done much to rob his bodily sufferings of 
their sting. On the iyth of February 1673, in spite of the dis- 
suasion of his wife and Baron, he played the part of Argan, 
and acted the piece through, though he was very ill. In the 
evening of the same day, in his house in the Rue Richelieu, he 
burst a blood-vessel. Two nuns who had for some time past 
been living in the house stood by his bed, and to them he 
expressed his complete resignation to the will of God. They 
sent in succession for two priests to administer the last conso- 


lations of religion, but both refused to come. Before a third 
could be found, Moliere was dead. He was buried four days 
later, almost without the rites of religion, in a church-yard 
adjoining the Rue Montmartre. 

The daughter of the actor Du Croisy, Madame Poisson, her- 
self an actress, and one who had seen Moliere, when she was 
very young, has left us an exact description of his personal 
appearance, which she wrote in the Mercure de France for 
May, 1740 . "He was neither too stout nor too thin ; his stature 
was rather tall than short ; his carriage was noble ; and he 
had a remarkable good leg. He walked measuredly ; had a 
very serious air ; a large nose, an ample mouth, with full lips ; 
brown complexion, and eyebrows black and thick ; while the 
varied motion he gave to these latter rendered his physiognomy 
extremely comic." 17 

17 In that monument of accuracy and erudition, Dictionaire critique de 
Biographic et d' Histoire, by A. Jal, Paris, 1872, it is stated in the article 
" Poisson," p. 983, that this actress died at St. Germain en Laye, the lath 
of December, 1756, at the age of ninety. Moliere died in 1673 ; there- 
fore, if she saw him even in 1672, she must have been six years old, a 
rather early age to receive impressions of personal appearance. Moland, 
in his life of Moliere, states that she was fifteen years old at our author's 
death, but Jal is always exact. I suppose Madame Poisson, who in 1740, 
was seventy-four years old, gave as her own personal impression what 
she could only have known by hearsay. 





I653- (?) 


77ie Blunderer is generally believed to have been first acted at Lyons in 
1653, whilst Moliere and his troupe were in the provinces. In the month 
of November 1658 it was played for the first time in Paris, where it ob- 
tained a great and well-deserved success. It is chiefly based on an Ital- 
ian comedy, written by Nicolo Barbieri, known as Beltrame, and called 
L'Inawertito, from which the character of Mascarille, the servant, is 
taken, but differs in the ending, which is superior in the Italian play. An 
imitation of the classical boasting soldier, Captain Bellorofonte, Marteli. 
one, and a great number of concetti, have also not been copied by Mo- 
liere. The fourth scene of the fourth act of I'Etourdi contains some 
passages taken from the Angelica, a comedy by Fabritio de Fornans, a 
Neapolitan, who calls himself on the title-page of his play " il Capitano 
Coccodrillo, comico confidente. 1 ' A few remarks are borrowed from la. 
Emilia, a comedy by Luigi Grotto, whilst here and there we find a rem- 
iniscence from Plautus, and one scene, possibly suggested by the six- 
teenth of the Conies et Discours d Eutrapel, written by Noel du Fail, 
Lord of la He>issaye. Some of the scenes remind us of passages in sev- 
eral Italian Commedia. deC arte between Arlecchino and Pantaleone, the 
personifications of impudence and ingenuity, as opposed to meekness and 
stupidity ; they rouse the hilarity of the spectators, who laugh at the 
ready invention of the knave, as well as at the gullibility of the old man. 
Before this comedy appeared the French stage was chiefly filled with plays 
full of intrigue, but with scarcely any attempt to delineate character or 
manners. In this piece the plot is carried on, partly in imitation of the 
Spanish taste, by a servant, Mascarille, who is the first original personage 
Moliere has created ; he is not a mere imitation of the valets of the Ital- 
ian or classical comedy ; he has not the coarseness and base feelings of 
the servants of his contemporaries, but he is a lineal descendant of Villon, 
a free and easy fellow, not over-nice in the choice or execution of his 
plans, but inventing new ones after each failure, simply to keep in his 
hand ; not too valiant, except perhaps when in his cups, rather jovial and 
chaffy, making fun of himself and everybody else besides, no respecter of 
persons or things, and doomed probably not to die in his bed. Moliere 
must have encountered many such a man whilst the wars of the Fronde 
were raging, during his perigrinations in the provinces. Even at the 
present time, a Mascarille is no impossibility ; for, " like master like 
man." There are also in The Blunderer too many incidents, which take 



place successively, without necessarily arising one from another. Some 
of the characters are not distinctly brought out, the style has often been 
found fault with, by Voltaire and other competent judges, 1 but these de- 
fects are partly covered by a variety and vivacity which are only fully dis- 
played when heard on the stage. 

In the third volume of the " Select Comedies of M. de Moliere, London, 
1732," The Blunderer is dedicated to the Right Honorable Philip, Earl 
of Chesterfield, in the following words : 

MY LORD, The translation of L' Etourdi, which, in company with the 
original, throws itself at your lordship's feet, is a part of a design form'd 
by some gentlemen, of exhibiting to the public a Select Collection of Mo- 
liere 's Plays, in French and English. This author, my lord, was truly a 
genius, caress'd by the greatest men of his own time, and honour'd with 
the patronage of princes. When the translator, therefore, of this piece 
was to introduce him in an English dress, in justice he owed him an 
English patron, and was readily determined to your lordship, whom all 
the world allows to be a genius of the first rank. But he is too sensible 
of the beauties of his author, and the refined taste your lordship is univer- 
sally known to have in polite literature, to plead anything but your can- 
dour and goodness, for your acceptance of this performance. He 
persuades himself that your lordship, who best knows how difficult it is to 
speak like Moliere, even when we have his sentiments to inspire us, will 
be readiest to forgive the imperfections of this attempt. He is the rather 
encouraged, my lord, to hope for a candid reception from your lord- 
ship, on account of the usefulness of this design, which he flatters 
himself will have your approbation. 'Tis to spirit greater numbers of 
our countrymen to read this author, who wou'd otherwise not have at- 
tempted it, or, being foil'd in their attempts, wou'd throw him by in des- 
pair. And however generally the French language may be read, or 
spoke in England, there will be still very great numbers, even of those 
who are said to understand French, who, to master this comic writer, will 
want the help of a translation ; and glad wou'd the publishers of this 
work be to guide the feebler steps of some such persons, not only till they 
should want no translation, but till some of them should be able to make 
a much better than the present. The great advantage of understanding 
Moliere your Lordship best knows. What is it, but almost to understand 
mankind ? He has shown such a compass of knowledge in human nature, 
as scarce to leave it in the power of succeeding writers in comedy to be 
originals ; whence it has, in fact, appear'd, that they who, since his time, 
have most excelled in the Comic way, have copied Moliere, and therein 
were sure of copying nature. In this author, my lord, our youth will find 
the strongest sense, the purest moral, and the keenest satyr, accompany'd 
with the utmost politeness ; so that our countrymen may take a French 
polish, without danger of commencing fops and apes, as they sometimes 
do by an affectation of the dress and manners of that people ; for no man 

1 Victor Hugo appears to be of another opinion. M. Paul Stapfer, in his les Art- 
istes juges et parties (2" Causerie, the Grammarian of Hauteville House, p. 55), 
states : " the opinion of Victor Hugo about Moliere is very peculiar. According 
to him, the best written of all the plays of our great comic author is his first work, 
C Etourdi. It possesses a brilliancy and freshness of style which still shine in le 
Depit amoureux, but which gradually fade, because Moliere, yielding unfortunately 
to other inspirations than his own, enters more and more upon a new way." 


has better pourtray'd, or in a finer manner expos'd fopperies of all kinds, 
than this our author hath, in one or other of his pieces. And now, 'tis 
not doubted, my lord, but your lordship is under some apprehensions, 
and the reader under some expectation, that the translator should at- 
tempt your character, in right of a dedicator, as a refin'd wit, and con- 
summate statesman. But, my lord, speaking the truth to a person of 
your lordship's accomplishments, wou'd have the appearance of flattery, 
especially to those who have not the honour of knowing you ; and those 
who have, conceive greater ideas of you than the translator will pretend 
to express. Permit him, then, my lord, to crave your lordship's accep- 
tance of this piece, which appears to you with a fair and correct copy of 
the original ; but with a translation which can be of no manner of conse- 
quence to your lordship, only as it may be of consequence to those who 
would understand Moliere if they could. Your lordship's countenance to 
recommend it to such will infinitely oblige, my lord, your lordship's most 
devoted, and most obedient, humble servant, THE TRANSLATOR." 

To recommend to Lord Chesterfield an author on account of ''the 
purest moral," or because '' no man has ... in a finer manner exposed 
fopperies of all kinds," appears to us now a bitter piece of satire ; it may 
however, be doubted if it seemed so to his contemporaries. 2 

Dryden has imitated The Blunderer in Sir Martin Mar-all ; or the 
Feigned Innocence, first translated by William Cavendish, Duke of New- 
castle, and afterwards adapted for the stage by " glorious John. ' It must 
have been very successful, for it ran no less than thirty-three nights, and 
was four times acted at court. It was performed at Lincoln's Inn Fields 
by the Duke of York's servants, probably at the desire of the Duke of 
Newcastle, as Dryden was engaged to write for the King's Company. 
It seems to have been acted in 1667, and was published, without the au- 
thor's name, in 1668. But it cannot be fairly called a translation, for 
Dryden has made several alterations, generally not for the better, and 
changed double entendres into single ones. The heroine in the English 
play, Mrs. Millisent, (Celia), marries the roguish servant, Warner (Mas- 
carille), who takes all his master's blunders upon himself, is bribed by 
nearly everybody, pockets insults and money with the same equanimity, 
and when married, is at last proved a gentleman, by the disgusting Lord 
Dartmouth, who "cannot refuse to own him for my (his) kinsman." 
With a fine stroke of irony Millisent's father becomes reconciled to his 
daughter having married a serving-man as soon as he hears that the latter 
has an estate of eight hundred a year. Sir Martin Mar-all is far more 
conceited and foolish than Lelio ; Trufaldin becomes Mr. Moody, a 
swashbuckler ; a compound of Leander and Andres, Sir John Swallow, 
a Kentish knight ; whilst of the filthy characters of Lord Dartmouth, 
Lady Dupe, Mrs. Christian, and Mrs. Preparation, no counterparts are 
found in Moliere's play. But the scene in which Warner plays the lute, 
whilst his master pretends to do so, and which is at last discovered by 
Sir Martin continuing to play after the servant has finished, is very clev- 

1 Lord Chesterfield appeared not so black to those who lived in his own time as 
he does to us, for Bishop Warburton dedicated to him his Necessity and Equity of 
an Established Religion and a Test-Law Demonstrated, and says in his preface : 
" It is an uncommon happiness when an honest man can congratulate a patriot on 
his becoming minister, and expresses the hope, that " the temper of the times will 
suffer your Lordship to be instrumental in saving your country by a reformation of 
the general manners." 


s Drvden is also said to have consulted TAmant indiscret of Quinault, 
5r ' order to furbish forth the Duke of Newcastle's labours. Sir Walter 
Scott states in his introduction : " in that part of the play, which occasions 
its second title of ' the feigned Innocence,' the reader will hardly find wit 
enough to counterbalance the want of delicacy ." Murphy has borrowed 
from The Blunderer some incidents of the second act of his School for 
Guardians, played for the first time in 1767. 

According to Geneste, Some Accounts of the English Stage 10 yols., 1832, vol. 
i p 76 Bishop Warburton, in his Alliance of Church and Mate (the same work 
is mentioned in Note 2), and Porson in his Letters to Travis alludes to this scene. 



LEANDER, a young gentleman of good birth. 

ANSELMO, an old man. 

PANDOLPHUS, an old man. 

TRUFALDIN, an old man. 

ANDRES, a supposed gipsy. 

MASCARILLE,* servautto Lelio. 

ERGASTE, a servant. 


Two Troops of Masquer aders. 

HIPPOLYTA, daughter to ANSELMO. 

Scene. MESSINA. 

4 Moliere, Racine, and Corneille always call the dramatis personae 
acteun, and not personnages. 

6 Mascarille is a name invented by Moliere, and a diminutive of the 
Spanish mascara, a mask. Some commentators of Moliere think that the 
author, who acted this part, may sometimes have played it in a mask, but 
this is now generally contradicted. He seems, however, to have performed 
it habitually, for after his death there was taken an inventory of all his 
dresses, and amongst these, according to M. EudoreSouli^, Recherches sur 
Moliere, 1863, p. 278, was: 4< a . . . dress for /' tourdi, consisting in 
doublet, knee-breeches, and cloak of satin." Before his time the usual 
name of the intriguing man-servant was Philipitt. 



SCENE I. LELIO, alone. 

LEL. Very well ! Leander, very well ! we must quarrel 
then, we shall see which of us two will gain the day ; 
and which, in our mutual pursuit after this young miracle 
of beauty, will thwart the most his rival's addresses. Do 
whatever you can, defend yourself well, for depend upon 
it, on my side no pains shall be spared. 


LEL. Ah ! Mascarille ! 

MASC. What's the matter? 

LEL. A great deal is the matter. Everything crosses 
my love. Leander is enamoured of Celia. The Fates 
have willed it, that though I have changed the object of 
my passion, he still remains my rival. 

MASC. Leander enamoured of Celia ! 

LEL. He adores her, I tell you. 6 

MASC. So much the worse. 

LEL. Yes, so much the worse, and that's what annoys 
me. However, I should be wrong to despair, for since 
you aid me, I ought to take courage. I know that your 
mind can plan many intrigues, and never finds anything 

6 In French, tit, tot, thee, thou, denote either social superiority or 
familiarity. The same phraseology was also employed in many English 
comedies of that time, but sounds so stiff at present, that the translator 
has everywhere used " you." 



too difficult ; that you should be called the prince of ser- 
vants, and that throughout the whole world. . 

MASC. A truce to these compliments; when people 
have need of us poor servants, we are darlings, and in- 
comparable creatures ; but at other times, at the least fit 
of anger, we are scoundrels, and ought to be soundly 

LEL. Nay, upon my word, you wrong me by this re- 
mark. But let us talk a little about the captive. Tell me, 
is there a heart so cruel, so unfeeling, as to be proof 
against such charming features ? For my part, in her con- 
versation as well as in her countenance, I see evidence of 
her noble birth. I believe that Heaven has concealed a 
lofty origin beneath such a lowly station. 

MASC. You are very romantic with all your fancies. But 
what will Pandolphus do in this case ? He is your father, 
at least he says so. You know very well that his bile is 
pretty often stirred up ; that he can rage against you finely, 
when your behaviour offends him. He is now in treaty 
with Anselmo about your marriage with his daughter, 
Hippolyta ; imagining that it is marriage alone that may- 
hap can steady you : now, should he discover that you 
reject his choice, and that you entertain a passion for a 
person nobody knows anything about ; that the fatal 
power of this foolish love causes you to forget your duty 
and disobey him ; Heaven knows what a storm will then 
burst forth, and what fine lectures you will be treated to. 

LEL. A truce, I pray, to your rhetoric. 

MASC. Rather a truce to your manner of loving, it is 
none of the best, and you ought to endeavour . 
- LEL. Don't you know, that nothing is gained by making 
me angry, that remonstrances are badly rewarded by me, 
and that a servant who counsels me acts against his own 
interest ? 

MASC. (Aside}. He is in a passion now. (Aloud}. All 
that I said was but in jest, and to try you. - Do I look so 
very much like a censor, and is Mascarille an enemy to 
pleasure ? You know the contrary, and that it is only too 
certain people can tax me with nothing but being too 
good-natured. Laugh at the preachings of an old grey- 
beard of a father ; go on, I tell you, and mind them not. 


Upon my word, I am of opinion that these old, effete and 
grumpy libertines come to stupify us with their silly 
stories, and being virtuous, out of necessity, hope through 
sheer envy to deprive young people of all the pleasures of 
life ! You know my talents ; I am at your service. 

LEL. Now, this is talking in a manner I like. More- 
over, when I first declared my passion, it was not ill re- 
ceived by the lovely object who inspired it ; but, just 
now, Leander has declared to me that he is preparing to 
deprive me of Celia ; therefore let us make haste ; ransack 
your brain for the speediest means to secure me possession 
of her ; plan any tricks, stratagems, rogueries, inventions, 
to frustrate my rival's pretensions. 

MASC. Let me think a little upon this matter. (Aside}. 
What can I invent upon this urgent occasion ? 

LEL. Well, the stratagem ? 

MASC. Wha.t a hurry you are in ! My brain must always 
move slowly. I have found what you want ; you must . . . 
No, that's not it ; but if you would go ... 

LEL. Whither? 

MASC. No, that's a flimsy trick. I thought that . . . 

LEL. What is it ? 

MASC. That will not do either. But could you not . . ? 

LEL. Could I not what ? 

MASC. No, you could not do anything. Speak to An- 

LEL. And what can I say to him ? 

MASC. That is true ; that would be falling out of the 
frying-pan into the fire. Something must be done how- 
ever. Go to Trufaldin. 

LEL. What to do ? 

MASC. I don't know. 

LEL. Zounds ! this is too much. You drive me mad 
with this idle talk. 

MASC. Sir, if you could lay your hand on plenty of 
pistoles, 7 we should have no need now to think of and try 
to find out what means we must employ in compassing 

T The pistole is a Spanish gold coin worth about four dollars ; formerly 
the French pistole was worth in France ten livres about ten francs 
they were struck in Franche-Comte. 


our wishes ; we might, by purchasing this slave quickly, 
prevent your rival from forestalling and thwarting you. 
Trufaldin, who takes charge of her, is rather uneasy about 
these gipsies, who placed her with him. If he could get 
back his money, which they have made him wait for too 
long, I am quite sure he would be delighted to sell her; 
for he always lived like the veriest curmudgeon ; he would 
allow himself to be whipped for the smallest coin of the 
realm. Money is the God he worships above everything, 
but the worst of it is that . . . 

LEL. What is the worst of it? . . . 

MASC. That your father is just as covetous an old hunk, 
who does not allow you to handle his ducats, as you would 
like ; that there is no way by which we could now open 
ever so small a purse, in order to help you. But let us 
endeavour to speak to Celia for a moment, to know what 
she thinks about this affair ; this is her window. 

LEL. But Trufaldin watches her closely night and day; 
Take care. 

MASC. Let us keep quiet in this corner. What luck ! 
Here she is coming just in the nick of time. 


LEL. Ah ! madam, what obligations do I owe to Heaven 
for allowing me to behold those celestial charms you are 
blest with ! Whatever sufferings your eyes may have 
caused me, I cannot but take delight in gazing on them in 
this place. 

CEL. My heart, which has good reason to be astonished 
at your speech, does not wish my eyes to injure any one; 
if they have offended you in anything, I can assure you I 
did not intend it. 

LEL. Oh ! no, their glances are too pleasing to do me 
an injury. I count it my chief glory to cherish the wounds 
they give me ; and . . . 

MASC. You are soaring rather too high ; this style is by 
no means what we want now; let us make better use of 
our time ; let us know of her quickly what . . . 

TRUF.(#Sfib). Celia! 

MASC. (To Lelio). Well, what do you think now? 


LEL. O cruel mischance ! What business has this 
wretched old man to interrupt us ! 

MASC. Go, withdraw, I'll find something to say to him. 

in a corner. 

TRUF. (To Celia). What are you doing out of doors? 
And what induces you to go out, you, whom I have 
forbidden to speak to any one ? 

CEL. I was formerly acquainted with this respectable 
young man ; you have no occasion to be suspicious of him. 

MASC. Is this Signer Trufaldin ? 

CEL. Yes, it is himself. 

MASC. Sir, I am wholly yours; it gives me extreme 
pleasure to have this opportunity of paying my most 
humble respects to a gentleman who is everywhere so 
highly spoken of. 

TRUF. Your most humble servant. 

MASC. Perhaps I am troublesome, but I have been 
acquainted with this young woman elsewhere ; and as I 
heard about the great skill she has in predicting the future, 
I wished to consult her about a certain affair. 

TRUF. What ! Do you dabble in the black art ? 

CEL. No, sir, my skill lies entirely in the white. 8 

MASC. The case is this. The master whom I serve 
languishes for a fair lady who has captivated him. He 
would gladly disclose the passion which burns within him 
to the beauteous object whom he adores, but a dragon 
that guards this rare treasure, in spite of all his attempts, 
has hitherto prevented him. And what torments him 
still more and makes him miserable, is that he has just 
discovered a formidable rival ; so that I have come to 
consult you to know whether his love is likely to meet 
with any success, being well assured that from your 
mouth I may learn truly the secret which concerns us. 

CEL. Under what planet was your master born ? 

MASC. Under that planet which never alters his love. 

8 The white art (magie blanche) only dealt with beneficent spirits, and 
wished to do good to mankind ; the black art (magie noire) invoked evil 


CEL. Without asking you to name the object he sighs 
for, the science which I possess gives me sufficient infor- 
mation. This young woman is high-spirited, and knows 
how to preserve a noble pride in the midst of adversity ; 
she is not inclined to declare too freely the secret senti- 
ments of her heart. But I know them as well as herself, 
and am going with a more composed mind to unfold 
them all to you, in a few words. 

MASC. O wonderful power of magic virtue ! 

CEL. If your master is really constant in his affections, 
and if virtue alone prompts him, let him be under no ap- 
prehension of sighing in vain : he has reason to hope, the 
fortress he wishes to take is not averse to capitulation, but 
rather inclined to surrender. 

MASC. That's something, but then the fortress depends 
upon a governor whom it is hard to gain over. 

CEL. There lies the difficulty. 

MASC. (Aside, looking at Lelid). The deuce take this 
troublesome fellow, who is always watching us. 

CEL. I am going to teach you what you ought to do. 

LEL. {Joining them). Mr. Trufaldin, give yourself no 
farther uneasiness; it was purely in obedience to my 
orders that this trusty servant came to visit you ; I dis- 
patched him to offer you my services, and to speak to you 
concerning this young lady, whose liberty I am willing 
to purchase before long, provided we two can agree about 
the terms. 

MASC. (Aside). Plague take the ass ! 

TRUF. Ho ! ho ! Which of the two am I to believe ? 
This story contradicts the former very much. 

MASC. Sir, this gentleman is a little bit wrong in the 
upper story : did you not know it ? 

TRUF. I know what I know, and begin to smell a rat. 
Get you in (to Celta), and never take such a liberty again. 
As for you two, arrant rogues, or I am much mistaken, 
if you wish to deceive me again, let your stories be a 
little more in harmony. 

MASC. He is quite right. To speak plainly, I wish he 


had given us both a sound cudgelling. What was the 
good of showing yourself, and, like a Blunderer, coming 
and giving the lie to all that I had been saying ? 

LEL. I thought I did right. 

MASC. To be sure. But this action ought not to sur- 
prise me. You possess so many counterplots that your 
freaks no longer astonish anybody. 

LEL. Good Heavens ! How I am scolded for nothing ! 
Is the harm so great that it cannot be remedied ? How- 
ever, if you cannot place Celia in my hands, you may at 
least contrive to frustrate all Leander's schemes, so that 
he cannot purchase this fair one before me. But lest my 
presence should be further mischievous, I leave you. 

MASC. (Alone). Very well. To say the truth, money 
would be a sure and staunch agent in our cause ; but as this 
mainspring is lacking, we must employ some other means. 


ANS. Upon my word, this is a strange age we live in ; 
I am ashamed of it ; there was never such a fondness for 
money, and never so much difficulty in getting one's own. 
Notwithstanding all the care a person may take, debts now- 
a-days are like children, begot with pleasure, but brought 
forth with pain. It is pleasant for money to come into 
our purse ; but when the time comes that we have to give 
it back, then the pangs of labour seize us. Enough of this, 
it is no trifle to receive at last two thousand francs which 
have been owing upwards of two years. What luck ! 

MASC. {Aside}. Good Heavens ! What fine game to 
shoot flying ! Hist, let me see if I cannot wheedle him a 
little. I know with what speeches to soothe him. (Join- 
ing him). Anselmo I have just seen. . . . 

ANS. Who, prithee? 

MASC. Your Nerina. 

ANS. What does the cruel fair one say about me ? 

MASC. Say ? that she is passionately fond of you. 

ANS. Is she ? 

MASC. She loves you so that I very much pity her. 

ANS. How happy you make me ! 

MASC. The poor thing is nearly dying with love. "Oh, 
my dearest Anselmo," she cries every minute, "when 


shall marriage unite our two hearts? When will you 
vouchsafe to extinguish my flames ? ' ' 

ANS. But why has she hitherto concealed this from me ? 
Girls, in troth, are great dissemblers ! Mascarille, what do 
you say, really? Though in years, yet I look still well 
enough to please the eye. 

MASC. Yes, truly, that face of yours is still very passa- 
ble ; if it is not of the handsomest in the world, it is very 
agreeable. 9 

ANS. So that 

MASC. {Endeavouring to take the purse}. So that she 
dotes on you ; and regards you no longer 

ANS. What? 

MASC. But as a husband : and fully intends .... 

ANS. And fully intends . . . . ? 

MASC. And fully intends, whatever may happen, to steal 
your purse 

ANS. To steal . . . . ? 

MASC. (Taking the purse, and letting it fall to the ground}. 
To steal a kiss from your mouth. 10 

ANS. Ah ! I understand you. Come hither ! The next 
time you see her, be sure to say as many fine things of me 
as possible. 

MASC. Let me alone. 

ANS. Farewell. 

MASC. May Heaven guide you ! 

ANS. (Returning). ~R.Q\& \ I really should have committed 
a strange piece of folly ; and you might justly have 
accused me of neglect. I engage you to assist me in serv- 
ing my passion. You bring good tidings, and I do not 
give you the smallest present to reward your zeal. Here, 
be sure to remember . 

9 The original has a play on words which cannot be translated, as, ce 
visage est encore fort mettable. . . . s'il n'est pas des plus beaux, il est 
des agreables ; which two last words, according to pronunciation, can also 
mean disagreeable. This has been often imitated in French. After the 
Legion of Honour was instituted in France in 1804, some of the wdts of 
the time asked the Imperialists : etes-vous des honores f 

10 There is here again, in the original, a play on the words bourse, purse, 
and bouche, mouth, which cannot be rendered in English. 


MASC. O, pray, don't. 11 

ANS. Permit me .... 

MASC. I won't, indeed : I do not act thus for the sake 
of money. 

ANS. I know you do not. But however .... 

MASC. No, Anselmo, I will not. I am a man of hon- 
our \ this offends me. 

ANS. Farewell then, Mascarille. 

MASC. (Aside). How long-winded he is ! 

ANS. (Coming bacK). I wish you to carry a present to 
the fair object of my desires. I will give you some money 
to buy her a ring, or any other trifle, as you may think 
will please her most. 

MASC. No, there is no need of your money ; without 
troubling yourself, I will make her a present ; a fashion- 
able ring has been left in my hands, which you may pay 
for afterwards, if it fits her. 

ANS. Be it so ; give it her in my name ; but above all, 
manage matters in such a manner that she may still desire 
to make me her own. 


LEL. {Taking up the purse). Whose purse is this ? " 
ANS. Oh Heavens ! I dropt it, and might have after- 
wards believed somebody had picked my pocket. I am 
very much obliged to you for your kindness, which saves 
me a great deal of vexation, and restores me my money. 
I shall go home this minute and get rid of it. 


MASC. Od's death ! You have been very obliging, very 
much so. 

LEL. Upon my word ! if it had not been for me he 
would have lost his money. 

11 Compare inShakspeare's Winter's Tale Autolycus' answer to Camillo 
(Act IV., Scene 3), who gives him money, " I am a poor fellow, sir, . . . 
I cannot with conscience take it."' 

M During the whole of the preceding scene Mascarille has quietly 
kicked the purse away, so as to be out of sight of Anselmo, intending to 
pick it up when the latter has gone. 

VOL. I. B 


MASC. Certainly, you do wonders, and show to-day a 
most exquisite judgment and supreme good fortune. We 
shall prosper greatly ; go on as you have begun. 

LEL. What is the matter now ? What have I done ? 

MASC. To speak plainly as you wish me to do, and as I 
ought, you have acted like a fool. You know very well 
that your father leaves you without money; that a formid- 
able rival follows us closely; yet for all this, when to 
oblige you I venture on a trick of which I take all the 
shame and danger upon myself . . . 

LEL. What ? was this . . . ? 

MASC. Yes, ninny ; it was to release the captive that I 
was getting the money, whereof your officiousness took 
care to deprive us. 

LEL. If that is the case, I am in the wrong. But who 
could have imagined it ? 

MASC. It really required a great deal of discernment. 

LEL. You should have made some signs to warn me of 
what was going on. 

MASC. Yes, indeed ; I ought to have eyes in my baek. 
By Jove, 13 be quiet, and let us hear no more of your non- 
sensical excuses. Another, after all this, would perhaps 
abandon everything; but I have planned just now a 
master-stroke, which I will immediately put into execu- 
tion, on condition that if ... 

LEL. No, I promise you henceforth not to interfere 
either in word or deed. 

MASC. Go away, then, the very sight of you kindles my 

LEL. Above all, don't delay, for fear that in this busi- 
ness . . . 

MASC. Once more, I tell you, begone ! I will set about 
it. {Exit Lelio). Let us manage this well; it will be a 
most exquisite piece of roguery ; if it succeeds, as I think 
it must. We'll try. . . . But here comes the very man 
I want. 

18 The play is supposed to be in Sicily; hence Pagan oaths are not out 
of place. Even at the present time Italians say, per Jove I per Bacco I 



PAND. Mascarille ! 

MASC. Sir? 

PAND. To tell you the truth, I am very dissatisfied with 
my son. 

MASC. With my master ? You are not the only one 
who complains of him. His bad conduct which has grown 
unbearable in everything, puts me each moment out of 

PAND. I thought, however, you and he understood one 
another pretty well. 

MASC. I ? Believe it not, sir. I am always trying to 
put him in mind of his duty : we are perpetually at dag- 
gers drawn. Just now we had a' quarrel again about his 
engagement with Hippolyta, which, I find he is very 
averse to. By a most disgraceful refusal he violates all 
the respect due to a father. 

PAND. A quarrel ? 

MASC. Yes, a quarrel, and a desperate one too. 

PAND. I was very much deceived then, for I thought you 
supported him in all he did. 

MASC. I ? See what this world is come to ! How is 
innocence always oppressed ! If you knew but my integ- 
rity, you would give me the additional salary of a tutor, 
whereas I am only paid as his servant. Yes, you yourself 
could not say more to him than I do in order to make him 
behave better. "For goodness' sake, sir," I say to him' 1 
very often, " cease to be driven hither and thither with 
every wind that blows, reform ; look what a worthy 
father Heaven has given you, what a reputation he has. 
Forbear to stab him thus to the heart, and live, as he 
does, as a man of honour." 

PAND. That was well said ; and what answer could he 
make to this? 

MASC. Answer? Why only nonsense, with which he 
almost drives me mad. Not but that at the bottom of his 
heart he retains those principles of honour which he de- 
rives from you ; but reason, at present, does not sway him. 
If I might be allowed to speak freely, you should soon see 
him submissive without much trouble. 


PAND. Speak out. 

MASC. It is a secret which would have serious conse- 
quences for me, should it be discovered ; but I am quite 
sure I can confide it to your prudence 

PAND. You are right. 

MASC. Know then that your wishes are sacrificed to the 
love your son has for a certain slave. 

PAND. I have been told so before ; but to hear it from 
your mouth pleases me. 

MASC. I leave you to judge whether I am his secret 
confidant . . . 

PAND. I am truly glad of it. 

MASC. However, do you wish to bring him back to his 
duty, without any public scandal ? You must ... (I am 
in perpetual fear lest anybody should surprise us. Should 
he learn what I have told you, I should be a dead man.) 
You must, as I was saying, to break off this business, 
secretly purchase this slave, whom he so much idolizes, and 
send her into another country. Anselmo is very intimate 
with Trufaldin ; let him go and buy her for you this very 
morning. Then, if you put her into my hands, I know 
some merchants, and promise you to sell her for the money 
she costs you, and to send her out of the way in spite of 
your son. For, if you would have him disposed for matri- 
mony, we must divert this growing passion. Moreover, 
even if he were resolved to wear the yoke you design for 
him, yet this other girl might revive his foolish fancy, and 
prejudice him anew against matrimony. 

PAND. Very well argued. I like this advice much. 
Here comes Anselmo ; go, I will do my utmost quickly to 
obtain possession of this troublesome slave, when I will 
put her into your hands to finish the rest. 

MASC. {Alone). Bravo, I will go and tell my master of 
this. Long live all knavery, and knaves also ! 

HIPP. Ay, traitor, is it thus that you serve me ? I over 
heard all, and have myself been a witness of your treach- 
ery. Had I not, could I have suspected this ? You are 
an arrant rogue, and you have deceived me. You pro- 
mised me, you miscreant, and I expected, that you would 


assist me in my passion for Leander, that your skill and 
your management should find means to break off my 
match with Lelio ; that you would free me from my father's 
project ; and yet you are doing quite the contrary. But 
you will find yourself mistaken. I know a sure method 
of breaking off the purchase you have been urging Pan- 
dolphus to make, and I will go immediately .... 

MASC. How impetuous you are ! You fly into a passion 
in a moment ; without inquiring whether you are right or 
wrong, you fall foul of me. I am in the wrong, and I 
ought to make your words true, without finishing what I 
began, since you abuse me so outrageously. 

HIPP. By what illusion do you think to dazzle my eyes, 
traitor ? Can you deny what I have just now heard ? 

MASC. No ; but you must know that all this plotting 
was only contrived to serve you ; that this cunning advice, 
which appeared so sincere, tends to make both old men fall 
into the snare ; that all the pains I have taken for getting 
Celia into my hands, through their means, was to secure 
her for Lelio, and to arrange matters so that Anselmo, in 
the very height of passion, and finding himself disappointed 
of his son-in-law, might make choice of Leander. 

HIPP. What ! This admirable scheme, which has an- 
gered me so much, was all for my sake, Mascarille ? 

MASC. Yes, for your sake ; but since I find my good 
offices meet with so bad a return, since I have thus to 
bear your caprices, and as a reward for my services, you 
come here with a haughty air, and call me knave, cur, 
and cheat, I shall presently go, correct the mistake I 
have committed, and undo what I had undertaken to 

HIPP. (Holding him.) Nay, do not be so severe upon 
me, and forgive these outbursts of a sudden passion. 

MASC. No, no ; let me go. I have it yet in my power 
to set aside the scheme which offends you so much. 
Henceforth you shall have no occasion to complain of my 
zeal. Yes, you shall have my master, I promise you. 

HIPP. My good Mascarille, be not in such a passion. I 
judged you ill ; I was wrong; I confess I was. (Pulls out 
her purse). But I intend to atone for my fault with this. 
Could you find it in your heart to abandon me thus? 


MASC. No, I cannot, do what I will. But your impetu- 
osity was very shocking. Let me tell you that nothing 
offends a noble mind so much as the smallest imputation 
upon its honour. 

HIPP. It is true ; I treated you to some very harsh lan- 
guage, but here are two louis to heal your wounds. 

MASC. Oh ! all this is nothing. I am very sensitive on 
this point; but my passion begins to cool a little already. 
We must bear with the failings of our friends. 

HIPP. Can you, then, bring about what I so earnestly 
wish for? Do you believe your daring projects will be as 
favourable to my passion as you imagine ? 

MASC. Do not make yourself uneasy on that account. I 
have several irons in the fire, and though this stratagem 
should fail us, what this cannot do, another shall. 

HIPP. Depend upon it, Hippolyta will at least not be 

MASC. It is not the hope of gain that makes me act. 

HIPP. Your master beckons and wishes to speak with 
you. I will leave you, but remember to do what you 
can for me. 


LEL. What the deuce are you doing there ? You pro- 
mised to perform wonders, but I am sure your dilatory 
ways are unparalleled. Had not my good genius inspired 
me, my happiness had been already wholly overthrown. 
There was an end to my good fortune, my joy. I should 
have been a prey to eternal grief; in short, had I not gone 
to this place in the very nick of time, Anselmo would have 
got possession of the captive, and I should have been de- 
prived of her. He was carrying her home, but I parried 
the thrust, warded off the blow, and so worked upon Tru- 
faldin's fears as to make him keep the girl. 

MASC. This is the third time ! When we come to ten 
we will score. It was by my contrivance, incorrigible 
scatterbrains, that Anselmo undertook this desirable pur- 
chase ; she should have been placed into my own hands, 
but your cursed officiousness knocks everything on the 
head again. Do you think I shall still labour to serve 
your love ? I would sooner a hundred times become a fat 


old woman, a dolt, a cabbage, a lantern, a wehrwolf, and 
that Satan should twist your neck ! 

LEL. {Alone. .) I must take him to some tavern and let 
him vent his passion on the bottles and glasses. 


MASC. I have at length yielded to your desires. In 
spite of all my protestations I could hold out no longer ; 
I am going to venture upon new dangers, to promote your 
interest, which I intended to abandon. So tender-hearted 
am I ! If dame nature had made a girl of Mascarille, I 
leave you to guess what would have happened. However, 
after this assurance, do not deal a back stroke to the pro- 
ject I am about to undertake ; do not make a blunder 
and frustrate my expectations. Then, as to Anselmo, we 
shall anew present your excuses to him, in order to get 
what we desire. But should your imprudence burst forth 
again hereafter, then you may bid farewell to all the 
trouble I take for the object of your passion. 

LEL. No, I shall be careful, I tell you ; never fear; you 
shall see. . . . 

MASC. Well, mind that you keep your word. I have 
planned a bold stratagem for your sake. Your father is 
very backward in satisfying all your wishes by his death. 
I have just killed him (in words, I mean) ; I have spread a 
report that the good man, being suddenly smitten by a fit 
of apoplexy, has departed this life. But first, so that I 
might the better pretend he was dead, I so managed that 
he went to his barn. I had a person ready to come and 
tell him that the workmen employed on his house acciden- 
tally discovered a treasure, in digging the foundations. 
He set out in an instant, and as all his people, except us 
two, have gone with him into the country, I shall kill him 
to-day in everybody's imagination and produce some 
image which I shall bury under his name. I have already 
told you what I wish you to do ; play your part well ; 
and as to the character I have to keep up, if you perceive 


that I miss one word of it, tell me plainly I am nothing 
but a fool. 

SCENE II. LELIO, alone. 

It is true, he has found out a strange way to accomplish 
my wishes fully ; but when we are very much in love with 
a fair lady, what would we not do to be made happy ? If 
love is said to be an excuse for a crime, it may well serve 
for a slight piece of imposture, which love's ardour to-day 
compels me to comply with, in expectation of the happy 
consequences that may result from it. Bless me ! How 
expeditious they are. I see them already talking together 
about it ; let us prepare to act our part. 


MASC. The news may well surprise you. 

ANS. To die in such a manner ! 

MASC. He was certainly much to blame. I can never 
forgive him for such a freak. 

ANS. Not even to take time to be ilt 

MASC. No, never was a man in such a hurry to die. 

ANS. And how does Lelio behave ? 

MASC. He raves, and has lost all command over his 
temper ; he has beaten himself till he is black and blue in 
several places, and wishes to follow his father into the grave. 
In short, to make an end of this, the excess of his grief has 
made me with the utmost speed wrap the corpse in a 
shroud, for fear the sight, which fed his melancholy, should 
tempt him to commit some rash act. 

ANS. No matter, you ought to have waited until even- 
ing. Besides, I should have liked to see Pandolphus once 
more. He who puts a shroud on a man too hastily very 
often commits murder; for a man is frequently thought dead 
when he only seems to be so. 

MASC. I warrant him as dead as dead can be. But 
now, to return to what we were talking about, Lelio has 
resolved (and it will do him good) to give his father a fine 
funeral, and to comfort the deceased a little for his hard 
fate, by the pleasure of seeing that we pay him such honours 
after his death. My master inherits a goodly estate, but as 
he is only a novice in business, and does not see his way 


clearly in his affairs, since the greater part of his property 
lies in another part of the country, or what he has here con- 
sists in paper, he would beg of you, after having entreated 
you to excuse the too great violence which he has shewn 
of late, to lend him for this last duty at least. . . . 

ANS. You have told me so already, and I will go and 
see him. 

MASC. (Alone}. Hitherto, at least, everything goes on 
swimmingly ; let us endeavour to make the rest answer as 
well; and lest we should be wrecked in the very harbour, 
let us steer the ship carefully and keep a sharp look out. 


ANS. (Coming out of Pandolphus 1 house}. Let us leave 
the house. I cannot, without great sorrow, see him wrapped 
up in this strange manner. Alas ! in so short a time ! He 
was alive this morning. 

MASC. We go sometimes over a good deal of ground in 
a short time. 

LEL. (Weeping). Oh! 

ANS. Dear Lelio, he was but a man after all ; even 
Rome can grant no dispensation from death. 

LEL. Oh! 

ANS. Death smites men without giving warning, and 
always has bad designs against them. 

LEL. Oh! 

ANS. That merciless foe would not loosen one grip 
of his. murderous teeth, however we may entreat him. 
Everybody must feel them. 

LEL. Oh! 

MASC. Your preaching will all be in vain ; this sorrow 
is too deep-rooted to be plucked up. 

ANS. If, notwithstanding all these arguments, you will 
not cast aside your grief, at least, my dear Lelio, endeav- 
our to moderate it. 

LEL. Oh! 

MASC. He will not moderate it ; I know his temper. 

ANS. However, according to your servant's message, I 
have brought you the money you want, so that you might 
celebrate your father's funeral obsequies ! 

LEL. Oh! oh! 


[ACT ii. 

MASC. How his grief increases at these words ! It will 
kill him to think of his misfortune. 

ANS. I know you will find by the good man's books 
that I owe him a much larger sum, but even if I should 
not owe anything, you could freely command my purse. 
Here it is; I am entirely at your service, and will show it. 

LEL. (Going away). Oh! 

MASC. How full of grief is my master ! 

ANS. Mascarille, I think it right he should give me 
some kind of receipt under his hand. 

MASC. Oh! 

ANS. Nothing in this world is certain. 

MASC. Oh ! oh ! 

ANS. Get him to sign me the receipt I require. 

MASC. Alas ! How can he comply with your desire in 
the condition he now is ? Give him but time to get rid 
of his sorrow ; and, when his troubles abate a little, I 
shall take care immediately to get you your security. 
Your servant, sir, my heart is over-full of grief, and I 
shall go to take my fill of weeping with him. Hi ! Hi ! 

ANS. (Alone). This world is full of crosses ; we meet 
with them every day in different shapes, and never here 
below . . . 


ANS. Oh Heavens ! how I tremble ! It is Pandolphus 
who has returned to the earth ! God grant nothing dis- 
turbed his repose ! How wan his face is grown since his 
death ! Do not come any nearer, I beseech you ; I very 
much detest to jostle a ghost. 

PAND. What can be the reason of this whimsical ter- 

ANS. Keep your distance, and tell me what business 
brings you here. If you have taken all this trouble to bid 
me farewell, you do me too much honour ; I could really 
have done very well without your compliment. If your 
soul is restless, and stands in need of prayers, I promise 
you you shall have them, but do not frighten me. Upon 
the word of a terrified man, I will immediately set prayers 
agoing for you, to your very heart's content. 


" Oh, dead worship, please to go ! 

Heaven, if now you disappear, 
Will grant you joy down there below, 

And health as well, for many a year." 14 

PAND. (Laughing). In spite of my indignation, I can- 
not help laughing. 

ANS. It is strange, but you are very merry for a dead 

PAND. Is this a joke, pray tell me, or is it downright 
madness to treat a living man as if he were dead ? 

ANS. Alas ! you must be dead ; I myself just now saw 

PAND. What ? Could I die without knowing it ? 

ANS. As soon as Mascarille told me the news, I was 
ready to die of grief. 

PAND. But, really, are you asleep or awake ? Don't you 
know me? 

ANS. You are clothed in an aerial body which imitates 
your own, but which may take another shape at any mo- 
ment. I am mightily afraid to see you swell up to the size 
of a giant, and your countenance become frightfully dis- 
torted. For the love of God, do not assume any hideous 
form ; you have scared me sufficiently for the nonce. 

PAND. At any other time, Anselmo, I should have con- 
sidered the simplicity which accompanies your credulity 
an excellent joke, and I should have carried on the plea- 
sant conceit a little longer ; but this story of my death, and 
the news of the supposed treasure, which I was told upon 
the road had not been found at all, raises in my mind a 
strong suspicion that Mascarille is a rogue, and an arrant 
rogue, who is proof against fear or remorse, and who in- 
vents extraordinary stratagems to compass his ends. 

ANS. What ! Am I tricked and made a fool of? Really, 
this would be a compliment to my good sense ! Let me 
touch him and be satisfied. This is, indeed, the very 
man. What an ass I am ! Pray, do not spread this story 
about, for they will write a farce about it, and shame me 

u This seems to be an imitation of a spell, charm, or incantation to lay 
the supposed ghost, which Anselmo says kneeling and hardly able to 
speak for terror. 


for ever. But, Pandolphus, help me to get the money 
back which I lent them to bury you. 

PAND. Money, do you say? Oh! that is where the 
shoe pinches ; that is the secret of the whole affair ! ' So 
much the worse for you. For my part, I shall not trouble 
myself about it, but will go and lay an information against 
this Mascarille, and if he can be caught he shall be 
hanged, whatever the cost may be. 

ANS. (Alone). And I, like a ninny, believe a scoundrel, 
and must in one day lose both my senses and my money. 
Upon my word, it well becomes me to have these gray 
hairs and to commit an act of folly so readily, without ex- 
amining into the truth of the first story I hear . . . ! But 
I see .... 


LEL. Now, with this master-key, I can easily pay Tru- 
faldin a visit. 

ANS. As far as I can see, your grief has subsided. 

LEL. What do you say? No; it can never leave a 
heart which shall ever cherish it dearly. 

ANS. I came back to tell you frankly of a mistake I 
made in the money I gave you just now ; amongst these 
louis-d'or, though they look very good, I carelessly put 
some which I think are bad. I have brought some money 
with me to change them. The intolerable audacity of our 
coiners is grown to such a height in this state, that no one 
can receive any money now without danger of his being 
imposed upon. It would be doing good service to hang 
them all ! 

LEL. I am very much obliged to you for being willing 
to take them back, but I saw none among them that were 
bad, as I thought. 

ANS. Let me see the money; let me see it; I shall 
know them again. Is this all ? 

LEL. Yes. 

ANS. So much the better. Are you back again? my 
dear money ! get into my pocket. As for you, my gallant 
sharper, you have no longer got a penny of it. You kill 
people who are in good health, do ye ? And what would 
you have done, then, with me, a poor infirm father-in-law? 


Upon my word, I was going to get a nice addition to my 
family, a most discreet son-in-law. Go, go, and hang 
yourself for shame and vexation. 

LEL. {Alone}. I really must admit I have been bit this 
time. What a surprise this is ! How can he have dis- 
covered our stratagem so soon ? 


MASC. What, you were out ? I have been hunting for 
you everywhere. Well, have we succeeded at last ? I will 
give the greatest rogue six trials to do the like. Come, 
give me the money that I may go and buy the slave ; your 
rival will be very much astonished at this. 

LEL. Ah ! my dear boy, our luck has changed. Can 
you imagine how ill fortune has served me ? 

MASC. What ? What can it be ? 

LEL. Anselmo having found out the trick, just now got 
back every sou he lent us, pretending some of the gold- 
pieces were bad, and that he was going to change them. 

MASC. You do but joke, I suppose ? 

LEL. It is but too true. 

MASC. In good earnest? 

LEL. In good earnest ; I am very much grieved about 
it. It will put you into a furious passion. 

MASC. Me, sir ! A fool might, but not I ! Anger 
hurts, and I am going to take care of myself, come what 
will. After all, whether Celia be captive or free, whether 
Leander purchases her or whether she remains where she 
is, I do not care one stiver about it. 

LEL. Ah ! do not show such indifference, but be a little 
more indulgent to my slight imprudence. Had this last 
misfortune not happened, you would have confessed that I 
did wonders, and that in this pretended decease I deceived 
everybody, and counterfeited grief so admirably that the 
most sharp-sighted would have been taken in. 

MASC. Truly you have great reason to boast. 

LEL. Oh ! I am to blame, and I am willing to acknow- 
ledge it ; but if ever you cared for my happiness, repair 
this mishap, and help me. 

MASC. I kiss your hands, I cannot spare the time. 



LEL. Mascarille, my dear boy ! 

MASC. No. 

LEL. Do me this favour. 

MASC. No, I will not. 

LEL. If you are inflexible, I shall kill myself 

MASC. Do so you may. 

LEL. Can I not soften your hard heart ? 

MASC. No. 

LEL. Do you see my sword ready drawn ? 

MASC. Yes. 

LEL. I am going to stab myself. 

MASC. Do just what you please. 

LEL. Would you not regret to be the cause of my 
death ? 

MASC. No. 

LEL. Farewell, Mascarille. 

MASC. Good bye, Master Lelio. 

LEL. What . . . ? 

MASC. Kill yourself quick. You are a long while 
about it. 

LEL. Upon my word, you would like me to play the 
fool and kill myself, so that you might get hold of my 

MASC. I knew all this was nothing but a sham ; what- 
ever people may swear they will do, they are not so hasty 
now-a-days in killing themselves. 


{Trufaldin taking Leander aside and whispering to him). 

LEL. What do I see ? my rival and Trufaldin together ! 
He is going to buy Celia. Oh ! I tremble for fear. 

MASC. There is no doubt that he will do all he can; and 
if he has money, he can do all he will. For my part I 
am delighted. This is a just reward for your blunders, 
your impatience. 

LEL. What must I do ? Advise me. 

MASC. I don't know. 

LEL. Stay, I will go and pick a quarrel with him. 

MASC. What good will that do ? 

LEL. What would you have me do to ward off this blow? 

MASC. Well, I pardon you ; I will yet cast an eye of 


pity on you. Leave me to watch them ; I believe I shall 
discover what he intends to do by fairer means. {Exit 

TRUF. {To Leander). When you send by and by, it 
shall be done. 

MASC. {Aside and going ouf). I must trap him and 
become his confidant, in order to baffle his designs the 
more easily. 

LEAND. (Alone). Thanks to Heaven, my happiness is 
complete. I have found the way to secure it, and fear 
nothing more. Whatever my rival may henceforth at- 
tempt, it is no longer in his power to do me any harm. 


MASC. (Speaking these words within, and then coming 
on the stage}. Oh ! oh ! Help ! Murder ! Help ! They 
are killing me ! Oh ! oh ! oh ! oh ! Traitor ! Barbarian ! 

LEAND. Whence comes that noise? What is the 
matter ? What are they doing to you ? 

MASC. He has just given me two hundred blows with a 

LEAND. Who? 

MASC. Lelio. 

LEAND. And for what reason ? 

MASC. For a mere trifle he has turned me away and 
beats me most unmercifully. 

LEAND. He is really much to blame. 

MASC. But, I swear, if ever it lies in my power I will 
be revenged on him. I will let you know, Mr. Thrasher, 
with a vengeance, that people's bones are not to be broken 
for nothing ! Though I am but a servant, yet I am a 
man of honour. After having been in your service for 
four years you shall not pay me with a switch, nor affront 
me in so sensible a part as my shoulders ! I tell you 
once more, I shall find a way to be revenged ! You are 
in love with a certain slave, you would fain induce me 
to get her for you, but I will manage matters so that 
somebody else shall carry her off ; the deuce take me if I 

LEAND. Hear me, Mascarille, and moderate your pas- 
sion. I always liked you, and often wished that a young 


fellow, faithful and clever like you, might one day or other 
take a fancy to enter my service. In a word, if you think 
my offer worthy of acceptance, and if you have a mind to 
serve me, from this moment I engage you. 

MASC. With all my heart, sir, and so much the rather 
because good fortune in serving you offers me an oppor- 
tunity of being revenged, and because in my endeavours 
to please you I shall at the same time punish that wretch. 
In a word, by my dexterity, I hope to get Celia for . . . 

LEAND. My love has provided already for that. Smitten 
by a faultless fair one, I have just now bought her for less 
than her vahie. 

MASC. What ! Celia belongs to you, then ? 

LEAND. You should see her this minute, if I were the 
master of my own actions. But alas ! it is my father who 
is so ; since he is resolved, as I understand by a letter 
brought me, to make me marry Hippolyta. I would not 
have this affair come to his knowledge lest it should ex- 
asperate him. Therefore in my arrangement with Trufal- 
din (from whom I just now parted), I acted purposely in 
the name of another. When the affair was settled, my 
ring was chosen as the token, on the sight of which Tru- 
faldin is to deliver Celia. But I must first arrange the 
ways and means to conceal from the eyes of others the 
girl who so much charms my own, and then find some re- 
tired place where this lovely captive may be secreted. 

MASC. A little way out of town lives an old relative of 
mine, whose house I can take the freedom to offer you; 
there you may safely lodge her, and not a creature know 
anything of the matter. 

LEAND. Indeed ! so I can : you have delighted me with 
the very thing I wanted. Here, take this, and go and get 
possession of the fair one. As soon as ever Trufaldin sees 
my ring, my girl will be immediately delivered into your 
hands. You can then take her to that house, when . . . 
But hist ! here comes Hippolyta. 


HIPP. I have some news for you, Leander, but will you 
be pleased or displeased with it ? 

LEAND. To judge of that, and make answer off-hand, I 
should know it. 


HIPP. Give me your hand, then, as far as the church, 15 
and I will tell it you as we go 

LEAND. ( To Mascarille}. Go, make haste, and serve me 
in that business without delay. 


Yes, I will serve you up a dish of my own dressing. 
Was there ever in the world so lucky a fellow. How 
delighted Lelio will be soon ! His mistress to fall into our 
hands by these means ! To derive his whole happiness from 
the man he would have expected to ruin him! To become 
happy by the hands of a rival! After this great exploit, I 
desire that due preparations be made to paint me as a hero 
crowned with laurel, and that underneath the portrait be 
inscribed in letters of gold : Vivat Mascarillus, rogum im- 


MASC. Soho, there! 

TRUF. What do you want? 

MASC. This ring, which you know, will inform you 
what business brings me hither. 

TRUF. Yes, I recognise that ring perfectly ; stay a little, 
I will fetch you the slave. 


MESS. (To Trufaldin). Do me the favor, sir, to tell me 
where lives a gentleman .... 

TRUF. What gentleman ? 

MESS. I think his name is Trufaldin. 

TRUF. And what is your business with him, pray? I 
am he. 

MESS. Only to deliver this letter to him. 

TRUF. (Reads). "Providence, whose goodness watches 
over my life, has just brought to my ears a most welcome 
report, that my daughter, who was stolen from me by some 
robbers when she was four years old, is now a slave at your 

15 Generally it was thought preferable, during Moliere's lifetime, to use 
the word temple tor " church," instead oieglise. 

VOL. I. C 


house, under the name of Celia. If ever you knew what ii 
was to be a father, and if natural affection makes an impres- 
sion on your heart, then keep in your house this child so dear 
to me, and treat her as if she were your own flesh and blood. 
I am preparing to set out myself in order to fetch her. You 
shall be so well rewarded for your trouble, that in everything 
that relates to your happiness (which I am determined to 
advance} you shall have reason to bless the day in which you 
caused mine." 

From Madrid. Marquess of MONT ALCANA. 

Though the gipsies can be seldom believed, yet they who 
sold her to me told me she would soon be fetched by 
somebody, and that I should have no reason to complain. 
Yet here I was going, all through my impatience, to lose 
the fruits of a great expectation. (To the Messenger). 
Had you come but one moment later, your journey would 
have been in vain ; I was going, this very instant, to give 
the girl up into this gentleman's hands ; but it is well, I 
shall take great care of her. {Exit Messenger}. {To 
Mascarille). You yourself have heard what this letter says, 
so you may tell the person who sent you that I cannot 
keep my word, and that he had better come and receive 
his money back. 

MASC. But the way you insult him . . . 

TRUF. Go about your business, and no more words. 

MASC. (Alone). Oh, what a curse that this letter came 
now ! Fate is indeed against me. What bad luck for 
this messenger to come from Spain when he was not 
wanted ! May thunder and hail go with him ! Never, 
certainly, had so happy a beginning such a sad ending in 
so short a time. 


MASC. What may be the cause of all this mirth ? 

LEL. Let me have my laugh out before I tell you. 

MASC. Let us laugh then heartily, we have abundant 
cause so to do. 

LEL. Oh ! I shall no longer be the object of your ex- 
postulations : you who always reproach me shall no longer 


say that I am marrying all your schemes, like a busy-body 
as I am. I myself have played one of the cleverest tricks 
in the world. It is true I am quick-tempered, and now 
and then rather too hasty ; but yet, when I have a mind 
to it, I can plan as many tricks as any man alive ; even 
you shall own that what I have done shows an amount of 
sharpness rarely to be met with. 

MASC- Let us hear what tricks you have invented. 

LEL. Just now, being terribly frightened on seeing 
Trufaldin along with my rival, I was casting about to find 
a remedy for that mischief, when, calling all my invention 
to my aid, I conceived, digested, and perfected a stra- 
tagem, before which all yours, however vain you may be 
of them, ought undoubtedly to lower their colours. 

MASC. But what may this be ? 

LEL. May it please you to have a little patience. With- 
out much delay I invented a letter, written by an imagi- 
nary nobleman to Trufaldin, setting forth that, having 
fortunately heard that a certain slave, who lives in the 
latter's house, and is named Celia, was this grandee's 
daughter formerly kidnapped by thieves, it was his inten- 
tion to come and fetch her ; and he entreats him at least 
to keep her and take great care of her ; for, that on her 
account he was setting out from Spain, and would acknow- 
ledge his civility by such handsome presents, that he 
should never regret being the means of making him happy. 

MASC. Mighty well. 

LEL. Hear me out ; here is something much cleverer 
still. The letter I speak of was delivered to him, but can 
you imagine how ? Only just in time, for the messenger 
told me, had it not been for this droll device, a fellow, 
who looked very foolish, was waiting to carry her off that 
identical moment. 

MASC. And you did all this without the help of the devil ? 

LEL. Yes. Would you have believed me capable of 
such a subtle piece of wit ? At least praise my skill, and 
the dexterity with which I have ^utterly disconcerted the 
scheme of my rival. 

MASC. To praise you as you deserve, I lack eloquence ; 
and feel unequal to the task. Yes, sufficiently to com- 
mend this lofty effort, this fine stratagem of war achieved 


before our eyes, this grand and rare effect of a mind 
which plans as many tricks as any man, which for smart- 
ness yields to none alive, my tongue wants words. I 
wish I had the abilities of the most refined scholars, so 
that I might tell you in the noblest verse, or else in 
learned prose, that you will always be, in spite of every- 
thing that may be done, the very same you have been all 
your life ; that is to say, a scatter-brain, a man of dis- 
tempered reason, always perplexed, wanting common 
sense, a man of left-handed judgment, a meddler, an ass, a 
blundering, hare-brained, giddy fellow, what can I think 
of? A ... a hundred times worse than anything I can 
say. This is only an abridgement of your panegyric. 

LEL. Tell me, what puts you in such a passion with 
me ? Have I done anything ? Clear up this matter. 

MASC. No, you have done nothing at all ; but do not 
come after me. 

LEL. I will follow you all over the world to find out 
this mystery. 

MASC. Do so. Come on, then ; get your legs in order, 
I shall give you an opportunity to exercise them. 

LEL. (Alone). He has got away from me ! O misfortune 
which cannot be allayed ! What am I to understand by 
his discourse ? And what harm can I possibly have done 
to myself? 



Silence, my good nature, and plead no more; you are a 
fool, and I am determined not to do it. Yes, my anger, 
you are right, I confess it ! To be for ever doing what a 
meddler undoes, is showing too much patience, and I ought 
to give it up after the glorious attempts he has marred. But 
let us argue the matter a little without passion ; if I should 
now give way to my just impatience the world will say I 
sank under difficulties, that my cunning was completely 
exhausted. What then becomes of that public esteem, 

16 Compare Launcelot Gobbo's speech about his conscience in Shak- 
speare's Merchant of Venice (\\.z). 


which extols you everywhere as a first-rate rogue, and 
which you have acquired upon so many occasions, because 
you never yet were found wanting in inventions? Honour, 
Mascarille, is a fine thing : do not pause in your noble 
labours ; and whatever a master may have done to incense 
you, complete your work, for your own glory, and not to 
oblige him. But what success can you expect, if you are 
thus continually crossed by your evil genius ? You see he 
compels you every moment to change your tone ; you may 
as well hold water in a sieve as try to stop that resistless 
torrent, which in a moment overturns the most beautiful 
structures raised by your art. Well, once more, out of 
kindness, and whatever may happen, let us take some pains, 
even if they are in vain ; yet, if he still persists in baffling 
my designs, then I shall withdraw all assistance. After all, 
our affairs are not going on badly, if we could but supplant 
our rival, and if Leander, at last weary of his pursuit, 
would leave us one whole day for my intended operations. 
Yes, I have a most ingenious plot in my head, from which 
I expect a glorious success, if I had no longer that obstacle 
in my way. Well, let us see if he still persists in his love. 


MASC. Sir, I have lost my labour ; Trufaldin will not 
keep his word. 

LEAND. He himself has told me the whole affair ; but, 
what is more, I have discovered that all this pretty rigma- 
role about Celia being carried off by gypsies, and having 
a great nobleman for her father, who is setting out from 
Spain to come hither, is nothing but a mere stratagem, a 
merry trick, a made-up story, a tale raised by Lelio to 
prevent my buying Celia. 

MASC. Here is roguery for you ! 

LEAND. And yet this ridiculous story has produced 
such an impression on Trufaldin, and he has swallowed 
the bait of this shallow device so greedilv, that he will not 
allow himself to be undeceived. 

MASC. So that henceforth he will watch her carefully. 
I do not see we can do anything more. 

LEAND. If at first I thought this girl amiable, I now 
find her absolutely adorable, and I am in doubt whether I 


ought not to employ extreme measures to make her my 
own, thwart her ill fortune by plighting her my troth, and 
turn her present chains into matrimonial ones. 

MASC. Would you marry her ? 

LEAND. I am not yet determined, but if her origin is 

somewhat obscure, her charms and her virtue are gentle at- 

ractions, which have incredible force to allure every heart. 

MASC. Did you not mention her virtue ? 

LEAND. Ha! what is that you mutter? Out with it; 
explain what you mean by repeating that word "virtue." 

MASC. Sir, your countenance changes all of a sudden ; 
perhaps I had much better hold my tongue. 

LEAND. No, no, speak out. 

MASC. Well, then, out of charity I will cure you of 
your blindness. That girl. . . . 

LEAND. Proceed. 

MASC. So far from being merciless, makes no difficulty 
in obliging some people in private ; you may believe me, 
after all she is not stony-hearted, to any one who knows 
how to take her in the right mood. She looks demure, 
and would fain pass for a prude ; but I can speak of her 
on sure grounds. You know I understand something of 
the craft, and ought to know that kind of cattle. 

LEAND. What ! Celia ? . . . 

MASC. Yes, her modesty is nothing but a mere sham, 
the semblance of a virtue which will never hold out, but 
vanishes, as any one may discover, before the shining 
rays 11 emitted from a purse. 

LEAND. Heavens ! What do you tell me ? Can I be- 
lieve such words ? 

MASC. Sir, there is no compulsion ; what does it matter 
to me ? No, pray do not believe me, follow your own in- 
clination, take the sly girl and marry her ; the whole city, 
in a body, will acknowledge this favour ; you marry the 
public good in her. 

LEAND. What a strange surprise ! 

1T This is an allusion to the rays of the sun, placed above the crown, 
and stamped on all golden crown-pieces, struck in France from Louis XI. 
(November a, 1475) until the end of the reign of Louis XIII. These 
crowns were called ecus au soleil. Louis XIV. took much later for his 
device the sun shining in full, with the motto, Nee pluribvs imfar. 


MASC. (Aside). He has taken the bait. Courage, my 
lad ; if he does but swallow it in good earnest, we shall 
have got rid of a very awkward obstruction on our path. 

LEAND. This astonishing account nearly kills me. 

MASC. What ! Can you . . . 

LEAND. Go to the post-office, and see if there is a letter 
for me. (Alone, and for a while lost in thought). Who 
would not have been imposed upon ? If what he says 
be true, then there never was any countenance more de- 


LEL. What may be the cause of your looking so sad ? 

LEAND. Who, I? 

LEL. Yes, yourself. 

LEAND. I have, however, no occasion to be so. 

LEL. I see well enough what it is ; Celia is the cause 
of it. 

LEAND. My mind does not run upon such trifles. 

LEL. And yet you had formed some grand scheme to 
get her into your hands ; but you must speak thus, as your 
stratagem has miscarried. 

LEAND. Were I fool enough to be enamoured of her, I 
should laugh at all your finesse. 

LEL. What finesse, pray ? 

LEAND. Good Heavens ! sir, we know all. 

LEL. All what? 

LEAND. All your actions, from beginning to end. 

LEL. This is all Greek to me ; I do not understand one 
word of it. 

LEAND. Pretend, if you please, not to understand me ; 
but believe me, do not apprehend that I shall take a pro- 
perty which I should be sorry to dispute with you. I 
adore a beauty who has not been sullied, and do not wish 
to love a depraved woman. 

LEL. Gently, gently, Leander. 

LEAND. Oh ! how credulous you are ! I tell you once 
more, you may attend on her now without suspecting 
anybody. You may call yourself a lady-killer. It is true, 
her beauty is very uncommon, but, to make amends for 
that, the rest is common enough. 


LEL. Leander, no more of this provoking language. 
Strive against me as much as you like in order to obtain 
her ; but, above all things, do not traduce her so vilely. 
I should consider myself a great coward if I could tamely 
submit to hear my earthly deity slandered. I can much 
better bear your rivalry than listen to any speech that 
touches her character. 

LEAND. What I state here I have from very good au- 

LEL. Whoever told you so is a scoundrel and a rascal. 
Nobody can discover the least blemish in this young lady ; 
I know her heart well. 

LEAND. But yet Mascarille is a very competent judge in 
such a cause ; he thinks her guilty. 

LEL. He? 

LEAND. He himself. 

LEL. Does he pretend impudently to slander a most 
respectable young lady, thinking, perhaps, I should only 
laugh at it ? I will lay you a wager he eats his words. 

LEAND. I will lay you a wager he does not. 

LEL. 'Sdeath ! I would break every bone in his body 
should he dare to assert such lies to me. 

LEAND. And I will crop his ears, if he does not prove 
every syllable he has told me. 


LEL. Oh ! that's lucky ; there he is. Come hither, cur- 
sed hangdog ! 

MASC. What is the matter ? 

LEL. You serpent's tongue ! so full of lies ! dare you 
fasten your stings on Celia, and slander the most consum- 
mate virtue that ever added lustre to misfortune ? 

MASC. (In a whisper to Lelio). Gently ; I told him so 
on purpose. 

LEL. No, no ; none of your winking, and none of your 
jokes. I am blind and deaf to all you do or say. If it 
were my own brother he should pay dear for it ; for to 
dare defame her whom I adore is to wound me in the most 
tender part. You make all these signs in vain. What 
was it you said to him ? 


MASC. Good Heavens ! do not quarrel, or I shall leave 

LEL. You shall not stir a step. 

MASC. Oh! 

LEL. Speak then ; confess. 

MASC. {Whispering to Lelio}. Let me alone. I tell 
you it is a stratagem. 

LEL. Make haste ; what was it you said ? Clear up 
this dispute between us. 

MASC. (/ a whisper to Lelid). I said what I said. Pray 
do not put yourself in a passion. 

LEL. {Drawing his sword}. I shall make you talk in 
another strain. 

LEAND. (Stopping him). Stay your hand a little ; mode- 
rate your ardour. 

MASC. (Aside). Was there ever in the world a creature 
so dull of understanding? 

LEL. Allow me to wreak my just vengeance on him. 

LEAND. It is rather too much to wish to chastise him in 
my presence. 

LEL. What ! have I no right, then, to chastise my own 
servant ? 

LEAND. What do you mean by saying "your servant ?" 

MASC. (Aside}. He is at it again ! He will discover all. 

LEL. Suppose I had a mind to thrash him within an 
inch of his life, what then ? He is my own servant. 

LEAND. At present he is mine. 

LEL. That is an admirable joke. How comes he to be 
yours ? Surely . . . 

MASC. (In a whisper). Gently. 

LEL. What are you whispering ? 

MASC. (Aside}. Oh! the confounded blockhead. He 
is going to spoil everything, He understands not one of 
my signs. 

LEL. You are dreaming, Leander. You are telling me 
a pretty story ! Is he not my servant ? 

LEAND. Did you not discharge him from your service 
for some fault ? 

LEL. I do not know what this means. 

LEAND. And did you not, in the violence of your pas- 
sion, make his back smart most unmercifully ? 


LEL. No such thing. I discharge him ! cudgel him ! 
Either you make a jest of me, Leander, or he has been 
making a jest of you. 

MASC. (Aside). Go on, go on, numskull ; you will do 
your own business effectually. 

LEAND. (To Mascarille). Then all this cudgelling is 
purely imaginary ? 

MASC. He does not know what he says ; his memory . . . 

LEAND. No, no ; all these signs do not look well for 
you. I suspect some prettily contrived trick here ; but 
for the ingenuity of the invention, go your ways, I forgive 
you. It is quite enough that I am undeceived, and see 
HOW why you imposed upon me. I come off cheap, be- 
cause I. trusted myself to your hypocritical zeal. A word 
to the wise is enough. Farewell, Lelio, farewell ; your 
most obedient servant. 


MASC. Take courage, my boy, may fortune ever attend 
us ! Let us draw and bravely take the field ; let us act 
Olibrius, the slayer of the innocents 

LEL. He accused you of slandering . . 

MASC. And you could not let the artifice pass, nor let 
him remain in his error, which did you good service, and 
which pretty nearly extinguished his passion. No, honest 
soul, he cannot bear dissimulation. I cunningly get a foot' 
ing at his rival's, who, like a dolt, was going to place his 
mistress in my hands, but he, Lelio, prevents me getting 
hold of her by a fictitious letter ; I try to abate the passion 
of his rival, my hero presently comes and undeceives him. 
In vain I make signs to him, and show him it was all a 
contrivance of mine ; it signifies nothing ; he continues 
to the end, and never rests satisfied till he has discovered 
all. Grand and sublime effect of a mind which is not in- 
ferior to any man living ! It is an exquisite piece, and 
worthy, in troth, to be made a present of to the king's 
private museum. 

LEL. I am not surprised that I do not come up to your 

18 Olibrius was, according to ancient legends, a Roman governor ol 
Gaul, in the time of the Emperor Decius, very cruel, and a great boaster. 


expectations ; if 1 am not acquainted with the designs 
you are setting on foot, I shall be for ever making mis- 

MASC. So much the worse. 

LEL. At least, if you would be justly angry with me, 
give me a little insight into your plan ; but if I am kept 
ignorant of every contrivance, I must always be caught 
napping. 19 

MASC. I believe you would make a very good fencing- 
master, because you are so skilful at making feints, and at 
parrying of a thrust. 20 

LEL. Since the thing is done, let us think no more 
about it. My rival, however, will not have it in his 
power to cross me, and provided you will but exert your 
skill, in which I trust . . . 

MASC. Let us drop this discourse, and talk of something 
else ; I am not so easily pacified, not I ; I am in too great 
a passion for that. In the first place, you must do me a 
service, and then we shall see whether I ought to under- 
take the management of your amours. 

LEL. If it only depends on that, I will do it ! Tell me, 
have you need of my blood, of my sword ? 

MASC. How crack-brained he is! You are just like 
those swashbucklers who are always more ready to draw 
their sword than to produce a tester, if it were necessary 
to give it. 

LEL. What can I do, then, for you? 

19 The original is, je suis pris sans vert, ''I am taken without green," 
because in the month of May, in some parts of France, there is a game 
which binds him or her who is taken without a green leaf about them to 
pay a forfeit. 

* In the original we find prendre les contretemps, and rompre les 
mesures. In a little and very curious book, "The Scots Fencing Master, 
or Compleat Smal-Sword Man," printed in Edinburgh 1687, and written 
by Sir William Hope of Kirkliston, the contre-temps is said to be : "When 
a man thrusts without having a good opportunity, or when he thrusts at 
the same time his adversarie thrusts, and that each of them at that time 
receive a thrust." Breaking of measure is, according to the same booklet, 
done thus: "When you perceive your adversary thrusting at you, and 
you are not very certain of the parade, then break his measure, or make 
his thrust short of you, by either stepping a foot or half a foot back, with 
the single stepp, for if you judge your adversaiy's distance or measure 
well, half a foot will break his measure as well as ten ells." 


MASC. You must, without delay, endeavour to appease 
your father's anger. 

LEL. We have become reconciled already. 

MASC. Yes, but I am not ; I killed him this morning 
for your sake ; the very idea of it shocks him. Those 
sorts of jokes are severely felt by such old fellows as he, 
which, much against their will, make them reflect sadly on 
the near approach of death. The good sire, notwith- 
standing his age, is very fond of life, and cannot bear 
jesting upon that subject ; he is alarmed at the prognosti- 
cation, and so very angry that I hear he has lodged a com- 
plaint against me. I am afraid that if I am once housed 
at the expense of the king, I may like it so well after the 
first quarter of an hour, that I shall find it very difficult 
afterwards to get away. There have been several warrants 
out against me this good while ; for virtue is always envied 
and persecuted in this abominable age. Therefore go and 
make my peace with your father. 

LEL. Yes, I shall soften his anger, but you must promise 
me then . . . 

MASC. We shall see what there is to be done. (Exit 
Lelio). Now, let us take a little breath after so many 
fatigues; let us stop for a while the current of our in- 
trigues, and not move about hither and thither as if we 
were hobgoblins. Leander cannot hurt us now, and Celia 
cannot be removed, through the contrivance of ... 


ERG. I was looking for you everywhere to render you a 
service. I have a secret of importance to disclose. 

MASC. What may that be ? 

ERG. Can no one overhear us? 

MASC. Not a soul. 

ERG. We are as intimate as two people can be ; I am 
acquainted with all your projects, and the love of your 
master. Mind what you are about by and by; Leander 
has formed a plot to carry off Celia ; I have been told he 
has arranged everything, and designs to get into Trufal- 
din's house in disguise, having heard that at this time of 
the year some ladies of the neighbourhood often visit him 
in the evening in masks. 


MASC. Ay, well ! He has not yet reached the height of 
his happiness; I may perhaps be beforehand with him; 
and as to this thrust, I know how to give him a counter- 
thrust, by which he may run himself through. He is not 
aware with what gifts I am endowed. Farewell, we shall 
take a cup together next time we meet. 


We must, we must reap all possible benefit from this 
amorous scheme, and by a dexterous and uncommon 
counterplot endeavour to make the success our own, with- 
out any danger. If I put on a mask and be beforehand 
with Leander, he will certainly not laugh at us ; if we 
take the prize ere he comes up, he will have paid for us 
the expenses of the expedition ; for, as his project has 
already become known, suspicion will fall upon him ; and 
we, being safe from all pursuit, need not fear the conse- 
quences of that dangerous enterprise Thus we shall not 
show ourselves, but use a cat's paw to take the chesnuts 
out of the fire. Now, then, let us go and disguise our- 
selves with some good fellows ; we must not delay if we 
wish to be beforehand with our gentry. I love to strike 
while the iron is hot, and can, without much difficulty, 
provide in one moment men and dresses. Depend upon 
it, I do not let my skill lie dormant. If Heaven has en- 
dowed me with the gift of knavery, I am not one of those 
degenerate minds who hide the talents they have received. 


LEL. He intends to carry her off during a masquerade ! 

ERG. There is nothing more certain ; one of his band 
informed me of his design, upon which I instantly ran to 
Mascarille and told him the whole affair ; he said he would 
spoil their sport by some counter-scheme which he planned 
in an instant ; so meeting with you by chance, I thought 
I ought to let you know the whole. 

LEL. I am very much obliged to you for this piece of 
news ; go, I shall not forget this faithful service. 

[JSxt't Ergaste. 


SCENE IX. LELIO, alone. 

My rascal will certainly play them some trick or other ; 
but I, too, have a mind to assist him in his project. It 
shall never be said that, in a business which so nearly 
concerns me, I stirred no more than a post ; this is the 
time ; they will be surprised at the sight of me. Why did 
I not take my blunderbuss with me ? But let anybody 
attack me who likes, I have two good pistols and a trusty 
sword. So ho ! within there ; a word with you. 

SCENE X. TRUFALDIN at his window, LELIO. 

TRUF. What is the matter ? Who comes to pay me a 
visit ? 

LEL. Keep your door carefully shut to-night. 

TRUF. Why? 

LEL. There are certain people coming masked to give 
you a sorry kind of serenade ; they intend to carry off 

TRUF. Good Heavens ! 

LEL. No doubt they will soon be here. Keep where 
you are, you may see everything from your window. 
Hey ! Did I not tell you so ? Do you not see them 
already? Hist! I will affront them before your face. 
We shall see some fine fun, if they do not give way. 21 

company masked, 

TRUF. Oh, the funny blades, who think to surprise me. 

LEL. Maskers, whither so fast ? Will you let me into 
the secret ? Trufaldin, pray open the door to these gentry, 
that they may challenge us fora throw with the dice. 22 ( To 

21 This is one of the passages of Moliere about which commentators 
do not agree; the original is, nous aliens -voir beau jeu, st la corde ne 
rompt. Some maintain that corde refers to the tight rope of a rope 
dancer; others that corde means the string of a bow, as in the phrase 
avoir deux cordes a son arc, to have two strings (resources) to one's 
bow. Mons. Eugene Despois, in his carefully edited edition of Moliere, 
(i., 187), defends the latter reading, and I agree with him. 

22 The original has jouer un momon. Guy Miege, in his Dictionary of 
barbarous French, London, 1679, has "Mammon, a mummer, also a com- 
pany of mummers ; also a visard, or mask ; also a let by a mummer at 


Mascarille, disguised as a woman). Good Heavens ! What 
a pretty creature ! What a darling she looks ! How now ! 
What are you mumbling? Without offence, may I re- 
move your mask and see your face. 

TRUF. Hence ! ye wicked rogues ; begone, ye raga- 
muffins ! And you, sir, good night, and many thanks. 


LEL. {After having taken the mask from Mascarille' s 
face). Mascarille, is it you ? 

MASC. No, not at all ; it is somebody else. 

LEL. Alas ! How astonished I am ! How adverse is 
our fate ! Could I possibly have guessed this, as you did 
not secretly inform me that you were going to disguise 
yourself? Wretch that I am, thoughtlessly to play you 
such a trick, while you wore this mask. I am in an awful 
passion with myself, and have a good mind to give myself 
a sound beating. 

MASC. Farewell, most refined wit, unparalleled inventive 

LEL. Alas ! If your anger deprives me of your assist- 
ance, what saint shall I invoke ? 

MASC. Beelzebub. 

LEL. Ah ! If your heart is not made of stone or iron, 
do once more at least forgive my imprudence ; if it is 
necessary to be pardoned that I should kneel before you, 
behold . . . 

MASC. Fiddlesticks ! Come, my boys, let us away ; I 
hear some other people coming closely behind us. 

SCENE XIII. LEANDER and his company masked; 
TRUFALDIN at the window. 

LEAND. Softly, let us do nothing but in the gentlest 

TRUF. {At the window). How is this? What ! mum- 
mers besieging my door all night. Gentlemen, do not 
catch a cold gratuitously ; every one who is catching it 
here must have plenty of time to lose. It is rather a little 
too late to take Celia along with you ; she begs you will 
excuse her to-night ; the girl is in bed and cannot speak 
to you ; I am very sorry ; but to repay you for all the 


trouble you have taken for her sake, she begs you will be 
pleased to accept this pot of perfume. 

LEAND. Faugh ! That does not smell nicely. My 
clothes are all spoiled ; we are discovered ; let us be gone 
this way. 

SCENE I. LELIO, disguised as an Armenian; MASCARILLE. 

MASC. You are dressed in a most comical fashion. 

LEL. I had abandoned all hope, but you have revived 
it again by this contrivance. 

MASC. My anger is always too soon over ; it is vain to 
swear and curse, I can never keep to my oaths. 

LEL. Be assured that if ever it lies in my power you 
shall be satisfied with the proofs of my gratitude, and 
though I had but one piece of bread . . . 

MASC. Enough: Study well this new project; for if 
you commit now any blunder, you cannot lay the blame 
upon ignorance of the plot ; you ought to know your part 
in the play perfectly by heart. 

LEL. But how did Trufaldin receive you ? 

MASC. I cozened the good fellow with a pretended zeal 
for his interests. I went with alacrity to tell him that, 
unless he took very great care, some people would come 
and surprise him ; that from different quarters they had 
designs upon her of whose origin a letter had given a false 
account ; that they would have liked to draw me in for a 
share in the business, but that I kept well out of it ; and 
that, being full of zeal for what so nearly concerned him, 
I came to give him timely notice that he might take his 
precautions. Then, moralizing, I discoursed solemnly 
about the many rogueries one sees every day here below ; 
that, as for me, being tired with the world and its in- 
famies, I wished to work out my soul's salvation, retire 
from all its noise, and live with some worthy honest man, 
with whom I could spend the rest of my days in peace ; 
that, if he had no objection, I should desire nothing more 
than to pass the remainder of my life with him ; that I 
had taken such a liking to him, that, without asking for 
any wages to serve him, I was ready to place in his hands, 
knowing it to be safe there, some property my father had 


left me, as well as my savings, which I was fully deter- 
mined to leave to him alone, if it pleased Heaven to take 
me hence. That was the right way to gain his affection. 
You and your beloved should decide what means to use to 
attain your wishes. I was anxious to arrange a secret 
interview between you two ; he himself has contrived to 
show me a most excellent method, by which you may 
fairly and openly stay in her house. Happening to talk 
to me about a son he had lost, and whom he dreamt last 
night had come to life again, he told me the following 
story, upon which, just now, I founded my stratagem. 

LEL. Enough ; I know it all ; you have told it me 
twice already. 23 

MASC. Yes, yes ; but even if I should tell it thrice, it 
may happen still, that with all your conceit, you might 
break down in some minor detail. 

LEL. I long to be at it already. 

MASC. Pray, not quite so fast, for fear we might stumble. 
Your skull is rather thick, therefore you should be per- 
fectly well instructed in your part. Some time ago 
Trufaldin left Naples; his name was then Zanobio Ruberti. 
Being suspected in his native town of having participated 
in a certain rebellion, raised by some political faction 
(though really he is not a man to disturb any state), he 
was obliged to quit it stealthily by night, leaving behind 
him his daughter, who was very young, and his wife. 
Some time afterwards he received the news that they were 
both dead, and in this perplexity, wishing to take with 
him to some other town, not only his property, but also 
the only one who was left of all his family, his young son, 
a schoolboy, called Horatio, he wrote to Bologna, where 
a certain tutor, named Alberto, had taken the boy when 
very young, to finish there his education ; but though for 
two whole years he appointed several times to meet them, 
they never made their appearance. Believing them to be 

m Though Lelio says to Mascarille, " Enough, I know it all," he has 
not been listening to the speech of his servant, but, in the meanwhile, is 
arranging his dress, and smoothing his ruffles, and making it clear to the 
spectator that he knows nothing, and that he will be a bad performer of 
the part assigned to him. This explains the blunders he makes afterwards 
in the second and fifth scenes of the same act. 

VOL. I. j 

50 THE BLUNDERER : [ ACT , v . 

dead, after so long a time, he came to this city, where he 
took the name he now bears, without for twelve years 
ever having discovered any traces of this Alberto, or of 
his son Horatio. This is the substance of the story, which 
I have repeated so that you may better remember the 
groundwork of the plot. Now, you are to personate an 
Armenian merchant, who has seen them both safe and 
sound in Turkey. If I have invented this scheme, in 
preference to any other, of bringing them to life again 
according to his dream, it is because it is very common 
in adventures for people to be taken at sea by some 
Turkish pirate, and afterwards restored to their families 
in the very nick of time, when thought lost for fifteen or 
twenty years. For my part, I have heard a hundred of 
that kind of stories. Without giving ourselves the trouble 
of inventing something fresh, let us make use of this one ; 
what does it matter ? You must say you heard the story 
of their being made slaves from their own mouths, and 
also that you lent them money to pay their ransom ; but 
that as urgent business obliged you to set out before them, 
Horatio asked you to go and visit his father here, whose 
adventures he was acquainted with, and with whom you 
were to stay a few days till their arrival. I have given you 
a long lesson now. 

LEL. These repetitions are superfluous. From the very 
beginning I understood it all. 

MASC. I shall go in and prepare the way. 

LEL. Listen, Mascarille, there is only one thing that 
troubles me ; suppose he should ask me to describe his 
son's countenance ? 

MASC. There is no difficulty in answering that ! You 
know he was very little when he saw him last. Besides it 
is very likely that increase of years and slavery have com- 
pletely changed him. 

LEL. That is true. But pray, if he should remember 
my face, what must I do then ? 

MASC. Have you no memory at all ? I told you just 
now, that he has merely seen you for a minute, that there- 
fore you could only have produced a very transient im- 
pression on his mind ; besides, your beard and dress dis- 
guise you completely. 


LSL. Very well. But, now I think of it, what part of 
Turkey . . . ? 

MASC. It is all the same, I tell you, Turkey or Barbary. 

LEL. But what is the name of the town I saw them in ? 

MASC. Tunis. I think he will keep me till night. He 
tells me it is useless to repeat that name so often, and I have 
already mentioned it a dozen times. 

LEL. Go, go in and prepare matters ; I want nothing 

MASC. Be cautious at least, and act wisely. Let us have 
none of your inventions here. 

LEL. Let me alone ! Trust to me, I say, once more. 

MASC. Observe, Horatio, a schoolboy in Bologna ; Tru- 
faldin, his true name Zanobio Ruberti, a citizen of Naples ; 
the tutor was called Alberto . . . 

LEL. You make me blush by preaching so much to me ; 
do you think I am a fool ? 

MASC. No, not completely, but something very like it. 

SCENE II. LELIO, alone. 

When I do not stand in need of him he cringes, but now, 
because he very well knows of how much use he is to me, 
his familiarity indulges in such remarks as he just now 
made. I shall bask in the sunshine of those beautiful 
eyes, which hold me in so sweet a captivity, and, without 
hindrance, depict in the most glaring colours the tortures 
I feel. I shall then know my fate. . . . But here they 1 


TRUF. Thanks, righteous heaven, for this favourable 
turn of my fortune ! 

MASC. You are the man to see visions and dream 
dreams, since you prove how untrue is the saying that 
dreams are falsehoods. 24 

TRUF. How can I thank you ? what returns can I make 
you, sir ? You, whom I ought to style the messenger sent 
from Heaven to announce my happiness ! 

24 In French there is a play on words between songes, dreams, and 
mensonges, falsehoods, which cannot be rendered into English. 


LEL. These compliments are superfluous ; I can dis- 
pense with them. 

TRUF. {To Mascarille). I have seen somebody like 
this Armenian, but I do not know where. 

MASC. That is what I was saying, but one sees surpris- 
ing likenesses sometimes. 

TRUF. You have seen that son of mine, in whom all my 
hopes are centred ? 

LEL. Yes, Signer Trufaldin, and he was as well as well 
can be. 

TRUF. He related to you his life and spoke much about 
me, did he not ? 

LEL. More than ten thousand times. 

MASC. (Aside to Lelio}. Not quite so much, I should 

LEL. He described you just as I see you, your face, your 

TRUF. Is that possible ? He has not seen me since he 
was seven years old. And even his tutor, after so long a 
time, would scarcely know my face again. 

MASC. One's own flesh and blood never forget the 
image of one's relations; this likeness is imprinted so 
deeply, that my father . . . 

TRUF. Hold your tongue. Where was it you left him? 

LEL. In Turkey, at Turin. 

TRUF. Turin ! but I thought that town was in Pied- 

MASC. (Aside). Oh the dunce ! (To Trufaldin). You 
do not understand him ; he means Tunis ; it was in re- 
ality there he left your son ; but the Armenians always 
have a certain vicious pronunciation, which seems very 
harsh to us ; the reason of it is because in all their words 
they change nis into rin; and so, instead of saying Tunis, 
they pronounce Turin. 

TRUF. I ought to know this in order to understand him. 
Did he tell you in what way you could meet with his 
father ? 

MASC. (Aside}. What answer will he give? 25 (To 

46 Trufaldin having found out that Mascarille makes signs to his mas- 
ter, the servant pretends to fence. 


Trufaldin, after pretending to fence). I was just practising 
some passes ; I have handled the foils in many a fencing 

TRUF. {To Mascarille). That is not the thing I wish to 
know now. {To Lelio). What other name did he say I 
went by ? 

MASC. Ah, Signer Zanobio Ruberti. How glad you 
ought to be for what Heaven sends you ! 

LEL. That is your real name ; the other is assumed. 

TRUF. But where did he tell you he first saw the light? 

MASC. Naples seems a very nice place, but you must 
feel a decided aversion to it. 

TRUF. Can you not let us go on with our conversation, 
without interrupting us ? 

LEL. Naples is the place where he first drew his breath. 

TRUF. Whither did I send him in his infancy, and 
under whose care ? 

MASC. That poor Albert behaved very well, for having 
accompanied your son from Bologna, whom you com- 
mitted to his care. 

TRUF. Pshaw ! 

MASC. (Aside). We are undone if this conversation 
lasts long. 

TRUF. I should very much like to know their adven- 
tures ; aboard what ship did my adverse fate . . . ? 

MASC. I do not know what is the matter with me, I do 
nothing but yawn. But, Signer Trufaldin, perhaps this 
stranger may want some refreshment ; besides, it grows 

LEL. No refreshment for me. 

MASC. Oh sir, you are more hungry than you imagine. 

TRUF. Please to walk in then. 

LEL. After you, sir. 26 

MASC. (To Trufaldin). Sir, in Armenia, the masters 
of the house use no ceremony. ( To Lelio, after Trufaldin 
has gone in). Poor fellow, have you not a word to say for 

28 It shows that Lelio knows not what he is about when he does the 
honours of the house to the master of the house himself, and forgets that 
as a stranger he ought to go in first. 


LEL. He surprised me at first ; but never fear, I have 
rallied my spirits, and am going to rattle away boldly . . 

MASC. Here comes our rival, who knows nothing of 
our plot. {They go into Trufaldiri 's house). 


ANS. Stay, Leander, and allow me to tell you something 
which concerns your peace and reputation. I do not 
speak to you as the father of Hippolyta, as a man inter- 
ested for my own family, but as your father, anxious for 
your welfare, without wishing to flatter you or to disguise 
anything ; in short, openly and honestly, as I would wish 
a child of mine to be treated upon the like occasion. Do 
you know how everybody regards this amour of yours, 
which in one night has burst forth ? How your yester- 
day's undertaking is everywhere talked of and ridiculed ? 
What people think of the whim which, they say, has made 
you select for a wife a gipsy outcast, a strolling wench, 
whose noble occupation was only begging? I really 
blushed for you, even more than I did for myself, who am 
also compromised by this public scandal. Yes, I am com- 
promised, I say, I whose daughter, being engaged to you, 
cannot bear to see her slighted, without taking offence at 
it. For shame, Leander ; arise from your humiliation ; 
consider well your infatuation ; if none of us are wise at 
all times, yet the shortest errors are always the best. 
When a man receives no dowry with his wife, but beauty 
only, repentance follows soon after wedlock ; and the 
handsomest woman in the world ; can hardly defend her- 
self against a lukewarmness caused by possession. I re- 
peat it, those fervent raptures, those youthful ardours and 
ecstacies, may make us pass a few agreeable nights, but 
this bliss is not at all lasting, and as our passions grow 
cool, very unpleasant days follow those pleasant nights ; 
hence proceed cares, anxieties, miseries, sons disinherited 
through their fathers' wrath. 

LEAND. All that I now hear from you is no more than 
what my own reason has already suggested to me. I know 
how much I am obliged to you for the great honour you 
are inclined to pay me, and of which I am unworthy. In 
spite of the passion which sways me, I have ever retained 


a just sense of your daughter's merit and virtue: therefore 
I will endeavour . . . 

ANS. Somebody is opening this door ; let us retire to 
a distance, lest some contagion spreads from it, which may 
attack you suddenly. 


MASC. We shall soon see our roguery miscarry if you 
persist in such palpable blunders. 

LEL. Must I always hear your reprimands ? What 
can you complain of? Have I not done admirably 
since . . . ? 

MASC. Only middling ; for example, you called the 
Turks heretics, and you affirmed, on your corporal oath, 
that they worshipped the sun and moon as their gods. Let 
that pass. What vexes me most is that, when you are with 
Celia, you strangely forget yourself; your love is like por- 
ridge, which by too fierce a fire swells, mounts up to the 
brim, and runs over everywhere. 

LEL. Could any one be more reserved ? As yet I have 
hardly spoken to her. 

MASC. You are right ! but it is not enough to be silent ; 
you had not been a moment at table till your gestures 
roused more suspicion than other people would have ex- 
cited in a whole twelvemonth. 

LEL. How so ? 

MASC. How so ? Everybody might have seen it. At 
table, where Trufaldin made her sit down, you never kept 
your eyes off her, blushed, looked quite silly, cast sheep's 
eyes at her, without ever minding what you were helped 
to ; you were never thirsty but when she drank, and took 
the glass eagerly from her hands ; and without rinsing it, 
or throwing a drop of it away, you drank what she left in 
it, and seemed to choose in preference that side of the 
glass which her lips had touched ; upon every piece which 
her slender hand had touched, or which she had bit, you 
laid your paw as quickly as a cat does upon a mouse, and 
you swallowed it as glibly as if you were a regular glutton. 
Then, besides all this, you made an intolerable noise, 
shuffling with your feet under the table, for which Tru- 
faldin, who received two lusty kicks, twice punished a 


couple of innocent dogs, who would have growled at you 
if they dared ; and yet, in spite of all this, you say you 
behaved finely ! For my part I sat upon thorns all the 
time ; notwithstanding the cold, I feel even now in a per- 
spiration. I hung over you just as a bowler does over his 
bowl after he has thrown it, and thought to restrain your 
actions by contorting my body ever so many times. 

LEL. Lack-a day ! how easy it is for you to condemn 
things of which you do not feel the enchanting cause. In 
order to humour you for once I have, nevertheless, a good 
mind to put a restraint upon that love which sways me. 
Henceforth . . . 


MASC. We were speaking about your son's adventures. 

TRUF. (To Lelio). You did quite right. Will you do 
me the favour of letting me have one word in private 
with him ? 

LEL. I should be very rude if I did not. (Lelio goes 
into Trufaldiri s House}. 


TRUF. Hark ye ! do you know what I have just been 
doing ? 

MASC. No, but if you think it proper, I shall certainly 
not remain long in ignorance. 

TRUF. I have just now cut off from a large and sturdy 
oak, of about two hundred years old, an admirable branch, 
selected on purpose, of tolerable thickness, of which im- 
mediately, upon the spot, I made a cudgel, about . . . 
yes, of this size (showing his arm) ; not so thick at one 
end as at the other, but fitter, I imagine, than thirty 
switches to belabour the shoulders withal ; for it is well 
poised, green, knotty, and heavy. 

MASC. But, pray, for whom is all this preparation ? 

TRUF. For yourself, first of all ; then, secondly, for that 
fellow, who wishes to palm one person upon me, and trick 
me out of another ; for this Armenian, this merchant in 
disguise, introduced by a lying and pretended story. 

MASC. What ! you do not believe . . . ? 

TRUF. Do not try to find an excuse ; he himself, fortu- 


nately, discovered his own stratagem, by telling Celia, 
whilst he squeezed her hand at the same time, that it was 
for her sake alone he came disguised in this manner. He 
did not perceive Jeannette, my little god-daughter, who 
overheard every word he said. Though your name was 
not mentioned, I do not doubt but you are a cursed 
accomplice in all this. 

MASC. Indeed, you wrong me. If you are really de- 
ceived, believe me I was the first imposed upon with his 

TRUF. Would you convince me you speak the truth ? 
Assist me in giving him a sound drubbing, and in driving 
him away ; let us give it the rascal well, and then I will 
acquit you of all participation in this piece of rascality. 

MASC. Ay, ay, with all my soul. I will dust his jacket 
for him so soundly, that you shall see I had no hand in 
this matter. (Aside}. Ah ! you shall have a good lick- 
ing, Mister Armenian, who always spoil everything. 


TRUF. (Knocks at his door, and then addresses Lelio}. A 
word with you, if you please. So, Mr. Cheat, you have 
the assurance to fool a respectable man, and make game of 
him ? 

MASC. To pretend to have seen his son abroad, in order 
to get the more easily into his house ! 

TRUF. (Beating JLelio). Go away, go away immedi- 

LEL. ( To Mascarille, who beats him likewise). Oh ! you 
scoundrel ! 

MASC It is thus that rogues . . . 

LEL. Villain ! 

MASC. Are served here. Keep that for my sake ! 

LEL. What ? Is a gentleman . . . ? 

MASC. (Beating him and driving him off}. March off, 
begone, I tell you, or I shall break all the bones in your 

TRUT. I am delighted with this ; come in, I am satis- 
fied. {Mascarille follows Trufaldin into his house}. 

LEL. (Returning) This to me ! To be thus affronted 

58 THE BLUNDERER : [ ACT , v . 

by a servant ! Could I have thought the wretch would 
have dared thus to ill-treat his master ? 

MASC. (from Trufaldin's window}. May I take the 
liberty to ask how your shoulders are ? 

LEL. What ! Have you the impudence still to address me? 

MASC. Now see what it is not to have perceived Jean- 
nette, and to have always a blabbing tongue in your head ! 
However, this time I am not angry with you, I have done 
cursing and swearing at you j though you behaved very 
imprudently, yet my hand has made your shoulders pay 
for your fault. 

LEL. Ha ! I shall be revenged on you for your treach- 
erous behaviour. 

MASC. You yourself were the cause of all this mischief. 

LEL. I? 

MASC. If you had had a grain of sense when you were 
talking to your idol you would have perceived Jeannette 
at your heels, whose sharp ears overheard the whole affair. 

LEL. Could anybody possibly catch one word I spoke 
to Celia ? 

MASC. And what else was the cause why you were sud- 
denly turned out of doors ? Yes, you are shut out by your 
own tittle-tattle. I do not know whether you play often 
at piquet, but you at least throw your cards away in an 
admirable manner. 

LEL. Oh ! I am the most unhappy of all men. But 
why did you drive me away also ? 

MASC. I never did better than in acting thus. By these 
means, at least, I prevent all suspicion of my being the in- 
ventor or an accomplice of this stratagem. 

LEL. But you should have laid it on more gently. 

MASC. I was no such fool ! Trufaldin watched me most 
narrowly ; besides, I must tell you, under the pretence of 
being of use to you, I was not at all displeased to vent my 
spleen. However, the thing is done, and if you will give 
me your word of honour, never, directly or indirectly, to 
be revenged on me for the blows on the back I so heartily 
gave you, I promise you, by the help of my present sta- 
tion, to satisfy your wishes within these two nights. 

LEL. Though you have treated me very harshly, yet 
what would not such a promise prevail upon me to do ? 


MASC. You promise, then? 

LEL. Yes, I do. 

MASC. But that is not all ; promise never to meddle in 
anything I take in hand. 

LEL. I do. 

MASC. If you break your word may you get the cold 
shivers ! 

LEL. Then keep it with me, and do not forget my un- 

MASC. Go and change your dress, and rub something 
on your back. 

LEL. (Alone). Will ill-luck always follow me, and heap 
upon me one misfortune after another ? 

MASC. (Coming out of Trufaldirt s house). What! Not 
gone yet ? Hence immediately ; but, above all, be sure 
you don't trouble your head about any thing. Be satis- 
fied, that I am on your side ; do not make the least at- 
tempt to assist me ; remain quiet. 

LEL. ( Going). ' Yes, to be sure, I will remain quiet. 

MASC. (Alone). Now let me see what course I am to 


ERG. Mascarille, I come to tell you a piece of news, 
which will give a cruel blow to your projects. At the 
very moment I am talking to you, a young gipsy, who 
nevertheless is no black, and looks like a gentleman, has 
arrived with a very wan -looking old woman, and is to call 
upon Trufaldin to purchase the slave you wished to re- 
deem. He seems to be very anxious to get possession of 

MASC. Doubtless it is the lover Celia spoke about. 
Were ever fortunes so tangled as ours ? No sooner have 
we got rid of one trouble than we fall into another. In vain 
do we hear that Leander intends to abandon his pursuit, 
and to give us no further trouble; that the unexpected 
arrival of his father has turned the scales in favour of 
Hippolyta; that the old gentleman has employed his 
parental authority to make a thorough change, and 
that the marriage contract is going to be signed this 
very day ; as soon as one rival withdraws, another and a 


more dangerous one starts up to destroy what little hope 
there was left. However, by a wonderful stratagem, I 
believe I shall be able to delay their departure and gain 
what time I want to put the finishing stroke to this famous 
affair. A great robbery has lately been committed, by 
whom, nobody knows. These gipsies have not generally 
the reputation of being very honest ; upon this slight sus- 
picion, I will cleverly get the fellow imprisoned for a few 
days. I know some officers of justice, open to a bribe, 
who will not hesitate on such an occasion ; greedy and ex- 
pecting some present, there is nothing they will not 
attempt with their eyes shut; be the accused ever so 
innocent, the purse is always criminal, and must pay for 
the offence. 


MASC. Ah blockhead ! numskull ! idiot ! Will you 
never leave off persecuting me ? 

ERG. The constable took great care everything was 
going on smoothly ; the fellow would have been in jail, 
had not your master come up that very moment, and, like 
a madman spoiled your plot. "I cannot suffer," says he 
in a loud voice, "that a respectable man should be dragged 
to prison in this disgraceful manner ; I will be responsible 
for him, from his very looks, and will be his bail." And 
as they refused to let him go, he immediately and so vigo- 
rously attacked the officers, who are a kind of people much 
afraid of their carcasses, that, even at this very moment, 
they are running, and every man thinks he has got a Lelio 
at his heels. 

MASC. The fool does not know that this gipsy is in the 
house already to carry off his treasure. 

ERG. Good-bye, business obliges me to leave you. 


Yes, this last marvellous accident quite stuns me. One 
would think, and I have no doubt of it, that this bungling 
devil which possesses Lelio takes delight in defying me, 
and leads him into every place where his presence can do 


mischief. Yet I shall go on, and notwithstanding all these 
buffets of fortune, try who will carry the day. Celia has 
no aversion to him, and looks upon her departure with 
great regret. I must endeavour to improve this opportu- 
nity. But here they come; let me consider how I shall 
execute my plan. Yonder furnished house is at my dis- 
posal, and I can do what I like with it; if fortune but 
favours us, all will go well ; nobody lives there but my- 
self, and I keep the key. Good Heavens ! what a great 
many adventures have befallen us in so short a time, and 
what numerous disguises a rogue is obliged to put on. 


AND. You know it, Celia, I have left nothing undone 
to prove the depth of my passion. When I was but very 
young, my courage in the wars gained me some considera- 
tion among the Venetians, and one time or other, and 
without having too great an opinion of myself, I might, 
had I continued in their service, have risen to some em- 
ployment of distinction ; but, for your sake, I abandoned 
everything; the sudden change you produced in my heart, 
was quickly followed by your lover joining the gipsies. 
Neither a great many adventures nor your indifference 
have been able to make me abandon my pursuit. Since 
that time, being by an accident separated from you much 
longer than I could have foreseen, I spared neither time 
nor pains to meet with you again. At last I discovered 
the old gipsy-woman, and heard from her that for a cer- 
tain sum of money, which was then of great consequence 
to the gipsies, and prevented the dissolution of the whole 
band, you were left in pledge in this neighbourhood. 
Full of impatience, I flew hither immediately to break 
these mercenary chains, and to receive from you whatever 
commands you might be pleased to give. But, when I 
thought to see joy sparkle in your eyes, I find you pensive 
and melancholy ; if quietness has charms for you, I have 
sufficient means at Venice, of the spoils taken in war, for 
us both to live there ; but if I must still follow you as 
before, I will do so, and my heart shall have no other am- 
bition than to serve you in whatever manner you please. 

CEL. You openly display your affection for me. I 


[ACT v. 

should be ungrateful not to be sensible of it. Besides, just 
now, my countenance does not bear the impress of the 
feelings of my heart; my looks show that I have a violent 
headache. If I have the least influence over you, you 
will delay our voyage for at least three or four days, until 
my indisposition has passed away. 

AND. I shall stay as long as you like ; I only wish to 
please you ; let us look for a house where you may be 
comfortable. Ho ! here is a bill up just at the right time. 

a Swiss. 

AND. Monsieur Swiss, are you the master of the house ? 

MASC. I am at your service." 27 

AND. Can we lodge here ? 

MASC. Yes, I let furnished lodgings to strangersj but 
only to respectable people. 

AND. I suppose your house has a very good reputation ? 

MASC. I see by your face you are a stranger in this 

AND. I am. 

MASC. Are you the husband of this lady ? 

AND. Sir? 

MASC. Is she your wife or your sister ? 

AND. Neither. 

MASC. Upon my word, she is very pretty ! Do you 
come on business, or have you a la wsuit going on before 
the court ? A lawsuit is a very bad thing, it costs so 
much money; a solicitor is a thief, and a barrister a rogue. 

AND. I do not come for either of these. 

MASC. You have brought this young lady then to walk 
about and to see the town ? 

AND. What is that to you ? (To Celia). I shall be 

2T In the original, Mascarille speaks a kind of gibberish, which is 
only amusing when the play is acted; but it can serve no purpose to 
translate " mot, pour serfir a fous," " Oui, moi pour d'estrancher chap- 
pon champre garni, mais che non point locker te gent te mechant vi,'' 
etc., by "me be at your serfice,' 1 "yes, me have de very goot sham- 
bers, ready furnish for stranger, but me no loge de people scandaluse,'' 
etc. A provincial pronunciation, an Irish brogue, or a Scotch tongue, 
are no equivalent for this mock Swiss German-French 


with you again in one moment ; I am going to fetch the 
old woman presently, and tell them not to send the tra- 
velling-carriage which was ready. 

MASC. Is the lady not quite well ? 

AND. She has a headache. 

MASC. I have some good wine and cheese within ; walk 
in, go into my small house. (Cetia, Andres and Masca- 
rille go into the house}. 

SCENE V. LELIO, alone. 

However impatient and excited I may feel, yet I have 
pledged my word to do nothing but wait quietly, to let 
another work for me, and to see, without daring to stir, 
in what manner Heaven will change my destiny. 


LEL. (Addressing Andres, who is coming out of the house). 
Do you want to see anybody in this house ? 

AND. I have just taken some furnished apartments 

LEL. The house belongs to my father, and my servant 
sleeps there every night to take care of it. 

AND. I know nothing of that ; the bill, at least, shows 
it is to be let ; read it. 

LEL. Truly this surprises me, I confess. Who the 
deuce can have put that bill up, and why . . . ? Ho, 
faith, I can guess, pretty near, what it means ; this can- 
not possibly proceed but from the quarter I surmise. 

AND. May I ask what affair this may be ? 

LEL. I would keep it carefully from anybody else, but 
it can be of no consequence to you, and you will not men- 
tion it to any one. Without doubt, that bill can be 
nothing else but an invention of the servant I spoke of ; 
nothing but some cunning plot he has hatched to place 
into my hands a certain gipsy girl, with whom I am 
smitten, and of whom I wish to obtain possession. I have 
already attempted this several times, but until now in vain. 

AND. What is her name ? 

LEL. Celia. 

AND. What do you say ? Had you but mentioned this, 


no doubt I should have saved you all the trouble this pro- 
ject costs you. 

LEL. How so ? Do you know her ? 

AND. It is I who just now bought her from her master. 

LEL. You surprise me ! 

AND. As the state of her health did not allow her to 
leave this town, I just took these apartments for her; and 
I am very glad that on this occasion you have acquainted 
me with your intentions. 

LEL. What ! shall I obtain the happiness I hope for by 
your means ? Could you . . . ? 

AND. {Knocks at the door). You shall be satisfied im- 

LEL. What can I say to you ? And what thanks . . . ? 

AND. No, give me none ; I will have none. 


MASC. (Aside). Hallo ! Is this not my mad-cap mas- 
ter ? He will make another blunder. 

LEL. Who would have known him in this grotesque 
dress ? Come hither, Mascarille, you are welcome. 

MASC. I am a man of honour ; I am not Mascarille,* 8 
I never debauched any married or unmarried woman. 

LEL. What funny gibberish ! It is really very good ! 

MASC. Go about your business, and do not laugh at me. 

LEL. You can take off your dress ; recognise your 

MASC. Upon my word ! by all the saints, I never knew 
you ! 

LEL. Everything is settled, disguise yourself no longer. 

MASC. If you do not go away I will give you a slap in 
the face. 

LEL. Your Swiss jargon is needless, I tell you, for we 
are agreed, and his generosity lays me under an obliga- 
tion. I have all I can wish for; you have no reason to be 
under any farther apprehension. 

MASC. If you are agreed, by great good luck, I will no 
longer play the Swiss, and become myself again. 

28 Mascarille answers in his gibberish, " Mot non point Masquerille" an 
allusion to maquerelle a female pander ; hence his further remarks. 


AND. This valet of yours serves you with much zeal ; 
stay a little ; I will return presently. 


LEL. Well, what do you say now? 

MASC. That I am delighted to see our labours crowned 
with success. 

LEL. You were hesitating to doff your disguise, and 
could hardly believe me. 

MASC. As I know you I was rather afraid', and still find 
the adventure very astonishing. 

LEL. But confess, however, that I have done great 
things at least I have now made amends for all my blun- 
ders mine will be the honour of having finished the 

MASC. Be it so ; you have been much more lucky than 


AND. Is not this the lady you were speaking of to me ? 

LEL. Heavens ! what happiness can be equal to mine ! 

AND. It is true ; I am indebted to you for the kind- 
ness you have shown me ; I should be much to blame if I 
did not acknowledge it ; but this kindness would be too 
dearly bought were I to repay it at the expense of my 
heart. Judge, by the rapture her beauty causes me, 
whether I ought to discharge my debt to you at such a 
price. You are generous, and would not have me act 
thus. Farewell. Let us return whence we came, and stay 
there for a few days. (He leads Celia away). 


MASC. I am laughing, and yet I have little inclination 
to it. You two are quite of the same mind ; he gives 
Celia to you. Hem ! . . . You understand me, sir? 

LEL. This is too much. I am determined no longer to 
ask you to assist me; it is useless; I am a puppy, a 
wretch, a detestable blockhead, not worthy of any one 
taking any trouble for me, incapable of doing anything. 
Abandon all endeavours to aid an unfortunate wretch, who 
will not allow himself to be made happy ; after so many 
VOL. i. E 


misfortunes, after all my imprudent actions, death alone 
should aid me. 


That is the true way of putting the finishing stroke to 
his fate ; he wants nothing now but to die, to crown all 
his follies. But in vain his indignation, for all the faults 
he has committed urges him to renounce my aid and my 
support. I intend, happen what will, to serve him in spite 
of himself, and vanquish the very devil that possesses him. 
The greater the obstacle, the greater the glory ; and the 
difficulties which beset us are but a kind of tire-women who 
deck and adorn virtue. 


CELT A. (7<? Mascarille, who has been whispering to 
her). Whatever you may say, and whatever they intend 
doing, I have no great expectation from this delay. What 
we have seen hitherto may indeed convince us that they 
are not as yet likely to agree. I have already told you 
that a heart like mine will not for the sake of one do an 
injustice to another, and that I find myself strongly at- 
tached to both, though by different ties. If Lelio has 
love and its power on his side, Andres has gratitude plead- 
ing for him, which will not permit even my most secret 
thoughts ever to harbour anything against his interests. 
Yes ; if he has no longer a place in my heart, if the gift 
of my hand must not crown his love, I ought at least to 
reward that which he has done for me, by not choosing 
another, in contempt of his flame, and suppress my own 
inclinations in the same manner as I do his. You have 
heard the difficulties which duty throws in my way, and 
you can judge now whether your expectations will be re- 

MASC. To speak the truth, they are very formidable 
obstacles in our way, and I have not the knack of working 
miracles ; but I will do my utmost, move Heaven and 
earth, leave no stone unturned to try and discover some 
happy expedient. I shall soon let you know what can be 



HIPP. Ever since you came among us, the ladies of this 
neighbourhood may well complain of the havoc caused by 
your eyes, since you deprive them of the greatest part of 
their conquests, and make all their lovers faithless. There 
is not a heart which can escape the darts with which you 
pierce them as soon as they see you ; many thousands load 
themselves with your chains, and seem to enrich you daily 
at our expense. However, as regards myself, I should 
make no complaints of the irresistible sway of your exqui- 
site charms, had they left me one of all my lovers to con- 
sole me for the loss of the others ; but it is inhuman in you 
that without mercy you deprive me of all ; I cannot for- 
bear complaining to you. 

CEL. You rally in a charming manner, but I beseech 
you to spare me a little. Those eyes, those very eyes of yours, 
know their own power too well ever to dread anything 
that I am able to do ; they are too conscious of their own 
charms, and will never entertain similar feelings of fear. 

HIPP. Yet I advance nothing in what I have said which 
has not already entered the mind of every one, and with- 
out mentioning anything else, it is well known that Celia 
has made a deep impression on Leander and on Lelio. 

CEL. I believe you will easily console yourself about 
their loss, since they have become so infatuated ; nor can 
you regret a lover who could make so ill a choice. 

HIPP. On the contrary, I am of quite a different opi- 
nion, and discover such great merits in your beauty, and 
see in it so many reasons sufficient to excuse the incon- 
stancy of those who allow themselves to be attracted by it, 
that I cannot blame Leander for having changed his love 
and broken his plighted troth. In a short time, and with- 
out either hatred or anger, I shall see him again brought 
under my sway, when his father shall have exercised his 


MASC. Great news ! great news ! a wonderful event 
which I am now going to tell you ! 
CEL. What means this? 
MASC. Listen. This is, without any compliments. 4 . 


CEL. What? 

MASC. The last scene of a true and genuine comedy. 
The old gipsy-woman was, but this very moment . . . 

CEL. Well? 

MASC. Crossing the market-place, thinking about 
nothing at all, when another old woman, very haggard- 
looking, after having closely stared at her for some time, 
hoarsely broke out in a torrent of abusive language, and 
thus gave the signal for a furious combat, in which, in- 
stead of swords, muskets, daggers, or arrows, nothing was 
seen but four withered paws, brandished in the air, with 
which these two combatants endeavoured to tear off the 
little flesh old age had left on their bones. Not a word 
was heard but drab, wretch, trull. Their caps, to begin 
with, were flying about, and left a couple of bald pates 
exposed to view, which rendered the battle ridiculously 
horrible. At the noise and hubbub, Andres and Trufal- 
din, as well as many others, ran to see what was the mat- 
ter, and had much ado to part them, so excited were they 
by passion. Meanwhile each of them, when the storm 
was abated, endeavoured to hide her head with shame. 
Everybody wished to know the cause of this ridiculous 
fray. She who first began it having, notwithstanding the 
warmth of her passion, looked for some time at Trufaldin, 
said in a loud voice, " It is you, unless my sight mis- 
gives me, who, I was informed, lived privately in this 
town ; most happy meeting ! Yes, Signer Zanobio 
Ruberti, fortune made me find you out at the very mo- 
ment I was giving myself so much trouble for your sake. 
When you left your family at Naples, your daughter, as 
you know, remained under my care. I brought her up 
from her youth. When she was only four years old she 
showed already in a thousand different ways what charms 
and beauty she would have. That woman you see there 
that infamous hag who had become rather intimate with 
us, robbed me of that treasure. Your good lady, alas ! 
felt so much grief at this misfortune, that, as I have reason 
to believe it shortened her days; so that, fearing your 
severe reproaches because your daughter had been stolen 
from me, I sent you word that both were dead ; but now, 
as I have found, out the thief, she must tell us what has be- 



come of your child." At the name of Zanobio Ruberti, 
which she repeated several times throughout the story, 
Andres, after changing colour often, addressed to the sur- 
prised Trufaldin these words: " What ! has Heaven most 
happily brought me to him whom I have hitherto sought 
in vain ! Can I possibly have beheld my father, the 
author of my being, without knowing him ? Yes, father, 
I am Horatio, your son ; my tutor, Albert, having died, I 
felt anew certain uneasiness in my mind, left Bologna, and 
abandoning my studies, wandered about for six years in 
different places, according as my curiosity led me. How- 
ever, after the expiration of that time, a secret impulse 
drove me to revisit my kindred and my native country ; 
but in Naples, alas ! I could no longer find you, and could 
only hear vague reports concerning you ; so that having 
in vain tried to meet with you, I ceased to roam about 
idly, and stopped for a while in Venice. From that time 
to this I have lived without receiving any other informa- 
tion about my family, except knowing its name." You 
may judge whether Trufaldin was not more than ordinarily 
moved all this while ; in one word (to tell you shortly that 
which you will have an opportunity of learning afterwards 
more at your leisure, from the confession of the old gipsy- 
woman), Trufaldin owns you (to Celia) now for his 
daughter ; Andres is your brother ; and as he can no 
longer think of marrying his sister, and as he acknow- 
ledges he is under some obligation to my master, Lelio, he 
has obtained for him your hand. Pandolphus being 
present at this discovery, gives his full consent to the 
marriage; and to complete the happiness of the family, 
proposes that the newly-found Horatio should marry his 
daughter. See how many incidents are produced at one 
and the same time ! 

CEL. Such tidings perfectly amaze me. 

MASC. The whole company follow me, except the two 
female champions, who are adjusting their toilet after the 
fray. Leander and your father are also coming. I shall go 
and inform my master of this, and let him know that 
when we thought obstacles were increasing, Heaven almost 
wrought a miracle in his favour. (xit Mascarille). 

HIPP. This fortunate event fills me with as much as joy 
as if it were my own case. But here they come. 



TRUF. My child ! 

GEL. Father ! 

TRUF. Do you already know how Heaven has blest us ? 

CEL. I have just now heard this wonderful event. 

HIPP. (To Leander). You need not find excuses for 
your past infidelity. The cause of it, which I have before 
my eyes, is a sufficient excuse. 

LEAND. I crave nothing but a generous pardon. I call 
Heaven to witness that, though I return to my duty sud- 
denly, my father's authority has influenced me less than 
my own inclination. 

AND. (To Celid). Who could ever have supposed that 
so chaste a love would one day be condemned by nature ? 
However, honour swayed it always so much, that with a 
little alteration it may still continue. 

CEL. As for me, I blamed myself, and thought I was 
wrong, because I felt nothing but a very sincere esteem for 
you. I could not tell what powerful obstacle stopped me 
in a path so agreeable and so dangerous, and diverted my 
heart from acknowledging a love which my senses endea- 
voured to communicate to my soul. 

TRUF. (To Celia). But what would you say of me if, 
as soon as I have found you, I should be thinking of 
parting with you ? I promised your hand to this gentle- 
man's son. 

CEL. I know no will but yours 



MASC. Now, let us see whether this devil of yours will 
have the power to destroy so solid a foundation as this ; 
and whether your inventive powers will again strive against 
this great good luck that befalls you. Through a most 
unexpected favourable turn of fortune your desires are 
crowned with success, and Celia is yours. 

LEL. Am I to believe that the omnipotence of 
Heaven . . . ? 

TRUF. Yes, son-in-law, it is really so. 

PAND. The matter is settled. 


AND. ( To Lelio). By this I repay the obligation you 
lay me under. 

LEL. {To Mascarille). I must embrace you ever so 
many times in this great joy . . . 

MASC. Oh ! oh ! gently, I beseech you ; he has almost 
choked me. I am very much afraid for Celia if you em- 
brace her so forcibly. One can do very well without such 
proofs of affection. 

TRUF. (To Lelio). You know the happiness with which 
Heaven has blessed me ; but since the same day has caused 
us all to rejoice, let us not part until it is ended, and let 
Leander's father also be sent for quickly. 

MASC. You are all provided for. Is there not some 
girl who might suit poor Mascarille ? As I see, every Jack 
has his Gill, I also want to be married. 

ANS. I have a wife for you. 

MASC. Let us go, then ; and may propitious Heaven 
give us children, whose fathers we really are. 







The Love-tif (Le Depit-amoureux) is composed of two pieces joined 
together The first and longest is a comparatively modest imitation of a 
very coarse and indecent Italian comedy, L'Interesse, by Signer Nicolo 
Secchi- its intrigue depends chiefly on the substitution of a female for a 
male child, a change which forms the groundwork of many plays and 
novels and of which Shakespeare has also made use. The second and 
best part of the Love-tiff belongs to Moliere alone, and is composed 
chiefly of the whole of the first act, the first six verses of the third scene, 
and the whole of the fourth scene of the second act ; these, with a few 
alterations and a few lines added, form the comedy which the Theatre 
Francaise plays at the present time. It was first represented at Beziers 
towards the end of 1656, when the States General of Languedoc were as- 
sembled in that town, and met with great success ; a success which con- 
tinued when it was played in Paris at the Theatre du Petit-Bourbon in 
1658. Why in some of the former English translations of Moliere the 
servant Gros-Rend is called '' Gros-Renard " we are unable to under- 
stand, for both names are thoroughly French. Mr. Ozell, in his transla- 
tion, gives him the unmistakably English, but not very euphonious name 
of "punch-gutted Ben, alias Renier," whilst Foote calls him " Hugh.'' 
The incidents of the Love-tiff are arranged artistically, though in the 
Spanish taste ; the plot is too complicated, and the ending very unnatural. 
But the characters are well delineated, and fathers, lovers, mistresses, and 
servants all move about amidst a complication of errors from which there is 
no visible disentangling. The conversation between Valere and Ascanio in 
man's clothes, the mutual begging pardon of Albert and Polydore, the na- 
tural astonishment of Lucile, accused in the presence of her father, and the 
stratagem of Eraste to get the truth from his servants, are all described in 
a masterly manner, whilst the tiff between Eraste and Lucile, which gives 
the title to the piece, as well as their reconciliation, are considered among 
the best scenes of this play. 

Nearly all actors in France who play either the valets or the soubrettes 
have attempted the parts of Gros-Rene' and Marinette, and even the 
great tragedienne Madlle. Rachel ventured, on the ist of July, 1844, to 
act Marinette, but not with much success. 

Dryden has imitated, in the fourth act of An Evening's Love, a small 
part of the scene between Marinette and Eraste, the quarrelling scene be- 
tween Lucile, Eraste, Marinette, and Gros-Rene", as well as in the third 
act of the same play, the scene between Albert and Metaphrasrus. Van- 
brugh has very closely followed Moliere's play in the Mistake, but has laid 



the scene in Spain. This is the principal difference I can perceive. He 
has paraphased the French with a spirit and ease which a mere transla- 
tion can hardly ever acquire. The epilogue to his play, written by M. 
Motteux, a Frenchman, whom the revocation of the Edict of Nantes 
brought into England, is filthy in the extreme. Mr. J. King has curtailed 
Vanbrugh's play into an interlude, in one act, called Lovers Quarrels, or 
Like Master Like Man, 

Another imitator of Moliere was Edward Ravenscroft, of whom Baker 
says in his Biographia Dramatica, that he was " a writer or compiler of 
plays, who lived in the reigns of Charles II. and his two successors." He 
was descended from the family of the Ravenscrofts, in Flintshire ; a 
family, as he himself, in a dedication asserts, so ancient that when Wil- 
liam the Conqueror came into England, one of his nobles married into it. 
He was some time a member of the Middle Temple ; but, looking on the 
dry study of the law as greatly beneath the attention of a man of genius, 
quitted it. He was an arrant plagiary. Dryden attacked one of his 
plays, The Citizen turned Gentleman, an imitation of Moliere's Bourgeois- 
Gentilhomme, in the Prologue to The Assignation. Ravenscroft wrote 
" The Wrangling Lovers, or the Invisible Mistress. Acted at the Duke's 
Theatre, 1677. London, Printed for William Crook, at the sign of the 
Green Dragon, without Temple-Bar, 1677.'' Though the plot was partly 
taken from a Spanish novel, the author has been inspired by Moliere's 
Depit amoureux. The scene is in Toledo : Eraste is called Don Diego de 
Stuniga, Valere Don Gusman de Haro, " a well-bred cavaliere," Lucile 
is Octavia de Pimentell, and Ascanio is Elvira ; Gros-Rene's name is 
Sanco, " vallet to Gusman, a simple pleasant fellow," and Mascarille is 
Ordgano, " a cunning knave;" Marinette is called Beatrice and Frosine 
Isabella. The English play is rather too long. Don Gusman courts El- 
vira veiled, whilst in the French play Ascanio, her counterpart, is believed 
to be a young man. There is also a brother of Donna Elvira, Don Ruis 
de Moncade, who is a rival of Don Diego, whilst in le Depit-amoureux 
Valere is not the brother but the husband of Ascanio and the rival of 
Eraste (Don Diego) as well. The arrangement of the English comedy 
differs greatly from the French. Though the plot in both plays is nearly 
identical, yet the words and scenes in The Wrangling Lovers are totally 
different, and not so amusing. Mascarille and Gros-Ren are but faintly 
attempted ; Marinette and Frosine only sketched in outline ; and in the 
fifth act the ladies appear to have nothing else to do but to pop in and out 
of closets. The scenes of" the French play between Albert and Meta- 
phrastus (ii. 7) ; the very comical scene between Albert and Polydore (iii. 4) 
and the reconciliation scene between Lucile and Eraste (iv. 3), are also 
not rendered in the English comedy. There are very few scenes which 
can be compared with those of le Depit amoureux. 


ERASTE, in love with Luc He. 
ALBERT, father to Lucile. 1 


GROS-RENE, servant to Eraste. 
VALERE, son to Polydore. 
POLYDORE, father to Valere. 
MASCARILLE, servant to Valere. 
METAPHRASTUS, a pedant. 
LA RAPIERE, a bully. 

LUCILE, daughter to Albert. 
ASCANIO, Albert's daughter, in man's clothes. 
FROSINE, confidant to Ascanio. 
MARINETTE, maid to Lucile. 

1 This part was played by Moliere himself. 





ERAS. Shall I declare it to you? A certain secret 
anxiety never leaves my mind quite at rest. Yes, what- 
ever remarks you make about my love, to tell you the 
truth, I am afraid of being deceived ; or that you may be 
bribed in order to favour a rival ; or, at least, that you 
may be imposed upon as well as myself. 

GR-RE. As for me, if you suspect me of any knavish 
trick, I will say, and I trust I give no offence to your 
honour's love, that you wound my honesty very unjustly, 
and that you show but small skill in physiognomy. People 
of my bulk are not accused, thank Heaven ! ' of being 
either rogues or plotters. I scarcely need protest against 
the honour paid to us, but am straightforward in every 
thing. 1 As for my being deceived that may be ; there is 
a better foundation for that idea ; nevertheless, I do not 
believe it can be easily done. I may be a fool, but I do 
not see yet why you vex yourself thus. Lucile, to my 

1 Du Pare, the actor who played this part, was very stout ; hence the 
allusion in the original, " et suis homme fort rond de toutes Its manieres." 
I have, of course, used in the translation the word " straightforward " 
ironically, and with an eye to the rotundity of stomach of the actor. 
Moliere was rather fond of making allusions in his plays to the infirmities 
or peculiarities of some of his actors. Thus, in the Miser (rAvare), Act 
i, Scene 3, he alludes to the lameness of the actor Be"jart, " Je ne me 
plats point a voir ce chien de doitevx-la" "I do not like to see that lame 
dog; '' in the Citizen who apes the Nobleman (le Bourgeois gentilhomme), 
Act iii. sc, 9, he even gives a portrait of his wife. 



thinking, shows sufficient love for you ; she sees you and 
talks to you, at all times ; and Valere, after all, who is the 
cause of your fear, seems only to be allowed to approach 
her because she is compelled so to act. 

ERAS. A lover is often buoyed up by false hope. He 
who is best received is not always the most beloved. The 
affection a woman displays is often but a veil to cover her 
passion for another. Valere has lately shown too much 
tranquillity for a slighted lover ; and the joy or indif- 
ference he displays at those favours, which you suppose be- 
stowed upon me, embitters continually their greatest 
charms, causes this grief, which you cannot understand, 
holds my happiness in suspense, and makes it difficult for 
me to trust completely anything Lucile says to me. I 
should feel delighted if I saw Valere animated by a little 
more jealousy ; his anxiety and impatience would then re- 
assure my heart. Do you as yourself think it possible for 
any one to see a rival caressed and be as satisfied as he 
is ; if you do not believe it, tell me, I conjure you, if I 
have not a cause to be perplexed ? 

GR.-RE. Perhaps he has changed his inclination, upon 
finding that he sighed in vain. 

ERAS. When love has been frequently repelled it frees 
itself, and wishes to flee from the object it was charmed 
with ; nor does it break its chain so quietly as to be able 
to continue at peace. When once we have been fond of 
anyone who influenced our destiny we are never afterwards 
indifferent in her presence ; if our dislike does not in- 
crease when we behold her our love is upon the point of 
returning again. Believe me, however much a passion may 
be extinguished, a little jealousy still dwells in our breast ; 
no one can see, without feeling some pang, the heart he 
has lost possessed by another. 

GR.-RE. For my part, I do not understand so much 
philosophy. I candidly believe what my eyes see, and am 
not such a mortal enemy to myself as to become melan- 
choly without any cause. Why should I try to split hairs, 
and labour hard to find out reasons to be miserable ? Shall 
I alarm myself about castles in the air ? Let Lent come 
before we keep it ! I think grief an uncomfortable thing ; 
and, for my part, I never foster it without good and just 


cause. I might frequently find a hundred opportunities to 
become sad, but I do not want to see them. I run the 
same risk in love as you do ; I share in your bad or good 
luck. The mistress cannot deceive you but the maid will 
do the same by me ; yet I carefully avoid thinking about 
it. I like to believe people when they say "I love you." 
In order to be happy, I do not try to find out whether 
Mascarille tears the hair out of his head or not. Let 
Marinette allow herself to be kissed and caressed by 
Gros-Rene 2 as much as he likes, and let my charming rival 
laugh at it like a fool, I will laugh too as much as I like, 
and follow his example ; we shall then see who will laugh 
the heartiest. 

ERAS. That is like your talk. 

GR. RE. But here she comes. 


GR.-RE. Hist ! Marinette. 

MAR. Hallo ! what are you doing there ? 

GR. -RE. Faith ! do you ask ? We were just talking 
about you. 

MAR. Are you there too, sir? Upon my word you have 
made me trot about like a flunkey for this hour past. 

ERAS. How so ? 

MAR. I have walked ten miles to look for you, and give 
you my word that . . . 

ERAS. What? 

MAR. That you were neither at church, in the fashion- 
able walk, at home, nor in the market-place. 

GR.-RE. You may swear to that. 

ERAS. But pray, tell me who sent you? 

MAR. One, in good truth, who bears you no great 
ill-will ; in a word, my mistress. 

ERAS. Ah ! dear Marinette, do your words really express 
what she feels ? Do not hide some ominous secret from 
me. I should not dislike you for this. For Heaven's 

1 In several editions of Moliere we find, instead of Cros-Rene" the name 
of Jodelet. The latest, and if I might be permitted to say so, the most 
careful editor of our author, Mons. E. Despois, thinks that "Gros-Rene 1 ' 
ought to be mentioned here. The sense shows he is right. 

VOL. I. F 


sake tell me if your charming mistress does not merely 
pretend to love me ? 

MAR. Ha ! ha ! ha ! What has put that funny notion 
into your head ? Does she not sufficiently show her in- 
clination? What further security does your love demand? 
What does it require? 

GR.-RE. Unless Valere hangs himself, or some such 
trifle, he will not be reassured. 

MAR. How so ? 

GR.-RE. He is so very jealous. 

MAR. Of Valere ? Ha ! a pretty fancy indeed ! It 
could only be hatched in your brain. I thought you a 
man of sense, and until now had a good opinion of your 
intellect ; but I see I was very much deceived. Have you 
also got a touch of this distemper in your head ? 

GR.-RE. I jealous ? Heaven forbid ! and keep me from 
being so silly as to go and make myself lean with any 
such grief. Your heart guarantees your fidelity ; besides, 
I have too good an opinion of myself to believe that any 
other could please you after me. Where the deuce could 
you find any one equal to me ? 

MAR. You really are right ; that is as it should be. A 
jealous man should never show his suspicions ! All that 
he gains by it is to do himself harm, and in this manner 
furthers the designs of his rival. Your distrust often is 
the cause that a mistress pays attention to a man, before 
whose merits your own have paled. I know a certain 
person who, were it not for the preposterous jealousy of a 
rival, had never been so happy as he now is. But, in any 
case, to show suspicion in love is acting a foolish part, 
and after all is to make one's-self miserable for nothing. 
This, sir (to Eraste), I mean as a hint to you. 

ERAS. Very well, let us talk no more about it. What 
have you to say to me ? 

MAR. You deserve to be kept in suspense. In order to 
punish you, I ought to keep from you the great secret 
which has made me hunt for you so long. Here, read this 
letter, and doubt no more. Read it aloud, nobody listens. 

ERAS. (Reads). "You told me that your love was capa- 
ble of doing anything. It may be crowned this very day, if 
you can but get my father's consent. Acquaint him with the 


power you have oi>er my heart; I give you leave so to do ; 
if his reply be favourable, I can answer for it that I shall 
obey." Ah! how happy am I! I ought to look upon 
you, the bearer of this letter, as a divine creature. 

GR.-RE. I told you so. Though you do not believe it, 
I am seldom deceived in the things I ponder on. 

ERAS. {Reading the letter again). " Acquaint him with 
the power you have over my heart j I give you leave so to 
do; if his reply be favourable, I can answer for it that I 
shall obey. ' ' 

MAR. If I should tell her you are weak- minded enough 
to be jealous, she would immediately disown such a letter 
as this. 

ERAS. I beseech you, conceal from her a momentary 
fear, for which I thought I had some slight foundation ; 
or, if you do tell it her, say to her at the same time that I 
am ready to atone for my fit of madness with my life, and 
would die at her feet, if I have been capable of displeas- 
ing her. 

MAR. Let us not talk of dying ; this is no time for it. 

ERAS. However, you have laid me under a great obli- 
gation ; I intend shortly to acknowledge in a handsome 
manner the trouble so gentle and so lovely a messenger 
has taken. 

MAR. That reminds me. Do you know where I looked 
for you just now ? 

ERAS. Well? 

MAR. Quite near the market-place ; you know where' 
that is. 

ERAS. Where did you say ? 

MAR. There ... in that shop where last month you 
generously and freely promised me a ring. 

ERAS. Um ! I understand you. 

GR.-RE. What a cunning jade ! 

ERAS. It is true ; I have delayed too long to make good 
my promise to you, but . . . 

MAR. What I said, sir, was not because I wished you 
to make haste. 

GR.-RE. Oh, no ! 

ERAS. (Giving her his ring). Perhaps this ring may 
please you ; accept it instead of the one I owe. 


MAR. You are only jesting, sir ; I should be ashamed 
to take it. 

GR.-RE. Poor shame-faced creature ! Take it without 
more ado ; only fools refuse what is offered them. 

MAR. I will only accept it so that I may have something 
to remember you by. 

ERAS. When may I return thanks to that lovely angel ? 

MAR. Endeavour to gain over her father. 

ERAS. But if he rejects me, should I . . . ? 

MAR. We will think about that when he does so ! We 
will do our utmost for you : one way or another she must 
be yours ; do your best, and we will do ours. 

ERAS. Farewell ! we shall know our fate to-day. {Eraste 
reads the letter again to himself^). 

MAR. {To Gros-Rene). Well, what shall we say of our 
love ? You do not speak to me of it. 

GR.-RE. If such people as we wish to be married, the 
thing is soon done. I will have you. Will you have me ? 

MAR. Gladly. 

GR.-RE. Shake hands, that is enough. 

MAR. Farewell, Gros-Rene, my heart's delight. 

GR.-RE. Farewell, my star. 

MAR. Farewell, fair fire-brand of my flame. 

GR.-RE. Farewell, dear comet, rainbow of my soul. 
{Exit Marinette). Heaven be praised, our affairs go on 
swimmingly. Albert is not a man to refuse you anything. 

ERAS. Valere is coming here. 

GR.-RE. I pity the poor wretch, knowing what I do 


ERAS. Well, Valere ? 
VAL. Well, Eraste ? 
ERAS. How does your love prosper ? 
VAL. And how does yours ? 
ERAS. It grows stronger and stronger every day. 
VAL. So does mine. 
ERAS. For Lucile ? 
VAL. For her. 

ERAS. Certainly, I must own, you are a pattern of un- 
common constancy. 


VAL. And your perseverance will be a rare example to 

ERAS. As for me, I am not very fond of that austere 
kind of love which is satisfied with looks only ; nor do I 
possess feelings lofty enough to endure ill-treatment with 
constancy. In one word, when I really love, I wish to be 
beloved again. 

VAL. It is very natural, and I am of the same opinion. 
I would never do homage to the most perfect object by 
whom I could be smitten, if she did not return my passion. 

ERAS. However, Lucile . . . 

VAL. Lucile does willingly everything my passion can 

ERAS. You are easily satisfied then. 

VAL. Not so easily as you may think. 

ERAS. I, however, may, without vanity, believe that I 
am in her favour. 

VAL. And I know that I have a very good share of it. 

ERAS. Do not deceive yourself; believe me. 

VAL. Believe me, do not be too credulous, and take too 
much for granted. 

ERAS. If I might show you a certain proof that her 
heart . . . but no, it would too much distress you. 

VAL. If I might discover a secret to you . - . but it 
might grieve you, and so I will be discreet. 

ERAS. You really urge me too far, and though much 
against my will, I see I must lower your presumption. 
Read that. 

VAL. (After having read the letter). These are tender 

ERAS. You know the handwriting ? 

VAL. Yes, it is Lucile's. 

ERAS. Well ! where is now your boasted certainty . . . ? 

VAL. (Smiling and going away). Farewell, Eraste. 

GR.-RE. He is mad, surely. What reason has he to 
laugh ? 

ERAS. He certainly surprises me, and between ourselves 
I cannot imagine what the deuce of a mystery is hidden 
under this. 

GR. -RE. Here comes his servant, I think. 

ERAS. Yes, it is he ; let us play the hypocrite, to set 
him talking about his master's love. 



MASC. (Asidi). No, I do not know a more wretched 
situation, than to have a young master, very much in love. 

GR.-RE. Good morning. 

MASC. Good morning. 

GR.-RE. Where is Mascarille going just now? What is 
he doing? Is he coming back ? Is he going away? Or 
does he intend to stay where he is ? 

MASC. No, I am not coming back, because I have not 
yet been where I am going ; nor am I going, for I am 
stopped ; nor do I design to stay, for this very moment I 
intend to be gone. 

ERAS. You are very abrupt, Mascarille ; gently. 

MASC. Ha ! Your servant, sir. 

ERAS. You are in great haste to run away from us : 
what ! do I frighten you ? 

MASC. You are too courteous to do that. 

ERAS. Shake hands ; all jealousy is now at an end be- 
tween us; we will be friends; I have relinquished my 
love ; henceforth you can have your own way to further 
your happiness. 

MASC. Would to Heaven it were true ! 

ERAS. Gros-Rene knows that I have already another 
flame elsewhere. 

GR.-RE. Certainly; and I also give up Marinette to 

MASC. Do not let us touch on that point ; our rivalry 
is not likely to go to such a length. But is it certain, sir, 
that you are no longer in love, or do you jest ? 

ERAS. I have been informed that your master is but too 
fortunate in his amours ; I should be a fool to pretend 
any longer to gain the same favours which that lady grants 
to him alone. 

MASC. Certainly, you please me with this news. Though 
I was rather afraid of you, with regard to our plans, yet 
you do wisely to slip your neck out of the collar. You 
have done well to leave a house where you were only 
caressed for form's sake ; I, knowing all that was going 
on, have many times pitied you, because you were allured 
by expectations, which could never be realized. It is a 


sin and a shame to deceive a gentleman ! But how the 
deuce, after all, did you find out the trick? For when 
they plighted their faith to each other there were no wit- 
nesses but night, myself, and two others ; and the tying 
of the knot, which satisfies the passion of our lovers, is 
thought to have been kept a secret till now. 

ERAS. Ha ! What do you say? 

MASC. I say that I am amazed, sir, and cannot guess 
who told you, that under this mask, which deceives you 
and everybody else, a secret marriage unites their match- 
less love. 

ERAS. You lie. 

MASC. Sir, with all my heart. 

ERAS. You are a rascal. 

MASC. I acknowledge I am. 

ERAS. And this impudence deserves a sound beating on 
the spot. 

MASC. I am completely in your power, 

ERAS. Ha ! Gros-Ren6. 

GR.-RE. Sir? 

ERAS. I contradict a story, which I much fear is but 
too true. ( To Mascarille). You wanted to run away. 

MASC. Not in the least. 

ERAS. What ! Lucile is married to ... 

MASC. No, sir, I was only joking. 

ERAS. Hey ! you were joking, you wretch ? 

MASC. No, I was not joking. 

ERAS. Is it true then ? 

MASC. No, I do not say that. 

ERAS. What do you say then ? 

MASC. Alas ! I say nothing, for fear of saying some- 
thing wrong. 

ERAS. Tell me positively, whether you have spoken the 
truth, or deceived me. 

MASC. Whatever you please. I do not come here to 
contradict you. 

ERAS. {Drawing his sworcf). Will you tell me ? Here 
is something that will loosen your tongue without more 

MASC. It will again be saying some foolish speech or 
other. I pray you, if you have no objection, let me 


quickly have a few stripes, and then allow me to scam- 
per off. 

ERAS. You shall suffer death, unless you tell me the 
whole truth without disguise. 

MASC. Alas ! I will tell it then ; but perhaps, sir, I 
shall make you angry. 

ERAS. Speak : but take great care what you are doing ; 
nothing shall save you from my just anger, if you utter but 
one single falsehood in your narration. 

MASC. I agree to it; break my legs, arms, do worse to 
me still, kill me, if I have deceived you in the smallest 
degree, in anything I have said. 

ERAS. It is true then that they are married? 

MASC. With regard to this, I can now clearly see that 
my tongue tripped ; but, for all that, the business happened 
just as I told you. It was after five visits paid at night, 
and whilst you were made use of as a screen to conceal 
their proceedings, that they were united the day before 
yesterday. Lucile ever since tries still more to hide the 
great love she bears my master, and desires he will only 
consider whatever he may see, and whatever favours she 
may show you, as the results of her deep-laid scheme, in 
order to prevent the discovery of their secrets. If, not- 
withstanding my protestations, you doubt the truth of what 
I have told you, Gros-Ren6 may come some night along 
with me, and I will show him, as I stand and watch, that 
we shall be admitted into her house, after dark. 

ERAS. Out of my sight, villain. 

MASC. I shall be delighted to go ; that is just what I 
want. (Exit. 


ERAS. Well? 

GR. -RE. Well ! Sir, we are both taken in if this fellow 
speaks the truth. 

ERAS. Alas ! The odious rascal has spoken the truth 
too well. All that he has said is' very likely to have hap- 
pened ; Valere's behaviour, at the sight of this letter, de- 
notes that there is a collusion between them, and that it 
is a screen to hide Lucile's love for him. 



MAR. I come to tell you that this evening my mistress 
permits you to see her in the garden. 

ERAS. How dare you address me, you hypocritical 
traitress ? Get out of my sight, and tell your mistress not 
to trouble me any more with her letters ; that is the re- 
gard, wretch, I have for then^ 

(He tears the letter and goes out. 

MAR. Tell me, Gros-Rene, what ails him ? 

GR.-RE. Dare you again address me, iniquitous female, 
deceitful crocodile, whose base heart is worse than a satrap 
or a Lestrigon ? 3 Go, go, carry your answer to your 
lovely mistress, and tell her short and sweet, that in spite 
of all her cunning, neither my master nor I are any longer 
fools, and that henceforth she and you may go to the devil 
together. (Exit. 

MAR. My poor Marinette, are you quite awake ? What 
demon are they possessed by? What? Is it thus they 
receive our favours ? How shocked my mistress will be 
when she hears this ! 


FROS. Thank Heaven ! I am a girl who can keep a 
secret, Ascanio. 

Asc. But is this place private enough for such a conver- 
sation ? Let us take care that nobody surprises us, or that 
we be not overheard from some corner or other. 

FROS. We should be much less safe within the house ; 
here we can easily see anybody coming, and may speak in 
perfect safety. 

Asc. Alas ! how painful it is for me to begin my tale ! 

FROS. Sure, this must be an important secret then ? 

Asc. Too much so, since I even entrust it to you with 
reluctance ; even you should not know it, if I could keep 
it concealed any longer. 

FROS. Fie ! you insult me when you hesitate to trust in 
me, whom you have ever found so reserved in everything 

8 See Homer's Odyssey, X., v. 81-132. 


that concerns you me, who was brought up with you, and 
have kept secret things of so great an importance to you ; 
me, who know . . . 

Asc. Yes, you are already acquainted with the secret 
reason which conceals from the eyes of the world my sex 
and family. You know that I was brought into this house, 
where I have passed my infancy, in order to preserve an 
inheritance which, on the death of young Ascanio (whom 
I personate), should have fallen to others ; that is why I 
dare to unbosom myself to you with perfect confidence. 
But before we begin this conversation, Frosine, clear up a 
doubt which continually besets me. Can it be possible 
that Albert should know nothing of the secret, which thus 
disguises my sex, and makes him my father? 

PROS. To tell you the truth, what you now wish to 
know has also greatly puzzled me. I have never been 
able to get at the bottom of this intrigue, nor could my 
mother give me any further insight. When Albert's son 
died, who was so much beloved, and to whom a very rich 
uncle bequeathed a great deal of property, even before his 
birth ; his mother kept his death secret, fearing that her 
husband, who was absent at the time, would have gone 
distracted, had he seen that great inheritance, from which 
his family would have reaped such advantage, pass into the 
hands of another. She, I say, in order to conceal this 
misfortune formed the plan of putting you into the place 
of her lost son; you were taken from our family, where 
you were brought up. Your mother gave her consent to 
this deceit ; you took the son's place, and every one was 
bribed to keep the secret. Albert has never known it 
through us, and as his wife kept it for more than twelve 
years, and died suddenly, her unexpected death prevented 
her from disclosing it. I perceive, however, that he keeps 
up an acquaintance with your real mother, and that, in 
private, he assists her ; perhaps all this is not done with- 
out a reason. On the other hand, he commits a blunder 
by urging you to marry some young lady ! Perhaps he 
knows that you took the place of his son, without knowing 
that you are a girl. But this digression might gradually 
carry us too far ; let us return to that secret which I am 
impatient to hear. 


Asc. Know then that Cupid cannot be deceived, that I 
have not been able to disguise my sex from love's eyes, 
and that his subtle shafts have reached the heart of a weak 
woman beneath the dress I wear. In four words, I am 
in love ! 

FROS. You in love ! 

Asc. Gently, Frosine ; do not be quite so astonished ; 
it is not time yet ; this love-sick heart has something else 
to tell you that will surprise you. 

FROS. What is it ? 

Asc. I am in love with Valere. 

FROS. Ha ! I really am surprised. What ! you love a 
man whose family your deceit has deprived of a rich in- 
heritance, and who, if he had the least suspicion of your 
sex, would immediately regain everything. This is a still 
greater subject of astonishment. 

Asc. I have a more wonderful surprise for you yet in 
store I am his wife. 

FROS. Oh, Heavens ! his wife ! 

Asc. Yes, his wife. 

FROS. Ha ! this is worse than all, and nearly drives 
me mad. 

Asc. And yet this is not all. 

FROS. Not all ! 

Asc. I am his wife, I say, and he does not think so, nor 
has he the least idea of what I really am. 

FROS. Go on, I give it up, and will not say any thing 
more, so much every word amazes me. I cannot compre- 
hend anything of these riddles. 

Asc. I shall explain if you will but hear me. Valere 
who admired my sister, seemed to me a lover worthy of 
being listened to ; I could not bear to see his addresses 
slighted without feeling a certain interest in him. I wished 
that Lucile should take pleasure in his conversation, I 
blamed her severity, and blamed it so effectually, that I 
myself, without being able to help it, became affected with 
that passion which she could not entertain. He was talking 
to her, and persuaded me ; I suffered myself to be over- 
come by the very sighs he breathed ; and the love, rejected 
by the object of his flame, entered, like a conqueror, into 
my heart, which was wounded by an arrow, not aimed at 


it, and paid another's debt with heavy interest. At last, 
my dear, the love I felt for him forced me to declare my- 
self, but under a borrowed name. One night I spoke to 
him, disguising my voice as if it were Lucile's, and this 
too amiable lover thought she returned his love ; I ma- 
naged the conversation so well that he never found out 
the deception. Under that disguise which pleased so 
much his deluded imagination, I told him that I was en- 
amoured of him, but that, finding my father opposed to 
my wishes, I ought at least to pretend to obey him ; that 
therefore it behooved us to keep our love secret, with 
which the night alone should be acquainted ; that all 
private conversation should be avoided during the day, 
for fear of betraying everything ; that he should behold 
me with the same indifference as he did before we had 
come to an understanding ; and that on his part, as 
well as mine, no communication should take place either 
by gesture, word, or writing. In short, without dwelling 
any longer upon all the pains I have taken to bring this 
deception to a safe termination, I went on with my bold 
project as far as it was possible to go, and secured the 
husband I mentioned to you. 

FROS. Upon my word, you possess great talents. Would 
any one think so, on seeing her passionless countenance ? 
However, you have been pretty hasty, and though I grant 
that the affair has succeeded until now, what do you think 
will be the end of it, for it cannot be long concealed ? 

Asc. When love is strong it overcomes all obstacles, 
until it is satisfied ; provided it reaches the wished-for 
goal, it looks upon everything else as a mere trifle. I 
have told you all to-day, so that your advice . . . But 
here comes my husband. 


VAL. If you are conversing, and if my presence is any 
interruption, I shall withdraw. 

Asc. No ; you may well interrupt it, since we were 
talking about you. 

VAL. About me ? 

Asc. About yourself. 


VAL. How so ? 

Asc. I was saying, that if I had been a woman, Valere 
would have been able to please me but too well, and that 
if I had been beloved by him, I should not have delayed 
long to make him happy. 

VAL. This declaration does not cost you much, as there 
is such an if in the way ; but you would be finely caught 
if some miraculous event should put to the proof the truth 
of so obliging a declaration. 

Asc. Not in the least ; I tell you that if I reigned in 
your heart, I would very willingly crown your passion. 

VAL. And what, if you might contribute to my happi- 
ness, by assisting me to further my love? 

Asc. I should then, certainly, disappoint you. 

VAL. This admission is not very polite. 

Asc. What, Valere? Supposing I were a woman and 
loved you tenderly, would you be so cruel as to make me 
promise to aid you in your love for another lady ? I could 
not perform such a painful task. 

VAL. But you are not a woman. 

Asc. What I said to you I said in the character of a 
woman, and you ought to take it so. 

VAL. Thus I ought not to imagine you like me, Ascanio, 
unless Heaven works a miracle in you. Therefore, as you 
are not a woman, I bid farewell to your affection ; you do 
not care in the least for me. 

Asc. My feelings are far more nice than people imagine, 
and the smallest misgiving shocks me when love is in the 
case. But I am sincere ; I will not promise to aid you, 
Valere, unless you assure me that you entertain precisely 
the same sentiments for me ; that you feel the same warmth 
of friendship for me as I feel for you ; and that if I were 
a woman you would love no one better than me. 

VAL. I never before heard of such a jealous scruple, but 
though quite unexpected, this affection obliges me to 
make some return for it ; I here promise you all you re- 
quire of me. 

Asc. But sincerely? 

VAL. Yes, sincerely. 

Asc. If this be true, I promise you that henceforth 
your interests shall be mine. 


VAL. I have a secret of the utmost consequence to re- 
veal to you by and by, and then I shall remind you of 
your words. 

Asc. And I have likewise a secret to discover to you, 
wherein your affection for me may show itself. 

VAL. Indeed ! what can that be ? 

Asc. I have a love affair which I dare not reveal, and 
you have influence enough over the object of my passion 
to promote my happiness. 

VAL. Explain yourself, Ascanio, and be assured before- 
hand that, if your happiness lies in my power, it is certain. 

Asc. You promise more than you imagine. 

VAL. No, no ; tell me the name of the person whom I 
have to influence. 

Asc. It is not yet time, but it is a person who is nearly 
related to you. 

VAL. Your words amaze me ; would to Heaven my 
sister . . . 

Asc. This is not the proper time to explain myself, I 
tell you. 

VAL. Why so? 

Asc. For a certain reason. You shall know my secret 
when I know yours. 

VAL. I must have another person's permission before I 
can discover it to you. 

Asc. Obtain it then ; and when we shall have explained 
ourselves we shall see which of us two will best keep his 

VAL. Farewell, I accept your offer. 

Asc. And I will be bound by it, Valere. (Exit Valere.} 

FROS. He thinks you will help him as a brother. 


Luc. (Saying the first words to Marinette}. I have done 
it; it is thus I can revenge myself; if this step torments 
him, it will be a great consolation to me . . . Brother, 
you perceive a change in me ; I am resolved to love 
Valere, after so much ill-usage ; he shall become the ob- 
ject of my affection. 

Asc. What do you say, sister? How do you change so 
suddenly ? This inconstancy seems to me very strange. 


Luc. Your change of disposition has more cause to sur- 
prise me. You formerly used always to plead in favour 
of Valere ; for his sake you have accused me of caprice, 
blind cruelty, pride and injustice ; and now, when I wish 
to love him, my intention displeases you, and I find you 
speaking against his interest. 

Asc. I abandon his interest, sister, out of regard to 
yours. I know he is under the sway of another fair one ; 
it will be a discredit to your charms if you call him back, 
and he does not come. 

Luc. If that is all, I shall take care not to suffer a de- 
feat ; I know what I am to believe of his passion ; he has 
shown it very clearly, at least so I think ; you may safely 
discover my sentiments to him : or if you refuse to do it, 
I, myself, shall let him know that his passion has touched 
me. What ! you stand thunderstruck, brother, at those 
words ! 

Asc. Oh, sister, if I have any influence over you, if 
you will listen to a brother's entreaties, abandon such a 
design ; do not take away Valere from the love of a young 
creature, in whom I feel great interest, and for whom, 
upon my word, you ought to feel some sympathy. The 
poor unfortunate woman loves him to distraction ; to me 
alone she has disclosed her passion ; I perceive in her heart 
such a tender affection, that it might soften even the most 
relentless being. Yes, you yourself will pity her condi- 
tion when she shall become aware with what stroke you 
threaten to crush her love ; so sure am I of the excess of 
her grief, that I am certain, sister, she will die, if you rob 
her of the man she adores. Eraste is a match that ought 
to satisfy you, and the mutual affection you have for one 
another . . . 

Luc. Brother, it is sufficient ! I do not know in whom 
you take such an interest ; but let us not continue this 
conversation, I beg of you ; leave me a little to my own 

Asc. Cruel sister, you will drive me to despair if you 
carry your design into execution. 

MAR. Your resolution, madam, is very sudden. 


Luc. A heart considers nothing when it is once af- 
fronted, but flies to its revenge, and eagerly lays hold of 
whatever it thinks can minister to its resentment. The 
wretch ! To treat me with such extreme insolence ! 

MAR. You see I have not yet recovered the effects ; 
though I were to brood over it to all eternity, I cannot 
understand it, and all my labour is in vain. For never 
did a lover express more delight on receiving good news ; 
.so pleased was he with your kind note that he called me 
nothing less than a divine creature; and yet, when I 
brought him the other message, there was never a poor 
girl treated so scurvily. I cannot imagine what could 
happen in so short a time to occasion so great a change. 

Luc. Do not trouble yourself about what may have 
happened, since nothing shall secure him against my 
hatred. What ! do you think there is any secret reason 
for this affront but his own baseness ? Does the unfor- 
tunate letter I sent him, and for which I now blame my- 
self, present the smallest excuse for his madness ? 

MAR. Indeed, I must say you are right ; this quarrel is 
downright treachery ; we have both been duped, and yet, 
madam, we listen to these faithless rascals who promise 
everything ; who, in order to hook us, feign so much ten- 
derness; we let our severity melt before their fine speeches, 
and yield to their wishes, because we are too weak ! A 
sharn,e on our folly, and a plague take the men ! 

Luc. Well, well ! let him boast and laugh at us ; he 
shall not long have cause to triumph ; I will let him see 
that in a well-balanced mind hatred follows close on 
slighted favours. 

MAR. At least, in such a case, it is a great happiness to 
know that we are not in their power. Notwithstanding 
all that was said, Marinette was right the other night to 
interfere when some people were in a very merry mood. 
Another, in hopes of matrimony, would have listened to 
the temptation, but nescio vos, quoth I.* 

Luc. How foolishly you talk ; how ill you choose your 

4 These two Latin words, which were in very common use in France, 
during MoliSre's time, are taken from the Vulgate, Matthew xxv. 1 2 : 
"Doming, doming, apgri nobis.'' At ille rgspondens ait: "Amen dico 
vobis, nescio vos." 


time to joke ! My heart is full of grief. If ever fate wills 
it that this false lover, but I am in the wrong to conceive 
at present any such expectation ; for Heaven has been too 
well pleased to afflict me to put it in my power to be re- 
venged on him, but if ever a propitious fate, I say, should 
cause Eraste to come back to me, and lay down his life as 
a sacrifice at my feet, as well as declare his sorrow for 
what he has done to-day, I forbid you, above all things, 
to speak to me in his favour. On the contrary, I would 
have you show your zeal by setting fully befcfre me the 
greatness of his crime ; if my heart should be tempted 
ever to degrade itself so far, let your affection then show 
itself; spare me not, but support my anger as is fit. 

MAR. Oh ! do not fear ! leave that to me ; I am at 
least as angry as you; I would rather remain a maid all my 
life than that my fat rascal should give me any inclination 
for him again. If he comes . . . 


ALB. Go in, Lucile, and tell the tutor to come to me ; 
I wish to have a little talk with him ; and as he is the 
master of Ascanio, find out what is the cause that the 
latter has been of late so gloomy. 


Into what an abyss of cares and perplexities does one 
unjust action precipitate us. For a long time I have suf- 
fered a great deal because I was too avaricious, and passed 
off a stranger for my dead son. When I consider the 
mischief which followed I sincerely wish I had never 
thought of it. Sometimes I dread to behold my family in 
poverty and covered with shame, when the deception will 
be found out ; at other times I fear a hundred accidents 
that may happen to this son whom it concerns me so 
much to preserve. If any business calls me abroad, I am 
afraid of hearing, on my return, some such melancholy 
tidings as these : " You know, I suppose? Have they not 
told you ? Your son has a fever ; or he has broken his 
leg or his arm." In short, every moment, no matter 
VOL. i. G 


what I do, all kinds of apprehensions are continually 
entering into my head. Ha ! 


MET. Mandatum tuum euro diligenter? 

ALB. Master, I want to ... 

MET. Master is derived from magi's ter j it is as though 
you say " thrice greater." 

ALB. May I die if I knew that ; but, never mind, be it 
so. Master, then . . . 

MET. Proceed. 

ALB. So I would, but do not proceed to interrupt me 
thus. Once more, then, master, for the third time, my 
son causes me some uneasiness. You know that I love 
him, and that I always brought him up carefully. 

MET. It is true : filio non potest prceferri nisi filius. 

ALB. Master, I do not think this jargon at all necessary 
in common conversation. I believe you are a great Latin 
scholar and an eminent doctor, for I rely on those who 
have told me so ; but in a conversation which I should like 
to have with you, do not display all your learning do not 
play the pedant, and utter ever so many words, as if you 
were holding forth in a pulpit. My father, though he 
was a very clever man, never taught me anything but my 
prayers ; and though I have said them daily for fifty years, 
they are still High-Dutch to me. Therefore, do not em- 
ploy your prodigious knowledge, but adapt your language 
to my weak understanding. 

MET. Be it so. 

ALB. My son seems to be afraid of matrimony ; when- 
ever I propose a match to him, he seems indifferent, and 
draws back. 

MET. Perhaps he is of the temper of Mark Tully's 
brother, whom he writes about to Atticus. This is what 
the Greeks call athanaton . . . . 7 

ALB. For Heaven's sake ! you ceaseless teacher, I pray 
you have done with the Greeks, the Albanians, the Scla- 

6 " I hasten to obey your order." 

6 " To a son one can only prefer a son." An allusion to an article of 
feudal law. 

7 Immortal. 


vonians, and all the other nations you have mentioned ; 
they have nothing to do with my son. 

MET. Well then, your son . . . ? 

ALB. I do not know whether a secret love does not burn 
within him. Something disturbs him, or I am much de- 
ceived ; for I saw him yesterday, when he did not see me, 
in a corner of the wood, where no person ever goes. 

MET. In a recess of a grove, you mean, a remote spot, 
in Latin seccssus. Virgil says, est in sec ess u locus . . . 8 

ALB. How could Virgil say that, since I am certain that 
there was not a soul in that quiet spot except us two ? 

MET. I quote Virgil as a famous author, who employed 
a more correct expression than the word you used, and 
not as a witness of what you saw yesterday. 

ALB I tell you I do not need a more correct expression, 
an author, or a witness, and that my own testimony is suf- 

MET. However, you ought to choose words which are 
used by the best authors ; tu vivendo bonos, scribendo se- 
quare peritos? as the saying is. 

ALB. Man or devil, will you hear me without disputing ? 

MET. That is Quintilian's rule. 

ALB. Hang the chatterbox ! 

MET. He has a very learned sentence upon a similar 
subject, which, I am sure, you will be very glad to hear. 

ALB. I will be the devil to carry you off, you wretch. 
Oh ! I am very much tempted to apply something to those 

MET. Sir, what is the reason that you fly in such a pas- 
sion ! What do you wish me to do ? 

ALB. I have told you twenty times ; I wish you to listen 
to me when I speak. 

MET. Oh ! undoubtedly, you shall be satisfied if that 
is all. I am silent. 

ALB. You act wisely. 

MET. I am ready to hear what you have to say. 

ALB. So much the better. 

8 There is a remote spot. 

9 " Regulate your conduct after the example of good people your style 
after good authors." 


MET. May I be struck dead if I say another word ! 
ALB. Heaven grant you that favour. 
MET. You shall not accuse me henceforth of talkative- 

ALB. Be it so. 

MET. Speak whenever you please 

ALB. I am going to do so. 

MET. And do not be afraid of my interrupting you. 

ALB. That is enough. 

MET. My word is my bond. 

ALB. I believe so. 

MET. I have promised to say nothing. 

ALB. That is sufficient. 

MET. From this moment I am dumb. 

ALB. Very well. 

MET. Speak ; go on ; I will give you a hearing at least ; 
you shall not complain that I cannot keep silent ; I will 
not so much as open my mouth. 

ALB. (Aside). The wretch ! 

MET. But pray, do not be prolix. I have listened 
already a long time, and it is reasonable that I should 
speak in my turn. 

ALB. Detestable torturer ! 

MET. Hey ! good lack ! would you have me listen to you 
for ever? Let us share the talk, at least, or I shall be gone. 

ALB. My patience is really . . . 

MET. What, will you proceed? You have not done 
yet ? By Jove, I am stunned. 

ALB. I have not spoken . . . 

MET. Again ! good Heavens ! what exuberant speechi- 
fying ! Can nothing be done to stop it ? 

ALB. I am mad with rage. 

MET. You are talking again ! What a peculiar way of 
tormenting people ! Let me say a few words, I entreat 
you ; a fool who says nothing cannot be distinguished from 
a wise man who holds his tongue. 

ALB. Zounds ! I will make you hold yours. (Exit. 


Hence comes very properly that saying of a philoso- 
pher, " Speak, that I may know thee." Therefore, if the 


liberty of speaking is taken from me, I, for my part, would 
as soon be divested of my humanity, and exchange my 
being for that of a brute. I shall have a headache for a 
week. Oh ! how I detest these eternal talkers ! But if 
learned men are not listened to, if their mouths are for 
ever to be stopped, then the order of events must be 
changed ; the hens in a little time will devour the fox ; 
young children teach old men ; little lambs take a delight 
in pursuing the wolf ; fools make laws ; women go to 
battle ; judges be tried by criminals ; and masters whipped 
by pupils ; a sick man prescribe for a healthy one ; a timo- 
rous hare . . . 


ings a dell in the ears of 

drives him off}. 
MET. Mercy on me ! Help ! help ! 

(Albert rings a dell in the ears of Metaphrastus, and 
drives him o. 


Heaven sometimes favours a bold design ; we must get 
out of a bad business as well as we can. As for me, after 
having imprudently talked too much, the quickest remedy 
I could employ was to go on in the same way, and imme- 
diately to tell to our old master the whole intrigue. His 
son is a giddy-brained mortal, who worries me ; but if the 
other tells what I have discovered to him, then I had bet- 
ter take care, for I shall get a beating. However, before 
his fury can be kindled, some lucky thing may happen to 
us, and the two old men may arrange the business between 
themselves. That is what I am going to attempt ; with- 
out losing a moment I must, by my master's order, go 
and see Albert. (Knocks at Alberf s door). 


ALB. Who knocks? 

MASC. A friend. 

ALB. What brings you hither, Mascarille? 

MASC. I come, sir, to wish you good-morning. 



ALB. Hah! you really take a great deal of pains. Good- 
morning, then, with all my heart. (He goes in). 

MASC. The answer is short and sweet. What a blunt 
old fellow he is. (Knocks). 

ALB. What, do you knock again ? 

MASC. You have not heard me, sir. 

ALB. Did you not wish me good-morning ? 

MASC. I did. 

ALB. Well, then, good morning I say. 

(Is going ; Mascarille stops him. 

MASC. But I likewise come to pay Mr. Polydore's com- 
pliments to you. 

ALB. Oh ! that is another thing. Has your master 
ordered you to give his compliments to me ? 

MASC. Yes. 

ALB. I am obliged to him ; you may go ; tell him I wish 
him all kind of happiness. (Exit). 

MASC. This man is an enemy to all ceremony. (^Knocks). 
I have not finished, sir, giving you his whole message ; he 
has a favour to request of you. 

ALB. Well, whenever he pleases, I am at his service. 

MASC. (Stopping him). Stay, and allow me to finish in 
two words. He desires to have a few minutes' conversa- 
tion with you about an important affair, and he will come 

ALB. Hey ! what affair can that be which makes him 
wish to have some conversation with me ? 

MASC. A great secret, I tell you, which he has but just 
discovered, and which, no doubt, greatly concerns you 
both. And now I have delivered my message. 


ALB. Righteous Heavens ! how I tremble ! Polydore 
and I have had little acquaintance together ; my designs 
wiU all be overthrown ; this secret is, no doubt, that of 
which I dread the discovery. They have bribed somebody 
to betray me ; so there is a stain upon my honour which 
can never be wiped off. My imposture is found out. Oh ! 
how difficult it is to keep the truth concealed for any length 
of time ! How much better would it have been for me 
and my reputation had I followed the dictates of a well- 


founded apprehension ! Many times and oft have I been 
tempted to give up to Polydore the wealth I withhold 
from him, in order to prevent the outcry that will be 
raised against me when everything shall be known, and so 
get the whole business quietly settled. But, alas ! it is 
now too late ; the opportunity is gone ; and this wealth, 
which wrongfully came into my family, will be lost to 
them, and sweep away the greatest part of my own pro- 
perty with it. 


POL. (Not seeing Albert}. To be married in this fashion, 
and no one knowing anything about it ! I hope it may 
all end well ! I do not know what to think of it; I much 
fear the great wealth and just anger of the father. But I 
see him alone. 

ALB. Oh, Heavens ! yonder comes Polydore. 

POL. I tremble to accost him. 

ALB. Fear keeps me back. 

POL. How shall I begin ? 

ALB. What shall I say ? 

POL. He is in a great passion. 

ALB. He changes colour. 

POL. I see, Signer Albert, by your looks, that you 
know already what brings me hither. 

ALB. Alas ! yes. 

POL. The news, indeed, may well surprise you, and I 
could scarcely believe what I was told just now. 

ALB. I ought to blush with shame and confusion. 

POL. I think such an action deserves great blame, and 
do not pretend to excuse the guilty. 

ALB. Heaven is merciful to miserable sinners. 

POL. You should bear this in mind. 

ALB. A man ought to behave as a Christian. 

POL. That is quite right. 

ALB. Have mercy ; for Heaven's sake, have mercy, 
Signer Polydore. 

POL. It is for me to implore it of you. 

ALB. Grant me mercy; I ask it on my bended knees. 

POL. I ought to be in that attitude rather than you. 10 

10 The two old men are kneeling opposite to one another. 

104 THE LOVE-TIFF. [ACT in. 

ALB. Pity my misfortune. 

POL. After such an outrage I am the postulant. 

ALB. Your goodness is heart-rending. 

POL. You abash me with so much humility. 

ALB. Once more, pardon. 

POL. Alas ! I crave it of you. 

ALB. I am extremely sorry for this business. 

POL. And I feel it greatly. 

ALB. I venture to entreat you not to make it public. 

POL. Alas, Signer Albert, I desire the very same. 

ALB. Let us preserve my honour. 

POL. With all my heart. 

ALB. As for money, you shall determine how much you 

POL. I desire no more than you are willing to give ; 
you shall be the master in all these things, I shall be but 
too happy if you are so. 

ALB. Ha ! what a God-like man ! how very kind he is ! 

POL. How very kind you are yourself, and that after 
such a misfortune. 

ALB. May you be prosperous in all things ! 

POL. May Heaven preserve you ! 

ALB. Let us embrace like brothers. 

POL. With all my heart ! I am overjoyed that every- 
thing has ended so happily, 

ALB. I thank Heaven for it. 

POL. I do not wish to deceive you ; I was afraid you 
would resent that Lucile has committed a fault with my 
son ; and as you are powerful, have wealth and friends. . . 

ALB. Hey ! what do you say of faults and Lucile ? 

POL. Enough, let us not enter into a useless conversa- 
tion. I own my son is greatly to blame ; nay, if that 
will satisfy you, I will admit that he alone is at fault ; that 
your daughter was too virtuous, and would never have 
taken a step so derogatory to honour, had she not been 
prevailed upon by a wicked seducer ; that the wretch has 
betrayed her innocent modesty, and thus frustrated all 
your expectations. But since the thing is done, and my 
prayers have been granted, since we are both at peace and 
amity, let it be buried in oblivion, and repair the offence 
by the ceremony of a happy alliance. 


ALB. (Aside}. Oh, Heavens ! what a mistake I have 
been under ! What do I hear ! I get from one difficulty 
into another as great. I do not know what to answer 
amidst these different emotions ; if I say one word, I am 
afraid of betraying myself. 

POL. What are you thinking of, Signer Albert ? 

ALB. Of nothing. Let us put off our conversation for 
a while, I pray you. I have become suddenly very un- 
well, and am obliged to leave you. 


I can look into his soul and discover what disturbs 
him ; though he listened to reason at first, yet his anger 
is not quite appeased. Now and then the remembrance 
of the offence flashes upon him ; he endeavours to hide 
his emotion by leaving me alone. I feel for him, and his 
grief touches me. It will require some time before he re- 
gains his composure, for if sorrow is suppressed too much, 
it easily becomes worse. O ! here comes my foolish boy, 
the cause of all this confusion. 


POL. So, my fine fellow, shall your nice goings-on dis- 
turb your poor old father every moment ? You perform 
something new every day, and we never hear of anything 

VAL. What am I doing every day that is so very crimi- 
nal ? And how have I deserved so greatly a father's 
wrath ? 

POL. I am a strange man, and very peculiar to accuse 
so good and discreet a son. He lives like a saint, and is 
at prayers and in the house from morning to evening. It 
is a great untruth to say that he perverts the order of 
nature, and turns day into night ! It is a horrible false- 
hood to state that upon several occasions he has shown no 
consideration for father or kindred ; that very lately he 
married secretly the daughter of Albert, regardless of the 
great consequences that were sure to follow ; they mistake 
him for some other ! The poor innocent creature does 
not even know what I mean ! Oh, you villain ! whom 
Heaven has sent me as a punishment for my sins, will you 

106 THE LOVE-TIFF. [ACT in. 

always do as you like, and shall I never see you act dis- 
creetly as long as I live ? (Exit. 
VAL. (Alone, musing). Whence comes this blow ? I 
am perplexed, and can find none to think of but Mas- 
carille , he will never confess it to me ; I must be cun- 
ning, and curb my well-founded anger a little. 


VAL. Mascarille, my father whom I just saw knows our 
whole secret. 

MASC. Does he know it? 

VAL. Yes. 

MASC. How the deuce could he know it ? 

VAL. I do not know whom to suspect ; but the result 
has been so successful, that I have all the reason in the 
world to be delighted. He has not said one cross word 
about it ; he excuses my fault, and approves of my love ; 
I would fain know who could have made him so tractable. 
I cannot express to you the satisfaction it gives me. 

MASC. And what would you say, sir, if it was I who had 
procured you this piece of good luck ? 

VAL. Indeed ! you want to deceive me. 

MASC. It is I, I tell you, who told it to your father, and 
produced this happy result for you. 

VAL. Really, without jesting ? 

MASC. The devil take me if I jest, and if it is not as I 
tell you. 

VAL. (Drawing his sword}. And may he take me if I 
do not this very moment reward you for it. 

MASC. Ha, sir ! what now? Don't surprise me. 

VAL. Is this the fidelity you promised me ? If I had 
not deceived you, you would never have owned the trick 
which I rightly suspected you played me. You rascal ! 
your tongue, too ready to wag, has provoked my father's 
wrath against me, and utterly ruined me. You shall die 
without saying another word. 

MASC. Gently ; my soul is not in a fit condition to die. 
I entreat you, be kind enough to await the result of this 
affair. I had very good reasons for revealing a marriage 
which you yourself could hardly conceal. It was a master- 
piece of policy ; you will not find your rage justified by 


the issue. Why should you get angry if, through me, you 
get all you desire, and are freed from the constraint you 
at present lie under ? 

VAL. And what if all this talk is nothing but moon- 
shine ? 

MASC. Why, then, it will be time enough to kill me ; 
but my schemes may perchance succeed. Heaven will 
assist his own servants ; you will be satisfied in the end, 
and thank me for my extraordinary management. 

VAL. Well, we shall see. But Lucile . . . 

MASC. Hold, here comes her father. 


ALB. {Not seeing Valere). The more I recover from 
the confusion into which I fell at first, the more I am 
astonished at the strange things Polydore told me, and 
which my fear made me interpret in so different a manner 
to what he intended. Lucile maintains that it is all non- 
sense, and spoke to me in such a manner as leaves no 
room for suspicion . . . Ha ! sir, it is you whose 
unheard-of impudence sports with my honour, and in- 
vents this base story ? 

MASC. Pray, Signor Albert, use milder terms, and do 
not be so angry with your son-in-law. 

ALB. How ! son-in-law, rascal ? You look as if you 
were the main-spring of this intrigue, and the originator 
of it. 

MASC. Really I see no reason for you to fly in such a 

ALB. Pray, do you think it right to take away the 
character of my daughter, and bring such a scandal upon 
a whole family ? 

MASC. He is ready to do all you wish. 

ALB. I only want him to tell the truth. If he had any 
inclination for Lucile, he should have courted her in an 
honourable and open way ; he should have acted as he 
ought, and asked her father's leave ; and not have had 
recourse to this cowardly contrivance, which offends mo- 
desty so much. 

MASC. What ! Lucile is not secretly engaged to my 
master ? 


[ACT in. 

ALB. No, rascal, nor ever will be. 

MASC. Not quite so fast ! If the thing is already done, 
will you give your consent to ratify that secret engage- 
ment ? 

ALB. And if it is certain that it is not so, will you have 
your bones broken ? 

VAL. It is easy, sir, to prove to you that he speaks the 

ALB. Good ! there is the other ! Like master, like 
man. O ! what impudent liars ! 

MASC. Upon the word of a man of honour, it is as 
I say. 

VAL. Why should we deceive you ? 

ALB. (Aside) They are two sharpers that know how to 
play into each other's hands. 

MASC. But let us come to the proof, and without quar- 
relling. Send for Lucile, and let her speak for herself. 

ALB. And what if she should prove you a liar ? 

MASC She will not contradict us, sir ; of that I am 
certain. Promise to give your consent to their engage- 
ment ; and I will suffer the severest punishment if, with 
her own mouth, she does not confess to you that she is 
engaged to Valere, and shares his passion. 

ALB. We shall see this presently. 

(He knocks at his door). 

MASC. (To Valere}. Courage, Sir ; all will end well. 

ALB. Ho ! Lucile, one word with you. 

VAL. (To Mascarille}. I fear. . . 

MASC. Fear nothing. 


MASC. Signer Albert, at least be silent. At length, 
madam, everything conspires to make your happiness com- 
plete. Your father, who is informed of your love, leaves 
you your husband and gives his permission to your union, 
provided that, banishing all frivolous fears, a few words 
from your own mouth corroborate what we have told him. 

Luc. What nonsense does this impudent scoundrel 
tell me? 

MASC. That is all right. I am already honoured with a 
fine title. 


Luc. Pray, sir, who has invented this nice story which 
has been spread about to-day? 

VAL. Pardon me, charming creature. My servant has 
been babbling ; our marriage is discovered, without my 

Luc. Our marriage ? 

VAL. Everything is known, adorable Lucile ; it is vain 
to dissemble. 

Luc. What ! the ardour of my passion has made you 
my husband ? 

VAL. It is a happiness which causes a great many heart- 
burnings. But I impute the successful result of my court- 
ship less to your great passion for me than to your kindness 
of heart. I know you have cause to be offended, that it 
was the secret which you would fain have concealed. I 
myself have put a restraint on my ardour, so that I might 
not violate your express commands ; but . . . 

MASC. Yes, it was I who told it. What great harm is 
done ? 

Luc. Was there ever a falsehood like this ? Dare you 
mention this in my very presence, and hope to obtain my 
hand by this fine contrivance ? What a wretched lover 
you are you, whose gallant passion would wound my 
honour, because it could not gain my heart ; who wish to 
frighten my father by a foolish story, so that you might 
obtain my hand as a reward for having vilified me. 
Though everything were favourable to your love my 
father, fate, and my own inclination yet my well-founded 
resentment would struggle against my own inclination, 
fate, and my father, and even lose life rather than be 
united to one who thought to obtain my hand in this 
manner. Begone ! If my sex could with decency be 
provoked to any outburst of rage, I would let you know 
what it was to treat me thus. 

VAL. (To Mascarille). It is all over with us; her anger 
cannot be appeased. 

MASC. Let me speak to her. Prithee, madam, what is 
the good of all these excuses ? What are you thinking of? 
And what strange whim makes you thus oppose your own 
happiness ? If your father were a harsh parent, the case 
would be different, but he listens to reason ; and he him- 


self has assured me that if you would but confess the truth, 
his affection would grant you everything. I believe you 
are a little ashamed frankly to acknowledge that you have 
yielded to love ; but if you have lost a trifling amount of 
freedom, everything will be set to rights again by a good 
marriage. Your great love for Valere may be blamed a 
little, but the mischief is not so great as if you had mur- 
dered a man. We all know that flesh is frail, and that a 
maid is neither stock nor stone. You were not the first, 
that is certain ; and you will not be the last, I dare say. 

Luc. What ! can you listen to this shameless talk, and 
make no reply to these indignities ? 

ALB. What would you have me say ? This affair puts 
me quite beside myself. 

MASC. Upon my word, madam, you ought to have con- 
fessed all before now. 

Luc. What ought I to have confessed ? 

MASC. What ? Why, what has passed between my mas- 
ter and you. A fine joke, indeed ! 

Luc. Why, what has passed between your master and 
me, impudent wretch ? 

MASC. You ought, I think, to know that better than I ; 
you passed that night too agreeably, to make us believe 
you could forget it so soon. 

Luc. Father, we have too long borne with the insolence 
of an impudent lackey. (Gives him a box on the ear). 


MASC. I think she gave me a box on the ear. 

ALB. Begone ! rascal, villain ! Her father approves the 
way in which she has made her hand felt upon your cheek. 

MASC. May be so ; yet may the devil take me if I said 
anything but what was true ! 

ALB. And may I lose an ear if you carry on this impu- 
dence any further ! 

MASC. Shall I send for two witnesses to testify to the 
truth of my statements ? 

ALB. Shall I send for two of my servants to give you a 
3ound thrashing ? 

MASC. Their testimony will corroborate mine. 


ALB. Their arms may make up for my want of 

MASC. I tell you, Lucile behaves thus because she is 

ALB. I tell you, you shall be answerable for all this. 

MASC. Do you know Ormin, that stout and clever 
notary ? 

ALB. Do you know Grimpant, the city executioner ? 

MASC. And Simon, the tailor, who used formerly to 
work for all the people of fashion ? 

ALB. And the gibbet set up in the middle of the mar- 
ket-place ? 

MASC. You shall see they will confirm the truth of this 

ALB. You shall see they will make an end of you. 

MASC. They were the witnesses chosen by them. 

ALB. They shall shortly revenge me on you. 

MASC. I myself saw them at the altar. 

ALB. And I myself shall see you with a halter. 

MASC. By the same token, your daughter had a black 
veil on. 

ALB. By the same token, your face foretells your doom. 

MASC. What an obstinate old man. 

ALB. What a cursed rascal ! You may thank my ad- 
vanced years, which prevent me from punishing your in- 
sulting remarks upon the spot : but I promise you, you 
shall be paid with full interest. 


VAL. Well, where is now that fine result you were to 
produce . . . ? 

MASC. I understand what you mean. Everything goes 
against me : I see cudgels and gibbets preparing for me 
on every side. Therefore, so that I may be at rest amidst 
this chaos, I shall go and throw myself headlong from a 
rock, if, in my present despair, I can find one high 
enough to please me. Farewell, sir. 

VAL. No, no ; in vain you wish to fly. If you die, I 
expect it to be in my presence. 

MASC. I cannot die if anybody is looking on : it would 
only delay my end. 

112 THE LOVE-TIFF. [ACT iv. 

VAL. Follow me traitor ; follow me. My maddened 
love will soon show whether this is a jesting matter or not. 

MASC. {Alone'). Unhappy Mascarille, to what misfor- 
tunes are you condemned to-day for another's sin ! 



FROS. What has happened is very annoying. 

Asc. My dear Frosine, fate has irrevocably decreed my 
ruin. Now the affair has gone so far, it will never stop 
there, but will go on ; Lucile and Valere, surprised at 
such a strange mystery, will, one day, try to find their 
way amidst this darkness, and thus all my plans will mis- 
carry. For, whether Albert is acquainted with the decep- 
tion, or whether he himself is deceived, as well as the rest 
of the world, if ever it happens that my family is dis- 
covered, and all the wealth he has wrongfully acquired 
passes into the hands of others, judge if he will then en- 
dure my presence ; for, not having any interest more in 
the matter, he will abandon me, and his affection for me 
will be at an end. Whatever, then, my lover may think 
of my deception, will he acknowledge as his wife a girl 
without either fortune or family ? 

FROS. I think you reason rightly ; but these reflections 
should have come sooner. What has prevented you from 
seeing all this before? there was no need to be a witch 
to foresee, as soon as you fell in love with Valere, all 
that your genius never found out until to-day. It is the 
natural consequence of what you have done ; as soon as I 
was made acquainted with it I never imagined it would 
end otherwise. 

Asc. But what must I do ? There never was such a mis- 
fortune as mine. Put yourself in my place, and give me 

FROS. If I put myself in your place, you will have to 
give me advice upon this ill-success ; for I am you, and 
you are I. Counsel me, Frosine, in the condition I am 
in. Where can we find a remedy ? Tell me, I beg of you. 

Asc. Alas ! do not make fun of me. You show but 


little sympathy with my bitter grief, if you laugh in the 
midst of my distress. 

FROS. Really, Ascanio, I pity your distress, and would 
do my utmost to help you. But what can I do, after all ? 
I see very little likelihood of arranging this affair so as to 
satisfy your love. 

Asc. If no assistance can be had, I must die. 

FROS. Die ! Come, come ; it is always time enough 
for that. Death is a remedy ever at hand ; we ought to 
make use of it as late as possible. 

Asc. No, no, Frosine. If you and your invaluable 
counsels do not guide me amidst all these breakers, I 
abandon myself wholly to despair. 

FROS. Do you know what I am thinking about ? I 
must go and see the . . . ." But here comes Eraste ; he 
may interrupt us. We will talk this matter over as we go 
along. Come, let us retire. 


ERAS. You have failed again ? 

GR.-RE. Never was an ambassador less listened to. No 
sooner had I told her that you desired to have a moment's 
conversation with her, than, drawing herself up, she an- 
swered haughtily, " Go, go, I value your master just as 
much as I do you ; tell him he may go about his business ; " 
and after this fine speech she turned her head away 
from me and walked off. Marinette, too, imitating her 
mistress, said, with a disdainful sneer, " Begone, you low 
fellow, ' ' " and then left me ; so that your fortune and 
mine are very much alike. 

ERAS. What an ungrateful creature, to receive with so 
much haughtiness the quick return of a heart justly in- 

11 Frosine means by " the . . . , " the woman who knows the se- 
cret of all this intrigue, and who is supposed to be the mother of Ascanio, 
This is explained later on, in Act V., Scene 4, page 125. 

12 In the original it is beau valet de carreau. Littre\ in his '' Diction- 
naire de la langue francaise," says that this word which means literally 
" knave of diamonds, was considered an insult, because in the old packs 
of cards of the beginning of the seventeenth century, that knave was called 
valet de cfiasse, hunting servant, a rather menial situation ; while the 
knave of spades, valet de pique, was called valet de noblesse, nobleman's 
servant : the knave of hearts, valet de cctur, valet de cour, court servant ; 
and the knave of clubs, valet de trefle, valet de pied, foot-servant. 

VOL. I. H 


censed. Is the first outburst of a passion, which with so 
much reason thought itself deceived, unworthy of excuse? 
Could I, when burning with love, remain insensible, in 
that fatal moment, to the happiness of a rival ? Would 
any other not have acted in the same way as I did, or 
been less amazed at so much boldness? Was I not quick 
in abandoning my well-founded suspicions? I did not 
wait till she swore they were false. When no one can tell 
as yet what to think of it, my heart, full of impatience, 
restores Lucile to her former place, and seeks to find 
excuses for her. Will not all these proofs satisfy her of 
the ardour of my respectful passion ? Instead of calming 
my mind, and providing me with arms against a rival who 
wishes to alarm me, this ungrateful woman abandons me 
to all the tortures of jealousy, and refuses to receive my 
messages and notes, or to grant me an interview. Alas ! 
that love is certainly very lukewarm which can be extin- 
guished by so trifling an offence; that scornful rigour, 
which is displayed so readily, sufficiently shows to me the 
depth of her affection. What value ought I to set now 
upon all the caprices with which she fanned my love ? 
No ! I do not pretend to be any longer the slave of one 
who has so little love for me; since she does not mind 
whether she keeps me or not, I will do the same. 

GR.-RE. And so will I. Let us both be angry, and put 
our love on the list of our old sins ; we must teach a 
lesson to that wayward sex, and make them feel that we 
possess some courage. He that will bear their contempt 
shall have enough of it. If we had sense enough not to 
make ourselves too cheap, women would not talk so big. 
Oh ! how insolent they are through our weakness ! May 
I be hanged if we should not see them fall upon our neck 
more often than we wished, if it was not for those servili- 
ties with which most men, now-a-days, continually spoil 

ERAS. As for me, nothing vexes me so much as con- 
tempt; and to punish her's by one as great, I am resolved 
to cherish a new passion. 

GR.-RE. So will I, and never trouble my head about 
women again. I renounce them all, and believe honestly 
you could not do better than to act like me. For, master, 


people say that woman is an animal hard to be known, 
and naturally very prone to evil ; and as an animal is 
always an animal, and will never be anything but an 
animal, though it lived for a hundred thousand years, so, 
without contradiction, a woman is always a woman, and 
will never be anything but a woman as long as the world 
endures. 13 Wherefore, as a certain Greek author says : a 
woman's head is like a quicksand ; for pray, mark well 
this argument, which is most weighty : As the head is the 
chief of the body, and as the body without a chief is 
worse than a beast, unless the chief has a good under- 
standing with the body, and unless everything be as well 
regulated as if it were measured with a pair of compasses, 
we see certain confusions arrive ; the animal part then en- 
deavours to get the better of the rational, and we see one 
pull to the right, another to the left ; one wants something 
soft, another something hard ; in short, everything goes 
topsy turvy. This is to show that here below, as it has 
been explained to me, a woman's head is like a weather- 
cock on the top of a houje, which veers about at the 
slightest breeze ; that is why cousin Aristotle often com- 
pares her to the sea ; hence people say that nothing in the 
world is so stable as the waves. 14 Now, by comparison 
for comparison makes us comprehend an argument dis- 
tinctly, and we learned men love a comparison better 
than a similitude, by comparison, then, if you please, 
master, as we see that the sea, when a storm rises, begins 
to rage, the wind roars and destroys, billows dash against 
billows with a great hullabaloo, and the ship, in spite of 
the mariner, goes sometimes down to the cellar and some- 
times up into the garret ; so, when a woman gets whims 
and crotchets into her head, we see a tempest in the form 
of a violent storm, which will break out by certain . . . 

18 This passage is paraphrased from Erasmus, Colloquia famlliaria et- 
Encomium Morite, in which, after having called a woman animal stultvm 
atque ineptum verum ridiculum, et suave. Folly adds, Quemadmodum, 
juxta Grcecorum proverbium, simia semper est simia, etiamsi purpura 
vestiatur, ita mulier semper mulier est, hoc est stulta, quamcunque per- 
sonam induxerit. , 

14 Though *' stable' 1 is here used, it is only employed to show the con- 
fusion of Gros-Rene^s ideas, who, of course, wishes to say " unstable. 1 ' 


words, and then a ... certain wind, which by ... cer- 
tain waves in ... a certain manner, like a sand-bank 
. . . when ... In short, woman is worse than the devil. 15 

ERAS. You have argued that very well. 

GR.-RE. Pretty well, thanks to Heaven ; but I see them 
coming this way, sir, stand firm. 

ERAS. Never fear. 

GR.-RE. I am very much afraid that her eyes will en- 
snare you again. 


MAR. He is not gone yet, but do not yield. 

Luc. Do not imagine I am so weak. 

MAR. He comes towards us. 

ERAS. No, no, madam, do not think that I have come 
to speak to you again of my passion ; it is all over ; I am 
resolved to cure myself. I know how little share I have 
in your heart. A resentment kept up so long for a slight 
offence shows me your indifference but too plainly, and I 
must tell you that contempt, above all things, wounds a 
lofty mind. I confess I saw in you charms which I never 
found in any other ; the delight I took in my chains 
would have made me prefer them to sceptres, had they 
been offered to me. Yes, my love for you was certainly 
very great ; my life was centred in you ; I will even own 
that, though I am insulted, I shall still perhaps have diffi- 
culty enough to free myself. Maybe, notwithstanding the 
cure I am attempting, my heart may for a long time smart 
with this wound. Freed from a yoke which I was happy 
to bend under, I shall take a resolution never to love again. 
But no matter, since your hatred repulses a heart which 

15 This long speech of Gros-Ren6 ridicules the pedantic arguments of 
some of the philosophers of the time of Moliere. It also attributes to the 
ancients some sayings of authors of the day ; for example, the comparison, 
from a Greek author, " that a woman's head is like a quicksand," is from 
a contemporary ; the saying from Aristotle, comparing woman to the sea, 
is from Malherbe. Words very familiar look more homely when em- 
ployed with high-flown language, and Gros- Rene's speech is no bad ex- 
ample of this, whilst at the same time it becomes more muddled the longer 
it goes on. There exists also a tradition that the actor who performs the 
part of Gros-Rene should in-order to shew his confusion, when he says 
"goes sometimes down the cellar," point to his head, and when he men- 
tions " up into the garret," point to his feet. 

Act I\ r Jc 3. 


love brings back to you, this is the last time you shall ever 
be troubled by the man you so much despise. 

Luc. You might have made the favour complete, sir, 
and spared me also this last trouble. 

ERAS. Very well, madam, very well, you shall be satis- 
fied. I here break off all acquaintance with you, and 
break it off for ever, since you wish it ; may I lose my life 
if ever again I desire to converse with you ! 

Luc. So much the better, you will oblige me. 

ERAS. No, no, do not be afraid that I shall break my 
word ! For, though my heart may be weak enough not to 
be able to efface your image, be assured you shall never 
have the pleasure of seeing me return. 

Luc. You may save yourself the trouble. 

ERAS. I would pierce my breast a hundred times should 
I ever be so mean as to see you again, after this unworthy 

Luc. Be it so ; let us talk no more about it. 

ERAS. Yes, yes ; let us talk no more about it ; and to 
make an end here of all unnecessary speeches, and to give 
you a convincing proof, ungrateful woman, that I forever 
throw off your chain, I will keep nothing which may re- 
mind me of what I must forget. Here is your portrait ; 
it presents to the eye many wonderful and dazzling 
charms, but underneath them lurk as many monstrous 
faults ; it is a delusion which I restore to you. 

GR.-RE. You are right. 

Luc. And I, not to be behind-hand with you in the 
idea of returning everything, restore to you this diamond 
which you obliged me to accept. 

MAR. Very well. 

ERAS. Here is likewise a bracelet of yours. 16 

Luc. And this agate seal is yours. 

ERAS. (Reads). " You love me with the most ardent 
passion, Eraste, and wish to know if I feel the same. If 
I do not love Eraste as much, at least I am pleased that 

18 Formerly lovers used to wear bracelets generally made of each others 
hair, which no doubt were hidden from the common view, Shakespeare, 
in his Mid-rummer Nighfs Dream, Act i., Scene i, says, " Thou, Lysan- 
der, thou hast . . . stol'n th' impression of her fantasy with bracelets of 
thy hair." 


Eraste should thus love me. LUCILE." You assure me 
by this letter that you accept my love ; it is a falsehood 
which I punish thus. (Tears the letter). 

Luc. (.Reading). "I do not know what may be the 
fate of my ardent love, nor how long I shall suffer ; but 
this I know, beauteous charmer, that I shall always love 
you. ERASTE." This is an assurance of everlasting love ; 
both the hand and the letter told a lie. (Tears the 

GR.-RE. Go on. 

ERAS. (Showing another letter). This is another of your 
letters ; it shall share the same fate. 

MAR. (To Lucile). Be firm. 

Luc. (Tearing another letter]. I should be sorry to 
keep back one of them. 

GR.-RE. (To Eraste). Do not let her have the last word. 

MAR. (To Lucile). Hold out bravely to the end. 

Luc. Well, there are the rest. 

ERAS. Thank Heaven, that is all ! May I be struck 
dead if I do not keep my word ! 

Luc. May it confound me if mine be vain. 

ERAS. Farewell, then. 

Luc. Farewell, then. 

MAR. (To Lucile). Nothing could be better. 

GR.-RE. (To Eraste). You triumph. 

MAR. (To Lucile). Come, let us leave him. 

GR.-RE. (7<? Eraste}. You had best retire after this 
courageous effort. 

MAR. (To Lucile). What are you waiting for ? 

GR.-RE. ( To Eraste). What more do you want? 

ERAS. Ah, Lucile, Lucile ! you will be sorry to lose a 
heart like mine, and I know it. 

Luc. Eraste, Eraste, I may easily find a heart like 

ERAS. No, no, search everywhere ; you will never find 
one so passionately fond of you, I assure you. I do not 
say this to move you to pity ; I should be in the wrong 
now to wish it ; the most respectful passion could not bind 
you. You wanted to break with me ; I must think of you 
no more. But whatever any one may pretend, nobody will 
ever love you so tenderly as I have done. 


Luc. When a woman is really beloved she is treated 
differently, and is not condemned so rashly. 

ERAS. Those who love are apt to be jealous on the 
slightest cause of suspicion, but they can never wish to lose 
the object of their adoration, and that you have done. 

Luc. Pure jealousy is more respectful. 

ERAS. An offence caused by love is looked upon with 
more indulgence. 

Luc. No, Eraste, your flame never burnt very bright. 

ERAS. No, Lucile, you never loved me. 

Luc. Oh ! that does not trouble you much, I suppose ; 
perhaps it would have been much better for me if . . . 
But no more of this idle talk ; I do not say what I think 
on the subject. 

ERAS. Why? 

Luc. Because, as we are to break, it would be out of 
place, it seems to me. 

ERAS. Do we break, then ? 

Luc. Yes, to be sure ; have we not done so already? 

ERAS. And you can do this calmly ? 

Luc. Yes ; so can you. 


Luc. Undoubtedly. It is weakness to let people see 
that we are hurt by losing them. 

ERAS. But, hard-hearted woman, it is you who would 
have it so. 

Luc. I ? not at all ; it was you who took that resolution. 

ERAS. I ? I thought it would please you. 

Luc. Me ; not at all ; you did it for your own satis- 

ERAS. But what if my heart should wish to resume its 
former chain ? If, though very sad, it should sue for 
pardon . . . ?" 

Luc. No, no ; do no such thing ; my weakness is too 
great. I am afraid I might too quickly grant your request. 

ERAS. Oh ! you cannot grant it, nor I ask for it, too 
soon, after what I have just heard. Consent to love me 

17 An imitation from Horace, book iii., ode ix., vers. 17 and 18. 
Quid? si prisca redet Venus 
Diductosque jugo cogit aheneo f 

120 THE LOVE-TIFF. [ACT iv. 

still, madam ; so pure a flame ought to burn for ever, for 
your own sake. I ask for it, pray grant rne this kind 

Luc. Lead me home. 


MAR. Oh ! cowardly creature, 

GR.-RE. Oh! weak courage. 

MAR. I blush with indignation. 

GR.-RE. I am swelling with rage; do not imagine I 
will yield thus. 

MAR. And do not think to find such a dupe in me. 

GR.-RE. Come on, come on; you shall soon see what 
my wrath is capable of doing. 

MAR. I am not the person you take me for ; you have 
not my silly mistress to deal with. It is enough to look 
at that fine phiz to be smitten with the man himself! 
Should I fall in love with your beastly face ? Should I 
hunt after you ? Upon my word, girls like us are not for 
the like of you. 

GR. -RE. Ay ! and you address me in such a fashion ? 
Here, here, without any further compliments, there is your 
bow of tawdry lace, and your narrow ribbon ; it shall not 
have the honour of being on my ear any more. 

MAR. And to show you how I despise you, here, take 
back your half hundred of Paris pins, which you gave me 
yesterday with so much bragging. 

GR.-RE. Take back your knife too ; a thing most rich 
and rare ; it cost you about twopence when you made me 
a present of it. 

MAR. Take back your scissors with the pinchbeck chain. 

GR.-RE. I forgot the piece of cheese you gave me the 
day before yesterday here it is; I wish I could bring 
back the broth you made me eat, so that I might have 
nothing belonging to you. 

MAR. I have none of your letters about me now, but I 
shall burn every one of them. 

GR.-RE. And do you know what I shall do with yours ? 

MAR. Take care you never come begging to me again 
to forgive you. 

GR. RE. {Picking up a bit of straw}. To cut oft' every 


way of being reconciled, we must break this straw between 
us ; when a straw is broken, it settles an affair between 
people of honour. 18 Cast none of your sheep's eyes at 
me ; 19 I will be angry. 

MAR. Do not look at me thus ; I am too much provoked. 

GR.-RE. Here, break this straw; this is the way of 
never recanting again ; break. What do you laugh at, 
you jade ? 

MAR. Yes, you make me laugh. 

GR.-RE. The deuce take your laughing ! all my anger 
is already softened. What do you say? shall we break or 

MAR. Just as you please. 

GR.-RE. Just as you please. 

MAR. Nay, it shall be as you please. 

GK.-RE. Do you wish me never to love you? 

MAR. I? As you like. 

GR.-RE. As you yourself like ; only say the word. 

MAR. I shall say nothing. 

GR.-RE. Nor I. 

MAR. Nor I. 

GR.-RE. Faith! we had better forswear all this non- 
sense ; shake hands, I pardon you. 

MAR. And I forgive you. 

GR.-RE. Bless me! how you bewitch me with your 

18 A wisp of straw, or a stick, was formerly used as a symbol of investi- 
ture of a feudal fief. According to some authors the breaking of the straw 
or stick was a proof that the vassals renounced their homage ; hence the 
allusion of Moliere. The breaking of a staff was also typical of the 
voluntary or compulsory abandonment of power. Formerly, after the 
death of the kings of France, the grand maitre (master of the household) 
broke his wand of office over the grave, saying aloud three times, le roi 
est mart, and then Vive le roi. Hence also, most likely, the saying of 
Prospero, in Shakespeare's "Tempest" Act v. Sc. i, " I'll break my staff," 
'. e., I voluntarily abandon my power. Sometimes the. breaking of a staff 
betokened dishonour, as in Shakespeare's second part of "Henry VI." Act 
i. Sc. 2, when Gloster says : " Methought this staff, mine office-badge in 
court was broke in twain." 

19 According to tradition, Gros-Ren6 and Marinette stand on the stage 
back to back ; from time to time they look to the right and to the left ; 
when their looks meet they turn their heads abruptly away, whilst Gros- 
Ren6 presents over his shoulder to Marinette the piece of straw, which the 
latter takes very good care not to touch. 


MAR. What a fool is Marinette when her Gros-Rene 
is by. 



"As soon as darkness has invaded the town, I will enter 
Lucile's room; go, therefore, and get ready immediately 
the dark lantern, and whatever arms are necessary." 
When my master said these words, it sounded in my ears 
as if he had said, "Go quickly and get a halter to hang 
yourself." But come on, master of mine, for I was so 
astonished when first I heard your order, that I had no 
time to answer you; but I shall talk with you now, and 
confound you ; therefore defend yourself well, and let us 
argue without making a noise. You say you wish to go 
and visit Lucile to-night? "Yes, Mascarille." And 
what do you propose to do? "What a lover does who 
wishes to be convinced." "What a man does who has 
very little brains, who risks his carcass when there is no 
occasion for it. "But do you know what is my motive? 
Lucile is angry." Well, so much the worse for her. 
"But my love prompts me to go and appease her." But 
love is a fool, and does not know what he says : will this 
same love defend us against an enraged rival, father, or 
brother? "Do you think any of them intend to harm 
us?" Yes, really, I do think so; and especially this rival. 
"Mascarille, in any case, what I trust to is, that we shall 
go well armed, and if anybody interrupts us we shall 
draw." Yes, but that is precisely what your servant does 
not wish to do. I draw! Good Heavens! am I a 
Roland, master, or a Ferragus? 20 You hardly know me. 

50 Roland, or Orlando in Italian, one of Charlemagne's paladins and 
nephew", is represented as brave, loyal, and simple-minded. On the re- 
turn of Charlemagne from Spain, Roland, who commanded the rear- 
guard, fell into an ambuscade at Roncezvalles, in the Pyrenees (778), and 
perished, with the flower of French chivalry. He is the hero of Ariosto's 
poem, " Orlando Furioso.' 1 In this same poem Cant. xii. is also men- 
tioned Ferragus, or Ferrau in Italian, a Saracen giant, who dropped his 
helmet into the river, and vowed he would never wear another till he had 
won that worn by Orlando ; the latter slew him in the only part where he 
was vulnerable. 

scBNBii.j THE LOVE-TIFF. 123 

When I, who love myself so dearly, consider that two 
inches of cold steel in this body would be quite sufficient 
to send a poor mortal to his last home, I am particularly 
disgusted. "But you will be armed from head to foot." 
So much the worse. I shall be less nimble to get into the 
thicket ; besides, there is no armour so well made but 
some villainous point will pierce its joints. "Oh! you 
will then be considered a coward." Never mind; pro- 
vided I can but always move my jaws. At table you may 
set me down for as good as four persons, if you like ; but 
when fighting is going on, you must not count me for 
anything. Moreover, if the other world possesses charms 
for you, the air of this world agrees very well with me. I 
do not thirst after death and wounds; if you have a mind 
to play the fool, you may do it all by yourself, I assure 


VAL. I never felt a day pass more slowly; the sun 
seems to have forgotten himself; he has yet such a course 
to run before he reaches his bed, that I believe he will 
never accomplish it ; his slow motion drives me mad. 

MASC. What an eagerness to go in the dark, to grope 
about for some ugly adventure ! You see that Lucile is 
obstinate in her repulses. . . . 

VAL. A truce to these idle remonstrances. Though I 
were sure to meet a hundred deaths lying in ambush, yet 
I feel her wrath so greatly, that I shall either appease it, 
or end my fate. I am resolved on that. 

MASC. I approve of your design ; but it is unfortunate, 
sir, that we must get in secretly. 

VAL. Very well. 

MASC. And I am afraid I shall only be in the way. 

VAL. How so ? 

MASC. I have a cough which nearly kills me, and the 
m>ise it makes may betray you. Every moment . . . 
(He coughs). You see what a punishment it is. 

VAL. You will get better ; take some liquorice. 

MASC. I do not think, sir, it will get better. I should 
be delighted to go with you, but I should be very sorry if 
any misfortune should befall my dear master through me. 



LA RA. Sir, I have just now heard from good authority 
that Eraste is greatly enraged against you, and that Albert 
talks also of breaking all the bones in Mascarille's body, 
on his daughter's account. 

MASC. I ? I have nothing to do with all this confusion. 
What have I done to have all the bones in my body bro- 
ken ? Am I the guardian of the virginity of all the girls 
in the town, that I am to be thus threatened ? Have I any 
influence with temptation? Can I help it, I, poor fel- 
low, if I have a mind to try it ? 

VAL. Oh ! they are not so dangerous as they pretend to 
be ; however courageous love may have made Eraste, he 
will not have so easy a bargain with us. 

LA RA. If you should have any need for it, my arm is 
entirely at your service. You know me to be at all times 
staunch. 21 

VAL. I am much obliged to you, M. de la Rapiere. 

LA RA. I have likewise two friends I can procure, who 
will draw against all comers, and upon whom you may 
safely rely. 

MASC. Accept their services, sir. 

VAL. You are too kind. 

LA RA. Little Giles might also have assisted us, if a sad 
accident had not taken him from us. Oh, sir, it is a great 
pity ! He was such a handy fellow, too ! You know the 
trick justice played him ; he died like a hero ; when the exe- 
cutioner broke him on the wheel, he made his exit with- 
out uttering a word. 

VAL. M. de la Rapiere, such a man ought to be la- 
mented, but, as for your escort, I thank you, I want them 

LA RA. Be it so, but do not forget that you are sought 
after, and may have some scurvy trick played upon you. 

VAL. And I, to show you how much I fear him, will 

21 It is thought the introduction of Mons. de la Rapiere contains an 
allusion to the poor noblemen of Languedoc, who formerly made a kind 
of living by being seconds at duels, and whom the Prince de Conti com- 
pelled to obey the edicts of Louis XIV. against duelling. The Love-tiff 
was first played in 1656 at Be"ziers, where the States of Languedoc were 


offer him the satisfaction he desires, if he seeks me ; I will 
immediately go all over the town, only accompanied by 


MASC. What, sir? will you tempt Heaven? Do not be 
so presumptuous ! Lack-a-day ! you see how they threaten 
us. How on every side . . . 

VAL. What are you looking at yonder? 

MASC. I smell a cudgel that way. In short, if you will 
take my prudent advice, do not let us be so obstinate as to 
remain in the street ; let us go and shut ourselves up. 

VAL. Shut ourselves up, rascal ? How dare you propose 
to me such a base action ? Come along, and follow me, 
without any more words. 

MASC. Why, sir, my dear master, life is so sweet ! One 
can die but once, and it is for such a long time ! 

VAL. I shall half kill you, if I hear anything more. Here 
comes Ascanio ; let us leave him; we must find out what 
side he will choose. However, come along with me into 
the house, to take whatever arms we may want. 

MASC. I have no great itching for fighting. A curse on 
love and those darned girls, who will be tasting it, and 
then look as if butter would hot melt in their mouth. 


Asc. Is it really true, Frosine, do I not dream ? Pray 
tell me all that has happened, from first to last. 

FROS. You shall know all the particulars in good 
time ; be patient ; such adventures are generally told over 
and over again, and that every moment. You must know 
then that after this will, which was on condition of a male 
heir being born, Albert's wife who was enceinte, gave birth 
to you. Albert, who had stealthily and long beforehand laid 
his plan, changed you for the son of Inez, the flower- 
woman, and gave you to my mother to nurse, saying it 
was her own child. Some ten months after, death took 
away this little innocent, whilst Albert was absent ; his 
wife being afraid of her husband, and inspired by mater- 
nal love, invented a new stratagem. She secretly took 
her own daughter back ; you received the name of the 


boy, who had taken your place, whilst the death of that 
pretended son was kept a secret from Albert, who was told 
that his daughter had died. Now the mystery of your 
birth is cleared up, which your supposed mother had 
hitherto concealed. She gives certain reasons for acting 
in this manner, and may have others to give, for her in- 
terests were not the same as yours. In short, this visit, 22 
from which I expected so little, has proved more serviceable 
to your love than could have been imagined- This Inez 
has given up all claim to you. As it became necessary to 
reveal this secret, on account of your marriage, we two 
informed your father of it ; a letter of his deceased wife 
has confirmed all. Pursuing our reasoning yet farther, and 
being rather fortunate as well as skilful, we have so cun- 
ningly interwoven the interests of Albert and of Polydore, 
so gradually unfolded all this mystery to the latter, that 
we might not make things appear too terrible to him in 
the beginning, and, in a word, to tell you all, so pru- 
dently led his mind step by step to a reconciliation, that 
Polydore is now as anxious as your father to legitimize 
that connection which is to make you happy. 

Asc. Ah ! Frosine, what happiness you prepare for me. 
. . . What do I not owe to your fortunate zeal ? 

FROS. Moreover, the good man is inclined to be merry, 
and has forbidden us to mention anything of this affair to 
his son. 


POL. Come hither, daughter, since I may give you this 
name now, for I know the secret which this disguise con- 
ceals You have shown so much resolution, ingenuity, 
and archness in your stratagem, that I forgive you ; I 
think my son will esteem himself happy when he knows 
that you are the object of his love. You are worth to him 
more than all the treasures in this world ; and I will tell 
him so. But here he comes : let us divert ourselves with 
this event. Go and tell all the people to come hither im- 

Asc. To obey you, sir, shall be the first compliment I 
pay you. 

82 That is the visit of which Frosine speaks, Act iv.. Scene i, p. 113. 



MASC. Misfortunes are often revealed by Heaven : I 
dreamt last night of pearls unstrung and broken eggs, a sir. 
This dream depresses my spirits. 

VAL. Cowardly rascal ! 

POL. Valere, an encounter awaits you, wherein all your 
valour will be necessary : you are to cope with a powerful 

MASC. Will nobody stir to prevent people from cutting 
each other's throats ? As for me, I do not care about it ; 
but if any fatal accident should deprive you of your son, 
do not lay the blame on me. 

POL. No, no ; in this case I myself urge him to do what 
he ought. 

MASC. What an unnatural father ! 

VAL. This sentiment, sir, shows you to be a man of 
honour; I respect you the more for it. I know I have 
offended you, I am to blame for having done all this with- 
out a father's consent ; but however angry you may be 
with me, Nature always will prevail. You do what is truly 
honourable, in not believing that I am to be terrified by 
the threats of Eraste. 

POL. They just now frightened me with his threats, but 
since then things have changed greatly; you will be 
attacked by a more powerful enemy, without being able to 
flee from him. 

MASC. Is there no way of making it up ? 

VAL ! I flee ! Heaven forbid ! And who can this be ? 

POL. Ascanio. 

VAL. Ascanio? 

POL. Yes ; you shall see him appear presently. 

VAL. He, who- has pledged his word to serve me ! 

POL. Yes, it is he who says he has a quarrel with you ; 
he, who is determined to decide the quarrel by single 
combat, to which he challenges you. 

MASC. He is a good fellow : he knows that generous 
minds do not endanger other people's lives by their 

M In a little book still sold on the quays of Paris, and called la Cle des 
Songes, it is said that to dream of pearls denotes " embarrassed affairs," 
and of broken eggs, " loss of place and lawsuits." 


POL. He accuses you of deceit. His anger appears to 
me to have so just a cause, that Albert and I have agreed 
you should give Ascanio satisfaction for this affront, but 
publicly, and without any delay, according to the for- 
malities requisite in such a case. 

VAL. What ! father ; and did Lucile obstinately . . . ? 

POL. Lucile is to marry Eraste, and blames you too ; 
and the better to prove your story to be false, is resolved 
to give her hand to Eraste before your very face. 

VAL. Ha ! this impudence is enough to drive me mad. 
Has she lost, then, all sense, faith, conscience, and 
honour ? 


ALB. Well ! where are the combatants ? They are 
bringing ours. Have you prepared yours for the en- 
counter ? 

VAL. Yes, yes ; I am ready, since you compel me to it ; 
if I at all hesitated, it was because I still felt a little re- 
spect, and not on account of the valour of the champion 
who is to oppose me. But I have been urged too far. 
This respect is at an end; I am prepared for any ca- 
tastrophe ! I have been treated so strangely and treacher- 
ously, that my love must and shall be revenged. (To 
Lucile}. Not that I still pretend to your hand : my former 
love is now swallowed up in wrath ; and when I have made 
your shame public, your guilty marriage will not in the 
least disturb me. Lucile, your behaviour is infamous : 
scarcely can I believe my own eyes. You show yourself 
so opposed to all modesty, that you ought to die for 

Luc. Such reproaches might affect me, if I had not one 
at hand to avenge my cause. Here comes Ascanio ; he 
shall soon have the pleasure, and without giving himself 
much trouble, of making you change your language. 


VAL. He shall not make me change my language, 


though he had twenty arms besides his own. I am sorry 
he defends a guilty sister; but since he is foolish enough 
to pick a quarrel with me, I shall give him satisfaction, 
and you also, my valiant gentleman. 

ERAS. A short time ago I took an interest in this, but 
as Ascanio has taken the affair upon himself, I will have 
nothing more to do with it, but leave it to him. 

VAL. You do well ; prudence is always timely, but . . 

ERAS. He shall give you satisfaction for us all. 

VA-L. He? 

POL. Do not deceive yourself; you do not yet know 
what a strange fellow Ascanio is. 

ALB. He is- blind to it now, but Ascanio will let him 
know in a little time. 

VAL. Come on, then ; let him do so now. 

MAR. What! before everybody? 

GR.-RE. That would not be decent. 

VAL. Are you making fun of me ? I will break the 
head of any fellow who laughs. But let us see what 
Ascanio is going to do. 

Asc. No, no. I am not so bad as they make me out; 
in this adventure, in which every one has put me forward, 
you shall see my weakness appear more than anything 
else ; you will discover that Heaven, to which we must all 
submit, did not give me a heart to hold out against you, 
but that it reserved for you the easy triumph of putting an 
end to Lucile's brother. Yes; far from boasting of the 
power of his arm, Ascanio shall receive death from your 
hands; nay, would gladly die, if his death could contri- 
bute to your satisfaction, by giving you, in the presence 
of all this company, a wife who lawfully belongs to you. 

VAL. No, even the whole world, after her perfidy and 
shamelessness . . . 

Asc. Ah ! Valere, allow me to tell you that the heart 
which is pledged to you is guilty of no crime against you; 
her love is still pure, and her constancy unshaken ; I call 
your own father himself to witness that I speak the truth. 

POL. Yes, son, we have laughed enough at your rage ; 

I see it is time to undeceive you ; she to whom you are 

bound by oath is concealed under the dress you here 

behold. Some question about property was the cause of 

VOL. i. i 


this disguise, which from her earliest youth deceived so 
many people. Lately love was the cause of another which 
deceived you, whilst it made of the two families but one. 
Yes, in a word, it is she whose subtle skill obtained your 
hand at night, who pretended to be Lucile, and by this 
contrivance, which none discovered, has perplexed you 
all so much. But since Ascanio now gives place to Doro- 
thea, your love must be free from every appearance of 
deceit, and be strengthened by a more sacred knot. 

ALB. This is the single combat by which you were to 
give us satisfaction for your offence, and which is not for- 
bidden by any laws. 24 

POL. Such an event amazes you, but all hesitation is 
now too late. 

VAL. No, no, I do not hesitate ; if this adventure as- 
tonishes me, it is a flattering surprise ; I find myself seized 
with admiration, love, and pleasure. Is it possible that 
those eyes . . . ? 

ALB. This dress, dear Valere, is not a proper one to 
hear your fine speeches in. Let her go and put on another, 
and meanwhile you shall know the particulars of the event. 

VAL. Pardon me, Lucile, if my mind, duped by ... 

Luc. It is easy to forget that. 

ALB. Come, these compliments will do as well at home ; 
we shall then have plenty of time to pay them to one 

ERAS. But in talking thus you do not seem to think 
that there is still occasion for manslaughter here. Our 
loves are indeed crowned, but who ought to obtain the 
hand of Marinette, his Mascarille or my Gros-Rene? 
This affair must end in blood. 

MASC. No, no, my blood suits my body too well ; let 
him marry her in peace, it will be nothing to me. I know 
Marinette too well to think marriage will be any bar to 
my courting her. 

MAR. And do you think I will make my gallant of you ? 
A husband does not matter ; anything will do for that. 
We do not stand, then, upon so much ceremony ; but a 

24 Severe laws were promulgated in the preceding reign against duel- 
ling; Louis XIV. also published two edicts against it in 1643 and in 1651. 
The Love- Tiff was first performed in 1656. 


gallant should be well made enough to make one's mouth 

GR.-RE. Listen ! When we are united by marriage, I 
insist that you should turn a deaf ear to all sparks. 

MASC. Do you think, brother, to marry her for yourself 
alone ? 

GR.-RE. Of course ; I will have a virtuous wife, or else 
I shall kick up a fine row. 

MASC. Ah ! lack-a-day, you shall do as others, and 
become more gentle. Those people who are so severe 
and critical before marriage, often degenerate into pacific 

MAR. Make yourself easy, my dear husband, and do 
not have the least fear about my fidelity ; flattery will pro- 
duce no impression on me, and I shall tell you everything. 

MASC. Oh ! what a cunning wench to make of a hus- 
band a confidant. 

MAR. Hold your tongue, you knave of clubs. 25 

ALB. For the third time, I say, let us go home, and 
continue at leisure such an agreeable conversation. 

^The original has as de pique, and different commentators have of 
course given various explanations. But why, says M. Despois, should 
Marinette, who appears to be fond of cards, not call people by names de- 
rived from her favourite game ? She calls Gros-Rene in another place 
beau valet de carreau. (See Note 12, page 113.) 







Moliere began in The Pretentious Young Ladies to paint men and 
women as they are ; to make living characters and existing manners the 
ground-work of his plays. From that time he abandoned all imitation of 
Italian or Spanish imbroglios and intrigues. 

There is no doubt that aristocratic society attempted, about the latter 
years of the reign of Louis XIII., to amend the coarse and licentious ex- 
pressions, which, during the civil wars had been introduced into literature 
as well as into manners. It was praiseworthy of some high-born ladies in 
Parisian society to endeavour to refine the language and the mind. But 
there was a very great difference between the influence these ladies exer- 
cised from 1620 until 1640, and what took place in 1658, the year when 
Moliere returned to Paris. The Hotel de Rambouillet, and the aristo- 
cratic drawing-rooms, had then done their work, and done it well ; but 
they were succeeded by a clique which cared only for what was nicely 
said, or rather what was out of the common. Instead of using an elegant 
and refined diction, they employed only a pretentious and conceitedly 
affected style, which became highly ridiculous ; instead of improving the 
national idiom they completely spoilt it. Where formerly D'Urfe, Mal- 
herbe, Racan, Balzac, and Voiture reigned, Chapelain, Scudery, Menage, 
and the Abbe Cotin, " the father of the French Riddle," ruled in their 
stead. Moreover, every lady in Paris, as well as in the provinces, no 
matter what her education was, held her drawing-room, where nothing 
was heard but a ridiculous, exaggerated, and what was worse, a borrowed 
phraseology. The novels of Mdlle. de Scudery became the text-book of 
the precieux and the precieuses, for such was the name given to these gen- 
tlemen and ladies who set up for wits, and thought they displayed ex- 
quisite taste, refined ideas, fastidious judgment, and consummate and crit- 
ical discrimination, whilst they only uttered vapid and blatant nonsense. 
What other language can be used when we find that they called the sun 
I'aimable eclairant le plus beau du monde, I'cpoux de la nature, and that 
when speaking of an old gentleman with grey hair, they said, not as a 
joke, but seriously, il a des quittances d' amour. A few of their expres- 
sions, however, are employed even at the present time, such as, chatier 
ton style; to correct one's style ; depenser une heure, to spend an hour ; 
revettr ses pensees d' expressions nobles, to clothe one's thoughts in noble 
expressions, etc. 

Though the precieux and precieuses had been several times attacked be- 
fore, it remained for Moliere to give them their death blow, and after the 
performance of his comedy the name became a term of ridicule and con- 
tumely. What enhanced the bitterness of the attack was the difference 




between Moliere s natural style and the affected tone of the would-be 
elegants he brought upon the stage. 

This comedy, in prose, was first acted at Paris, at the Theatre du Petit 
Bourbon, on the i8th of November, 1659, and met with great success. 
Through the influence of some noble precieux and precieuses it was for- 
bidden until the 2d of December, when the concourse of spectators was 
so great that it had to be performed twice a day, that the prices of nearly 
all the places were raised (See Note 7, page xxv.), and that it ran for four 
months together. We have referred in our prefatory memoir of Moliere 
to some of the legendary anecdotes connected with this play. 

It has also been said that our author owed perhaps the first idea of this 
play to a scarcely-known work, le Cercle des Femmes, ou le Secret du Lit 
Nuptial; entretiens comiques, written by a long-forgotten author, Samuel 
Chapuzeau, in which a servant, dressed in his master's clothes, is well re- 
ceived by a certain lady who had rejected the master. But as the witty 
dialogue is the principal merit in Moliere's play, it is really of no great 
consequence who first suggested the primary idea. 

The piece, though played in 1659, was only printed on the 2gth of 
January, 1660, by Guillaume de Luyne, a bookseller in Pans, with a pre- 
face by Moliere, which we give here below : 

A strange thing it is, that People should be put in print against their Will. I 
know nothing so unjust, and should pardon any other Violence much sooner than 

Not that I here intend to personate the bashful Author, and out of a point of 
Honour undervalue my Comedy. I should very unseasonably disoblige all the 
People of Paris, should I accuse them of having applauded a foolish Thing : as the 
Public is absolute Judge of such sort of Works, it would be Impertinence in me to 
contradict it ; and even if I should have had the worst Opinion in the World of my 
Pretentious Young Ladies before they appeared upon the Stage, I must now believe 
them of some Value, since so many People agree to speak in their behalf. But as 
great part of the Pleasure it gave depends upon the Action and Tone of the 
Voice, it behooved me, not to let them be deprived of those Ornaments ; and that 
success they had in the representation, was, I thought, sufficiently favorable for me 
to stop there. I was, I say, determined, to let them only be seen by Candlelight, 
that I might give no room for any one to use the Proverb ; ! nor was I willing they 
should leap from the Theatre de Bourbon into the Galerie da Palais.* Notwith- 
standing, I have been unable to avoid it, and am fallen under the Misfortune of see- 
ing a surreptitious Copy of my Play in the Hands of the Booksellers, together with 
a Privilege, knavishly obtained, for printing it. I cried out in vain, O Times ! O 
Manners ! They showed me that there was a Necessity for me to be in print, or 
have a Law-suit ; and the last evil is even worse than the first. Fate therefore 
must be submitted to, and I must consent to a Thing, which they would not fail to 
do without me. 

Lord, the strange Perplexity of sending a book abroad ! and what an awkward 
Figure an Author makes the first time he appears in print ! Had they allowed me 
time, I should have thought it over better, and have taken all those Precautions 
which the Gentlemen Authors, who are now my Brethren, commonly make use of 
upon the like Occasions. Besides, some noble Lord, whom I should have chosen, 
in spite of his Teeth, to be the Patron of my Work, and whose Generosity I should 
have excited by an Epistle Dedicatory very elegantly composed, I should have en- 
deavoured to make a fine and learned Preface ; nor do I want books which would 
have supplied me with all that can be said in a scholarly Manner upon Tragedy and 
Comedy; the Etymology of them both, their Origin, their Definition, and so forth. 
I should likewise have spoken to my friends, who to recommend my Performance, 
would not have refused me Verses, either in French or Latin. I have even some 

1 In Moliere's time it was proverbially said of a woman, " Elle est belle a la 
chandelle, tnais le grand jour gate tout." She is beautiful by candle-light, but 

day-light spoils everything 
* The Galerie du Palaii 


!s was the place where Moliere's publisher lived. 


that would have praised me in Greek, and Nobody is ignorant, that a Commenda- 
tion in Greek is of a marvellous efficacy at the Beginning of a Book. But I am 
sent Abroad without giving me time to look about me ; and I can't so much as ob- 
tain the Liberty of sneaking two words, to justify my Intention, as to the subject of 
this Comedy. I would willingly have shewn that it is confined throughout within 
the Bounds of allowable and decent Satire, that Things the most excellent are liable 
to be mimicked by wretched Apes, who deserve to be ridiculed ; that these absurd 
Imitations of what is most perfect, have been at all times the Subject of Comedy ; 
and that, for the same Reason, that the truly Learned and truly Brave never yet 
thought fit to be offended at the Doctor or the Captain in a Comedy, no more than 
Judges, Princes, and Kings at seeing Trivelin,3 or any other upon the Stage, ridicu- 
lously act the Judge, the Prince, or King ; so the true Precieuses would be in the 
wrong to be angry, when the pretentious Ones are exposed, who imitate them 
awkwardly. In a Word, as I said, I am not allowed breathing time ; Mr. de 
Luyne is going to bind me up this Instant : . . . let it be so, since the Fates so 
ordain it. 

In the third volume of the " Select Comedies of M. de Moliere," this 
comedy is called " The Conceited Ladies." It is dedicated to Miss Le 
Bas in the following words : 


Addresses of this Nature are usually fill'd with Flattery: And it is become so 
general and known a Practice for Authors of every kind to bedeck with all Perfec- 
tions Those to whom they present their Writings, that Dedications are, by most 
People, at Present, interpreted like Dreams, directly backwards. I dare not, 

therefore, attempt Your Character, lest even Truth itself should be suspected 

Thus far, however, I'll venture to declare, that if sprightly blooming Youth, en- 
dearing sweet Good-nature, flowing gentile Wit, and an easy unaffected Conversa- 
tion, maybe reckon'd Charms, Miss LE BAS is exquisitely charming. 

The following COMEDY of Monsieur MOLIERE, that celebrated Dramatick Writer, 
was, by him, intended to reprove a vain fantastical, conceited and preposterous 
Humour, which about that time prevailed very much in France. It had thedesir'd 
good Effect, and conduced a great deal towards rooting out a Taste so unreasonable 
and ridiculous. As Pride, Conceit, Vanity, and Affectation, are Foibles so often 
found amongst the Fair Sex at present, I have attempted this Translation, in hopes 

of doing service to my pretty Country- Women. And, certainly, it must have a 

double efficacy, under the Patronage of one who is so bright an Example of the 
contrary fine Accomplishments, which a large Fortune makes her not the less care- 
ful to improve. 

I am not so presumptuous to imagine that my English can do sufficient Justice 
to the sense of this admir'd AUTHOR; and, therefore, have caused the ORIGINAL to 
be placed against it Page for Page, hoping that, both together, may prove an agree- 
able and useful Entertainment. But I have detain'd you too long already, and 

shall only add,. that I am, with much respect, and every good Wish, MADAM, Your 
most Obedient Humble Servant, 


The Precieuses Ridicules have been partly imitated in " The Damoiselles 
& la Mode, Compos'd and Written by Richard Flecknoe. London : Print- 
ed for the Author, 1667. To their graces the Duke and Duchess of 
Newcastle, the Author dedicates this his comedy more humbly than by 
way of epistle." This gentleman, who was " so distinguished as a 
wretched poet, that his name had almost become proverbial," and who 
gave the title to Dryden's Mac- Flecknoe, is said to have been originally a 
Jesuit. Langbaine states " that his acquaintance with the nobility was 
more than with the Muses." In the preface our author says : " This 
Comedy is taken out of several excellent pieces of Moltire. The main 

The Doctor and the Captain were traditional personages of the Italian stage ; 
their parts need no further explanation ; Trivelin was a popular Italian actor, 
who in a humorous and exaggerated way played the parts of Judges, Princes, and 


plot out of his Pretieusee's Ridiculee's ; the Counterplot of Sganarclle 
out of his Escole des Femmes, and out of the Escole des Marys, the two 
Naturals ; all which, like so many Pretieuse stones, I have brought out of 
France ; and as a Lapidary set in one Jewel to adorn our English 

This motley play was never acted ; at least the author says : " for the 
Acting it, those who have the Governing of the Stage, have their Hu- 
mours, and wou'd be intreated ; and I have mine and won't intreat them ; 
and were all Dramatick Writers of my mind, they shou'd wear their old 
Playes Thred-bare, e're they shou'd have any New, till they better under- 
stood their own Interest, and how to distinguish betwixt good and bad." 

The " Prologue intended for the overture of the Theater 1666," opens 
thus ; 

" In these sad Times* our Author has been long 
Studying to give you some diversion ; 
And he has ta'en the way to do't, which he 
Thought most diverting, mirth and Comedy ; 
And now he knows there are inough i' the Town 
At name of mirth and Comedy will frown, 
And sighing say, the times are bad ; what then ? 
Will their being sad and heavy better them ?" 

According to the list of " The Representers, as they were first design'd,'' 
I see that Nell Gwyn should have played the part of " Lysette, the Da- 
moiselle's waiting Woman." 

James Miller, a well-known dramatist, and joint-translator of Moliere, 
with H. Baker, has also imitated part of " the Pretentious Young Ladies,'' 
and with another part borrowed from Moliere's School for Husbands, two 
characters taken from Moliere's Learned Ladies, and some short speeches 
borrowed from the Countess of Escarbagnas, he composed a comedy, which 
was played at Drury Lane, March 6th, 1735, under the title of The Man 
of Taste, or, The Guardians. Mr. Miller appears to have been a man of 
indomitable spirit and industry. Being a clergyman, with a very small 
stipend, he wrote plays to improve his circumstances, but offended both 
his bishop and the public. At last he was presented to the very valuable 
living of Upcerne, in Dorsetshire, and was also successful with a transla- 
tion of Mahomet of Voltaire, but died within the year after his induction. 
The Man of Taste was printed for J. Watts, MDCCXXXV., and is dedi- 
cated to Lord Weymouth. We give part of the dedication : 

" As to the Attempt here made to expose the several Vices and Follies that at 
present flourish in Vogue, I hope your Lordship will think it confined within the 
bounds of a modest and wholesome Chastisement. That it is a very seasonable 
one, I believe, every Person will acknowledge. When what is set up for the 
Standard of Taste, is but just the Reverse of Truth and Common Sense ; and that 
which is dignify'd with the Name of Politeness, is deficient in nothing but Decen- 
cy and Good Manners : When all Distinctions of Station and Fortune are broke in 
upon, so that a Peer and a Meckanick are cloathed in the same Habits, and indulge 
in the same Diversions and Luxuries : When Husbands are ruin'd, Children robb'd, 
and Tradesmen starv'd, in order to give Estates to a French Harlequin, and Italian 
Eunuch, for a Shrug or a Song ; 6 shall not fair and fearless Satire oppose this Out- 

* In 1665 the plague broke out in London, and in the succeeding year the great 
fire took place ; only at Christmas 1666 theatrical performances began again. 

6 Farinelli, an eminent Italian soprano, went to England in 1734, remained there 
three years, sang chiefly at the Theatre of Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, then under the di- 
rection of Porpora, his old Master, became a great favorite, and made about .5,000 
a year. As The Man of Taste was performed at a rival house, Drury Lane, the 
bitterness of the allusion may be easily understood. The French Comedians acted 


rage upon all Reason and Discretion. Yes, My Lord, resentment can never better 
be shown, nor Indignation more laudably exerted than on such an occasion." 

The Prologue, spoken by Mr. Gibber, is racy. We give the first half of 

" Wit springs so slow in our bleak Northern Soil, 
It scarce, at best, rewards the Planter's Toil. 
But now, when all the Sun-shine, and the Rain, 
Are turn'd to cultivate a Foreign grain ; 
When, what should cherish, preys upon the Tree, 
What generous Fruit can you expect to see ? 
Our Bard, to strike the Humour of the Times, 
Imports these Scenes from kindlier Southern Climes ; 
Secure his Pains will with Applause be crown'd, 
If you're as fond of Foreign sense as ... sound : 
And since their Follies have been bought so dear, 
We hope their Wit a moderate Price may bear. 
Terence, Great Master 1 who, with wond'rous Art, 
Explor'd the deepest Secrets of the Heart ; 
That best Old Judge of Manners and of Men, 
First grac'd this Tale with his immortal Pen.' 
Moliere, the Classick of the Gallick Stage, 
First dar'd to modernize the Sacred Page ; 
Skilful, the one thing wanting to supply, 
Humour, that Soul of Comic Poesy. 
The Roman Fools were drawn so nigh . . . the Pit 
Might take 'em now for Modern Men of Wit. 
But Moliere painted with a bolder Hand, 
And mark'd his Oafs with the Fool's-Cap and Band : 
To ev'ry Vice he tagged the just Reproach, 
Shew'd Worth on Foot, and Rascals in a Coach." 

Mrs. Aphra Behn, a voluminous writer of plays, novels, poems, and 
letters, all of a lively and amorous turn, was the widow of a Dutch mer- 
chant, and partly occupied the time not engaged in literary pursuits in po- 
litical or gallant intrigues. Her comedies are her best works, and al- 
though some of her scenes are often indecent, and not a few of her ex- 
pressions indelicate, yet her plots are always lively and well sustained and 
her dialogues very witty. The date of her birth is unknown, but she 
died on the i6th of April, 1689, and was buried in the cloisters of West- 
minster Abbey. 

In 1682, was performed, at the Theatre, Dorset Garden, her play, The 
False Count, or a New Way to Play an Old Game. The prologue attacks 
the Whigs most furiously, and the epilogue, spoken by Mrs. Barry, is very 
indecent. The plot of this play, or rather farce, is very improbable, and 
the language is more than free. Julia, in love with Don Carlos, after- 
wards Governor of Cadiz, was forced by her father to marry Francisco, 
a rich old man, formerly a leather-seller; the latter going with his 
family to sea on a party of pleasure, are taken prisoners by Carlos 
and his servants, disguised as Turks. They are carried to a country 
house, and made to believe they are in the Grand Turk's seraglio. 
There is also an underplot, in which Isabella, Francisco's proud and 
vain daughter, is courted by Guilion, a supposed Count, but in reality 

at the Haymarket from November 22, 1734 to June 1733, hence the allusion to a 
French Harlequin. 

* The plot of The Man of Taste, as we have said before, was partly borrowed 
from Moliere's School for Husbands, partly from the Pretentious Young Ladies, 
and other of his plays. The first-mentioned French comedy owes part of its plot 
to Terence's Adelphi, hence the allusion. 


a chimney-sweep, whose hand she accepts. In the end everything is 
discovered, and Guilion comes to claim his wife in his sooty clothes. 

Thomas Shadwell, a dramatist, and the poet-laureate of William III.. 
who has been flagellated by Dryden in his MacFlecknoe and in the 
second part of Absalom and Achitophel, and been mentioned with con- 
tempt by Pope in his Dunciad, took from the Precieuses Ridicules Mas- 
carille and Jodelet, and freely imitated and united them in the character 
of La Roch, a sham Count, in his Bury-Fair, acted by His Majesty's 
servants in 1689. This play, dedicated to Charles, Earl of Dorset and 
Middlesex, was written " during eight months' painful sickness." In the 
Prologue Shadwell states : 

That every Part is Fiction in his Play ; 
Particular Reflections there are none ; 
Our Poet knows not one in all your Town. 
If any has so very little Wit, 
To think a Fop's Dress can his Person fit, 
E'en let him take it, and make much of it. 

Whilst, in The Pretentious Young Ladies, Mascarille and Jodelet impose 
upon two provincial girls, in Bury- Fair, La Roch, " a French peruke- 
maker," succeeds in deceiving Mrs. Fan last and Mrs. Gertrude under 
the name of Count de Cheveux. The Count is very amusing, and though 
a coward to boot, pretends to be a great warrior. His description of war 
is characteristic ; he states that " de great Heros always burne and killft 
de Man, Woman, and Shilde for deir Glory." 


E > ) 

> repulsed 

r -i J 

, . , r Lovers. 


GORGIBUS, ' a good citizen. 


THE VISCOUNT JODELET, valet to Du Croisy. 

ALMANZOR, footman to the pretentious ladies. 



MADELON, daughter to Gorgibus, ) 

> The pretentious young ladies. 

CATHOS, niece to Gorgibus, ) 

MAROTTE, maid to the pretentious young ladies. 


> two female neighbours. 


* Gorgibus was the name of certain characters in old comedies. The 
actor, L'Epy, who played this part, had a very loud voice ; hence 
Moliere gave him probably this name. 

8 Mascarille was played by Moliere, and has a personality quite distinct 
from the servant of the same name in the Blunderer and the Love-Tiff. 
The dress in which he acted this part, has not been mentioned in the in- 
ventory taken after his death, but in a pamphlet, published in 1660, he is 
described as wearing an enormous wig, a very small hat, a ruff like a 
morning gown, rolls in which children could play hide-and-seek, tassels 
like cornucopise, ribbons that covered his shoes, with heels half a foot in 





Du. CR. Mr. La Grange. 

LA. GR. What? 

Du. CR. Look at me for a moment without laughing. 

LA. GR. Well? 

Du. CR. What do you say of our visit ? Are you quite 
pleased with it? 

LA. GR. Do you think either of us has any reason to 
be so? 

Du. CR. Not at all, to say the truth. 

LA. GR. As for me, I must acknowledge I was quite 
shocked at it. Pray now, did ever anybody see a couple 
of country wenches giving themselves more ridiculous 
airs, or two men treated with more contempt than we 
were ? They could hardly make up their mind to order 
chairs for us. I never saw such whispering as there was 
between them ; such yawning, such rubbing of the eyes, 
and asking so often what o'clock it was. Did they answer 
anything else but "yes," or "no," to what we said to 
them ? In short, do you not agree with me that if we had 
been the meanest persons in the world, we could not have 
been treated worse? 

Du. CR. You seem to take it greatly to heart. 

LA. GR. No doubt I do; so much so, that I am re- 
solved to be revenged on them for their impertinence. I 
know well enough why they despise us. Affectation has 


not alone infected Paris, but has also spread into the 
country, and our ridiculous damsels have sucked in their 
share of it. In a word, they are a strange medley of co- 
quetry and affectation. I plainly see what kind of persons 
will be well received by them ; if you will take my ad- 
vice, we will play them such a trick as shall show them 
their folly, and teach them to distinguish a little better 
the people they have to deal with. 

Du. CR. How can you do this ? 

LA. GR. I have a certain valet, named Mascarille, who, 
in the opinion of many people, passes for a kind of wit ; 
for nothing now-a-days is easier than to acquire such a 
reputation. He is an extraordinary fellow, who has taken 
it into his head to ape a person of quality. He usually 
prides himself on his gallantry and his poetry, and de- 
spises so much the other servants that he calls them brutes. 

Du. CR. Well, what do you mean to do with him ? 

LA. GR. What do I mean to do with him ? He must 

. . . but first, let us be gone. 


GORG. Well, gentlemen, you have seen my niece and 
my daughter. How are matters going on ? What is the 
result of your visit ? 

LA. GR. They will tell you this better than we can. All 
we say is that we thank you for the favour you have done 
us, and remain your most humble servants. 

Du. CR.^ Your most humble servants. 

GORG. (Alone). Hoity-toity ! Methinks they go away 
dissatisfied. What can be the meaning of this ? I must 
find it out. Within there ! 


MAR. Did you call, sir ? 
GORG. Where are your mistresses ? 
MAR. In their room. 
GORG. What are they doing there ? 
MAR. Making lip salve. 

GORG. There is no end of their salves. Bid them come 
down. (Alone). These hussies with their salves have, I 


think, a mind to ruin me. Everywhere in the house I see 
nothing but whites of eggs, lac virginal, and a thousand 
other fooleries I am not acquainted with. Since we have 
been here they have employed the lard of a dozen hogs at 
least, and four servants might live every day on the sheep's 
trotters they use. 


GORG. Truly there is great need to spend so much money 
to grease your faces. Pray tell me, what have you done 
to those gentlemen, that I saw them go away with so much 
coldness. Did I not order you to receive them as persons 
whom I intended for your husbands ? 

MAD. Dear father, what consideration do you wish us 
to entertain for the irregular behaviour of these people ? 

CAT. How can a woman of ever so little understanding, 
uncle, reconcile herself to such individuals ? 

GORG. What fault have you to find with them ? 

MAD. Their's is fine gallantry, indeed. Would you 
believe it ? they began with proposing marriage to us. 

GORG. What would you have them begin with with 
a proposal to keep you as mistresses ? Is not their proposal 
a compliment to both of you, as well as to me ? Can any- 
thing be more polite than this ? And do they not prove 
the honesty of their intentions by wishing to enter these 
holy bonds ? 

MAD. O, father ! Nothing can be more vulgar than 
what you have just said. I am ashamed to hear you talk 
in such a manner ; you should take some lessons in the 
elegant way of looking at things. 

GORG. I care neither for elegant ways nor songs. 9 I 
tell you marriage is a holy and sacred affair ; to begin with 
that is to act like honest people. 

MAD. Good Heavens ! If everybody was like you a 
love-story would soon be over. What a fine thing it would 

9 The original has a play on words. Madelon says, in addressing her 
father, vous devriez un peu vous faire apprendre le bel air des choses, upon 
which he answers, je n'ai que faire ni d'air nt de chanson. Air means 
tune as well as look, appearance. 

VOL. I. K 


have been 'if Cyrus had immediately espoused Mandane, 
and if Aronce had been married all at once to Clelie. 10 . 

GORG. What is she jabbering about ? 

MAD. Here is my cousin, father, who will tell as well as 
I that matrimony ought never to happen till after other 
adventures. A lover, to be agreeable, must understand 
how to utter fine sentiments, to breathe soft, tender, and 
passionate vows; his courtship must be according to the 
rules. In the first place, he should behold the fair one of 
whom he becomes enamoured either at a place of wor- 
ship, 11 or when out walking, or at some public ceremony ; 
or else he should be introduced to her by a relative or 
a friend, as if by chance, and when he leaves her he should 
appear in a pensive and melancholy mood. For some 
time he should conceal his passion from the object of his 
love, but pay her several visits, in every one of which he 
ought to introduce some gallant subject to exercise the 
wits of all the company. When the day comes to make 
his declarations which generally should be contrived in 
some shady garden-walk while the company is at a dis- 
tance it should be quickly followed by anger, which is 
shown by our blushing, and which, for a while, banishes 
the lover from our presence. He finds afterwards means 
to pacify us, to accustom us gradually to hear him depict 
his passion, and to draw from us that confession which 
causes us so much pain. After that come the adventures, 
the rivals who thwart mutual inclination, the persecutions 
of fathers, the jealousies arising without any foundation, 
complaints, despair, running away with, and its conse- 
quences. Thus things are carried on in fashionable life, 
and veritable gallantry cannot dispense with these forms. 
But to come out point-blank with a proposal of marriage, 
to make no love but with a marriage-contract, and 
begin a novel at the wrong end ! Once more, father, 
nothing can be more tradesmanlike, and the mere thought 
of it makes me sick at heart. 

10 Cyrus and Mandane are the two principal charactersof Mademoiselle 
de Scudery's novel Artamene, on the Grand Cyrus ; Aronce and Clelie of 
the novel Clelie, by the same author. 

11 See note 15, page 33. 


GORG. What deuced nonsense is all this? That is high- 
flown language with a vengeance ! 

CAT. Indeed, uncle, my cousin hits the nail on the 
head. How can we receive kindly those who are so awk- 
ward in gallantry. I could lay a wager they have not 
even seen a map of the country of Tenderness, and that 
Love-letters, Trifling attentions, Polite epistles, and Sprightly 
verses, are regions to them unknown. 12 Do you not see 
that the whole person shews it, and that their external ap- 
pearance is not such as to give at first sight a good opinion 
of them. To come and pay a visit to the object of their 
love with a leg without any ornaments, a hat without any 
feathers, a head with its locks not artistically arranged, 
and a coat that suffers from a paucity of ribbons. Heav- 
ens ! what lovers are these ! what stinginess in dress ! 
what barrenness of conversation ! It is not to be allowed ; 
it is not to be borne. I also observed that their ruffs 13 were 
not made by the fashionable milliner, and that their 
breeches were not big enough by more than half-a-foot. 

GORG. I think they are both mad, nor can I understand 
anything of this gibberish. Cathos, and you Madelon 

MAD. Pray, father, do not use those strange names, and 
call us by some other. 

GORG. What do you mean by those strange names ? Are 
they not the names your godfathers and godmothers gave 

MAD. Good Heavens ! how vulgar you are ! I confess I 
wonder you could possibly be the father of such an intel- 
ligent girl as I am. Did ever anybody in genteel style 
talk of Cathos or of Madelon ? And must you not admit 
that either of these names would be sufficient to disgrace 
the finest novel in the world ? 

11 The map of the country of Tenderness (la carte de Tendre) is tound 
in the first part of Clelie (see note 2, page 146) ; Love-letter (Billet- 
doux); Polite epistle (Billet galant) ; Trifling attentions (Petit Soins) ; 
Sprightly verses (Jolis vers), are the names of villages to be found in the 
map, which is a curiosity in its way. 

1J The ruff (rabaf) was at first only the shirt-collar pulled out and worn 
outside the coat. Later ruffs were worn, which were not fastened to the 
shirt, sometimes adorned with lace, and tied in front with two strings with 
tassels. The rabat was very fashionable during the youthful years of Louis 


CAT. It is true, uncle, an ear rather delicate suffers ex- 
tremely at hearing these words pronounced, and the name 
of Polixena, which my cousin has chosen, and that of 
Amintha, which I took, possesses a charm, which you must 
needs acknowledge. 14 

GORG. Hearken ; one word will suffice. I do not allow 
you to take any other names than those that were given 
you by your godfathers and godmothers ; and as for those 
gentlemen we are speaking about, I know their families 
and fortunes, and am determined they shall be your 
husbands. I am tired of having you upon my hands. 
Looking after a couple of girls is rather too weighty a 
charge for a man of my years. 

CAT. As for me, uncle, all I can say is, that I think 
marriage a very shocking business. How can one endure 
the thought of lying by the side of a man, who is really 
naked ? 

MAP. Give us leave to take breath for a short time 
among the fashionable world of Paris, where we are but 
just arrived. Allow us to prepare at our leisure the 
groundwork of our novel, and do not hurry on the con- 
clusion too abruptly. 

GORG. (Aside], I cannot doubt it any longer ; they are 
completely mad. (Aloud). Once more, I tell you, I under- 
stand nothing of all this gibberish ; I will be master, and 
to cut short all kinds of arguments, either you shall both 
be married shortly, or, upon my word, you shall be nuns; 
that I swear. 15 


CAT. Good Heavens, my dear, how deeply is your 
father still immersed in material things ! how dense is his 
understanding, and what gloom overcasts his soul ! 

MAD. What can I do, my dear? I am ashamed of him. 

14 The frecieuses often changed their names into more poetical and ro- 
mantic appellations. The Marquise de Rambouillet, whose real name 
was Catherine, was known under the anagram of Arthenice. 

15 This scene is the mere outline of the well known quarrel between 
Chrysale, Philaminte, and Belinda in the " Femmes Savantes" (see vol. 
iii.) but a husband trembling before his wife, and only daring to show his 
temper to his sister, is a much more tempting subject for a dramatic writer 
than a man addressing in a firm tone his daughter and niece. 


lean hardly persuade myself I am indeed his daughter; 
I believe that an accident, some time or other, will dis- 
cover me to be of a more illustrious descent. 

CAT. I believe it ; really, it is very likely ; as for me, 
when I consider myself . . . 


MAR. Here is a footman asks if you are at home, and 
says his master is coming to see you. 

MAD. Learn, you dunce, to express yourself a little less 
vulgarly. Say, here is a necessary evil inquiring if it is 
commodious for you to become visible. 16 

MAR. I do not understand Latin, and have not learned 
philosophy out of Cyrus, 17 as you have done. 

MAD. Impertinent creature ! How can this be borne ! 
And who is this footman's master? 

MAR. He told me it was the Marquis de Mascarille. 

MAD. Ah, my dear ! A marquis ! a marquis ! Well, go 
and tell him we are visible. This is certainly some wit 
who has heard of us. 

CAT. Undoubtedly, my dear. 

MAD. We had better receive him here in this parlour 
than in our room. Let us at least arrange our hair a little 
and maintain our reputation. Come in quickly, and reach 
us the Counsellor of the Graces. 

MAR. Upon my word, I do not know what sort of a 
beast that is ; you must speak like a Christian if you would 
have me know your meaning. 

CAT. Bring us the looking-glass, you blockhead! and 
take care not to contaminate its brightness by the commu- 
nication of your image. 


MASC. Stop, chairman, stop. Easy does it ! Easy, easy ! 
I think these boobies intend to break me to pieces by 
bumping me against the walls and the pavement. 

16 All these and similar sentences were really employed by the 

1T Artamene, ou le Grand Cyrus, (1649-1653) a novel in ten volumes by 
Madle. de Scud^ry. 


1 CHAIR. Ay, marry, because the gate is narrow and you 
would make us bring you in here. 

MASC. To be sure, you rascals ! Would you have me 
expose the fulness of my plumes to the inclemency of the 
rainy season, and let the mud receive the impression of my 
shoes ? Begone ; take away your chair. 

2 CHAIR. Then please to pay us, sir. 
MASC. What? 

2 CHAIR. Sir, please to give us our money, I say. 

MASC. {Giving him a box on the ear). What f scoundrel, 
to ask money from a person of my rank ! 

2 CHAIR. Is this the way poor people are to be paid ? 
Will your rank get us a dinner ? 

MASC. Ha, ha ! I shall teach you to keep your right 
place. Those low fellows dare to make fun of me ! 

i CHAIR. {Taking up one of the poles of his chair}. Come, 
pay us quickly. 

MASC. What? 

i CHAIR. I mean to have my money at once. 

MASC. That is a sensible fellow. 

i CHAIR. Make haste, then. 

MASC. Ay, you speak properly, but the other is a scoun- 
drel, who does not know what he says. There, are you 
satisfied ? 

i CHAIR. No, I am not satisfied; you boxed my friend's 
ears, and . . . (holding up his pole'). 

MASC. Gently; there is something for the box on the 
ear. People may get anything from me when they go 
about it in the right way. Go now, but come and fetch 
me by and by to carry me to the Louvre to the petti 


MAR. Sir, my mistresses will come immediately. 

18 Louis XIV. and several other Kings of France, received their cour- 
tiers when rising or going to bed. This was called lever and coucher. The 
lever as well as the coucher was divided into petit and grand. All per- 
sons received at court had a right to come to the grand lever and coucher, 
but only certain noblemen of high rank and the princes of the royal blood 
could remain at the petit lever and coucher, which was the time between 
the king putting on either a day or night shirt, and the time he went to 
bed or was fully dressed. The highest person of rank always claimed 
the right of handing to the king his shirt. 


MASC. Let them not hurry themselves; I am very com- 
fortable here, and can wait. 
MAR. Here they come. 


MASC. (After having bowed to them). Ladies, no doubt 
you will be surprised at the boldness of my visit, but your 
reputation has drawn this disagreeable affair upon you ; 
merit has for me such potent charms, that I run every- 
where after it. 

MAD. If you pursue merit you should not come to us. 

CAT. If you find merit amongst us, you must have 
brought it hither yourself. 

MASC. Ah ! I protest against these words. When fame 
mentioned your deserts it spoke the truth, and you are 
going to make pic, repic, and capot 19 all the gallants from 

MAD. Your complaisance goes a little too far in the 
liberality of its praises, and my cousin and I must take 
care not to give too much credit to your sweet adulation. 

CAT. My dear, we should call for chairs. 

MAD. Almanzor! 

ALM. Madam. 

MAD. Convey to us hither, instantly, the conveniences 
of conversation. 

MASC. But am I safe here ? (Exit Almanzor. 

CAT. What is it you fear? 

MASC. Some larceny of my heart; some massacre of 
liberty. I behold here a pair of eyes that seem to be very 
naughty boys, that insult liberty, and use a heart most 
barbarously. Why the deuce do they put themselves on 
their guard, in order to kill any one who comes near 
them? Upon my word ! I mistrust them; I shall either 
scamper away, or expect very good security that they do 
me no mischief. 

MAD. My dear, what a charming facetiousness he has ! 

19 Dryden, in his Sir Martin Mar-all (Act i. sc. i), makes Sir Martin 
say : " If I go to picquet ... he will picque and repicque, and capot me 
twenty times together." I believe that these terms in Moliere's and Dry- 
den's times had a different meaning from what they have now. 


CAT. I see, indeed, he is an Amilcar. 20 

MAD. Fear nothing, our eyes have no wicked designs, 
and your heart may rest in peace, fully assured of their 

CAT. But, pray, Sir, be not inexorable to the easy 
chair, which, for this last quarter of an hour, has held out 
its arms towards you; yield to its desire of embracing you. 

MASC. {After having combed himself? 1 and adjusted the 
rolls of his stockings) Well, ladies, and what do you 
think of Paris? 

MAD. Alas! what can we think of it? It would be 
the very antipodes of reason not to confess that Paris is 
the grand cabinet of marvels, the centre of good taste, wit, 
and gallantry. 

MASC. As for me, I maintain that, out of Paris, there 
is no salvation for the polite world. 

CAT. Most assuredly. 

MASC. Paris is- somewhat muddy; but then we have 
sedan chairs. 

MAD. To be sure ; a sedan chair is a wonderful pro- 
tection against the insults of mud and bad weather. 

MASC. I am sure you receive many visits. What great 
wit belongs to your company? 

MAD. Alas ! we are not yet known, but we are in the 
way of being so ; for a lady of our acquaintance has pro- 
mised us to bring all the gentlemen who have written for 
the Miscellanies of Select Poetry. 83 

CAT. And certain others, whom, we have been told, 
are likewise the sovereign arbiters of all that is handsome. 

MASC. I can manage this for you better than any one ; 

20 Amilcar is one of the heroes of the novel Clelie, who wishes to be 
thought sprightly. 

J1 It was at that time the custom for men of rank to comb their hair or 
periwigs in public. 

w The rolls (canons) were large round pieces of linen, often adorned 
with lace or ribbons, and which were fastened below the breeches, just 
under the knee. 

23 Moliere probably alludes to a Miscellany of Select Poetry, published 
in 1653, by de Sercy, under the title of Poesies choisies de M. M. Corneille 
Benserade, de Scudery, Boisrobert, Sarrazin, Desmarets, Baraud, Saint- 
Laurent, Colletet, Lamesnardiere, Montreuil, Viguier, Chevreau, Malle- 
ville, Tristan, Testu, Maucroy, de Prade, Girard et de L'Age. A great 
number of such miscellanies appeared in France, and in England also, 
about that time. 


they all visit me ; and I may say that I never rise without 
having half-a-dozen wits at my levee. 

MAD. Good Heavens ! you will place us under the 
greatest obligation if you will do us the kindness; for, in 
short, we must make the acquaintance of all those gentle- 
men if we wish to belong to the fashion. They are the 
persons who can make or unmake a reputation at Paris ; 
you know that there are some, whose visits alone are suffi- 
cient to start the report that you are a Connaisseuse, 
though there should be no other reason for it. As for me, 
what I value particularly is, that by means of these inge- 
nious visits, we learn a hundred things which we ought ne- 
cessarily to know, and which are the quintessence of wit. 
Through them we hear the scandal of the day, or whatever 
niceties are going on in prose or verse. We know, at the 
right time, that Mr. So-and-so has written the finest piece 
in the world on such a subject ; that Mrs. So-and-so has 
adapted words to such a tune ; that a certain gentleman 
has written a madrigal upon a favour shown to him ; an- 
other stanzas upon a fair one who betrayed him; Mr. 
Such-a-one wrote a couplet of six lines yesterday evening 
to Miss Such-a-one, to which she returned him an answer 
this morning at eight o'clock; such an author is engaged 
on such a subject; this writer is busy with the third 
volume of his novel ; that one is putting his works to 
press. Those things procure you consideration in every 
society, and if people are ignorant of them, I would not 
give one pinch of snuff for all the wit they may have. 

CAT. Indeed, I think it the height of ridicule for any 
one who possesses the slightest Claim to be called clever 
not to know even the smallest couplet that is made every 
day ; as for me, I should be very much ashamed if any 
one should ask me my opinion about something new, and 
I had not seen it. 

MASC. It is really a shame not to know from the very 
first all that is going on ; but do not give yourself any 
farther trouble, I will establish an academy of wits at your 
house, and I give you my word that not a single line of 
poetry shall be written in Paris, but what you shall be able 
to say by heart before anybody else. As for me, such as 
you see me, I amuse myself in that way when I am in the 


humour, and you may find handed about in the fashiona- 
ble assemblies 24 of Paris two hundred songs, as many 
sonnets, four hundred epigrams, and more than a thou- 
sand madrigals all made by me, without counting riddles 
and portraits. 25 

MAD. I must acknowledge that I dote upon portraits ; 
I think there is nothing more gallant. 

MASC. Portraits are difficult, and call for great wit ; you 
shall see some of mine that will not displease you. 

CAT. As for me, I am awfully fond of riddles. 

MASC. They exercise the intelligence ; I have already 
written four of them this morning, which I will give you 
to guess. 

MAD. Madrigals are pretty enough when they are neatly 

MASC. That is my special talent ; I am at present 
engaged in turning the whole Roman history into madri- 
gals. * 

MAD. Goodness gracious ! that will certainly be super- 
latively fine ; I should like to have one copy at least, if 
you think of publishing it. 

MASC. I promise you each a copy, bound in the hand- 
somest manner. It does not become a man of my rank 
to scribble, but I do it only to serve the publishers, who 
are always bothering me. 

MAD. I fancy it must be a delightful thing to see one's 
self in print. 

MASC. Undoubtedly ; but, by the by, I must repeat to 

M In the original French the word is ruelle, which means literally " a 
small street," " a lane," hence any narrow passage, hence the narrow 
opening between the wall and the bed. The Precieuses at that time re- 
ceived their visitors lying dressed in a bed, which was placed in an alcove 
and upon a raised platform. Their fashionable friends (alcovistes) took 
their places between the bed and the wall, and thus the name ruelle 
came to be given to all fashionable assemblies. In Dr. John Ash's New 
and Complete Dictionary of the English Language, published in London 
1755, I still find ruelle denned: " a little street, a circle, an assembly at a 
private house." 

25 This kind of literature, in which one attempted to write a portrait of 
one's self or of others, was then very much in fashion. La Bruyere and 
de Saint-Simon in France, as well as Dryden and Pope in England, have 
shown what a literary portrait may become in the hands of men of talent. 

M Seventeen years after this play was performed, Benserade published 
les Metamorphoses d' Ovide mises en rondeaux. 


you some extempore verses I made yesterday at the house 
of a certain duchess, an acquaintance of mine. I am 
deuced clever at extempore verses. 

CAT. Extempore verses are certainly the very touch- 
stone of genius. 

MASC. Listen then. 
MAD. We are all ears. 
MASC. Oh ! oh ! quite withmit heed was I, 
As harmless you I chanced to spy, 
Slily your eyes 
My heart surprise, 
Stop thief! stop thief! stop thief I cry ! 

CAT. Good Heavens ! this is carried to the utmost pitch 
of gallantry. 

MASC. Everything I do shows it is done by a gentleman ; 
there is nothing of the pedant about my effusions. 

MAD. They are more than two thousand miles removed 
from that. 

MASC. Did you observe the beginning, oh! oh? there 
is something original in that oh! oh! like a man who all 
of a sudden thinks about something, oh .' oh ! Taken by 
surprise as it were, oh! oh! 

MAD. Yes, I think that oh / oh ! admirable. 

MASC. It seems a mere nothing. 

CAT. Good Heavens ! How can you say so ? It is one 
of these things that are perfectly invaluable. 

MAD. No doubt on it ; I would rather have written that 
oh ! oh ! than an epic poem. 

MASC. Egad, you have good taste. 

MAD. Tolerably; none of the worst, I believe. 

MASC. But do you not also admire quite without heed 
was 1? quite without heed was I, that is, I did not pay 
attention to anything; a natural way of speaking, quite 
without heed was I, of no harm thinking, that is, as I was 
going along, innocently, without malice, like a poor 
sheep, you I chanced to spy, that is to say, I amused my- 
self with looking at you, with observing you, with con- 
templating you. Slily your eyes. . . . What do you 
think of that word slily is it not well chosen ? 

CAT. Extremely so. 


MASC. Slily, stealthily ; just like a cat watching a 
mouse slily.' 

MAD. Nothing can be better. 

MASC. My heart surprise, that is, carries it away from 
me, robs me of it. Stop thief! stop thief ! stop thief ! 
Would you not think a man were shouting and running 
after a thief to catch him? Stop thief '/ stop thief! stop 
thief!' 1 ' 1 

MAD. I must admit the turn is witty and sprightly. 

MASC. I will sing you the tune I made to it. 

CAT. Have you learned music ? 

MASC. I ? Not at all. 

CAT. How can you make a tune then ? 

MASC. People of rank know everything without ever 
having learned anything. 

MAD. His lordship is quite in the right, my dear. 

MASC. Listen if you like the tune : hem, hem, la, la. 
The inclemency of the season has greatly injured the de- 
licacy of my voice ; but no matter, it is in a free and easy 
way. (He sings). Oh ! Oh ! quite without heed was 
I, etc. 

CAT. What a passion there breathes in this music. It 
is enough to make one die away with delight ! 

MAD. There is something plaintive in it. 

MASC. Do you not think that the air perfectly well ex- 
presses the sentiment, stop thief, stop thief? And then as 
if some one cried out very loud, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, 
stop thief! Then all at once like a person out of breath, 
Stop thief ! 

MAD. This is to understand the perfection of things, 
the grand perfection, the perfection of perfections. I de- 
clare it is altogether a wonderful performance. I am 
quite enchanted with the air and the words. 

CAT. I never yet met with anything so excellent. 

27 The scene of Mascarille reading his extempore verses is something 
like Trissotin in Les Femmes savantes (see vol. m.) reading his sonnet 
for the Princess Uranie. But Mascarille comments on the beauties of his 
verses with the insolent vanity of a man who does not pretend to have 
even one atom of modesty ; Trissotin, a professional wit, listens in silence, 
but with secret pride, to the ridiculous exclamations of the admirers of his 


MASC. All that I do comes naturally to me; it is with- 
out study. 

MAD. Nature has treated you like a very fond mother ; 
you are her darling child. 

MASC. How do you pass away the time, ladies ? 

CAT. With nothing at all. 

MAD. Until now we have lived in a terrible dearth of 

MASC. I am at your service to attend you to the play, 
one of those days, if you will permit me. Indeed, a new 
comedy is to be acted which I should be very glad we 
might see together. 

MAD. There is no refusing you anything. 

MASC. But I beg of you to applaud it well, when we 
shall be there; for I have promised to give a helping hand 
to the piece. The author called upon me this very morn- 
ing to beg me so to do. It is the custom for authors to 
come and read their new plays to people of rank, that 
they may induce us to approve of them and give them a 
reputation. I leave you to imagine if, when we say any- 
thing, the pit dares contradict us. As for me, I am very 
punctual in these things, and when I have made a promise 
to a poet, I always cry out " Bravo " before the candles 
are lighted. 

MAD. Do not say another word : Paris is an admirable 
place. A hundred things happen every day which people 
in the country, however clever they may be, have no 
idea of. 

CAT. Since you have told us, we shall consider it our 
duty to cry up lustily every word that is said. 

MASC. I do not know whether I am deceived, but you 
look as if you had written some play yourself. 

MAD. Eh ! there may be something in what you say. 

MASC. Ah ! upon my word, we must see it. Between 
ourselves, I have written one which I intend to have 
brought out. 

CAT. Ay ! to what company do you mean to give it ? 

MASC. That is a very nice question, indeed. To the 
actors of the hotel de Bourgogne ; they alone can bring 
things into good repute ; the rest are ignorant creatures 
who recite their parts just as people speak in every-day 


life ; they do not understand to mouth the verses, or to 
pause at a beautiful passage ; how can it be known where 
the fine lines are, if an actor does not stop at them, and 
thereby tell you to applaud heartily? 28 

CAT. Indeed ! that is one way of making an audience 
feel the beauties of any work ; things are only prized when 
they are well set off. 

MASC. What do you think of my top-knot, sword-knot, 
and rosettes ? M Do you find them harmonize with my 
coat ? 

CAT. Perfectly. 

MASC. Do you think the ribbon well chosen ? 

MAD. Furiously well. It is real Perdrigeon. 30 

MASC. What do you say of my rolls ? 31 

MAD. They look very fashionable. 

MASC, I may at least boast that they are a quarter of 
a yard wider than any that have been made. 

MAD. I must own I never saw the elegance of dress 
carried farther. 

MASC. Please to fasten the reflection of your smelling 
faculty upon these gloves. 

MAD. They smell awfully fine. 

CAT. I never inhaled a more delicious perfume. 

MASC. And this ? (He gives them his powdered wig to 

MAD. It has the true quality odour; it titillates the 
nerves of the upper region most deliciously. 

MASC. You say nothing of my feathers. How do you 
like them ? 

CAT. They are frightfully beautiful. 

26 The company of actors at the hotel de Bourgogne were rivals to the 
troop of Moliere ; it appears, however, from contemporary authors, that 
the accusations brought by our author against them were well-founded. 

29 In the original petite oie ; this was first, the name given to the giblets 
of a goose, oie ; next it came to mean all the accessories of dress, rib- 
bons, laces, feathers, and other small ornaments. In one of the old transla- 
tions of Moliere petite oie is rendered by " muff," and Perdrigeon (see 
note 30), I suppose, with a faint idea of perdrix, a partridge, by "bird of 
paradise feathers ! ! " 

30 Perdrigeon was the name of a. fashionable linen-draper in Paris at 
that time. 

31 See note 21, page 152. According to Ash's Dictionary, 1775, canons, 
are " cannions, a kind of boot hose, an ancient dress for the legs." 


MASC. Do you know that every single one of them cost 
me a Louis-d'or? But it is my hobby to have generally 
everything of the very best. 

MAD. I assure you that you and I sympathize. I am 
furiously particular in everything I wear ; I cannot endure 
even stockings, unless they are bought at a fashionable 
shop. 82 

MASC. (Crying out suddenly). O ! O ! O ! gently. 
Damme, ladies, you use me very ill ; I have reason 33 to 
complain of your behaviour ; it is not fair. 

CAT. What is the matter with you ? 

MASC. What ! two at once against my heart ! to attack 
me thus right and left ! Ha ! This is contrary to the 
law of nations, the combat is too unequal, and I must cry 
out, "Murder! " 

CAT. Well, he does say things in a peculiar way. 

MAD. He is a consummate wit. 

CAT. You are more afraid than hurt, and your heart 
cries out before it is even wounded. 

MASC. The devil it does ! it is wounded all over from 
head to foot. 


MAR. Madam, somebody asks to see you. 

MAD. Who ! 

MAR. The Viscount de Jodelet. 

MASC. The Viscount de Jodelet ? 

MAR. Yes, sir. 

CAT. Do you know him ? 

MASC. He is my most intimate friend. 

"Without going into details about the phraseology of the precieuses, of 
which the ridiculousness has appeared sufficiently in this scene, it will be 
observed that they used adverbs, as "furiously, terribly, awfully, extraor- 
dinarily, horribly, greatly," and many more, in such a way that they often 
appear absurd, as, " I love you horribly," or, "he was greatly small." 
Such a way of speaking is not unknown even at the present time in Eng- 
land ; we sometimes hear, " I like it awfully," "it is awfully jolly." 

88 1 employ here the words " to have reason," because that verb, in the 
sense of " to have a right, to be right," seems to have been a courtly ex- 
pression in Dryden's time. Old Moody answers to Sir Martin Marall 
(Act iii., Scene 3), "You have reason, sir. There he is again, too ; the 
town phrase; a great compliment I wis ! you have reason, sir; that is, you 
are-no beast, sir." 


MAD. Shew him in immediately. 

MASC. We have not seen each other for some time ; I 
am delighted to meet him. 
CAT. Here he comes. 


MASC. Ah, Viscount ! 

JOD. Ah, Marquis ! (Embracing each other'). 

MASC. How glad I am to meet you ! 

JOD. How happy I am to see you here. 

MASC. Embrace me once more, I pray you. 34 

MAD. ( To Cathos). My dearest, we begin to be known ; 
people of fashion find the way to our house. 

MASC. Ladies, allow me to introduce this gentleman to 
you. Upon my word, he deserves the honour of your 

JOD. It is but just we should come and pay you what 
we owe ; your charms demand their lordly rights from all 
sorts of people. 

MAD. You carry your civilities to the utmost confines 
of flattery. 

CAT. This day ought to be marked in our diary as a 
red-letter day. 

MAD. (To Almanzor). Come, boy, must you always 
be told things over and over again ? Do you not observe 
there must be an additional chair? 

MASC. You must not be astonished to see the Viscount 
thus ; he has but just recovered from an illness, which, as 
you perceive, has made him so pale. 35 

JOD. The consequence of continual attendance at court 
and the fatigues of war. 

MASC. Do you know, ladies, that in the Viscount you 

34 It was then the fashion for young courtiers to embrace each other 
repeatedly with exaggerated gestures, uttering all the while loud exclama- 
tions. The "Viscount de Jodelet is the caricature of a courtier of a former 
reign; he is very old, very pale, dressed in sombre colours, speaks slowly 
and through the nose. Geoffrin, the actor, who played this part, was at 
least seventy years old. 

35 Moliere here alludes to the complexion of the actor Geoffrin. See 
Note i, page 79. 


behold one of the heroes of the age. He is a very valiant 
man. 3 * 

JOD. Marquis, you are not inferior to me ; we also know 
what you can do. 

MASC. It is true we have seen one another at work 
when there was need for it. 

JOD. And in places where it was hot. 

MASC. (^Looking at Cathos and Made Ion}. Ay, but not 
so hot as here. Ha, ha, ha ! 

JOD. We became acquainted in the army; the first time 
we saw each other he commanded a regiment of horse 
aboard the galleys of Malta. 

MASC. True, but for all that you were in the service 
before me; I remember that I was but a young officer 
when you commanded two thousand horse. 

JOD. War is a fine thing; but, upon my word, the court 
does not properly reward men of merit like us. 

MASC. That is the reason I intend to hang up my sword. 

CAT. As for me, I have a tremendous liking for gentle- 
men of the army. 37 

MAD. I love them, too ; but I like bravery seasoned 
with wit. 

MASC. Do you remember, Viscount, our taking that 
half-moon from the enemy at the siege of Arras? 38 

JOD. What do you mean by a half-moon? It was a 
complete full moon. 

MASC. I believe you are right. 

JOD. Upon my word, I ought to remember it very well. 
I was wounded in the leg by a hand-grenade, of which I 
still carry the marks. Pray, feel it, you can perceive 
what sort of a wound it was. 

CAT. (Putting her hand to the place). The scar is really 

36 In the original un brave a trots polls, literally, "a brave man with 
three hairs." This is an allusion to the moustache and pointed beard on 
the chin, then called royale. We have seen the fashion revived in our 
days by the late emperor of the French, Napoleon III. and his courtiers ; 
of course, the royale was then called imperiale. 

87 Cathos. who only repeats what her cousin says, and has observed 
that Mascarille admires Madelon, is resolved to worship more particularly 
the Viscount de Jodelet. 

M Turenne compelled the Prince de Cond6 and the Spanish army to 
raise the siege of Arras in 1654. 

VOL. I. L 


MASC. Give me your hand for a moment, and feel this; 
there, just at the back of my head. Do you feel it? 

MAD. Ay, I feel something. 

MASC. A musket shot which I received the last cam- 
paign I served in. 

JOD. (Unbuttoning his breasf). Here is a wound which 
went quite through me at the attack of Gravelines. 39 

MASC. {Putting his hand upon the button of his breeches}. 
I am going to show you a tremendous wound. 

MAD. There is no occasion for it, we believe it without 
seeing it. 

MASC. They are honour's marks, that show what a man 
is made of. 

CAT. We have not the least doubt of the valour of you 

MASC. Viscount, is your coach in waiting? 

JOD. Why? 

MASC. We shall give these ladies an airing, and offer 
them a collation. 

MAD. We cannot go out to-day. 

MASC. Let us send for musicians then, and have a 

JOD. Upon my word, that is a happy thought. 

MAD. With all our hearts, but we must have some ad- 
ditional company. 

MASC. So ho ! Champagne, Picard, Bourguignon, Cas- 
caret, Basque, La Verdure, Lorrain, Provencal, La 
Violette. 40 I wish the deuce took all these footmen ! I 
do not think there is a gentleman in France worse served 
than I am ! These rascals are always out of the way. 

MAD. Almanzor, tell the servants of my lord marquis 
to go and fetch the musicians, and ask some of the gentle- 
men and ladies hereabouts to come and people the soli- 
tude of our ball. {Exit Almanzor. 

MASC. Viscount, what do you say of those eyes? 

39 In 1658, the Marshal de la Ferte took this town from the Spaniards. 

40 These names, with the exception of Cascaret, La Verdure and La 
Violette are those of natives of different provinces, and were often given 

to footmen, according to the place where they were born. Cascaret is 
of Spanish origin, and not seldom used as a name for servants ; La Ver- 
dure means, verdure ; La Violette, violet. 


JOD. Why, Marquess, what do you think of them your- 

MASC. I ? I say that our liberty will have much diffi- 
culty to get away from here scot free. At least mine has 
suffered most violent attacks ; my heart hangs by a single 

MAD. How natural is all he says ! he gives to things a 
most agreeable turn. 

CAT. He must really spend a tremendous deal of wit. 

MASC. To show you that I am in earnest, I shall make 
some extempore verses upon my passion. (Seems to think. 

CAT. O ! I beseech you by all that I hold sacred, let us 
hear something made upon us. 

JOD. I should be glad to do so too, but the quantity 
of blood that has been taken from me lately, has greatly 
exhausted my poetic vein. 

MASC. Deuce take it ! I always make the first verse 
well, but I find the others more difficult. Upon my word, 
this is too short a time; but I will make you some extem- 
pore verses at my leisure, which you shall think the finest 
in the world. 

JOD. He is devilish witty. 

MAD. He his wit is so gallant and well expressed. 

MASC. Viscount, tell me, when did you see the Countess 

JOD. I have not paid her a visit these three weeks. 

MASC. Do you know that the duke came to see me this 
morning; he would fain have taken me into the country 
to hunt a stag with him ? 

MAD. Here come our friends. 


MAD. Lawk! my dears, we beg your pardon. These 
gentlemen had a fancy to put life into our heels; we sent 
for you to fill up the void of our assembly. 

Luc. We are certainly much obliged to you for doing 

MASC. This is a kind of extempore ball, ladies, but one 


of these days we shall give you one in form. Have the 
musicians come ? 

ALM. Yes, sir, they are here. 

CAT. Come then, my dears, take your places. 

MASC. {Dancing by himself and singing). La, la, la, la, 
la, la, la, la. 

MAD. What a very elegant shape he has. 

CAT. He looks as if he were a first-rate dancer. 

MASC. {Taking out Madelon to dance). My freedom 
will dance a Couranto 41 as well as my feet. Play in time, 
musicians, in time. O what ignorant wretches ! There is 
no dancing with them. The devil take you all, can you 
not play in time? La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la? Steady, 
you country-scrapers ! 

JOD. {Dancing also). Hold, do not play so fast. I 
have but just recovered from an illness. 




LA GR. ( With a stick in his hand}. Ah ! ah ! scoun- 
drels, what are you doing here? We have been looking 
for you these three hours. (He beats Mascarille). 

MASC. Oh ! oh ! oh ! you did not tell me that blows 
should be dealt about. 

JOD. ( Who is also beaten). Oh ! oh ! oh ! 

LA GR. It becomes you well, you rascal, to pretend to 
be a man of rank. 

Du CR. This will teach you to know yourself. 


MAD. What is the meaning of this ? 

JOD. It is a wager. 

CAT. What, allow yourselves to be beaten thus? 

MASC. Good Heavens ! I did not wish to appear to 
take any notice of it ; because I am naturally very vio- 
lent, and should have flown into a passion. 

MAD. To suffer an insult like this in our presence ! 

41 A Couranto was a very grave, Spanish dance, or rather march, but 
in which the feet did not rise from the ground. 


MASC. It is nothing. Let us not leave off. We have 
known one another for a long time, and among friends one 
ought not to be so quickly offended for such a trifle. 


LA GR. Upon my word, rascals, you shall not laugh 
at us, I promise you. Come in, you there. {Three or 
four men enter). 

MAD. What means this impudence to come and disturb 
us in our own house? 

Du CR. What, ladies, shall we allow our footmen to be 
received better than ourselves? Shall they come to make 
love to you at our expense, and even give a ball in your 
honour ? 

MAD. Your footmen ? 

LA GR. Yes, our footmen ; and you must give me leave 
to say that it is not acting either handsome or honest to 
spoil them for us, as you do. 

MAD. O Heaven ! what insolence ! 

LA GR. But they shall not have the advantage of our 
clothes to dazzle your eyes. Upon my word, if you are 
resolved to like them, it shall be for their handsome looks 
only. Quick, let them be stripped immediately. 

JOD. Farewell, a long farewell to all our fine clothes.** 

MASC. The marquisate and viscountship are at an end. , 

Du. CR. Ah ! ah ! you knaves, you have the impudence 
to become our rivals. I assure you, you must go somewhere 
else to borrow finery to make yourselves agreeable to your 

LA GR. It is too much to supplant us, and that with 
our own clothes. 

MASC. O fortune, how fickle you are ! 

Du CR. Quick, pull off everything from them. 

LA GR. Make haste and take away all these clothes. 

42 The original has braverie ; brave, and bravery, had formerly also the 
meaning of showy, gaudy, rich, in English. Fuller in The Holy State, 
bk. ii., c. 18, says: "If he (the good yeoman) chance to appear in clothes 
above his rank, it is to grace some great man with his service, and then 
he blusheth at his own bravery. 1 ' 


Now, ladies, in their present condition you may continue 
your amours with them as long as you please ; we leave 
you perfectly free ; this gentleman and I declare solemnly 
that we shall not be in the least degree jealous. 


CAT. What a confusion ! 
MAD. I am nearly bursting with vexation, 
i Mus. (To Mascarille). What is the meaning of this? 
Who is to pay us ? 

MASC. Ask my lord the viscount. 

i Mus. (To Jodelef). Who is to give us our money ? 

JOD. Ask my lord the marquis. 


GORG. Ah ! you hussies, you have put us in a nice 
pickle, by what I can see ; I have heard about your fine 
goings on from those two gentlemen who just left. 

MAD. Ah, father ! they have played us a cruel trick. 

GORG. Yes, it is a cruel trick, but you may thank your 
own impertinence for it, you jades. They have revenged 
themselves for the way you treated them ; and yet, un- 
happy man that I am, I must put up with the affront. 

MAD. Ah ! I swear we will be revenged, or I shall die 
in the attempt. And you, rascals, dare you remain here 
after your insolence ? 

MASC. Do you treat a marquis in this manner? This is 
the way of the world ; the least misfortune causes us to be 
slighted by those who before caressed us. Come along, 
brother, let us go and seek our fortune somewhere else; I 
perceive they love nothing here but outward show, and 
have no regard for worth unadorned. (They both leave. 


i Mus. Sir, as they have not paid us, we expect you to 
do so, for it was in this house we played. 

GORG. (Beating them). Yes, yes, I shall satisfy you ; 
this is the coin I will pay you in. As for you, you sluts, 


I do not know why I should not serve you in the same 
way ; we shall become the common talk and laughing-stock 
of everybody ; this is what you have brought upon your- 
selves by your fooleries. Out of my sight and hide your- 
selves, you jades ; go and hide yourselves forever. {Alone}. 
And you, that are the cause of their folly, you stupid 
trash, mischievous amusements for idle minds, you novels, 
verses, songs, sonnets, and sonatas, the devil take you all. 





28xH MAY, 1660. 


Six months after the brilliant success of the Precieuses Ridicules, Moliere 
brought out at the Theatre du Petit-Bourbon a new comedy, called 
Sg-anarelle, ou le Cocu Imaginaire, which I have translated by Sgana- 
relle, or the self-deceived Husband. It has been said that Moliere owed 
the first idea of this piece to an Italian farce, // Ritratto ovvero Arlichino 
comuto per opinione, but, as it has never been printed, it is difficult to de- 
cide at the present time whether or not this be true. The primary idea 
of the play is common to many commedia dell' arte, whilst Moliere has 
also been inspired by such old authors as Noel Du Fail, Rabelais, those 
of the Qitinzejoyes de Manage, of the Cent nouvelles Nouvelles, and per- 
haps others. 

The plot of Sganarelle is ingenious and plausible ; every trifle becomes 
circumstantial evidence, and is received as conclusive proof both by the 
husband and wife. The dialogue is sprightly throughout, and the anxious 
desire of Sganarelle to kill his supposed injurer, whilst his cowardice pre- 
vents him from executing his valorous design, is extremely ludicrous. 
The chief aim of our author appears to have been to show how dangerous 
it is to judge with too much haste, especially in those circumstances where 
passion may either augment or diminish the view we take of certain ob- 
jects. This truth, animated by a great deal of humour and wit, drew 
crowds of spectators for forty nights, though the play was brought out in 
summer and the marriage of the young king kept the court from Paris. 

The style is totally different from that employed in the Precieuses Ridi- 
cules, and is a real and very good specimen of the style g aulois, adapted 
to the age in which Molidre lived. He has often been blamed for not 
having followed up his success of the Precieuses Ridicules by a comedy 
in the same style, but Moliere did not want to make fresh enemies. It 
appears to have been a regular and set purpose with him always to pro- 
duce something farcical after a creation which provoked either secret or 
open hostility, or even violent opposition. 

Sganarelle appears in this piece for the first time, if we except the 
farce, or rather sketch, of the Medecin volant, where in reality nothing is 
developed, but everything is in mere outline. But in Sganarelle Mo- 
liere has created a character that is his own just as much as Falstaff 
belongs to Shakespeare, Sancho Panza to Cervantes, or Panurge to Ra- 
belais. Whether Sganarelle is a servant, a husband, the father of Lu- 
ciode, the brother of Ariste, a guardian, a faggot-maker, a doctor, he 



always represents the ugly side of human nature, an antiquated, grumpy, 
sullen, egotistical, jealous, grovelling, frightened character, ever and anon 
raising a laugh on account of his boasting, mean, morose, odd qualities. 
Moliere was, at the time he wrote Sganarelle, more than thirty years old, 
and* could therefore no longer successfully represent Mascarille as the 
rollicking servant of the Blunderer. 

This farce was published by a certain Mr. Neufvillenaine, who was so 
smitten by it that, after having seen it represented several times, he knew 
it by heart, wrote it out, and published it, accompanied by a running 
commentary, which is not worth much, and preceded by a letter to a 
friend in which he extols its beauties. Moli&re got, in 1663, his name in- 
serted, instead of that of Neufvillenaine, in the privilege du roi. 
Mr. Henry Baker, the translator of this play, in the " Select Comedies 
of M. de Moliere, London, 1732,'' oddly dedicates it to Miss Wolsten- 
holme * in the following words : 


Be so good to accept this little Present as^n Instance of my high Esteem. Who- 
ever "has any Knowledge of the French Language, or any Taste for COMEDY, must 
needs distinguish the Excellency of Moliere' s Plays : one of which is here trans- 
lated. What the English may be, I leave others to determine ; but the ORIGINAL, 
which you receive along with it, is, I am certain, worthy your Perusal. 

Tho' what You read, at present, is called a DEDICATION, it is, perhaps, the most 
unlike one of any thing You ever saw : for, You'll find not one Vford, in Praise, 
either of Your blooming Youth, Your agreeable Person, Your genteel Behaviour, 
Your easy Temper, or Your good Sense . . . and, the Reason is, that I cannot for 
my Life "bring myself to such a Degree of Impertinence, as to sit down with a solemn 
Countenance, and Take upon me to inform the World, that the Sun is bright, and 
that the Spring is lovely. 

My Knowledge of You from Your Infancy, and the many Civilities I am obliged 
for to Your Family, will, I hope, be an Excuse for this Presumption in, 
MADAM. Your most obedient humble servant. 

H, B. 

Jan. ist 1731-8. 

This play seems to have induced several English playwrights to imi- 
tate it. Fiist, we have Sir William D'Avenant's The Playhouse to be Let, 
of which the date of the first performance is uncertain. According to the 
Biographia Britannica, it was " a very singular entertainment, composed 
of five acts, each being a distinct performance. The first act is introduc- 
tory, shows the distress of the players in the time of vacation, that obliges 
them to let their house, which several offer to take for different purposes ; 
amongst the rest a Frenchman, who had brought over a troop of his 
countrymen to act a farce. This is performed in the second act, which is 
a translation of Moliere's Sganarelle, or the Cuckold Conceit ; all in broken 
French to make the people laugh. The third act is a sort of comic opera, 
under the title of The History of Sir Francis Drake. The fourth act is a 
serious opera, representing the cruelties of the Spaniards in Peru. The 
fifth act is a burlesque in Heroicks on the Amours of Caesar and Cleo- 
patra, has a great deal of wit and humour, and was often acted afterwards 
by itself." 

*I suppose the lady was a descendant of Sir John Wolstenholme, mentioned in 
one of the notes of Pepy's Diary, Sept. 5, 1662, as created a baronet, 1664, an inti- 
mate friend of Lord Clarendon's, and collector outward for the Port of London 
ob. 1679. 


With the exception of the first act, all the others, which are separate 
and distinct, but short dramatic pieces, were written in the time of Oliver 
Cromwell, and two of them at least were performed at the Cockpit, when 
Sir William D'Avenant had obtained permission to present his entertain- 
ments of music and perspective in scenes. 

The second imitation of Sganarelle is " Tom Essence, or the Modish 
Wife, a Comedy as it is acted at the Duke's Theatre, 1677. London, 
printed by T. M. for W. Cademan, at the Pope's Head, in the Lower 
Walk of the New Exchange in the Strand, 1677." This play is written 
by a Mr. Thomas Rawlins, printer and engraver to the Mint, under 
Charles the First and Second, and is founded on two French comedies 
viz., Moliere's Sganarelle, and Thomas Corneille's Don Cesar d' Avalos. 
The prologue is too bad to be quoted, and I doubt if it can ever have been 
spoken on any stage. This play is written partly in blank verse, partly in 
prose ; though very coarse, it is, on the whole, clever and witty. Old 
Moneylove, a credulous fool, who has a young wife (Act ii., Scene i), re- 
minds one at times of the senator Antonio in Otway's Venice Preserved, 
and is, of course, deceived by the gallant Stanley ; the sayings and doings 
of Mrs. Moneylove, who is " what she ought not to be," and the way she 
tricks her husband, are very racy, perhaps too much so for the taste of 
the present times. I do not think any dramatist would now bring upon 
the stage a young lady like Theodocia, daughter of old Moneylove, read- 
ing the list about Squire Careless. Tom Essence is a seller of perfumes, a 
'jealous coxcomb of his wife ;'' and Courtly is " a sober gentleman, ser- 
vant to Theodocia ;" these are imitations of Sganarelle and Lelio. Love- 
all, "a wilde debaucht blade," and Mrs. Luce, ' a widdow disguis'd, and 
passes for Theodocia's maid," are taken from Corneille. 

In the epilogue, the whole of which cannot be given, Mrs, Essence 
speaks the following lines : 

" But now methinks a Cloak-Cabal I see, 
Whose Prick-ears glow, whilst they their Jealousie 
In Essence find ; but Citty-Sirs, I fear, 
Most of you have more cause to be severe. 
We yield you are the truest Character." 

Nearly all the scenes imitated in this play from Moliere's Sganarelle 
contain nothing which merits to be reproduced. 

The Perplexed Couple, or Mistake upon Mistake, as it is acted at the 
New Theatre in Lancolns- Inn- Fields, by the Company of Comedians, 
acting under Letters Patent granted by King Charles the Second. Lon- 
don, Printed for W. Meares at the Lamb, and J. Brown, at the Black 
Swan without Temple-Bar, 1715, is the third imitation of Moliere's Sga- 
narelle. This comedy, printed for two gentlemea, with zoological signs, 
was written by a Mr. Charles Molloy, who for a long time was the editor 
of a well-known paper, Common Sense, in defence of Tory principles. 
This play had little success, and deserved to have had none, for it has no 
merit whatever. Our author states in the prologue : 

"The injur'd Muses, who with savage Rage, 
Of late have often been expell'd a Tyrant Stage, 
Here fly for Refuge ; where, secure from Harms, 
By you protected, shall display their Charms . . . 
No Jest profane the guilty scene deforms, 
That impious way of being dull he scorns ; 
No Party Cant shall here inflame the Mind, 
And poison what for Pleasure was designed." 


Mr. Molloy admits in the preface that " the Incident of the Picture in 
the Third act, something in the Fourth, and one Hint in the last Act, are 
taken from the Cocu Imaginaire ; the rest I'm forced to subscribe to my- 
self, for I can lay it to no Body else." I shall only remark on this, that 
nearly the whole play is a mere paraphrasing of Moliere's Cocu Imagi- 
naire, and several other of his plays. The scene between Leonora, the 
heroine, and Sterling, the old usurer and lover (Act i.), is imitated from 
Madelon's description in the art of making love in the Pretentious Young 
Ladies, and so are many others. The servant Crispin is a medley of 
Mascarille from The Blunderer, of Gros-Rene from The Love- Tiff, and 
of the servant of the same name in the Cocu Imaginaire ; the interfering 
uncle of Lady Thinwit, is taken from George Dandin, whilst Sir Anthony 
Thinwit becomes Sganarelle. The only thing new I have been able to 
discover in The Perplexed Couple is the lover Octavio disguising himself 
as a pedlar to gain admittance to the object of his love ; and old Sterling, 
the usurer, marrying the maid instead of the mistress. Moliere's farce 
has been lengthened by those means into a five-act comedy, and though 
" no jest profane " may be found in it it is more full than usual of coarse 
and lewd sayings, which can hardly be called inuendoes. The play is a 
mistake altogether ; perhaps that is the reason its second name is called 
Mistake upon Mistake. 

The Picture, or the Cuckold in Conceit, a Comedy in one act, by Js. 
Miller, is founded on Moliere, and is the fourth imitation of Sganarelle. 
London, MDCCXLV. This play is, on the whole, a free translation of 
Moliere's, interspersed with some songs set to music by Dr. Arne. Sgana- 
relle is called Mr. Timothy Dotterel, grocer and common councilman ; 
Gorgibus, Mr. Per-cent. ; Lelio, Mr. Heartly ; Gros-Rene, John Broad, 
whilst Celia's maid is called Phillis. The Prologue, spoken by Mr. Hav- 
ard, ends thus : 

" . . ' To-night we serve 
A Cuckold, that the Laugh does well deserve ; 
A Cuckold in Conceit, by Fancy made 
As mad, as by the common Course of Trade : 
And more to please ye, and his Worth enhance, 
He's carbonado'd a la mode de France ; 
Cook'd by Moliere, great Master of his Trade, 
From whose Receipt this Harrico was made. 
But if that poignant Taste we fail to take, 
That something, that a mere Receipt can't make ; 
Forgive the Failure we're but Copies all, 
And want the Spirit of th' Original." 

The fifth and best imitation is Arthur Murphy's All in the Wrong, a 
comedy in five acts, first performed during the summer season of 1761, at 
the Theatre Royal, in Drury Lane. Though the chief idea and several 
of the scenes are taken from Sganarelle, yet the characters are well drawn, 
and the play, as a whole, very entertaining. The Prologue, written and 
spoken by Samuel Foote, is as follows : 

" To-night, be it known to Box, Gall'ry, and Pit, 

Will be open'd the best Summer- Warehouse for Wit ;* 
The New Manufacture, Foote and Co., Undertakers ; 
Play, Pantomime, Opera, Farce, by the Makers ! 

Mr. Garrick, at this time, had let his playhouse for the summer months. 


We scorn, like our brethren, our fortunes to owe 

To Shakespeare and Southern, to Otway and Rowe. 

Though our judgment may err, yet our justice is shewn. 

For we promise to mangle no works but our own. 

And moreover on this you may firmly rely, 

If we can't make you laugh, that we won't make you cry. 

For Roscius, who knew we were mirth-loving souls, 

Has lock'd up his lightning, his daggers, and bowls. 

Resolv'd that in buskins no hero shall stalk, 

He has shut us quite out of the Tragedy walk. 

No blood, no blank verse ! and in short we're undone. 

Unless you're contented with Frolic and Fun. 

If tired of her round in the Ranelagh-mill, 
There should be but one female inclined to sit stfll ; 
If blind to the beauties, or sick of the squall, 
A party should shun to catch cold at Vauxhall ; 
If at Sadler's sweet Wells the made wine should be thick. 
The cheese-cakes turn sour, or Miss Wilkinson sick ; 
If the fume of the pipes should oppress you in June, 
Or the tumblers be lame, or the bells out of tune; 
I hope you will call at our warehouse in Drury ; 
We've a curious assortment of goods, I assure you ; 
Domestic and foreign, and all kinds of wares ; 
English cloths, Irish linnen, and French petenlairs ! 

If for want of good custom, or losses in trade, 
The poetical partners should bankrupts be made ; 
If from dealings too large, we plunge deeply in debt, 
And Whereas issue out in the Muses Gazette ; 
We'll on you our assigns for Certificates call ; 
Though insolvent, we're honest, and give up our all." 

Otway in his very indecent play, The Soldier's Fortune, performed at 
Dorset Garden, 1681, has borrowed freely from Moliere ; namely : one 
scene from Sganarelle, four scenes from The School for Husbands, and 
a hint from The School for Wives. 

The joke from The Pretentious Young Ladies, Scene xii., page 162, 
about '' the half moon and the full moon " is repeated in the conversation 
between Fourbin and Bloody-Bones in The Soldiers Fortune. 

Sir John Vanbrugh also translated Moliere's Sganarelle, which was per- 
formed at the Queen's Theatre in the Haymarket, 1706, but has not been 

There was also a ballad opera played at Drury Lane April n, i733> 
called the Imaginary Cuckold, which is an imitation of Sganarelle. 


GORGIBUS, a citizen of Paris. 

LELIO, in love with Celia. 

SGANARELLE, 3 a citizen of Paris and the self-deceived 


VILLEBREQUIN, father to Valere. 
GROS-RENE, servant to Lelio. 

CELIA, daughter of Gorgibus. 


* Moliere acted this part himself. In the inventory of his dresses taken 
after his death, and given by M. Eudore Souli in his Rccherches sur Mo- 
liere, 1863, we find : " a . . . dress for the Cocu imaffinaire, consisting 
of knee-breeches, doublet, cloak, collar, and shoes, all in crimson red 





CEL. ( Coming out in tears, her father following her). 
Ah ! never expect my heart to consent to that. 

GORG. What do you mutter, you little impertinent 
girl? Do you suppose you can thwart my resolution? 
Have I not absolute power over you? And shall your 
youthful brain control my fatherly discretion by foolish 
arguments? Which of us two has most right to command 
the other? Which of us two, you or I, is, in your opi- 
nion, best able to judge what is advantageous for you? 
Zounds, do not provoke me too much, or you may feel, 
and in a very short time too, what strength this arm of 
mine still possesses 1 Your shortest way, you obstinate 
minx, would be to accept without any more ado the hus- 
band intended for you; but you say, "I do not know 
what kind of temper he has, and I ought to think about it 
beforehand, if you will allow me." I know that he is 
heir to a large fortune ; ought I therefore to trouble my 
head about anything else? Can this man, who has twenty 
thousand golden charms in his pocket to be beloved by 
you, want any accomplishments? Come, come, let him 
be what he will, I promise you that with such a sum he is 
a very worthy gentleman ! 

CEL. Alas! 

GORG. Alas, indeed ! What is the meaning of that ? 



A fine alas you have uttered just now ! Look ye ! If 
once you put me in a passion you will have plenty of op- 
portunities for shouting alas ! This comes of that eager- 
ness of yours to read novels day and night ; your head is 
so full of all kinds of nonsense about love, that you talk 
of God much less than of Clelie. Throw into the fire 
all these mischievous books, which are every day cor- 
rupting the minds of so many young people ; instead of 
such trumpery, read, as you ought to do, the Quatrains of 
Pibrac* and the learned memorandum-books of Councillor 
Matthieu, 5 a valuable work and full of fine sayings for you 
to learn by heart; the Guide for Sinners 6 is also a good 
book. Such writings teach people in a short time how to 
spend their lives well, and if you had never read anything 
but such moral books you would have known better how 
to submit to my commands. 

CEL. Do you suppose, dear father, I can ever forget 
that unchangeable affection I owe to Lelio ? I should be 
wrong to dispose of my hand against your will, but you 
yourself engaged me to him. 

GORG. Even if you were engaged ever so much, an- 
other man has made his appearance whose fortune annuls 
your engagement. Lelio is a pretty fellow, but learn that 
there is nothing that does not give way to money, that 
gold will make even the most ugly charming, and that 
without it everything else is but wretchedness. I believe 
you are not very fond of Valere, but though you do not 

4 Gui du Faur de Pibrac (1528-1584) was a distinguished diplomatist, 
magistrate, and orator, who wrote several works, of which the Cinquante 
quatrains contenant preceptes et enseignements utilespourla vie de I'homme, 
composes a limitation de Phocylides, Epicharmus, et autres poetes grecs, 
and which number he afterwards increased to 126, are the best known. 
These quatrains, or couplets of four verses, have been translated into 
nearly all European and several Eastern languages. A most elegant 
reprint has been published of them, in 1874, by M. A. Lemerre, of 

5 Pierre Matthieu (1563-1621), a French historian and poet wrote, 
among other works, his Toilettes de la vie et de la mart, quatrains de la 

Vanite du Monde, a collection of 274 moral quatrains, divided in three 
parts, each part of which was published separately in an oblong shape, 
like a memorandum book ; hence the name Tablettes. 

6 La guide des pecheurs, the Guide for Sinners, is a translation in 
French of an ascetic Spanish work, la guia de pecadores, written by a 
Dominican friar, Lewis, of Granada. 


like him as a lover, you will like him as a husband. The 
very name of husband endears a man more than is gen- 
erally supposed, and love is often a consequence of mar- 
riage. But what a fool I am to stand arguing when I 
possess the absolute right to command. A truce then, I 
tell you, to your impertinence ; let me have no more of 
your foolish complaints. This evening Valere intends to 
visit you, and if you do not receive him well, and look 
kindly upon him, I shall . . . but I will say no more on 
this subject. 


MAID. What, madam ! you refuse positively what so 
many other people would accept with all their heart ! 
You answer with tears a proposal for marriage, and delay 
for a long time to say a " yes " so agreeable to hear ! 
Alas ! why does some one not wish to marry me ? I 
should not need much entreaty : and so far from thinking 
it any trouble to say "yes" once, believe me I would 
very quickly say it a dozen times. Your brother's tutor 
was quite right when, as we were talking about worldly 
affairs, he said, "A woman is like the ivy, which grows 
luxuriantly whilst it clings closely to the tree, but never 
thrives if it be separated from it." Nothing can be truer, 
my dear mistress, and I, miserable sinner, have found it 
out. Heaven rest the soul of my poor Martin ! when he 
was alive my complexion was like a cherub's ; I was plump 
and comely, my eyes sparkled brightly, and I felt happy : 
now I am doleful. In those pleasant times, which flew 
away like lightning, I went to bed, in the very depth of 
winter, without kindling a .fire in the room ; even airing 
the sheets appeared then to me ridiculous ; but now I 
shiver even in the dogdays. In short, madam, believe me 
there is nothing like having a husband at night by one's 
side, were it only for the pleasure of hearing him say, 
" God bless you," whenever one may happen to sneeze. 

CEL. Can you advise me to act so wickedly as to for- 
sake Lelio and take up with this ill-shaped fellow ? 

MAID. Upon my word, your Lelio is a mere fool to stay 
away the very time he is wanted ; his long absence makes 
me very much suspect some change in his affection. 


CEL. (showing her the portrait of Lelio). Oh ! do not 
distress me by such dire forebodings ! Observe carefully 
the features of his face ; they swear to me an eternal af- 
fection ; after all, I would not willingly believe them to 
tell a falsehood, but that he is such as he is here limned 
by art, and that his affection for me remains unchanged. 

MAID. To be sure, these features denote a deserving 
lover, whom you'are right to regard tenderly. 

CEL. And yet I must Ah! support me. 

(She lets fall the portrait of Lelio. 

MAID. Madam, what is the cause of ... Heavens ! 
she swoons. Oh ! make haste ! help ! help ! 


SCAN. What is the matter ? I am here. 

MAID. My lady is dying. 

SCAN. What ! is that all ? You made such a noise, I 
thought the world was at an end. Let us see, however. 
Madam, are you dead ? Um ! she does not say one 

MAID. I shall fetch somebody to carry her in ; be kind 
enough to hold her so long. 


SGAN. {passing his hand over Cflia's bosom). She is 
cold all over, and I do not know what to say to it. Let 
me draw a little nearer and try whether she breathes or 
not. Upon my word, I cannot tell, but I perceive still 
some signs of life. 

SGAN.'S WIFE, (looking from, the window). Ah! what 
do I see ? My husband, holding in his arms . . . But I 
shall go down ; he is false to me most certainly ; I should 
be glad to catch him. 

SCAN. She must be assisted very quickly ; she would 
certainly be in the wrong to die. A journey to another 
world is very foolish, so long as a body is able to stay in 
this. (He carries her in). 

He has suddenly left this spot ; his flight has disap- 
pointed my curiosity ; but I doubt no longer that he is 
unfaithful to me ; the little I have seen sufficiently proves 


it. I am no longer astonished that he returns my modest 
love with strange coldness ; the ungrateful wretch reserves 
his caresses for others, and starves me in order to feed 
their pleasures. This is the common way of husbands ; 
they become indifferent to what is lawful ; at the begin- 
ning they do wonders, and seem to be very much in love 
with us, but the wretches soon grow weary of our fond- 
ness, and carry elsewhere what is due to us alone. Oh ! 
how it vexes me that the law will not permit us to change 
our husband as we do our linen ! That would be very 
convenient ; and, troth, I know some women whom it 
would please as much as myself. ( Taking up the picture 
which Celia had let fall~). But what a pretty thing has 
fortune sent me here ; the enamel of it is most beautiful, 
the workmanship delightful ; let me open it ? 


SCAN. {Thinking himself alone}. They thought her 
dead, but it was nothing at all ! She is already recover- 
ing and nearly well again. But I see my wife. 

SGAN.'S WIFE. {Thinking herself alone). O Heaven ! It 
is a miniature, a fine picture of a handsome man. 

SCAN. {Aside, and looking over his wife's shoulder). 
What is this she looks at so closely? This picture bodes 
my honour little good. A very ugly feeling of jealousy 
begins to creep over me. 

SGAN.'S WIFE. {Not seeing her husband). I never saw 
anything more beautiful in my life ! The workmanship 
is even of greater value than the gold ! Oh, how sweet it 
smells ! 

SCAN. {Aside). The deuce ! She kisses it ! I am vic- 
timized ! 

SGAN.'S WIFE. {Continues her Monologue.*) I think it 
must be a charming thing to have such a fine-looking man 
for a sweetheart ; if he should urge his suit very much the 
temptation would be great. Alas ! why have I not a hand- 
some man like this for my husband instead of my booby, 
my clod-hopper . . . ? 

SCAN. {Snatching the portrait from her). What, hussey ! 
have I caught you in the very act, slandering your honoura- 
ble and darling husband ? According to you, most worthy 


spouse, and everything well considered, the husband is not 
as good as the wife? In Beelzebub's name (and may he 
fly away with you), what better match could you wish for? 
Is there any fault to be found with me ? It seems that this 
shape, this air, which everybody admires ; this face, so fit 
to inspire love, for which a thousand fair ones sigh both 
night and day ; in a word, my own delightful self, by no 
manner of means pleases you. Moreover, to satisfy your 
ravenous appetite you add to the husband the relish of 
a gallant. 

SGAN.'S WIFE. I see plainly the drift of your jocular re- 
marks, though you do not clearly express yourself. You 
expect by these means . . . 

SCAN. Try to impose upon others, not upon me, I pray 
you. The fact is evident ; I have in my hands a convin- 
cing proof of the injury I complain of. 

SGAN.'S WIFE. I am already too angry, and do not wish 
you to make me more so by any fresh insult. Hark ye, 
do not imagine that you shall keep this pretty thing; 
consider . . . 

SCAN. I am seriously considering whether I shall break 
your neck. I wish I had but the original of this portrait 
in my power as much as I have the copy. 


SGAN. For nothing at all, dear, sweet object of my 
love ! I am very wrong to speak out ; my forehead ought 
to thank you for many favours received. (Looking at the 
portrait of Lelio). There he is, your darling, the pretty 
bed-fellow, the wicked incentive of your secret flame, the 
merry blade with whom . . . 

SGAN.'S WIFE. With whom? Goon. 

SGAN. With whom, I say ... I am almost bursting 
with vexation. 7 

SGAN.'S WIFE. What does the drunken sot mean by all 

7 The original has : "/ creve d'ennuis." The French word ennui, 
which now only means weariness of mind, signified formerly injury, and 
the vexation or hatred caused thereby ; something like the English word 
"annoy," as in Shakespeare's Richard III., v. 3 : 

" Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace, and wake in joy; 
Good angels guard thee from the boar's annoy." 


SCAN. You know but too well, Mrs. Impudence. No 
one will call me any longer Sganarelle, but every one will 
give me the title of Signer Cornutus ; my honor is gone, 
but to reward you, who took it from me, I shall at the very 
least break you an arm or a couple of ribs. 

SGAN.'S WIFE. How dare you talk to me thus? 

SCAN. How dare you play me these devilish pranks ? 

SGAN.'S WIFE. What devilish pranks? Say what you 

SCAN. Oh! It is not worth complaining of. A stag's 
top-knot on my head is indeed a very pretty ornament for 
everybody to come and look at. 

SGAN.'S WIFE. After you have insulted your wife so 
grossly as to excite her thirst for vengeance, you stupidly 
imagine you can prevent the effects of it by pretending to 
be angry ? Such insolence was never before known on 
the like occasion. The offender is the person who be- 
gins the quarrel. 

SCAN. Oh ! what a shameless creature ! To see the 
confident behaviour of this woman, would not any one 
suppose her to be very virtuous ? 

SGAN.'S WIFE. Away, go about your business, wheedle 
your mistresses, tell them you love them, caress them even, 
but give me back my picture, and do not make a jest of 
me. (She snatches the picture from him and runs away}. 

SCAN. So you think to escape me ; but I shall get hold 
of it again in spite of you. 


GR.-RE. Here we are at last; but, sir, if I might be so 
bold, I should like you to tell me one thing. 

LEL. Well, speak. 

GR.-RE. Are you possessed by some devil or other, that 
you do not sink under such fatigues as these ? For eight 
whole days we have been riding long stages, and have not 
been sparing of whip and spur to urge on confounded 
screws, whose cursed trot shook us so very much that, for 
my part, I feel as if every limb was out of joint ; without 
mentioning a worse mishap which troubles me very much 
in a place I will not mention. And yet, no sooner are 

1 86 SGANARELLE ; OR, [SCBNB vxi. 

you at your journey's end, than you go out well and hearty, 
without taking rest, or eating the least morsel. 

LEL. My haste may well be excused, for I am greatly 
alarmed about the report of Celia's marriage. You know 
I adore her, and, before everything, I wish to hear if there 
is any truth in this ominous rumour. 

GR.-RE. Ay, sir, but a good meal would be of great use 
to you to discover the truth or falsehood of this report ; 
doubtless you would become thereby much stronger to 
withstand the strokes of fate. I judge by my own self, 
for, when I am fasting, the smallest disappointment gets 
hold of me and pulls me down ; but when I have eaten 
sufficiently my soul can resist anything, and the greatest 
misfortunes cannot depress it. Believe me, stuff yourself 
well, and do not be too cautious. To fortify you under 
whatever misfortune may do, and in order to prevent sor- 
row from entering your heart, let it float in plenty of 
wine. 8 

LEL. I cannot eat. 

GR.-RE. {Aside}. I can eat very well indeed ; If it is 
not true may I be struck dead ! (Aloud). For all that, 
your dinner shall be ready presently. 

LEL. Hold your tongue, I command you. 

GR.-RE. How barbarous is that order ! 

LEL. I am not hungry, but uneasy. 

GR.-RE. And I am hungry and uneasy as well, to see 
that a foolish love-affair engrosses all your thoughts.' 

LEL. Let me but get some information about my heart's 

8 This is an imitation of Plautus' Curculio, or the Forgery. The Para- 
site of Phaedromus, who gave his name to the piece, says (ii. 3) : " I am 
quite undone. I can hardly see ; my mouth is bitter ; my teeth are blunt- 
ed ; my jaws are clammy through fasting ; with my entrails thus lank with 
abstinence from food, am I come . . . Let's cram down something first ; 
the gammon, the udder, and the kernels ; these are the foundations for 
the stomach, with head and roast-beef, a good-sized cup and a capacious 
pot, that council enough may be forthcoming." 

9 Shakespeare, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Act ii., Sc. l), has the 
following : 

Speed. . . . Why muse you, sir ? 'tis dinner-time. 

Val. I have dined. 

Speed. Ay, but hearken, sir; though the chameleon, love, can feed on 
the air, I am one that am nourished by my victuals, and would fain have 
meat. O, be not like your mistress ; be moved, be moved. 


delight, and without troubling me more, go and take your 
meal if you like. 

GR.-RE. I never say nay when a master commands. 


No, no, my mind is tormented by too many terrors ; 
the father has promised me Celia's hand, and she has 
given me such proofs of her love that I need not despair. 


SCAN. (Not seeing Lelio, and holding the portrait in his 
hand}. I have got it. I can now at my leisure look at 
the countenance of the rascal who causes my dishonour. 
I do not know him at all. 

LEL. (Aside}. Heavens! what do I see? If that be 
my picture, what then must I believe? 

SCAN. (Not seeing Lelio}. Ah ! poor Sganarelle ! your 
reputation is doomed, and to what a sad fate! Must . . 
(Perceiving that Lelio observes him he goes to the other 
side of the stage}. 

LEL. (Aside). This pledge of my love cannot have left 
the fair hands to which I gave it, without startling my 
faith in her. 

SCAN. (Aside}. People will make fun of me henceforth 
by holding up their two fingers ; songs will be made about 
me, and every time they will fling in my teeth that scan- 
dalous affront, which a wicked wife has printed upon my 

LEL. (Aside}. Do I deceive myself? 

SCAN. (Aside). Oh ! Jade ! 10 were you impudent enough 
to cuckold me in the flower of my age? The wife too of 
a husband who may be reckoned handsome ! and must 
be a monkey, a cursed addle-pated fellow . . . 

LEL. (Aside, looking still at the portrait in Sganarelle 's 
hand}. I am not mistaken ; it is my very picture. 

SCAN. ( Turning his back towards him}. This man seems 
very inquisitive. 

10 The original is truande, which, as well as the masculine truand, 
meant, in old French, a vagabond, a rascal ; it is still retained in the 
English phrase " to play the truant." 


LEL. (Aside). I am very much surprised. 

SCAN. What would he be at? 

LEL. (Aside). I will speak to him. {Aloud}. May 
I ... (Sganare.lle goes farther off). I say, let me have 
one word with you. 

SCAN. (Aside, and moving still farther). What does he 
wish to tell me now? 

LEL. Will you inform me by what accident that picture 
came into your hands? 

SCAN. (Aside). Why does he wish to know? But I 
am thinking . . . {Looking at Lelio and at the portrait 
in his hand}. Oh ! upon my word, I know the cause of 
his anxiety; I no longer wonder at his surprise. This is 
my man, or rather, my wife's man. 

LEL. Pray, relieve my distracted mind, and tell me how 
you come by ... 

SCAN. Thank Heaven, I know what disturbs you; this 
portrait, which causes you some uneasiness, is your very 
likeness, and was found in the hands of a certain acquaint- 
ance of yours ; the soft endearments which have passed 
between that lady and you are no secret to me. I cannot 
tell whether I have the honour to be known by your gal- 
lant lordship in this piece of gallantry; but henceforth, be 
kind enough to break off an intrigue, which a husband 
may not approve of; and consider that the holy bonds 
of wedlock . , . 

LEL. What do you say? She from whom you received 
this pledge . . . 

SCAN. Is my wife, and I am her husband. 

LEL. Her husband ? 

SCAN. Yes, her husband, I tell you. Though married 
I am far from merry ; u you, sir, know the reason of it ; 
this very moment I am going to inform her relatives about 
this affair. 

SCENE X. LELIO, alone,. 
Alas ! what have I heard ! The report then was true that 

11 The original has mari-tres-marri ; literally, "husband very sad;" 
marri being the old French for sad : the ancient plays and tales are full 
of allusions to the connection between these two words, mart and marri. 


her husband was the ugliest of all his sex. Even if your 
faithless lips had never sworn me more than a thousand 
times eternal love, the disgust you should have felt at 
such a base and shameful choice might have sufficiently 
secured me against the loss of your affection . . But this 
great insult, and the fatigues of a pretty long journey, pro- 
duce all at once such a violent effect upon me, that I feel 
faint, and can hardly bear up under it. 


SGAN.'S WIFE. In spite of me, my wretch . . . (Seeing 
Lelio). Good lack ! what ails you? I perceive, sir, you 
are ready to faint away. 

LEL. It is an illness that has attacked me quite sud- 

SCAN'S WIFE. I am afraid you shall faint ; step in here, 
and stay until you are better. 

LEL. For a moment or two I will accept of your 


REL. I commend a husband's anxiety in such a case, 
but you take fright a little too hastily. All that you have 
told me against her, kinsman, does not prove her guilty. 
It is a delicate subject, and no one should ever be accused 
of such a crime unless it can be fully proved. 

SCAN. That is to say, unless you see it. 

REL. Too much haste leads us to commit mistakes. 
Who can tell how this picture came into her hands, and, 
after all, whether she knows the man ? Seek a little more 
information, and if it proves to be as you suspect, I shall 
be one of the first to punish her offence. 


Nothing could be said fairer ; it is really the best way 
to proceed cautiously. Perhaps I have dreamt of horns 
without any cause, and the perspiration has covered my 
brow rather prematurely. My dishonour is not at all 
proved by that portrait which frightened me so much. Let 
me endeavour then by care . . . 


at the door of her house, with LELIO. 

SCAN. (Aside seeing them}. Ha ! what do I see ? 
Zounds ! there can be no more question about the por- 
trait, for upon my word here stands the very man, in pro- 
pria persona. 

SCAN. 's WIFE. You hurry away too fast, sir; if you 
leave us so quickly, you may perhaps have a return of 
your illness. 

LEL. No, no, I thank you heartily for the kind assist- 
ance you have rendered me. 

SCAN. (Aside}. The deceitful woman is to the last 
polite to him. (Sganarelle 1 s Wife goes into the house 


SCAN. He has seen me, let us hear what he can say 
to me. 

LEL. (Aside}. Oh ! my soul is moved ! this sight in- 
spires me with . . . but I ought to blame this unjust 
resentment, and only ascribe my sufferings to my merciless 
fate; yet I cannot help envying the success that has 
crowned his passion. (Approaching Sganarelle}. O too 
happy mortal in having so beautiful a wife. 

SCENE XVI. SGANARELLE, CELIA, at her window, seeing 
Lelio go away. 

SCAN. (Alone}. This confession is pretty plain. His ex- 
traordinary speech surprises me as much as if horns had 
grown upon my head. (Looking at the side where Lelio 
went ojf). Go your way, you have not acted at all like an 
honourable man. 

CEL. (Aside, entering). Who can that be ? Just now I 
saw Lelio. Why does he conceal his return from me ? 

SCAN. (Without seeing Celid}. " O too happy mortal in 
having so beautiful a wife ! ' ' Say rather, unhappy mortal 
in having such a disgraceful spouse through whose guilty 
passion, it is now but too clear, I have been cuckolded 
without any feeling of compassion. Yet I allow him to 
go away after such a discovery, and stand with my arms 
folded like a regular silly-billy ! I ought at least to have 


knocked his hat off, thrown stones at him, or mud on his 
cloak ; to satisfy my wrath I should rouse the whole 
neighbourhood, and cry, " Stop, thief of my honour !" 

CEL. (To Sganarelle}. Pray, sir, how came you to 
know this gentleman who went away just now and spoke 
to you ? 

SCAN. Alas ! madam, it is not I who am acquainted 
with him ; it is my wife. 

CEL. What emotion thus disturbs your mind ? 

SCAN. Do not blame me ; I have sufficient cause for my 
sorrow ; permit me to breathe plenty of sighs. 

CEL. What can be the reason of this uncommon grief? 

SCAN. If I am sad it is not for a trifle : I challenge 
other people not to grieve, if they found themselves in my 
condition. You see in me the model of unhappy husbands. 
Poor Sganarelle's honour is taken from him ; but the loss 
of my honour would be small they deprive me of my 
reputation also. 

CEL. How do they do that ? 

SCAN. That fop has taken the liberty to cuckold me 
saving your presence, madam and this very day my own 
eyes have been witness to a private interview between him 
and my wife. 

CEL. What ? He who just now . . . 

SCAN. Ay, ay, it is he who brings disgrace upon me ; 
he is in love with my wife, and my wife is in love with 

CEL. Ah ! I find I was right when I thought his return- 
ing secretly only concealed some base design ; I trembled 
the minute I saw him, from a sad foreboding of what 
would happen. 

SCAN. You espouse my cause with too much kindness, 
but everybody is not so charitably disposed ; for many, 
who have already heard of my sufferings, so far from taking 
my part, only laugh at me. 

CEL. Can anything be more base than this vile deed ? 
or can a punishment be discovered such as he deserves ? 
Does he think he is worthy to live, after polluting himself 
with such treachery? O Heaven ! is it possible? 

SCAN. It is but too true. 

CEL. O traitor, villain, deceitful, faithless wretch! 


SCAN. What a kind-hearted creature ! 

CEL. No, no, hell has not tortures enough to punish you 
sufficiently for your guilt ! 

SCAN. How well she talks ! 

CEL. Thus to abuse both innocence and goodness ! 

SCAN. (Sighing aloud). Ah ! 

CEL. A heart which never did the slightest action de- 
serving of being treated with such insult and contempt. 

SCAN. That's true. 

CEL. Who far from . . . but it is too much; nor can 
this heart endure the thought of it without feeling on the 

SCAN. My dear lady, do not distress yourself so much ; 
it pierces my very soul to see you grieve so at my misfor- 

CEL. But do not deceive yourself so far as to fancy that 
I shall sit down and do nothing but lament ; no, my heart 
knows how to act in order to be avenged ; nothing can 
divert me from it ; I go to prepare everything. 


May Heaven keep her for ever out of harm's way ! How 
kind of her to wish to avenge me ! Her anger at my dis- 
honour plainly teaches me how to act. Nobody should bear 
such affronts as these tamely, unless indeed he be a fool. 
Let us therefore hasten to hunt out this "rascal who has 
insulted me, and let me prove my courage by avenging my 
dishonour. 12 I will teach you, you rogue, to laugh at my 
expense, and to cuckold people without showing them any 
respect. (After going three or four steps he comes back 
again.} But gently, if you please, this man looks as 
if he were very hot-headed and passionate ; he may, 
perhaps, heaping one insult upon another, ornament my 

12 A similar adventure is told of the renowned fabulist La Fontaine. 
One day some one informed him that Poignan, a retired captain of dra- 
goons and one of his friends, was by far too intimate with Madame La 
Fontaine, and that to avenge his dishonour he ought to fight a duel with 
him. La Fontaine calls upon Poignan at four o'clock in the morning, 
tells him to dress, takes him out of town, and then coolly says "that he 
has been advised to fight a duel with him in order to avenge his wounded 
honour." Soon La Fontaine's sword flies out of his hand, the friends go 
to breakfast, and the whole affair is at an end. 


back as well as he has done my brow. 13 I detest, from the 
bottom of my heart, these fiery tempers, and vastly prefer 
peaceable people. I do not care to beat for fear of being 
beaten; a gentle disposition was always my predominant 
virtue. But my honour tells me that it is absolutely neces- 
sary I should avenge such an outrage as this. Let honour 
say whatever it likes, the deuce take him who listens. 
Suppose now I should play the hero, and receive for my 
pains an ugly thrust with a piece of cold steel quite through 
my stomach ; when the news of my death spreads through 
the whole town, tell me then, my honour, shall you be the 
better of it. u The grave is too melancholy an abode, and 
too unwholesome for people who are afraid of the colic ; as 
for me, I find, all things considered, that it is, after all, 
better to be a cuckold than to be dead. What harm is 
there in it? Does it make a man's legs crooked? does it 
spoil his shape ? The plague take him who first invented 
being grieved about such a delusion, linking the honour 
of the wisest man to anything a fickle woman may do. 
Since every person is rightly held responsible for his own 
crimes, how can our honour, in this case, be considered 
criminal ? We are blamed for the actions of other people. 
If our wives have an intrigue with any man, without our 
knowledge, all the mischief must fall upon our backs ; 
they commit the crime and we are reckoned guilty. It is 
a villainous abuse, and indeed Government should remedy 
such injustice. Have we not enough of other accidents 
that happen to us whether we like them or not? Do not 
quarrels, lawsuits, hunger, thirst, and sickness sufficiently 
disturb the even tenour of our lives? and yet we must 
stupidly get it into our heads to grieve about something 
which has no foundation. Let us laugh at it, despise such 
idle fears, and be above sighs and tears. If my wife has 
done amiss, let her cry as much as she likes, but why 
should I weep when I have done no wrong ? After all, I 
am not the only one of my fraternity, and that should 

18 In the original there is a play on words which cannot be rendered in 
English. // pourrait bien. . . . charger de bois man dos cumme, '/ a fait 
man front. Bois means " stick " and " stags' antlers." 

14 Compare in Shakespeare's Part First of King Henry IV. v. i, Fal- 
staff's speech about honour. 

VOL. I. N 


console me a little. Many people of rank see their wives 
cajoled, and do not say a word about it. Why should I 
then try to pick a quarrel for an affront, which is but a 
mere trifle? They will call me a fool for not avenging 
myself, but I should be a much greater fool to rush on my 
own destruction. (Putting his hand upon his stomach). I 
feel, however, my bile is stirred up here; it almost per- 
suades me to do some manly action. Ay, anger gets the 
better of me ; it is rather too much of a good thing to be 
a coward too ! I am resolved to be revenged upon the 
thief of my honour. Full of the passion which excites my 
ardour, and in order to make a beginning, I shall go and 
tell everywhere that he lies with my wife. 


CEL. Yes, I will yield willingly to so just a law, father ; 
you can freely dispose of my heart and my hand ; I will 
sign the marriage contract whenever you please, for I am 
now determined to perform my duty. I can command 
my own inclinations, and shall do whatever you order me. 

GORG. How she pleases me by talking in this manner ! 
Upon my word ! I am so delighted that I would imme- 
diately cut a caper or two, were people not looking on, 
who would laugh at it. Come hither, I say, and let me 
embrace you ; there is no harm in that ; a father may kiss 
his daughter whenever he likes, without giving any occa- 
sion for scandal. Well, the satisfaction of seeing you so 
obedient has made me twenty years younger. 


MAID. This change surprises me. 

CEL. When you come to know why I act thus, you will 
esteem me for it. 

MAID. Perhaps so. 

CEL. Know then that Lelio has wounded my heart by 
his treacherous behaviour, and has been in this neighbour- 
hood without . . . 

MAID. Here he comes. 

LEL. Before I take my leave of you for ever, I will at 
least here tell you that . . . 


CEL. What! are you insolent enough to speak to me 

LEL. I own my insolence is great, and yet your choice 
is such I should not be greatly to blame if I upbraided 
you. Live, live contented, and laugh when you think of 
me, as well as your worthy husband, of whom you have 
reason to be proud. 

CEL. Yes, traitor, I will live so, and I trust most earn- 
estly that the thought of my happiness may disturb you. 

LEL. Why this outbreak of passion ? 

CEL. You pretend to be surprised, and ask what crimes 
you have committed ? 


SCAN. I wage war, a war of extermination against this 
robber of my honour, who without mercy has sullied my 
fair name. 

CEL. (To Lelio, pointing to Sganarelle). Look on this 
man, and then you will require no further answer. 

LEL. Ah ! I see. 

CEL. A mere glance at him is sufficient to abash you. 

LEL. It ought rather to make you blush. 

SCAN. My wrath is now disposed to vent itself upon 
some one ; my courage is at its height ; if I meet him, 
there will be blood shed. Yes, I have sworn to kill him, 
nothing can keep me from doing so. Wherever I see him 
I will dispatch him. {Drawing his sword halfway and 
approaching Lelio). Right through the middle of his 
heart I shall thrust . . . 

LEL. {Turning round}. Against whom do you bear 
such a grudge ? 

SCAN. Against no one. 

LEL. Why are you thus in armour ? 

SCAN. It is a dress I put on to keep the rain off. 
(Aside). Ah ! what a satisfaction it would be for me to 
kill him ! Let us pluck up courage to do it. 

LEL. ( Turning round again). Hey ? 

SCAN. I did not speak. (Aside, boxing his own ears, 
and thumping himself to raise his courage). Ah ! I am 


enraged at my own cowardice ! Chicken-hearted pol- 
troon ! 

CEL. What you have seen ought to satisfy you, but it 
appears to offend you. 

LEL. Yes, through him I know you are guilty of the 
greatest faithlessness that ever wronged a faithful lover's 
heart, and for which no excuse can be found. 

SCAN. (Aside). Why have I not a little more cour- 

CEL. Ah, traitor, speak not to me in so unmanly and 
insolent a manner. 

SCAN. (Aside]. You see, Sganarelle, she takes up your 
quarrel : courage, my lad, be a trifle vigorous. Now, be 
bold, try to make one noble effort and kill him whilst his 
back is turned. 

LEL. (Who has moved accidentally a few steps back, 
meets Sganarelle, who was drawing near to kill him. The 
latter is frightened, and retreats}. Since my words kindle 
your wrath, madam, I ought to show my satisfaction with 
what your heart approves, and here commend the lovely 
choice you have made. 

CEL. Yes, yes, my choice is such as cannot be blamed. 

LEL. You do well to defend it. 

SCAN. No doubt, she does well to defend my rights, 
but what you have done, sir, is not according to the laws; 
I have reason to complain ; were I less discreet, much 
blood would be shed. 

LEL. Of what do you complain ? And why this . . . 

SCAN. Do not say a word more. You know too well 
where the shoe pinches me. But conscience and a care for 
your own soul should remind you that my wife is my wife, 
and that to make her yours under my very nose is not 
acting like a good Christian. 

LEL. Such a suspicion is mean and ridiculous ! Har- 
bour no scruples on that point : I know she belongs to 
you ; I am very far from being in love with . . . 

CEL. Oh ! traitor ! how well you dissemble ! 

LEL. What ! do you imagine I foster a thought which 
need disturb his mind ? Would you slander me by accu- 
sing me of such a cowardly action ? 

CEL. Speak, speak to himself; he can enlighten you. 


SCAN. ( To Celid). No, no, you can argue much better 
than I can, and have treated the matter in the right way. 


SCAN, "s WIFE. (To Celia). I am not inclined, Madam, 
to show that I am over-jealous ; but I am no fool, and can 
see what is going on. There are certain amours which 
appear very strange ; you should be better employed than 
in seducing a heart which ought to be mine alone. 

CEL. This declaration of her love is plain enough. 15 

SCAN. (To his wife). Who sent for you, baggage? You 
come and scold her because she takes my part, whilst you 
are afraid of losing your gallant. 

CEL. Do not suppose anybody has a mind to him. 
(Turning towards Lelio). You see whether I have told a 
falsehood, and I am very glad of it. 

LEL. What can be the meaning of this ? 

MAID. Upon my word, I do not know when this en- 
tanglement will be unravelled. I have tried for a pretty 
long time to comprehend it, but the more I hear the less 
I understand. Really I think I must interfere at last. 
(Placing herself between Lelio and Celia), Answer me one 
after another, and ( To Lelio} allow me to ask what do you 
accuse this lady of? 

LEL. That she broke her word and forsook me for 
another. As soon as I heard she was going to be married 
I hastened hither, carried away by an irrepressible love, 
and not believing I could be forgotten ; but discovered, 
when I arrived here, that she was married. 

MAID. Married ! To whom ? 

LEL. (Pointing to Sganarelle). To him. 

MAID. How ! to him ? 

LEL. Yes, to him. 

MAID. Who told you so ? 

LEL. Himself, this very day. 

MAID. (To Sganarelle}. Is this true? 

SCAN. I? I told him I was married to my own wife. 

15 Some commentators think it is Lelio who utters these words, but they 
are clearly Celia's. 


LEL. Just now, whilst you looked at my picture, you 
seemed greatly moved. 

SCAN. True, here it is. 

LEL. (To Sganarelle). You also told me that she, 
from whose hands you had received this pledge of her 
love, was joined to you in the bonds of wedlock. 

SCAN. No doubt {pointing to his wife), for I snatched it 
from her, and should not have discovered her wickedness 
had I not done so. 

SCAN. 's WIFE. What do you mean by your groundless 
complaint ? I found this portrait at my feet by accident. 
After you had stormed without telling me the cause of 
your rage, I saw this gentleman (pointing to Lelio) nearly 
fainting, asked him to come in, but did not even then 
discover that he was the original of the picture. 

CEL. I was the cause of the portrait being lost ; I let it 
fall when swooning, and when you (to Sganarelle) kindly 
carried me into the house. 

MAID. You see that without my help you had still been 
at a loss, and that you had some need of hellebore. 16 

SCAN. (Aside). Shall we believe all this ? I have been 
very much frightened for my brow. 

SGAN.'S WIFE. I have not quite recovered from my fear ; 
however agreeable credulity may be, I am loth to be de- 

SCAN. (To his wife). Well, let us mutually suppose our- 
selves to be people of honour. I risk more on my side 
than you do on yours ; accept, therefore, without much 
ado, what I propose. 

SGAN.'S WIFE. Be it so, but wo be to you if I discover 

CEL. (To Lelio, after whispering together). Ye heavens ! 
if it be so, what have I done ? I ought to fear the conse- 
quences of my own anger ! Thinking you false, and wish- 
ing to be avenged, I in an unhappy moment complied 
with my father's wishes, and but a minute since engaged 
myself to marry a man whose hand, until then, I always 
had refused. I have made a promise to my father, and 
what grieves me most is ... But I see him coming. 

16 Among the ancients the helleborus officinalis or orientalis was held to 
cure insanity ; hence the allusion. 


LEL. He shall keep his word with me. 


LEL. Sir, you see I have returned to this town, inflamed 
with the same ardour, and now I suppose you will keep 
your promise, which made me hope to marry Celia, and 
thus reward my intense love. 

GORG. Sir, whom I see returned to this town inflamed 
with the same ardour, and who now supposes I will keep 
my promise, which made you hope to marry Celia, and 
thus reward your intense love, I am your lordship's very 
humble servant. 

LEL. What, sir, is it thus you frustrate my expecta- 
tions ? 

GORG. Ay, sir, it is thus I do my duty, and my daugh- 
ter obeys me too. 

CEL. My duty compels me, father, to make good your 
promise to him. 

GORG. Is this obeying my commands as a daughter 
ought to do ? Just now you were very kindly disposed to- 
wards Valere, but you change quickly ... I see his father 
approaching, who certainly comes to arrange about the 


GORG. What brings you hither, M. Villebrequin ? 

VILL. An important secret, which I only discovered 
this morning, and which completely prevents me from 
keeping the engagement I made with you. My son, 
whom your daughter was going to espouse, has deceived 
everybody, and been secretly married these four months 
past to Lise. Her friends, her fortune, and her family 
connections, make it impossible for me to break off this 
alliance ; and hence I come to you . . . 

GORG. Pray, say no more. If Valere has married some 
one else without your permission, I cannot disguise from 
you, that I myself long ago, promised my daughter Celia 
to Lelio, endowed with every virtue, and that his return 


to-day prevents me from choosing any other husband for 

VILL. Such a choice pleases me very much. 

LEL. This honest intention will crown my days with 
eternal bliss. 

GORG. Let us go and fix the day for the wedding. 

SCAN. (Alone). Was there ever a man who had more 
cause to think himself victimized? You perceive that in 
such matters the strongest probability may create in the 
mind a wrong belief. Therefore remember, never to be- 
lieve anything even if you should see everything. 








FEB. 4TH, 1 66 1. 


NOTHING can be more unlike The Pretentious Young Ladles or Sgana- 
relle than Moliere's Don Garcia of Navarre. The Theatre du Palais- 
Royal had opened on the 2oth January, 1661, with The Love- Tiff and 
Sganarelle, but as the young wife of Louis XIV., Maria Theresa, daugh- 
ter of Philip IV., King of Spain, had only lately arrived, and as a taste for 
the Spanish drama appeared to spring up anew in France, Moliere 
thought perhaps that a heroic comedy in that style might meet with some 
success, the more so as a company of Spanish actors had been performing 
in Paris the plays of Lope de Vega and Calderon, since the 24th of July, 
1660. Therefore, he brought out, on the 4th of February, 1661, his new 
play of Don Garcia of Navarre. It is said that there exists a Spanish 
play of the same name, of which the author is unknown ; Moliere seems 
to have partly followed an Italian comedy, written by Giacinto Andrea 
Cicognini, under the name of Le Gelosie fortunata del principe Rodrigo ; 
the style, loftiness and delicacy of expression are peculiar to the French 

Don Garcia of Navarre met with no favourable reception, though the 
author played the part of the hero. He withdrew it after five representa- 
tions, but still did not think its condemnation final, for he played it again 
before the King on the zgth of September, 1662, in Octob'er, 1663, at 
Chantilly, and twice at Versailles. He attempted it anew on the theatre 
of the Palace-Royal in the month of November, 1663 ; but as it was 
everywhere unfavourably received, he resolved never to play it more, and 
even would not print it, for it was only published after his death in 1682. 
He inserted some parts of this comedy in the Misanthrope, the Femmes 
Savantes, Amphitryon, Tartuffe, and les Fachevx, where they produced 
great effect. 

Though it has not gained a place on the French stage, it nevertheless 
possesses some fine passages. Moliere wished to create a counterpart of 
Sganarelle, the type of ridiculous jealousy, and to delineate passionate 
jealousy, its doubts, fears, perplexities and anxieties, and in this he has 
succeeded admirably. However noble-minded Don Garcia may be, there 
rages within his soul a mean passion which tortures and degrades him in- 
cessantly. When at last he is banished from the presence of the fair object 
of his love, he resolves to brave death by devoting himself to the destruc- 
tion of her foe ; but he is forestalled by his presumed rival, Don Alphonso, 
who turns out to be the brother of his mistress, and she receives him once 



again and for ever in her favour. The delineation of all these passions is 
too fine-spun, too argumentative to please the general public ; the style is 
sometimes stilted, yet passages of great beauty may be found in it. 
Moreover the jealousy expressed by Don Garcia is neither sufficiently ter- 
rible to frighten, nor ridiculous enough to amuse the audience ; he always 
speaks and acts as a prince, and hence, he sometimes becomes royally mo- 

Some scenes of this play have been imitated in The Masquerade, a 
comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1719, London, '' printed 
for Bernard Linton, between the Temple Gate," which was itself partly 
borrowed from Shirley's Lady of Pleasure. The comedy was written by 
Mr. Charles Johnson, who "was originally bred to the law, and was a 
member of the Middle Temple ; but being a great admirer of the Muses, 
and finding in himself a strong propensity to dramatic writing, he quitted 
the studious labour of the one, for the more spirited amusements of the 
other; and, by contracting an intimacy with Mr.Wilks, found means, through 
that gentleman's interest, to get his plays on the stage without much diffi- 
culty . . . he, by a polite and modest behaviour formed so extensive 
an acquaintance and intimacy, as constantly ensured him great emolu- 
' ments on his benefit night j by which means, being a man of economy, 
he was enabled to subsist very genteelly. He at length married a young 
widow, with a tolerable fortune ; on which he set up a tavern in Bow 
Street, Covent Garden, but quitted business at his wife's death, and 
lived privately on an easy competence he had saved. . . . He was born 
in 1679 . . . but he did not die till March n, 1748." 1 

The Masquerade is a clever comedy, rather free in language and thought, 
chiefly about the danger of gambling. Some of the sayings are very 
pointed. It has been stated that the author frequented the principal cof- 
fee-houses in town, and picked up many pungent remarks there ; however 
this may be, the literary men who at the present time frequent clubs, have, 
I am afraid, not the same chance. As a specimen of free and easy 
rather too easy wit, let me mention the remarks of Mr. Smart (Act I.) 
on the way he passed the night, and in what manner, " Nine persons are 
kept handsomely out of the sober income of one hundred pounds a year." 
I also observe the name of an old acquaintance in this play. Thackeray's 
hero in the Memoirs of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush is " the Honourable 
Algernon Percy Deuceace, youngest and fifth son of the Earl of Crabs,' 1 
and in The Masquerade (Act III. Sc. i) Mr. Ombre says : " Did you not 
observe an old decay'd rake that stood next the box-keeper yonder . . . 
they call him Sir Timothy Deuxace ; that wretch has play'd off one of the 
best families in Europe he has thrown away all his posterity, and reduced 
20,000 acres of wood-land, arable, meadow, and pasture within the narrow 
circumference of an oaken table of eight foot." The Masquerade as the 
title of the play is a misnomer, for it does not conduce at all to the plot. 

We give the greater part of the Prologue to The Masquerade, spoken 
by Mr. Wilks : 

The Poet, who must paint by Nature's Laws, 
If he wou'd merit what he begs, Applause ; 
Surveys your changing Pleasures with Surprise, 
Sees each new Day some new Diversion rise ; 
Hither.thro' all the Quarters of the Sky, "| 

Fresh Rooks in Flocks from ev'ry Nation hye, > 
To us, the Cullies of the Globe, they fly : J 

1 Biographia Dramatica, by Baker, Reed and Jones, 1812, Vol. I. Part i. 


French, Spaniards, Switzers ; This Man dines on Fire 

And swallows Brimstone to your Heart's Desire ; 

Another, Handless, Footless, Haifa Man, 

Does, Wou'd you think it? what no Whole one can, 

A Spaniard next, taught an Italian Frown, 

Boldly declares he'll stare all Europe down : 

His tortured Muscles pleas'd our English Fools ; - 

Why wou'd the Sot engage with English Bulls ? 

Our English Bulls are Hereticks uncivil, 

They'd toss the Grand Inquisitor, the Devil : 

'Twas stupidly contrived of Don Grimace, 

To hope to fright 'em with an ugly Face. 

And yet, tho' these Exotick Monsters please, 

We must with humble Gratitude confess, 

To you alone 'tis due, that in this Age, 

Good Sense still triumphs on the British Stage : 

Shakespear beholds with Joy his Sons inherit 

His good old Plays, with good old Bess's Spirit. 

Be wise and merry, while you keep that Tether ; 

Nonsense and Slavery must die together. 

* In the rival House, Lincoln's-Inn-Fields Theatre, Rich was bringing out Pan- 
tomimes, which, by the fertility of his invention, the excellency of his own perform- 
ance, and the introduction of foreign performers, drew nightly crowded houses 
hence the allusion. 


DON GARCIA, Prince of Navarre, in love with Elvira.* 
DON ALPHONSO, Prince of Leon, thought to be Prince of 

Castile, under the name of Don Silvio. 
DON ALVAREZ, confidant of Don Garcia, in love with Eliza. 
DON LOPEZ, another confidant of Don Garcia, in love with 


DON PEDRO, gentleman-usher to Inez. 

DONNA ELVIRA, Princess of Leon. 

DONNA INEZ, a Countess, in love with Don Silvio, beloved 

by Mauregat, the usurper of the Kingdom of Leon. 
ELIZA, confidant to Elvira. 

Scene. ASTORGA, a city of Spain, in the kingdom of Leon. 

8 In the inventory taken after Moliere's death mention is made of 
" Spanish dress, breeches, cloth cloak, and a satin doublet, the whole 
adorned with silk embroideries." This is probably the dress in which 
Moliere played Don Garcia. 





ELVIRA. No, the hidden feelings of my heart were not 
regulated by choice: whatever the Prince may be, there is 
nothing in him to make me prefer his love. Don Silvio 
shows, as well as he, all the qualities of a renowned hero. 
The same noble virtues and the same high birth made me 
hesitate whom to prefer. If aught but merit could gain 
my heart, the conqueror were yet to be named; but these 
chains, with which Heaven keeps our souls enslaved, de- 
cide me, and, though I esteem both equally, my love is 
given to Don Garcia. 

ELIZA. The love which you feel for him, seems to have 
very little influenced your actions, since I, myself, madam, 
could not for a long time discover which of the two rivals 
was the favoured one. 

ELV. Their noble rivalry in love, Eliza, caused a severe 
struggle in my breast. When I looked on the one, I felt 
no pangs, because I followed my own tender inclination ; 
but when I thought I sacrificed the other, I considered I 
acted very unjustly ; and was of opinion, that Don 
Silvio's passion, after all, deserved a happier destiny. I 
also reflected that a daughter of the late King of Leon 
owed some obligation to the house of Castile; that an 
intimate friendship had long knit together the interests 
of his father and mine. Thus, the more the one made 
VOL. i. o 209 


progress in my heart, the more I lamented the ill success 
of the other. Full of pity, I listened to his ardent sighs, 
and received his vows politely; thus in a slight degree I 
tried to make amends for the opposition his love met with 
in my heart. 

EL. But since you have been informed he previously 
loved another, your mind ought to be at rest. Before he 
loved you, Donna Inez had received the homage of his 
heart. As she is your most intimate friend, and has told 
you this secret, you are free to bestow your love upon 
whom you wish, and cover your refusal to listen to him 
under the guise of friendship for her. 

ELV. It is true, I ought to be pleased with the news of 
Don Silvio's faithlessness, because my heart, that was tor- 
mented by his love, is now at liberty to reject it ; can 
justly refuse his addresses, and, without scruple, grant its 
favours to another. But what delight can my heart feel, 
if it suffers severely from other pangs; if the continual 
weakness of a jealous prince receives my tenderness with 
disdain, compels me justly to give way to anger, and thus 
to break off all intercourse between us? 

EL. But as he has never been told that you love him, 
how can he be guilty if he disbelieves in his happiness? 
And does not that which could flatter his rival's expecta- 
tions warrant him to suspect your affection? 

ELV. No, no ; nothing can excuse the strange madness 
of his gloomy and unmanly jealousy; I have told him but 
too clearly, by my actions, that he can indeed flatter him- 
self with the happiness of being beloved. Even if we do 
not speak, there are other interpreters which clearly lay 
bare our secret feelings. A sigh, a glance, a mere blush, 
silence itself, is enough to show the impulses of a heart. 
In love, everything speaks : in a case like this, the smallest 
glimmer ought to throw a great light upon such a subject, 
since the honour which sways our sex forbids us ever to 
discover all we feel. I have, I own, endeavoured so to 
guide my conduct, that I should behold their merits with 
an unprejudiced eye. But how vainly do we strive against 
our inclinations ! How easy is it to perceive the difference 
between those favours that are bestowed out of mere po- 
liteness, and such as spring from the heart! The first 


seem always forced ; the latter, alas ! are granted without 
thinking, like those pure and limpid streams which spon- 
taneously flow from their native sources. Though the 
feelings of pity I showed for Don Silvio moved the Prince, 
yet I unwittingly betrayed their shallowness, whilst my 
very looks, during this torture, always told him more than 
I desired they should. 

EL. Though the suspicions of that illustrious lover have 
no foundation for you tell me so they at least prove 
that he is greatly smitten : some would rejoice at what you 
complain of. Jealousy may be odious when it proceeds 
from a love which displeases us ; but when we return that 
love, such feelings should delight us. It is the best way 
in which a lover can express his passion ; the more jealous 
he is the more we ought to love him. Therefore since in 
your soul a magnanimous Prince . . . 

ELV. Ah ! do not bring forward such a strange maxim. 
Jealousy is always odious and monstrous ; nothing can 
soften its injurious attacks ; the dearer the object of our 
love is to us, the more deeply we feel its offensive attempts. 
To see a passionate Prince, losing every moment that re- 
spect with which love inspires its real votaries ; to see him, 
when his whole mind is a prey to jealousy, finding fault 
either with what I like or dislike, and explaining every 
look of mine in favour of a rival !* No, no ! such suspi- 
cions are too insulting, and I tell you my thoughts with- 
out disguise. I love Don Garcia ; he alone can fascinate 
a generous heart ; his courage in Leon has nobly proved 
his passion for me ; he dared on my account the greatest 
dangers, freed me from the toils of cowardly tyrants, and 
protected me against the horrors of an unworthy alliance 
by placing me within these strong walls. Nor will I deny 
but that I should have regretted that I owed my deliver- 
ance to any other ; for an enamoured heart feels an ex- 
treme pleasure, Eliza, in being under some obligations to 
the object beloved ; its faint flame becomes stronger and 
brighter when it thinks it can discharge them by granting 
some favours. Yes, I am charmed that he assisted me and 

* Moliere has expressed the same thoughts differently in The Bores, 
Act ii. scene 4. 


risked his life for me, for this seems to give his passion a right 
of conquest ; I rej'oice that the danger I was in threw me into 
his hands. If common reports be true, and Heaven should 
grant my brother's return, I wish fervently, and with all 
my heart, that his arm may aid my brother to recover his 
throne, and punish a traitor ; that his heroic valour may 
be successful, and thus deserve my brother's utmost grati- 
tude. But for all this, if he continues to rouse my anger; 
if he does not lay aside his jealousy, and obey me in what- 
ever I command, he in vain aspires to the hand of Donna 
Elvira. Marriage can never unite us ; for I abhor bonds, 
which, undoubtedly, would then make a hell upon earth 
for both of us. 

EL. Although one may hold different opinions, the 
Prince, Madam, should conform himself to your desires ; 
they are so clearly set down in your note that, when he 
sees them thus explained, he ... 

ELV. This letter, Eliza, shall not be employed for such 
a purpose. It will be better to tell him what I think of 
his conduct. When we favor a lover by writing to him, 
we leave in his hands too flagrant proofs of our inclina- 
tion. Therefore take care that that letter is not delivered 
to the Prince. 

EL. Your will is law ; yet I cannot help wondering 
that Heaven has made people's minds so unlike, and that 
what some consider an insult should be viewed with a dif- 
ferent eye by others. As for me I should think myself 
very fortunate if I had a lover who could be jealous, for his 
uneasiness would give me satisfaction. That which often 
vexes me is to see Don Alvarez give himself no concern 
about me. 

ELV. We did not think he was so near us. Here he 


ELV. Your return surprises me. What tidings do you 
bring ? Is Don Alphonso coming, and when may we ex- 
pect him ? 

ALV. Yes, Madam; the time has arrived when your 
brother, brought up in Castile, will get his own again. 
Hitherto, the cautious Don Louis, to whom the late King, 


on his death-bed, entrusted the care of Don Alphonso, 
has concealed his rank from every one, in order to save 
him from the fury of the traitor Mauregat. Though the 
miserable but successful tyrant has often inquired after 
him, under pretence of restoring him to the throne, yet 
Don Louis, who is full of prudence, would never trust to 
Mauregat's pretended feelings for justice, with which he 
tried to allure him. But as the people became enraged at 
the violence which a usurper would have offered you, 
generous old Don Louis thought it time to try what could 
be done after twenty years' expectation. He has sounded 
Leon ; his faithful emissaries have sought to influence 
the minds of great and small. Whilst Castile was arming 
ten thousand men to restore that Prince so wished for by 
his people, Don Louis caused a report to be noised abroad 
that the renowned Don Alphonso was coming, but that 
he would not produce him save at the head of an army, 
and completely ready to launch the avenging thunder- 
bolts at the vile usurper's head. Leon is besieged, and 
Don Silvio himself commands the auxiliary forces, with 
which his father aids you. 

ELV. We may flatter ourselves that our expectations will 
be realized, but I am afraid my brother will owe Don Silvio 
too heavy a debt. 6 

ALV. But, Madam, is it not strange that, notwithstand- 
ing the storm which the usurper of your throne hears 
growling over his head, all the advices from Leon agree 
that he is going to marry the Countess Inez ? 

ELV. By allying himself to the high-born maiden, he 
hopes to obtain the support of her powerful family. I am 
rather uneasy that of late I have heard nothing of her. But 
she has always shown an inveterate dislike to that tyrant. 

EL. Feelings of honour and tenderness will cause her to 
refuse the marriage they urge upon her, for . . . 

ALV. The Prince is coming here. 


GARC. I come, Madam to rejoice with you in the good 

6 Donna Elvira is afraid that Don Alphonso will owe Don Silvio a 
debt so heavy, that he will only be able to repay it by the gift of her hand. 


tidings you have just heard. Your brother, who threatens 
a tyrant stained with crimes, allows me to hope that my 
love may one day be returned, and offers to my arm an 
opportunity to acquire glory in fresh dangers for the sake 
of your lovely eyes. If Heaven proves propitious I will 
gain amidst these dangers a victory, which divine justice 
owes to you, which will lay treachery at your feet, and 
restore to your family its former dignity. But what pleases 
me still more amidst these cherished expectations is that 
Heaven restores you this brother to be King ; for now my 
love may openly declare itself, without being accused of 
seeking to gain a crown whilst striving to obtain your hand. 
Yes, my heart desires nothing more than to show before 
the whole world that in you it values but yourself; if I 
may say so without giving offence, a hundred times have 
I wished you were of less rank. Loving you as I do I 
could have desired that your divine charms had fallen to 
the lot of some one born in a humbler station, that I 
might unselfishly proffer my heart, and thus make amends 
to you for Heaven's injustice, so that you might owe to my 
love the homage due to your birth.' But since Heaven has 
forestalled me, and deprives me of the privilege of proving 
my love, do not take it amiss that my amorous flames look 
for some slight encouragement when I shall have killed the 
tyrant, whom I am ready to encounter; suffer me by noble 
services favourably to dispose the minds of a brother and 
of a whole nation towards me. 

ELY. I know, Prince, that by avenging our wrongs you 
can make a hundred deeds of daring speak for your love. 
But the favour of a brother and the gratitude of a nation 
are not sufficient to reward you ; Elvira is not to be ob- 
tained by such efforts ; there is yet a stronger obstacle to 

GARC. Yes, Madam, I know what you mean. I know 
very well that my heart sighs in vain for you ; neither do 
I ignore the powerful obstacle against my love, though 
you name it not. 

ELV. Often we hear badly when we think we hear well. 

6 The sentence from " Yes, my heart," &c., until " your birth " is 
nearly the same as the words addressed by Alceste to Celimene in the 
Misanthrope, Act iv. Sc. 3 (see Vol. II.) 


Too much ardour, Prince, may lead us into mistakes. 
But since I must speak, I will. Do you wish to know 
how you can please me, and when you may entertain any 
hope ? 

GARC. I should consider this, Madam, a very great 

ELV. When you know how to love as you ought. 

GARC. Alas! Madam, does there exist anything under 
the canopy of heaven that yields not to the passion with 
which your eyes have inspired me? 

ELY. When your passion displays nothing at which the 
object of your love can feel offended. 

GARC. That is its greatest study. 

ELV. When you shall cease to harbour mean unworthy 
sentiments of me. 

GARC. I love you to adoration. 

ELV. When you have made reparation for your unjust 
suspicions, and when you finally banish that hideous mon- 
ster which poisons your love with its black venom; that 
jealous and whimsical temper which mars, by its out- 
breaks, the love you offer, prevents it from ever being 
favourably listened to, and arms me, each time, with just 
indignation against it. 

GARC. Alas, Madam, it is true, that, notwithstanding 
my utmost effort, some trifling jealousy lingers in my 
heart; that a rival, though distant from your divine 
charms, disturbs my equanimity. Whether it be whimsi- 
cal or reasonable, I always imagine that you are uneasy 
when he is absent, and that in spite of my attentions, 
your sighs are continually sent in search of that too happy 
rival. But if such suspicions displease you, alas, you may 
easily cure them ; their removal, which I hope for, de- 
pends more on you than on me. Yes, with a couple of 
love-breathing words you can arm my soul against 
jealousy, and disperse all the horrors with which that 
monster has enshrouded it, by encouraging me to enter- 
tain some expectation of a successful issue. Deign there- 
fore to remove the doubt that oppresses me ; and, amidst 
so many trials, let your charming lips grant me the assur- 
ance that you love me, an assurance, of which, I know, I 
am utterly unworthy. 


ELY. Prince, your suspicions completely master you. 
The slightest intimation of a heart should be understood ; 
it does not reciprocate a passion that continually adjures 
the object beloved to explain herself more clearly. The 
first agitation displayed by our soul ought to satisfy a 
discreet lover ; if he wishes to make us declare ourselves 
more plainly, he only gives us a reason for breaking our 
promise. If it depended on me alone, I know not whether 
I should choose Don Silvio or yourself; the very wish I 
expressed for you not to be jealous, would have been a 
sufficient hint to any one but you ; I thought this request 
was worded agreeably enough without needing anything 
further. Your love, however, is not yet satisfied, and 
requires a more public avowal. In order to remove any 
scruples, I must distinctly say that I love you ; perhaps 
even, to make more sure of it, you will insist that I must 
swear it too. 

GARC. Well, Madam, I own I am too bold ; I ought to 
be satisfied with everything that pleases you. I desire no 
further information. I believe you feel kindly towards 
me, that my love inspires you even with a little compas- 
sion ; I am happier than I deserve to be. It is over now ; 
I abandon my jealous suspicions ; the sentence which con- 
demns them is very agreeable ; I shall obey the decision 
you so kindly pronounce, and free my heart from their 
unfounded sway. 

ELV. You promise a great deal, Prince, but I very much 
doubt whether you can restrain yourself sufficiently. 

GARC. Ah ! Madam, you may believe me ; it is enough 
that what is promised to you ought always to be kept, 
because the happiness of obeying the being one worships 
ought to render easy the greatest efforts. May Heaven 
declare eternal war against me ; may its thunder strike me 
dead at your feet ; or, what would be even worse than 
death, may your wrath be poured upon me, if ever my 
love descends to such weakness as to fail in the pro- 
mise I have given, if ever any jealous transport of my 
soul . . ! 


ELIZA, A PAGE presenting a letter to Donna Elvira. 

ELV. I was very anxious about this letter, I am very 
much obliged to you ; let the messenger wait. 


ELV. (Low and aside}. I see already by his looks that 
this letter disturbs him. What a wonderfully jealous 
temper he has ! (Aloud}. What stops you, Prince, in the 
midst of your oath. 

GARC. I thought you might have some secret together ; 
I was unwilling to interrupt you. 

ELV. It seems to me that you reply in a much altered 
voice ; I see all of a sudden a certain wildness in your 
looks ; this abrupt change surprises me. What can be the 
cause of it ? May I know ? 

GARC. A sudden sickness at heart. 

ELV. Such illnesses have often more serious conse- 
quences than one believes ; some immediate remedy 
would be necessary; but, tell me, have you often such 

GARC. Sometimes. 

ELV. Alas, weak-minded Prince! Here, let this writ- 
ing cure your distemper; it is nowhere but in the mind. 

GARC. That writing, Madam ! No, I refuse to take it. 
I know your thoughts and what you will accuse me of, 
if. . . 

ELV. Read it, I tell you, and satisfy yourself. 

GARC. That you may afterwards call me weak-minded 
and jealous? No, no, I will prove that this letter gave me 
no umbrage, and though you kindly allow me to read it, 
to justify myself, I will not do so. 

ELV. If you persist in your refusal, I should be wrong to 
compel you; it is sufficient, in short, as I have insisted 
upon it, to let you see whose hand it is. 

GARC. I ought always to be submissive to you ; if it is 
your pleasure I should read it for you, I will gladly do so. 

ELV. Yes, yes, Prince, here it is ', you shall read it for 


GARC. I only do so, Madam, in obedience to your com- 
mands, and I may say . . . 

ELV. Whatever you please ; but pray make haste. 

GARC. It comes from Donna Inez, I perceive. 

ELV. It does, and I am glad of it, both for your sake 
and mine. 

GARC. (Reads). " In spite of all that I do to show my 
contempt for the tyrant, he persists in his love for me; the 
more effectually to encompass his designs, he has, since your 
absence, directed against me all that violence with which he 
pursued the alliance between yourself and his son. Those 
who perhaps have the right to command me, and who are in- 
spired by base motives of false honour, all approve this un- 
worthy proposal. I do not know yet where my persecution 
will end; but I will die sooner than give my consent. May 
you, fair Elvira, be happier in your fate than lam. DONNA 
INEZ." A lofty virtue fortifies her mind. 

ELV. I will go and write an answer to this illustrious 
friend. Meanwhile, Prince, learn not to give way so 
readily to what causes you alarm. I have calmed your 
emotion by enlightening you, and the whole affair has 
passed off quietly ; but, to tell you the truth, a time may 
come when I might entertain other sentiments. 

GARC. What? you believe then . . . 

ELV. I believe what I ought. Farewell, remember 
what I tell you ; if your love for me be really so great as 
you pretend, prove it as I wish. 

GARC. Henceforth this will be my only desire; and 
sooner than fail in it, I will lose my life. 


EL. To speak my mind freely to you, I am not much 
astonished at anything the Prince may do ; for it is very 
natural, and I cannot disapprove of it, that a soul in- 
flamed by a noble passion should become exasperated by 
jealousy, and that frequent doubts should cross his mind : 
but what surprises me, Don Lopez, is to hear that you 
keep alive his suspicions ; that you are the contriver of 


them; that he is sad only because you wish it, jealous only 
because he looks at everything with your eyes. I repeat 
it, Don Lopez, I do not wonder that a man who is greatly 
in love becomes suspicious. But, that a man who is not 
in love should have all the anxieties of one who is jealous 
this is a novelty that belongs to none but you. 

LOP. Let everybody comment on my actions as much 
as they please. Each man regulates his conduct according 
to the goal he wishes to reach ', since my love was re- 
jected by you, I court the favour of the Prince. 

EL. But do you not know that no favour will be granted 
to him if you continue to maintain him in this disposi- 
tion ? 

LOP. Pray, charming Eliza, was it ever known that 
those about great men minded anything but their own in- 
terest, or that a perfect courtier wished to increase the 
retinue of those same grandees by adding to it a censor 
of their faults ? Did he ever trouble himself if his con- 
versation harmed them, provided he could but derive 
some benefit ? All the actions of a courtier only tend to 
get into their favour, to obtain a place in as short a time 
as possible ; the quickest way to acquire their good graces 
is by always flattering their weaknesses, by blindly ap- 
plauding what they have a mind to do, and by never 
countenancing anything that displeases them. That is 
the true secret of standing well with them. Good advice 
causes a man to be looked upon as a troublesome fellow, 
so that he no longer enjoys that confidence which he had 
secured by an artful subservience. In short, we always 
see that the art of courtiers aims only at taking advantage 
of the foibles of the great, at cherishing their errors, and 
never advising them to do things which they dislike. 

EL. These maxims may do well enough for a time : but 
reverses of fortune have to be dreaded. A gleam of light 
may at last penetrate the minds of the deceived nobles, 
who will then justly avenge themselves on all such flat- 
terers for the length of time their glory has been dimmed. 
Meanwhile I must tell you that you have been a little too 
frank in your explanations ; if a true account of your 
motives were laid before the Prince, it would but ill serve 
you in making your fortune. 


LOP. I could deny having told you those truths I have 
just unfolded, and that without being gainsaid ; but I 
know very well that Eliza is too discreet to divulge this 
private conversation. After all, what I have said is known 
by everyone ; what actions of mine have I to conceal ? 
A downfall may be justly dreaded when we employ arti- 
fices or treachery. But what have I to fear ? I, who 
cannot be taxed with anything but complaisance, who by 
my useful lessons do but follow up the Prince's natural in- 
clination for jealousy. His soul seems to live upon sus- 
picions ; and so I do my very best to find him opportuni- 
ties for his uneasiness, and to look out on all sides if any- 
thing has happened that may furnish a subject for a secret 
conversation. When I can go to him, with a piece of 
news that may give a deadly blow to his repose, then he 
loves me most : I can see him listen eagerly and swallow 
the poison, amd thank me for it too, as if I had brought 
him news of some victory which would make him happy 
and glorious for all his life. But my rival draws near, 
and so I leave you together ; though I have renounced all 
hope of ever gaining your affection, yet it would pain me 
not a little to see you prefer him to me before my face ; 
therefore I will avoid such a mortification 7 as much as 
I can. 

EL. All judicious lovers should do the same. 


ALV. At last we have received intelligence that the 
king of Navarre has this very day declared himself favour- 
able to the Prince's love, and that a number of fresh troops 
will reinforce his army, ready to be employed in the ser- 
vice of her to whom his wishes aspire. As for me, I am 
surprised at their quick movements . . . but . . . 

GARC. What is the Princess doing ? 
EL. I think, my Lord, she is writing some letters ; but 
I shall let her know that you are here. 

7 Don Lopez bears a distant resemblance to "honest lago" in Othello, 
though Moliere has only faintly shadowed forth what Shakespeare has 
worked out in so masterly a, manner. 


GARC. I will wait till she has done. 


Being on the point of seeing her, I feel my soul shaken 
by an unusual emotion ; fear as well as excess of feeling 
makes me suddenly tremble. Take heed, Don Garcia, lest 
a blind caprice lead you to some precipice, and lest the 
great disorder of your mind cause you to yield a little too 
much to your senses. Consult reason, take her for your 
guide ; see whether your suspicions are well founded ; do 
not reject their voice, but yet take care not to believe them 
too readily, otherwise they might deceive you, and your 
first outburst might pass all bounds. Read carefully again 
this half of a letter. Ha, what would I, whose heart is 
full of agony, not give for the other half of it ? But, after 
all, what do I say ? This part suffices and is more than 
enough to convince me of my misfortune : 

" Though your rival . . 
you ought still . . . 
It is in your power to . . . 
the greatest obstacle . . . 
I feel very grateful . . . 
for rescuing me from the hands . . . 
his love, his homage . . . 
but his jealousy is , . . 
Remove, therefore, from your love . . . 
deserve the regards . . . 
and when one endeavours . . . 
do not persist . . . 

Yes, my destiny is sufficiently explained by these words, 
which clearly show that she wrote what she felt ; the im- 
perfect meaning of this ominous letter does not require 
the other half to be clear to me. Let us, however, act 
gently at first ; let us conceal our deep emotion from this 
faithless woman ; let us employ against her the same arts 
she makes use of. Here she comes. Reason, be thou 
mistress of my soul, and for some time at least, keep me 
from giving way to my passion ! 

ELV. I trust you will pardon me for letting you wait. 


GARC. (In a low -voice and aside). How well she dis- 

ELY. We have just now heard that the King, your 
father, approves your designs, and consents that his son 
should restore us to our subjects. I am extremely re- 
joiced at this. 

GARC. Yes, Madam, and my heart is rejoiced at it too ; 
but ... 

ELV. The tyrant will doubtless find it difficult to defend 
himself against the thunderbolts which from all sides 
threaten him. I flatter myself that the same courage 
which was able to deliver me from the brutal rage of the 
usurper, to snatch me out of his hands, and place me safe 
within the walls of Astorga, will conquer the whole of 
Leon, and, lay its noble efforts cause the head of the tyrant 
to fall. 

GARC. A few days more will show if I am successful. 
But pray let us proceed to some other subject of conversa- 
tion. If you do not consider me too bold, will you kindly 
tell me, Madam, to whom you have written since fate led 
us hither ? 

ELV. Why this question, and whence this anxiety ? 

GARC. Out of pure curiosity, Madam, that is all. 

ELV. Curiosity is the daughter of jealousy. 

GARC. No ; it is not at all what you imagine ; your com- 
mands have sufficiently cured that disease. 

ELV. Without endeavouring further to discover what 
may be the reasons for your inquiry, I have written twice 
to the Countess Inez at Leon, and as often to the Mar- 
quis, Don Louis, at Burgos. Does this answer put your 
mind at rest ? 

GARC. Have you written to no one else, Madam ? 

ELV. No, certainly, and your questions astonish me. 

GARC. Pray consider well, before you make such a state- 
ment, because people forget sometimes, and thus perjure 

ELV. I cannot perjure myself in what I have stated. 

GARC. You have, however, told a very great falsehood. 

ELV. Prince ! 

GARC. Madam! 

ELV. Heavens ; what is the meaning of this ! Speak .' 
Have you lost your senses ? 


GARC. Yes, yes, I lost them, when to my misfortune I 
beheld you, and thus took the poison which kills me ; when 
I thought to meet with some sincerity in those treacherous 
charms that bewitched me. 

ELV. What treachery have you to complain of? 

GARC. Oh ! how double-faced she is ! how well she 
knows to dissimulate ! But all means for escape will fail 
you. Cast your eyes here, and recognize your writing. 8 
Without having seen the other part of this letter, it is easy 
enough to discover for whom you employ this style. 

ELV. And this is the cause of your perturbation of 

GARC. Do you not blush on beholding this writing? 

ELV. Innocence is not accustomed to blush. 

GARC. Here indeed we see it oppressed. You disown 
this letter because it is not signed. 

ELV. Why should I disown it, since I wrote it? 9 

GARC. It is something that you are frank enough to own 
your handwriting; but I will warrant that it was a note 
written to some indifferent person, or at least that the 
tender sentiments it contains were intended only for some 
lady friend or relative. 

ELV. No, I wrote it to a lover, and, what is more, to one 
greatly beloved. 

GARC. And can I, O perfidious woman . . . ? 

ELV. Bridle, unworthy Prince, the excess of your base 
fury. Although you do not sway my heart, and I am 
accountable here to none but myself, yet for your sole 
punishment I will clear myself from the crime of which 
you so insolently accuse me. You shall be undeceived ; do 
not doubt it. I have my defence at hand. You shall be 
fully enlightened ; my innocence shall appear complete. 
You yourself shall be the judge in your own cause, and 
pronounce your own sentence. 

8 The lines, "Heavens! what is the meaning of this?" till "and re- 
cognize your writing," have been employed again by Moliere in the 
Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3, (see vol. II). The misanthrope Alceste 
has also in his hand the written proofs of the faithlessness of the object 
of his love : but his suspicions are well founded, whilst those of Don 
Garcia are inspired only by jealousy. 

The words, " And this is the cause " until " since I wrote it," are , with 
a few slight alterations, found also in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3. 


GARC. I cannot understand such mysterious talk. 
ELV. You shall soon comprehend it to your cost. Eliza 
come hither ! 


EL. Madam. 

ELV. (to Don Garcia). At least observe well whether I 
make use of any artifice to deceive you ; whether by a 
single glance or by any warning gesture I seek to ward off 
this sudden blow. (To Eliza). Answer me quickly, 
where did you leave the letter I wrote just now ? 

EL. Madam, I confess I am to blame. This letter was 
by accident left on my table ; but I have just been in- 
formed that Don Lopez, coming into my apartment, took, 
as he usually does, the liberty to pry everywhere, and 
found it. As he was unfolding it, Leonora wished to 
snatch it from him before he had read anything ; and 
whilst she tried to do this, the letter in dispute was torn 
in two pieces, with one of which Don Lopez quickly went 
away, in spite of all she could do. 

ELV. Have you the other half? 

EL. Yes ; here it is. 

ELV. Give it to me. (To Don Garcia). We shall see 
who is to blame ; join the two parts together, and then 
read it aloud. I wish to hear it. 

GARC. " To Don Garcia." Ha ! 

ELV. Go on ! Are you thunderstruck at the first 

GARC. (Reads). " Though your rival, Prince, disturbs 
your mind, you ought still to fear yourself more than him. It 
is in your power to destroy now the greatest obstacle your 
passion has to encounter. I feel very grateful to Don Garcia 
for rescuing me from the hands of my bold ravishers ; his 
love, his homage delights me much ; but his jealousy is odi- 
ous to me. Remove, therefore, from your love that foul 
blemish; deserve the regards that are bestowed upon it; and 
when one endeavours to make you happy, do not persist in re- 
maining miserable. ' ' 

ELV. Well, what do you say to this ? 

GARC. Ah ! Madam, I say that on reading this I am 
quite confounded ; that I see the extreme injustice of my 


complaints, and that no punishment can be severe enough 
for me. 

ELV. Enough ! Know that if I desired that you should 
read the letter, it was only to contradict everything I stated 
in it ; to unsay a hundred times all that you read there in 
your favour. Farewell, Prince. 

GARC. Alas, Madam ! whither do you fly ? 

ELV. To a spot where you shall not be, over-jealous 

GARC. Ah, Madam, excuse a lover who is wretched 
because, by a wonderful turn of fate, he has become guilty 
towards you, and who, though you are now very wroth 
with him, would have deserved greater blame if he had 
remained innocent. For, in short, can a heart be truly 
enamoured which does not dread as well as hope ? And 
could you believe I loved you if this ominous letter had 
not alarmed me ; if I had not trembled at the thunder- 
bolt which I imagined had destroyed all my happiness? 
I leave it to yourself to judge if such an accident would 
not have caused any other lover to commit the same error ; 
if I could disbelieve, alas, a proof which seemed to me so 
clear ! 

ELV. Yes, you might have done so; my feelings so 
clearly expressed ought to have prevented your suspicions. 
You had nothing to fear; if some others had had such a 
pledge they would have laughed to scorn the testimony 
of the whole world. 

GARC. The less we deserve a happiness which has been 
promised us, the greater is the difficulty we feel in believ- 
ing in it. A destiny too full of glory seems unstable, and 
renders us suspicious. As for me, who think myself so 
little deserving of your favours, I doubted the success of 
my rashness. 19 I thought that, finding yourself in a place 
under my command, you forced yourself to be somewhat 
kind to me; that, disguising to me your severity . . . 

ELV. Do you think that I could stoop to so cowardly an 
action? Am I capable of feigning so disgracefully; of 

10 Moliere has with a few alterations placed this phrase beginning with 
" the less," and ending with " my rashness," in the mouth of Tartuffe in. 
the play of the same name, Act iv., Sc. 5, (see Vol. II). 

VOL. I. P 


acting from motives of servile fear ; of betraying my sen- 
timents; and, because I am in your power, of concealing 
my contempt for you under a pretence of kindness? 
Could any consideration for my own reputation so little 
influence me? Can you think so, and dare to tell it me? 
Know that this heart cannot debase itself; that nothing 
under Heaven can compel it to act thus: if it has com- 
mitted the great error of showing you some kindness, of 
which you were not worthy, know that in spite of your 
power, it will be able now to show the hatred it feels for 
you, to defy your rage, and convince you that it is not 
mean, nor ever will be so. 

GARC. U Well, I cannot deny that I am guilty: but I beg 
pardon of your heavenly charms, I beg it for the sake of 
the most ardent love that two beautiful eyes ever kindled 
in a human soul. But if your wrath cannot be appeased ; 
if my crime be beyond forgiveness; if you have no regard 
for the love that caused it, nor for my heart-felt repent- 
ance, then one propitious blow shall end my life, and free 
me from these unbearable torments. No, think not that 
having displeased you, I can live for one moment under 
your wrath. Even whilst we are speaking, my heart sinks 
under gnawing remorse ; were a thousand vultures cruelly 
to wound it, they could not inflict greater pangs. Tell 
me, madam, if I may hope for pardon ; if not, then this 
sword shall instantly, in your sight, by a well-directed 
thrust, pierce the heart of a miserable wretch ; that heart, 
that irresolute heart, whose weakness has so deeply of- 
fended your excessive kindness, too happy if in death this 
just doom efface from your memory all remembrance of 
its crime, and cause you to think of my affection without 
dislike. This is the only favour my love begs of you. 

ELV. Oh ! too cruel Prince ! 

GARC. Speak, Madam. 

ELV. Must I still preserve some kind feelings for you, 
and suffer myself to be affronted by so many indignities? 

GARC. A heart that is in love can never offend, and 
finds excuses for whatever love may do. 

11 This scene beginning from " Well," until the end, has, with several 
alterations rendered necessary by change of metre, been treated by Mo- 
liere in his Amphitryon, Act ii., Sc. 6, (see Vol. II.). 


ELV. Love is no excuse for such outbursts. 

GARC. Love communicates its ardour to all emotions, 
and the stronger it is, the more difficulty it finds . . . 

ELV. No, speak to me no more of it ; you deserve my 

GARC. You hate me then ? 

ELV. I will at least endeavour to do so. But alas ! I 
am afraid it will be in vain, and that all the wrath which 
your insults have kindled, will not carry my revenge 
so far. 

GARC. Do not endeavour to punish me so severely, since 
I offer to kill myself to avenge you ; pronounce but the 
sentence and I obey immediately. 

ELV. One who cannot hate cannot wish anybody to die. 

GARC. I cannot live unless you kindly pardon my rash 
errors ; resolve either to punish or to forgive. 

ELV. Alas ! I have shown too clearly my resolution ; do 
we not pardon a criminal when we tell him we cannot 
hate him ? 

GARC. Ah ! this is too much. Suffer me, adorable 
Princess . . . 

ELV. Forbear, I am angry with myself for my weakness. 

GARC. {Alone). At length I am . . . 


LOP. My Lord, I have to communicate to you a secret 
that may justly alarm your love. 

GARC. Do not talk to me of secrets or alarms, whilst I 
am in such a blissful rapture. After what has just taken 
place, I ought not to listen to any suspicions. The un- 
equalled kindness of a divine object ought to shut my 
ears against all such idle reports. Do not say anything 

LOP. My Lord, I shall do as you wish ; my only care 
in this business was for you. I thought that the secret I 
just discovered ought to be communicated with all dili- 
gence ; but since it is your pleasure I should not mention 
it, I shall change the conversation, and inform you that 
every family in Leon threw off the mask, as soon as the 
report spread that the troops of Castile were approaching; 


the lower classes especially show openly such an affection 
for their true King, that the tyrant trembles for fear. 

GARC. Castile, however, shall not gain the victory with- 
out our making an attempt to share in the glory; our 
troops may also be able to terrify Mauregat. But what 
secret would you communicate to me? Let us hear it? 

LOP. My Lord, I have nothing to say. 12 

GARC. Come, come, speak, I give you leave. 

LOP. My Lord, your words have told me differently ; 
and since my news may displease you, I shall know for 
the future how to remain silent. 

GARC. Without further reply, I wish to know your 

LOP. Your commands must be obeyed ; but, my Lord, 
duty forbids me to explain such a secret in this place. 
Let us go hence, and I shall communicate it to you; with- 
out taking anything lightly for granted, you yourself shall 
judge what you ought to think of it. 


ELY. What say you, Eliza, to this unaccountable weak- 
ness in the heart of a Princess ? What do you say when 
you see me so quickly forego my desire for revenge, and, 
in spite of so much publicity, weakly and shamefully par- 
don so cruel an outrage. 

EL. I say, Madam, that an insult from a man we love 
is doubtless very difficult to bear ; but if there be none 
which makes us sooner angry, so there is none which we 
sooner pardon. If the man we love is guilty, and throws 
himself at our feet, he triumphs over the rash outbreak of 
the greatest anger; so much the more easily, Madam, if 
the offence comes from an excess of love. However great 
your displeasure may have been, I am not astonished to 
see it appeased ; I know the power which, in spite of your 
threats, will always pardon such crimes. 

ELV. But know, Eliza, however great the power of my 
love may be, I have blushed for the last time ; if hence- 
forth the Prince gives me fresh cause for anger, he must no 

M Compare lago's reticence in Shakespeare's Othello (iii. 3). 


longer look for pardon. I swear, that in such a case, I 
will never more foster tender feelings for him: for in 
short, a mind with ever so little pride is greatly ashamed 
to go back from its word, and often struggles gallantly 
against its own inclinations ; it becomes stubborn for 
honour's sake, and sacrifices everything to the noble pride 
of keeping its word. Though I have pardoned him now, 
do not consider this a precedent for the future. What- 
ever fortune has in store for me, I cannot think of giving 
my hand to the Prince of Navarre, until he has shown that 
he is completely cured of those gloomy fits which unsettle 
his reason, and has convinced me, who am the greatest 
sufferer by this disease, that he will never insult me again 
by a relapse. 

EL. But how can the jealousy of a lover be an insult 
to us? 

ELV. Is there one more deserving of our wrath ? And 
since it is with the utmost difficulty we can resolve to con- 
fess our love; since the strict honour of our sex at all 
times strongly opposes such a confession, ought a lover to 
doubt our avowal, and should he not be punished? Is he 
not greatly to blame in disbelieving that which is never 
said but after a severe struggle with one's self? 13 

EL. As for me, I think that a little mistrust on such an 
occasion should not offend us; and that it is dangerous, 
Madam, for a lover to be absolutely persuaded that he is 
beloved. If ... 

ELV. Let us argue no more. Every person thinks dif- 
ferently. I am offended by such suspicions; and, in spite 
of myself, I am conscious of something which forebodes an 
open quarrel between the Prince and me, and which, not- 
withstanding his great qualities .... But Heavens! 
Don Silvio of Castile in this place! 


name of Don Silvio, ELIZA. 

ELV. Ah ! my Lord, what chance has brought you here? 
ALPH. I know, Madam, that my arrival must surprise 

1S The words " since it is" until " one's self have been used by Molidre 
with some slight alteration in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3, (see 
vol. II.) 


you. To enter quietly this town, to which the access has 
become difficult through the orders of a rival, and to have 
avoided being seen by the soldiers, is an event you did 
not look for. But if, in coming here, I have surmounted 
some obstacles, the desire of seeing you is able to effect 
much greater miracles. My heart has felt but too severely 
the blows of merciless fate which kept me away from you ; 
to allay the pangs which nearly kill me, I could not refuse 
myself some moments to behold in secret your inestimable 
person. I come, therefore, to tell you that I return 
thanks to Heaven, that you are rescued from the hands of 
an odious tyrant. But, in the midst of that happiness, I 
feel that I shall always be tortured with the thought that 
envious fate deprived me of the honour of performing such 
a noble deed, and has unjustly given to my rival the 
chance of venturing his life pleasantly to render you so 
great a service. Yes, Madam, my readiness to free you 
from your chains was undoubtedly equal to his; I should 
have gained the victory for you, if Heaven had not robbed 
me of that honour. 

ELV. I know, my Lord, that you possess a heart capable 
of overcoming the greatest dangers ; I doubt not but this 
generous zeal which incited you to espouse my quarrel, 
would have enabled you, as well as any one else, to over- 
come all base attempts ; but even if you have not per- 
formed this noble deed and you could have done it I 
am already under sufficient obligations to the house of 
Castile. It is well known what a warm and faithful friend 
the Count, your father, was of the late King, and what he 
did for him. After having assisted him until he died, he 
gave my brother a shelter in his states ; full twenty years 
he concealed him, in spite of the cowardly efforts to dis- 
cover him, employed by barbarous and enraged enemies ; 
and now to restore to his brow a crown, in all its splendour, 
you are marching in person against our usurpers. Are you 
not satisfied, and do not these generous endeavours place 
me under strong obligations to you? Would you, my 
Lord, obstinately persist in swaying my whole fate ? Must 
I never receive even the slightest kindness unless from 
you ? Ah ! amidst these misfortunes, which seem to be 
my fate, suffer me to owe also something to another, and 


do not complain that another arm acquired some glory, 
when you were absent. 

ALPH. Yes, Madam, I ought to cease complaining ; you 
are quite right when you tell me so ; we unjustly complain 
of one misfortune, when a much greater threatens to afflict 
us. This succour from a rival is a cruel mortification to 
me : but, alas ! this is not the greatest of my misfortunes ; 
the blow, the severe blow which crushes me, is to see that 
rival preferred to me. Yes, I but too plainly perceive that 
his greater reputation was the reason that his love was 
preferred to mine ; that opportunity of serving you, the 
advantage he possessed of signalizing his prowess, that 
brillant exploit which he performed in saving you, was 
nothing but the mere effect of being happy enough to 
please you, the secret power of a wonderful astral influence 
which causes the object you love to become famed. Thus 
all my efforts will be in vain. I am leading an army 
against your haughty tyrants ; but I fulfil this noble duty 
trembling, because I am sure that your wishes will not be 
for me, and that, if they are granted, fortune has in store 
the rnost glorious success for my happy rival. Ah ! Madam, 
must I see myself hurled from that summit of glory I 
expected ; and may I not know what crimes they accuse 
me of, and why I have deserved that dreadful downfall? 

ELY. Before you ask me anything, consider what you 
ought to ask of my feelings. As for this coldness of mine, 
which seems to abash you, I leave it to you, my Lord, to 
answer for me ; for, in short, you cannot be ignorant that 
some of your secrets have been told to me. I believe your 
mind to be too noble and too generous to desire me to do 
what is wrong. Say yourself if it would be just to make 
me reward faithlessness ; whether you can, without the 
greatest injustice, offer me a heart already tendered to 
another ; whether you are justified in complaining, and in 
blaming a refusal which would prevent you from staining 
your virtues with a crime? Yes, my Lord, it is a crime, 
for first love has so sacred a hold on a lofty mind, that it 
would rather lose greatness and abandon life itself, than 
incline to a second love. 14 I have that regard for you which 

14 The words " Yes my Lord " until " second love " are also, with some 
alterations, found in The Blue Stockings, Act iv. Scene 2, (see Vol. III). 


is caused by an appreciation of your lofty courage, your 
magnanimous heart ; but do not require of me more than 
I owe you, and maintain the honour of your first choice. 
In spite of your new love, consider what tender feelings 
the amiable Inez still retains for you ; that she has con- 
stantly refused to be made happy for the sake of an un- 
grateful man ; for such you are, my Lord ! In her great 
love for you, how generously has she scorned the splendour 
of a diadem ! Consider what attempts she has withstood 
for your sake, and restore to her heart what you owe it. 

ALPH. Ah, Madam, do not present her merit to my 
eyes ! Though I am an ungrateful man and abandon her, 
she is never out of my mind; if my heart could tell you 
what it feels for her, I fear it would be guilty towards you. 
Yes, that heart dares to pity Inez, and does not, without 
some hesitation follow the violent love which leads it on. 
I never flattered myself that you would reward my love 
without at the same time breathing some sighs for her ; 
in the midst of these pleasant thoughts my memory still 
casts some sad looks towards my first love, reproaches it- 
self with the effect of your divine charms, and mingles 
some remorse with what I wish most fervently. And 
since I must tell you all, I have done more than this. I 
have endeavoured to free myself from your sway, to break 
your chains, and to place my heart again under the inno- 
cent yoke of its first conqueror. But, after all my en- 
deavours, my fidelity gives way, and I see only one remedy 
for the disease that kills me. Were I even to be forever 
wretched, I cannot forswear my love, or bear the terrible 
idea of seeing you in the arms of another ; that same 
light, which permits me to behold your charms, will shine 
on my corpse, before this marriage takes place. I know 
that I betray an amiable Princess ; but after all, Madam, 
is my heart guilty ? Does the powerful influence which 
your beauty possesses leave the mind any liberty ? Alas ! 
I am much more to be pitied than she ; for, by losing me, 
she loses only a faithless man. Such a sorrow can easily 
be soothed ; but I, through an unparalleled misfortune, 
abandon an amiable lady, whilst I endure all the torments 
of a rejected love. 

ELV. You have no torments but what you yourself ere- 


ate. for our heart is always in our own power. It may 
indeed sometimes show a little weakness ; but, after all, 
reason sways our passions . . . 

so, under the name of Don Silvio. 

GARC. I perceive, Madam, that my coming is somewhat 
unseasonable, and disturbs your conversation. I must 
needs say I did not expect to find such good company 

ELV. Don Silvio's appearance indeed surprised me very 
much ; I no more expected him than you did. 

GARC. Madam, since you say so, I do not believe you 
were forewarned of this visit ; (to Don Silvio) but you, sir, 
ought at least to have honoured us with some notice of 
this rare happiness, so that we should not have been sur- 
prised, but enabled to pay you here those attentions 
which we would have liked to render you. 

ALPH. My Lord, you are so busy with warlike prepara- 
tions, that I should have been wrong had I interrupted 
you. The sublime thoughts of mighty conquerors can 
hardly stoop to the ordinary civilities of the world. 

GARC. But those mighty conquerors, whose warlike 
preparations are thus praised, far from loving secrecy, 
prefer to have witnesses of what they do ; their minds 
trained to glorious deeds from infancy, make them carry 
out all their plans openly ; being always supported by 
lofty sentiments, they never stoop to disguise themselves. 
Do you not compromise your heroic merits in coming 
here secretly, and are you not afraid that people may look 
upon this action as unworthy of you ? 

ALPH. I know not whether any one will blame my con- 
duct because I have made a visit here in secret; but I 
know, Prince, that I never courted obscurity in things 
which require light. Were I to undertake anything against 
you, you should have no cause to remark you were sur- 
prised. It would depend upon yourself to guard against 
it; I would take care to warn you beforehand. Meanwhile 
let us continue upon ordinary terms, and postpone the 
settlement of our quarrels until all other affairs are ar- 
ranged. Let us suppress the outbursts of our rather 


excited passions, and not forget in whose presence we are 
both speaking. 

ELY. (To Don Garcia). Prince, you are in the wrong; 
and his visit is such that you . . . 

GARC. Ah ! Madam, it is too much to espouse his quarrel 
You ought to dissemble a little better when you pretend 
that you were ignorant he was coming here. You defend 
him so warmly and so quickly, that it is no very con- 
vincing proof of his visit being unexpected. 

ELV. Your suspicions concern me so little, that I should 
be very sorry to deny your accusation. 

GARC. Why do you not go farther in your lofty pride, 
and, without hesitation, lay bare your whole heart ? You 
are too prone to dissimulation. Do not unsay anything 
you once said. Be brief, be brief, lay aside all scruples ; 
say that his passion has kindled yours, that his presence 
delights you so much . . . 

ELV. And if I have a mind to love him, can you hinder 
me? Do you pretend to sway my heart, and have I to 
receive your commands whom I must love? Know that 
too much pride has deceived you, if you think you have 
any authority over me ; my mind soars too high to conceal 
my feelings when I am asked to declare them. I will not 
tell you whether the Count is beloved ; but I may inform 
you that I esteem him highly ; his great merits, which I 
admire, deserve the love of a Princess better than you ; 
his passion, the assiduity he displays, impress me very 
strongly ; and if the stern decree of fate puts it out of my 
power to reward him with my hand, I can at least promise 
him never to become a prey to your love. Without 
keeping you any longer in slight suspense, I engage my- 
self to act thus, and I will keep my word. I have opened 
my heart to you, as you desired it, and shown you my real 
feelings. Are you satisfied, and do you not think that, as 
you pressed me, I have sufficiently explained myself? 
Consider whether there remains anything else for me to do 
in order to clear up your suspicions. ( To Don Silvio~). In 
the meanwhile, if you persist in your resolution to please 
me, do not forget, Count, that I have need of your arm, 
and that whatever may be the outbreaks of temper of an ec- 
centric man, you must do your utmost to punish our 


tyrants. In a word, do not listen to what he may say to 
you in his wrath, and in order to induce you so to act, 
remember that I have entreated you. 


GARC. Everything smiles upon you, and you proudly 
triumph oveo* my confusion. It is pleasant to hear the 
glorious confession of that victory which you obtain over a 
rival ; but it must greatly add to your joy to have that 
rival a witness to it. My pretensions, openly set aside, 
enhance all the more the triumph of your love. Enjoy 
this great happiness fully, but know that you have not yet 
gained your point ; I have too just cause to be incensed, 
and many things may perhaps ere then come to pass. 
Despair, when it breaks out, goes a great way; everything 
is pardonable when one has been deceived. If the un- 
grateful woman, out of compliment to your love, has just 
now pledged her word never to be mine, my righteous 
indignation will discover the means of preventing her 
ever being yours. 

ALPH. I do not trouble myself about your antagonism. 
We shall see who will be deceived in his expectations. 
Each by his valour will be able to defend the reputation 
of his love, or avenge his misfortune. But as between 
rivals the calmest mind may easily become irate, and as I 
am unwilling that such a conversation should exasperate 
either of us, I wish, Prince, you would put me in the way 
of leaving this place, so that the restraint I put upon my- 
self may be ended. 

GARC. No, no, do not fear that you will be compelled 
to violate the order you received. Whatever righteous 
wrath is kindled within me, and which no doubt delights 
you, Count, I know when it should break forth. This 
place is open to you ; you can leave it, proud of the ad- 
vantages you have gained. But once more I tell you that 
my head alone can put your conquest into your hands. 

ALPH. When matters shall have reached that point, for- 
tune and our arms will soon end our quarrel. 



ELV. You can go back, Don Alvarez, but do not expect 
that you shall persuade me to forget this offence. The 
wound which my heart received is incurable; all endea- 
vours to heal it make it but fester the more. Does the 
Prince think I shall listen to some simulated compliments? 
No, no, he has made me too angry; and his fruitless re- 
pentance, which led you hither, solicits a pardon which I 
will not grant. 

ALV. Madam, he deserves your pity. Never was any 
offence expiated with more stinging remorse; if you were 
to see his grief, it would touch your heart, and you would 
pardon him. It is well known that the Prince is of an age 
at which we abandon ourselves to first impressions; that 
in fiery youth the passions hardly leave room for reflection. 
Don Lopez, deceived by false tidings, was the cause of his 
master's mistake. An idle report that the Count was 
coming, and that you had some understanding with those 
who admitted him within these walls, was indiscreetly 
bruited about. The Prince believed it ; his love, deceived 
by a false alarm, has caused all this disturbance. But 
being now conscious of his error, he is well aware of your 
innocence; the dismissal of Don Lopez clearly proves 
how great his remorse is for the outburst of which he has 
been guilty. 

ELV. Alas! He too readily believes me innocent; he 
is not yet quite sure of it. Tell him to weigh all things 
well, and not to make too much haste, for fear of being 

ALV. Madam, he knows too well. . . . 

ELV. I pray you, Don Alvarez, let us no longer continue 
a conversation which vexes me : it revives in me some 
sadness, at the very moment that a more important sorrow 
oppresses me. Yes, I have received unexpectedly the news 
of a very great misfortune; the report of the death of the 
Countess Inez has filled my heart with so much wretched- 
ness, that there is no room for any other grief. 

ALV. Madam, these tidings may not be true; but when 


I return, I shall have to communicate to the Prince a cruel 
piece of news. 

ELV. However great his sufferings may be, they fall 
short of what he deserves. 


EL. I waited, Madam until he was gone, to tell you 
something that will free you from your anxiety, since this 
very moment you can be informed what has become of 
Donna Inez. A certain person, whom I do not know, has 
sent one of his servants to ask an audience of you, in 
order to tell you all. 

ELV. Eliza, I must see him ; let him come quickly. 

EL. He does not wish to be seen except by yourself ; 
by this messenger he requests, Madam that his visit may 
take place without any one being present. 

ELV. Well, we shall be alone, I will give orders about 
that, whilst you bring him here. How great is my impa- 
tience just now ! Ye fates, shall these tidings be full of 
joy or grief? 


EL. Where .... 

PED. If you are looking for me, Madam, here I am. 

EL. Where is your master .... 

PED. He is hard by ; shall I fetch him ? 

EL. Desire him to come ; tell him that he is impatiently 
expected, and that no one shall see him. (Alone). I can- 
not unravel this mystery ; all the precautions he takes 
.* . . . But here he is already. 

SCENE IV. DONNA INEZ, in mari s dress, ELIZA. 

EL. My Lord, in order to wait for you, we have pre- 
pared .... But what do I see ? Ah ! Madam, my 
eyes .... 

INEZ. Do not tell any one, Eliza, I am here; allow 
me to pass my sad days in peace. I pretended to kill 
myself. By this feigned death I got rid of all my tyrants ; 
for this is the name my relatives deserve. Thus I have 
avoided a dreadful marriage ; rather than have consented, 
I would really have killed myself. This dress, and the 
report of my death, will keep the secret of my fate from 


all, and secure me against that unjust persecution which 
may even follow me hither. 

EL. My surprise might have betrayed you, if I had seen 
you in public ; but go into this room and put an end to 
the sorrow of the Princess ; her heart will be filled with 
joy when she shall behold you. You will find her there 
alone ; she has taken care to see you by herself, and with- 
out any witnesses. 

EL. Is this not Don Alvarez whom I see ? 
ALV. The Prince sends me to entreat you to use your 
utmost influence in his favour. His life is despaired of, 
unless he obtains by your means, fair Eliza, one moment's 
conversation with Donna Elvira x ; he is beside himself 
. . . but here he is. 


GARC. Alas, Eliza, feel for my great misfortune ; take 
pity on a heart full of wretchedness, and given up to 
the bitterest sorrow. 

EL. I should look upon your torments, my Lord, with 
other eyes than the Princess does ; Heaven or our mood 
is the reason why we judge differently about everything. 
But, as she blames you, and fancies your jealousy to be a 
frightful monster, if I were in your place I should obey 
her wishes, and endeavour to conceal from her eyes what 
offends them. A lover undoubtedly acts wisely when he 
tries to suit his temper to ours ; a hundred acts of polite- 
ness have less influence than this unison, which makes two 
hearts appear as if stirred by the same feelings. This 
similarity firmly unites them ; for we love nothing so 
much as what resembles ourselves. 

GARC. I know it, but alas ! merciless fate opposes such 
a well intentioned plan ; in spite of all my endeavours, it 
continually lays a snare for me, which my heart cannot 
avoid. It is not because the ungrateful woman, in the 
presence of my rival, avowed her love for him, and not for 
me ; and that with such an excess of tenderness, that it is 
impossible I can ever forget her cruelty. But as too much 
ardour led me to believe erroneously that she had intro- 


duced him into this place, I should be very much an- 
noyed if I left upon her mind the impression that she has 
any just cause of complaint against me. Yes, if I am 
abandoned, it shall be only through her faithlessness ; for 
as I have come to beg her pardon for my impetuosity, she 
shall have no excuse for ingratitude. 

EL. Give a little time for her resentment to cool, and 
do not see her again so soon, my Lord. 

GARC. Ah ! if you love me, induce her to see me ; she 
must grant me that permission ; I do not leave this spot 
until her cruel disdain at least .... 

EL. Pray, my Lord, defer this purpose. 

GARC. No ; make no more idle excuses. 

EL. (Aside). The Princess herself must find means to 
send him away, if she says but one word to him. ( To Don 
Garcia). Stay here, my Lord, I shall go and speak to 

GARC. Tell her that I instantly dismissed the person 
whose information was the cause of my offence, that Don 
Lopez shall never . . . 


GARC. {Looking in at the door which Eliza left half 
open). What do I see, righteous Heavens ! Can I believe 
my eyes? Alas! they are, doubtless, but too faithful wit- 
nesses ; this is the most terrible of all my great troubles ! 
This fatal blow completely overwhelms me ! When sus- 
picions raged within me, it was Heaven itself, vaguely but 
ominously foretelling me this horrible disgrace. 

ALV. What have you seen, my Lord, to disturb you? 

GARC. I have seen what I can hardly conceive; the 
overthrow of all creation would less astonish me than this 
accident. It is all over with me ... Fate ... I can- 
not speak. " 

ALV. My Lord, endeavour to be composed. 

GARC. I have seen . . . Vengeance ! O Heaven ! 

ALV. What sudden alarm . . . ? 

18 The words from " What have you seen " till " I cannot speak," are 
with some slight alterations, found in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene a 
(see Vol. II). 


GARC. It will kill me, Don Alvarez, it is but too cer- 

ALV. But, my Lord, what can . . . 

GARC. Alas ! Everything is undone. I am betrayed, I 
am murdered ! 16 A man, (can I say it and still live) a 
man in the arms of the faithless Elvira ! 

ALV. The Princess, my Lord, is so virtuous . . . 

GARC. Ah, Don Alvarez, do not gainsay what I have 
seen. It is too much to defend her reputation, after my 
eyes have beheld so heinous an action. 

ALV. Our passions, my Lord, often cause us to mistake 
a deception for a reality ; to believe that a mind nourished 
by virtue can .... 

GARC. Prithee leave me, Don Alvarez, a counsellor is 
in the way upon such an occasion ; I will take counsel 
only of my wrath. 

ALV. (Aside}. It is better not to answer him when his 
mind is so upset. 

GARC. Oh ! how deeply am I wounded ! But I shall 

see who it is, and punish with my own hand But 

here she comes. Restrain thyself, O rage ! 


ELV. Well, what do you want ? However bold you 
may be, how can you hope for pardon, after the way you 
have behaved ? Dare you again present yourself before 
me ? And what can you say that will become me to hear ? 

GARC. That all the wickedness of this world is not to 
be compared to your perfidy ; that neither fate, hell, nor 
Heaven in its wrath ever produced anything so wicked as 
you are." 

ELV. How is this ? I expected you would excuse your 
outrage ; but I find you use other words. 

GARC. Yes, yes, other words. You did not think that, 
the door being by accident left half open, I should dis- 

16 The last sentences of Don Alvarez and Don Garcia are also found in 
the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 2 (see Vol. II). 

17 The above words of Don Garcia are also in the Misanthrope, Act iv., 
Scene 3 (see Vol. II). 


cover the caitiff in your arms, and thus behold your 
shame, and my doom. Is it the happy lover who has re- 
turned, or some other rival to me unknown ? O Heaven ! 
grant me sufficient strength to bear such tortures. Now, 
blush, you have cause to do so ; your treachery is laid 
bare. This is what the agitations of my mind prognosti- 
cated ; it was not without cause that my love took alarm ; 
my continual suspicions were hateful to you, but I was 
trying to discover the misfortune my eyes have beheld ; 
in spite of all your care, and your skill in dissembling, 
my star foretold me what I had to fear. But do not ima- 
gine that I will bear unavenged the slight of being in- 
sulted ! I know that we have no command over our in- 
clinations ; that love will everywhere spring up spontane- 
ously ; that there is no entering a heart by force, and that 
every soul is free to name its conqueror; therefore I should 
have no reason to complain, if you had spoken to me 
without dissembling ; you would then have sounded the 
death-knell of my hope, but my heart could have blamed 
fortune alone. But to see my love encouraged by a de- 
ceitful avowal on your part, is so treacherous and perfidi- 
ous an action, that it cannot meet with too great a punish- 
ment ; I can allow my resentment to do anything. No, 
no, after such an outrage, hope for nothing. I am no 
longer myself, I am mad with rage. 18 Betrayed on all 
sides, placed in so sad a situation, my love must avenge 
itself to the utmost ; I shall sacrifice everything here to 
my frenzy, and end my despair with my life. 

ELY. I have listened to you patiently ; can I, in my 
turn, speak to you freely ? 

GARC. And by what eloquent speeches, inspired by 
cunning. . . . 

ELY. If you have still something to say, pray continue; 
I am ready to hear you. If not, I hope you will at least 
listen for a few minutes quietly to what I have to say. 

GARC. Well, then, I am listening. Ye Heavens ! what 
patience is mine ! 

18 The whole of this speech, from "Now blush," until "mad with 
rage," has, with few alterations, been used in the Misanthrope, Act iv., 
Scene 3 (see Vol. II). 

VOL. I. Q 


ELY. I restrain my indignation, and will without any 
passion reply to your discourse, so full of fury. 

GARC. It is because you see . . . 

ELV. I have listened to you as long as you pleased ; 
pray do the like to me. I wonder at my destiny, and I 
believe there was never any thing under Heaven so mar- 
vellous, nothing more strange and incomprehensible, and 
nothing more opposed to reason. I have a lover, who 
incessantly does nothing else but persecute me ; who, 
amidst all the expressions of his love, does not entertain 
for me any feelings of esteem ; whose heart, on which my 
eyes have made an impression, does not do justice to the 
lofty rank granted to me by Heaven ; who will not defend 
the innocence of my actions against the slightest semblance 
of false appearances. Yes, I see . . . {Don Garcia shows, 
some signs of impatience, and wishes to speak). Above all, 
do not interrupt me. I see that my unhappiness is so 
great, that one who says he loves me, and who, even if 
the whole world were to attack my reputation, ought to 
claim to defend it against all, is he who is its greatest foe. 
In the midst of his love, he lets no opportunity pass of 
suspecting me ; he not only suspects me, but breaks out 
into such violent fits of jealousy that love cannot suffer 
without being wounded. Far from acting like a lover who 
would rather die than offend her whom he loves, who 
gently complains and seeks respectfully to have explained 
what he thinks suspicious, he proceeds to extremities as 
soon as he doubts, and is full of rage, insults, and threats. 
However, this day I will shut my eyes to everything that 
makes him odious to me, and out of mere kindness afford 
him an opportunity of being reconciled, though he in- 
sulted me anew. This great rage with which you attacked 
me proceeds from what you accidentally saw ; I should 
be wrong to deny what you have seen ; I own you might 
have some reason to be disturbed at it. 

GARC. And is it not . . . 

ELV. Listen to me a little longer, and you shall know 
what I have resolved. It is necessary that our fates should 
be decided. You are now upon the brink of a great pre- 
cipice ; you will either fall over it, or save yourself, ac- 
cording to the resolution you shall take. If, notwith- 


standing what you have seen, Prince, you act towards me 
as you ought, and ask no other proof but that I tell you 
you are wrong ; if you readily comply with my wishes and 
are willing to believe me innocent upon my word alone, 
and no longer yield to every suspicion, but blindly believe 
what my heart tells you ; then this submission, this proof 
of esteem, shall cancel all your offences ; I instantly retract 
what I said when excited by well-founded anger. And if 
hereafter I can choose for myself, without prejudicing 
what I owe to my birth, then my honour, being satisfied 
with the respect you so quickly show, promises to reward 
your love with my heart and my hand. But listen now 
to what I say. If you care so little for my offer as to 
refuse completely to abandon your jealous suspicions ; if 
the assurance which my heart and birth give you do not 
suffice ; if the mistrust that darkens your mind compels 
me, though innocent, to convince you, and to produce a 
clear proof of my offended virtue, I am ready to do so, 
and you shall be satisfied ; but you must then renounce 
me at once, and for ever give up all pretensions to my 
hand. I swear by Him who rules the Heavens, that, 
whatever fate may have in store for us, I will rather die 
than be yours ! I trust these two proposals may satisfy 
you ; now choose which of the two pleases you. 

GARC. Righteous Heaven ! Was there ever anything 
more artful and treacherous ? Could hellish malice pro- 
duce any perfidy so black? Could it have invented a 
more severe and merciless way to embarrass a lover ? Ah ! 
ungrateful woman, you know well how to take advantage 
of my great weakness, even against myself, and to employ 
for your own purposes that excessive, astonishing, and 
fatal love which you inspired. 19 Because you have been 
taken by surprise, and cannot find an excuse, you cun- 
ningly offer to forgive me. You pretend to be good- 
natured, and invent some trick to divert the consequences 
of my vengeance ; you wish to ward off the blow that 
threatens a wretch, by craftily entangling me with your 
offer. Yes, your artifices would fain avert an explanation 

19 The phrase " Ah ! ungrateful woman " until " inspired " is also found 
in the Misanthrope, Act iv.. Scene 3 (see Vol. II). 


which must condemn you ; pretending to be completely 
innocent, you will give convincing proof of it only upon 
such conditions as you think and most fervently trust I 
will never accept ; but you are mistaken if you think to 
surprise me. Yes, yes, I am resolved to see how you can 
defend yourself; by what miracle you can justify the 
horrible sight I beheld, and condemn my anger. 

ELV. Consider that, by this choice, you engage your- 
self to abandon all pretensions to the heart of Donna 

GARC. Be it so ! I consent to everything ; besides, in 
my present condition, I have no longer any pretensions. 

ELV. You will repent the wrath you have displayed. 

GARC. No, no, your argument is a mere evasion; I 
ought rather to tell you that somebody else may perhaps 
soon repent. The wretch, whoever he may be, shall not 
be fortunate enough to save his life, if I wreak my ven- 

ELV. Ha ! This can no longer be borne ; I am too an- 
gry foolishly to preserve longer my good nature. Let me 
abandon the wretch to his own devices, and, since he will 
undergo his doom, let him Eliza ! . . . ( To Don Gar- 
cia]. You compel me to act thus ; but you shall see that 
this outrage will be the last. 


ELV. (To Eliza). Desire my beloved to come forth 
. . . Go, you understand me, say that I wish it. 

GARC. And can I ... 

ELV. Patience, you will be satisfied. 

EL. (Aside, going ouf). This is doubtless some new trick 
of our jealous lover. 

ELV. Take care at least that this righteous indignation 
perseveres in its ardour to the end ; above all, do not 
henceforth forget what price you have paid to see your 
suspicions removed. 


ELV. (To Don Garcia, showing him Donna Inez), 


Thanks to Heaven, behold the cause of the generous sus- 
picions you showed. Look well on that face, and see if 
you do not at once recognize the features of Donna Inez. 

GARC. O Heavens! 

ELV. If the rage which fills your heart prevents you 
from using your eyes, you can ask others, and thus leave 
no room for doubt. It was necessary to pretend she was 
dead, so that she might escape from the tyrant who perse- 
cuted her : she disguised herself in this manner the better 
to profit by her pretended death. (To Donna Inez). You 
will pardon me, Madam, for having consented to betray 
your secrets and to frustrate your expectations ; but I am 
exposed to Don Garcia's insolence ; I am no longer free 
to do as I wish ; my honour is a prey to his suspicions, and 
is every moment compelled to defend itself. This jealous 
man accidentally saw us embrace, and then he behaved 
most disgracefully. (To Don Garcia}. Yes, behold the 
cause of your sudden rage, and the convincing witness 
of my disgrace. Now, like a thorough tyrant, enjoy the 
explanation you have provoked ; but know that I shall 
never blot from my memory the heinous outrage done to 
my reputation. And if ever I forget my oath, may Hea- 
ven shower its severest chastisements upon my head ; may a 
thunderbolt descend upon me if ever I resolve to listen 
to your love. Come, Madam, let us leave this spot, poi- 
soned by the looks of a furious monster ; let us quickly 
flee from his bitter attacks, let us avoid the consequences 
of his mad rage, and animated by just motives, let us 
only pray that we may soon be delivered from his hands. 

INEZ. {To Don Garcia). My Lord, your unjust and vio- 
lent suspicions have wronged virtue itself. 


GARC. What gleam of light clearly shows me my error, 
and, at the same time, involves my senses in such a pro- 
found horror that, dejected, I can see nothing but the 
dreadful object of a remorse that kills me ! Ah ! Don Al- 
varez, I perceive you were in the right ; but hell breathed 
its poison into my soul ; through a merciless fatality I am 
my worst enemy. What does it benefit me to love with 
the most ardent passion that an amorous heart ever dis- 


played, if this love continually engenders suspicions which 
torment me, and thus renders itself hateful ! I must, I 
must justly revenge by my death the outrage committed 
against her divine charms. What advice can I follow now ? 
Alas ! I have lost the only object which made life dear to 
me ! As I relinquished all hope of ever being beloved by 
her, it is much easier to abandon life itself. 

ALV. My Lord . . . 

GARC. No, Don Alvarez, my death is necessary. No 
pains, no arguments shall turn me from it ; yet my 
approaching end must do some signal service to the Prin- 
cess. Animated by this noble desire, I will seek some 
glorious means of quitting life ; perform some mighty 
deed worthy of my love, so that in expiring for her sake 
she may pity me, and say, it was excess of love that was 
my sole offence. Thus she shall see herself avenged ! I 
must attempt a deed of daring, and with my own hand 
give to Mauregat that death he so justly deserves. My 
boldness will forestall the blow with which Castile openly 
threatens him. With my last breath, I shall have the 
pleasure of depriving my rival of performing such a glori- 
ous deed. 

ALV. So great a service, my Lord, may perhaps obliter- 
ate all remembrance of your offence ; but to risk . . . 

GARC. Let me fulfil my duty, and strive to make my 
despair aid in this noble attempt. 



ALV. No, never was anyone more astonished. He had 
just planned that lofty undertaking ; inspired by despair, 
he was all anxiety to kill Mauregat ; eager to show his 
courage, and to reap the advantage of this lawful deed ; 
to endeavour to obtain his pardon, and prevent the mortifi- 
cation of seeing his rival share his glory. As he was leav- 
ing these walls, a too accurate report brought him the sad 
tidings, that the very rival whom he wished to forestall had 
already gained the honour he hoped to acquire : had an- 
ticipated him, in slaying the traitor, and urged the appear- 
ance of Don Alphonso, who will reap the fruits of Don 


Silvio's prompt success, and come to fetch the Princess, 
his sister. It is publicly said and generally believed, that 
Don Alphonso intends to give the hand of his sister as a 
reward for the great services Don Silvio has rendered him, 
by clearing for him a way to the throne. 

EL. Yes, Donna Elvira has heard this news, which has 
been confirmed by old Don Louis, who has sent her 
word that Leon is now awaiting her happy return and that 
of Don Alphonso, and that there, since fortune smiles 
upon her, she shall receive a husband from the hands of 
her brother. It is plain enough from these few words that 
Don Silvio will be her husband. 

ALV. This blow to the Prince's heart . . . 

EL. Will certainly be severely felt. I cannot help pity- 
ing his distress; yet, if I judge rightly, he is still dear to 
the heart he has offended ; it did not appear to me that 
the Princess was well pleased when she heard of Don 
Silvio's success, and of the approaching arrival of her 
brother, or with the letter; but . . . 


ELV. Don Alvarez, let the Prince come hither. {Don 
Alvarez leaves}. Give me leave, Madam, to speak to him 
in your presence concerning this piece of news, which 
greatly surprises me; and do not accuse me of changing 
my mind too quickly, if I lose all my animosity against 
him. His unforeseen misfortune has extinguished it ; he 
is unhappy enough without the addition of my hatred. 
Heaven, who treats him with so much rigour, has but too 
well executed the oaths I took. When my honour was 
outraged, I vowed openly never to be his ; but as I see 
that fate is against him, I think I have treated his love with 
too great severity ; the ill success that follows whatever he 
does for my sake, cancels his offence, and restores him my 
love. Yes, I have been too well avenged ; the wayward- 
ness of his fate disarms my anger, and now, full of com- 
passion, I am seeking to console an unhappy lover for his 
misfortunes. I believe his love well deserves the compas- 
sion I wish to show him. 

INEZ. Madam, it would be wrong to blame the tender 


sentiments you feel for him. What he has done for you 
. . . He comes ; and his paleness shows how deeply he 
is affected by this surprising stroke of fate. 


GARC. Madam, you must think me very bold in daring 
to come here to show you my hateful presence . . . 

ELV. Prince, let us talk no more of my resentment ; 
your fate has made a change in my heart. Its severity, 
and your wretched condition have extinguished my anger, 
and our peace is made. Yes, though you have deserved 
the misfortunes with which Heaven in its wrath has 
afflicted you; though your jealous suspicions have so 
ignominiously, so almost incredibly, sullied my fame, yet 
I must needs confess that I so far commiserate your mis- 
fortune, as to be somewhat displeased with our success. I 
hate the famous service Don Silvio has rendered us, be- 
cause my heart must be sacrificed to reward it ; I would, 
were it in my power, bring back the moments when 
destiny put only my oath in my way. But you know that 
it is the doom of such as we are, to be always the slaves 
of public interests; that Heaven has ordained that my 
brother, who disposes of my hand, is likewise my King. 
Yield, as I do, Prince, to that necessity which rank im- 
poses upon those of lofty birth. If you are very unfor- 
tunate in your love, be comforted by the interest I take in 
you ; and though you have been overwhelmed by fate, do 
not employ the power which your valour gives you in this 
place : it would, doubtless be unworthy of you to struggle 
against destiny ; whilst it is in vain to oppose its decrees, 
a prompt submission shows a lofty courage. Do not there- 
fore resist its orders ; but open the gates of Astorga to my 
brother who is coming ; allow my sad heart to yield to 
those rights which he is entitled to claim from me ; perhaps 
that fatal duty, which I owe him against my will, may not 
go so far as you imagine. 

GARC. Madam, you give me proofs of exquisite goodness 
in endeavouring to lighten the blow that is prepared for 
me, but without such pains you may let fall upon me all 
the wrath which your duty demands. In my present condi- 


tion, I can say nothing. I have deserved the worst punish- 
ments which fate can inflict ; and I know that, whatever 
evils I may suffer, I have deprived myself of the right to 
complain of them. Alas, amidst all my misfortunes, on what 
grounds can I be bold enough to utter any complaint against 
you? My love has rendered itself a thousand times odious, 
and has done nothing but outrage your glorious charms; 
when by a just and noble sacrifice, I was endeavouring to 
render some service to your family, fortune abandoned me, 
and made me taste the bitter grief of being forestalled 
by a rival. After this, Madam, I have nothing more to 
say. I deserve the blow which I expect; and I see it 
coming, without daring to call upon your heart to assist me. 
What remains for me in this extreme misfortune is to seek 
a remedy in myself, and, by a death which I long for, free 
my heart from all those tribulations. Yes, Don Alphonso 
will soon be here; already my rival has made his ap- 
pearance; he seems to have hurried hither from Leon, to 
receive his reward for having killed the tyrant. Do not 
fear that I shall use my power within these walls to offer 
him any resistance. If you allowed it, there is no being 
on earth which I would not defy in order to keep you; but 
it is not for me, whom you detest, to expect such an honour- 
able permission. No vain attempts of mine shall offer the 
smallest opposition to the execution of your just designs. 
No, Madam, your feelings are under no compulsion; you 
are perfectly free. I will open the gates of Astorga to 
the happy conqueror, and suffer the utmost severity of 


ELV. Madam, do not ascribe all my afflictions to 
the interest which I take in his unhappy lot. You will 
do me but justice if you believe that you have a large 
share in my heart-felt grief; that I care more for friend- 
ship than for love. If I complain of any dire misfortune, 
ij is because Heaven in its anger has borrowed from me 
those shafts which it hurls against you, and has made my 
looks guilty of kindling a passion which treats your kind 
heart unworthily. 

INEZ. This is an accident caused, doubtless, by your looks, 


for which you ought not to quarrel with Heaven. If the 
feeble charms which my countenance displays have exposed 
me to the misfortune of my lover abandoning me, Heaven 
could not better soften such a blow than by making use 
of you to captivate that heart. I ought not to blush for an 
inconstancy which indicates the difference between your 
attractions and mine. If this change makes me sigh, it is 
from foreseeing that it will be fatal to your love; amidst 
the sorrow caused by friendship, I am angry for your sake 
that my few attractions have failed to retain a heart whose 
devotion interferes so greatly with the love you feel for 

ELV. Rather blame your silence, which, without reason, 
concealed the understanding between your hearts. If I 
had known this secret sooner, it might perhaps have 
spared us both some sad trouble ; I might then coldly and 
justly have refused to listen to the sighs of a fickle lover, 
and perhaps have sent back whence they strayed . . . 

INEZ. Madam, he is here. 

ELV. You can remain without even looking at him. 
Do not go away, Madam, but stay, and, though you suffer, 
hear what I say to him. 

INEZ. I consent, Madam ; though I very well know that 
were another in my place, she would avoid being present 
at such a conversation. 

ELV. If Heaven seconds my wishes, Madam, you shall 
have no cause to repine. 

SCENE V. DON ALPHONSO (believed to be Don Silvio), 

ELV. Before you say a word, my Lord, I earnestly beg 
that you will deign to hear me for a moment. Fame has 
already informed us of the marvellous deeds you have per- 
formed. I wonder to see, as all do, how quickly and suc- 
cessfully you have changed our lot. I know very well that 
such an eminent service can never be sufficiently rewarded, 
and that nothing ought to be refused to you for that never- 
to-be-forgotten deed which replaces my brother on the 
throne of his ancestors. But whatever his grateful heart 
may offer you, make a generous use of your advantages, 


and do not employ your glorious action, my Lord, to 
make me bend under an imperious yoke; nor let your 
love for you know who is the object of my passion 
persist in triumphing over a well-founded refusal ; let not 
my brother, to whom they are going to present me, begin 
his reign by an act of tyranny over his sister. Leon has 
other rewards which for the nonce, may do more honour 
to your lofty valour. A heart which you can obtain only 
by compulsion, would be too mean a reward for your 
courage. Can a man be ever really satisfied when, by 
coercion, he obtains what he loves? It is a melancholy 
advantage ; a generous-minded lover refuses to be happy 
upon such conditions. He will not owe anything to that 
pressure which relatives think they have a right to employ ; 
he is ever too fond of the maiden he loves, to suffer her 
to be sacrificed as a victim, even to himself. Not that my 
heart intends to grant to another what it refuses to you. 
No, my Lord, I promise you, and pledge you my word of 
honour, that no one shall ever obtain my hand, that a 
convent shall protect me against every other . . . 

ALPH. Madam, I have listened long enough to your dis- 
course, and might, by two words, have prevented it all, if 
you had given less credit to false tidings. I know that a 
common report, which is everywhere believed, attributes 
to me the glory of having killed the tyrant ; but as we 
have been informed, the people alone, stirred up by Don 
Louis to do their duty, have performed this honourable 
and heroic act, which public rumour ascribed to me. 
The reason of these tidings was that Don Louis, the better 
to carry out his lofty purpose, spread a report that I and 
my soldiers had made ourselves masters of the town ; by 
this news he so excited the people, that they hastened to 
kill the usurper. He has managed everything by his pru- 
dent zeal, and has just sent me notice of this by one of 
his servants. At the same time, a secret has been revealed 
to me which will astonish you as much as it surprised me. 
You expect a brother, and Leon its true master ; Heaven 
now presents him before you. Yes, I am Don Alphonso; 
I was brought up and educated under the name of Prince 
of Castile ; this clearly proves the sincere friendship that 
existed between Don Louis and the King, my father. 


Don Louis has all the proofs of this secret, and will estab- 
lish its truth to the whole world. But now my thoughts 
are taken up with other cares; I am clear how to act 
towards you; not that my passion is opposed to such a 
discovery, or that the brother in my heart quarrels with 
the lover. The revelation of this secret has, without the 
least murmur, changed my ardour into a love commanded 
by nature ; the tie of relationship which unites us has so 
entirely freed me from the love which I entertained for 
you, that the highest favour I now long for is the sweet 
delights of my first chain, and the means of rendering to 
the adorable Inez that which her excessive goodness de- 
serves. 20 But the uncertainty of her lot renders mine mis- 
erable; if what is reported be true, then it will be in vain 
for Leon to invite me, and for a throne to wait for me ; 
for a crown could not make me happy. I only wished for 
its splendour in order to let me taste the joy of placing it 
on the head of that maiden for whom Heaven destined 
me, and by those means to repair, as far as I could, the 
wrong I have done to her extraordinary virtues. It is from 
you, Madam, I expect tidings as to what has become of 
her. Be pleased to communicate them, and by your 
words hasten my despair, or the happiness of my life. 

ELV. Do not wonder if I delay answering you ; for this 
news, my Lord, bewilders me. I will not take upon me 
to tell your loving heart, whether Donna Inez be dead or 
alive ; but this gentleman here, who is one of her most 
intimate friends, will doubtless give you some informa- 
tion about her. 

ALPH. {Recognising Donna Inez). Ah, Madam, in this 
dilemma I am happy to behold again your heavenly beauty. 
But with what eye can you look upon a fickle lover, whose 
crime . . . 

INEZ. Ah ! do not insult me, and venture to state that a 
heart, which I hold dear, could be inconstant. I cannot 
bear the thought, and the apology pains me. All the 
love you felt for the Princess could not offend rne, because 
her great worth is a sufficient excuse. The love you bore 

20 Compare the manner in which Andres, in The Blunderer (Act v., 
Scene 15), recognises his sister in Celia. 


her is no proof of your guilt towards me. Learn that if 
you had been culpable, the lofty pride within me would 
have made you sue in vain to overcome my contempt, and 
that neither repentance nor commands could have induced 
me to forget such an insult. 

ELV. Ah, dear brother, allow me to call you by this 
gentle name, you render your sister very happy ! I love 
your choice, and bless fortune, which enables you to crown 
so pure a friendship ! Of the two noble hearts I so ten- 
derly love . . . 


GARC. For mercy's sake, Madam, hide from me your 
satisfaction, and let me die in the belief that a feeling of 
duty compels you. I know you can freely dispose of your 
hand ; I do not intend to run counter to your wishes. I 
have proved this sufficiently, as well as my obedience to 
your commands. But I must confess that this levity sur- 
prises me, and shakes all my resolutions. Such a sight 
awakens a storm of passion which I fear I cannot command, 
though I would punish myself, if this could make me lose 
that profound respect I wish to preserve. Yes, you have 
ordered me to bear patiently my unfortunate love ; your 
behest has so much influence over my heart, that I will 
rather die than disobey you. But still, the joy you display 
tries me too severely ; the wisest man, upon such an oc- 
casion, can but ill answer for his conduct. Suppress it, I 
beseech you, for a few moments, and spare me, Madam, 
this cruel trial ; however great your love for my rival may 
be, do not let me be a wretched witness of his felicity. 
This is the smallest favour I think a lover may ask, even 
when he is disliked as much as I am. I do not seek this 
favour for long, Madam j my departure will soon satisfy 
you. I go where sorrow shall consume my soul, and shall 
learn your marriage only by hearsay; I ought not to hasten 
to behold such a spectacle ; for, without seeing it, it 
will kill me. 

INEZ. Give me leave, my Lord, to blame you for com- 
plaining, because the Princess has deeply felt your mis- 
fortunes ; this very joy at which you murmur, arises solely 


from the happiness that is in store for you. She rejoices 
in a success which has favoured your heart's desire, and 
has discovered that your rival is her brother. Yes, Don 
Alphonso, whose name has been so bruited about, is her 
brother ; this great secret has just now been told to her. 

ALPH. My heart, thank Heaven, after a long torture, 
has all that it can desire, and deprives you of nothing, my 
Lord. I am so much the happier, because I am able to 
forward your love. 

GARC. Alas ! my Lord, I am overwhelmed by your 
goodness, which condescends to respond to my dearest 
wishes. Heaven has averted the blow that I feared ; any 
other man but myself would think himself happy. But 
the fortunate discovery of this favourable secret, proves 
oie to be culpable towards her I adore ; I have again suc- 
cumbed to these wretched suspicions, against which I have 
been so often warned, and in vain ; through them my love 
has becomethateful, and I ought to despair of ever being 
happy. Yes, Donna Elvira has but too good reason to 
hate me ; I know I am unworthy of pardon ; and what- 
ever success fortune may give me, death, death alone, is 
all that I can expect. 

ELV. No, no, Prince, your submissive attitude brings 
more tender feelings into my heart ; I feel that the oath 
I took is no longer binding on me ; your complaints, your 
respect, your grief has moved me to compassion ; I see an 
excess of love in all your actions, and your malady de- 
serves to be pitied. Since Heaven is the cause of your 
faults, some indulgence ought to be allowed to them ; in 
one word, jealous or not jealous, my King will have no 
compulsion to employ when he gives me to you. 

GARC. Heaven ! enable me to bear the excess of joy 
which this confession produces. 

ALPH. I trust, my Lord, that after all our useless dissen- 
sions, this marriage may forever unite our hearts and king- 
doms. But time presses, and Leon expects us ; let us go 
therefore, and, by our presence and watchfulness give the 
last blow to the tyrant's party. 

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