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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 







Les Fourberies de Scapin 


La Comtesse D 1 Escarbagnas ............ 57 


Les Femmes Sauantes ............... "3 


Le Malade Imaginaire .............. *45 


La Jalousie du Barbouille ............. 2 35 


Le Medecin Volante ..... ........... 255 





Les Fourberies de Scapin Frontispiece 


Les Femmes Savantes 118 


Le Malade Imaginaire 160 







MAY 24TH, 1671. 


WHILST the King and the whole Court were in Flanders in 1671, Mo- 
liere wished to produce a new play for the theatre of the Palais Royal, 
then freshly decorated, and he wrote The Rogueries of Scapin, which was 
performed on the 24th of May of the same year, and met with great suc- 
cess. It has been said that Moliere wrote his farces to please the people : 
but with the exception of this comedy and The Physician in Spite of Him- 
self, all his farces were written for, and first performed before the Court. 

This comedy, in three acts, is partly classical, partly Italian, and partly 
French, and the character of Scapin enlivens the whole. Scapin is a 
master rogue, who robs, steals, and perjures himself; but all this in the 
most good-natured way imaginable. He cheats, not to benefit hinfcelf, 
but to be of advantage to Leander and Octave ; he makes a fool of 
Geronte and Argante, merely to keep his hand in, and thrashes the first 
in revenge for having told a falsehood of him. Such a love for truth is 
wonderful in a man like Scapin whose intense roguery, fertile imagina- 
tion, and gigantic impudence can exist only on the stage, but would soon, 
reap in real life their well deserved reward. 

The greater part of this play is taken from Terence's Phormio ; or, the 
Scheming Parasite, of which the following is the subject. 

Antipho, the son of Demipho, an Athenian, sees by accident Phanium, 
the unknown daughter of his uncle Chremes, and by the advice of Phor- 
mio, a parasite, marries her by trickery. Shortly after, his father and 
uncle return upon the same day, and are much vexed on hearing of this 
marriage. Phaedria, the son of Chremes, wishes to raise some money to 
purchase a music-girl with whom he is in love ; and Geta, a servant of 
Demipho, and Phormio arrange that the former shall pretend to the old 
man that Phormio has consented to take back the woman whom Antipho 
has married, if Demipho will give her a portion of thirty minae. The 
latter gives the money to Phaedria, who buys the girl. At this conjunc- 
ture, it becomes known that the wife of Antipho is really the daughter of 
Chremes ; and they wish to get back the money from Phormio, who re- 
fuses, and finally betrays to Nauaistrata, the Athenian wife of Chremes, 
the intrigue which the latter had carried on at Lemnos with the mother 
of Phanium. 

The details of Moliere's comedy are either from French or Italian 

It is said that the idea of Scapin's confession (Act ii., Scene 5) is taken 



from an Italian farce, Pantaloon, the Father of a Family, where Harle- 
quin, accused of having stolen something, falls on his knees and confesses 
to have committed many robberies of which he was never suspected. The 
scene of the sack (Act iii., Scene 2), which offended Boileau so much, was 
probably suggested to Moliere by a farce which Tabarin acted in the open 
air, where an old miser, Lucas, takes the place of Captain Rodomont in a 
sack, and gets well beaten for his trouble by his own servant Tabarin, and 
by his daughter Isabella. The famous eleventh scene of the second act 
of The Rogueries of Scapin is borrowed chiefly from the fourth scene of 
the second act of The Deceived Pedant, written by Cyrano de Bergerac, 
which was published about 1654, and certainly acted long before Mohere's 
play. The rogue in The Deceived Pedant is called Corbineli, the old 
miser, Granger a parody of Jean Grangier, professor of rhetoric, and 
principal of the College of Beauvais and Sylvester is called Paquier. 
The famous exclamation, ''What the devil did he want in the galley ?" 
is to be found there. There is also a similarity between the second scene 
of the third act of Bergerac's piece and the third scene of the third act of 
Molifire's play. Moliere, who probably knew Rorgerac, when accused 
of having borrowed these scenes from the latter, is said to have replied, 
" These scenes were pretty good ; I have taken them. People get hold 
again of their property where they find it." 

There is also in The Rogueries of Scapin a reminiscence from a play of 
Plautus, called Bacchides ; or, the Twin Sisters. 

Ravenscroft (see Introductory Notice to The Love- Tiff, Vol. I., and 
Introductory Notice to The Forced Marriage, Vol I.) has imitated part 
of Moliere's comedy in his Scaramouch, a Philosopher, Hirlequin, a 
School-boy, Bravo, Merchant and Magician, acted at the Theatre-Royal, 
1677. Argante is called in this play Pancrace ; Scapin, Plautino, and 
sometimes Harlequin ; Octave is called Cynthio, and Leander Octavio. 

Thomas Otway has also translated Moliere's play under the title The 
Cheats of Scapin, acted at the Duke's Theatre in 1677, and dedicated to 
John, Earl of Rochester. Sylvester is called Shift ; Argante, Thrifty ; 
GeYonte, Gripe ; Carlos, Sly ; Hyacinthe, Clara ; and Zerbinette, Lucia. 
This appears to me the sole change which Otway has made, except that 
he has abbreviated, but not improved, some of the speeches. 


ARGANTE, father to Octave and Zerbinette. 
GERONTE, father to Leander and Hyacinthe. 
OCTAVE, son of Argante, and betrothed to Hyacinthe. 
LEANDER, son of Geronte, and in love with Zerbinette. 
ZERBINETTE, supposed a gipsy , afterwards found to be 

the daughter of Argante, 
HYACINTHE, daughter of Geronte. 
SCAPIN, valet to Leander. 
SYLVESTER, valet to Octave. 
NERINE, nurse to Hyacinthe. 
CARLOS, Scapin' s friend. 


1 This part was played by Moliere himself. Scapin is one of the tradi- " 
tional servants of the commedia dell ' arte. The name Scapin is from the 
Italian scappare, to run away, to escape, either on account of the pol- 
troonery which he displays in the Italian farces, or on account of the dex- 
terity with which he manages to commit all kinds of rogueries. 

2 As the scene is laid in Naples, it shows at once that the poet will give 
free scope to his imagination. 




OCT. Ah ! this is dire news to a heart in love ! a cruel 
strait to which I find myself reduced ! You have just 
heard at the port, Sylvester, that my father is about to re- 

SYL. Yes. 

OCT. That he will arrive this very morning? 

SYL. This very morning? 

OCT. And that he comes back resolved to marry me ? 

SYL. Yes. 

OCT. To a daughter of Mr. Geronte ? 

SYL. Of Mr. Geronte. 

OCT. And that this young lady has been sent for from 
Tarente for that purpose ? 

SYL. Yes. 

OCT. And you have got this news from my uncle ? 

SYL. From your uncle. 

OCT. To whom my father has communicated this by 
letter ? 

SYL. By letter. 

OCT. And this uncle, you say, knows all about our 

affairs ? 



SYL. All about our affairs. 

OCT. Do speak, if it be all the same to you, instead of 
having the words dragged out of your mouth in that 
manner. 3 

SYL. What more would you have me say ? You do not 
forget a single particular, and you state things just as they 

OCT. Give me some advice, at least, and tell me what I 
am to do in this cruel plight. 

SYL. In truth, I find myself as much at a loss as you are, 
and I have great need of advice myself. 

OCT. I am bored to death by this confounded return. 

SYL. I am not the less so. 

OCT. When my father hears how matters stand, I shall 
find myself overwhelmed with a sudden storm of vehement 

SYL. Scolding counts for nothing ; and would to Hea- 
ven that I were quit at that rate ! but, for my part, I am 
more likely to pay dearer for your follies ; and I see 
already, gathering from afar, a cloud of cudgel-blows that 
will burst on my shoulders. 

OCT. Oh Heavens ! how am I to get out of this 
scrape ? 

SYL. You ought to have thought of that before getting 
into it. 

OCT. Ah ! you will be the death of me with your ill- 
timed lectures. 

SYL. You will be much more the death of me with your 
thoughtless actions. 

Ocr. What am I to do? What resolution can I take ? 
What remedy can I apply ? 


SCA. What now, Mr. Octave ? What ails you ? What 
is the matter ? What is amiss ? You are very much up- 
set, I see. 

OCT. Ah my good Scapin, I am lost ; I am desperate ; 
I am the most unfortunate of men. 

8 In Mclicerte, Act ii., Scene i (see Vol. II.), a nearly similar scene 
takes place. 


SCA. Why so ? 

OCT. Have you learned nothing about what concerns 

SCA. No. 

OCT. My father is coming back with Mr. Geronte, and 
they wish me to marry. 

SCA. Well, what is there so terrible in that ? 

OCT. Alas ! do you not know the cause of my uneasi- 

SCA. No ; but it lies entirely with you for me to know 
it shortly ; I am of a consoling nature,* and ready to in- 
terest myself in young people's affairs. 

OCT. Ah ! Scapin, if you could invent something, con- 
coct some plot to get me out of the difficulty in which I 
am, I should think that I owed you more than my life. 

SCA. Truth to tell, there are few things impossible to 
me, when it pleases me to meddle with them. There is 
no doubt that I have received from Heaven a genius, suf- 
ficiently fine to contrive all those pretty tricks of wit, 
those ingenious intrigues, to which the ignorant vulgar 
give the name of rogueries ; and I can say, without boast- 
ing, that there never was a man who was a cleverer mani- 
pulator of springs and traps, and who has won more glory 
at that noble craft than I. But, upon my word, merit is 
too badly treated now-a-days ; and I have given up all 
these things since a certain vexatious affair happened to 

OCT. How ! what affair, Scapin ? 

SCAP. An adventure through which I became embroiled 
with the law. 

OCT. The law ? 

SCA. Yes, we had a little quarrel together. 

SYL. You and the law? 

SCA. Yes. It treated me very badly ; and I felt so 
nettled at the ingratitude of the age, that I made up my 
mind to have nothing more to do with it. Basta ! Do 
not let that interrupt the story of your adventure. 

OCT. You are aware, Scapin, that two months ago Mr. 

4 The original has je suis homme consolatif. This last adjective is no 
longer in use. 


Gdronte and my father went together on a voyage about 
a certain business in which their interests are connected. 5 

SCA. I know that. 

OCT. And that Leander and I were left by our fathers, 
I under the care of Sylvester, and Leander under yours. 

SCA. Yes. I have very well discharged that duty. 

OCT. Some time after, Leander happened to meet with 
a young gipsy, with whom he fell in love. 

SCA. This also I know. 

OCT. Being fast friends, he immediately made me the 
confidant. of his love, and took me to see this girl, whom 
I thought handsome, certainly, but not so much so as he 
would have had me think her. He did nothing else but 
entertain me about her each day, exalting every moment 
her beauty and her grace, lauding her wit, dilating raptur- 
ously upon the charms of her conversation, the most 
minute details of which he reported to me, and which he 
always endeavoured to make me find the most witty in the 
world. Often he quarrelled with me for my not being 
sensible enough to what he was telling me, and inces- 
santly blamed me for my indifference to the flames of 

SCA. As yet I fail to see where all this is leading to. 

OCT. One day when I accompanied him to go to the 
people who were taking care of the object of his love, we 
heard, issuing from a small house, in an out-of-the-way 
street, some wailing intermixed with many sobs. We in- 
quire the cause ; a woman answers us, sighing, that there 
we could witness a most pitiful sight of some foreign 
people, and that, unless we were most insensible, we could 
not fail to be touched by it. 

SCA. Where does this lead us to ? 

OCT. Curiosity made me induce Leander to go and see 
what it was. We entered a large room, where we saw a 
dying old woman, nursed by a servant uttering lamenta- 
tions, and a young girl, the most handsome and the most 
interesting that ever was seen, melting into tears. 

SCA. Ah! ah! 

5 All that follows is taken from Terence's Phormio ; but there it is a 
slave who tells the story. 


OCT. Any one else would have appeared frightful in the 
state she was in ; for she had nothing to cover her but a 
miserable scanty petticoat, with a night boddice of com- 
mon fustian ; and her head-dress was a yellow mob-cap, 
turned up on the crown, from which her hair fell in dis- 
order on her shoulders ; and, notwithstanding, as she 
stood there, she shone with a thousand attractions, and 
there was nothing but grace and charm about her. 

SCA. I can see the thing coming. 

OCT. Had you seen her, Scapin, in the state in which 
I have described her, you would have thought her lovely. 

SCA. Oh ! I do not doubt it ; and, without having 
seen her, I can fancy her altogether charming. 

OCT. Her tears were none of those disagreeable tears 
that disfigure a face ; even in weeping, she had a winning 
grace, and her sorrow was the loveliest in the world. 

SCA. I can perceive all this. 

OCT. She moved everyone to tears, throwing herself 
affectionately on the body of the dying woman, whom she 
called her dear mother ; and there was not a soul which 
was not touched to the quick at seeing such a good cha- 

SCA. In fact, this is touching ; and I can easily imagine 
that this good character made you fall in love with her. 

OCT. A barbarian would have done the same, Scapin. 

SCA. Of course. One could not help it ! 

OCT. After a few words, with which I tried to assuage 
the sorrow of this charming afflicted girl, we went out ; 
and asking Leander what he thought of her, he answered 
me coldly that she was tolerably pretty. I felt nettled at 
the coldness with which he spoke of her, and I did not 
wish to reveal to him the effect which her beauty had pro- 
duced on my heart. 6 

SYL. (To Octave}. If you do not cut this story short, 
we shall be in for it till to-morrow. Let me sum it up in 
two words. (To Scapin). His heart is all ablaze from 
that moment ; life becomes unendurable to him unless he 
goes to console his amiable bereaved. His frequent visits 

6 Auger, one of the commentators of Moliere, observes that Octave 
does not find Leander's gipsy sufficiently pretty, but is nettled because 
Leander is not smitten by the charms of Hyacinthe. 


are declined by the servant, whom the death of the 
mother has raised to the post of governess. Behold my 
master in despair ; he importunes, begs, implores ; all of 
no use. He is told that the girl, though v/ithout means 
and without support, is of good family, and that his ad- 
dresses will not be tolerated, unless he marries her. Be- 
hold his love increased by obstacles. He racks his brain, 
debates, reasons, hesitates, takes a resolution : the upshot 
of which is that he has been married to her these three 

SCA. I understand. 

SYL. Now, add to this the unforeseen return of his father, 
who was not expected these two months ; the discovery by 
the uncle of the secret of our marriage, and the other pro- 
jected union with the daughter of Mr. Geronte, by a second 
wife, to whom, they say, he was married at Tarente. 

OCT. And, in addition to all this, put the poverty in 
which this amiable creature finds herself, and my inability 
to get the means wherewith to relieve her. 

SCA. And is this all ? You are both very much upset by 
a trifle ! There is certainly much to be alarmed at ! Are 
you not ashamed to be thus at your wits' end, for so small 
a matter ? What the devil ? there you are as tall and big 
as father and mother, and you cannot find in your head, 
nor your wit invent some lover's ruse, some honest little 
stratagem, to put your affairs straight ! Fie ! a plague upon 
the booby ! I wish they had given me those greybeards 
of bygone days to lead by the nose ; I would have had no 
difficulty in getting the better of them all ; and I was not 
bigger than this, when I had already distinguished myself 
by a hundred pretty tricks. 

SYL. I confess that Heaven has not given me those 
talents, and that I have not the wit to entangle myself 
with the law, as you have. 

OCT. But here comes my dear Hyacinthe. 


HYA. Ah ! Octave, is it true what Sylvester has just told 
N6rine, that your father is coming back, and that he wishes 
you to marry. 

OCT. Yes, fair Hyacinthe ; and those tidings have struck 


me a cruel blow. But what do I see? you weep! Why 
these tears? Do you suspect, tell me, any inconstancy 
on my part ? and are you not convinced of my love for 

HYA. Yes, Octave, I am certain that you love me, but 
I am not so sure that you will ,- Iways do so. 

OCT. As if one could love you, and not love you for 

HVA. I have heard it said, Octave, that your sex loves 
not so long as ours, and that the passions which men betray 
are fires which are as easily quenched as kindled. 

OCT. Ah ! my dear H yacinthe, my heart in that case is 
not like that of other men; and, as regards myself, I feel 
that I shall love you till death. 

HYA. I believe that you feel as you say, and I doubt 
not that your words are sincere ; but I dread a power which 
will combat, in your heart, the tender sentiments which 
you may have for me. You are dependent on a father, who 
wishes to marry you to another ; and I am sure that 1 should 
die should this misfortune come to pass. 

OCT. No, fair Hyacinthe, there is no father who can 
compel me to break my faith with you ; and, rather than 
leave you, I am determined to quit my country, and life 
itself if necessary. Without having even seen her, I have 
already taken an unconquerable dislike to the lady whom 
they intended for me, and, without being cruel, I wish that 
the sea would drive her far away from here for evermore. 
Do not cry, then, I beg of you, sweet Hyacinthe, for your 
tears kill me, and I cannot look at them without being 
grieved to the heart. 

HYA. Since you wish it, I shall dry them, and I shall 
steadfastly await what it shall please Heaven to do with me. 

OCT. Heaven will favour us. 

HYA. As long as you are true, Heaven cannot be adverse. 

OCT. I assuredly shall be so. 

HYA. In that case I shall be happy. 

SCA. (Aside). Upon my word, she is not such a fool ; 
and I find her pretty tolerable. 

OCT. (Pointing to Scapiri). Here is a man who, if he 
liked, could be of wonderful assistance to us in all our 


SCA. I have made a solemn vow not to meddle any 
more with the world ; but, if both of you urge me very 
strongly, I might perhaps . . . 

OCT. Ah! if it wants nothing but strong urging to 
obtain your aid, I implore you with all my heart to 
undertake the guidance of our bark. 

SCA. ( To Hyacinths). And you, have you nothing to 
say to me ? 

HYA. I entreat of you, likewise, by all that is most 
dear to you in this world, to assist us in our love. 

SCA. One must give way sometimes, and show some 
human feelings. You may be at rest, I shall interest 
myself for you. 

OCT. Be assured that . 

SCA. (To Octave}. Hush! (To Hyacinthe). And now 
go, and make yourself easy. 


SCA. (To Octave). And you, prepare yourself with 
firmnesss to meet your father. 

OCT. I confess that this meeting makes me tremble 
beforehand ; and I feel a natural timidity which I cannot 

SCA. You must, however, appear firm at the first shock, 
for fear, that, seeing your weakness, he will lead you like 
a child. There, try to study calmness. A little boldness ; 
and take care to answer firmly everything which he may 
tell you. 

OCT. I shall do my very best. 

SCA. Come, let us rehearse a little, just to get your 
hand in. Let us repeat your part somewhat, and let us 
see if you will do well. Come ! a firm countenance, 
head erect, looks steady. 

OCT. Like this ! 

SCA. A little more still. 

OCT. In this way ? 

SCA. That is it. Imagine me to be your father, who 
has just arrived, and answer me unflinchingly, as if I were 
he. How ! you scoundrel, you good for nothing wretch, 
you son unworthy of a father like me, do you dare to 
appear before me after your nice behaviour, after the vile 


trick which you have played me during my absence ? Is 
this the fruit of all my cares, you rogue ? Is this the 
fruit of all my cares ? the respect which is due to me, the 
esteem which you have for me? (That is it). And you 
have the insolence, you knave, to engage yourself with- 
out the consent of your father, to contract a clandestine 
marriage ! Answer me, you rogue, answer me. Let us 

hear a few of your specious arguments Ah ! what 

the devil ! you have not a word to say. 

OCT. It is because I fancy that it is my father whom I 

SCA. Eh. He of course. For this very reason you 
ought not to look like a simpleton. 

OCT. I shall pluck up a little more resolution, and I 
shall answer with firmness. 

SCA. Are you sure? 

OCT. I am sure. 

SYL. There comes your father. 

OCT. Oh Heaven ! I am lost. 7 


SCA. Hullo, Octave ! stop, Octave. He has fled ! What 
a poor specimen of a man ! Let us wait for the old man. 
SYL. What shall I say to him ? 
SCA. Leave it to me, and do as I do. 

farther end of the stage. 

ARG. {Believing himself alone). Has ever the like been 
heard of ? 

SCA. {To Sylvester). He has already heard of the affair; 
and it so runs into his head, that he speaks aloud of it 
when alone. 

ARG. (Believing himself alone]. This is a very great 
piece of audacity ! 

SCA. (To Sylvester}. Let us listen awhile. 

ARG. {Believing himself alone). I should much like 
to know what they can tell me about this lovely marriage. 

1 This scene is taken from Terence, but is much shorter in the Latin 


SCA. (Aside). We have already thought about that.* 

ARC. (Believing himself alone). Will they try to deny 
the affair ? 

SCA. (Aside). No, we do not dream of such a thing. 

ARC. (Believing himself alone.) Or will they endea- 
vour to exonerate themselves ? 

SCA. (Aside). Such a thing might be done. 

ARC. (Believing himself alone). Will they pretend to 
entertain me with some unlikely stories ? 

SCA. (Aside). Perhaps so. 

ARC. (Believing himself alone~). All their speeches will 
be useless. 

SCA. (Aside). We shall see about that. 8 

ARC. (Believing himself alone). They shall not impose 
upon me. 

SCA. (Aside). We ought not to swear to anything. 

ARC. (Believing himself alone). I shall know how to 
put my rascal of a son under lock and key. 

SCA. (Aside). We shall provide for that. 

ARC. (Believing himself alone). And as for this scoun- 
drel Sylvester, I shall give him a sound thrashing. 

SYL. ( To Scapin). I should have been much surprised 
if he had forgotten me. 

ARC. (Perceiving Sylvester). Ah ! Ah ! you are there, 
trustworthy family guardian, conscientious guide of young 
men ! 

SCA. I am delighted to see you back again, sir. 

ARC. Good day, Scapin. (To Sylvester}. You have 
really carried out my orders in a nice manner ! and my 
son has behaved very properly in my absence ! 

SCA. You are in good health, from what I see ? 

ARC. Pretty well. (To Sylvester). You have nothing 
to say, you rascal, nothing at all. 

SCA. Has your journey been a pleasant one ? 

ARC. Pleasant enough, good Heaven ! Let me have 
my quarrel in peace. 

SCA. You wish to quarrel ! 

ARC. Yes, I wish to quarrel. 

SCA. And with whom, Sir ? 

8 This is borrowed chiefly from Terence's Phormio. 


ARC. (Pointing to Sylvester). With this scoundrel. 

SCA. And why? 

ARC. Have you not heard what has happened in my 
absence ? 

SCA. I have heard some little trifle spoken of. 

ARC. What ! some little trifle ! An affair of that kind ! 

SCA. You are somewhat in the right. 

ARG. A daring like this \ 

SCA. That is true. 

ARG. A son who marries without the consent of his 
father ? 

SCA. Yes, there is something to be said in that respect. 
But I would advise not to make a noise about it. 

ARG. I am not at all of this opinion ; and I will make 
as much noise as I like. What ! do not you think that I 
have every possible reason to be in a rage ? 

SCA. Yes, indeed. I was so myself at first, when I 
came to know of it, and I have taken your part so far as 
to quarrel with your son. Ask him, how thoroughly I 
have upbraided him, and the lesson which I have read him 
on the little respect he showed to a father whose footsteps 
he ought to kiss. I could not have spoken better to him, 
had I been yourself. But after all ! I have come back to 
reason, and I have reflected, that at the bottom, he is not 
so much to blame as one would think. 

ARG. What pretty tale is this ? He is not so much to 
blame to go and get married point blank to a strange girl ? 

SCA. What could he do ? He was led to it by his fate. 

ARG. Ah ! Ah ! That is certainly the prettiest reason 
in the world. One has only to commit every imaginable 
crime, to cheat, to steal, to murder and to say in excuse 
that one was led to it by one's fate. 

SCA. Good Heavens ! you take my words in too philo- 
sophical a sense. I mean to say, that he has found himself 
fatally entangled in this affair. 

ARG. And why did he entangle himself in it? 

SCA. Do you expect him to be as wise as you ? Young 
men will be young men, and have not all the prudence 
necessary to keep at all times out of mischief: witness 
our Leander, who, notwithstanding all my lessons, all my 
remonstrances, has gone, and done very much worse than 


your son. I should very much like to know whether you 
yourself have not been young, and have not, in your time, 
committed follies like others. I have heard it said that, 
in by-gone days, you were a regular follower of the ladies ; 
that you held your own with the most gallant of that time, 
and that you did not come near them without trying your 

ARC. That is true, I agree to that ; bur I always con- 
fined myself to gallantry, and I never went so far as to do 
what he has done. 

SCA. What would you have him do ? He sees a young 
girl who looks favourably on him (for he takes after you 
in that, and is well looked upon by every woman) ; he 
finds her charming, pays her visits, whispers sweet nonsense 
to her, sighs gallantly, tries to pass for a passionate lover. 
She yields to his ardour ; he takes advantage of his good 
luck. Behold him caught with her by her parents, who, 
by compulsion, oblige him to marry her. 

SYL. (Aside). What a clever rogue this ! 

SCA. Would you have preferred him to allow himself to 
be killed ? It is better to be married than to be dead. 

ARG. They did not tell me that the affair happened thus. 

SCA. (Pointing to Sylvester). Ask him if you like. He 
will tell you nothing to the contrary. 

ARG. (To Sylvester). Is it by compulsion that he was 
married ? 

SYL. Yes, Sir. 

SCA. Would I tell you a lie ? 

ARG. He ought to have gone then to a notary to protest 
against this violence. 

SCA. That is what he would not do. 

ARG. It would have made it easier for me to annul this 

SCA. To annul this marriage ? 

ARG. Yes. 

SCA. You will not annul it. 

ARG. I shall not annul it, say you? 

SCA. No. 

ARG. What ! have I not a father's rights in my favour, 
and the plea of the violence which has been done to my 


SCA. Upon this point, he will not be at one with you. 

ARG. He will not be at one with me ? 

SCA. No. 

ARG. My own son ? 

SCA. Your own son. Would you have him confess that 
he could be frightened, and that it was by force that they 
have made him do those things. He will know better 
than to admit that ; it would be wrong to himself, and 
proclaim him unworthy of a father like you. 

ARG. I do not care for that. 

SCA. It is necessary, for his honour and for yours, that 
he say in society that he has married her of his own free 

ARG. And I desire, I, for my honour and for his, that 
he shall say the reverse. 

SCA. No, I am sure he will not do so. 

ARG. I shall force him to it. 

SCA. He will not do it, I tell you. 

ARG. He shall do it, or I shall disinherit him. 

SCA. You? 

ARG. I. 

SCA. Good! 

ARG. What do you mean by good ! 

SCA. You will not disinherit him. 

ARG. I shall not disinherit him ? 

SCA. No. 

ARG. No? 

SCA. No. 

ARG. Aha ! that is a good joke ! I shall not disinherit 
my son ? 

SCA. No, I tell you. 

ARG. Who shall prevent me? 

SCA. You, yourself. 

ARG. I? 

SCA. Yes, you will not have the heart to do it. 

ARG. I shall. 

SCA. You are joking. 

ARG. I am not joking at all. 

SCA. A father's feelings will perform their functions. 

ARG. They shall do nothing of the kind. 

SCA. Yes, yes. 


ARC. I tell you that it shall be. 

SCA. Nonsense. 

ARC. Do not say that it is nonsense. 

SCA. Good Heavens ! I know you ; you are naturally 

ARC. I am not at all good-natured, and I can be very 
spiteful when I like. 9 Let us drop this subject which pro- 
vokes my temper. (To Sylvester). Go, you rascal, go and 
fetch my scamp, while I look in upon Mr. G6ronte, to tell 
him of my disgrace ? 

SCA. Sir, if I can be of use in anything, you have but 
to command. 

ARC. I thank you. (Aside). Ah ! why should he be 
an only son ! and why have I not at this hour the daugh- 
ter of whom Heaven has deprived me, to make her my 


SYL. I confess that you are a great man, and that the 
business is in a fair way; but, on the other hand, we are 
urgently pressed for money for our wants; and on all 
sides there is a lot of people barking after us. 

SCA. Let me manage it, the trick is found. I am only 
seeking in my own mind a man upon whom we can de- 
pend to impersonate one of whom I am in want. Wait. 
Hold yourself up a little. Slouch your cap like a naughty 
boy. Put one leg forward. Put your hand on your hip. 
Just look ferocious. Swagger up and down like a king on 
the stage. That is right. Follow me. I know a secret 
to disguise your face and voice. 

SYL. Let me beg of you, at least, not to get me into a 
scrape with the law. 

SCA. Be not afraid. We shall share the danger like 
brothers ; and three years at the galleys more or less will 
not deter a noble heart. 

' This dialogue from " I shall disinherit him " until " when I like" is 
found also in The Imaginary Invalid, when Argan speaks of placing his 
daughter in a convent. Hence, La Grange, and Vinot, the first editors of 
the collected works of Moliere, ha\te left out this passage in The Rogueries 




GER. Yes, I doubt not, if this weather last, we shall 
have our people here to-day; and a sailor who came from 
Tarente assures me that he has seen my man ready to 
embark. But the arrival of my daughter will find things 
in an unfavourable state for what we proposed; and what 
you have just told me about your son strangely puts an 
end to the measures we had agreed upon. 

ARC. Do not trouble yourself about it ; I assure you 
that I shall overthrow this obstacle, and I shall see about 
it immediately. 

GER. Upon my word, Mr. Argante, shall I tell you? the 
bringing up of children is a thing which must be managed 
with a firm hand. 

ARG. Without a doubt. What do you mean, though ? 

GER. What I mean is this, that the bad conduct of 
young people is most frequently caused by the bad edu- 
cation which their fathers have given them. 

ARG. This happens sometimes. But what would you 
convey by this? 

GER. What would I convey by this ? 

ARG. Yes. 

GER. That had you, as a strict father, kept your son 
well in hand, he would not have played you the trick 
which he has. 

ARG. Very good. Thus you have kept yours better in 

GER. There is no doubt of it; and I should be very 
sorry if he had done anything like this. 

ARG. And if this son, which, as a strict father, you 
have kept so well in hand, had done worse still than 
mine? Eh! 

GER. How? 

ARG. How? 

GER. What does that mean ? 

ARG. It means, Mr. G6ronte, that one must not be too 
quick to censure the conduct of others ; and that those 
who are fond of finding fault ought to look first at home 
to see if there be nothing wrong. 


GER. I do not understand this riddle. 

ARC. It shall be explained to you. 

GER. Have you perchance heard something about my 

ARC. May be. 

GER. And what, then ? 

ARC. When I was angry, your Scapin told me the 
affair only in a summary way, and you can get the details 
from him, or from some one else. As for me, I am 
going quickly to consult a lawyer, to take advice about 
the means which I have to use. Till by and by. 


GER. What can this affair be ? Worse still than his ? 
As for me, I cannot see that one could do worse ; and I 
think that to marry without the consent of one's father is 
a deed that excels everything imaginable. 


GER. Ah ! here you are ! 

LEA. {Running to Geronte to embrace hini}. Ah ! father, 
how glad I am to see you back again ! 

GER. {Refusing to embrace Leander). Gently. A little 
business first. 

LEA. Allow me to embrace you, and to ... 

GER. (Still pushing him back}. Gently, I tell you. 

LEA. What, father ! you refuse me to show you my joy 
by embracing you ? 

GER. Yes. We have something to unravel together. 

LEA. What is that ? 

GER. Stand straight, that I may look you in the face. 

LEA. What is the matter ? 

GER. Look me full in the face. 

LEA. Well? 

GER. What has happened here ? 

LEA. Happened here ? 

GER. Yes. What have you done in my absence ? 

LEA. What should I have done, father ? 

GER. It is not I who wish to have done something, but 
who ask what you have been doing ? 


LEA. I ? I have not done anything of which you have 
cause to complain. 

GER. Not anything ? 

LEA. No. 

GER. You are very firm. 

LEA. Because I am perfectly sure of my innocence. 

GER. Scapin has, however, told me some news about 

LEA. Scapin ? 

GER. Ah ! ah ! that word makes you blush. 

LEA. He has told you something about me ? 

GER. This is not at all the proper place to get at the 
bottom of this business, and we shall sift it elsewhere. 
Go home ; I shall be back there presently. Ah ! wretch, 
if you have disgraced me, I renounce you as my son, and 
you can make your mind up to leave my presence for 


To betray me in this manner. A scoundrel who, for a 
hundred reasons, ought to be the first to keep secret the 
things which I confide to him, is the first to disclose them 
to my father. Ah ! I swear to Heaven that his treachery 
shall not remain unpunished. 


OCT. My dear Scapin, how much I owe to your cares ! 
What an admirable fellow you are ! and how good has 
Heaven been to send you to my aid ! 

LEA. Ah ! ah ! you are here ! I am delighted to have 
found you, Mr. Rascal. 

SCA. Your servant, Sir. You do me too much honour. 

LEA. {Drawing his sword}. You play the saucy fool. 
Ah ! I shall teach you. . . . 

SCA. {Falling on his knees). Sir ! 

OCT. (Coming between them to prevent Leander striking 
Scapin). Ah ! Leander ! 

LEA. No, Octave, do not hold me back, pray. 

SCA. {To Leander}. Eh! Sir! 

OCT. (Holding Leander back). For mercy's sake ! 

LEA. ( Wishing to strike Scapin). Let me satisfy my re- 


OCT. For friendship's sake, Leander, do not ill-treat 

SCA. What have I done to you, Sir ? 

LEA. ( Wishing to strike Scapin). What have you done 
to me, you wretch ! 

OCT. (Holding Leander again back) . Eh ! Gently. 

LEA. No, Octave, I wish to make him confess the 
treachery which he has practised on me just now. Yes, 
you scoundrel, I know the trick which you have played 
me ; I have just been told of it, and you did not think 
perhaps that this secret would be revealed to me; but I 
shall have the confession from your own mouth, or I shall 
pass this sword through your body. 

SCA. Ah, Sir, would you have the heart to do this ? 

LEA. Speak then. 

SCA. Have I done anything to you, Sir ? 

LEA. Yes, you scoundrel, and your conscience tells you 
but too plainly what it is. 

SCA. I assure you that I am ignorant of it. 

LEA. (Advancing to strike Scapin). You are ignorant 
of it? 

OCT. (Holding Leander back}. Leander! 

SCA. Well ! Sir, since you will have it so, I will confess 
that I and my friends have drunk that small quarter cask 
of Spanish wine which you had as a present a few days 
ago ; and that I made a slit in the barrel, and spilt some 
water around to make you believe that the wine had run 

LEA. It is you, you gallows-bird, who have drunk my 
Spanish wine, and who have been the cause of my scold- 
ing the servant, thinking it was she who had played me 
that trick ? 

SCA. Yes, Sir. I ask your pardon for it. 

LEA. I am very glad to hear this. But that is not the 
affair in question at present. 

SCA. It is not that, Sir. 

LEA. No : it is something else which concerns me much 
more, and I will have you tell me. 

SCA. I do not remember having done aught else, Sir. 

LGA. ( Wishing to strike Scapin). You will not tell me ? 

SCA. Tell what ? 


OCT. (Holding Leander). Gently ! 

SCA. Well, Sir, it is true that three weeks ago you sent 
me one evening to take a little watch to the young gipsy 
whom you love. I came back to the house, my clothes 
covered with mud, and my face bleeding, and I told you 
that I had been attacked by thieves who had beaten me 
well, and stolen the watch. It was myself who kept it, 

LEA. It is you who have kept my watch ? 

SCA. Yes, Sir, to see what o'clock it is. 

LEA. Ah ! Ah 1 these are pretty things to find out, and 
I have a very trusty servant, certainly ! But it is not even 
about that that I am inquiring. 

SCA. It is not that ? 

LEA. No, you infamous wretch ; there is something else 
that I wish you to confess to me. 

SCA. (Aside). The plague take it ! 

LEA. Out with it, quick, I am in a hurry. 

SCA. This is all that I have done, Sir. 

LEA. ( Wishing to strike Scapiri). Is that all ? 

OCT. (Getting in front of Leander]. Ah! 

SCA. Well ! yes, Sir. You remember that ghost, six 
months ago, who dealt you such a lot of cudgel-blows in 
the night, and nearly made you break your neck in a cel- 
lar in which you fell, running away. 

LEA. Well? 

SCA. It was I, Sir, who played the ghost. 

LEA. It was you who played the ghost, you wretch ? 

SCA. Yes, Sir, I did it only to frighten you, and to pre- 
vent you from letting us gad about every night as you did. 

LEA. I shall remember, at fit time and place, all that I 
have just learned. But I wish to come to the fact, and 
have you to confess what you have been saying to my 

SCA. To your father? 

LEA. Yes, you rascal, to my father. 

SCA. I have not even seen him since his return. 

LEA. You have not seen him ? 

SCA. No, Sir. 

LEA. Are you sure? 

SCA. Quite sure. I can make him tell you so himself. 


LEA. It is from himself that I have got it. 

SCA. By your leave, he has not spoken the truth. 


CAR. I am the bearer of some news, Sir, which is ill- 
fated to your love. 

LEA. How so? 

CAR. The gipsies are on the point of carrying away 
Zerbinette ; and she herself, with tears in her eyes, has 
charged me to come and tell you quickly, that if within 
two hours, you do not bring them the money which they 
claim for her, you will lose her for ever. 

LEA. In two hours ? 

CAR. In two hours. 


LEA. Ah ? my good Scapin, I implore you to help me. 

SCA. (Passing haughtily before JLeander}. Ah, my good 
Scapin ! I am my good Scapin now that you need me. 
. LEA. Come, I forgive you for all you have said to me, 
and for worse still, if you have done it to me. 

SCA. Not at all, not at all, do not forgive me anything; 
run your sword through my body ; I shall be delighted to 
be killed by you. 

LEA. No. I rather beg of you to give me my life, by 
helping me with my love. 

SCA. Not so, not so ; you had better kill me. 

LEA. You are too precious to me ; and I beseech you 
to be willing to employ for me that admirable talent of 
yours that overcomes all things. 

SCA. No, kill me, I tell you. 

LEA. Ah ! for mercy's sake, think no more about it, 
and set your wits to work to give me the help which I ask 
from you. 

OCT. Scapin, you must do something for him. 

SCA. How can I, after such an outrage. 

LEA. I beg of you to forget my passion, and to use your 
skill for me. 

OCT. I add my prayers to his. 

SCA. I have that insult still on my mind. 

OCT. You must forego your resentment. 


LEA. Would you leave me, Scapin, in this cruel plight 
in which my love finds itself? 

SCA. To come and insult me unawares in that way? 

LEA. I am in the wrong, I admit. 

SCA. To call me a scoundrel, a rascal, a gallows-bird, 
an infamous wretch ! 

LEA. I regret it with all my heart. 

SCA. To wish to run his sword through my body ! 

LEA. I beg your pardon for it from the bottom of my 
heart ; and if nothing will satisfy you but to see me on 
my knees beseeching you once more not to abandon me, 
I will do so. 

OCT. Ah ! upon my word, Scapin, you ought to give 
way now. 

SCA. Rise. The next time do not be so hasty. 

LEA. Will you promise me to set to work for me ? 

SCA. We will think about it. 

LEA. But time presses, as you know. 

SCA. Do not trouble yourself about it. How much do 
you want ? 

LEA. Five hundred crowns. 

SCA. And you? 

OCT. Two hundred pistoles. 

SCA. I shall draw this money from your parents. (To 
Octave). As for yours, the train is already laid. (To 
Leander). And, as regards yours, though miserly to the 
last degree, it will cost far less trouble still ; for, as to wit, 
you know, Heaven be praised, that he has not got a very 
great stock ; and I think him a sort of man who will be- 
lieve anything which you tell him. This without offence 
to you ; for there is not the slightest similarity between 
him and you ; and you know full well the opinion of every 
one, that he is your father only for form's sake. 

LEA. Gently, Scapin ! 

SCA. All right, one does not mind that ! Are you jest- 
ing ? But I see Octave's father coming. Let us begin 
with him, since he comes to us. Get you both away. (To 
Octave). And you, tell your Sylvester to come quickly to 
play his part. 



SCA. (Aside). He is chewing the cud. 

ARC. (Believing himself alone). To have so little de- 
cency and consideration. To rush headlong into an en- 
gagement like this ! Ah ! Ah ! impertinent youth. 

SCA. Your servant, Sir. 

ARC. Good day, Scapin. 

SCA. You are thinking about this affair of your son ? 

ARC. I tell you candidly that it puts me out greatly. 

ARC. Life is bestrewed with crosses, Sir; it is as well to 
be always prepared for them ; and I always bear in mind 
the saying of an ancient, which I heard a long time ago. 

ARG. What is it ? 

SCA. That when a father of a family has been away from 
home for some time, he ought to let his mind run on all 
the sad accidents which he may meet on his return ; ought 
to fancy his house burned down, his money stolen, hia 
wife dead, his son maimed, his daughter corrupted ; and 
whenever one of these things has not happened, impute it 
to his good luck. As for me, I have always practised this 
lesson in my little philosophy ; and I have never returned 
home without holding myself ready for the anger of my 
masters, their abuse, their insults, their kicks, their whacks, 
their thrashings ; and whenever I have had less, I have 
thanked my stars for it. 10 

ARG. This is all very well; but this impertinent mar- 
riage, which interferes with the one which we wish to 
contract, is a thing which I cannot bear, and I have just 
consulted lawyers to undo it. 

SCA. In truth, Sir, if you take my advice, you will try, 
by some other means, to arrange this affair. You know 
what law-suits are in this country, and you will get your- 
self into some strange difficulties. 

ARG. You are right, I see that well enough. But what 
other way is there ? 

SCA. I think that I have found one. The sympathy 
evoked by your sorrow just now, has made me consider 
about some means of quieting your uneasiness ; for I do 
not like to see honest fathers vexed by their children, 

10 This speech of Scapin is again borrowed from Terence. 


without feeling for them; and I have at all times been par- 
ticularly fond of you. 

ARG. I am very much obliged to you. 

SCA. I have been therefore to see the brother of this 
girl who has been married. He is one of those fire-eaters 
by profession, those people who are all cut and thrust, who 
talk of nothing else than slashing, and who make no more 
ado about killing a man than about swallowing a glass of 
wine. I have got him to speak about this marriage, have 
shown him the facility, offered by his own violence, to 
undo it, your prerogatives as a father, and the support you 
would receive from the law by reason of your right, your 
money, and your friends. In short, I have so turned him 
about on all sides, that he has listened to the proposals 
which I have made to him to settle the matter for a certain 
sum ; and he will give his consent to annul the marriage, 
provided you give him the money. 

ARG. And what did he require? 

SCA. Oh ! everything preposterous, at first. 

ARG. And what ? 

SCA. Extravagant things. 

ARG. But what, pray ? 

SCA. He talked of no less than five or six hundred 

ARG. Five or six hundred quartan fevers to make an end 
of him ! Is he jesting ? 

SCA. That is what I told him. I utterly rejected all 
such proposals, and I plainly gave him to understand that 
you were not a dupe, to ask you for five or six hundred 
pistoles. At last, after a great deal of talk, this is the 
result of our conference. The time draws near, said he to 
me, that I must set out for the army ; I am busy about my 
outfit, and the need which I have of some money makes 
me consent, in spite of myself, to what is proposed to me. 
I want a troop-horse, and I cannot have one, ever so 
middling, for less than sixty pistoles. 

ARG. Very well ! for sixty pistoles, I will give them. 

SCA. Then the accoutrements and the pistols; and 
that will amount at least to twenty pistoles more. 

ARG. Twenty pistoles and sixty make fourscore. 

SCA. Exactly. 


ARC. It is a good deal : but be it so. I consent to this. 

SCA. He must also have a horse for his servant, which 
will cost at least thirty pistoles. 

ARG. What the deuce ! Let him go on foot ; he shall 
have nothing at all. 

SCA. Sir! 

ARG. No : he is an impertinent fellow. 

SCA. Would you have his servant go on foot ? 

ARG. Let him go as he likes, and the master also. 

SCA. Good Heaven, Sir, do not stop short at such a 
trifle. Do not go to law, Sir, I beg you; and sooner 
give it all, to keep clear from its hands. 

ARG. Very well then ; I am ready to give also the thirty 

SCA. He wants, besides, so he says, a mule to carry . . . 

ARG. Let him go to the devil with his mule ! It is too 
much ; and we shall go before the judges. 

SCA. For mercy's sake, Sir . . . 

ARG. No, I shall do nothing at all. 

SCA. A tiny mule, Sir. 

ARG. I shall not give him as much as an ass. 

SCA. Consider . . . 

ARG. No, I prefer going to law. 

SCA. Oh, Sir, what are you talking about, and what a 
resolution to take ? Just cast your eyes upon the ins and 
outs of the laws. Just think how many appeals and 
degrees of jurisdiction; how many vexatious proceedings; 
how many delightful animals, through whose claws you 
will have to pass : sergeants, attorneys, counsels, registrars, 
substitutes, reporters, judges, and their clerks. Not one 
of those folks but who will oppose the most straightfor- 
ward case in the world for the merest trifle. A bailiff 11 
will serve you with forged deeds, upon which you shall be 
condemned without your knowing it. Your attorney will 
come to terms with the other side, and sell you for ready 
cash. Your counsel, won over in the same manner, will 
be wanting when your cause has to be pleaded, or adduce 
reasons that shall only beat about the bush, but not go 
home to the facts. The registrar will deliver sentence 

11 The original has sergeant. 


and judgment against you in your absence. The clerk of 
the reporter will make away with documents, or the 
reporter himself will deny what he has seen ; and when, 
with the utmost precautions, you shall have parried all 
this, you will be astonished to find that your judges have 
been prejudiced against you, either by some pious people, 
or by the ladies with whom they are in love. Oh ! Sir, 
if it be in your power, keep out of this hell. It is to be 
damned already in this world, to have to plead ; and the 
mere notion of a law-suit would be enough to make me 
fly as far as the Indies. 12 

ARC. And at how much does he reckon this mule? 

SCA. For the mule, Sir, for the horse, and that of his 
man, for the accoutrements and pistols, and to pay a 
little bill which he owes his landlady, he asks in all two 
hundred pistoles. 

ARG. Two hundred pistoles ? 

SCA. Yes. 

ARG. {Walking about in a passion). Never, never; we 
shall go to law. 

SCA. Reflect . . . 

ARG. I shall go to law. 

SCA. Do not throw yourself . . . 

ARG. I shall go to law. 

SCA. But to go to law, you want money. You must 
have money for the summons ; money for the registration ; 
money for the letter of attorney ; money for appearance, 
counsel, evidence, and solicitors' fees. Some will go for 
the consultations and the pleadings of the barristers ; for 
the right of redemption, and for engrossing copies of the 
case. You will want money for the reports of substitutes, 
for the sweetmeats at the end of the trial, 13 for the regis- 
tration of the verdict, the form of decree, sentence, 
arrests, revision, the signing and countersigning of their 
clerks, without reckoning the presents which you will 

"This picture of the vexations of a lawsuit in Moliere's time is not 
much exaggerated. 

1S The original has epices, spices, because formerly those who had a 
lawsuit gave sweetmeats to the judges, to thank them for having gained 
their suit, and because spices were employed instead of sugar before India 
was discovered. These epices, which were at first voluntary, became 
afterwards a compulsory tax, which was paid in money. 


have to make. Give this money to that man, and the 
affair is at end. 

ARG. What ! two hundred pistoles ! 

SCA. Yes. You will be a gainer by it. I have made a 
little calculation, mentally, of all the law charges ; and I 
have found that by giving two hundred pistoles to your 
man, you will be the gainer by at least a hundred and 
fifty, without counting the anxiety, the going hither and 
thither, and the bother you shall save yourself. Were it 
for nothing else than to have to put up with the insults 
which those sorry waggish barristers say to one in public, 
I would sooner give three hundred pistoles than go to 

ARG. I do not care for that, and I defy the lawyers to 
say anything against me. 

SCA. You shall do as you please ; but if I were you, I 
should fight shy of law-suits. 

ARG. I shall not give two hundred pistoles. 

SCA. Here comes the very man we are speaking of. " 


SYL. I say, Scapin, just show me this Argante, the fa- 
ther of Octave. 

SCA. Why, Sir? 

SYL. I have just been told that he wishes to go to law 
with me, and by the law annul my sister's marriage. 

SCA. I do not know if he intends to do so ; but he cer- 
tainly does not consent to give the two hundred pistoles 
which you desire ; he says it is too much. 

SYL. 'Sdeath, blood and wounds, 15 if I find him I shall 
thrash him unmercifully, were I to be racked on the wheel 
for it afterwards. (Argante, for fear of being seen, stands 

trembling behind Scapin. 

SCA. Let me tell you, Sir, that this father of Octave has 
some courage, and will perhaps not be at all afraid of 

14 This is again partly borrowed from Terence. 
16 The original has far la tete ! par la ventrt I 


SYL. What! he? he? blood and thunder ! 18 if he were 
here, I would give him at once a taste of my sword in his 
belly. (Perceiving Argante). Who is this man? 

SCA. It is not he, Sir ; it is not he. 

SYL. But perhaps it is one of his friends. 

SCA. No, Sir ; on the contrary, it is his greatest enemy. 

SYL. His greatest enemy ? 

SCA. Yes. 

SYL. Ah! forsooth! I am glad of it. {To Argante}. 
Are you an enemy of this mean rascal of an Argante, Sir ? 

SCA. Yes, yes ; I can answer for that. 

SYL. (Shaking Argante' s hand violently}. Grasp it, shake 
hands. I give you my word and pledge you my honour, 
by the sword which I wear, by all the oaths which I could 
swear, that before the day is out I shall rid you of this ar- 
rant knave, this mean scoundrel of an Argante. Trust to 

SCA. Violence is not tolerated in this country, Sir. 

SYL. I do not care a rap, and I have nothing to lose. 

SCA. He will be on his guard, you may depend ; and he 
has got relatives, friends and servants, who will guard him 
against your resentment. 

SYL. Zounds ! that is all I ask, that is all that I ask for. 
(Drawing his Sword}. Death and blood ! Why is he not 
here with all his guard ! Why does he not appear before 
me surrounded by thirty persons ! Why does he not rush 
down upon me, arms in hand ! (Standing upon his guard). 
Ah ! you knaves, you have the audacity to attack me. 
Ah ! Zounds ! kill. (Parrying on every side, as if he had 
several people to deal with). No quarter ! Advance. Stand 
firm. Push on ! A sure foot, a quick eye. Ah ! you 
scoundrels, you scum ! that is what you want ! You shall 
have plenty of it. Stand firm, you knaves, stand firm. 
Come on. Parry this thrust, and that one ! ( Turning 
towards Scapin and Argante}. And this one. And that 

16 The original has par la sang, par la tete. Ventre and sang are mas- 
culine, but here is understood par la vertu de. and the whole oath was/ar 
la vertu du sang^ or du ventre de Diett. I have thought it needless to give 
a literal translation of these blasphemies. 


one. What, you draw back ! Stand firm, zounds, stand 
firm ! " 

SCA. Eh ! eh ! eh ! Sir, we do not belong to them. 

SYL. That will teach you to dare to meddle with me. 


SCA. Well now ! you see how many persons would be 
killed for two hundred pistoles. After this, I wish you 
good luck. 

ARC. {Trembling all over). Scapin ! 

SCA. If you please ? 

ARC. I have made up my mind to give the two hundred 

SCA. I am glad of it for your sake. 

ARG. Let us go and find him ; I have got them with me. 

SCA. You have only to hand them to me. You cannot, 
for your own honour, show yourself to him, after having 
passed in this place for some other person than you really 
are ; and besides, I should fear that, revealing yourself to 
him, he might take it into his head to ask for more. 

ARG. Yes ; but I should be glad to see how I part with 
my money. 

SCA. Do you mistrust me ? 

ARG. It is not that, but . . . 

SCA. Forsooth, Sir, I am a rogue, I am, or an honest 
man ; one of the two. Do you think I would deceive you, 
and that, in all this, I have aught else at heart than your 
interest and that of my master, to whom you wish to be 
allied ? If you suspect me, I meddle no more with any- 
thing, and, from this moment, you may look for some one 
to arrange your affairs. 

ARG. Take them. 

SCA. No, Sir, do not intrust your money to me. I shall 
be very glad if you would employ some one else. 18 

ARG. Good Heavens ! take it. 

SCA. No, I tell you, do not trust yourself to me. Who 
knows but what I might wish to swindle you out of your 

1T A similar scene has been employed by the actor and dramatist Rosi- 
mond, in his Dupe in Love, performed in 1670. 
* 8 This is from Plautus' Bacchis. 


ARG. Take it, I tell you ; do not let me have to squabble 
any longer. But be sure to take good guarantees from 

SCA. Let me manage it ; he has not a fool to deal with. 

ARG. I shall wait for you at my house. 

SCA. I shall not fail to be there. (Alone], That is one. 
I have only to look for the other. Ah ! upon my word, 
here he is. It seems that Providence brings them into my 
net, one after another. 


SCA. {Pretending not to see Geronte). Oh Heavens ! 
Oh unlooked-for misfortune ! Oh wretched father ! Poor 
Geronte, what will you do ? 

GER. {Aside}. What is he saying about me, with that 
sorrowful face ? 

SCA. Is there no one to tell me where I can find M. 
Geronte ? 

GER. What is the matter, Scapin ? 

SCA. {Running about the stage, and pretending not to see 
nor hear Geronte). Where can I find him, to tell him of 
this misfortune ? 

GER. {Stopping Scapin). What is it? 

SCA. In vain do I run everywhere to find him. 

GER. Here I am. 

SCA. He must be hiding in some place which no one 
can discover. 

GER. {Stopping Scapin). Hullo ! are you blind that 
you cannot see me ? 

SCA. Oh ! Sir, I could not meet you anywhere. 

GER. I have been standing in front of you for nearly 
an hour. What has happened? 

SCA. Sir ... 

GER. What? 

SCA. Your son, Sir . . . 

GER. Well ! my son . . . 

SCA. Has met with the strangest accident in the world. 

GER. What is it ? 

SCA. A short time ago I met him looking so very sad 
about something that you had told him, and in which you 
have unreasonably enough mixed up my name ; and trying 


to raise his low spirits, we went to take a row in the har- 
bour. There, amongst several other things, our eyes were 
attracted by a Turkish galley, tolerably well equipped. A 
young Turk with a pleasant face, invited us to come on 
board, and held out his hand to us. We went. He 
showed us a thousand civilities, offered us a lunch, where 
we ate the most excellent fruit, that can be found, and 
drank the finest wine in the world. 

GER. What is there so very grievous in all this ? 

SCA. Stay a minute, Sir, I am coming to it. While we 
were eating, he put the galley out to sea ; and, finding 
himself far enough from the port, he had me put into a 
boat, and sent me to tell you that, if you do not send him 
through me, immediately, five hundred crowns, he will 
carry your son away to Algiers. 

GER. What, the deuce ! five hundred crowns ! 

SCA. Yes, Sir, and what is more, he has only given me 
two hours to find them. 

GER. Ah ! the gallows-bird of a Turk ! to murder me in 
this manner. 

SCA. It remains with you, Sir, to take prompt measures 
to save from slavery a son whom you so tenderly love. 

GER. What the devil did he want in that galley ? 

SCA. He did not dream of what would happen. 

GER. Go, Scapin, go quickly, and tell this Turk that I 
shall send the authorities after him. 

SCA. The authorities on the open sea ! do you wish to 
make fools of people ? 

GER. What the devil did he want in that galley ? 

SCA. An adverse fate often leads people. 

GER. You must, Scapin, you must show yourself now a 
faithful servant. 

SCA. How so, Sir ? 

GER. By going to tell this Turk to send me back my 
son, and by putting yourself in his place, until I can raise 
the sum which he asks. 

SCA. Eh ! Sir, do you know what you are saying? and 
do you imagine that this Turk will have so little sense as 
to receive a poor wretch like me as a substitute for your 
son ? 

GER. What the devil did he want in that galley? 


SCA. He did not dream of such a misfortune. Remem- 
ber, Sir, that he has given me only two hours. 

GER. He wants, you say . . . 

SCA. Five hundred crowns. 

GER. Five hundred crowns ! Has he no conscience ? 

SCA. That is good ; a Turk a conscience ! 

GER. Does he know what five hundred crowns means ? 

SCA. Indeed he does, Sir ; he knows that it is fifteen 
hundred livres. 

GER. Does he think, the villain, that fifteen hundred 
livres are so easily to be found ? 

SCA. They are people who do not understand reason. 

GER. But what the devil did he want in that galley ? 

SCA. True. But after all, one cannot foresee these 
things. Pray, Sir, make haste. 

GER. Look here, there is the key of my cupboard. 

SCA. Good. 

GER. You go and open it. 

SCA. Very good. 

GER. You will find a large key on the left hand side, 
which is the one of the garret. 

SCA. Yes. 

GER. You will take all the clothes which are in that 
large basket, and go and sell them to the old clothes-men 
to redeem my son. 

SCA. [Handing him back the key]. Are you dreaming, 
Sir? The whole of which you speak will not fetch a 
hundred francs ; and besides, you know the little time he 
has given me. 

GER. But what the devil did he want in that galley? 

SCA. Oh ! What a waste of words. Leave that galley 
alone, and remember that time flies, and that you run the 
risk of losing your son. Alas ! my poor master ! perhaps 
I shall never set eyes on you again while I live, and at this 
very moment they are carrying you away to Algiers as a 
slave. But Heaven is my witness that I have done all that 
I could for you, and that, if you are not bought off, noth- 
ing but the want of fatherly affection is to blame. 

GER. Stay, Scapin, I will go and fetch that money. 

SCA. Be quick about it, Sir ; I tremble to hear the 
hour strike. 


GER. Did you not say four hundred crowns ? 

SCA. No : five hundred crowns. 

GER. Five hundred crowns 1 

SCA. Yes. 

GER. What the devil did he want in that galley ? 

SCA. You are right : but make haste. 

GER. Was there no other place to go to ? 

SCA. That is true : but be quick. 

GER. Ah ! that confounded galley. 

SCA. (Aside). That galley lies heavy upon his heart. 

GER. Stay, Scapin, I did not remember, I have just 
received the very sum in gold, and I did not think that I 
would have to part with it so soon. {Taking his purse 
from his pocket, and holding it out to Scapiri). There, go and 
redeem my son. 

SCA. (Holding out his hand). Yes, Sir. 

GER. (Still holding the purse, which he pretends to give 
to Scapin). But tell this Turk that he is a scoundrel. 

SCA. (Still holding out his hand}. Yes. 

GER. (Recommencing the same thing}. An infamous 

SCA. (Still holding out his hand}. Yes. 

GER. A man without honour, a robber. 

SCA. Let me manage it. 

GER. That he extorts five hundred crowns from me 
against all right. 

SCA. Yes. 

GER. (Recommencing the same thing). That I do not 
make them a present to him for ever. 

SCA. Very good. 

GER. (Recommencing the same thing). And that, if ever 
I catch him, I shall be revenged on him. 

SCA. Yes. 

GER. (Putting the money back in his pocket and going). 
Go, go quickly, and bring back my son. 

SCA. (Running after Geronte). Hullo, Sir. 

GER. What? 

SCA. Where is this money ? 

GER. Have I not given it to you ? 

SCA. No, indeed ; you put it back in your pocket. 

GER. Ah ! it is this trouble that upsets my senses. 


SCA. I see it does. 

GER. What the devil did he want in that galley ? Con- 
founded galley ! Villain of a Turk ; may the devil take 
you ! 

SCA. (Alone). He cannot swallow the five hundred 
crowns which I have dragged away from him ; but he is 
not quits with me yet ; and he shall pay me in different 
coin for the trick he has played me with his son. 19 


OCT. Well ! Scapin, have you succeeded in your enter- 
prise for me ? 

LEA. Have you done anything to get my love affair out 
of the plight it is in ? 

SCA. (To Octave). Here are two hundred pistoles 
which I have drawn from your father. 

OCT. Ah ! how glad you make me ! 

SCA. (To Leander). I have not been able to do any- 
thing for you. 

LEA. ( Going). I had better go and make an end of my- 
self ; for I cannot live if Zerbinette is taken from me. 

SCA. Hullo ! hullo ! gently. What a dreadful hurry 
you are in ! 

LEA. {Turning back). What is to become of me? 

SCA. Never mind, I have got what you want. 

LEA. {Returning). Ah ! you restore life to me. 

SCA. But on condition that you shall allow me a little 
piece of retaliation upon your father for the trick which 
he has played me. 

LEA. Anything you please. 

SCA. You promise it before a witness ? 

LEA. Yes. 

SCA. Catch hold, here are the five hundred crowns. 

LEA. Let us go quickly to redeem my charmer with 

19 In the Introductory Notice I have already stated that this scene is 
borrowed from Cyrano de Bergerac's play The Deceived Pedant, where a 
Turkish galley is lying at anchor in the Seine. Moliere's comedy takes 
place on a coast which was exposed to the attacks of Turkish rovers ; 
besides, the taking of Candia by the Turks, in 1669, had given a fresh 
interest to all adventures with which Turks were mixed up. 




SYL. Yes, your lovers have decided between them, that 
you should remain together; and we are discharging the 
order which they have given us. 

HYA. ( To Zerbinette). Such an order has nothing but 
what is very agreeable to me. I gladly welcome such a 
companion; and it will not be my fault if the friendship 
existing between the persons whom we love does not extend 
to us. 

ZER. I accept the proposal, and am not one to draw back 
when friendship is in question. 

SCA. And when love is in question ? 

ZER. As for love, that is a different thing ; one runs a 
little more risk, and I am not so rash about that. 

SCA. You are so against my master now, I believe ; and 
what he has just done for you ought to give you the heart 
to respond in the right manner to his love. 

ZER. I do not as yet trust him unconditionally ; and all 
that he has done does not entirely reassure me. I am of 
a lively disposition, and I am always laughing : but for all 
that, I am serious upon certain subjects ; and your master 
will make a mistake, if he thinks that to have bought me 
is sufficient to make me wholly his own. It will cost him 
something else besides money ; and if he wishes that I 
should return his passion in the same manner, he will have 
to give me a pledge of his faith, accompanied by certain 
ceremonies which are thought indispensable. 

SCA. That is what he means to do. His intentions are 
nought but right and honourable ; and I would not have 
been the one to meddle with this affair if he had had dif- 
ferent intentions. 

ZER. That is what I wish to believe, since you tell me 
so; but, on the father's part, I expect some obstacles. 

SCA. We shall find the means of arranging matters. 

HYA. (To Zerbinette). The similarity of our positions 
ought to contribute to the growth of our friendship ; and 
we find ourselves both in the same plight, both exposed to 
the same misfortunes. 


ZER. You have this advantage at least that you know 
who gave you birth, and that the support of your parents, 
whom you can disclose, is likely to arrange everything, to 
assure your happiness, and to command a consent to a 
marriage which is already contracted. But, as for me, I 
receive no assistance from my position in life; and I am 
in a condition which will hardly mollify a father who looks 
only to wealth. 

HYA. You have yet the advantage, that your lover is 
not tempted by another match. 

ZER. The change in a lover's heart is not what is most 
to be feared. One may naturally believe one's own merits 
sufficient to retain one's conquests ; and what I dread most 
in this sort of affairs, is the paternal power, in whose eyes 
merit counts for nothing. 

HYA. Alas ! why must our best affections be thwarted ! 
How sweet it is to love, when there are no obstacles to 
those gentle chains with which two hearts are united ! 

SCA. You are jesting ; a smooth love affair is a disagree- 
able calm. An uninterrupted happiness becomes tiresome; 
there must be ups and downs in life ; and the difficulties 
about things awaken the desires, and increase the pleasures. 

ZER. By the bye, Scapin, tell us the story, which I have 
been given to understand is so amusing, of the trick which 
you made use of to draw money from your old miser. You 
know that it is not labour lost to tell me a tale, and that 
I reward it well enough by the pleasure which it gives me. 

SCA. There is Sylvester, who will manage it as well as 
I. I have got a little bit of revenge in my mind, of which 
I shall relish the pleasure. 

SYL. Why will you, out of mere light-heartedness, get 
yourself into awkward scrapes ? 

SCA. I like to attempt hazardous enterprises. 

SYL. I have already told you, if you take my advice, to 
abandon your project. 

SCA. Just so ; but I shall take my own advice in this 

SYL. What the devil are you going to be up to ? 

SCA. What the devil are you bothering yourself about ? 

SYL. Because I see that you are running, unnecessarily, 
the risk of drawing a storm of cudgel-blows upon you. 


SCA. Well ! It is at the cost of my back, not of yours. 

SYL. It is true that you are master of your own shoulders, 
and may dispose of them as you please. 

SCA. That kind of danger has never stopped me ; and 
I hate those chicken-hearted fellows, who, because they 
look too much at the sequel of events, never dare to un- 
dertake anything. 

ZER. ( To Scapin). We shall need your help. 

SCA. Lead on. I shall be with you presently. It shall 
never be said, that they have with impunity almost made 
me betray myself and disclose secrets which it would be 
as well that nobody knew. 


GER. Well, Scapin, how goes the affair of my son ? 

SCA. Your son is safe enough, Sir ; but you yourself, 
Sir, are running the greatest danger in the world, and I 
would give a good deal that you were in your own house. 

GER. How is that ? 

SCA. At this very moment, you are looked for every- 
where to be killed. 

GER. I? 

SCA. Yes. 

GER. And by whom ? 

SCA. By the brother of this person whom Octave has 
married. He believes that the design which you have to 
place your daughter in the position now occupied by his 
sister, is the reason which induces Argante to leave no 
stone unturned to annul their marriage; and, with that 
idea, he has openly reserved to vent his despair on you, 
and to take your life to avenge his honour. All his friends, 
knights of the blade like himself, are looking for you 
everywhere, and inquiring after you. I myself saw here 
and there some soldiers of his company, who are guard- 
ing in platoons every approach to your house, examining 
every one whom they meet : so much so that you cannot 
go home, nor walk a step, right or left, without falling 
into their hands. 

GER. What am I to do, my good Scapin ? 

SCA. I do not know, Sir; it is a strange affair alto- 
gether. I tremble from head to foot for you, and . . . 


Wait a moment {Scapin pretends to look at the farther end 
of the stage whether any one is there. 

GER. {Trembling). Eh? 

SCA. {Coming back). No, no, no, it is nothing. 

GER. Cannot you find some means to get me out of 
trouble ? 

SCA. I have thought about one ; but I run the risk of 
being knocked down myself. 

GER. Come ! Scapin, show yourself a faithful servant. 
Do not leave me in the lurch, I beg of you. 

SCA. I am willing enough. I have this much regard 
for you, that I should not like to leave you without assist- 

GER. You shall be well rewarded for it, I assure you ; 
and I promise you this coat, when I have worn it a little. 

SCA. Stay. Just the very thing I have hit upon to save 
you. You must get into this sack, and . . . 

GER. {Fancying he sees somebody]. Ah ! 

SCA. No, no, no, no, there is no one. You must, I say, 
get into this, and take care not to stir in the least. I shall 
hoist you on my back like a bundle of something, and I 
shall carry you in that way through the midst of your 
enemies, into your house, where, once we get in, we can 
barricade ourselves, and send for assistance against this 

GER. The idea is good. 

SCA. The best in the world. You shall see. (Aside). 
I shall be even with you for the cheat. 

GER. What do you say ? 

SCA. I say that your enemies will be taken in nicely. 
Get well to the bottom ; and above all take care not to 
show yourself, and not to move, happen what may. 

GER. Let me manage : I know how to keep myself . . . 

SCA. Hide yourself; here comes a swash-buckler who is 
looking out for you (disguising his voice). "What ! shall 
I not have the delight of killing this G6ronte, and will no 
one out of charity point me out where he is?" {To 
Geronte in his natural voice}. Do not stir. " Cad6dis ! 
I shall find him if he were hidden in the bowels of the 
earth." {To Geronte in his natural voice). Do not show 
yourself. {The counterfeited language is supposed to be 


Gascon, the remainder his own). " Ah ! you man with 
the sack." Sir. " I will give you a louis if you tell me 
where I can find this Geronte." You are looking for M. 
G6ronte? "Yes. Zounds, I am looking for him." And 
what for, Sir? "What for?" Yes. " Because I want 
to cudgel the life out of him, cadedis." Oh, indeed, Sir; 
but folks like him do not ordinarily receive cudgel-blows, 
and he is not a man to stand that sort of treatment. 
" Who ? that booby of a Geronte, that scoundrel, that 
blockhead?" M. Geronte, Sir, is neither a booby, nor 
a scoundrel, nor a blockhead ; and you ought to speak in 
another tone. " How dare you give me any of your in- 
solence?" I am defending, as I ought to do, a man of 
honour, who is being insulted. " Are you one of the 
friends of this Geronte?" Yes, Sir, I am. "Ah! ca- 
d6dis, you are one of his friends. So much the better." 
(Striking several times on the sack with a stick}. " There, 
take this, and that, in his stead." {Shrieking as if he 
were being struck). Ah, ah, Sir, that'll do. Ah, ah, Sir, 
gently. Ah, gently. Ah, ah, ah. " There, give him 
this from me. Adiusias." {Complaining and moving his 
back as if he had received some cudgel-blows}. Ah, the 
devil take the Gascon ! Ah ! 

GER. {Thrusting his head out of the sack). Ah, Scapin, 
I can endure it no longer. 

SCA. Ah ! Sir, I am bruised all over, and my shoulders 
pain me dreadfully. 

GER. How is that ! It is on mine that he has been 

SCA. No, indeed, Sir, it is my back that he has been 

GER. What do you mean? I have felt the blows well 
enough, and feel them yet. 

SCA. No, I tell you; it is only the end of his stick that 
came down upon your shoulders. 

GER. You ought therefore to have gone a little farther 
away in order to spare me . . . 

M The words printed in italics are in the Gascon dialect, which is un- 
translatable. Here is a specimen of the first sentence in the original : 
Cadedis, je le trouberai, si cahat-il au centre de la terre. 


SCA. (Pushing his head back again into the sack). Be 
careful; here comes another, who has the look of a 
stranger. {This by-play is the same as that of the Gascon, 
for the change of language and the stage-business]. a "Gone, 
I have been running like a Basque, and I cannot find this 
devil of a Geronte." Hide yourself well. "Tell me a 
little, you mister Gentleman, if you please, do not you 
know where this Geronte is, whom I am looking for?" 
No, Sir, I do not know where Geronte is. " Tell me 
candidly ; I do not want much with him. I only want to 
treat him to a dozen or so of cudgel-blows on his back, 
and three or four sword thrusts through his breast. " I 
assure you Sir, that I do not know where he is. " It 
seems to me that there is something moving in this sack." 
Not at all, Sir. "I am sure that there is something in 
there." Not at all, Sir, "I have a good mind to pass 
my sword through this sack." Oh ! Sir, do not do any- 
thing of the sort. " Let me look a little what is in there." 
That will do, Sir. " How, that will do !" You have no 
business with what I am carrying. " And I will have 
business with it." You shall not see it. "Ah! what 
nonsense is all this." They are some clothes belonging 
to me. " Show me, I tell you." I shall do nothing of 
the kind. " You shall do nothing of the kind ?" No. 
" Then I shall break this stick on your shoulders." I do 
not care for that. " Ah you want to play the fool with 
me. ' ' {Striking the sack with the stick, and howling as if 
he were receiving the blows). Aye, aye, aye. Ah! Sir, ah, 
ah, ah, ah. "Till we meet again, this will be a little 
lesson to teach you not to be insolent." Ah ' plague on 
the jabbering thief! Ah! 

GER. {Thrusting his head out of the sack). Ah! I feel 
as broken on the wheel. 

SCA. Ah ! I am dead. 

GER. Why the deuce must they pummel my back? 

SCA. {Putting his head back into the sack). Take care ; 

11 My foregoing remark as TO the difficulty of rendering provincial 
dialect into English applies also to this scene, which is given in an Alsa- 
tian accent. Here is the first sentence in the original : Parti I mot courir 
comme une Basque, et mot ne pouvre point troufair de tout le jour sti 
liable de Gironte. 


here is half a dozen soldiers together. {Imitating the 
voices of several persons). " Come let us try to find 
G6ronte, let us look everywhere. Do not let us stand still 
over it. Let us rummage the whole town. Do not let 
us miss a single spot. Let us go everywhere. Let us 
peep into every nook and corner. Which way shall we 
go? This way. No, through here. To the left. To 
the right. Not at all. Yes, yes." (To Geronte, in his 
natural voice). Hide yourself well. " Ah, mates, here 
is his servant. Come, you rascal, you must tell us where 
your master is." Ah! gentlemen, do not ill-use me. 
" Come, tell us where he is. Speak. Make haste, look 
sharp, be quick, speak up." Oh, gentlemen, gently. 
{Geronte, thrusts his head softly out of the sack, ana 
becomes aware of Scapin's trick). " If you do not help 
us to find your master directly, we shall overwhelm you 
with cudgel-blows." I prefer suffering everything rather 
than show you my master. " We shall beat the life out 
of you." Do as you please. "You wish to be cudgelled?" 
I will not betray my master. " Ah, you wish to be 
beaten? There then ..." Ah ! (As ke is about to 
strike, Geronte gets out of the sack, and Scapin runs off. 
GER. (Alone). Ah ! infamous wretch ! Ah ! traitor ! 
Ah! scoundrel ! Is it thus that you assault me? 


ZEF. (Laughing, without perceiving Geronte). Ha, ha ! 
I must have a breath of air. 

GER. (Aside, without seeing Zerbinette). You shall pay 
for this, I swear. 

ZER. (Without seeing Geronte). Ha, ha, ha, ha ! What 
an amusing story ! and what a dupe they have made of the 
old man ! 

GER. There is nothing amusing in it; and you have no 
business to laugh at it. 

ZER. What is the matter ! what do you mean, Sir ? 

GER. I mean that you have no business to make a jest 
of me. 

ZER. Of you? 

GER. Yes. 

ZER. How ? Who intends to make a jest of you ? 


GER. Why do you come here to laugh in my very face ? 

ZER. This does not concern you at all, and I was only 
laughing at a story that I have just been told, the funniest 
I ever heard. I do not know whether it is because I am 
interested in the matter; but I have never heard anything 
more laughable than the trick that has just been played by 
a son on his father to get hold of some money. 

GER. By a son on his father to get hold of some money? 

ZER. Yes. If you are at all curious, you shall find me 
ready enough to tell you the tale ; for I am always itching 
to retail the stories I know. 

GER. Pray tell me this one. 

ZER. I do not mind. I shall not risk much by telling 
it to you, and it is an adventure that will not long remain 
a secret. Fate would have it that I should fall among a 
gang of people whom they call gipsies, and who, wan- 
dering from one country to another, make it their business 
to tell people's fortunes, and to do many things besides. 
On reaching this town, a young man happened to see me, 
and conceived an attachment to me. From that moment, 
he dogged my footsteps ; and at first he was like all other 
young men, who think that they have only to speak, and 
that at the least word which they say to us, their business 
is done ; but he found a resistance which made him some- 
what alter his first opinions. He confided his passion to 
the people in whose hands I was ; and he found them 
willing to leave me to him, in consideration of a certain 
sum of money. But the worst of the thing was, that my 
lover was in the same position in which we so often find 
the majority of young men of good birth, that is, he was 
a little short of money. His father, though rich, is a 
downright skinflint, the nastiest wretch on earth. Wait 
a little. Can I not remember his name? Stop. Perhaps 
you can help me. Can not you name some one in this 
town, who is noted for being miserly to the last degree? 

GER. No. 

ZER. There is a ron in his name . . . rente . . . 
Or ... Oronte. No. G6 . . . Geronte. Yes, Geronte, 
that is it ; that is my shabby individual ; I have got it ; 
that is the stingy churl of whom I am talking. To come 
to our story, our people wished to get away from this 


town to-day; and my lover was going to lose me for 
lack of money, had he not luckily been assisted by the 
cleverness of his servant to get some out of his father. 
As for the name of the servant, I know it perfectly well. 
It is Scapin ; he is a wonderful fellow, and he deserves all 
the praise in the world. 

GER. (Aside). Ah ! scoundrel that you are ! 

ZER. This is the trick of which he made use to get the 
money out of his dupe. Ha, ha, ha, ha ! I cannot help 
laughing heartily when I think of it. Ha, ha, ha, ha ! 
He goes to this stingy cur . . . ha, ha, ha ; and tells 
him that while walking with his son near the port, hi, hi, 
they saw a Turkish galley, on board of which they were 
invited ; that a young Turk offered them a lunch. Ha ; 
that while they were at table, the galley was put off to sea, 
and that the Turk had sent him back ashore by himself in 
a skiff, with the order to tell his master's father that he 
was going to carry his son away to Algiers with him unless 
he sent him five hundred crowns immediately. Ha, ha, 
ha! Behold my churl, my miser, in the most furious 
agonies; and the tenderness for his son struggling 
curiously with his avarice. The five hundred crowns re- 
quired of him are just so many dagger thrusts levelled at 
his heart. Ha, ha, ha. He cannot make up his mind to 
tear that sum from his very bowels ; and the pain which 
he suffers makes him devise a hundred ridiculous ways of 
getting his son back again. Ha, ha, ha. He wants to 
send the authorities after the Turk's galley on the open sea. 
Ha, ha, ha. He induces his servant to go and offer him- 
self to take the son's place, until he has scraped together 
the money which he does not intend to part with. Ha, 
ha, ha. In order to make up the five hundred crowns, he 
is going to sell four or five old suits which are not worth 
thirty. Ha, ha, ha. The servant tries at every turn to 
show him the preposterousness of his proposal ; and every 
reflection is dolefully accompanied by a What the devil 
did he want in that galley ? Oh ! confounded galley ! 
scoundrel of a Turk ! At last after many twistings and 
turnings, after having wailed and sighed ever so long . . . 
But it seems to me that my story does not amuse you ; 
what do you think of it ? 


GER. I think that the young man is a hangdog, an in- 
solent scoundrel, who shall be punished by his father for 
the trick he has played him ; that the gipsy is a jade, an 
impertinent girl, to insult a man of honour who will teach 
her to come here and corrupt young men of quality ; and 
that the servant is a rascal who will be sent to the gallows 
by Gronte before to-morrow." 


SYL. Where did you go to ? Are you aware that you 
have been talking to the father of your lover ? 

ZER. I just thought so ; and, inadvertently, I have 
been telling him his own story. 

SYL. How, his own story ? 

ZER. Yes. I was full of the tale, and bursting to tell it 
again. But what does it matter ? So much the worse for 
him. I do not see that things, so far as we are concerned, 
can be mended or marred by it. 

SYL. You had a great mind to chatter ; and I call it 
talking with a vengeance not to be able to keep one's 
own secrets. 

ZER. Would he not have found it out from some one 


ARC. {Behind the scenes). Hullo! Sylvester. 
SYL. Go indoors. Heje is my master calling me. 


ARC. So you have put your heads together, you rascals ; 
you have arranged between you, Scapin, you and my son, 
to cheat me ; and you think that I shall bear it ? 

SYL. Look here, Sir, if Scapin cheats you, I wash my 
hands of it, and assure you that I have no part nor parcel 
in it. 

ARG. We shall see about this business, you rogue ; we 

* This scene is also partly imitated from The Deceived Pedant of 
Cyrano de Bergerac ; but in the latter play, the lady, Genevote, in re- 
lating the story to the pedant Granger, knows that he was the hero of it: 
whilst Zerbinette does not know Geronte. 


shall see about this, and I do not wish to be treated like a 


GER. Ah ! M. Argante, you behold me overwhelmed 
with disgrace. 

ARC. You behold me also in a terrible affliction. 

GER. That hangdog Scapin, by one of his roguish 
tricks, has swindled me out of five hundred crowns. 

ARG. That same hangdog Scapin, by a similar roguish 
trick, has swindled me out of five hundred pistoles. 

GER. Not content with doing me out of five hundred 
crowns, he has treated me in a manner which I am 
ashamed to tell you. But he shall pay me for it. 

ARG. He shall have to give me satisfaction for the trick 
he has played me. 

GER. And I mean to be signally revenged upon him. 

SYL. (Aside). Would to Heaven that I had not had a 
share in all this ! 

GER. But this is not all, M. Argante ; and one misfor- 
tune is generally the fore-runner of another. I was re- 
joicing to-day in the prospect of having my daughter, who 
is my only consolation, with me, and now I have just 
heard from my man that she set out a good while ago 
from Tarente, and that it is thought that she went dowu 
with the vessel in which she embarked. 

ARG. But why, pray, did you keep her at Tarente, and 
not give yourself the pleasure of having her always with 

GER. I had my reasons for this ; and family interests 
have obliged me until now to keep my second marriage a 
great secret. But whom do I see ? 


GER. What, you here, nurse? 

NER. ( Throwing herself at the feet of Geronte). Ah, M. 
Pandolphe .... 

18 The original has je ne pretends pas qu'on me fosse passer la plume 
par le bee ; because, in order to prevent geese from going through the 
hedges, a feather is stuck through the upper part of their beaks. 


GER. Call me Geronte, and do not use this name any 
longer. The reasons no longer exist which obliged me to 
take it among you at Tarente. 

NER. Alas ! what troubles and uneasiness this change of 
name has caused us in the pains which we took to find you 
out here ! 

GER. Where is my daughter and her mother ? 

NER. Your daughter, Sir, is not far from this ; but be- 
fore I let you see her, I must beg your pardon for having 
married her, in the destitute condition in which I was 
with her, through not finding you. 

GER. My daughter married ? 

NER. Yes, Sir. 

GER. And to whom ? 

NER. To a young gentleman named Octave, son of a 
certain M. Argante. 

GER. Oh, Heavens ! 

ARC. What a coincidence ! 

GER. Take us, take us quickly to her. 

NER. You have only to enter this house. 

GER. Lead the way. Follow me, follow me, M. 

SYL. (Alone}. This is an adventure which is altogether 


SCA. Well, Sylvester, what are our folks doing? 

SYL. I have two pieces of news to tell you. The one 
is, that the affair of Octave is arranged. Our Hyacinthe 
is found to be the daughter of M. Geronte ; and chance 
has accomplished what the prudence of the fathers had 
planned. The other piece of news is, that the two old 
men are threatening Heaven and earth against you ; and 
above all M. Geronte. 

SCA. That is nothing. . Threats have never done me 
any harm; and they are clouds that pass very high over 
our heads. 

SYL. Take care of yourself. The sons may make it up 
with the fathers, and you be left in the lurch. 

** This ending again is partly followed from the last scene of Terence's 


SCA. Let me manage. I shall find the means of ap- 
peasing their anger, and . . . 

SYL. Get away, they are coming out. 


GER. Come, daughter, come home to me. My joy 
would have been complete, if I could have seen your 
mother with you. 

ARG. Here comes Octave, just in time. 


ARC. Come, my son ; come and rejoice with us in the 
happy accident of your marriage. Heaven . . . 

OCT. No, father, all your proposals of marriage will be 
useless. I must take off the mask with you, and you have 
been told of my engagement. 

ARG. Yes, but you do not know . . . 

OCT. I know all which I ought to know. 

ARG. I wish to tell you that the daughter of M. 
Geronte . . . 

OCT. The daughter of M. Geronte will never be any- 
thing to me. 

GER. It is she ... 

OCT. (To Geronte). No, Sir; I ask your pardon ; my 
resolutions are taken. 

SYL. (To Octave}. Listen . . . 

OCT. No. Hold your tongue. I shall listen to nothing. 

ARG. (To Octave). Your wife . . . 

OCT. No, I tell you, father; I shall sooner die than 
leave my gentle Hyacinthe. ( Crossing the stage to place 
himself at the side of Hyacinthe]. Yes, you may do what 
you like ; here she is, to whom my troth is plighted. I 
shall love her all my life, and do not want another wife. 

ARG. Very well ! it is she whom we give to you. What 
devil of a madcap who always goes ahead ! 

HYA. (Pointing to Geronte^. Yes, Octave, here is my 
father, whom I have found : and all our troubles are 


GER. Let us go home ; we shall be more comfortable 
than here to discuss matters. 

HYA. (Pointing to Zerbinette). Ah ! father ; I ask you as 
a favour that I may not be parted from this amiable girl 
whom you see. Her merits will make you like her, when 
you come to know her. 

GER. Would you have me harbour a person with whom 
your brother is in love, and who just now has insulted me 
to my very face? 

ZER. I beg of you to excuse me, Sir. I should not have 
spoken so, had I known that it was you ; and I only knew 
you by hearsay. 

GER. How ! only by hearsay ? 

HYA. Father, the passion which my brother has for her 
has nothing guilty in it, and I answer for her virtue. 

GER. That is very good. Would you not have me marry 
my son to her? A strange girl, whose profession is to 
run about the country. 


LEA. Father, do not complain any longer that I love a 
stranger, without birth or riches. Those of whom I have 
bought her have just disclosed to me that she belongs to 
this town, and comes of an honourable family, from whom 
they kidnapped her at the age of four : and here is a 
bracelet which they have given me, and which may help 
us to find her parents. 

ARC. Alas ! to see this bracelet, it must be my daughter, 
whom I lost at the age you mention. 

GER. Your daughter ? 

ARG. Yes, it is she; and I see in every one of her 
features the certainty of it. My dear daughter ! . . . 

HYA. Good Heavens ! what extraordinary adventures ! 


CAR. Alas ! gentlemen, a strange accident has just now 

GER. What is it ? 

CAR. Poor Scapin . . . 


GER. Is a scoundrel, whom I shall have hanged. 

CAR. Alas, Sir ! you will not have the trouble. In 
passing by a house they were building, there fell on his 
head a stone-mason's hammer, which has broken the bone 
and laid bare the whole of his brain. He is dying, and he 
has begged to be brought here, to be able to speak to you 
before he dies. 

ARC. Where is he ? 

CAR. Here he comes. 




SCA. (Carried by two men, his head wrapt round with 
bandages, as if he had been wounded}. Aye, aye, gentle- 
men, behold me . . . Aye, you see me in a sad condition. 
Aye. I did not wish to die before having asked forgiveness 
of every one whom I may have offended. Aye. Yes, 
gentlemen, before breathing my last sigh, I beseech you 
with all my heart, to forgive me for all I may have done 
to you; but particularly M. Argante, and M. Gronte. 

ARG. As for me, I forgive you ; go, die in peace. 

SCA. (T0 Geronte}. It is you, Sir, whom I have of- 
fended most by the cudgel-blows, which . . . 

GER. Speak no longer of it, I forgive you also. 

SCA. It was a great audacity on my part, those cudgel- 
blows, which . . . 

GER. Let us drop that. 

SCA. Now that I am dying, it gives me inconceivable 
pain to think about those cudgel-blows which . . . 

GER. Good Heaven j hold your tongue. 

SCA. Those unlucky cudgel -blows which I ... 

GER. Hold your tongue, I tell you ; I forget everything. 

SCA. Alas ! what goodness ! but is it heartily, Sir, that 
you forgive me those cudgel-blows which I ... 

GER. Ah ! yes. Let us speak no more about them : I 
forgive you everything : there is an end of it. 

SCA. Oh Sir, I feel altogether relieved by that word. 

GER. Yes ; but I forgive you only on condition that 
you shall die. 


SCA. How! Sir? 

GER. I retract my word, if you recover. 

SCA. Aye, aye. There is my faintness coming on again. 

ARG. M. Geronte, in return for our joy, you must for- 
give him unconditionally. 

GER. Be it so. 

ARG. Let us all go and sup together, the better to relish 
our pleasure. 

SCA. And let them carry me to the foot of the table, 
while I am waiting for my death. 






DECEMBER 20, 1671. 


WE have already stated that during the rejoicing of the second marriage 
of Monsieur, the brother of Louis. XIV., with the Princess Charlotte 
Elizabeth of Bavaria, the King had given some splendid festivals for the 
reception of his sister-in-law, in which several comedies and ballets were 
performed, which were called Ballet des ballets?- Moliere was com- 
manded to write a comedy in which all the different entertainments, opera 
and ballets, should be combined; and hence he wrote The Countess of 
Escarbagnas, which was represented before the Court at Saint-Germain- 
en-Laye on the zd of December, 1671. There was a prologue and a 
pastoral, the whole forming seven acts, each followed by an interlude. 
The prologue and interludes were taken from pieces formerly composed 
for the Court, such as The Magnificent Lovers, George Dandin, The 
Citizen who apes the Nobleman, and the Ballet of the Muses : but it is 
not known what these seven acts were, which are mentioned in the official 
book of the ballet. 

The Countess of Escarbagnas represents nearly all provincials, inhabi- 
tants of small towns, with the habits and manners of country louts. The 
Countess is not a high-born lady, but the widow of some petty nobleman. 
She has been only a short time at Court, but has picked up sufficient 
wickedness to allow M. Harpin, one of her three admirers, to pay for the 
expenses of her household and her tradesmen. The receiver of taxes 
knows, of course, the power of money, and is therefore not so obsequious 
to birth as the gentle, gallant counsellor-at-law. He shows, on the con- 
trary, his purse-proud vulgarity, and at the same time a certain shrewd- 
ness, whilst M. Tibaudier spends his time in writing rubbish, and in mix- 
ing law words with his elegant and pretentious phraseology, but in such 
a way as not to offend the noble widow. M. Bobinet is a representative 
of that class who are obliged, through necessity, to teach, and whose lot, 
I am afraid, has not much improved since the days of Moliere. Even 
the servants have a ' distinct physiognomy; and as we perceive that all 
these persons move, live, and stand out from the canvass, and that in 
one act we recognize the masterhand of Moliere. 

1 See Introductory Notice to Psychi. 



The Countess of Escarbagnas was represented in the theatre of the 
Palais Royal, on the 8th of July, 1672, and was performed fourteen con- 
secutive times, always with The Compulsory Marriage, which seems to 
have taken the place of the Court entertainments. It was never printed 
during Moliere's lifetime, and appeared for the first time only in the 
edition of 1682, published by La Grange and Vinot. 

James Miller has imitated a short dialogue between the Countess and 
Andree in The Man of Taste (see Introductory Notice to The Pretentious 
Young Ladies, Vol. I.,) and between the Countess and Criquet. 


THE COUNT, son of the Countess of Escarbagnas. 

THE VISCOUNT, Julia's lover. 

MR. TIBAUDIER, counsellor- at-law, in love with the Countess. 

MR. HARPIN, receiver of taxes, also in love with the Countess. 

MR. ROBINET, tutor to the Count. 

JEANNOT, Tibaudier's lacquey. 

CRIQUET, the Countess's lacquey. 


JULIA, in love with the Viscount. 

ANRHE, attendant to the Countess. 





Vis. Eh what, Madam ! you are here already ! 

JUL. Yes. You ought to blush for it, Cleante ; and it 
is not at all gallant in a lover to be the last at the trysting 

Vis. I should have been here an hour ago, if there were 
no bores in the world ; and I have been stopped on the 
road by an old troublesome nobleman, who expressly asked 
me for tidings from the court, in order to tell me some, 
the most extravagant that could well be retailed ; and 
these great newsmongers, who look about everywhere to 
spread the stories which they pick up, are, as you know, 
the plagues of small towns. This one has, first of all, 
shown me two sheets of paper, scribbled up to the edge 
with a large mass of nonsensical stories, which, he told me, 
came from the most reliable sources. After which, as a 
great curiosity, he has read me in a tiresome way, and with 
an air of great mystery, all the bad jokes of the Dutch 
Gazette? the interests of which he has espoused. His 
opinion is that France is battered down by the pen of this 
writer ; and that it only wants this wit to undo all our 
troops; and from this he has thrown himself headlong into 

' Louis XIV. had just succeeded in dissolving the triple alliance between 
England, Sweden, and the United Provinces ; hence the bitterness of the 
Dutch newspapers, which was one of the excuses which the French king 
brought forward to justify the war with Holland. 



reviewing the ministry, whose every shortcoming he 
noticed ; and with which, I thought, he would never 
have finished. To hear him speak, he knows the secrets 
of the cabinet better than those who make them. The 
policy of the state allows him to see all its designs ; and 
it moves not a step, of which he cannot fathom the 
motives. He informs us of the hidden springs of every- 
thing that is done, lays bare to us the prudential views of 
our neighbours, and sets agoing, at his own fancy, all the 
affairs of Europe. His information extends even to Africa 
and Asia ; and he is informed of everything that is going 
on in the council of state of Prester-John* and of the great 

JUL. You adorn your excuse in the best way you can, in 
order to make it agreeable, and to have it more easily 

Vis. This is, fair Julia, the true cause of my being be- 
hind ; and, if I wish to give a gallant excuse, I should 
only have to tell you that the place of meeting which you 
have selected might authorize the delay with which you 
reproach me; that to induce me to play the lover of the 
mistress of the house, is to make me fear of being here the 
first ; that this feint to which I constrain myself being only 
to please you, I am induced not to wish to suffer the an- 
noyance of it, except in the presence of her who is amused 
by it ; that I avoid the tete-a-tete with this ridiculous 
Countess, with whom you hamper me ; and, in one word, 
that, coming here but for you, I have all the reasons pos- 
sible to await until you are here. 

JUL. We well know that you are never wanting in wit, 
wherewith to give nice colours to the faults which you 
may commit. If, however, you had come half-an-hour 
earlier, we would have profited by all these moments ; for 
on my arrival, I found that the Countess had gone out, 
and I do not doubt that she has gone into town to plume 
herself upon the comedy which you give me in her name. 

Vis. But in all earnest, Madam, when will you put an 
end to this annoyance, and make me buy less dearly the 
happiness of seeing you ? 

1 Prester John was a fabulous King of Teneduc, or, according to 
others, of Ethiopia. 


JUL. When our parents shall be able to agree ; I dare 
not hope such a thing. You know, as well as I do, that 
the dissensions of our families do not allow us to see each 
other elsewhere, and that my brothers, as well as your 
father, are not sufficiently reasonable to sanction our at- 

Vis. But why not take more advantage of the place of 
meeting which their animosity still leaves open to us ; and 
oblige me to lose in a silly feint the moments which I 
spend with you? 

JUL. The better to hide our love ; and again, to tell you 
the truth, this feint of which you speak is a very pleasant 
comedy to me ; and I do not know whether the one you 
are going to give us to-day will amuse me better. Our 
Countess of Escarbagnas, with her perpetual hobby of 
quality, is as good a character as one could put on the 
stage. The little excursion which she has made to Paris 
has brought her back to AngoulSme more perfect than she 
was. The proximity of the court-air has given new 
charms to her absurdity, and her silliness does but grow 
and become more beautiful every day. 

Vis. Yes ; but you do not consider that the sport which 
amuses you keeps my heart on the rack, and that one is 
not able to enjoy this very long, when there is so serious a 
passion in one's mind as the one which I feel for you. It 
is cruel, fair Julia, to let this amusement rob my love of 
moments which it would employ in expressing its ardour 
to you ; and, this night, I have made some verses upon the 
subject, which I cannot refrain from reciting to you, with- 
out your asking for them, so much is the eagerness of read- 
ing one's works a vice inseparable from the condition of a 
poet ! 

Too long, Iris, have you put me to the torture ; 

Iris, as you perceive, is put there for Julia. 

Too long, Iris, have you put me to the torture, 

And if I obey your laws, I blame them silently 

For forcing me to conceal the torment which I endure, 

To confess a pain which I do not feel. 


Must your fair eyes, to which I yield my arms, 
Amuse themselves with my sad sighs ? 
And is it not enough that I should suffer for your charms, 
Without making me also suffer for your pleasures ? 

This double martyrdom is too much at one time ; 
And what I am to keep silent, and what I am to utter, 
Exercises equal cruelty on my heart. 

Love sets it on fire, restraint kills it ; 
And if by pity you are not overcome, 
I die both by the feint and by the truth. 

JUL. I see that you make yourself out to be more ill- 
treated than you are ; but to tell falsehoods wantonly, to 
attribute to their mistresses cruelties which they do not 
feel, is a license which gentlemen poets take, to accommo- 
date themselves to the ideas with which they may be in- 
spired. I should, however, be very glad, if you would 
give me these verses in writing. 

Vis. It is enough to have recited them to you, and I 
must stop at that. It is allowed to be sometimes foolish 
enough to make verses, but not to wish to have them 
looked at. 

JUL. It is useless to screen yourself behind a mock- 
modesty ; the world knows that you ^have wit ; and I do 
not see any reason why you should conceal yours. 

Vis. For Heaven's sake ! Madam, let us carefully pass 
over this, if you please ; in this world it is dangerous to 
meddle with having wit. There is a certain ridicule at- 
tached to this which one catches easily, and some of our 
friends make me fear their example. 

JUL. Good Heavens ! Cleante, you may say what you 
like. I see for all this that you are dying to give them to 
me ; and I would embarrass you if I pretended not to care 
for them. 

Vis. I, Madam ! you are jesting ; do not believe that I 
am so much of a poet as to . . . But here comes our 
Countess of Escarbagnas. I am leaving by the other door 
so as not to meet her, and am going to prepare all my 
people for the entertainment which I have promised you. 


the far end of the stage. 

COUN. Ah! Good Heavens! Madam, are you all alone? 
What a pity that is ! All alone ! I fancied that my people 
had told me that the Viscount was here. 

JUL. It is true that he came ; but it was quite sufficient 
for him to know that you were not here, to make him 
leave again. 

COUN. What ! he has seen you ? 

JUL. Yes. 

COUN. And has he said nothing to you ? 

JUL. No, Madam ; and by this he wished to show that 
he is entirely devoted to your charms. 

COUN. Really, I shall tax him with this behaviour. 
Whatever love one may have for me, I like those who love 
me to render what is due to the sex; and my disposition 
is not like that of those unjust women who plume them- 
selves on the incivilities which their lovers show to other 
fair ones. 

JUL. You should not be surprised at his behaviour, 
Madam. The love with which you inspire him shows 
itself in all his actions, and prevents his having eyes for 
any one except you. 

COUN. I believe myself capable of causing a sufficiently 
strong passion, and I think myself sufficiently handsome, 
young, and well-born, thank Heaven ; but that does not 
hinder that, though I inspire love, they should be civil and 
polite to others. {Perceiving Criquei). What are you 
doing here, fellow ? Is there no ante-room in which to 
dawdle, to come when you are called ? It is strange that 
in the provinces one cannot have a lacquey who knows 
his place ! To whom am I speaking? Will you go out- 
side, you little rogue ? 


COUN. (To Andree). Come here, girl. 
AND. What may you please to want, Madam ? 
COUN. Take off my hood. Gently, then, you awkward 
girl : how you pull my head about with your heavy hands ! 
AND. I am doing it, Madam, as gently as I can. 


COUN. Yes ; but as gently as you can is very rough to 
my head, and you have dislocated it for me. Hold this 
muff also ; do not let all this trail about, and take it to 
my wardrobe. Well ! where is she going to ? where is 
she going to? What is she about, this goose? 4 

AND. I wish to take this to your mistress of the robes, 5 
as you told me. 

COUN. Good Heavens ! the ninny ! (To Julia). I beg 
your pardon, Madam. {To Andree). I said to you my 
wardrobe, you big fool ; that means where my dresses are 

AND. Is a closet called a wardrobe at court, Madam ? 

COUN. Yes, booby ; the place where the dresses are 
kept is so called. 

AND. I shall bear this in mind, Madam, for your attic 
also, which ought to be called a ward-furniture.' 


COUN. What a trouble one has to teach these animals ? 

JUL. I think them very happy, Madam to be under 
your discipline. 

COUN. It is a daughter of my foster-mother whom I 
have taken to wait upon me ; and she is quite new to it 

JUL. You have acted nobly, Madam ; and it is glorious 
to train creatures like that. 

COUN. Come, seats here. Hullo, fellows, fellows, fel- 
lows ! Upon my word, this is too bad, not to have a 
lacquey to hand chairs ! Girls, fellows ; fellows, girls ; 
some one ! I believe that all my people are dead, and 
that we shall be obliged to get chairs for ourselves. 


AND. What do you wish, Madam ? 

COUN. One has to shout loud with you people. 

4 The original has oison bride, bridled goose. See page 388, note 23. 

6 There is a joke in the original which cannot be rendered into English. 
UtU garde-robe is a wardrobe, but une garde-robe is the Mistress of the 
Robes at Court. 

The original has garde-meuble, furniture-warehouse, lumber-room. 


AND. I was putting your muff and hood away in your 
press ... I mean, in your wardrobe 

COUN. Call me this little rogue of a lacquey. 

AND. Hullo ! Criquet ! 

COUN. Leave your Criquet alone, you awkward wench, 
and call lacquey. 

AND. Lacquey, then, and not Criquet, come and speak 
to Madam. I think he is deaf. Criq . . . lacquey, 


CRI. Did you call ? 

COUN. Where were you, you little rogue ? 

CRI. In the street, Madam. 

COUN. And why in the street ? 

CRI. You told me to go outside. 

COUN. You are a little jackanapes, my friend ; and you 
ought to know that outside, as these words are used by 
persons of quality, means the ante-room. Andree, re- 
member by-and-by to have this little rogue whipped by 
my equerry ; he is a little incorrigible fellow. 

AND. Who is your equerry, Madam ? Is it Master 
Charles whom you call that ? 

COUN. Hold your tongue stupid that you are : you 
cannot open your lips without uttering some impertinence. 
(To Criquef). Chairs. (To Andree). And you, light two 
wax-candles in my silver candlesticks ; it is already get- 
ting late. What is the matter, that you look at me so 

AND. Madam . . . 

COUN. Well, Madam ! What is it ? 

AND. It is . . . 

COUN. Well? 

AND. It is that I have no wax -candles. 

COUN. How is this ! you have none ? 

AND. No, Madam, unless it be tallow-candles. 

COUN. The vulgar wench ! And where are the wax 
ones which I lately bought ? 

AND. I have not seen any since I have been in the 

COUN. Get out of my sight, insolent hussy. I shall 


send you back to your parents. Bring me a glass of 

SCENE VII. THE COUNTESS and JULIA, making mutual 
ceremonies to sit down. 

COUN. Madam 1 
JUL. Madam ! 
COUN. Ah ! Madam ! 
JUL. Ah ! Madam ! 
COUN. Pray, Madam! 
JUL. Pray, Madam ! 
COUN. Oh ! Madam ! 
JUL. Oh ! Madam ! 
COUN. Eh ! Madam ! 
JUL. Eh ! Madam. 
COUN. Eh, come ! Madam. 
JUL. Eh, come ! Madam ! 

COUN. I am at home, Madam ! We are agreed upon 
that. Do you take me for a provincial, Madam ? 
JUL. Heaven forfend, Madam. 7 

glass of water j CRIQUET. 

COUN. (To Andre e). Go away, you impertinent girl; 
I drink with a saucer. I tell you that you shall go and 
get me a saucer to drink with. 

AND. Criquet, what is a saucer ? 

CRI. A saucer? 

AND. Yes. 

CRI. I know not. 

COUN. ( To Andree). You do not move ? 

AND. We know neither of us what a saucer is. 

COUN. Then learn that it is a plate whereon to place 
the glass. 


COUN. There is but one Paris to be well waited upon ! 
You are understood there with the slightest glance. 

7 Nearly a similar scene is found in A Criticism on the School for 
Wives, Act i., Scene 3 (see Vol. I.), between Climene and Eliza. 


glass of water with a plate on the top, CRIQUET. 

COUN. Well ! did I tell you thus, ox-head ? You should 
put the plate underneath. 

AND. That is easy enough. 

(Andre e breaks the glass in putting 
it on the plate. ) 

COUN. Well ! did you ever see such a blunderer ? You 
shall pay for my glass. 

AND. Very well ! yes, Madam, I shall pay for it. 

COUN. But look at this awkward girl, this country lass, 
this blockhead, this . . . 

AND. (Making off}. Really, Madam, if I have to pay 
for it, I do not want to be scolded. 

COUN. Get out of my sight. 


COUN. In truth, Madam, it is a strange thing, these 
small towns ! People do not know at all how to behave; 
and I have just paid two or three visits, where they nearly 
drove me desperate by the little respect they showed to 
my rank. 

JUL. Where could they have learnt manners? They 
have made no journey to Paris. 

COUN. They could nevertheless learn, if they would 
listen to people; but the worst is that they pretend to 
know as much about it as I, who have been two months in 
Paris, and have seen the whole court. 
JUL. What stupid people these ! 

COUN. They are unbearable with the impertinent equal- 
ity with which they treat people. For, after all, there 
must be some subordination in things ; and what puts me 
beside myself, is that a town gentleman, of two days, or 
of two hundred years' standing, should have the effrontery 
to say that he is as good a gentleman as my late husband, 
who lived in the country, who had his pack of hounds, and 
who took the title of count in all the contracts which he 

JUL. They live better in Paris, in these hotels, the re- 
collection of which must be so dear. This hotel de Mouhy, 


Madam, this hotel de Lyon, this hotel de Hollande, what 
pleasant places they are ! 8 

COUN. No doubt that there is a great deal of difference 
between these places, and all these here. We meet there 
with good society which does not haggle to pay you every 
attention you could wish. Unless one likes, one needs not 
get off one's chair ; and, whether one wishes to see the 
review, or the great ballet of Psyche, you are served punc- 

JUL. I think, Madam, that, during your stay in Paris, 
you must have made many conquests of people of 

COUN. You may well believe, Madam, that every one 
who could be called a court gallant did not fail to come 
to my apartments, to say soft nothings ; and I keep in my 
desk their notes, which might show what proposals I have 
refused ; it is not necessary to tell you their names. You 
know what I mean by the court gallants. 

JUL. I am surprised, Madam, that after all these great 
names at which I guess, you have been able to come down 
again to a Mr. Tibaudier, a counsellor at law, and to a 
Mr. Harpin, a receiver of taxes. The fall is great, I con- 
fess ; for, as for your Viscount, though but a country Vis- 
count, he is at any rate a Viscount, and may make a jour- 
ney to Paris, if he have not already done so : but a coun- 
sellor at law, and a receiver of taxes are somewhat inferior 
lovers for a grand Countess like you. 

COUN. They are people whom we conciliate in the 
provinces for the need we may have of them ; they serve 
at least to fill up the vacancies of gallantry ; to increase 
the number of suitors ; and it is well, Madam, not to let 
one lover be sole master, for fear, that, failing rivals, his 
love may go to sleep through too much confidence. 

JUL. I confess to you, Madam, that there is a marvel- 
lous deal to learn by what you say ; your conversation is 
a school, and every day I get hold of something in 

The name hotel -was given to a nobleman's or rich man's town-house 
as well as to an hotel. The places which Julia mentions are hotels in the 
English sense of the word. 




CRI. (To the Countess). Here is Jeannot from the 
counsellor's, who is asking for you, Madam. 

COUN. Well ! you little rogue, some more of your stu- 
pidities. A lacquey who knew his place, would have gone 
to speak quite low to the young lady attendant, who would 
have come quietly to whisper into the ear of her mistress : 
Madam, here is the servant of master so-and-so, who 
wishes to speak a word to you ; to which the mistress 
would have answered : Let him come in. 


CRI. Come in, Jeannot. 

COUN. Some more bungling. (To Jeannot}. What is 
it, fellow? What have you there ? 

JEAN. It is the counsellor, Madam, who wishes you a 
very good day, and before coming here, sends you some 
pears from his garden, with this little note. 

COUN. It is some bon-chretien, which is very nice. An- 
dree, have them carried to the pantry. 


COUN. (Giving some money to Jeannot}. Here, my 
child, here is something to drinK my health with. 

JEAN. Oh ! no, Madam ! 

COUN. Take it, I tell you. 

JEAN. My master has forbidden me Madam, to take 
anything from you. 

COUN. That does not matter. 

JEAN. Pardon me, Madam. 

CRI. Eh ! take it, Jeannot. If you do not want it, you 
can give it to me. 

COUN. Tell your master that I am obliged to him. 

CRI. (To feannot, who ts going}. Just give me this. 

JEAN. Oh, yes ! Do you think I am a fool ! 

CRI. It is I who made you take it. 

JEAN. I should have taken it well enough without you. 


COUN. What pleases me in this Mr. Tibaudier is, that 
he knows how to behave with persons of my rank, and 
that he is very respectful 


Vis. Madam, I have come to warn you that the come- 
dy will soon be ready, and that, in a quarter of an hour, 
we can go into the large room. 

COUN. I will have no crush at least. {To Criquef). 
Tell my porter to let no one enter. 

Vis. In this case, Madam, I must inform you that I 
shall abandon the comedy ; and I cannot take any plea- 
sure in it, if the company be not numerous. Believe me, 
that if you wish to amuse yourself well, you should tell 
your people to let the whole town come in. 

COUN. A chair, fellow. {To the Viscount, after he is 
seated}. You are come just in time to receive a small 
sacrifice which I wish to make to you. Look here, it is 
a note of Mr. Tibaudier, who sends me some pears. I 
give you permission to read it aloud ; I have not seen it 

Vis. (After having read the note to himself}. This 
note is in capital style, and well merits being listened to. 
(He reads). "Madam, I could not have made you the pre- 
sent which I send you, if, I gathered as little fruit from my 
garden as I gather from my love." 

COUN. This shows you clearly that nothing passes 
between us. 

Vis. " The pears are not yet very ripe ; but they will go 
all the better with the hardness of your heart, which, by its 
continuous disdain, does not promise me anything soft. 9 Per- 
mit me. Madam, without entering upon an enumeration of 
your perfections and charms^ which would betray me in a 
never-ending progress, to conclude this note by calling your 
attention to the fact that I am as good a Christian as the 
pears which I send you, since I return good for evil; which 
means, Madam, to express myself more intelligibly, that I 

9 The original has ne me prom et pas poires molles. 

10 These pears were called bon-chretien ; the latter word means also 
Christian ; hence the play on words. 


offer you pears of bon-chretien for choke-fears 11 which your 
cruelty makes me swallow every day. 

' ' Tibaudier, your unworthy slave. ' ' 
This, Madam, is a note to preserve. 

COUN. There may, perhaps, be some words in it which 
does not belong to the Academy ; but I can read a cer- 
tain respect in it which pleases me much. 

JUL. You are right, Madam ; and, at the risk of offend- 
ing the Viscount, I should love a man who wrote to me 
in that way. 


COUN. Come here, Mr. Tibaudier ; do not fear to come 
in. Your note has been well received, as well as your 
pears ; and behold this lady pleading for you against your 

MR. TIB. I am obliged to her, Madam; and if ever 
she have a suit before our Court, she shall see that I am 
not forgetful of the honour she does me, in constituting 
herself the defender of my flame before your charms. 

JUL. You have no need of a defender, Sir, and your 
cause is a just one. 

MR. TIB. This notwithstanding, Madam, a good case 
has need of aid ; and I have cause to fear that I shall see 
myself supplanted by such a rival, and that the Countess 
will be circumvented by the rank of the Viscount. 

Vis. I had some hope before your note, Mr. Tibaudier ; 
but it makes me fear for my love. 

MR. TIB. Madam, these are also two little verselets or 
couplets which I have composed in your honour and glory. 

Vis. Ah ! I did not think that Mr, Tibaudier was a 
poet ; and these two little verselets come to settle me ! 

COUN. He means two strophes. (To Criquef). Fellow, 
hand a chair to Mr. Tibaudier. (Softly to Criquet, who 
brings him a chair}. A folding stool, you little animal. 18 

11 The original has poire d 'angoisse, an instrument of torture in the f 
form of a pear, which was placed into the mouth of the victim. Upon 
turning a keg a number of springs thrust forth points of iron, so that it 
could only be' taken out by means of the key. 

11 At Court, the difference of rank was known by the use of arm-chairs, 
chairs without arms, folding-stools, and foot-stools. 


Mr. Tibaudier, place yourself there, and read us your 

MR. TIB. A lady of quality 

Ravishes my soul: 

She has beauty, 

I have love ; 

But I blame her 

For having pride. 

Vis. I am lost after this. 

COUN. The first verse is beautiful. A lady of quality. 
JUL. I think it is a little too long ; but one may take a 
certain license in uttering a fine thought. 
COUN. Let us hear the other strophe. 
MR. TIB. I do not know whether you doubt my perfect 


But this I know, that my heart, at each mo- 

Wishes to leave its melancholy abode, 
To go, out of respect, and pay its court to 


After this, however, certain of my affec- 

And of my fidelity, unique of its kind, 
You ought in your turn, 
Contenting yourself by being a countess, 
To divest yourself in my favour of your tigress 

Which hides your charms by night as well as 

by day. 

Vis. Here I am supplanted by Mr. Tibaudier. 
COUN. Do not try to sneer; for verses made in the 
provinces, these verses are very beautiful. 

Vis. How, Madam, to sneer? Though his rival, I think 
these verses admirable, and not only call them two strophes, 
but two epigrams, as good as all those of Martial. 

COUN. What ! does Martial make verses ? I thought he 
made nothing but gloves." 

x * Martial was a celebrated perfumer and glove-seller of the time, as 
well as valet to the brother of Louis XIV. 


MR. TIB. It is not that Martial, Madam ; it is an author 
who lived about thirty or forty years ago." 

Vis. Mr. Tibaudier has read the authors, as you may 
hear. But let us go and see, Madam, whether my comedy 
and my music, v/ith my entries of the ballet may combat 
in your mind the effect of these two strophes and of the 
note which we have just read. 

COUN. My son the Count ought to be one of the party ; 
for he arrived this morning from my country-house with 
his tutor, whom I see inside. 


COUN. Hullo ! Mr. Bobinet, Mr. Bobinet, just come and 
show yourself. 

MR. BOB. I wish the honourable company good evening. 15 
What desires the Countess of Escarbagnas from her very 
humble servant Bobinet? 

COUN. At what hour, Mr. Bobinet, did you start from 
Escarbagnas with my son the Count ? 

MR. BOB. At a quarter to nine, Madam, as your orders 
had commanded it to me. 

COUN. How fare my two other sons, the Marquis and 
the Commander ? 

MR. BOB. They are, Heaven be praised, Madam, in per- 
fect health. 

COUN. Where is the Count? 

MR. BOB. In your beautiful apartment with the alcove, 

COUN. What is he doing, Mr. Bobinet ? 

MR. BOB. He is composing an exercise, Madam, which 
I have just dictated to him upon an epistle of Cicero. 

COUN. Fetch him hither, Mr. Bobinet. 

MR. BOB. It shall be done, Madam, according to your 

14 The poet Martial lived from the year 43 to the year 104 ; hence Ti- 
baudier, in correcting the Countess, commits, at least as great an error. 

16 The original \\asje donne le ban vtyres, a very antiquated and pedan- 
tic expression, which at once depicts Mr. Bobinet. 




Vis. {To Countess). This Mr. Bobinet, Madam, has a 
very learned look ; and I believe that he has some wit. 


MR. BOB. Come, come, show that you profit by the 
lessons that are given you. A bow to all the distinguished 

COUN. (Pointing to Julia). Count, salute this lady; 
bow low to the Viscount ; salute the Counsellor. 

MR. TIB. I am enchanted, Madam, that you concede 
me the favour of embracing the Count, your son One 
cannot love the trunk, without also loving the branches. 

COUN. Good Heaven ! Mr. Tibaudier, what compari- 
son are you employing there ? 

JUL. Really, Madam, the Count is altogether charming. 

Vis. This is a young gentleman who enters society well. 

JUL. Who would have thought, Madame, that you had 
such a tall child. 

COUN. Alas ! when he was born, I was so young that I 
was still playing with a doll. 

JUL. It is your brother, not your son. 

COUN. Have at least a care about his education, Mr. 

MR. BOB. Madam, I shall overlook nothing to cultivate 
this young shoot, of which your goodness has done me 
the honour to confide the training ; and I shall inculcate 
in him the seeds of virtue. 

COUN. Mr. Bobinet, just make him repeat some little 
gallantry of what you teach him. 

MR. BOB. Come, Count, recite your lesson of yesterday 

COUNT. Omne viro soli quod convenit esto verile, Omne 
viri . . . 

COUN. Fie ! Mr. Bobinet, what nonsense do you teach 
him there?" 

16 There is a play on words here which cannot be explained. The 
second line, which the Countess does not even allow her son to finish is 


MR. BOB. It is Latin, Madam, and the first line of 
Jean Despautere." 

COUN. Good Heaven ! this Jean Despautere is an in- 
solent fellow, and I beg you will teach him some more 
decent Latin than that. 

MR. BOB. If you wish him to finish, Madam, the gloss 
will explain what it means. 

COUN. No, no : it explains itself sufficiently. 


CRI. The actors send me to say that they are quite 

CRI. Let us take our seats. (Pointing to Julia). Mr. 
Tibaudier, take in this lady. 

(jCriquet ranges the chairs on one side of the stage ; 
the Countess , Julia, and the Viscount sit down ; 
Mr. Tibaudier places himself at the feet of the 

Vis. It is necessary to say that this comedy has been 
written only to connect together the different pieces of 
music and dancing of which they wished to compose this 
entertainment, and that . . . 

COUN. Good Heavens ! let us see the affair. We have 
sufficient sense to understand things. 

Vis. Let them begin as quickly as they can, and let 
them prevent, if possible, any intruder from troubling our 
entertainment. (The violins commence an overture). 


MR. HAR. Zounds ! that is a pretty set out, and I re- 
joice to see what I do see. 

COUN. Hullo ! Mr. Receiver, what do you mean by this 

Omne viri specie pictum vir dicitur esse, and both lines mean : " All that 
suits man alone is of the masculine gender, and so is all that is represented 
under the figure of a man." 

17 For the grammar of Despautere, see The Physician in Spite of Him- 
self, Vol. II., note 25. 


behaviour? Do people come to interrupt a comedy in 
this way? 

MR. HAR. Zounds ! Madam, I am enchanted with this 
adventure ; and this shows me what I am to believe of 
you, and the certainty which there is in the grief of your 
heart, and in the oaths which you have sworn to me of its 

COUN. But really one does not come to throw oneself 
in the midst of a comedy, and to trouble an actor who is 
speaking. 18 

MR. HAR. Eh ! the deuce ! The real comedy which is 
performed here, is played by you ; and if I do trouble you, 
I care very little about it. 

COUN. Really, you do not know what you are saying. 

MR. HAR. Indeed, zounds ! Indeed, I know it well 

enough, zounds ! and . . . ( Mr. Bobinet, frightened, runs 

off, taking the Count with htm, followed by Criquet. 

COUN. Fie, Sir, how nasty it is to swear in that way. 

MR. HAR. Eh ! Odds bobs ! if there be anything nasty, 
it is not my swearing, but your goings on ; and it would 
be better for you to swear, heads, 'sdeaths, and blood, 
than to do what you are doing with the Viscount. 

Vis. 1 do not know, Mr. Receiver, of what you have to 
complain; and if ... 

MR. HAR. {To the Viscount}. As for you, Sir, I have 
nothing to say to you. You do well to press your suit, it 
is natural ; I find nothing strange in it, and I ask your 
pardon if I have interrupted your comedy ; but you cannot 
think it strange that I complain of her behaviour ; and we 
have both reason to act as we are acting. 

Vis. I have nothing to say against this, and do not 
know the causes of complaint which you may have against 
the Countess of Escarbagnas. 

COUN. When one has jealous cares, one ought not to 
behave in this manner ; but to come and complain gently 
to the person one loves. 

18 It is probable that when this play was represented at Saint-Germain, 
Mr. Harpin interrupted some part of the Ballet des ballets ; and even at 
the Palais Royal, some dialogue was probably spoken. When the 
Countess of Escarbagnas is performed now at the Comidu-Francaise a 
part of one of Moliere's plays is always acted. 


MR. HAR. I, complain gently ! 

COUN. Yes. One does not come to bawl out in a thea- 
tre what should be said in private. 

MK. HAR. I came, zounds ! expressly ; it is just the 
place I want ; and I could wish that it were a public 
stage, to tell with more effect all the truths about you. 

COUN. Is there need of making so great a noise about 
a comedy with which the Viscount entertains me ? You 
see that Mr. Tibaudier, who loves me, behaves more re- 
spectfully than you. 

MR. HAR. Mr. Tibaudier behaves as it pleases him : I 
do not know on what footing Mr. Tibaudier is with you; 
but Mr. Tibaudier is not an example for me, and I am not 
disposed to pay the violins to let others dance. 

COUN. But really, Mr. Receiver, you know not what 
you are saying. One does not act in this manner with 
ladies of quality ; and they who hear you would think 
that there was something strange between you and me. 

MR. HAR. Eh ! Odds bobs ! Madam, let us drop this 

COUN. But what then do you mean with your : Let us 
drop this nonsense ? 

MR. HAR. I mean that I find nothing strange in it that 
you should give way to the merits of the Viscount ; you 
are not the first woman who plays that sort of character in 
society, and who has a Receiver after her, whose affection 
and purse one finds her betray for the first comer who 
suits her views. But do not think it strange that I am not 
the dupe of an infidelity so common to the coquettes of 
the present day, and that I come to assure you before 
company, that I break off all connection with you, and 
that Mr. Receiver shall no longer be Mr. Giver to you. 

COUN. It is marvellous how hot-headed lovers are be- 
coming the fashion ! One sees nothing else on all sides. 
There, there, Mr. Receiver, drop your anger, and come 
and take a seat to see the comedy. 

MR. HAR. I, zounds ! take a seat ! (Pointing to Mr. 
Tibaudier). Seek your simpletons at your own feet. I 
leave you, Countess, to the Viscount ; and it is to him 
that I shall send your letters by-and-by. Now my scene is 
finished, my part performed. I am the company's servant. 


MR. TIB. Mr. Receiver we shall meet each other else- 
where than here ; and I shall show you that I can use the 
sword as well as the pen. 19 

MR. HAR. (Going). You are right, Mr. Tibaudier. 

COUN. As for me, I am taken aback by this insolence. 

Vis. Jealous people, Madam, are like those who lose 
lawsuits ; they have the privilege of saying anything. Let 
us be silent for the comedy. 


JEAN. {To Viscount.} This is a note, which I have 
been told to give you. 

Vis. {Reading). " In case you have any measures to 
take, I promptly send you some news. The quarrel between 
your parents and those of Julia has just been made up : and 
the condition of this reconciliation, is the marriage of you 
and her. Good night. 11 (To Julia). Upon my word, 
Madam, behold our comedy also finished. 
( The Viscount, the Countess, Julia, and Mr. Tibauder rise. 

JUL. Ah ! Cleante, what happiness ! Could our affec- 
tion have dared to hope for so happy an issue ? 

COUN. How now ? What does this mean ? 

Vis. This means, Madam, that I marry Julia ; and if 
you believe me, to render the comedy more complete in 
all points, you will marry Mr. Tibaudier, and give Miss 
Andree to his lacquey, of whom he shall make his valet. 

COUN. What ! to hoodwink a person of my rank thus ? 

Vis. It was meant without offence, Madam ; comedies 
require these sorts of things. 

COUN. Yes, Mr. Tibaudier, I marry you in order to 
put the whole world in a rage. 

MR. TIB. It is a great honour to me, Madam. 

Vis. (To the Countess). Permit us, Madam, that while 
we are getting into a rage we may witness the end of the 
performance. 20 

19 The original has queje suis au poll et a la plume, a term of the chase 
applied to dogs which could follow all kinds of game. 

* These last words prove that there was some part of a play or ballet 
coming at the end of the Countess of Escarbagnas ; this was probably the 
last intermede of Psyche, so that the spectators might not have become too 
cloyed with operatic splendours, or with the coarseness of Mr. Harpin. 






MARCH IITH, 1672. 


THE comedy, The Learned Ladies, was represented on the nth of March 
1672, and performed nineteen times, partly before, and partly after Easter. 
In this play, Moliere aimed not, as in The Pretentious Young Ladies, at 
sketching a temporary folly, and affectation of language and manners, 
but in giving us characters which exist, with certain modifications, in all 
ages. Philaminte is the woman who rules her home despotically, wishes 
to be the queen of a literary meeting to be held at her house, and treats 
her husband and children as inferior beings. But she is strong-minded, 
and remains unmoved when she thinks that misfortunes overwhelm her. 
Belise, the sister of Chrysale, is of weak intellect, with a very limited 
amount of brains, and fancies that everybody is in love with her. She is 
based chiefly upon Hesperie, a character taken from a comedy by Des- 
marets, called The Visionaries. Armande, the elder daughter of Phila- 
minte, is jealous, vindictive, and hides her evil thoughts under a pretended 
Platonism. These three ladies are regular "blue stockings," whilst 
Henriette, the younger daughter, is the model of an honest, sensible, and 
well-brought-up young lady. Chrysale represents the weak-minded man 
who thinks he is always leading when, in reality, he is only led, afraid of 
his wife and of quarrels, and giving way to her, whenever she insists. He 
thinks he is the master because he talks in a loud voice. Ariste, Martine, 
and the young lover Clitandre, are also very natural. But the two heroes 
of the play are Trissotin and Vadius, the first a pedant and a wit, the 
second a pedant and a scholar ; the first full of vanity and jealousy, the 
second full of pride and odium scholasticum ; finally, the first anxious for 
the dowry, and not for the heart, of Henriette, and showing openly his 
cupidity when he imagines that her parents are ruined. 

It is said that Moliere wished to put upon the stage the Abb4 Cotin 
and Menage, in drawing the characters of Trissotin and Vadius. Moliere 
denied the latter delineation, and Menage himself pretended not to 
recognize the portrait of Vadius. But as to the Abbe Cotin, no doubt is 
possible ; for the sonnet "On the Ague of the Princess Uranie," and the 
madrigal " On the Amarant Coach," are taken literally from the works of 
the Abbe, published in 1663. The Abbe 1 was a fertile rhymester of ran- 
deaux, madrigals, riddles, and moreover a fashionable preacher in Paris. 
Born in 1604, he became chaplain to the king about 1635, and member of 
the Academy in 1655. He was the intimate friend of Mademoiselle de 



Montpensier, who read his riddles to the king and queen, and gravely 
called himself "The Father of the French riddle." He attacked the 
Precievses, Menage and Mademoiselle de Scudery, and thought he had 
found an ally in Moliere. He quarrelled also with Boileau, against whom 
he wrote a Satire, and who replied by saying that " He who despises 
Cotin, does not esteem his king, and has according to Cotin, no belief in 
God, faith, or law." It is also stated that he had written against Moliere ; 
and hence the latters attack upon him. Cotin died, totally forgotten, in 

I have already given my opinion about the bringing upon the stage 
of living personages. 1 Let me, however, state that only the ridiculous 
side of Cotin's character appears to have been portrayed by Moliere, 
but that no one ever applied to the Abbe, the villanous traits of Taris- 

Several English Dramatists appear to have borrowed from this play of 

Thomas Wright, in The Female Virtuosoes, performed at the Theatre 
Royal in 1693, has imitated partly Moliere's Learned Ladies. In the 
English comedy, the characters of Sir Maurice Meanwell, Mr. Meanwell, 
Clerimont, Lady Meanwell, Mrs. Lovewitt, and Catchat, correspond to 
those of Chrysale, Ariste, Clitandre, Philaminte, Armande, Henriette, 
and Belise in the French comedy, whilst Sir Maggot Jingle is Trissotin. 
Lady Meanwell designs however Marianna to marry Witless, an entirely 
new character, not to be found in the original play. The Female Virtuo- 
soes was revived at the theatre, Lincoln's- Inn- Fields, January 10, 1721, as 
No Fools like Wits, in order to anticipate Gibber s Refusal. On the I4th 
of February 1721, was performed at the theatre Drury Lane, Gibber's 
Refusal, or The Ladies' Philosophy, which is chiefly taken from Moliere's 
Learned Ladies. Sir Gilbert Wrangle (Chrysale), becomes a South Sea 
director, and part of the plot depends on the infatuation of the South Sea 
scheme. The other characters are like Moliere's. This piece ran for 
no more than six nights. 

John Miller, in the Man of Taste (see Introductory Notice to The Pre- 
tentious Young Ladies, Vol. I.,) which was acted at Drury Lane, March 
6th, 1735, has borrowed from Moliere's Learned Ladies the characters of 
Sir Humphrey and Lady Henpeck ; Ariste becomes Freelove, and Cli- 
tandre is changed into Harcourt. At the end of Act IV., Miller has some- 
what freely imitated the second and third scenes of the act of Moliere's 
play ; and then Freelove takes the part of Martin, the servant. The 
ending is also different in the English and French Comedies. 

> See Introductory Notice to the Impromtu of Versailles, Vol. I. 


CHRYSALE, a citizen? 

ARISTE, his brother. 

CLITANDRE, Henriettas lover. 

TRISSOTIN, a wit. 

VADIUS, a savant. 

LEPINE, a lacquey. 

JULIEN, Vadius" servant. 


PHILAMINTE, hrysale's wife. 



BELISE, Chrysale's sister. 

MARTINE, a kitchen maid? 


\ daughters of Phrysale and of Philaminte. 
rE, ) 


* Moliere played this part. According to the inventory taken after his 
death, and given by the late M. E. Soulie, his dress consisted of " a jerkin 
and breeches of black velvet, with flowers, on a dark yellow ground, a 
waistcoat of violet and gold gauze, adorned with buttons, a gold band, 
tags, and gloves." 

3 It is said that this small part was played by a servant of Moliere, 
whose name was really Martine. 





AR. What ! the lovely name of maid is a title, sister, 
of which you wish to abandon the sweet charm ? And you 
dare enjoy the thought of getting married ? Can such a 
vulgar design have entered your head ? 

HEN. Yes, sister. 

AR. Ah ! is that yes to be borne ? And can it be heard 
without a heart-ache? 

HEN. What can there be in marriage to constrain you, 
sister . . . ? 

AR. Ah ! good Heavens ! fie ! 

HEN. How? 

AR. Fie ! I tell you. Can you not conceive the disgust 
that such a word inspires, the moment it is heard ; with 
what a strange image one is shocked, on what filthy pros- 
pects it leads the thought ? Do not you shudder at it, and 
can you, sister, bring your heart to contemplate the conse- 
quences of this word ? 

HEN. The consequences of this word, when I contem- 
plate them, show me a husband, children, a household ; and 
I see nothing there, to talk rationally, which shocks my 
imagination and makes me shudder. 



AR. Oh Heavens ! have such ties aught in them to 
please you? 

HEN. And can one do aught better, at my age, than to 
attach to one's self, by the title of husband, a man who 
loves you, and is by you beloved ; and procure from a 
union, dictated by tenderness, the sweet of an innocent 
life ? Has such a well-suited tie no charms ? 

AR. Good Heavens ! what a grovelling mind is yours ! 
What a mean part to play in the world, to imprison your- 
self within a household, and to get no glimpse of more 
exciting pleasures than an idolized husband and brats of 
children ! Leave the low pleasures of such things to coarse 
people, and vulgar persons. To higher objects raise your 
desires, endeavour to have a taste for more noble pleasures, 
and treating with contempt the senses and matter, abandon 
yourself entirely to the mind, as we do. You have our 
mother as an example before you, who is honoured and 
called everywhere a learned woman ; try, as I do, to prove 
yourself her daughter. Aspire to the knowledge which is 
in the family, and feel the sweet charms which the love of 
study instils into people's hearts. Far from being a sub- 
missive slave to the laws of men, wed yourself to Philo- 
sophy, sister, which elevates us above the whole human 
race, and invests reason with sovereign sway, subjecting 
to her laws the animal part, of which the gross appetite 
places us on a level with brutes. These are the beautiful 
desires, the sweet ties, which ought to fill up the moments 
of our lives ; and the anxieties in which I see so many 
women delight, appear to my eyes the most horrible mean- 

HEN. Heaven, whose commands we see to be all-power- 
ful, fits us at our birth for different functions; and every 
mind is not composed of the stuff cut out to make a 
philosopher. If yours is apt to soar to the heights of 
learned speculations, mine, sister, is formed to creep, and 
to small concerns its weakness confines itself. Let us not 
disturb the righteous arrangements of Heaven ; and let us 
each follow the promptings of our instincts. Dwell, 
through the flight of a grand and beautiful genius, in the 

4 Such arguments were really employed by the Precituses. 


lofty regions of philosophy, while my mind, remaining 
here below, shall taste the earthly bliss of wedlock. Thus, 
differing in our manner of living, we shall both imitate 
our mother : you, as regards the soul and noble aspira- 
tions ; I, as regards the senses and the grosser pleasures ; 
you, in the productions of mind and knowledge ; I, sister, 
in those which are material. 

AR. If we pretend to model ourselves upon another 
person, we should resemble her in her finest parts, and 
only to cough and spit like her is not at all taking her, 
sister, for a model. 5 

HEN. But you would not be what you boast yourself 
to be, if my mother had possessed only those finer parts ; 
and it is well for you, sister, that her noble genius has not 
always dwelt upon philosophy. Pray, grant me, with some 
kindness, the meanness to which you owe your being ; 
and, by wishing that I should imitate you, do not suppress 
some little savant who may wish to come into the world. 

AR. I perceive that your mind cannot be cured of the 
foolish infatuation of getting a husband : but let us know, 
if it pleases you, whom you mean to take : you surely do 
not intend to take Clitandre? 

HEN. And why should it not be so ? Is he devoid of 
merit ? Is the choice mean ? 

AR. No ; but it is a dishonest design to endeavour to 
take away another's conquest ; and it is not a fact unknown 
to the world, that Clitandre has openly sighed after me. 

HEN. Yes ; but all these sighs are in vain with you, 
and you do not descend to human weakness ; your mind 
has for ever renounced marriage, and philosophy has all 
your affection. Therefore, not having any design upon 
Clitandre, what matters it to you if someone else pretend 
to him ? 

AR. This empire which reason holds over the senses 
does not make us renounce the charms of homage ; and 
we may refuse as a husband a deserving man whom we 
like to see as an adorer in our train. 

5 The original has '' Et ce n'est point du tout la prendre pour modele, 
ma soeur, que de tousser et de cracker comme elle." This was a prover- 
bial expression in Mqjiere's time. 


HEN. I have not prevented him from continuing to 
worship your perfections ; and I have but accepted, after 
your refusal, the offer of the homage of his flame. 

AR. But, pray, do you think there is perfect security in 
the offers of affection from a spited lover ? Do you be- 
lieve that his passion for you is very strong, and that all 
his affection for me is quite dead in his heart ? 

HEN. So he tells me, sister ; and, for my part, I be- 
lieve him. 

AR. Do not be so credulous, sister ; and rather believe, 
when he says he has left me and loves you, that he does 
not reflect seriously upon it, and deceives himself. 

HEN. I cannot tell ; but to cut the matter short, if such 
be your pleasure, it is very easy to find out the truth : I 
perceive him coming ; and he can give us a full explana- 
tion upon the subject. 


HEN. To dispel the doubt in which my sister plunge- 
me, please to explain your feelings, Clitandre, as regards 
myself and her ; bare your heart., and vouchsafe to inform 
us which of us has the right to pretend to your love. 

AR. No, no, I will not impose the rigour of an expla- 
nation on your passion ; I have a consideration for people, 
and know how embarrassing must be the constraining effort 
of these open avowals. 

CLI. No, Madam ; my heart, which dissimulates little, 
feels no constraint to make a frank avowal. Such a step 
throws me into no confusion; and I will confess openly, 
frankly, and fearlessly, that the bonds which hold me 
captive, my love and my affection, are all on this side 
(Pointing to Henriette}. Let not this avowal disturb you ; 
you yourself would have it so. Your attractions had caught 
me. and my tender sighs sufficiently proved to you the 
ardour of my desires, my heart burned for you with a 
steadfast flame : but your eyes did not think their conquest 
sufficiently beautiful. I have borne a hundred various in- 
sults under their yoke ; they swayed my heart like proud 
tyrants; and I sought for myself, wearied with so much 
trouble, conquerors more humane, and chains less galling. 
{Pointing to Henriette). I have met them, Madam, in those 


eyes, and their glances are forever precious to me ; by one 
pitying look they have dried my tears, and did not disdain 
what your charms rejected. Such rare kindness has had 
the effect of so moving me, that there is nought that could 
make me throw off my fetters; and I dare now beseech 
you, Madam, to make no attempt to regain my love, nor 
to try to call back a heart resolved to die in this sweet 

AR. Pray, Sir, who tells you that I have such a wish, 
and that I am so strongly concerned about you? I think 
it amusing of you to imagine such a thing, and very im- 
pertinent to declare it to me. 8 

HEN. Eh ! gently, sister. Where then is that morality, 
which knows so well to control the animal parts, and to 
keep the reins tight on anger's promptings? 

AR. But you who speak of morality, where do you 
practise it, when you respond to the passion which is 
shown to you without the leave of those who have given 
you birth? Know that duty subjects you to their laws; 
that you are not allowed to love except through their 
choice; that they possess supreme authority over your 
heart, and that it is criminal to dispose of it yourself. 

HEN. I acknowledge the kindness you show me in teach- 
ing me so well matters connected with duty. My heart 
shall regulate its conduct according to your lessons; and 
to show you, sister, that I profit by them/Clitandre, have 
a care to support your love by the consent of those who 
gave me birth. Obtain a legitimate power over my affec- 
tion, so that I may love you without crime. 

CLI. I am going to do so openly, and with all my 
might ; and I was only waiting for this sweet consent. 

AR. You triumph, sister, and look as if you imagined 
that this vexes me. 

HEN. I, sister ! not at all. I know that the dictates of 
reason are always all-powerful over your senses, and that 
through the teachings drawn from wisdom's source you are 
above such weaknesses. Far from suspecting you of such 
vexation, I think that in this case you will bestir yourself 

8 The same declaration takes place in The Misanthrope, Act v., Scene 6 
(see Vol. II.) ; and in Psyche, Act i., Scene 3. 


for me, second his demand, and, by your suffrage, accele- 
rate the happy moment of our marriage. I entreat you to 
do so and to work at it . . . 

AR. Your small wit pretends to jest ; and we behold 
you quite proud of a heart that is thrown at you. 

HEN. Much as this heart may be thrown, it would not 
at all displease you; and if your eyes could pick it up 
from before me, they would easily take the trouble to stoop. 

AR. I do not deign to condescend to answer this; and 
it is silly prattle which ought not to be listened to. 

HEN. That is very well on your part, and you show us 
a moderation which can hardly be conceived. 


HEN. Your sincere avowal has surprised her not a 

CLI. She sufficiently merits such frankness, and all the 
haughtiness of her foolish pride is, at least, worthy of my 
sincerity. But since you have allowed me, I am going to 
your father, Madam . . . 

HEN. The surest way is to gain over my mother. My 
father is of a disposition to consent to everything ; but he 
attaches little weight to hrs resolutions ; he has received 
from Heaven a certain kindness of heart which instantly 
subjects him to the will of his wife. It is she who governs 
and absolutely makes her pleasure law. I should wish 
much to see you a little more complaisant, I confess it, to 
her and to my aunt, of a disposition which, while flattering 
their ideas, might attract the warmth of their esteem. 

CLI. My heart, with its innate sincerity, never could 
flatter their character even in your sister ; and learned 
women are not at all to my taste. I admit that a woman 
may be enlightened upon everything : but I do not wish 
to behold the unseemly passion of making her learned in 
order to become learned ; and I like that she should, when 
questioned, often pretend to be ignorant of the things 
which she knows : in short, I wish her to hide her study- 
ing ; to have knowledge without wishing it to be known, 
without quoting authors, without using grand words, and 
being witty on the least opportunity. I much respect 
your mother; but I cannot at all approve of her whims, 


and constitute myself the echo of all the incense which she 
wafts to her hero for wit. Her Mr. Trissotin annoys and 
wearies me ; and it makes me angry to find her esteem 
such a man ; that she should rank among men of great 
and fine mind, a booby whose writings are everywhere 
damned ; a pedant whose copious pen furnishes the whole 
market with waste paper. 

HEN. His writings, his speeches, everything from him 
seems tiresome, and I agree in a great measure with your 
taste and views; but, as he has much influence with my 
mother, you must constrain yourself to be somewhat com- 
plaisant to him. A lover pays his court where his heart 
has taken root ; he aims at gaining every one's favour in 
that spot ; and so as to have no one opposed to his flame, 
he endeavours to please the very house-dog. 7 

CLI. Yes, you are right ; but Mr. Trissotin inspires me 
from the bottom of my soul with a dislike which prevails 
over everything. I cannot consent, to gain his suffrages, 
to dishonour myself by praising his works. It is through 
them that he first appeared to my sight, and I knew him 
before I had seen him. I perceived in the trashy writings 
which he gives us what his pedantic person displays in 
every spot, the constant height of his presumption, his in- 
trepid good opinion of himself, the indolent state of ex- 
treme confidence which renders him at all times so satis- 
fied with himself, which makes him smile incessantly at 
his own merit, which makes him congratulate himself upon 
everything that he writes, and which renders him unwil- 
ling to exchange his reputation for all the honours of the 
general of an army. 

HEN. One must be sharp-sighted to perceive all this. 

CLI. It went even so far as his figure ; and I saw by the 
verses which he throws at our heads how the poet was 
shaped : and so well had I guessed every trait of him, that, 
meeting in the Palais 8 one day a man, I laid a wager that 
it was Trissotin in person, as indeed it was. 

HEN. What a story ! 

T This is partly taken from Plautus' Asinaria. 

8 The Palais stands for the Palais de Justice, of which the galleries were 
crowded with shops, much frequented in Moliere's time. A comedy of 
Corneille. called The Gallery of the Palace, was represented in 1634. 


CLI. No ; I tell the thing as it happened. But I per- 
ceive your aunt. Permit me, pray, in this spot to reveal 
our secret to her, and endeavour to gain her over to inter- 
cede with your mother. 


CLI. Allow a lover, Madam, to take advantage of this 
happy moment, to speak to you, and to reveal to you the 
sincere flame . . . 

BEL. Ah ! gently ; be careful not to bare your soul too 
much. If I have enrolled you in the ranks of my lovers, 
content yourself with letting your eyes be the sole inter- 
preters, and do not explain to me, in another language, 
those desires which with me pass for an outrage. Love 
me, sigh, burn for my charms ; but allow me not to know 
it. I may shut my eyes to your secret flame as long as you 
confine yourself to dumb interpreters ; but if the mouth 
presume to meddle with it, I must banish you for ever 
from my sight. 9 

CLI. Do not take alarm at the projects of my heart. 
Henriette, Madam, is the object which charms me ; and 
I ardently beseech your kindness to second the love in- 
spired by her beauty. 

BEL. Ah ! certainly, the turn is witty, I must confess. 
This subtle subterfuge deserves to be praised ; and in all 
the novels which I have read I have met with nothing 
more ingenious. 

CLI. It is not at all a stroke of wit, Madam ; but it is 
a frank avowal of the feelings of my heart. Heaven, by 
the bonds of immutable ardour, has fettered me to the 
beauties of Henriette ; Henriette holds me 'neath her 
gentle empire, and a marriage with Henriette is the bliss 
to which I aspire. You have much influence; and all 
I wish is that you would deign to favour my affection. 

BEL. I perceive what this demand is gently aiming at, 
and I know what I am to understand under that name. 
The figure of speech is clever ; and, not to change it, in- 
stead of the thingfe which my heart prompts me to answer 

' Belise speaks like a regular Precieuse. 


you, I shall say that Henriette is opposed to wedlock, and 
that without claiming aught you must burn for her. 

CLI. Ah ! Madam, why such confusion ? and why will 
you imagine what has no existence ? 

BEL. Good Heavens! no compliments. Cease to gain- 
say what your looks have often given me to understand. 
It suffices that we are satisfied with the subterfuge of which 
your love adroitly bethought itself, and that underneath 
the figure which respect obliges you to use, we are good 
enough to suffer your homage, provided its transports, en- 
lightened by honour, offer naught but refined vows on my 

CLI. But ... 

BEL. Farewell. This ought to suffice you for once, and 
I have said more to you than I wished to say. 

CLI. But your mistake . . . 

BEL. Enough ; I now blush, and my modesty has made 
a surprising effort. 

CLI. I will be hanged if I love you ; and prudent . . . 

BEL. No, no, I shall hear no more. 10 


The deuce take the foolish woman with her fancies ! 
Has the like madness ever been seen ? Let us go and 
entrust some one else with this affair, and take the advice 
of some clever person. 11 


SCENE I. ARISTE, leaving Clitandre, but still speaking 
to him. 

Yes, I shall take you the answer as soon as possible ; I 
shall insist, and press, and do all that is necessary. What 
a deal a lover has to say that could be said in one word ! 
And how impatiently he wishes what he desires ! 
Never . . . 

10 The character of B^lise is partly taken from that of Hesperie in the 
comedy, The Visionaries of Desmarets, which greatly amused Louis XIV. 
Thomas Corneille had already imitated the character of Hesperie, in The 
Baron of Albikrac, performed four years before The Learned Ladies. 
11 This is the only monologue in The Learned Ladies. 



AR. Ah ! Heaven guard you, brother ! 

CH. And you also, brother ! 

AR. Do you know what brings me here ? 

CH. No ; but if you wish, I am ready to hear it. 

AR. You know Clitandre sufficiently long ? 

CH. No doubt, and I see him at our house. 

AR. In what esteem do you hold him, brother ? 

CH. As a man of honour, of wit, of courage, and well- 
behaved : I see few people who are so deserving. 

AR. A certain wish of his brings me hither, and I am 
glad that you set store by him. 

CH. I knew his late father in my journey to Rome. 

AR. Very well. 

CH. He was a sterling gentleman, brother. 

AR. So they say. 

CH. We were but eight-and-twenty at that time, and, 
on my word, we were a couple of brisk young fellows. 

AR. I can well believe it. 

CH. We were very well with the Roman ladies, and 
every one there spoke of our pranks : we caused some 

AR. Nothing could be better. But let us come to the 
subject which brings me hither. 

SCENE III. BELISE, entering softly and listening; 

AR. Clitandre makes me his spokesman with you, and 
his heart is smitten with the charms of Henriette. 

CH. What ! of my daughter ? 

AR. Yes ; he is bewitched by her, and I never saw a 
more fervid lover. 

BEL. (70 Ariste). No, no; I hear you. You are igno- 
rant of the story ; and the matter is not as you believe it 
to be. 

AR. How, sister? 

BEL. Clitandre abuses your minds ; and it is of another 
object that his heart is enamoured. 

AR. You are jesting. It is not Henriette whom he 
loves ? 


BEL. No ; I am certain of it. 

AR. He has told me so himself. 

BEL. Eh ! yes. 

AR. You behold me, sister, commissioned by him to ask 
her from her father this day. 

BEL. Very good. 

AR. And his very love has urged me to hasten the 
moment of such an alliance. 

BEL. Better still. One cannot deceive more gallantly. 
Henriette, among ourselves, is an amusement, an inge- 
nious screen, a pretext, brother, to hide another flame, 
the mystery of which I know ; and I wish to disabuse you 
both of your error. 

AR, But since you know so many things, sister, tell us, 
pray, who is this other object whom he loves. 

BEL. You wish to know it? 

AR. Yes, what of it ? 

BEL. Me! 

AR. You ? 

BEL. Myself. 

AR. Eh, sister ! 

BEL. What is the meaning of this Eh? and what is 
there surprising in what I say ? One is handsome enough, 
I imagine, to be able to say that it is not one heart only 
which is subject to our empire; and Dorante, Damis, 
Cleonte, and Lycidas may show that we have some charms. 

AR. These gentlemen love you? 

BEL. Yes, with all their might. 

AR. They have told you so? 

BEL. No one has taken that liberty ; they have so well 
known to reverence me up to this day, that they never 
breathed a word of their love. But to offer me their 
hearts and to devote themselves to my services, dumb in- 
terpreters have sufficiently done their office. 

AR. We hardly ever see Damis come into the house. 
' BEL. It is to show me a more submissive respect. 

AR. With stinging words, Dorante insults you every- 

BEL. They are the transports of a jealous rage. 

AR. Cleonte and Lycidas have both taken wives to 


BEL. It is through the despair to which I have reduced 
their flames. 

AR. Upon my word, dear sister, pure fancies. 

CH. (To Belize}. You ought to divest yourself of those 

BEL. Ah ! Fancies ! they are fancies, you say. Fancies, 
I ! Really, fancies is very good ; I am very happy in 
having fancies, brothers, and I did not know that I had 
any fancies. 


CH. Yes, our sister is mad. 

AR. It is growing day by day. But let us resume our 
conversation once more. Clitandre asks you to give him 
Henriette as a wife. See what answer is to be made to his 

CH. Is there need to ask? I consent with all my 
heart, and consider it a great honour to be allied to him. 

AR. You know that he has no great abundance of 
worldly goods . . . 

CH. That is a consideration of but small importance; 
he is rich in virtues ; that is worth treasures ; and besides 
his father and I were but one soul in two bodies. 

AR. Let us speak to your wife, and endeavour to render 
her favourable . . . 

CH. It suffices ; I accept him for a son-in-law. 

AR. Yes; but to strengthen your consent, brother, it 
would do no harm to have her permission. Let us go. . . . 

CH. Are you jesting? There is no need. I answer for 
my wife, and take the matter upon myself. 

AR. But ... 

CH. Leave it to me, I tell you, and be under no appre- 
hension. I am going to prepare her immediately. 

AR. Be it so. I am going to sound your Henriette 
upon this, and shall come back to know. . . . 

CH. The business is concluded ; and I am going to 
speak to my wife without delay. 

MAR. Just like my luck ! Alas ! it is a true saying ; 


give a dog a bad name, and hang him; 11 and service to 
another is no inheritance. 

CH. What is the matter? What ails you, Martine? 

MAR. What ails me? 

CH. Yes. 

MAR. What ails me is that they have discharged me 
to-day, Sir. 

CH. Discharged ! 

MAR. Yes. Madam sends me away. 

CH. I do not understand this. How? 

MAR. I am threatened with a hundred blows, if I do 
not leave this. 

CH. No, you shall stay ; I am satisfied with you. 
My wife is at times somewhat hot-headed; and I will 
not, I ... 


PHIL. (Perceiving Martine). What ! I still find you, 
you booby. Quick, out with you, jade ; come, leave the 
place, and never show yourself in my sight. 

CH. Gently. 

PHIL. No, there is an end of it. 

CH. Eh! 
- PHIL. I wish her to go. 

CH. But what has she done, to insist in this manner. . . 

PHIL. What ! you back her up ? 

CH. In no way. 

PHIL. Do you take her part against me ? 

CH. Good Heavens ! no ; I am simply asking her 

PHIL. Am I likely to send her away without a legitimate 
cause ? 

CH. I do not say that ; but it is right that our people 
should . . , 

PHIL. No ; she shall leave this, I tell you. 

CH. Well ! yes. Does any one say aught against it? 

PHIL. I will have no opposition to my wishes. 

CH. Agreed. 

" The original has qui veut noyer son chien I 'accuse de la rage, he who 
wants to drown his dog accuses him of being mad. 


PHIL. And you ought, as a sensible husband, to be with 
me against her, and share my anger. 

CH. (Turning to Martini). So I do. Yes, my wife is 
right in sending you away, you jade, and your crime 
deserves no mercy. 

MAR. But what have I done then ? 

CH. (Softly). Upon my word, I do not know. 

PHIL. What is more, she is disposed to make very light 
of it. 

CH. Has she broken some mirror or piece of porcelain, 
that you are so incensed against her ? 

PHIL. Should I send her away ? and do you imagine 
that I should put myself in a temper for such a trifle ? 

CH. (To Martini). What does it mean ? (To Phila- 
minte). The matter is of importance, then ? 

PHIL. Undoubtedly. Have I ever been found an un- 
reasonable woman ! 

CH. Has she, through a spirit of negligence, allowed 
some ewer or silver platter to be stolen ? 

PHIL. That would be nothing. 

CH. (To Martini). Oh ! oh ! the deuce, good woman. 
(To Philaminte}. What ! Have you surprised her in being 
dishonest ? 

PHIL. It is worse than all that. 

CH. Worse than all that. 

PHIL. Worse. 

CH. (To Martini) How! the deuce, you jade! (To 
Philaminte). Eh ! Has she committed . . . 

PHIL. She has, with all the matchless insolence, after 
thirty lessons, shocked my ear by the impropriety of a low 
and vulgar word, which Vaugelas 1 * condemns in decisive 

CH. Is that the .... 

PHIL. What ! always, notwithstanding our remon- 
strances, to be upsetting the foundation of all sciences, 
grammar, which knows how to control even kings, and 
makes them, with a high hand obey its laws ! 

1S Vaugelas, who died in 1650, that is twenty-two years before The 
Learned Ladies was performed, was a celebrated grammarian, who wrote 
Remarks on the French Language. He is mentioned five times in Mo- 
liere's comedy. 


CH. I thought her guilty of the most serious misbe- 

PHIL. What ! you do not think this crime unpardon- 
able ? 

CH. Indeed. 

PHIL. I should like to see you condone her ! 

CH. I do not think of it. 

BEL. It is true that these are pitiful things. All con- 
struing is destroyed by her, and in the laws of language 
she has been instructed a hundred times. 

MAR. All that you preach is, I believe, well and good; 
but as for me I shall never know how to speak your 

PHIL. The impudent girl ! to call gibberish a language 
founded on reason and on elegant custom. 

MAR. We always speak well when we make ourselves 
understood, and all your beautiful diction does not serve 
for nothing. 

PHIL. Well ! is that not another sample of her style ? 
does not serve for nothing ! 

BEL. O indocile brain ! With all the cares which we 
are incessantly taking, can we not teach you to speak con- 
gruously. In joining not to nothing yon make a repetition, 
and there is, as you have been told, a negative too much. 

MAR. Good Heavens ! I have" not studied like you, 
and I speak straight out as they speak our way. 

PHIL. Ah ! is it to be borne ? 

BEL. What horrible solecism ! 

PHIL. It is enough to kill a sensitive ear. 

BEL. Your mind must be very material, I confess, /is 
but a singular, while have in this case is a plural. Are 
you to offend against grammar all your life? 

MAR. Who says anything about offending grandmother 
or grandfather either ? w 

PHIL. O Heavens ! 

BEL. Grammar is taken in the wrong sense by you, 
and I have already told you where the word comes from. 

14 The original is/< avons. 

15 A play on the word grammaire, grammar ; and grand 'mere, grand- 


MAR. Upon my word ! it may come from Chaillot, 
Auteuil, or Pontoise, for all it matters to me. 

BEL. What a loutish soul ! Grammar teaches us the 
laws of the verb and of the nominative, as well as of the 
adjective in connection with the substantive. 

MAR. All I have to say, Madam, is that I do not know 
these people. 

PHIL. What a martyrdom ! 

BEL. They are the names of words ; and one has to con- 
sider how they have to be made to agree together. 

MAR. They may agree together, or tear each other to 
pieces, for what I care. 16 

PHIL. (To Belise}. Eh! Good Heavens ! Finish this 
conversation. {To Chrysale). You will not, you, make 
her leave ? 

CH. Yes, indeed. (Aside). I must give way to her 
whim. Go, do not irritate her ; retire, Martine. 

PHIL. What ! You are afraid to offend the hussey ! 
You speak to her in quite an obliging tone ! 

CH. I ? Not at all. (In a firm tone). Come, you 
must go. (In a more gentle tone~). Go, my poor child. 


CH. You are satisfied, and behold her gone ; but I do 
not at all approve of her being turned away. She is a girl 
who does her duty well, and you discard her for a trifling 

PHIL. Do you wish me to have her always in my service, 
to put my ears incessantly to the torture, to break every 
rule of custom and reason by a barbarous heap of errors in 
speech, mutilated words linked together, at intervals, by 
proverbs found in the gutters of the Halles ?" 

BEL. It is true that it makes one hot to have to bear her 
conversations; she tears Vaugelas to shreds every day; 
and the least faults of this coarse mind are either a pleo- 
nasm, or cacophony. 

CH. What does it matter that she fails in the laws of 

16 This is partly taken from a comedy by Larivey, le Fidele. 
1T The Halles are the markets : hence these proverbs are something like 
Billingsgate language. 


Vaugelas, provided she does not fail in the cooking ? I 
would rather, I would, that in cleaning the vegetables she 
should make the verbs agree ill with the nouns, and say a 
hundred times a low or bad word, than that she should 
burn my meat or put too much salt in my soup ; I live on 
good soup, and not on fine language. Vaugelas does not 
teach how to make a good soup, and Malherbe and Balzac, 
so learned in fine words, in cookery would perhaps have 
been real ninnies. 

PHIL. How horribly this coarse conversation shocks one. 
And what indignity for him who calls himself a man to be 
for ever grovelling in material cares, instead of elevating 
himself to the spiritual ! Is this body of ours, this rag, of 
sufficient importance, or valuable enough, to deserve that 
we should even think about it ? And ought we not to put 
these things far from us? 

CH. Yes, my body is myself, and I mean to take care of 
it. You may call it rag if you will, but my rag is dear to 

BEL. The body with the mind is something, brother ; 
but if you are to believe the whole of the learned world, 
the mind ought to take precedence of the body ; and our 
greatest care, our first effort, ought to be to nourish it with 
the juice of science. 

CH. Upon my word, if you wish to nourish your mind, 
it is with very empty ideas, according to what every one 
says, and you need have no care, no solicitude, to ... 

PHIL. Ah ! solicitude sounds very roughly to my ear ; it 
smacks strangely of its age. 

BEL. It is true that the word is very old-fashioned. 18 

CH. Do you wish me to tell you ? I shall have to burst 
out at last, take off the mask, and give way to my choler. 
You are called fools, and I take it much to heart . . . 

PHIL. What now ? 

CH. (To Belize). It is to you I am speaking, sister. 

18 The original has le mot est bien collet monte. A collet monte was an 
old-fashioned ruff, in which pasteboard and wire were used to hold it up ; 
therefore Belise intends probably to say that the word ''solicitude" was 
very old-fashioned. Collet monte, in speaking of persons, was generally 
used to denote people of either stilted, or also of those of staid and 
serious behaviour. 


The least solecism in speech irritates you ; but you com- 
mit some strange ones in your conduct. Your everlasting 
books do not satisfy me; and, with the exception of a 
large Plutarch to put my bands in 19 you ought to burn the 
whole of this useless trumpery, and leave science to the 
professors in town ; to do right, you should remove from 
the garret that long spyglass which frightens people, and 
a thousand other trifles, the sight of which annoys; not 
try to find out what they are doing in the moon, and in- 
terest yourself a little more in what is being done at home, 
where we find everything going topsy-turvey. It is not 
very proper, and for several reasons, that a woman should 
study and know so many things. To train the minds of 
her children in good morals and manners, to superintend 
her household by keeping an eye on her servants, and to 
control the expenditure with economy, ought to be her 
study and philosophy. Our fathers, on this point, were 
very sensible, who said that a woman always knows enough 
as long as her mind rises to the level of knowing a doublet 
from a pair of breeches. Theirs did not read much, but 
they led a good life ; their households were all their 
learned occupations ; and their library, a thimble, thread, 
and needles, with which they worked at the outfit of their 
daughters. The women of the present age are far removed 
from these manners ; they wish to write and become au- 
thors. No science is too deep for them, and in this house 
more than in any other spot in this world ; the loftiest 
secrets are pried into, and everything is known in my 
home, except what ought to be known. They know the 
motions of the moon and the polar star, of Venus, of Sa- 
turn, and of Mars, with which I have no concern ; and in 
this vain learning, which is so far-fetched, my food, of 
which I stand so much in need, is neglected. My servants 
aspire to science in order to please you, and all neglect 
nothing so much as what they have to do. To argue is 
the occupation of the whole of my household, and argu- 
ment banishes reason from it. The one burns my roast, 

19 As the bands were starched and had to be kept straight, they were 
often put between the leaves of a big book, generally a folio. In the in- 
ventory taken after the death of Molire's mother, and in the one taken 
after his own death, there was a copy of Plutarch's works. 


while reading some history ; the other dreams of verses, 
while I am asking for something to drink. In short, I 
see your example followed by them, and though I have 
servants, I am not served.. One poor servant girl at least re- 
mained to me, whom this bad air had not infected, and 
behold her turned out with a great ado, because she fails 
to speak according to Vaugelas. I tell you, sister, that 
all these doings annoy me ; for it is to you, as I have 
told you, that I address myself. I do not care about all 
your people with their Latin in my house, and above all 
this Mr. Trissotin ; it is he, who with his verses, has 
made you ridiculous : all his talk is so much foolish trash. 
One has to look for what he has said after he has spoken ; 
and as for me, I believe him to be a little cracked. 

PHIL. O Heavens ! what baseness of soul and language ! 

BEL, Can there be in a small body a more grovelling 
aggregate, a mind composed of more vulgar atoms? And 
can I be of the same blood ? I mortally hate myself for 
belonging to your family ; and I quit the place in confu- 


PHIL. Have you yet some other dart to level at me ? 

CH. I? No. Let us quarrel no longer; it is over. 
Let us discourse of another matter. In your eldest 
daughter we perceive some aversion to the hymeneal knot ; 
she is in short a philosopher. I say nothing about it ; she 
is well ruled, and you act very well. But her younger 
sister is of quite a different disposition ; and I believe we 
should do well to provide and to choose for Henriette a 
husband . . . 

PHIL. I have thought about it, and I shall communi- 
cate to you my intention. This Mr. Trissotin, who is so 
railed at, and who has not the honour of possessing your 
esteem, is the one whom I consider to be the husband that 
would suit her ; and I am a better judge of his merits 
than you are. To argue in this case is superfluous ; and 
my mind in this matter is quite made up. At least do not 
say a word about the choice of this husband ; I wish to 
speak to your daughter about it before you. I have rea- 


sons to make my conduct approved of, and I shall know 
well enough if you have informed her. 


ARIS. Well ! brother, your wife has left this moment, 
and I perceive quite well that you had just some conver-r 
sation together. 

CH. Yes. 

ARIS. And with what success? Shall we have Hen- 
riette ? Has she consented ? Is the affair concluded ? 

CH. Not quite as yet. 

ARIS. Does she refuse ? 

CH. No. 

ARIS. Does she waver? 

CH. In no way. 

ARIS. What then ? 

CH. She proposes some one else for my son-in-law. 

ARIS. Some one else for your son-in-law ? 

CH. Some one else. 

ARIS. Whose name is ... 

CH. Mr. Trissotin. 

ARIS. What ! this Mr. Trissotin. . . . 

CH. Yes, who is always talking verses and Latin. 

ARIS. Have you accepted him ? 

CH. I, not all : Heaven forbid ! 

ARIS. What answer have you made? 

CH. None; and right glad I am not to have spoken, 
so as not to bind myself. 

ARIS. The reason is very nice ; and you have taken a 
great step ! Have you at least proposed Clitandre to her ? 

CH. No ; for as I saw that there was a question of 
another son-in-law, I thought it better to let it alone. 

ARIS. Certainly, your prudence is excessively rare. 
Are you not ashamed of your want of firmness ? And is 
it possible for a man to be so weak as to leave his wife ab- 
solute power, and not dare to attack what she has resolved 

CH. Good Heavens ! brother, you speak very easily of 
it, but you do not know how noise troubles me. I am 
very fond of rest, peace, and tranquillity, and my wife is 
terrible in her tempers. She greatly considers the name 


of philosopher, but she is none the less choleric ; and her 
morality, which affects to despise wealth, does not operate 
in the least on the sting of her anger. If in the slightest 
matter you oppose her will, a terrible tempest rages for a 
week afterwards. She makes me tremble the moment she 
assumes that tone ; I do not know where to hide myself, 
for she is such a dragon ; and nevertheless, with all her 
devilry, I am obliged to call her my heart and my love. 20 

ARIS. Come, this is mere jest. Between ourselves, your 
wife has mastered you through your cowardice. Her 
power is based only on your weakness ; it is from you that 
she takes the title of mistress ; you allow yourself to give 
way to her haughtiness, and are led by the nose like a 
fool. What ! cannot you, seeing what you are called, 
make up your mind for once to become a man, to bring 
down a woman to your wishes, and take sufficient courage 
to say, I will have it so ! You will, without shame, allow 
your daughter to be sacrificed to the silly visions which 
are holding your family in bondage, and endow a booby 
with all your wealth in return for six words of Latin, 
which he spouts to them ; a pedant, whom your wife at 
every turn addresses as a man of wit and a great philoso- 
pher, as a man who, in gallant poetry, never had his 
equal, and who is nothing of the sort, as every one knows. 
Come, once more, it is a jest; and your cowardice de- 
serves to be laughed at. 

CH. Yes, you are right, and I see that I am wrong. 
Come, I must at last show a firmer mind, brother. 

ARIS. That is well said. 

CH. It is an infamous thing to be thus under the sway 
of a woman. 

ARIS. Very good. 

CH. She has taken too great an advantage of my soft- 

ARIS. It is true. 

CH. Too much imposed upon my easy-going nature. 

* These last words are an imitation of Plautus' Casino., or the Strata- 
gem Defeated (Act ii., Scene 3), when Stalino, on seeing his wife Cleo- 
strata, says : " I espy her standing there in gloominess. This plaguy bag- 
gage must be addressed by me with civility. (Going towards her). My 
own wife and my delight, what are you about ?'' 


ARIS. Undoubtedly, 

CH. And I will have her know this very day that my 
daughter is my daughter, and that I am the master, to 
take for her a husband who pleases me. 

ARIS. Now you are reasonable, and as I wish you to be. 

CH. You are for Clitandre, and know his address ; send 
him to me, brother, presently. 

ARIS. I am going there directly. 

CH. I have borne it too long, and I am going to be a 
man in spite of every one. 



PHIL. Ah ! let us seat ourselves here to listen at our ease 
to these verses which should be weighed word by word. 

AR. I am burning to see them. 

BEL. And we are dying for them. 

PHIL. (To Trisstoin}. Whatever comes from you has a 
charm for me. 

AR. To me it is a matchless sweetness. 

BEL. It is a dainty repast provided for my ears. 

PHIL. Do not prolong such pressing desires. 

AR. Pray hurry. 

BEL. Be quick, and hasten our pleasures. 

PHIL. Offer your epigram to our impatience. 

TRIS. ( To Philaminte). Alas ! it is but a new-born 
child, Madam : its fate may surely interest you ; and it is 
in your courtyard that I have been delivered of it. 

PHIL. Its father is sufficient to make it dear to me. 

TRIS. Your approbation may serve it as a mother. 

BEL. What wit he has ! 


PHIL. ( To Henriette, -who is about to withdraw). Hullo ! 
why do you run away? 

HEN. It is for fear of disturbing so sweet a conversation. 


PHIL. Draw near, and come, intently, to take part in 
pleasure of hearing some marvels. 

HEN. I know but little of the beauties of the people's 
writings, and things of wit are beyond me. 

PHIL. It matters not. Afterwards, I. have also to tell 
you a secret, of which it would be as well that you were 

TRIS. (To Henriette). Science has nothing that can 
inflame you, and your only pride is to know how to charm. 

HEN. The one as little as the other ; and I have not 
the least desire . . . 

BEL. Come ! let us see to the new-born child, pray. 

PHIL. (To Lepine). Come, lad, quick, the wherewithal 
to seat ourselves. (Lepine tumbles down). Look at the 
awkward fellow ! Ought people to fall after they have 
learned the equilibrium of things ? 

BEL. Do not you see the causes of your fall, Ignoramus, 
and that it proceeded from your deviation from the fixed 
point which we call the centre of gravity. 

LEP. I became aware of it, Madam, when I was on the 

PHIL. (To Lepine, who goes ouf). The awkward booby! 

TRIS. Well for him he was not made of glass. 

AR. Ah ! wit everywhere ! 

BEL. It never lags. (They sit down. 

PHIL. Now promptly dish us up your amiable repast. 

TRIS. For such great hunger as is shown to me, a dish 
of only eight verses seems very little ; and I think that I 
shall do no harm here in joining to the epigram, or to the 
madrigal, the relish of a sonnet, which a certain princess 
thought rather delicate. It is seasoned with attic salt 
throughout, and I believe you will find it of sufficiently 
good taste. 

AR. Ah ! I do not doubt it. 

PHIL. Let us give ear immediately. 

BEL. {Interrupting Trissotin each time he is ready to 
begin). I feel my heart beat with pleasure beforehand. I 
love poetry to distraction, and especially when the verses 
are gallantly turned. 

PHIL. If we are always speaking, he cannot say any- 


TRIS. A son . . . 

BEL. (To Henriette}. Silence, niece. 21 
TRIS. A sonnet to the Princess Uranie, on her Ague. 
Your prudence surely is asleep, 
To treat and sumptuously to keep, 
To lodge in state and luxury, 
Your most hard-hearted enemy. 
BEL. Ah ! what a charming beginning ! 
AR. How prettily he turns things ! 
PHIL. He alone possesses the talent for easy verses. 
AR. To prudence asleep we must yield up our arms. 
BEL. To lodge an enemy is for me full of charms. 
PHIL. I like sumptuously and state and luxury, the join- 
ing of these last words does admirably. 
BEL. Let us listen to the rest. 
TRIS. Your prudence surely is asleep, 

To treat and sumptuously to keep, 
To lodge in state and luxury, 
Your most hard-hearted enemy. 
AR. Prudence asleep ! 
BEL. To lodge an enemy! 
PHIL. Sumptuously, and state and luxury! 
TRIS. Whatever be said, drive it away, 

From 'neath your roof s splendid array, 
Expel the ungrateful wretch, who would 
Attack a life so fair, so good. 
BEL. Ah ! gently ; let me take breath, pray. 
AR. Give us leisure to admire, if you please. 
PHIL. One feels, at these verses, running at the bottom 
of one's heart, a something, I do not know what, that 
makes one feel faint. 

AR. Whate* er be said, drive it away, 

From ' ' neath your roof s splendid array. 
How elegantly is 'neath your roofs splendid array ex- 
pressed ; and how wittily the metaphor is put ! 

PHIL. Whate 1 er be said, drive it away ! Ah! what an 

J1 Henriette has been saying nothing, yet Belise, who talks continually, 
says " Silence." 

30 This sonnet is to be found in The Gallant Works, in prose and in 
verse, of Mr. Cotin, Paris, 1663, and is called, A Sonnet to Mademoiselle 
de Longueville, now Duchess of Nemours, on her quartan ague. 


admirable taste is displayed in this drive it away. This, 
in my opinion, is an invaluable passage. 

AR. My heart is likewise smitten with whate' er be 

BEL. I am of your opinion, whate' er be said is a happy 

AR. I would like to have written it. 

BEL. It is worth a whole piece. 

PHIL. But is the finesse of it really understood, as I 

AR. AND BEL. Oh ! oh ! 

PHIL. Whate* er be said, drive it away. Though people 
should take the ague's part, do not pay any heed, laugh 
at the babbling. Whate'' er be said, drive it away, whate' er 
be said, whate' er be said. This whate' ' er be said has 
more in it than it seems to have. As for me, I do not 
know, if everyone resembles me ; but I perceive a mil- 
lion words beneath it. 

BEL. It is true, it says more things than it appears to 

PHIL. (To Trissotin). But when you wrote this charm- 
ing whate' er be said, did you yourself comprehend all its 
energy ? Did you yourself reflect upon all which it 
conveys to us ? And did you at that time think of put- 
ting so much wit in it ? 

TRIS. Eh! Eh! 

AR. I have also my head full of the ungrateful wretch, 
that ungrateful ague, unjust, unmannerly, which treats 
people ill who give it a lodging. 

PHIL. In short, the quatrains are both admirable. Let 
us come quickly to the triplets, pray. 

AR. Ah ! if you please, once more whatever be said. 

TRIS. Whate' er be said, drive it away. 

PHIL., AR., AND BEL. Whate' er be said .' 

TRIS. From ' neath your roof ' s splendid array . . . 

PHIL., AR., AND BEL. Your roof s splendid array ! . . . 

TRIS. To expel the ungrateful wretch that could . . . 

PHIL., AR., AND BEL. This ungrateful fever ! 

TRIS. Attack a life so fair, so good. 

PHIL. A life so fair, so good. 

AR. AND BEL. Ah ! 


TRIS. What ! not respecting your high rank, 
Your noble blood it basely drank. 

PHIL., AR., AND BEL. Ah ! 

TRIS. And day and night insults you so ! 
If with it to the baths you go 
Without your making more ado, 
With your own hands then drown it too. 

PHIL. We are exhausted. 

BEL. We swoon. 

AR. We die with pleasure. 

PHIL. It gives one a thousand gentle shiverings. 

AR. If with it to the baths you go. 

BEL. Without your making more ado. 

PHIL. With your own hands then drown it too. With 
your own hands, then, with your own hands, then drown 
it too. 

AR. At every step one encounters a charming trait in 
your verses. 

BEL. Everywhere we wander there delighted 

PHIL. One can light upon nothing but fine things in 

AR. They are small paths all strewn with roses. 

TRIS. The sonnet then seems to you . . . 

PHIL. Admirable, new ; and no one has ever made any- 
thing so fine. 

BEL. (To Henriette). What! were you not touched on 
hearing this ? You made but a sorry figure, niece. 

HEN. Each one makes here below the figure that one 
can make, aunt ; and it is not sufficient to wish to become 
a wit, in order to be one. 

TRIS. Perhaps my verses are troublesome to this lady. 

HEN. Not at all. I do not listen to them. 

PHIL. Ah ! let us have the epigram. 

TRIS. On a coach of an amarant colour given to a lady 
of his acquaintance.'* 

PHIL. The very names of his pieces have always some- 
thing peculiar. 

AR. Their novelty prepares one for a hundred fine 
strokes of wit. 

18 This epigram is in the same volume as the sonnet mentioned before, 
and bears nearly the same title as the sonnet of Trissotin. 


TRIS. Love has so dearly sold me to his chains, 

PHIL., AR., AND BEL. Ah ! 

TRIS. That half of my estate only remains; 

And when this beauteous couch you shall behold, 
On which there are embossed such heaps of gold, 
That all the country wonders at the ride, 
And makes my Lais triumph in her pride. 
PHIL. Ah ! my Lais ! There is erudition ! 
BEL. The disguise is pretty, and worth a million. 
TRIS. And when this beauteous couch you shall behold, 
On which there are embossed such heaps of gold, 
That all the country wonders at the ride, 
And makes my Lais triumph in her pride, 
No longer say ' 'tis amarant, 
Say rather that it is my land. 
AR. Oh ! oh ! oh ! that was not at all expected. 
PHIL. Only he could write in such taste. 
BEL. No longer say 'tis amarant, 
Say rather that it is my land, 
This may be declined, my land, of my land, to my 


PHIL. I know not whether my mind was prepossessed 
in your favour, from the moment I knew you ; but I ad- 
mire everywhere your verse and your prose. 

TRIS. (To Philaminte}. If you would show us something 
of your own, we in our turn might also admire. 

PHIL. I have written nothing in verse; but I have 
reason to hope that I shall soon be able to show you, as 
among friends, eight chapters of the plan of our academy. 
Plato foolishly stopped at this project, when he wrote the 
treatise upon his Republic ; but I shall carry out the idea 
which I have arranged in prose upon paper. For, in 
short, I feel strangely annoyed at the wrong which they 
do us with regard to wit ; and I wish to vindicate our- 
selves, that is my whole sex, from the unworthy class in 
which men place us, by confining our talents to trifling 
things, and by closing against us the entrance to sublime 

24 The original has Ne dis plus gu'il est amarante, dis plutbt quit est dc 
ma rente, on which B&ise justly remarks, " this may be declined ma rente, 
de ma rente, a ma rente.'' 


AR. It is giving too great an offence to our sex to extend 
the effort of our intelligence no farther than to judge about 
a skirt, or the shape of a mantle, or the beauties of a piece 
of lace, or of a new brocade. 

BEL. We must rise from this shameful condition, and 
openly set our genius at liberty. 

TRIS. My respect for the ladies at all times is well known ; 
and, if I render homage to the brilliancy of their eyes, I 
also honour the light of their intelligence. 

PHIL. The sex likewise does you justice on this point ; 
but we wish to show to certain wits, whose proud know- 
ledge treats us with disdain, that women are also endowed 
with learning ; that, like them, they can hold learned as- 
semblies, conducted by better rules; inasmuch as they 
wish to unite what they separate elsewhere, 25 join fine lan- 
guage to the higher sciences, explore nature by a thousand 
experiments, and upon any question that may be proposed, 
bring in each sect, and espouse the opinions of none. 

TRIS. For order, I hold by peripateticism. 26 

PHIL. For abstractions, I love platonism. 

AR. Epicurus pleases me, and his dogmas are strong. 

BEL. I accommodate myself sufficiently well to the 
atomic system ; but I think a vacuum is difficult to be 
endured, and I relish the subtle matter much better. 

TRIS. As for the properties of the magnet, Descartes 
agrees with my opinion. 

AR. I am fond of his vortices. 

PHIL. I, of his falling worlds. 

AR. I am anxious to see our assembly opened, and that 
we should signalize ourselves by some discovery. 

TRIS. We expect much from your enlightened opinions; 
for nature has few things that are dark to you. 

PHIL. As for me, without flattering myself, I have already 
made one, and I have clearly seen men in the moon. 

BEL. I have not seen men as yet, as I think ; but I have 
seen steeples as clearly as I see you. 

AR. We shall probe grammar, history, poetry, moral 
philosophy, and politics, as well as physics. 

K An allusion to the French Academy, founded in 1633, and the Aca- 
demy of Sciences, founded in 1666. 
M That is the doctrine of Aristotle. 


PHIL. Moral philosophy has charms by which my heart 
is smitten ; and it was formerly the passion of great minds ; 
but I yield the palm to the Stoics, and I find nothing so 
beautiful as their wise men. 

AR. As for the language, they shall see our regulations 
in a little time, and we pretend to make some revolutions. 27 
Through antipathy, either just or natural, we have each of 
us conceived a mortal hatred for a number of words, 
whether verbs, or nouns which we mutually abandon. 
Against them we are preparing deadly sentences, and we 
design to open our learned conferences by the proscription 
of all those divers words of which we wish to purge both 
prose and poetry. 28 

PHIL. But the most beautiful project of our academy, 
a noble enterprise, with which I am delighted, a design 
full of glory, and which shall be lauded among all the 
great minds of posterity, is the retrenching of these 
filthy syllables which cause a scandal in the finest words, 
these eternal playthings of the fools of all times, these 
nauseous commonplaces of our sorry jokers, these sources 
of a mass of infamous equivocations with which they 
insult the modesty of women. 

TRIS. These are certainly admirable projects. 

BEL. You shall see our statutes when they shall be 

TRIS. All are certain to be beautiful and wise. 

AR. We shall be, by our laws, the judges of works ; by 
our laws, prose and verse, everything shall be submitted to 
us. No one shall have any wit beyond ourselves and 
friends. 29 We shall seek everywhere to find something 
to cavil at, and shall see none but ourselves able to write 

JT The precieuses really held dissertations about the language, and first 
brought into use many energetic phrases, and the present orthography. 

88 Several members of the Academy intended to banish from the French 
language such words as car, encore, neanmoins, pourquoi, and several 

w This saying, Nul riaura de I' esprit, hors nous et nos amis, has be- 
come proverbial, and seems to be aimed at Menage and his clique. 



LEP. (To Trissotin). A man is there, Sir, who 'wishes to 
speak to you; he is dressed in black, and speaks in a 
soft tone. ( They rise. 

TRIS. It is that learned friend who has pressed me so 
much to procure him the honour of your acquaintance. 

PHIL. You have our full consent to introduce him. 

( Trissotin goes to meet Vadius. 


Phil. ( To Armande and to Belise). Let us do well the 
honours at least of our wit. ( To Henriette, who wishes to 
go). Hullo ! I have told you very distinctly that I want 

HEN. But for what ? 

PHIL. Come hither ; we shall let you know shortly. 


TRIS. (Presenting Vadius). Behold the man who is 
dying to see you. In introducing him here I do not fear 
being blamed for having admitted a profane among you, 
Madam. He can hold his own amongst the wits. 

PHIL. The hand that presents him is sufficient guar- 

TRIS. He has a perfect knowledge of the old authors, 
and he knows Greek, Madam, as well as any man in France. 

PHIL. {To Belise). Greek, O Heavens! Greek! He 
knows Greek, sister ! 

BEL. (To Armande). Ah! niece, Greek ! 

ARM. Greek ! how charming ! 

PHIL. What ! This gentleman knows Greek ! Ah ! 
permit me, pray, that, for the love of Greek, Sir, I em- 
brace you. ( Vadius embraces Belise and Armande also. 

HEN. (To Vadius, -who wishes to embrace her also). 
Excuse me, Sir, I do not understand Greek. 

( They sit down. 

PHIL. I have a marvellous respect for Greek books. 

VAD. I fear that, through the anxiety which prompts 


me to pay you my respects to-day, Madam, I am in- 
truding; and that I shall be disturbing some learned 

PHIL. With Greek, Sir, nothing can be spoilt. 

TRIS. Besides, he does wonders in verse as well as 
prose, and could, if he would, show you something. 

VAD. The fault of authors is to tyrannize in conversa- 
tion with their productions ; in being at the Palais in 
public 31 walks, at the ruelles, at table the indefatigable re- 
citers of their own tiresome verses. As for me, I see 
nothing more absurd, according to my opinion, than an 
author who goes begging everywhere for incense, who, 
catching the ears of the first comers, often makes them the 
martyrs of his vigils. I have never had this foolish hobby; 
and I am, on this subject, of the opinion of a Greek who, by 
an express dogma, forbids all his followers the undignified 
eagerness of reading their own works. Here are some 
small verses for young lovers, upon which I should like to 
have your opinions. 

TRIS. Your verses have charms which no others have. 

VAD. The Graces and Venus reign in all yours. 

TRIS. Your turn is unconstrained, and you choose your 
words well. 

VAD. Throughout all your works the ithos and pathos 32 
are seen. 

TRIS. We have had some eclogues from you, which 
surpass in sweet charms Theocritus and Virgil. 83 

VAD. Your odes have a noble ring, gallant and sweet, 
which leave Horace very far behind. 8 * 

TRIS. Is there aught more amorous than your little 
songs ? 

VAD. Is there anything to equal your sonnets ? 

TRIS. There is nothing so charming as your little 

VAD. Nothing so full of wit as your madrigals. 

80 See page 433, note 8. 

81 The original has Cours. 

82 These are terms of rhetoric borrowed from the Greek ; the first means 
morals, the second feeling. 

33 Menage wrote some eclogues which had a certain reputation. 
M This mutual flattery of Trissotin and Vadius has been suggested by a 
passage from Erasmus' Praise of Folly. 


TRIS. .In the ballads, above all, you are admirable. 

VAD. And in bouts-rimes I think you adorable. 35 

TRIS. If France could but know your worth. 

VAD. If the age did but render justice to men of wit. 

TRIS. In a gilded coach you would pass through the 

VAD. We should see the public erect statues to you (to 
Trissotin). Hm ! it is a ballad, and I should like you to 
tell me plainly 

TRIS. (To Vadius). Have you seen a little sonnet on 
the ague which has attacked the princess Uranie. 88 

VAD. Yes; it was read to me yesterday in a certain 

TRIS. Do you know the author of it ? 

VAD. No ; but I know well enough that, not to flatter 
him, his sonnet is worth nothing. 

TRIS. Many people think it admirable, however. 

VAD. That does not prevent it from being very wretch- 
ed ; and if you had read it, you would be of my way of 

TRIS. I know that I should differ with you on this 
subject, and that few people are capable of such a sonnet. 

VAD. Heaven preserve me from writing such ! 

TRIS. I maintain that nothing better could be written ; 
and my great reason is, that I am the author of it. 

VAD. You? 


VAD. I do not know then how the affair happened. 

TRIS. It is that I was not fortunate enough to be able to 
please you. 

VAD. I must have been absent-minded in listening to it, 
or the reader must have spoilt me the sonnet." But let us 
drop the subject and look to my ballad. 

85 Bouts-rimes are verses in which the final words were given first, and 
which had then to be filled up. 

M Trissotin and Vadius are both anxious to shine before the ladies, and 
as soon as the latter wishes to read his ballad, the former begins to speak 
of his sonnet. 

37 Madame de Sevigne mentions in one of her letters a similar fact, how 
Louis XIV. deceived an old courtier, the Marshal de Grammont, by asking 
his opinion about a madrigal, which the king pretended to think rather 
feeble. De Grammont thought it wretched, and was quite dumbfounded 
when Louis told him that he was himself the author of it. 


TRIS. A ballad, to my taste, is an insipid thing; it is no 
longer the fashion ; it smacks of ancient times. 

VAD. The ballad, however, charms many people. 

TRIS. That does not prevent it from displeasing me. 

VAD. It remains none the worse for that. 

TRIS. It has wondrous charms for certain pedants. 

VAD. And yet we see that it does not please you. 

TRIS. You foolishly attribute your own qualities to 
others. ( They all rise. 

VAD. You throw yours at me very impertinently. 

TRIS. Go along, you little dunce, you pitiful scribbler. 

VAD. Go along, you doggerel rhymester, 38 you disgrace 
of the profession. 

TRIS. Go along, you second-hand verse-dealer, you im- 
pudent plagiarist. 

VAD. Go along, you numbskull . . . 

PHIL. He ! gentlemen, what are you about? 

TRIS. {To Vadius). Go, go, and make restitution of your 
shameful larcenies which the Greeks and Latins claim from 
you. 39 

VAD. Go, go, and do penance to Parnassus, for having 
maimed Horace with your verses. 

TRIS. Remember your book, and the little stir it 

VAD. And you, your publisher reduced to the hospital. 

TRIS. My fame is established ; you attack it in vain. 

VAD. Yes, yes ; I refer you to the author of the Satires. 

TRIS. I refer you also to him. 

VAD. I have the satisfaction of people seeing that he has 
treated me more honourably. He gives me a slight dig, 40 
by the way, among many authors who are esteemed at the 
Palais; but he never leaves you in peace in his verses, and 
we find you a butt for his arrows throughout. 

TRIS. It is by this that I hold the more honourable 
rank. He places you among the crowd like a miserable 
being ; he thinks one blow enough to knock you down, and 

88 The original has rimeur de balle, because things of inferior quality 
were called marchandises de dalle, from balle, a hawker's bale. 

w Me'nage is said to have pilfered a great deal from the ancients. 

40 Boileau has attacked Menage only once, and that slightly, in his 
fourth satire. 


has never done you the honour to repeat it. But he at- 
tacks me apart as a noble adversary, against whom all his 
efforts seem necessary ; and his blows, repeated against me 
everywhere, show that he never believes himself certain 
of the victory. 

VAD. My pen shall teach you what sort of a man I 
can be. 

TRIS. And mine will make you see your master. 

VAD. I defy you in verse, prose, Greek, and Latin. 

TRIS. Well ! we shall see each other alone at Barbin. 41 


TRIS. Do not blame me for giving way to my temper ; 
it is your judgment which I defend, Madam, in the sonnet 
which he has had the audacity to attack. 

PHIL. It shall be my care to reconcile you. But let us 
speak of something else. Draw near, Henriette. For a 
long time my heart has been uneasy, because I could 
never perceive any trace of wit in you ; but I have found 
the means of making you have some. 

HEN. You take pains for me which are unnecessary; 
learned conversations are not at all in my way : I love to 
live at ease; and, in whatever is said, one must take too 
much trouble to become clever ; it is an ambition which 
does not at all enter my mind. I find myself very well, 
mother, in being stupid ; and I prefer having nothing 
but common-place talk to tormenting myself to say fine 

PHIL. Yes ; but I am hurt at it, and it does not suit me 
to bear, in my own family, such a disgrace. Beauty of 
countenance is but a frail ornament, a transitory flower, 
the dazzle of a moment, which exists but in the epidermis ; 
but that of the mind is inherent and firm. I have, there- 
fore, long looked for some way to give you that beauty 
which years cannot reap, to inspire you with a love for 
learning, and to instil into you a desire for fine know- 
ledge; and, in short, the thought to which my wishes 

41 Barbin was one of the chief booksellers of the time, and his shop was 
at the Palais. 


tended, is to attach to you a man replete with intelligence. 
(Pointing to Trissotiri). And that man is this gentleman, 
whom I command you to look upon as the husband whom 
my choice intends for you. 

HEN. I! mother? 

PHIL. Yes, you. Play the fool a little. 

BEL. {To Trissotin). I understand you: your eyes 
demand my consent to pledge elsewhere a heart which I 
possess. Go, I am willing. To this bond I surrender 
you ; it is a union that will be the making of you. 

TRIS. (To Henriette), I do not know what to say to 
you in my delight, Madam ; and this union, with which 
I see myself honoured, puts me . . . 

HEN. Gently, Sir; it is not yet concluded: do not 
hurry yourself so much. 

PHIL. How you answer ! Do you know that . . . ? 
Enough. You understand me. (To Trissoiiri}. She will 
be sensible. Come, let us leave her. 


AR. We see shining forth our mother's care for you; 
and she could not have chosen a more illustrious hus- 
band . . . 

HEN. If the choice be so fine, why do not you take it ? 

AR. It is to you, not to me, that his hand is given. 

HEN. I surrender it all, as to my elder sister. 

AR. If wedlock were invested with any charm for me, 
as it is for you, I should accept your offer with delight. 

HENT. If I had, like you, my head full of pedants, 
I should think him a very decent match. 

AR. Though our tastes in this may be different, we 
ought, however, to obey our parents, sister. A mother 
has an, absolute power over us ; and you believe in vain, 
by your resistance . . . 


CH. (To Henriette, presenting Clitandre to her). Come, 
daughter, you must approve my design. Take off your 
glove. Take this gentleman's hand, and henceforth con- 
sider him in your heart, as a man whose wife I wish you 
to be. 


AR, On this side your likings are very strong, sister. 

HEN. We must obey our parents, sister. A father has 
absolute power over our wishes. 

AR. A mother has her claim to our obedience. 

CH. What does it mean ? 

AR. I say that I apprehend much that on this my 
mother and you will not agree ; and that it is another 
husband . . . 

CH. Hold your tongue, you saucy jade ; go and have 
your fill at philosophizing with her ; and do not concern 
yourself with my actions. Tell her my mind, and take 
care to warn her not to come and pester my ears. Go 


ARI. Very good. You have done wonders. 

CLI. What transport ! what joy ! Ah, how sweet is 
my lot ! 

CH. {To Clitandre}. Come, take her hand, and go be- 
fore us ; conduct her to her room. Ah ! the sweet 
caresses! {To Ariste). There, my heart leaps at all 
these tender signs ; it makes my old days feel young 
again, and I look back upon my youthful love affairs. 


AR. Yes, nothing has kept her mind in check ; she is 
proud of her obedience. Scarcely has her heart given it- 
self time to receive the order in my presence before it sur- 
rendered, and seemed less to follow the wishes of a father 
than affect to defy the orders of a mother. 

PHIL. I shall soon show her to whose orders the laws of 
reason subject her wishes, and who is to control, her 
mother or her father, the mind or the body, the form or 
the matter. 

AR. The compliment of it was, at least, due to you: 
and this little gentleman behaves strangely in wishing 
to become your son-in-law, in spite of you. 


PHIL. He is not there yet where his heart aspires to be. 
I thought him well enough, and I looked with pleasure on 
your love-affairs ; but he has always displeased me in his 
way of acting. He knew, Heaven be thanked, that I was 
an author; and yet he never asked me to read anything 
to him. 

SCENE II. CLITANDRE, entering softly, and listening with- 
out being seen, ARMANDE, PHILAMINTE. 

AR. I should not allow, if I were you, that he should 
ever become the husband of Henriette. It would be do- 
ing me a great wrong to imagine that I speak about this 
as an interested girl, and that the scurvy trick which he 
plays me produces some secret spite at the bottom of my 
heart. Against such blows the soul is strengthened by 
the solid assistance of philosophy, and through her we 
may place ourselves above everything ; but to treat you 
thus is to drive you to extremes. It becomes your honour 
to oppose his wishes ; and he is a man, in short, who 
ought not to please you. Between ourselves, I never 
knew that in his inmost heart he had any esteem for you. 

PHIL. The little fool ! 

AR. Whatever praises were uttered about you, he al- 
ways seemed like ice when it came to lauding you. 

PHIL. The coarse man ! 

AR. And twenty times I have read him, as a novelty, 
some of your verses which he did not like. 

PHIL. The impertinent fellow ! 

AR. We often quarrelled about it ; and you would not 
believe how much nonsense . . . 

CLI. (To Armande). Eh! gently, pray. A little cha- 
rity, Madam, or, at least, a little honesty. What harm 
have I done to you? and what is my offence, to have all 
your eloquence up in arms against me? to wish to destroy 
me, and to take so much trouble in making me odious 
with people of whom I stand in need? Speak, say, 
whence comes this terrible anger? I have no objection 
that this lady should honestly judge between us. 

AR. If I harboured this anger of which you wish to ac- 
cuse me, I should find sufficient to justify it. You but 
too well deserve it ; and a first love establishes such sacred 


rights upon the heart, that sooner than burn with the 
flame of another passion, one should lose one's fortune, 
and renounce life. Nothing equals the horror of a 
change in love j and every faithless heart is a monster in 

CLI. Do you account it an infidelity, Madam, to do 
what the pride of your heart has commanded me ? I only 
obey its commands ; and, if I offend you, that alone is the 
cause of it. Your charms at first possessed my whole 
heart ; it burned constantly for two years ; no assiduous 
attentions, duties, respects, services, but what it sacrificed 
lovingly to you. All my affection, all my attentions, avail 
nothing with you; I find you opposed to my sweetest 
aspirations. What you refuse, I offer to another. Now 
judge. Is it, Madam, my fault or yours? Does my heart 
run after change, or does yours goad me to it? Is it I 
who leaves you, or you who drives me away? 

AR. Do you call it being opposed to your desires, Sir, 
to deprive them of what was vulgar in them, and to wish 
to reduce them to that purity wherein consists the beauty 
of perfect love ? You cannot fop me keep your thoughts 
clear and disentangled from the commerce of the senses ; 
and do you not taste, as its sweetest charms, this union of 
hearts, in which the bodies are not concerned. You can- 
not love except with a gross love, and with all its train 
of material bonds : and, to feed the flames produced in 
your heart, a marriage and all its sequel is necessary. Ah ! 
what strange love, and how far removed are -noble souls 
from burning with such terrestrial flames ! The senses 
have no share in all their ardours ; and this lovely fire 
unites nought but hearts. It leaves the rest as an unwor- 
thy matter ; it is a fire, pure and clear as the heavenly 
fire ; one utters nought but virtuous sighs, and does not 
tend towards filthy desires. Nothing impure is mixed 
with the proposed aim ; one loves for the sake of love, 
and for nothing else ; it is to the mind only that all 
transports are directed, and one never perceives that one 
has a body. 

CLI. As for me, to my misfortune, Madam, I perceive 
but too plainly that I have a body as well as a soul ; I feel 
that it sticks too closely to it to leave it aside. I do not 


know the art of these separations ; Heaven has denied me 
this philosophy, and my body and soul go together. 
There is nothing more beautiful, as you have observed, 
than these purified desires, which regard the mind only, 
this union of hearts, and these tender thoughts so disen- 
tangled from the commerce of the senses. But for me 
such affections are too subtle; I am somewhat gross, as 
you accuse me; I love with my whole self, and the love 
with which I am inspired, is meant, I confess, for the whole 
person. This is not a matter for very great punishments; 
and, without wronging your fine sentiments, I perceive 
that in the world my method is greatly followed, and that 
marriage is much the fashion, and that it passes for a suf- 
ficiently sweet and honourable tie, for me to have desired 
to become your husband, without the liberty of such a 
thought giving you the least reason for being offended. 

AR. Well ! Sir, well ! since your coarse sentiments wish 
to gratify themselves, without listening to me ; since, to 
induce you to remain faithful, there must be carnal bonds, 
corporeal chains, if my mother wishes it, I shall make up 
my mind to consent for your sake to what we were speak- 
ing of. 

CLI. It is too late, Madam, another has taken your 
place ; and it would ill become me to repay in such a 
manner the protection, and wound the kindness that shel- 
tered me against your pride. 

PHIL. But in short, Sir, do you count upon my consent 
when you contemplate this other marriage? and, if you 
please, do you imagine, that I have another husband quite 
ready for Henriette ? 

CLI. Eh ! Madam, consider your choice, I pray ; ex- 
pose me, I beseech you, to less ignominy, and do not con- 
sign me to the humbling lot of seeing myself the rival of 
Mr. Trissotin. The love of wits, which makes you thwart 
me, cannot oppose me a less noble adversary. There are 
many men, whom the bad taste of the age has given credit 
for being wits ; but Mr. Trissotin has not been able to 
dupe any one, and all do justice to the writings which he 
gives us. Except here, he is valued everywhere at his 
real worth ; and what has a score of times astonished me, 
is to find you exalt to the skies silly verses which you 


would have disavowed, if you had made them your- 

PHIL. If you judge him altogether otherwise than we, it 
is because we see him with other eyes than yours. 



TRIS. {To Philaminte). I have come to tell you a great 
piece of news. We have, Madam, while sleeping, had a 
narrow escape. A world has passed along by us, has fallen 
across our vortex, and, if it had on its way met with our 
earth, it would have been broken into pieces, like glass.* 2 

PHIL. Let us remit this conversation to another oppor- 
tunity. This gentleman would find neither rhyme nor 
reason in it ; he professes to love ignorance, and above all 
to hate wit and learning. 

CLI. This truth requires some qualification. I shall ex- 
plain myself, Madam ; and I hate only the wit and learn- 
ing that spoil people. They are things which, in them- 
selves, are good and great ; but I should prefer being in 
the rank of those who are ignorant to being learned like 
certain persons. 

TRIS. For my part, I do not think that learning can 
spoil anything, whatever may be supposed. 

CLI. And it is my opinion, that in facts as well as in 
conversations, science often makes great fools. 

TRIS. That is a great paradox. 

CLI. Without being very clever, the proof of it would, 
I think, be very easy to me. If reasons failed, I am sure 
that in any case famous examples would not fail me. 

TRIS. You might quote some which would prove hardly 

CLI. I should not have far to go to find what I want. 

TRIS. For my part, I do not see those famous examples. 

CLI. As for me, I see them so plainly, that they stare 
me in the face. 

TRIS. I have hitherto believed that it was ignorance 
which made great fools, and not learning. 

41 Cotin had published a very long dissertation, called A Gallantry 
about the Comet which appeared in December 1664, and January f66j. 


CLI. You have believed very wrongly, and I will be 
bound that a learned fool is more foolish than an ig- 
norant fool. 

TRIS. Common opinion is against your maxims, since 
ignorant and fool are synonymous terms. 

CLI. If you will take it according to the use of the 
word, the affinity is greater between pedant and fool. 

TRIS. Folly, in the one, appears perfectly pure. 

CLI. And study, in the other, adds to nature. 

TRIS. Learning in itself has eminent merit. 

CLI. Learning in a fop becomes impertinent. 

TRIS. Ignorance must have great charms for you, since 
you take up arms so eagerly in its defence. 

CLI. If ignorance has such great charms for me, it is 
since I have seen certain learned men. 

TRIS. Those certain learned men may, when they are 
known, be worth certain other people who are not far off. 

CLI. Yes, if certain learned people were to be judges ; 
but would people agree to it ? 

PHIL. ( To Clitandre). It seems to me, sir . . . 

CLI. Eh ! Madam, pray ; this gentleman is strong 
enough without you coming to his aid. I have already 
too formidable an assailant, and if I defend myself, I only 
do so by retreating. 

AR. But the offensive sharpness of each repartee of 
which you. . . . 

CLI. Another second ! I give up the game. 

PHIL. We allow these kinds of combats in conversation, 
provided the person be not attacked. 

CLI. Eh, good Heavens ! all this has nothing in it to 
offend him ; he understands raillery as well as any man in 
France ; and he has felt himself goaded with many other 
points, without his glory ever doing aught but smiling 
at it.* 3 

TRIS. I am not astonished to see this gentleman set 
forth the thesis in the combat which I maintain ; he is 
much at court, that is saying everything. The court, it 
is well known, does not stand up for wit. It has some in- 

43 The Abbd Cotin was pretty quarrelsome, and had had many literary 


terest in supporting ignorance, Madam; and it is as a 
courtier that he takes up its defence. 

CLI. You are very hard upon this poor court ; and its 
misfortune is great to find you gentlemen of wit every day 
declaiming against it ; laying all your annoyances at its 
door, and quarrelling with it upon its bad taste, accusing 
no one but it upon your ill success. Permit me to tell 
you, Mr. Trissotin, with all the respect with which your 
name inspires me, that you and your brethren would do 
very well to speak of the court in somewhat gentler tones ; 
and that, after all, it is not so silly as you and these other 
gentlemen imagine ; that it has common sense to judge of 
everything ; that some good taste may be formed there, 
and that the knowledge of the world which is there dis- 
played is, without flattery, worth all the obscure learning 
of pedantry. 

TRIS. Of its good taste, Sir, we behold the effects. 

CLI. Where, Sir, do you see that it is so bad ? 

TRIS. What do I see, Sir ? Is ft that as regards learning 
Rasius and Baldus are an honour to France ; and that all 
their merit, clear as day, attracts neither the eyes nor the 
gifts of the court. 

CLI. I perceive your annoyance, Sir, and that, from 
modesty, you do not place yourself among them; and, 
not to bring you therefore into the question, what do 
these able heroes do for the state ? in what way are their 
writings of any service to it to accuse the court of a hor- 
rible injustice, and complain everywhere that it fails to 
bestow the favour of its gifts on their learned names? 
Their learning is very necessary to France ! and the court 
cares much about the books which they write ! Three 
beggarly fellows take it into their narrow heads, that if 
they are only printed and bound in calf they are import- 
ant persons in the state ; that with their pens they shape 
the destiny of crowns, that at the slightest rumour of their 
productions, pensions ought to come flying to them; 
that the universe has its eyes on them ; that the glory of 
their name is bruited about everywhere ; and that they are 
famous prodigies in learning, because they know what others 
have said before them, because they have had eyes and ears 
for the last thirty years, and because they have spent nine 


or ten thousand nights in confusing themselves with Greek 
and Latin, and loading their minds with the unintelligible 
booty of all the old trash that lies scattered about in books. 
People who always seem drunk with their learning; have 
no other merit than an abundance of troublesome talk; 
good for nothing, void of common sense, and full of a 
ridicule and an impertinence to decry everywhere wit 
and learning. 

PHIL. Your warmth is great ; and this violence marks 
the movement of nature in you. It is the name of rival 
which excites in your heart . . . 


JUL. The learned gentleman who just now paid you a 
visit, and whose humble servant I have the honour to be, 
requests you to read this note. 

PHIL. However important the letter may be which I am 
desired to read, know, friend, that it is a piece of rudeness 
to come to interrupt people in the midst of a conversation ; 
and that as a servant who knows how to behave, you should 
have recourse to the people of the house to be introduced. 

JUL. I shall note that down in my book, Madam. 

PHIL. (Reads). "Trissotin has boasted, Madam, that he 
is to marry your daughter. Let me inform you that his phi- 
losophy aims only at your wealth, and that you would do 
well not to conclude this marriage until you have read the 
poem which I am composing against him. Whilst this sketch 
is preparing, in which I mean to depict him in all his colours, 
I send you Horace, Virgil, Terence and Catullus, where you 
will see noted down on the margin all the passages which he 
has pillaged. ' ' 

On account of this intended marriage, a man of merit is 
attacked by many enemies; and this very villifying induces 
me to-day to do an action which shall confound envy, and 
make it feel that its efforts accelerate the execution of that 
which it wishes to undo. (To Julien). Let your master 
immediately know this ; and tell him that to show what 
great store I set on his noble counsels, and how worthy I 
think them of being acted upon, this very evening I marry 
him {Pointing to Trissotiri), to my daughter. 



PHIL. (To Clitandre). You, Sir, as a friend of the 
whole family, may assist at the signing of the contract ; 
and I wish to invite you to it. Armande, take care to 
send for the notary, and to inform your sister of the 

AR. There is no need to inform my sister ; this gentle- 
man here will charge himself with the trouble of running 
and carrying her the news very soon, and of disposing her 
heart to be rebellious against you. 

PHIL. We shall see who will have the greatest power 
over her, and if I shall be able to bring her to her duty. 


AR. I regret much to see, Sir, that matters do not alto- 
gether turn out as you wished. 

CLI. I am going to set about it zealously, Madam, so as 
not to leave you so much regret in your heart. 

AR. I am afraid that your efforts will not have too good 
a result. 

CLI. Perhaps you will not see your fear realized. 

AR. I hope so. 

CLI. I am convinced of it, and. that I shall be assisted 
by your support. 

AR. Yes, I am going to serve you with all my might. 

CLI. And this service is sure of my gratitude. 


CLI. Without your support, I should be unhappy; 
your wife has rejected my addresses, and in her prejudiced 
heart wishes Trissotin for her son-in-law. 

CH. But what fancy has she got hold of ? Why the 
deuce does she wish for this Mr. Trissotin ? 

ARI. It is because his name has the honour of rhyming 
with Latin, that he gains an advantage over his rival. 

CLI. She wishes to conclude this marriage this very 

CH. This evening? 


CLI. This evening. 

CH. And this evening, I have made up my mind to 
marry you two, to thwart her. 

CLI. She has sent for the notary to draw up the 

CH. And I am going to fetch him for the one he is 
to draw up. 

CLI. {Pointing to Henriette). And this lady ought to be 
informed by her sister of the marriage to which they wish 
her to consent. 

CH. And I command her, with plenary power, to pre- 
pare her hand for this other union. Ah ! I will show if 
there be another master than myself in my house, to lay 
down the law. (To Henriette). We are coming back, 
take care to wait for us. Come, follow me, brother, and 
you also, son-in-law. 

HEN. (To Ariste). Alas! try to keep him always in 
this humour. 

ARI. I shall do everything to serve your love. 


CLI. Whatever powerful aid he promises to my flame, 
my greatest hope is in your heart, Madam. 

HEN. As for my heart, you may be assured of that. 

CLI. I cannot but be happy, when I have its support. 

HEN. You see to what marriage they attempt to com- 
pel it. 

CLI. As long as it shall be mine, I see nothing to fear. 

HEN. I am going to try everything to see our sweetest 
wishes fulfilled ; and if all my efforts do not make me 
yours, there exists a retreat where the soul can fly to, and 
which shall prevent me from belonging to any other 
person . 

CLI. May a just Heaven forfend that I should ever 
receive such a proof of your affection ! 


HEN. It is about the marriage for which my mother is 
preparing that I wished, Sir, to talk to you face-to-face ; 


and I thought that in the trouble in which I see the whole 
household plunged, I miglit make you listen to reason. I 
know that you expect me to bring you a considerable 
marriage portion ; but money, of which so many people 
are fond, has only charms unworthy of a real philosopher; 
and the contempt for wealth and frivolous grandeur ought 
not to shine in your words alone. 

TRIS. Nor is it that which charms me in you ; and your 
brilliant attractions, your piercing and soft eyes, your 
gracefulness and your air, are the wealth, the riches which 
draw my affection and my tenderness towards you : these 
are the only treasures of which I am enamoured. 

HEN. I am much beholden to your generous flame. 
Such obliging love confounds me, and I regret, Sir, not 
to be able to respond to it. I esteem you as much as one 
can esteem ; but I find an obstacle to loving you. A 
heart, you know, cannot belong to two people ; and I feel 
that Clitandre has made himself master of mine. I know 
that he has much less merit than you, that I am no good 
observer when I choose him for a husband ; that by a 
hundred fine accomplishments, you ought to please me ; 
I see well enough that I am wrong, but I cannot help it ; 
and the only effect which reason has upon me is to make 
me angry with myself for being so blind. 

TRIS. The gift of your hand, to which I am encouraged 
to pretend, shall also give me that heart which Clitandre 
possesses ; and I have reason to presume that by a thou- 
sand gentle cares I may find the secret of making myself 

HEN. No ; my heart is attached to its first affections, 
and cannot be touched, Sir, by your attentions. I dare 
explain myself freely with you here, nor has my avowal 
anything to offend you. This affectionate ardour, which 
springs up in the heart, is not, as is well known, an effect 
of merit : fancy takes its share in it ; and, when some one 
pleases us, we often find a difficulty in saying why it is so. 
If we could love, Sir, by choice and prudence, you should 
have my whole heart, and my whole tenderness ; but we 
see that love is controlled otherwise. Leave me, I pray, 
to my blindness, and do not take advantage of this vio- 
lence, which, for your sake, they wish to do to my obe- 


(lience. A gallant man wishes to owe nothing to the 
power which parents have over us. He has a repugnance 
to see the object of his love sacrificed, and does not wish 
to obtain a heart except from that heart itself Do not 
drive my mother to wish, by her choice, to exercise her 
utmost rights upon my inclinations. Take back your love 
from me, and bear to some other the homage of a heart 
so precious as yours. 

TRIS. How can this heart obey you ? Impose upon it 
any commands which it can execute. Can it be capable 
of not loving you, unless you cease, Madam, to be loveable, 
and to display to people's eyes heavenly charms . . . 

HEN. Nay, Sir, a truce to this idle nonsense. You have 
so many Irises, Philises, Amarantes, which throughout 
your verses you paint as charming, and to whom you vow 
so much amorous ardour. . . . 

TRIS. It is my mind that speaks, and not my heart. I 
am enamoured of them only as a poet ; but I love in all 
earnest the adorable Henriette. 

HEN. Eh ! pray, Sir. . . . 

TRIS. If it offend you, my offence towards you is not 
likely to cease. This ardour, hitherto ignored by you, 
swears to be devoted to you for ever. Nothing can stay 
its loving transports ; and, although your charms con- 
demn my efforts, I cannot refuse the aid of a mother, who 
proposes to crown so dear a flame; and, provided I obtain 
so sweet a happiness, provided you become mine, the rest 
does not matter. 

HEN. But do you know that you risk a little more than 
you imagine by using violence with a heart ; that it is not 
very safe, to speak frankly to you, to marry a girl in 
spite of herself; and that she may have recourse, by seeing 
herself forced, to resentments which a 'husband ought to 

TRIS. Such a discourse has nothing in it to make me 
uneasy; a wise man is prepared for all emergencies. 
Cured by reason, of all vulgar weaknesses, he places him- 
self above such things, and takes care not to feel the 
least annoyance at anything which does not depend 
upon himself. 

HEN. In truth, Sir, I am delighted with you ; and I 


did not imagine that philosophy was so beautiful' as it is, 
thus to teach people to bear with equanimity such ac- 
cidents. This firmness of soul, so singular in you, 
deserves to have an illustrious subject to work upon, is 
worthy to find some one who lovingly takes continual 
pains to place it in its full light ; and, as in truth, I dare 
not believe myself very fit to give it all the brilliancy of 
its glory, I leave it to some one else, and swear to you, 
between ourselves, that I renounce the happiness of seeing 
you my husband. 

TRIS. (Going). We shall soon see how the affair will 
go on ; for they have already got the notary within. 


CH. Ah ! daughter, I am glad to see you ; come, come, 
and do your duty, and submit your wishes to the will of a 
father. I intend, I mean to teach your mother how to be- 
have ; and, the better to brave her, here is Martine whom, 
in spite of her, I bring back and re-instate in the house. 

HEN. Your resolutions are worthy of praise. Take care 
not to change this disposition, father ; be firm in having 
your wishes carried out ; and do not allow them to induce 
you to abandon your good intentions. Do not unbend, 
and manage to prevent my mother from gaining a victory 
over you. 

CH. How ! Do you take me for a booby? 

HEN. Heaven preserve me from it f 

CH. Am I a simpleton, please ? 

HEN. I do not say so. 

CH. Am I thought incapable of the steadfast senti- 
ments of a reasonable man ? 

HEN. No, father. 

CH. Should I not have the sense, at my age, to be mas- 
ter in ray own house ? 

HEN. Yes, indeed. 

CH. Should I be so weak in mind as to be led by the 
nose by my wife ? 

HEN. Eh ! no, father. 

CH. Lack-a-day ! What, then, does all this mean ? I 
think you very facetious to speak to me thus ! 

HEN. If I have offended you, it was not my intention. 


CH. My will shall be carried out in everything in this 

HEN. Very well, father. 

CH. No one but myself, has a right to command in this 

HEN. Yes ; you are right. 

CH. It is I who hold the place of head of the family. 

HEN. Agreed. 

CH. It is I who have to dispose of the hand of my 

HEN. Eh ! yes. 

CH. Heaven gives me full authority over you. 

HEN. Who says the contrary? 

CH. And I shall soon show you that you have to obey 
your father, and not your mother, in taking a husband. 

HEN. Alas ! you flatter in this the sweetest of my incli- 
nations ; to obey you is all I wish. 

CH. We shall see if my wife opposes my wishes . . . 

CLIT. Here she comes bringing the notary with her. 

CH. Second me well, all of you. 

MAR. Leave it to me. I shall take care to encourage 
you if there be any need of it. 


PHIL. (To the Notary). Could you not change your 
barbarous style, and give us a contract in beautiful lan- 

NOT. Our style is very good, Madam, and I should be a 
fool to wish to change one word of it. 

BEL. Ah ! what barbarism in the very midst of France ! 
But at least, out of regard for learning, Sir, be kind 
enough to enumerate the dowry in minae and talents instead 
of in crowns, livres, and francs, and to date by the words 
of ides and calends. 

NOT. I ? If I were to grant your requests, Madam, I 
should find myself hooted by all my colleagues. 

PHIL. We complain in vain against this barbarism. 
Come, Sir, sit down and write. {Perceiving Martini). 


Ah ! ah ! this impudent girl dares to show her face here 
ao-ain ! Why, pray, bring her back to my house ? 

CH. Bye-and-bye, at our leisure, we shall tell you. Now 
we have other matters to look after. 

NOT. Let us proceed to the contract. Where is the 
intended bride ? 

PHIL. She whom I marry is the youngest daughter. 

NOT. Very well. 

CH. {Pointing to Henriette}. Yes, here she is, Sir. 
Her name is Henriette. 

NOT. Very good. And the intended bridegroom ? 

PHIL. (Pointing to Trissotin}. The husband whom I 
give here is this gentleman. 

CH. (Pointing to Clitandre}. And the one whom I my- 
self intend her to marry is this gentleman. 

NOT. Two husbands ! It is one too many, according 
to custom. 

PHIL. {To the Notary}. Why do you stop ? Set down, 
set down Mr. Trissotin, for my son-in-law. 

CH. For my son-in-law, set down, set down, Mr. Clit- 

NOT. But first agree among yourselves, and after having 
well-weighed everything, decide between you who shall be 
the intended husband. 

PHIL. Follow the choice, Sir, upon which I have resolved. 

CH. Do things as I tell you, Sir. 

NOT. Tell me which of the two I am to obey. 

PHIL. ( To Chrysale). What, you oppose my wish ! 

CH. I shall not allow my daughter to be courted only 
for the sake of my family's wealth. 

PHIL. Indeed, your wealth is a great deal thought of! 
And a wise man takes much heed of that ! 

CH. In one word, I have made choice of Clitandre 
for her husband. 

PHIL. {Pointing to Trissotin}. And behold the one 
whom I design for her. My choice shall prevail ; I have 
made up my mind to that ! 

CH. Upon my word ! You carry things with a very 
high hand. 

MAR. It is not for the wife to dictate, and I am for giv- 
ing way in things to the men. 


CH. That is well said. 

MAR. Were I ever so certain of being turned out, 4 * the 
hen ought not to crow before the cock. 

CH. Undoubtedly. 

MAR. And we see people jeer at a man when the wife 
at home wears the breeches. 

CH. That is true. 

MAR. I say that if I had a husband, I should like him 
to be master in his own house : I should not like him to 
play the nobody;* 5 and, if I went against him through 
some whim or other, if I spoke too loud, I should think it 
very good that he lowered my tone by some slaps. 

CH. That is sensibly spoken. 

MAR. Master is reasonable to wish a proper husband for 
his daughter. 

CH. Yes. 

MAR. For what reason should Clitandre, young and 
handsome as he is, be refused to her? And why, if you 
please, give her a scholar, who is unceasingly making epi- 
logues? She wants a husband, not a pedagogue; and 
having no wish to know either Greek or Latin, she has no 
need of Mr. Trissotin. 

CH. Very good. 

PHIL. We must allow her to chatter at her ease. 

MAR. Scholars are good for nothing but to preach ; 
and for my husband, yes, I have said it a thousand times, 
I would never take a man of wit. Wit is not at all wanted 
at the domestic hearth. Books go badly with wedlock ; 
and I should wish, if ever my troth were plighted, a hus- 
band who had no other book but myself, who, without 
offence to Madam, knows not A from B, and who, in one 
word, should only be a doctor for his wife. 

PHIL. (To Chrysale). Is it finished ? And have I lis- 
tened quietly enough to your worthy interpreter? 

CH. She has spoken the truth. 

** The original has mon congefent fois mefut-il hoc. Hoc means "assured," 
but its etymology is uncertain. Some say it is derived from a game of 
cards called hoc; others from hoc, meaning "yes " in Provencal ; others, 
again, from hoc, meaning croc, a hook ; and finally, hoc, with the Latin 
meaning of " that." 

46 The original has s ilfaisait le jfocrisse. 


PHIL. And I, to cut short this dispute, require absolute- 
ly that my plan should be carried out. {Pointing to Triss- 
otiti). Henriette and this gentleman shall be joined on 
the spot. I have said it, I will have it so ; do not answer 
me. And if your word has been pledged to Clitandre, offer 
him to marry the elder. 

CH. Here is a way to settle this matter. {To Henriette 
and Clitandre]. Well ! do you give your consent to it? 

HEN. Eh ! father . . . 

CLI. (To Chrysale). Eh ! Sir . . . 

BEL. We might make proposals to him that should 
please him better ; but we are for establishing a kind of 
love that shall be pure as the morning star : the reflecting 
substance maybe admitted into it; but we banish the ex- 
tended substance from it. 


ARI. I regret to trouble a festive ceremony by the 
sorrow which I am obliged to cause here. These two let- 
ters make me the bearer of two tidings, of which I have 
felt great grief for your sakes. (To Philaminte}. The one 
for you comes to me from your solicitor. {To Chrysale}. 
The other for you conies to me from Lyons. 

PHIL. Who can write us about a misfortune worthy of 
troubling us ? 

ARI. This letter will relate one to you. 

PHIL. "Madam, I have requested your brother to hand 
you this letter, which will inform you what I dared not 
come to tell you. The great neglect which you show for your 
affairs has caused the clerk of your judge not to give me notice, 
and you have irrevocably lost your lawsuit, which you ought 
to have won. 

CH. {To Philaminte). Your lawsuit lost ! 

PHIL. You trouble yourself much ! My heart is not at 
all upset by this blow. Show a less common soul, and 
brave, like me, the strokes of fortune. " This want of care 
costs you forty thousand crowns; and you have been condemn- 
ed to pay this sum with costs, by an order of the Court. Con- 


demned ? Ah ! this word is offensive, and is made for 
criminals only ! 

ARTS. He is wrong, in fact ; and you right in finding 
fault. with him. He ought to have said that you are 
invited, by order of the Court, to pay as quickly as 
possible forty thousand crowns and the necessary ex- 

PHIL. Let us see the other. 

CH. " Sir, the friendship which binds me to your broth- 
er makes me take an interest in all that concerns you. 2 
know that you have placed all your property in the hands of 
Arganle and Damon, and I beg to give you notice that they 
have both become bankrupts on the same day. O Heavens ! 
at once to lose all that I possess ! 

PHIL. (To Chrysale). Ah ! What a shameful outbreak ! 
Fie ! all this is nothing. To the real philosopher there 
is no serious reverse, and, losing everything, he still re- 
mains all in all to himself. Let us terminate our affair, 
and have done with your grief. (Pointing to Trissotiri). 
His wealth will suffice for us all. 

TRIS. No, Madam : cease to press this matter. I see 
that every one is opposed to this marriage, and I have no 
desire to force people's inclinations. 

PHIL. This consideration has come upon you very 
quickly; it follows very closely, Sir, upon our misfor- 

TRIS. I am weary at last of so much resistance. I pre- 
fer renouncing all this bickering, and do not wish for a 
heart which does not give itself freely. 

PHIL. I see, I see now, and not at all to your credit, 
what hitherto I have refused to believe of you. 

TRIS. You may believe of me what you please, and I 
care little how you take it : but I am not the man to suffer 
the shame of the offensive refusals which I have under- 
gone here. I am well worth being made much more of 
and my service to those who will not have me. 


PHIL. How clearly he has shown his mercenary soul ! 


and how little there is of the philosopher in what he has 
just done ! 

CLI. I do not boast of being such ; but in one word, I 
do not separate my fate from yours, Madam ; and I dare 
offer you with my person the little which fortune has be- 
stowed upon me. 

PHIL. You charm me, Sir, by this generous trait, and I 
will crown the desires of your affection. Yes ; I grant 
Henriette to the eager ardour . . . 

HEN. No, mother ; I now change my mind. Permit 
me to resist your wishes. 

CLIT. What 1 you oppose my happiness ! and, when I 
see every one yield to my love . . . 

HEN. I know the smallness of your fortune, Clitandre ; 
and I have ever desired you for my husband, when by 
satisfying my sweetest inclinations I saw that my union 
improved your affairs. But when we have such contrary 
fates, I love you sufficiently in such extremity, not to bur- 
den you with our adversity. 

CLIT. Every destiny shared with you would be plea- 
sant; every destiny without you would be unbearable. 

HEN. Love, in its transport, speaks always thus. Let 
us avoid painful and unpleasant reflections. Nothing 
wears so quickly the affections of the tie which binds us 
as the sad necessities of life's cares ; and people often, 
upon such occasions, accuse each other mutually of all 
the dismal griefs which proceed from such engage- 

ARI. {To Henriette). Is this the only motive which 
makes you refuse the union with Clintandre ? 

HEN. Without this, you would find my heart leap at it ; 
I refuse his hand only because I love him too well. 

ARI. Then be bound by such beautiful chains. I have 
brought you only false tidings ; and it is a trick, a sur- 
prising device, which I have put into practice to serve 
your love, to undeceive my sister, and show her what her 
philosopher would prove upon trial. 

CH. Heaven be praised for it ! 

PHIL. I am glad at the vexation which it will give this 
base deserter. To see this match concluded with magnifi- 
cence will be a punishment to his sordid meanness. 


CH. {To Clitandre). I knew well enough that you 
would marry her. 

AR. (To Philaminti). Then you sacrifice me to their 

PHIL. It is not you whom I sacrifice to them ; and you 
have the support of philosophy to .see with a satisfied eye 
their ardour crowned. 

BEL. Let him beware, at least, that I am not dwelling 
in his heart. One marries often through sudden despair, 
and repents all one's life afterwards. 

CH. ( To the Notary}. Come, Sir, follow the order 
which I have prescribed, and draw up the contract as I 
have told you. 








WHILST Moliere was very ill and nearly dying, when he felt every day 
his strength failing him, and his life passing away rapidly, he wrote a 
comedy, The Imaginary Invalid, in which he depicts the folly of a man 
who, though in good health, believes himself ill, blindly obeys his doctor, 
and swallows and takes what he prescribes for him ; in other words, the 
very counterpart of Moliere himself. This comedy was first performed 
at the theatre of the Palais Royal, on the loth of February, 1673. Dur- 
ing the fourth representation, Moliere became ill and died on the same 
evening, the I7th of February. The theatre did not open until the 24th 
of that month, with The Misanthrope, and with Baron in the part of Al- 
ceste. The Imaginary Invalid was performed again, with La Thorilliere 
in the character of Argan, and was acted nine times. On the 4th of May 
1674, it was acted anew, and had thirty-seven consecutive representations, 
whilst it was played before the court on the igth of July of the same year. 
On the igth of November it was brought out again, and played eleven 
times ; so that it was represented in all sixty-two times a proof that the 
public was not tired in admiring the last work of France's great dramatist. 

In the character of Argan Moliere endeavoured to sketch the excessive 
dread of death and its consequences, harshness of heart, tyrannical ego- 
tism, and an extreme facility for being deceived. Argan's wife, Beline, 
tyrannizes over him, Mr. Purgon and Mr. Fleurant rule him with a rod 
of iron, whilst Beralde, Argan's brother, is a sceptic in medicine, and pro- 
bably is only the mouth-piece of the very arguments of Moliere himself. 
The burlesque reception of Argan as a doctor, in the last interlude, is 
very similar to the real reception of a doctor, and it seems that some of 
Moliere's medical friends assisted him in th,s description. John Locke, 
who passed three years after Moliere's death through Montpellier, was 
present at the examination of .-. physician, and the conferring of his de- 
gree, and describes a procession of the doctors dressed in red, with black 
caps on their heads, and followed by ten violin-players, the speech of the 
president against the circulation of the blood, the different compliments 
of the newly made doctor, and his putting on a cap, a ring on his finger, 
and a golden chain round his loins. In Paris there was no music when a 
docters degree was conferred. 

Moliere had nattered himself that The Imaginary Invalid should be 



represented at court during the carnival of 1673, and the Prologue is suffi- 
cient evidence of this. But Louis XIV., who, during the preceding sum- 
mer, had made his first campaign in Holland, had probably his mind 
filled with more or less heroic thoughts, and ordered the Mithridates of 
Racine, to be performed by the comedians of the hotel de Bourgogne ; 
Lulli also made some opposition with regard to the music, which was 
forbidden to be played on any other stage than the Opera. 

Dr. Martin Lister, an Englishman who was in Paris in 1698, says : l 

"It is said Moliere died suddenly in acting the Malade Imaglnaire ; 
which is a good instance of his well personating the play he made, and 
how he could really put himself into any passion he had in his head. . . . 
He is reported to have said, going off the stage, ' Messieurs, jfaijoue le 
Malade Imaginaire, mats je suis veritablement fort malade ; and he died 
two hours after. This account of Moliere is not in his life by Perrault ; 
but it is true ; and yet he has blamed him for his folly, in persecuting the 
art of physic, not the men, in divers of his plays. 

" Molilre sent for Dr. M , a physician of Paris of great esteem and 

worth, and now in London a refugee. Dr. M sent him word he 

would come to him, upon two conditions ; the one, that he should answer 
him only to such questions as he should ask him, and not otherwise dis- 
course him ; the other, that he should oblige himself to take the medicines 
that he should prescribe for him. But Moliere finding the doctor too 
hard for him, and not easily to be duped, refused them. His business, it 
seems, was to make a comical scene in exposing one of the most learned 
men of the profession, as he had done the quacks. If this was his inten- 
tion, as in all probability it was, Moliere had as much malice as wit ; 
which is only to be used to correct the viciousness and folly of men pre- 
tending to knowledge, and not the arts themselves.'* 

The words which Dr. Lister attributes to Moliere as having been ut- 
tered by him on the stage, have never had any corroborative evidence. 
Who the Dr. M. may be, whom the learned English physician mentions, 
and who appears to have told him a cock-and-bull story, it is now impos- 
sible to find out ; but the animus of Dr. Lister, and his spite against Mo- 
liere, twenty-five years after the dramatist's death, is distinctly shown in 
the extract given above. 

As the king had early in the year 1674 forbidden The Imaginary In- 
valid to become public property, until it was printed, and as the troupe 
of Moliere did not hasten to publish it, several spurious editions soon saw 
the light. The first published at Amsterdam by D. Elzevir, in 1674, and 
probably written by some one who had seen the play in Paris, and wrote 
it down from memory, is absolutely valueless, except as indicating some 
stage play, and describing the dresses. A second surreptitious edition 
was published the same year, at Cologne, by T- Sambin, and appears to 
be so well done that it seems possible that the original manuscript has 
been consulted. But the comedy, as we now know it, was first published 
in the collected edition of Moliere's works of La Grange and Vinot, in 
1682. They were both friends of Moliere, the first even a fellow-actor, 
and had consulted the manuscripts lent to them by his widow. The book of 
the ballet and the words of the physician's admission, that is the last in- 
terlude, had been separately published several times before. 

In the eighth volume of " Select Comedies of M. de Moliere,'' Lon- 
don, 1732, this play is translated under the name of the Hypochondriac^, 
and dedicated to his Grace the Duke of Argyle, in the following words : 

1 A yourney to Paris in the year 1698. 


My LORD, By prefixing Your Grace's Name to this Performance I have quite 
ruined my Dedication, for both my Author's Character as a Writer, and your 
Grace's for fine Sense, Humanity, and Politeness, are so thoroughly known and so 
strongly established in the World, that it would be Impertinence and Presumption 
to say anything of either, Thus deprived of the two great Sources of an Epistle 
dedicatory, what can I do ? why agreeable to the common Practice of my cotem- 
porary Brethren I should have recourse to my own Abilities and the Merit of my 
Translation : But those, your Grace, I fear, will be too readily acquainted with, if 
You should give Yourself the trouble to cast an Eye upon what I have done ; I 
shall therefore say one Word only in behalt of the Bookseller, and then give your 
Grace no further Trouble. This Volume completes the Select Collection of Mo- 
Here's Comedies in French and English, to the success of which your Grace's 
Favour and Protection are absolutely necessary, and most humbly intreated. As 
the Intention of this Work is to introduce pure Nature and true Wit once more in 
our Diversions, and to chase Folly and Vice from our Conversations and Practice ; 
a more proper Patron could not possibly be found to recommend it to the World, 
than one of your Grace's Taste and Virtues. I am, my Lord, Your Grace's most 
obedient and most humble servant, THE TRANSLATOR. 

Several English dramatists have borrowed from Moliere. Mrs. Aphra 
Behn has, in Sir Patient Fancy, acted at the theatre Dorset Garden, in 
1678 (see Introductory Notice to Love is the best Doctor, Vol. II.,) partly 
imitated Argan in Sir Patient Fancy. A great portion of the fifth act is 
also taken from Moliere ; but the whole is wilfully indecent. 

J. Miller's Mother-in- Law, or the Doctor the Disease (see Introductory 
Notice to Monsieur de Pourceaugnac , Vol. III., page 85), which was 
brought out at the Haymarket Theatre on the i2th of February 1734, is 
based chiefly on Moliere's play The Imaginary Invalid, 

Isaac Bickerstaffe wrote Dr. Last in his Chariot, a comedy performed 
at the Haymarket Theatre, on the 25th of August 1769 (see Introduc- 
tory Notice to Love is the best Doctor, Vol. II, page 137), of which the 
bulk is taken from The Imaginary Invalid. Argan is called Ailwou'd ; 
B6ralde, Friendly ; Cleante, Hargrave ; Byline, Mrs. Ailwou'd ; Ang<li- 
que, Nancy ; Louison, Polly ; and Toinette is changed into a man-servant, 
called Wag. 


After the glorious fatigues and the victorious exploits of our 
august monarch, it is quite right that those who write should 
labour either to praise or to amuse him. That is what we have 
wished to do here ; and this prologue is an attempt to praise 
this grand prince, which serves to introduce the comedy of 
The Imaginary Invalid, of which the purpose was to give him 
relief from his noble works. 


ARGAN, an imaginary invalid? 
BKRALDE, his brother? 
CLEANTE, Angelique's lover.* 
MR. PURGON, Argan's physician. 
MR. DIAFOIRUS, a physician. 
betrothed to Angelique.* 

MR. FLEURANT, an apothecary? 
MR. DE BONNEFOI, a notary. 
BELINE, Argan's second wife. 
ANGELIQUE, Argan's daughter. 
LOUISON (a little girl), Argan's 

TOINETTE, a servant. 


TIRCIS, Chmene's lover, chief of a troop of shepherds. 
DORILAS, Daphne's lover, chief of a troop of shepherds. 
SHEPHERDS and SHEPHERDESSES of the suite of Tircis. 
SHEPHERDS and SHEPHERDESSES of the suite of Dor Has. 

FAUNS (dancing). 


First Act. 


ARCHERS (dancing and singing). 

Second Act. 

Third Act. 


APOTHECARIES (with their mor- 
tars and pestles'). 


Scene. PARIS. 

2 This part was played by Moliere. According to the description of the 
dresses given in the first surreptitious publication of this comedy, by 
Daniel Elzevir, Amsterdam, 1674, '' Argan was arrayed as an invalid, 
coarse stockings, slippers, a tight pair of breeches, a red waistcoat with 
some embroidery or lace, a neckerchief with old lace negligently fastened,. 
a night-cap with a lace skull-cap." 

s Dressed as a modest cavalier. 

4 Dressed as a gallant and a lover. 

5 Mr. Diafoirus, his son, and Mr. Purgon are all dressed in black ; the 
first two as ordinary physicians, and the last with a large smooth collar, 
having long sleek hair, and a cloak coming below his knees. 

6 He is also dressed in black or brownish grey, with a short apron, and 
a clyster in his hand, without a hat. 



The Scene represents a rustic, pleasant spot. 

Scene I. Flora, Two Zephyrs, dancing. 

FLO. Leave, leave your flocks ; 

Come shepherds, shepherdesses all ; 

Assemble 'neath these youthful elms: 

I have come to announce to you sweet tidings, 

Wherewith these hamlets to rejoice. 

Leave, leave your flocks; 

Come shepherds, shepherdesses all ; 

Assemble 'neath these youthful elms. 

Scene II. Flora, Two Zephyrs dancing; Climene, 
Daphne, Tircis, Dorilas. 

CLI. (To Tircis}. DAPH. (To Dorilas}. 

Leave your protestations, shepherd : 
It is Flora who now calls. 

TIR. (To Climene}. DOR. (To Daphne}. 

But cruel one, tell me at least, 

If by a little friendship, you will repay my vows. 
TIR. If you will be sensible of my faithful ardour. 
CLI. AND DAPH. It is Flora who now calls. 



TIR. AND DOR. It is but a word, a word, a word only 
that I crave. 

TIR. Shall I for ever languish in my mortal pain ? 

DOR. May I hope that one day you shall make me 
happy ? 

CLI. AND DAPH. It is Flora who now calls. 

Scene III. Flora, Two Zephyrs dancing; Climene, 
Daphne, Tircis, Dorilas, Shepherds and Shepherd- 
esses, of the suite of Tircis and Dorilas, dancing 
and singing. 

First "Entry of the Ballet. 

All the Shepherds and Shepherdesses place themselves around 
Flora, keeping time to the music. 

CLI. What news is that, O goddess, 

That amongst us is to diffuse so much joy ? 
DAPH. We burn to learn from you, 

These important tidings. 
DOR. Eagerly we all sigh for it. 

With impatience we die for it. 
FLO. Here it is ; silence, silence, 

Your prayers have been granted, Louis is 

returned ; 
In these spots he brings back pleasures and 


And you behold an end to your mortal alarms. 
By his vast exploits, he sees everything sub- 
jected : 

He lays down his arms, 
Failing foes. 
CHORUS. Ah ! what sweet news ! 

How grand it is, how beautiful it is ! 
What pleasure ! what laughter ! what sports ! 

what happy successes ! 

And how well Heaven has fulfilled our wishes ! 
Ah ! what sweet news ! 
How grand it is ! how beautiful it is ! 


Second Entry of the Ballet. 

All the Shepherds and Shepherdesses express by their dances, 
the transports of their joy. 

FLO. From your rural pipes 

Evoke the sweetest sounds ; 

Louis offers to your songs 

The most beautiful subject. 

After a hundred battles, 

In which his arm 

Reaps an ample victory, 

Form amongst you 

A hundred battles still more sweet, 

To sing his glory. 
CHORUS. Let us form amongst us 

A hundred battles still more sweet, 

To sing his glory. 
FLO. My youthful lover, in these woods, 

From my empire prepares a present, 

As a prize for the voice 

Who shall best succeed in telling us 

The virtue and the exploits 

Of the most august of kings. 
CLI. If Tircis has the advantage. 
DAPH. If Dorilas conqueror be. 
CLI. To cherish him I promise. 
DAPH. To his ardour I will give myself. 
TIR. Oh hope too dear ! 
DOR. Oh word replete with sweetness ! 
TIR. AND DOR. Could grander subject, sweeter reward 
animate a heart ? 

The violins play an air to animate the two shepherds to the 
competition, while Flora, as umpire, places herself, with two 
Zephyrs, at the foot of a beautiful tree in the middle of the 
stage, and the rest occupy the two sides, as spectators. 

TIR. When the melted snow swells a famous torrent, 
Against the sudden effort of its frothy waves 
There is nothing sufficiently solid ; 
Dykes, castles, towns, and woods, 


Men and flocks at one and the same time, 
All things bend to the current which guides it : 
Such, and fiercer, and more rapid still 
Louis marches in his exploits. 

Third Entry of the Ballet. 

The Shepherds and Shepherdesses at Tircis 1 side danct 
round him, to the measure of a ritornello, to express 

their applause. 

DOR. The threatening lightning that with fury pierces 
The horrible darkness, by a fiery glow, 
Causes, with fear and terror, 
The most steadfast heart to tremble ; 
But, at the head of an army, 
Louis inspires more terror still. 

Fourth Entry of the Ballet. 
The Shepherds and Shepherdesses at Dorilas* side do the 

same thing as the others have done. 
TIR. We see the fabulous exploits which Greece has 


Effaced by many grander truths ; 
And all these famous demi-gods 
Whom past history vaunts, 
Are not even to our thoughts 
What Louis is in our eyes. 

Fifth Entry of the Ballet. 

The Shepherds and Shepherdesses once more do the same 
thing that the others have done. 

DOR. In our days, Louis, by his astonishing feats, 

Makes us believe the grand deeds which history 

has sung 

Of by-gone ages ; 
But our nephews, in their glory, 
Shall have nothing that can make believe 
All the grand feats of Louis. 

Sixth Entry of the Ballet. 

The Shepherds and Shepherdesses at Dowlas* side again do 
the same things. 


Seventh Entry of the Ballet, 

The Shepherds and Shepherdesses on both sides mingle and 
dance together. 

Scene VI. Flora, Pan; Two Zephyrs dancing; Climene, 
Daphne, Tircis, Dorilas, Fauns dancing, Shepherds 
and Shepherdesses dancing and singing. 
PAN. Abandon, abandon, shepherds, this bold design, 

Eh ! what would you do ? 

Sing on your pipes 

What Apollo, on his lyre, 

With his most lovely songs, 

Would not undertake to say? 

It is giving too much flight to the fire that inspires 

It is mounting towards the sky on waxen wings, 

To drop down to the bottom of the deep, 

To sing the intrepid courage of Louis, 

There is no voice that is learned enough, 

There are no words grand enough to describe, it ; 

Silence is the language 

That must laud his exploits. 

Consecrate other cares to his signal victory ; 

Your praises have naught that flatters his desires : 

Leave, leave his glory ; 

Think of nothing but his pleasures. 
CHOR. Leave, leave his glory ; 

Think of nothing but his pleasures. 
FLO. (To Tircis and to Dor Has}. 

Although, to laud his immortal virtues, 

Strength may fail your minds, 

Both may receive the prize. 

In grand and beauteous things 

It is sufficient to have tried. 

Eighth Entry of the Ballet. 

The two Zephyrs dance with two chaplets of flowers in their 
hands, which they afterwards give to the two Shepherds. 
CLI. AND DAPH. ( Giving their lovers their hands}. 
In grand and beauteous things, 
It is sufficient to have tried. 


TIR. AND DOR. Ah ! with what sweet rewards our bold- 
ness has been crowned ! 

FLO. AND PAN. What one does for Louis is never lost. 

Let us give ourselves henceforth to the 

care for his pleasures. 
FLO. AND PAN. Happy, happy, who can devote his life 

to him ! 

CHORUS. In these woods let us mingle 
Our flutes and our voices; 
This day invites us to it. 
And let us make the echoes resound a thou- 
sand times, 

Louis is the greatest of kings, 
Happy, happy who can devote his life to him ! 

Ninth Entry of the Ballet. 

Fauns, Shepherds, and Shepherdesses all mingle together to 

execute a dance ; after which they go to prepare 

themselves for the Comedy. 

SCENE I. A Shepherdess singing. 

Your highest knowledge is but pure chimera, 
Vain and not very learned doctors ; 

You cannot cure, by your grand Latin words, 
The grief that causes my despair. 

Your highest knowledge is but pure chimera. 

7 This second prologue is not in the libretto of the ballet. It was pro- 
ably often used, both for shortness' sake, and because it announces the 
subject of the Comedy, and is to be found in the Amsterdam edition. It 
is preceded by the following description : 

The theatre represents a forest. When the stage is seen, an agreeable 
noise of instruments is heard. Afterwards, a Shepherdess comes to com- 
plain tenderly that she finds no remedy for the pangs which she suffers. 
Several Fauns and Egyptians, assembled for their peculiar festival and 
games, meet the Shepherdess. They listen to her complaints, and form 
a very amusing spectacle. Complaint of the Shepherdess : 


Alas ! alas ! I dare not reveal 

My love-sick martyrdom 
To the shepherd for whom I sigh, 
And who alone can relieve me. 
Do not pretend to put an end to it, 

Ignorant doctors, you would not know how to do it : 
Your highest knowledge is but pure chimera. 

These uncertain remedies, of which the simple people 
Think that you know the admirable virtue, 
Cannot cure the ills I feel : 
And all your gibberish can be received 

Only by an Imaginary Invalid. 
Your highest knowledge is but pure chimera, 

Vain and little informed doctors, etc. 

The Scene changes, and represents an apartment. 


SCENE I. ARGAN, seated before a table, is adding up his 
apothecary* s bill with counters. 

AR. Three and two make five, and five make ten, and 
ten make twenty; three and two make five. "Besides, 
on the ^twenty-fourth, 8 a small clyster, mild, preparative 
and soothing, to soothe, moisten, and refresh Mr. Argan's 
inward parts." What pleases me in Mr. Fleurant, my 
apothecary, is that his bills are always so civil. "Mr. 
Argan's inward parts, thirty sols." Yes ; but, Mr. Fleu- 
rant, to be civil is not everything; you should also be 
moderate, and not flay your patients. Thirty sols an 
enema I I am your humble servant, I have already told 
you ; in your other bills you have put them at only twenty 
sols; and twenty sols in apothecary's language means ten 
sols ; here they are, ten sols. "Besides, on the said date, 
a good cleaning clyster, composed of double catholicon, 
rhubarb, with honey of roses, and other ingredients, 

8 As Argan's verification of medicine delivered during the entire month 
would be too long, the curtain rises when he is at the twenty-fourth day. 


according to prescription, to scour, wash and clean the 
lower abdomen of Mr. Argan, thirty sols." By your leave, 
ten sols. "Besides, on the said date, in the evening, a 
julep for the liver, soporative and soporific, composed to 
make Mr. Argan sleep, thirty-five sols." I do not com-^ 
plain of this, for it made me sleep very well. Ten, fifteen, 
sixteen, and seventeen sols, six deniers. 9 "Besides, on 
the twenty-fifth, a good purgative and strengthening 
draught, composed of fresh cassia, with Levantine senna, 
and other ingredients, according to the prescription of 
Mr. Purgon, to expel and evacuate Mr. Argan's bile, four 
francs." Ah ! Mr. Fleurant, this is too much of a joke: one 
should give and take with patients. Mr. Purgon did not 
order you to put down four francs. Put down, put down 
three francs, if you please. Twenty and thirty sols. 10 
"Besides, on the same date, an anodyne and astringent 
potion, to procure Mr. Argan some rest, thirty sols." 
Good, ten and fifteen sols. u "Besides, on the twenty- 
sixth, a carminative clyster, to drive away Mr. Argan's 
flatulence, thirty sols." Ten sols, Mr. Fleurant. "Besides 
the same clyster, repeated in the evening, as above, thirty 
sols." Mr. Fleurant, ten sols. "Besides, on the twenty- 
seventh, a good draught to hasten and drive out the bad 
humours of Mr. Argan, three livres." Good, twenty and 
thirty sols ; I am glad that you are reasonable. "Besides, 
on the twenty-eighth, a small dose of clarified and edul- 
corated milk, to soften, temper, refresh, and purify Mr. 
Argan's blood, twenty sols." Good, ten sols. 12 ' Besides, 
a cordial and preservative potion, composed of twelve 
grains of bezoar, syrup of lemon and pomegranates, and 
other ingredients, according to prescription, five livres." 
Ah ! Mr. Fleurant, gently if you please, if you go on 
thus, one would no longer care to be ill : be satisfied with 
four francs ; twenty and forty sols. Three and two make 

9 Argan always puts down half of what the apothecary asks. Although 
the julep has done him good, he puts down only seventeen sous, six 
deniers, half of Mr. Fleurant's charge, which was thirty-five sous. 

10 Here Argan puts down again the half of the three francs, the apothe- 
cary's charge, and says " thirty sols." He first marks with his counters 
twenty sols, and then adds ten more, which make thirty, but never 
thought of putting down fifty. 

11 See note above. 1J See note above. 


five, and five make ten, and ten make twenty. Sixty- 
three livres, four sols, and six deniers. So that, this 
month, I have taken, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven 
and eight remedies ; and one, two, three, four, five, six, 
seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve enemas ; and 
the other month, there were twelve remedies and twenty 
enemas. I am not surprised that I am not so well this 
month as the other. I had better tell this to Mr. Purgon, 
so that he may set this matter to rights. Come, take all 
this away. (Seeing that no one comes, that there are none 
of his servants in the room). There is no one here. I 
may say what I like, I am always left alone: there is no 
means of making them stay here. (After having rung a 
bell that is on the table}. They do not hear, and my bell 
does not make sufficient noise. Tingle, tingle, tingle. 13 
Not a bit of use. Tingle, tingle, tingle ! They are 
deaf. . . . Toinette ! Tingle, tingle, tingle. Just as 
if I did not ring at all. You wretch ! you slut ! Tingle, 
tingle, tingle." I am in a rage ! Tingle, tingle, tingle ! 
To the devil with you, baggage ! Is it possible that they 
can leave a poor invalid by himself in this way ? Tingle, 
tingle, tingle. This is most wretched. Tingle, tingle, 
tingle! Ah! good Heavens! they will leave me to die 
here 1 tingle, tingle, tingle. 


Toi. {Entering). Coming, coming. 

ARG. Ah ! slut ! ah ! baggage . . . 

Toi. (Pretends to have knocked her head"). The deuce 
take your impatience ! You hurry people so, that I have 
given myself a great knock on the head against the out- 
side corner of the shutter. 

ARG. (Angry). Ah ! you wretch ! . . . 

Toi. (Interrupting him). Ah ! 

ARG. It is an . . . 

Toi. Ah ! . . . 

ARG. It is an hour . . . 

18 In the original, Drelin, a word invented to imitate the sound of a bell 
when rung. 

14 Argan no longer rings his bell, but shouts. 


Toi. Ah! 

ARG. That you have left me . . . 

Toi. Ah! 

ARG. Hold your tongue, you slut, that I may scold you. 

Toi. Upon my word, I like that. I should advise you 
to do so, after what I have just done to myself. 

ARG. You have given me a sore throat, you slut. 

Toi. And you have given me a broken head : one is as 
good as the other. We are quits, if you like. 

ARG. What ! you baggage . . . 

Toi. If you scold, I shall cry. 

ARG. To leave me, you wretch . . . 

Toi. ( Once more interrupting Argari). Ah ! 

ARG. You slut ! . . . you wish me to ... 

Toi. Ah ! 

ARG. What ! I am not to have the pleasure of scolding 
her 1 

Toi. Scold as much as you like : I am agreeable. 

ARG. You prevent me, you slut, by interrupting me at 
every point. 

Toi. If you have the pleasure of scolding, I may, on 
my side, have the pleasure of crying : each his own ; that 
is not too much. Ah ! 

ARG. Come, I shall have to do without it. Take this 
away, you wretch, take this away. (After having risen). 
Has my enema of to-day acted well ? 

Toi. Your enema ? 

ARG. Yes. Had I much bile ? 

Toi. Upon my word, I do not meddle with these things, 
it is for Mr. Fleurant to put his nose into them, since he 
profits by them. 

ARG. Let them take care to keep some beef-tea ready 
for me, for the other which I am to take by-and-bye. 

Toi. This Mr. Fleurant, and this Mr. Purgon amuse 
themselves very much with your body; they have a good 
milch-cow in you ; and I should much like to ask them 
what disease you have, to want so many remedies. 

ARG. Hold your tongue, you ignorant woman ; it is not 
for you to control the prescriptions of the faculty. Send 
my daughter Angelique to me : I have something to say 
to her. 


Toi. Here she comes of her own accord ; she has 
guessed your thought. 


ARG. Come here, Angelique : you come opportunely; 
I wished to speak to you. 

AN. Behold me ready to listen to you. 

ARG. Wait. {To Toinette). Give me my stick. I shall 
be back in a moment. 

Toi. Go quickly, Sir, go. Mr. Fleurant gives us some 


AN. Toinette ! 

Toi. What ! 

AN. Just look at me. 

Toi. Well ! I am looking at you. 

AN. Toinette ! 

Toi. Well ! what, Toinette ? 

AN. Cannot you guess what I wish to speak about ? 

Toi. I have my doubts about it : of our young lover ; 
for it is on him that for six days all our conversations 
turn ; and you are not at your ease, unless you talk of 
him at every moment. 

AN. Since you know that, why are you not the first to 
converse with me about it ? And why do you not save 
me the trouble of dragging you into this conversation ? 

Toi. You do not give me time to do so ; and you are 
so anxious about it, that it becomes difficult to forestall 

AN. I confess to you that I cannot tire of speaking of 
him to you, and that my heart warmly takes advantage of 
every moment to open itself to you. But tell me, Toi- 
nette, do you condemn the sentiments which I have for 

Toi. I have no such thoughts. 

AN. Am I wrong in abandoning myself to these sweet 

Toi. I do not say so. 

AN. And would you have me be insensible to the ten- 
der protestations of this ardent passion which he shows 
for me ? 


Toi. Heaven forbid ! 

AN. Just tell me ; do not you see, with me, something 
from Heaven, some working of destiny, in the unexpected 
adventure of our acquaintance ? 

Toi. Yes. 

AN. Do not you find that this action of taking up my 
defence, without knowing me, is altogether that of a 
gentleman ? 

Toi. Yes. 

AN. That one could not have behaved more gene- 
rously ? 

Toi. Agreed. 

AN. And that he did all this with the best possible 

Toi. Oh! yes. 

AN. Do not you think, To'inette, that he is well made 
in person ? 

Toi. Assuredly. 

AN. That he has the finest appearance in the world ? 

Toi. No doubt. 

AN. That his conversations, like his actions, have some- 
thing noble? 

Toi. That is certain. 

AN. That there could be nothing more passionate than 
what he says to me? 

Toi. It is true. 

AN. And that there is nothing more annoying than the 
restraint under which I am kept, which stops all inter- 
change of the sweet eagerness of this mutual aifection with 
which Heaven inspires us ? 

Toi. You are right. 

AN. But, my dear Toinette, think you that he loves me 
as well as he says to me ? 

Toi. Eh ! eh ! these things are sometimes a little to be 
doubted. The vain pretences of love are very like the 
truth ; and I have seen some great actors on that subject. 

AN. Ah ! Toinette, what are you saying there ? Alas 1 
from the way he speaks, could it well be possible that he 
does not tell me the truth ? 

Toi. At any rate, you will be soon enlightened ; and 
the resolve, of which he wrote to you yesterday, that he 


had taken to ask for your hand, is a prompt way to show 
you whether he loves you or not. 15 That will be the 
right proof. 

AN. Ah ! Toinette, if this one deceives me, I shall 
never in my life believe another man. 

Toi. Here is your father coming back. 


ARC. Daughter, I am . going to tell you some news 
which, perhaps, you did not expect. You are being asked 
in marriage. What is this ? You laugh ? That is plea- 
sant, yes, this word marriage ! There is nothing more 
funny to young girls. Ah ! nature, nature ! From what 
I can perceive, daughter, I need hardly ask you, whether 
you would like to get married. 

AN. I must do all, father, that* it pleases you to order 

ARG. I am glad to have so .obedient a daughter : so the 
matter is settled, and I have promised your hand. 

AN. It is for me, father, blindly to follow all your 

ARG. My wife, your step-mother, wished me to make 
you a nun, as well as your little sister Louison ; and she 
has always persisted in it. 

Toi. (Aside). The innocent has her reasons. 

ARG. She would not consent to this marriage ; but I 
have carried the day, and I have given my word. 

AN. Ah ! father, how obliged I am to you for all your 
goodness ! 

Toi. ( To Argan). Truly, I like you for this ; and this 
is the most sensible thing you ever did in all your life. 

ARG. I have not yet seen the gentleman ; but I have 
been told that I should be satisfied with him, and you 

AN. Assuredly, father. 

ARG. How ! have you seen him ? 

AN. Since your consent authorizes me to open my heart 
to you, I will not dissemble, but tell you that accident 

15 Toinette prepares us for the mistake of the next scene, by informing 
us that Cleante had asked for the hand of Angelique. In the third act we 
shall see, however, that he had asked Beralde to do so. 


made us acquainted six days ago, and that the request which 
has been made to you is the result of the inclination, 
which we, at this first sight, have conceived for each other. 

ARC. They did not tell me this : but I am very glad of 
it, and it is much better that matters are so. They tell 
me that he is a tall young man, well made, 

AN. Yes, father. 

ARC. Of good stature. 

AN. No doubt. 

ARC. Agreeable in person. 

AN. Assuredly. 

ARC. Good-looking. 

AN. Very much so. 

ARC. Steady and well born. 

AN. Quite. 

ARC. Well bred. 

AN. Could not possibly be better. 

ARC. Who speaks Latin and Greek well. 

AN. That is what I do not know. 

ARC. And that he will take his diploma as a physician 
in three days. 

AN. He, father ? 

ARC. Yes. Has he not told you ? 

AN. No indeed. Who told you ? 

ARC. Mr. Purgon. 

AN. Does Mr. Purgon know him ? 

ARC. A pretty question ! He should know him, seeing 
that he is his nephew. 

AN. Cleante, the nephew of Mr. Purgon ? 

ARC. Which Cleante ? We are speaking of the one 
who has asked you in marriage. 

AN. Well ! yes. 

ARG. Well ! he is the nephew of Mr, Purgon, the son 
of his brother-in-law Dr. Diafoirus; and this son's name 
is Thomas Diafoirus, and not Cleante ; and we have settled 
this match this morning, Mr. Purgon, Mr. Fleurant, and 
I; and to-morrow this intended son-in-law is to be 
brought to me by his father. What is the matter ? You 
look altogether amazed ! 

AN. It is father, because I find that you have been 
speaking of one person, and that I understood another. 


Toi. What ! Sir, you could have formed that ridiculous 
design ? And, with all the wealth you have, you would 
marry your daughter to a physician ? 

ARC. Yes. What are you interfering with, you slut, 
impudent hussy that you are ? 

Toi. Good gracious ! gently. You begin immediately 
with invectives. Can we not argue together without 
getting into a passion ? There, let us speak in cool ' 
blood. What is your reason, if you please, for such a 
match ? 

ARG. My reason is that, seeing myself infirm and ill as 
I am, I wish to have a son-in-law and relations who are 
physicians, so as to have the support of good assistance 
against my illness, to have in my own family the sources 
of the remedies which are necessary to me, and to be in a 
position of having consultations and prescriptions. 

Toi. Well ! that is giving your reason, and it is a plea- 
sure to answer each other gently. But, Sir, consult your 
own conscience. Are you ill ? 

ARG. How ! you wretch ! am I ill ! Am I ill, impu- 
dent hussey ! 

Toi. Well ! yes, Sir ; you are ill, let us not quarrel 
about that. Yes, you are very ill, I am agreed, and more 
ill than you imagine ; that is settled. But your daughter 
must marry a husband for herself; and, not being ill, it is 
not necessary to give her a doctor. 

ARG. It is for me that I give her this doctor ; and a 
well disposed daughter ought to be delighted to marry that 
which is useful to the health of her father. 

Toi. Upon my word, Sir, shall I as a friend give you an 

ARG. What is it, this advice ? 

Toi. Not to think of this marriage. 

ARG. And the reason ? 

Toi. The reason is, that your daughter will not consent 
to it. 

ARG. She will not consent to it ? 

Toi. No. 

ARG. My daughter ? 

Toi. Your daughter. She will tell you that she has 
nothing to do with Mr. Diafoirus, nor with his son 


Thomas Diafoirus, nor with any of the Diafoiruses in the 


ARG. I have to do with them, besides that the match is 
more advantageous than the world imagines. Mr. Diafoi- 
rus has no other heir than this son ; and, what is more, 
Mr. Purgon, who has neither wife nor child, leaves him 
all his property in consideration of this marriage, and Mr. 
Purgon is a man who has eight thousand livres a-year. 

Toi. He must have killed a good many people, to have 
made himself so rich ! 

ARC. Eight thousand livres a-year are something, with- 
our reckoning the father's property. 

Toi. All that is well and good, Sir ; but I am always 
coming back to this : I advise you, between ourselves, to 
choose her another husband ; and she is not made to be 
Mrs. Diafoirus. 

ARG. And I wish it to be so. 

Toi. Eh, fie ! do not say so. 

ARG. How ! do not say so. 

Toi. Eh, no. 

ARG. And why should I not say so ? 

Toi. One would say you are not thinking of what you 
are saying. 

ARG. One may say what one likes ; but I tell you that 
it is my wish that she shall fulfil my given promise. 

Toi. No ; I am sure that she will not do so. 

ARG. I will force her to do so. 

Toi. She will not do so, I tell you. 

ARG. She shall do so, or I shall put her in a convent. 

Toi. You? 

ARG. I. 

Toi. Good ! 

ARG. How ! good ? 

Toi. You will not put her in a convent. 

ARG. I will not put her in a convent ? 

Toi. No. 

ARG. No? 

Toi. No. 

ARG. Hoity toity ! This is pleasant ! I shall not put 
my daughter in a convent, if I wish it ? 

Toi. No; I tell you. 


ARC. Who shall prevent me? 

Toi. Yourself. 

ARG. I! 

Toi. Yes. You will not have the heart. 

ARG. I shall have it. 

Toi. You are jesting. 

ARG. I am not jesting at all. 

Toi. Your paternal tenderness will prevent you. 

ARG. It will not prevent me. 

Toi. A little tear or two, arms thrown round the neck, 
"My darling little papa," tenderly pronounced, will be 
enough to touch you. 

ARG. All that will have no effect. 

Toi. Yes, yes. 

ARG. I tell you that I shall not go back from it. 

Toi. Nonsense. 

ARG. You must not say, Nonsense. 

Toi. Good Heavens ! I know you, you are naturally 

ARG. {Getting angry). I am not kind-hearted, and I 
am very spiteful when I wish to be so. 16 

Toi. Gently, Sir. You forget that you are ill. 

AKG. I absolutely command her to prepare herself to 
take the husband I tell her. 

Toi. And I absolutely forbid her to do anything of the 

ARG. Where in the world are we ? and in what sort of 
audacity is this, for a slut of a servant to talk in this 
manner before her master ? 

Toi. When a master forgets what he is doing, a sensible 
servant has a right to correct him. 

ARG. {Running after Toinette). Ah ! you insolent hussy, 
I shall have to knock you down. 

Toi. (Avoiding Argan, placing a chair between herself 
and him}. It is my duty to oppose myself to things which 
might disgrace you. 

ARG. (.Running round the chair, with his stick, after 
Toinette). Come here, come, that I may teach you how to 

16 This dialogue is copied almost literally from the Sixth Scene of the 
First Act of The Rogueries of Scapin. 


Toi. (Dodging away at the opposite side}. I interest my- 
self, as I ought to do, not to let you commit any folly. 

ARC. (Same business]. You slut ! 

Toi. (Same business}. No, I shall never consent to 
this marriage. 

ARC. (Same business}. You good-for-nothing. 

Toi. (Same business). I will not have her marry your 
Thomas Diafoirus. 

ARC. (Same business). Baggage ! 

Toi. (Same business). She will obey me rather than 

ARC. {Stopping). Angelique, will you not stop this slut 
for me ? 

AN. Eh ! father, do not make yourself ill. 

ARC. {To Angelique). If you do not stop her for me, I 
will give you my curse. 

Toi. (Going). And I shall disinherit her, if she obeys 

ARC. (Throwing himself in his chair). Ah! Ah ! I am 
exhausted. This is enough to kill me." 


ARG. Ah ! wife, come here. 

BEL. What ails you, my poor husband ? 

ARG. Come here to my assistance. 

BEL. But what is the matter, dear ? 

ARG. My darling ! 

BEL. My pet ! 

ARG. I have been put into a passion. 

BEL. Alas ! poor dear husband ! But how, my friend ? 

ARG. Your slut of a Toinette has been more insolent 
than ever. 

BEL. Do not excite yourself. 

ARG. She has put me into a rage, my dear. 

BEL. Gently, my son. 

ARG. During an hour, she has opposed the things which 
I wish to do. 

BEL. There, there, gently. 

17 Compare the Second Scene of the Second Act of Tartuffe. (See 
Vol. II.) 


ARC. And she has had the effrontery to tell me that I 
am not ill. 

BEL. She is an impertinent hussey. 

ARC. You know, my heart, what is the case. 

BEL. Yes, my heart, she is wrong. 

ARG. My love, this wretch will kill me. 

BEL. Eh! eh! 

ARG. She is the cause of all my bile. 

BEL. Do not get so angry. 

ARG. And I have told you, I do not know how often, 
to get rid of her. 

BEL. Good Heavens ! child, there are neither men nor 
women servants who have not their faults. One is often 
obliged to put up with their bad qualities, for the sake of 
their good ones. This one is handy, careful, diligent, and 
above all faithful ; and you know that we must be very 
cautious now-a-days with the folks we take. 18 Hullo ! 
Toinette ! 


Toi. Madam. 

BEL. Why do you put my husband into a passion ? 

Toi. (Jn a coaxing tone). I, Madam ? Alas ! I do not 
know what you mean, and I strive to please master in 

ARG. Oh ! the wretch ! 

Toi. He told us that he wished to give his daughter in 
marriage to the son of Mr. Diafoirus : I answered him that 
I thought that the match was advantageous to her, but 
that I believed he would do better to put her into a con- 

BEL. There is not much harm in that, and I think that 
she is right. 

ARG. Ah ! my love, do you believe her ? She is a 
good-for-nothing ; she has said a hundred insolent things 
to me. 

BEL. Well ! I believe you, my friend. There, calm 
yourself. Listen, Toinette : if ever you vex my husband, 

18 This defence of Toinette by Beline shows that she afterwards intends 
to use her ; but we have already seen in the servant's exclamation '' What 
an innocent woman ! " that Toinette knows her well. 


I will put you out of the house. There, now give me his 
furred cloak and some pillows, that I may make him com 
fortable in his chair. You are I do not know how. Pull 
your cap well over your ears : there is nothing that gives 
cold like catching a draught in the ears. 

ARG. Ah ! my dear, how obliged I am for all the care 
you take of me. 

BEL. (Arranging the pillows which she puts round Ar- 
gan). Just lift yourself, that I may put this under you. 
Let us place this one to lean upon, and that one on the 
other side. Let us put this one behind your back, and 
the other one to support your head. 

Toi. (Rudely putting a pillow on his head}. And this 
one to keep the night dew away from you. 

ARG. (Rising and throwing his pillows at Toinette, who 
runs away). Ah, you wretch ! you want to stifle me. 


BEL. Hullo ! hullo ! What is the matter now ? 

ARG. (Throwing himself into his chair). Ah! ah! ah! 
1 am exhausted. 

BEL. Why get into such a passion ? She thought of 
doing right. 

ARG. My love, you do not know the spitefulness of the 
good-for-nothing. Ah ! she has entirely put me out ; and 
I shall want more than eight doses of medicine and twelve 
enemas to put all this right. 

BEL. There, there, my little dear, try to quiet yourself 
a little. 

ARG. My darling, you are my only consolation. 

BEL. Poor dear child ! 

ARG. To try to acknowledge the love which you have 
for me, my heart, I wish, as I have told you, to make my 

BEL. Ah, my friend, do not let us speak of this, I pray ; 
I cannot bear the thought ; and the very word, will, makes 
me shudder with pain. 

ARG. I had told you to speak about it to your notary. 

BEL. He is just inside. I brought him with me. 

ARG. Make him come in, my love. 


BEL. Alas ! my friend, when one loves a husband well, 
one is hardly able to think of all this. 


ARC. Draw near, Mr. de Bonnefoi ; draw near. Take 
a seat, if you please. My wife has told me, Sir, that you 
are a very honest man, and altogether her friend ; and I 
have told her to speak to you about a will which I wish 
to make. 

BEL. Alas ! I am not able to talk of these matters. 

MR. DE B. She has explained your intentions to me, 
Sir, and what you purpose to do for her; and I must tell 
you on this score that you cannot give anything to your 
wife by your will. 

ARG. But why? 

MR. DE B. Common law is opposed to it. If you were 
in a country where there is statute law, it could be done ; 
but in Paris, and in all the countries where common law 
exists, at least in most of them, this cannot be ; and the 
disposition would be invalid. All the good which man 
and woman joined in wedlock can do to each other, is a 
mutual gift while living ; and then there must be no chil- 
dren, either of the two contracting parties, or of one of 
them, at the time of decease of the one who dies first. 19 

ARG. This is a Very impertinent custom, that a husband 
can leave nothing to a wife by whom he is tenderly beloved, 
and who takes so much care of him ! I would feel inclined 
to consult my barrister, to see how I might act. 

MR. DE B. It is not to barristers that you must go ; for 
they are, as a rule, very strict on these matters, and 
imagine that it is a great crime to dispose of property 
contrary to law : they are people of difficulties, who are 
ignorant of the intricacies of one's conscience. There are 
other people to consult, who are very much more accom- 
modating, who have expedients to glide gently over the 
law, and to make that right which is not allowed ; who 
know how to smooth the difficulties of an affair, and to 
find means of eluding custom by some indirect advantage. 

19 This is according to articles 280 and 282 of the ancient Common Law 
of Paris. 


Without this, where should we be every day? There must 
be some elasticity in affairs; otherwise we should do 
nothing, and I would not give a halfpenny for our pro- 

ARG. My wife has indeed told me, Sir, that you are a 
very able and a very honest man. How am I to do, if 
you please, to give her my property, and to deprive my 
children of it ? 

MR. DE B. How are you to do ? You can quietly choose 
an intimate friend of your wife's, to whom you will give, 
in due form, by your will, all that you can ; and this friend 
shall afterwards give it all back to her. You can also 
contract a great many plausible obligations for the benefit 
of various creditors who will lend their names to your wife, 
and into whose hands they will put a declaration that what 
they did was only to benefit her. You can also, while you 
are alive, put into her hands ready money, or bills which 
you may make payable to the bearer. 

BEL. Good Heavens ! you must not torment yourself 
about all that. If you should happen to die, I should no 
longer remain in this world. 

ARG. My darling ! 

BEL. Yes, my friend, if I am unfortunate enough to 
lose you . . . 

ARG. My dear wife ! 

BEL. Life will no longer be anything to me. 

ARG. My love ! 

BEL. And I shall follow you, to show the tenderness I 
have for you. 

ARG. My darling, you rend my heart ! Console your- 
self, I pray you. 

MR. DEB. (To Beline). These tears are unseasonable. 
Matters have not come to that yet. 

BEL. Ah ! Sir, you do not know what a husband is whom 
one loves tenderly. 

ARG. All the regret which I shall have, if I die, my 
dear, is not to have a child by you. Mr. Purgon had told 
me that I should have one. 

MR. DE B. This may come yet. 

ARG. I must make my will, love, in the manner this 
gentleman says ; but as a precaution, I will put into your 


hands the twenty thousand francs in gold which I have in 
the wainscoting of the recess of my bed, and two bills 
payable to the bearer, one from Mr. Damon, and the other 
from Mr. Gerante. 

BEL. No, no, I will have nothing of all this. By the 
bye ! . . . how much say you is there in your recess ? 

ARC. Two thousand francs, my love. 

BEL. Do not speak to me of property, I pray you. By 
the bye ! . . .for how much are the two bills. 

ARC. They are, my dear, one for four thousand francs, 
and the other for six. 

BEL. All the riches in the world, my friend, are nothing 
compared with you. 

MR. DE B. (T<? Argan). Shall we proceed to the making 
of the will ? 

ARG. Yes, Sir ; but we shall be more at ease in my 
little study. Pray, my love, conduct me. 

BEL. Come, my poor dear child. 


Toi. They are with a notary and I heard them speak- 
ing about a will. Your step -mother does not go to sleep ; 
and it is no doubt some conspiracy against your interests 
to which she drives your father. 

AN. Let him dispose of his property according as he 
likes, provided he does not dispose of my heart. You see, 
Toinette, the violent designs which they have upon it. Do 
not abandon me, I pray you, in the strait I am in. 

Toi. I, abandon you ! I would rather die. Your step- 
mother may make me her confidante, and draw me in to 
her interests as much as she likes, I was never able to like 
her ; and have always been on your side. Let me man- 
age ; I shall do everything to serve you ; but, to do so 
with more effect, I shall change my tactics, conceal the 
interest I take in you, and pretend to enter into the feel- 
ings of your father and step-mother. 

AN. Try, I beseech you, to send C16ante word of the 
marriage that has been resolved upon. 

Tor. I have no one that I can employ for this errand 
but the old usurer, Punch, my lover ; and it will cost me 


some sweet words, which I do not begrudge for your sake.* 
To-day it is too late, but the first thing to-morrow I shall 
send for him, and he will be delighted to ... 


BEL. Toinette! 

Toi. ( To Angelique). I am being called. Good-night. 
"Rely upon me. 


The Scene changes and represent a town. 

Punch, in the night, conies to serenade his mistress. He 
is first of all interrupted by the violins, with which he gets 
into a passion, and afterwards by the watch, composed of 
dancers and musicians. 

PUNCH. (Alone). O, love, love, love, love ! Poor 
Punch, what a deuce of a fancy has got into your brain ! 
What are you amusing yourself with, wretched idiot that 
you are ? You leave the care of your business, and let 
your affairs go anyhow ; you no longer eat, you do hard- 
ly drink, you lose your rest at night ; and all this, for 
whom ? For a dragon, a downright dragon ; a she-devil 
who repulses you, and mocks at all you say to her. But 
it is no good arguing on that point. You will it so, 
Cupid : one must be a fool, like many others. It is not 
the wisest thing for a man of my age; but what can 
I do to it ? One cannot be wise when one will, and old 
brains get out of order as well as young ones. I have 
come to see if I cannot soften my tigress by a serenade. 
At times there is nothing so touching as a lover who 
comes to sing his plaints to the bolts and bars of his mis- 
tress's door. (After having taken his lute}. Here is some- 
thing to accompany my voice with. Oh night ! O dear 
night ! carry my love-sick plaints to the bed of my ob- 
durate one. 

30 Toinette mentions Punch only to introduce the following Interlude. 


Night and day I love and adore you. 
I seek a yes that shall restore me; 
But if you answer, No, 
Fair ingrate, I shall die. 

Hope deferred 
Makes the heart sick; 
And far from you 
It consumes its hours. 
This sweet error 
That does persuade me 
That my grief is about to end, 
Alas ! lasts too long. 

Thus, through loving you too much, I languish 
and I die. 

Night and day I love and adore you. 
I seek a yes that shall restore me; 
But if you answer, No, 
Fair ingrate, I shall die. 

If you are not asleep, 

Think at least 

Of the wounds 
You give to my heart. 

Ah ! pretend at least, 

For my consolation, 

If you will kill me, 

To be in the wrong ; 
Your pity will assuage my martyrdom. 

Night and day I love and adore you. 
I seek a yes that shall restore rue ; 
But if you answer, No, 
Fair ingrate, I shall die. 21 

21 The original is in Italian. 




OLD WOMAN. (Sings.') 

Gallants, who, at every moment, with deceitful looks. 

And lying wishes, 

And false sighs, 

And perfidious tores, 

Pride yourself on being faithful, 

Ah ! do not deceive yourselves. 

From experience I know 

That neither constancy nor faithfulness 

Is to be found in you. 
Ah ! how foolish is she who believes you ! 

These languishing regards 
Do not inspire me with any love, 
These ardent sighs 
Do not inflame me, 
I swear to you on my faith. 
Unhappy gallant ! 

My heart, insensible to your complaint, 
Will ever laugh at it : 
Believe me; 

For from experience I know 
That neither constancy nor faithfulness 
Is to be found in you. 
ill \ how foolish is she who believes you ! w 


The violins commence an air, 

PUNCH. What impertinent harmony comes to interrupt 
my song ! 

The violins continue to play. 

PUNCH. Peace, there ! be still, you violins. Let me 
bewail at my ease the cruelties of my inexorable fair one. 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. Keep still, I tell you : it is I who wish to sing. 

**The original is also in Italian. 


The violins continue. 
PUNCH. Silence then! 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. Good gracious ! 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. Ah ! 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. Is this in fun ? 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. Ah ! what a noise ! 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. May the devil take you ! 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. I am bursting with rage ! 

The violins continue. 

PUNCH. You will not be still then ! Ah ! Heaven be 
praised ! 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. What ! again ? 

The violins continue. 

PUNCH. A plague upon these violins ! 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. What silly music this ! 

The violins continue. 

PUNCH. (Singing, in imitation of the violins}. La, la, la, 
la, la, la. 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. (Same}. La, la, la, la, la, la. 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. (Same). La, la, la, la, la, la. 


The violins continue. 
PUNCH. (Same). La, la, la, la, la, la. 

The violins continue. 
PUNCH. (Same}. La, la, la, la, la, la. 

The violins continue. 

PUNCH. Upon my word this amuses me. Go on, gen- 
tlemen violin-players ; you are giving me great pleasure. 
(No longer hearing anything). But continue, I pray you. 

Scene IV. Punch, alone. 

This is the way to quiet them. Music is accustomed not 
to do what we wish. And now, it is my turn. I must pre- 
lude a bit, and play a little piece before singing, so as the 
better to catch my tone. (He takes his lute, upon which 
he pretends to play, imitating with his lips and tongue 
the sound of that instrument). Plan, plan, plan, plin, plin, 
plin. This is a nasty time to tune a lute to. Plin, plin, 
plin. Plin, tan, plan. Plin, plan. The strings do not 
hold in such weather. Plin, plin. I hear some noise. 
Let us put our lute against the door. 

Scene V. Punch; Archers passing in the street, attracted 
by the noise which they hear. 

ARCH. (Singing). Who goes there ! who goes there ? 

PUNCH. (Softly). What the devil is that? Is it the 
fashion to speak in music ? 

ARCH. Who goes there ? who goes there ? who goes 
there ? 

PUNCH. (Frightened*). I, I, I. 

ARCH. Who goes there ? who goes there ? I ask you. 

PUNCH. I, I, I tell you. 

ARCH. And who are you? who are you? 

PUNCH. I, I, I, I, I, I. 

ARCH. Tell your name, tell your name, without delay- 
ing longer. 

PUNCH. (Pretending to be courageous'). My name is, Go 
and get yourself hanged. 

ARCH. Here, comrades, here. 

And seize the insolent who answers us thus. 


First Entry of the Ballet. 

The whole of the watch come, seeking for Punch in the 

Violins and Dancers. 
PUNCH. Who goes there ? 

Violins and Dancers. 
PUNCH. Who are the scoundrels whom I hear? 

Violins and Dancers. 
PUNCH. Ugh ! 

Violins and Dancers. 
PUNCH. Hullo ! my servants ! my lacqueys ! 

Violins and Dancers. 
PUNCH. S'death! 

Violins and Dancers. 
PUNCH. S'blood! 

Violins and Dancers. 
PUNCH. I shall knock some of them down. 

Violins and Dancers. 

PUNCH. Here ! Champagne, Poitevin, Picard, Basque, 
Breton. 23 

Violins and Dancers. 
PUNCH. Just hand me my musket. . . . 

Violins and Dancers. 

PUNCH. (Pretending to discharge a Pistol'}. Paff. 

( They all fall down, and run away afterwards). 


Ah ! ah ! ah ! ah ! what a fright I have given them ! 
They must be silly people to be afraid of me, who am 
afraid of others. Upon my word, there is nothing like 
being artful in this world. If I had not imitated the 

23 See Pretentious Young Ladies, Vol. I., page 162, note 40. 


grand nobleman, and pretended to be brave, they would 
not have failed to lock me up. Ah ! ah ! ah ! ( The Ar- 
chers draw near, and having heard what he said, catch him 
by the collar}. 


ARCH. (Seizing Punch). 

We have got him. Here, comrades, here ! 
Make haste ; bring a light. 
( The whole of the watch come with lanterns}. 

SCENE VIII. PUNCH ; ARCHERS, dancing and singing. 
ARCH. Ah ! traitor ; ah ! rogue, it is you ? 

Wretch, cur, hangdog, impudent, audacious, 

Insolent, brazen-faced fellow, scoundrel, cut- 
purse thief, 

You dare give us a fright ! 
PUNCH. Gentlemen, it is because I was drunk. 
ARCH. No, no, no ; no arguing : 

We must teach you to behave. 

To prison, quick, to prison. 
PUNCH. Gentlemen, I am not a thief. 
ARCH. To prison. 

PUNCH. I am a citizen of the town. 
ARCH. To prison. 
PUNCH. What have I done ? 
ARCH. To prison, quick, to prison. 
PUNCH. Let me go, gentlemen. 
ARCH. No. 

PUNCH. I beseech you ! 
ARCH. No. 
PUNCH. Eh ! 
ARCH. No. 

PUNCH. I beseech you. 
ARCH. No, no. 
PUNCH. Gentlemen. 
ARCH. No, no, no. 
PUNCH. If you please ! 
ARCH. No, no. 
PUNCH. For charity ! 
ARCH. No, no. 


PUNCH. In Heaven's name ! 
ARCH. No, no. 
PUNCH. Have mercy. 
ARCH. No, no, no arguing, 

We must teach you to behave. 
To prison, quick, to prison. 

PUNCH. Eh ! gentlemen, is there nothing capable of 
softening your hearts? 

ARCH. It is easy to move us ; 

And we are more tender-hearted than you 

would believe. 
Only give us six pistoles to drink your health 


And we will let you go. 

PUNCH. Alas ! gentlemen, I assure you that I have not 
a penny upon me. 

ARCH. In default of six pistoles, 
Choose then without ado 
To receive thirty fillips, 
Or twelve blows with the stick. 

PUNCH. If it must be, and that I must pass through that, 
I choose the fillips. 

ARCH. Come then, prepare yourself, 
And count the fillips well. 

Second Entry of the Ballet. 

The dancing archers give him the fillips, keeping time with 
the music. 

PUNCH. (Counting the fillips which they are giving him). 
One and two, three and four, five and six, seven and 
eight, nine and ten, eleven and twelve, and thirteen, and 
fourteen, and fifteen. 

ARCH. Ah ! ah ! you will pass through it ! 

Let us begin once more. 

PUNCH. Ah ! gentlemen, my poor head can stand this 

no longer, and you have just made it like a cooked apple. 

I prefer the blows with the stick to your beginning again. 

ARCH. Be it so. Since the stick has more charms 

for you, 
You shall be satisfied. 


Third Entry of the Ballet. 

The dancing archers give him blows with the stick, keeping 
time to the music. 

PUNCH. {Counting the blows of the stick). One, two, 
three, four, five, six. Ah ! ah ! ah ! I can resist no longer. 
Here, gentlemen, here are six pistoles which I give you. 

ARCH. Ah ! what a gentleman ! Ah ! what a great and 

generous soul ; 
Good-bye, Sir; good-bye, Mr. Punch. 

PUNCH. Gentlemen, I wish you good-night. 

ARCH. Good-bye, Sir; good-bye, Mr. Punch. 

PUNCH. Your servant. 

ARCH. Good-bye, Sir; good-bye, Mr. Punch. 

PUNCH. Your very humble servant. 

ARCH. Good-bye, Sir ; good-bye, Mr. Punch. 

PUNCH. Until we meet again. 

Fourth Entry of the Ballet. 
They all dance from joy, at the money they have received. 


The scene represents Argan* s room. 

Toi. (Not recognizing Cleante). What is your pleasure, 

CLE. What is your pleasure ? 

Toi. Ah ! ah ! it is you ! What surprise ! What come 
you to do here ? 

CLE. To learn my fate, to speak to the amiable An- 
gelique, to consult the sentiments of her heart, and to ask 
her decision about this fatal match of which I have been 

Toi. Yes; but you cannot speak so inconsiderately to 
Angelique : it requires secrecy, and you have been told 
of the careful watch that is kept over her, that she is 
never allowed to go out, nor to speak to any one ; and 
that it was only the curiosity of an old aunt, who ob- 


tained permission for us to go to this comedy, which gave 
rise to your passion ; and we have taken good care not to 
speak of this adventure. 

CLE. For this reason do I not come as Clante, and in 
the guise of her lover ; but as a friend of her music- 
teacher, of whom I have obtained leave to say that he 
sends me in his stead. 

Toi. Here comes her father. Just retire a little, and 
let me tell him that you are there. 


ARC. (Believing himself alone, and not noticing Toinette). 
Mr. Purgon has told me to walk about this morning, in 
my room, a dozen times up and a dozen times down, but 
I have forgotten to ask him whether it should be the 
length or the breadth of the room. 

Toi. Sir, here is a . . . 

ARC. Speak low, you hang-dog. You shake my brain, 
and you forget that invalids should not be spoken to so 

Toi. I wished to say to you, Sir . . . 

ARG. Speak low, I tell you. 

Toi. Sir . . . (She pretends to speak. 

ARG. Eh? 

Toi. I was telling you that . . . 

(She again pretends to speak. 

ARG. What do you say ? 

Toi. {Loud}. I say that there is a man who wishes to 
speak to you. 

ARG. Let him come here. {Toinette beckons Cleante to 
draw near). 


CLE. Sir . . . 

Toi. (To Cleante). Do not speak so loud, for fear of 
shaking master's brain. 

CLE. Sir, I am charmed to find you up, and to see that 
you are convalescent. 

Toi. (Pretending to be angry). How ! convalescent ! 
That is false. Master is always ill. 

OLE. I heard it said that Mr. Argan was getting better ; 
and I find that he looks well. 


Toi. What do you mean by "he looks well?" Master 
looks very bad ; and they are impertinent fellows who 
have told you that he was better. He has never been 

ARC. She is right. 

Toi. He walks, sleeps, eats and drinks like other peo- 
ple ; but that does not prevent him from being very ill. 

ARC. That is true. 

CLE. I am sorely grieved, Sir. I come from your 
daughter's singing-master; he has been obliged to go into 
the country for a few days, and, as his intimate friend, he 
sends me in his stead to continue the lessons, for fear that, 
in interrupting them, she should forget what she already 

ARG. Very good. {To Toinette). Call Angelique. 

Toi. I think, Sir, that it would be better to take this 
gentleman to her room. 

ARG. No. Fetch her here. 

Toi. He could not give her a proper lesson, if they be 
not alone. 

ARG. Yes, yes. 

Toi. It will upset you, Sir; and there should be 
nothing to excite you, and to shake your brain, in the 
state you are in. 

ARG. Not at all, not at all : I love music, and I shall 
be glad to . . . Ah! here she is. (To Toinette). Go 
you and see, you, whether my wife is dressed. 


ARG. Come here, daughter. Your music-master is gone 
to the country ; and here is some one whom he sends in 
his stead to teach you. 

AN. (Recognizing Cleante). Oh Heavens ! 

ARG. What is the matter ? Whence this surprise ? 

AN. It is . 

ARC- What ? What moves you in this manner ? 

AN. It is a most surprising adventure that is happening 
here, father. 

ARG. How? 

AN. I dreamt last night that I was in the greatest diffi- 
culty, and that some one, just like this gentleman, pre- 


sented himself to me, of whom I implored assistance, and 
who came to deliver me from the trouble in which I was ; 
and my surprise was great to see unexpectedly, on arriving 
here, what was in my mind all night. 

CLE. It is being very fortunate to occupy your thoughts, 
whether sleeping or waking ; and my happiness would be 
great, no doubt, if you were in some danger, from which 
you deemed me worthy to extricate you. There is nothing 
I would not do to ... 


Toi. (To Argari). Upon my word, Sir, I am entirely 
on your side this time, and I retract everything which I 
said yesterday. Here are Mr. Diafoirus, the father, and 
Mr. Diafoirus, his son, who come to pay you a visit. 
What a nice son-in-law you will have ! You shall see the 
handsomest young fellow possible, and the wittiest. He 
has said but two words which have delighted me, and 
your daughter will be charmed with him. 

ARG. (To Cleante, who pretends to go}. Do not go, Sir. 
My daughter is about to be married, and her intended, 
whom she has not seen as yet, has just come. 

CLE. It is doing me a great honour, Sir, to wish me to 
assist at so pleasant an interview. 

ARG. He is the son of a very able physician ; and the 
marriage is to take place in four days. 

CLE. Very good. 

ARG. Just mention it to her music-master, so that he 
may be at the wedding. 

CLE. I will not fail to do so. 

ARG. I invite you also. 

CLE. You are doing me much honour. 

Toi. Come, let us place ourselves in position; here 
they are. 


ARG. (Putting his hand to his cap, without taking it ojf). 
Mr. Purgon, Sir, has forbidden me to uncover my head. 
You belong to the profession : you know the conse- 


Mr. D. In all our visits we aim at bringing help to 
those who are ill, and not inconvenience. 

(Argan and Mr. Diafoirus speak at the same time.}. 

ARG. I receive, Sir, 

MR. D. We come here, Sir, 

ARG. With great joy, 

MR. D. My son Thomas, and I, 

ARG. The honour whkh you do me, 

MR. D. To assure you, Sir, 

ARG. And I should have wished . . . 

MR. D. How delighted we are . . . 

ARG. To be able to go to you . . . 

MR. D. At the graciousness you show us ... 

ARG. To assure you of it ; 

MR. D. In receiving us ... 

ARG. But you know, Sir, 

MR. D. To the honour, Sir, 

ARG. What it is to be a poor invalid, 

MR. D. Of your alliance ; 

ARG. Who can do nothing else . . . 

MR. D. And to assure you . . . 

ARG. Than to tell you in this spot . . . 

Mr. D. That in all things pertaining to our profession, 

ARG. That, he will seek every opportunity . . . 

MR. D. As well as in everything else, 

ARG. To tell you, Sir, 

MR. D. We shall always be prepared, Sir. 

ARG. That he is entirely at your service. 

MR. D. To prove our zeal to you. ( To his son). Come 
Thomas, approach and pay your respects. 

THOM. (To Mr. Diafoirus). Is it not with the father 
that I ought to begin ? 24 

Mr. D. Yes. 

THOM. (To Argan). Sir, I come to salute, to acknowledge, 
to cherish, and to revere in you a second father, but a second 
father to whom, I make bold to say, I find myself more 
indebted than to the first. The first engendered me ; but 

14 In the edition of Moliere's works of 1682 is the following note : " Mr. 
Thomas Diafoirus is a great booby, having newly left the schools, and 
doing everything awkwardly and at the wrong time." 


you have chosen me; he received me through necessity, 
but you have accepted me out of kindness. 26 What I have 
from him is the work of his body ; but what I have from 
you is the work of your will ; and inasmuch as the spirit- 
ual faculties are above the corporal, so much the more do 
I owe you, and so much the more do I hold precious this fu- 
ture filiation, of which I come this day to render to you, 
before-hand, the very humble and very respectful homage. 

Toi. Long life to the colleges which turn out so able a 
man ! 

THOM. (To Mr. Diafoirus}. Has this been right, father? 

MR. D. Optime. 

ARC. (To Angtlique). Come, salute this gentleman. 

THOM. (To Mr. Diafoirus). Shall I kiss her? 26 

MR. D. Yes, yes. 

THOM. (To Angelique). Madam, it is with justice, 
that Heaven has conceded you the title of stepmother, 
since we ... 

ARC. (To Thomas Diafoirus). This is not my wife, it is 
my daughter to whom you are speaking. 

THOM. Where is she then ? 

ARC. She will be here directly. 

THOM. Shall I wait, father, until she comes ? 

MR. D. Offer your compliments to the young lady. 

THOM. Miss, neither more nor less than the statue of 
Memnon gave forth an harmonious sound, when it was 
illuminated by the rays of the sun, so do I feel myself 
animated by a sweet transport of the appearance of the 
sun of your charms ; 27 and as naturalists observe that the 
flower named heliotrope turns incessantly towards that 
star of the day, so shall my heart henceforth turn towards 
the resplendent star of your adorable eyes, as to its only 
pole. Permit me then, Miss, to bring to-day to the altar 
of your charms the offer of that heart which aspires and 

25 This beginning seems imitated from a passage of a speech of Cicero 
Ad Qulrites, post reditum. 

586 In the Elzevir edition of this play we find here : " He first makes a 
bow, and then turns his face towards his father. Isabelle (Angelique) 
receives the kiss with great disdain, while turning her head towards Cato 

47 The Abbe d'Aubignac, in a dissertation against Corneille, uses nearly 
the same simile. 


aims at no other glory than to be, all its life, Miss, your 
very humble, very obedient, and very faithful servant and 

Toi. See what it is to study ! one learns to say beauti- 
ful things. 

ARC. (To Cleante). Eh ! What say you to this? 

CLE. That this gentleman does wonders, and that, if 
he be as good a physician as he is an orator, it would be 
a pleasure to be counted among his patients. 

Toi. Assuredly. It will be something admirable, if his 
cures are as good as the speeches which he makes. 

ARC. Come, quick, my chair, and seats for everybody. 
(Servants hand chairs). Place yourself there, daughter. 
(To Mr. Diafoirus). You see, Sir, that everyone admires 
your 'son ; and I think you very fortunate in finding 
yourself possessed of such a boy. 

MR. D. Sir, it is not because I am his father; but I can 
say that I have reason to be satisfied with him, and that 
all who see him speak of him as a youth who has no harm 
in him. He never had a very lively imagination, nor that 
brilliant wit which is noticed in some ; but it is exactly on 
this account that I have argued well of his judgment, a 
quality requisite for the exercise of our art. He never 
was, when little, what they call sharp and wide-awake ; he 
was always seen to be gentle, peaceable and taciturn, 
never saying a word and never playing at those little 
games which are called infantine. They had all the dif- 
ficulty in the world in teaching him to read, and at nine 
years of age, he did not yet know his letters. Good, said 
I to myself, the backward trees are those that bear the best 
fruit. One cuts into marble with far more difficulty than 
into sand ; but things are preserved much longer there ; 
and that slowness of apprehension, that dulness of imagi- 
nation, is the sign of a future good judgment. When I 
sent him to college, he found it very hard, but he bore up 
against the difficulties ; and his tutors always praised him 
to me for his assiduity and his application. In short, by 
dint of hammering, he has gloriously obtained his diplo- 
mas ; and I may say, without vanity, that in the two years 
after he took his degree, there is no candidate who has 
made more noise than he in all the disputes of our school. 


He has rendered himself formidable ; and there is no act 
propounded upon which he does not argue as long as he 
can for the contrary proposition. He is firm in a dispute, 
strenuous as a Turk in his principles, and pursues an argu- 
ment into the farthest recesses of logic. But, that which 
above all pleases me in him, and in which he follows my 
example, is that he attaches himself blindly to the opinions 
of the ancients, and that he never would understand or 
listen to the reasonings and experiments of the pretended 
discoveries of our age in reference to the circulation of the 
blood, and other opinions of the same kind. 28 

THOM. {Drawing from his pocket a large thesis rolled 
up, which he presents to Angelique). I have defended a the- 
sis against the circulators, which, with the permission of 
your father (Bowing to Argan), I make bold to offer to 
this young lady, as a homage which I owe to her of the 
first fruits of my mind. 

AN. It is a useless piece of furniture to me, Sir, and I 
am no judge in these matters. 

Toi. (Taking the thesis). Give it all the same; it is 
worth taking for the picture; it will do to decorate our 

THOM. (Again bowing to Argan). Once more, with the 
permission of your father, I invite you to come and see, 
one of these days, for your amusement, the dissection of a 
woman, upon which I am to lecture. 

Toi. The entertainment will be pleasant. There are 
some people who treat their mistresses to a comedy ; but 
to provide a dissection is more gallant. 

MR. D. For the rest, as regards the requisite qualities 
for wedlock and propagation, I assure you that, according 
to the rules of our physicians, he is such as could be wished 
for ; that he possesses in a praiseworthy degree the prolific 
virtue, and that he is of the proper temperament to engen- 
der and procreate well-conditioned children. 

ARC. Is it not your intention, Sir, to push him at 

28 Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood in 1619, and many 
discussions took place in France on that subject, which were not com- 
pletely ended when Moliere's last play was performed. This same year 
(1673) Louis XIV. instituted at the jfardin des Plantes a special chair for 


Court, and to procure for him the place of a physician in 
ordinary ? 

MR. D. To speak frankly to you, our profession when 
near the great has never appeared pleasant to me; and I 
have always found that it does better for us to remain with 
the public. The public is easy to deal with; you are re- 
sponsible for your actions to no one; and provided you 
follow the current of the rules of your art, you need not be 
uneasy about what may happen. But what is vexatious 
with the great, is that, when they fall ill, they absolutely 
wish their physicians to cure them. 

Toi. That is funny ! and they are very impertinent to 
wish you gentlemen to cure them ! You are not near them 
for that ; you are there only to receive your fees, and to 
order them remedies ; it is for them to get better, if they 

MR. D. That is true ; one is only obliged to treat peo- 
ple according to the rules. 

ARG. {To Cleanti). Just make my daughter sing a little 
before the company, Sir. 

CLE. I was awaiting your orders, Sir; and an idea has 
just struck me, to entertain the company, to sing with the 
lady a scene from an operetta which has lately been com- 
posed. ( To Angelique, giving her a paper). There, this is 
your part. 

AN. I? 

CLE. {Softly to Angelique'}. Do not make any objection 
to it, pray, and let me make you understand what the scene 
is which we are to sing. (Aloud}. I have no voice for 
singing ; but in this case it is sufficient that I can make 
myself heard ; and you will have the kindness to excuse 
me, by the necessity under which I find myself to make 
the young lady sing. 29 

ARG. Is the poetry good ? 

CLE. It is properly called a little improvised opera; and 
you will only hear sung rhythmical prose, or some sort of 
blank verse, such as affection and necessity might suggest 

29 A similar scene is also to be found in The Blunderer (see Vol. I.), The 
School for Husbands (see Vol. I.), Love is the Physician (see Vol. II.), 
The Sicilian (see Vol. II.), and The Miser (see Vol. III.) 


to two persons, who say those things out of their own 
heads, and speak on the spur of the moment. 

ARC. Very good. Let us listen. 

CLE. This is the plot of the scene : A shepherd was 
attentively watching the beauties of a spectacle which had 
just commenced, when his attention was disturbed by a 
noise which he heard at his side. He turns round, and 
sees a coarse fellow, who with insolent words insults a 
shepherdess. Immediately he espouses the interests of 
that sex to which all men owe homage ; and after having 
given the coarse fellow the punishment due to his in- 
solence, he comes back to the shepherdess, and beholds a 
young person, who, from the most lovely eyes which he 
had ever seen, drops tears which he thinks the most beau- 
tiful in the world. Alas ! says he to himself, can people 
be capable of insulting so amiable a being ! and what in- 
human monster, what barbarian would not be touched by 
such tears ? He busies himself to stop them, these tears 
which he thinks so beautiful ; and the gentle shepherdess 
takes care at the same time to thank him for his slight 
service, but in a manner so charming, so tender and so 
impassioned, that the shepherd cannot resist it; and every 
glance, is a dart full of fire with which his heart feels itself 
pierced. Is there ought, said he, that could deserve the 
sweet words of such an acknowledgment ? And what 
would we not do, to what services, to what dangers would 
we not feel delighted to run, to attract to ourselves, but 
for one moment, the moving tenderness of so grateful a 
heart ! The whole of the spectacle is enacted without his 
paying the least attention to it ; but he complains that it 
is too short, for the end will separate him from his ador- 
able shepherdess ; and from this first sight, from this first 
moment, he brings back with him all that can be most 
intense in a passion of several years' duration. Behold 
him immediately experiencing all the ills of absence, and 
he is tortured by seeing no longer her whom he has seen 
such a short time. He does all he can to enjoy this sight 
once more, of which he preserves night and day so pre- 
cious a recollection; but the great restraint under which 
his shepherdess is kept deprives him of every opportunity. 
The violence of his passion makes him resolve to ask for 


the hand of the adorable fair one, without whom he can 
no longer live ; and he obtains her permission by means 
of a note which he has the skill to have conveyed to her. 
But, at the same time, he is informed that the father of 
his fair one has projected a marriage with some one else, 
and that everything is being prepared to celebrate the 
ceremony. 30 Judge how cruel is the blow to the heart of 
this sad shepherd ! Behold him overwhelmed by a mortal 
grief; he cannot bear the horrible thought of seeing all 
he loves in the arms of another ; and in despair, his love 
makes him find the means of introducing himself into the 
house of his shepherdess to learn her feelings, and to know 
from her the fate to which he is to submit. He there 
meets with the preparations for all that he fears ; he wit- 
nesses the coming of the unworthy rival whom the whims 
of a father oppose to the tenderness of his love ; he sees 
him triumphant, this ridiculous rival, near the gentle 
shepherdess, as if the conquest were sure ; and this sight 
fills him with anger which he can scarcely master ; he 
darts painful glances at her whom he adores; and the 
respect for her, and the presence of her father, prevent 
his saying anything to her except by his looks ; but at 
last he breaks through all restraint, and the transport of 
his passion obliges him thus to speak (He sings} 

Beauteous Philis, it is too much, it is too 

much to suffer ; 
Let us break this cruel silence, and bare your 

thoughts to me. 
Tell me my fate . 
Am I to live ? am I to die ? 

AN. (Singing). You behold me, Tircis, sad and melan- 
At the preparations for the marriage which alarms 


To Heaven I lift my eyes, I look at you, I sigh ; 
Need I to tell you more ? 

30 Moliere has borrowed this tale of Cleante most probably from the 
Sanish of Francisco de Roxas, which had already been used by Thomas 
Corneille, in Don Bertrand de Cigarral, a comedy, performed in 1650. 


ARC. Lack-a-day ! I did not think that my daughter 
was so clever as to sing thus at first sight, without hesi- 

CLE. Alas ! fair Philis, 

Can it be that the enamoured Tircis 
Could be happy enough 
To find a place in your heart ? 

AN. I do not refuse to acknowledge it, in this exceed- 
ing grief; 

Yes, Tircis, I love you. 
CLE. O word full of charms ! 

Have I heard rightly ? Alas ! 
Say it once more, Philis, so that I may not doubt. 
AN. Yes, Tircis, I love you. 
CLE. For mercy's sake, once more, Philis. 
AN. I love you. 

CLE. Repeat it a hundred times ; do not get weary. 
AN. I love you, I love you ; 
Yes, Tircis, I love you. 
CLE. Ye gods, ye kings, who look down upon the world 

beneath your feet, 

Can you compare your happiness with mine ? 
But, Philis, one thought 
Comes to trouble this sweet bliss. 
A rival, a rival . . . 
AN. Ah ! I hate him more than death ; 

And his presence is to me, as it is to you, 
A cruel torture. 

CLE. But a father wishes to compel you to obey his 

AN. Sooner, sooner will I die 
Than ever consent to it ; 
Sooner, sooner will I die, sooner will I die. 81 
ARC. And what says the father to all this ? 
CLE. He says nothing. 

ARC. That is an idiot of a father, to suffer all this non- 
sense without saying anything. 

81 La Grange and the wife of Moliere had a great success in this scene, 
as it is said in the Sixth of the Entretiens Galants, about Music, published 
in Paris in 1681. 


CLE. ( Wishing to continue to sing). 
Ah ! my love . . . 

ARC. No, no ; this is enough of it. This comedy sets 
a very bad example. The shepherd Tircis is an imperti- 
nent fellow, and the shepherdess Philis is an impudent hussy 
to speak in that way before her father. (To Angelique). 
Show me this paper. Ah ! ah ! but where are the words 
which you have spoken? There is nothing but music 
written there ? 

CLE. Do not you know, Sir, that it has been recently 
invented to write the words with the notes in one ? M 

ARC. Very good. I am your servant, Sir; good-bye. 
We could have very well dispensed with your impertinent 

CLE. I thought to amuse you. 

ARC. Nonsense does not amuse. Ah ! here comes my 


ARG. My love, this is the son of Mr. Diafoirus. 

THOM. Madam, it is with justice that Heaven has granted 
you the title of stepmother, for we see in your face . . . M 

BEL. Sir, I am delighted to have come here opportunely, 
to enjoy the honour of seeing you. 

THOM. For we see in your face . . .for we see in your 
face . . . Madam, you have interrupted me in the midst 
of my period, and that has confused my memory. 

MR. D. Thomas, reserve this for another opportunity. 

ARG. My pet, I would have wished you to be here just 

Toi. Ah ! Madam, you have lost a great deal in not 
having been here at the second father, at the statue of 
Memnon, and at the flower called heliotrope. 

ARG. Come, daughter, put your hand in this gentle- 
man's, and pledge him your faith, as to your husband. 

82 In the Elzevir edition of the play, Cleante pretends that the words of 
the duet are old and well known. 

83 Thomas Diafoirus utters a compliment which he has studied, but can- 
not finish it. Belle-mere means stepmother, but belle mere handsome 


AN. Father . . . 

ARC. Well ! father ! What does this mean. 

AN. Pray, do not hurry matters. Give us at least time 
to know each other, and to see grow up in us that in- 
clination for one another which is so necessary to form a 
perfect union. 

THOM. As for me, Miss, it is already entirely grown up 
in me ; and I have no need to wait any longer. 

AN. If you are so prompt, Sir, it is not the same with 
me ; and I confess to you that your merit has not as yet 
made any impression on my heart. 

ARC. Oh ! well, well ; there will be ample leisure for 
that when you are married. 

AN. Ah ! father, give me some time, I pray you. 
Wedlock is a chain to which we should never subject a 
heart by force ; and if this gentleman is a man of honour, 
he ought not to wish to accept a person who would be his 
by coercion. 

THOM. Nego consequentiam, Miss ; and I may be a man 
of honour, and still wish to accept you from the hands of 
your father. 

AN. It is a bad means of making yourself beloved by 
any one by doing her violence. 

THOM. We read of the ancients, Miss, that their custom 
was to carry away by force, from the homes of their 
fathers, the daughters who were led to marriage, so that it 
might not appear to be by their own consent that they flew 
into the arms of a man. 

AN. The ancients, Sir, are the ancients ; and we are 
the people of the present day. Pretences are not at all 
necessary in our age ; and when a marriage pleases us, we 
know well enough how to go to it, without being dragged 
to it. Have patience ; if you love me, Sir, you ought to 
wish everything that I wish. 

THOM. Yes, Miss, up to the interests of my love, ex- 

AN. But the great sign of love is to submit to the 
wishes of her whom we love. 

THOM. Dtstinguo, Miss. In what concerns not her pos- 
session, concedo; but in what concerns it, nego. 

Toi. You may argue as much as you please. The 


gentleman is fresh from college, and he will always give 
you your answer. Why resist so much, and refuse the 
glory of being attached to the body of the faculty ? 

BEL. Perhaps she has some other inclination in her 

AN. If I had, Madam, it would be such as reason and 
honour would allow. 

ARG. Good gracious ! I am acting a pretty part here. 

BEL. If I were you, child, I should not force her to 
marry ; and I know well enough what I should do. 

AN. I am aware, Madam, of what you mean, and of the 
kind feelings which you have towards me ; but your de- 
signs may not perhaps be so happy as to be executed. 

BEL. It is because very circumspect and very respec- 
table girls like you, do not care to be obedient and sub- 
missive to the wishes of their fathers. That was very well 
in times gone by. 

AN. The duty of a daughter has its limits, Madam ; 
and neither reason nor the laws extend it to other mat- 

BEL. This means that your ideas are not averse to mar- 
riage ; but that you wish to choose a husband according 
to your own fancy. 

AN. If my father will not give me a husband whom I 
like, I shall beseech him, at least, not to force me to mar- 
ry one whom I cannot love. 

ARG. Gentlemen, I ask your pardon for all this. 

AN. Every one has his own motive for marrying. As 
for me, who wish no husband but to truly love him, and 
who intend to make it a life-long attachment, I confess to 
you that I am somewhat cautious about it. There are 
some who take husbands only to emancipate themselves 
from the restraint of their parents, and to place themselves 
in a position to do as they like. There are others, Mad- 
am, who make marriage a commerce of sheer interest, 
who only wed in order to obtain jointures, to enrich 
themselves by the death of those whom they espouse, and 
run without scruple from husband to husband, to appro- 
priate to themselves their spoils. These persons, in truth 
do not stand upon so many ceremonies, and have little 
regard to the persons themselves. 


BEL. I find you in a great mood for arguing to-day, and 
I should like to know what you mean by this. 

AN. I, Madam? What should I mean but what I 

BEL. You are so silly, my dear, that there is no enduring 
you any longer. 

AN. You would like to provoke me, Madam, into an- 
swering you by some impertinence ; but I warn you that 
you shall not have the advantage. 

BEL. Your insolence is matchless. 

AN. No, Madam, you may say your best. 

BEL. And you have a ridiculous pride, an imperti- 
nent presumption, which causes every one to shrug their 

AN. All this will be of no avail, Madam. I shall be 
prudent in spite of you ; and to take away all hope of 
your succeeding in what you wish, I shall retire from your 



ARC. ( To Angelique, who is going). Hark ye. There 
is no middle way in this case : make up your mind to 
marry this gentleman in four days, or a convent. ( ToBeline). 
Do not trouble yourself: I shall manage her properly. 

BEL. I am sorry to leave you, child ; but I have some 
business in town which I cannot delay. I shall soon be 
back again. 

ARC. Go, my love, and call in at your notary, that he 
may attend to what you know. 

BEL. Farewell, my little dear. 

ARC. Good bye, darling. 


ARC. There is a woman who loves me . . . it is not to 
be believed. 

MR. D. We are going to take leave of you, Sir. 

ARC. Pray, Sir, just tell me in what condition I am. 

MR. D. (Feeling the pulse of Argari}. Come, Thomas, 
take hold of the other arm of this gentleman, to see 


whether you can form a good judgment of his pulse. 
Quid diets ? 

THOM. Dico, that this gentleman's pulse is the pulse of 
a man who is not in good health. 

MR. D. Good, 

THOM. That it is hardish not to say hard. 

Dr. D. Very well. 

THOM. That it acts by fits and starts. 

Mr. D. Bene 

THOM. And even a little irregular. 

MR. D. Optime. 

THOM. Which is a sign of intemperature in the splene- 
tic parenchyma, which means the milt. 

MR. D. Very good. 

ARC. No; Mr. Purgon says that it is my liver which is 
not right. 

MR. D. Well, yes : whosoever says parenchyma, says 
the one and the other, on account of the close sympathy 
there is between them through the vas breve, the pylorus, 
and often through the meatus cholidici. He no doubt 
orders you to eat much roast meat. 

ARC. No ; nothing but boiled. 

MR. D. Well, yes : roast, boiled, the same thing. He 
prescribes very carefully for you, and you cannot be in 
better hands. 

ARC. Sir, how many grains of salt ought there to be 
put in an egg? 

MR. D. Six, eight, ten, in even numbers, just as in 
medicine in odd numbers. 

ARC. Until we meet again, Sir. 


BEL. I have come, child, before going out, to inform 
you of something to which you ought to look. In passing 
by Angelique's room, I noticed a young man with her, 
who ran away the moment he saw me. 

ARC. A young man with my daughter ! 

BEL. Yes. Your little daughter Louison was with them, 
who can tell you particulars about it. 

ARC. Send her here, my love, send her here. Ah ! the 


bold hussy. (Alone). I am no longer astonished at her 


Lou. What do you wish with me, papa? My step- 
mother has told me that you want me. 

ARG. Yes. Come here. Come closer. Turn round. 
Turn up your eyes. Look at me. Eh ? 

Lou. What, papa? 

ARG. So? 

Lou. What? 

ARG. Have you nothing to tell me ? 

Lou. I will tell you, if you like, to amuse you, the story 
of The Donkey's Skin, or the fable of The Raven and the 
Fox, which I have been taught lately. 35 

ARG. That is not what I ask you. 

Lou. What then ? 

ARG. Ah ! you sly girl, you know very well what I 
mean ! 

Lou. I beg your pardon, papa. 

ARG. Is it thus that you obey me? 

Lou. What? 

ARG. Did I not recommend you to come and tell me 
directly all that you see ? 

Lou. Yes, papa. 

ARG. Have you done so ? 

Lou. Yes, papa. I have come and told you everything 
I saw. 

ARG. And have you seen nothing to-day ? 

Lou. No, papa. 

ARG. No ? 

Lou. No, papa. 

ARG. You are sure? 

Lou. I am sure. 

ARG. Oh ! very well ; I shall let you see something. 

Lou. (Noticing some switches which Argan has taken 
up). Oh ! papa. 

85 Perrault published the story of Peru <T Ane (the Donkey's Skin), in 
1694, and as The Imaginary Invalid was performed in 1673, it is a proof 
that it was well known long before it was published. 


ARC. Ah ! Ah ! you little deceiver, you do not tell me 
that you have seen a man in your sister's room ! 

Lou. (.Crying). Papa! 

ARC. ( Taking Louison by the arm). This will teach 
you to tell lies. 

Lou. (Throwing herself at his knees.} Ah! papa, I 
ask your pardon. It is because my sister told me not to 
tell you ; but I am going to tell you all. 

ARC. First of all you must be whipped for having told 
a lie. Afterwards we shall see about the rest. 

Lou. Pardon, papa. 

ARC. No, no. 

Lou. Dear papa, do not whip me. 

ARC. You shall be whipped. 

Lou. In Heaven's name, papa, do not whip me ! 

ARC. ( Wanting to whip her). You shall, you shall. 

Lou. Ah ! papa, you have hurt me. Wait : I am 
dead. (She pretends to be dead. 

ARC. Hullo ! What is this ? Louison, Louison ! Ah ! 
great Heaven ! Louison ! Ah ! my daughter. Ah ! un- 
happy being that I am ! my dear daughter is dead ! What 
have I done, wretch that I am ! Ah ! these cursed 
switches ! The plague take the switches ! Ah ! my poor 
daughter, my poor little Louison ! 

Lou. There, there, papa do not cry so : I am not en- 
tirely dead. 

ARG. Do you see the artful little girl ! Well, I forgive 
you this time, provided you really tell me everything. 

Lou. Oh ! yes, papa. 

ARG. You had better be careful in any case; for this 
little finger knows everything, and will tell me if you tell 

Lou. But, papa, do not tell sister that I have told you. 

ARG. No, no. 

Lou. (After having made sure that no one is listening). 
A man came into sister's room while I was there. 

ARG. Well? 

Lou. I asked him what he wanted, and he told me that 
he was her singing-master. 

ARG. (Aside). Hem, hem ! that is it. (To Louison). 


Lou. Sister came in afterwards. 

ARC. Well? 

Lou. She said to him : begone, begone, begone. 
Great Heavens, begone ; you will drive me desperate. 

ARG. Well? 

Lou. And he, he would not go. 

ARG. What did he say to her? 

Lou. He said to her I do not know how many things. 

ARG. And what more ? 

Lou. He said this, that, and the other, that he loved 
her dearly, and that she was the prettiest girl in the 

ARG. And after that ? 

Lou. And after that, he fell down on his knees before 

ARG. And after that ? 

Lou. And after that, he kissed her hands. 

ARG. And after that ? 

Lou. And after that, stepmother came to the door, and 
he ran away. 

ARG. There is nothing else ? 

Lou. No, papa. 

ARG. My little finger, however, mutters something. 
(Placing his finger to his ear]. Wait. Eh! ah! ah! Yes? 
oh ! oh ! Here is my little finger, which tells me of some- 
thing that you have seen, but which you have not told me. 

Lou. Ah ! papa, your little finger is a story-teller. 

ARG. Take care. 

Lou. No, papa; do not believe it: it tells a story, I 
assure you. 

ARG. Oh ! very well, very well, we shall see. Go now, 
and take notice of everything : go. (Alone). Ah ! there 
are no longer any children ! Ah! what perplexity! I 
have not even so much leisure as to think about my illness. 
Really, I can hold out no longer. (He drops into a chair. 


BER. Well, brother ! what is the matter ? How do you 

AR. Ah ! brother, very poorly. 


BER. How ! very poorly ? 

AR. Yes ! I am in so weak a state, that it is incredible. 

BER. That is sad. 

AR. I have not even the strength to be able to speak. 

BER. I came hither, brother, to propose to you a match 
for my niece Angelique. 

AR. (Speaking excitedly, and rising from his chair], 
Brother, do not speak to me about this hussy. She is a 
wretch, an impertinent, impudent girl, whom I shall place 
i n a convent before two days are over. 

BER. Ah ! that is right ! I am very glad that your 
strength is coming back a little, and that my visit is doing 
you good. Well, we will talk of business by-and-by. I 
have brought you an entertainment with which I fell in, 
which will dissipate your chagrin, and make you better 
disposed for what we are to talk about. They are Gipsies 
dressed as Moors, who perform dances intermixed with 
songs, with which I am sure you will be pleased ; and this 
will be as good for you as a prescription of Mr. Purgon. 


The brother of the Imaginary Invalid brings, to amuse 
him, several Gipsies of both sexes, dressed as Moors, who 
perform some dances intermixed with music, 


Sweet youth, 

Take advantage of the spring 

Of your best years ; 

Take advantage of the spring 

Of your best years ; 

Abandon yourself to the tender passion. 

Without the amorous flame, 

The most charming pleasures 

Have not sufficient powerful attractions 

To satisfy the heart. 


Sweet youth, 

Take advantage of the spring 

Of your best years ; 

Abandon yourself to the tender passion. 

Do not lose these precious moments, 
Beauty vanishes, 
Time effaces it ; 
The age of coldness 
Comes in its stead, 

Which takes away our taste for these sweet 

Take advantage of the spring 

Of your best years, 

Sweet youth ; 

Take advantage of the spring 

Of your best years ; 

Abandon yourself to the tender passion. 

First Entry of the Ballet. 
Dance of the Gipsies. 


What are you thinking of, 

When you press us to love ? 

Towards the tender passion 

Our hearts, in our youth, 

Have but too great an inclination. 

Love has, to catch us, 

Such sweet attractions, 

That, from our own will, without waiting, 

We would give ourselves up 

To its first solicitations ; 

But all that we hear 

Of the poignant griefs 

And the tears which it costs us, 

Makes us fear 

All its sweetness. 



It is sweet, at our age, 
To love tenderly 
A lover 

Who is faithful : 
But, if he be fickle, 
Alas ! what torture ! 


It is not the unhappiness 

At the lover who breaks his vows ; 

The pain 

And the rage 
Is that the fickle one 
Keeps possession of our heart. 


What part are we to take, 
To defend our young hearts ? 


Must we deny ourselves to it, 
And flee from its delights. 


Are we to surrender them, 
Notwithstanding their rigours ? 


Yes, let us abandon ourselves to its ardours, 

Its transports, its whims, 

Its sweet languors, 

If it have some tortures, 

It has a thousand delights 

That charm the heart. 

Second Entry of the Ballet. 

All the Moors dance together, and make the apes, which 
they have brought with them perform some jumping. 



BER. Well ! brother, what say you of this ? Is it not 
better than a dose of cassia? 

Toi. Humph ! good cassia is good. 

BER. Well ! shall we talk a little together ? 

ARC. A little patience, brother: I shall be back di- 

Toi. Stay, Sir, you forget that you cannot walk without 
a stick. 

ARG. You are right. 


Toi. Do not lose sight, if you please, of the interests 
of your niece. 

BER. I shall try everything to obtain for her what she 

Toi. We must absolutely prevent this extravagant 
match which he has taken into his head ; and I have 
thought to myself that it would be a good thing to intro- 
duce into the place a doctor of our own choosing, 36 to 
disgust him with his Mr. Purgon, and to cry down his 
treatment of him. But as we have no one at hand to do 
this, I have made up my mind to play a trick of my own. 

BER. How? 

Toi. It is a whimsical idea. It may perhaps turn out 
more lucky than prudent. Let me manage. Act you on 
your side. There comes our man. 


BER. You will allow me, brother, to ask you, before 
all things, not to excite yourself in our conversation. 

ARG. Agreed. 

BER. To reply without bitterness, to the things I may 
say to you. 

ARG. Yes. 

BER. And to argue together the matters which we have 
to discuss, with a mind free from all passion. 

86 In the original un me dec in a notre paste. 


ARC. Good Heavens ! yes. What a deal of preamble. 

BER. Whence comes it, brother, that having the pro- 
perty which you possess, and having no children but one 
daughter, for I do not reckon the little one; whence 
comes it, I say, that you talk of placing her in a convent ? 

ARC. Whence comes it brother, that I am master in my 
family, to do as I think best ? 

BER. Your wife does not fail to advise you to get rid, 
in that way, of your two daughters, and I have no doubt 
that, through a spirit of charity, she would be delighted 
to see them both good nuns. 

ARG. There now ! there we are. There is the poor 
woman at once brought up. It is she who does all the 
harm, and every one has a grudge against her. 

BER. No, brother ; let us leave her out of the question. 
She is a woman who has the best possible intentions to- 
wards your family, and who is devoid of all self-interest ; 
who has a wonderful tenderness toward you, and who 
shows an inconceivable affection and kindness for your 
children : that is certain. Let us not speak of that, and 
let us go back to your daughter. What is the idea, 
brother, of wishing to make her marry the son of a doctor ? 

ARG. The idea is, of giving myself such a son-in-law as 
I want, brother. 

BER. This is not your daughter's case, brother; and a 
more suitable match offers itself for her. 

ARG. Yes ; but this one, brother is more suitable to me. 

BER. But must the husband she is to take, brother, be 
for her, or for you ? 

ARG. He must be both for her and for me, brother ; 
and I wish to get into my family the people of whom I 
may be in need. 

BER. For this reason, if your little girl were grown up, 
you would marry her to an apothecary. 

ARG. Why not ? 

BER. Is it possible that you can always be wrapt up in 
your apothecaries and your doctors, and that you wish to 
be ill in spite of mankind and of nature ? 

ARG. How do you make that out, brother? 

BER. I make it out, brother, that I see no man who is 
less ill than you, and that I wish for no better constitution 


than your own. A great proof that you are in good 
health, and that you have a perfectly sound body is, that 
with all the pains you have taken, you have not been able 
to succeed as yet in spoiling the goodness of your consti- 
tution, and that you are not dead yet with all the physic 
which they have made you take. 

ARC. But do you know, brother, that it is this which 
preserves me ; and that Mr. Purgon says that I should 
succumb, if he were only three days without taking care 
of me? 

BER. If you do not look to it, he will take so much care 
of you, that he shall send you into the next world. 

ARC. But let us reason a little, brother. You do not 
believe then in physic ? 

BER. No, brother, and I do not see that it is necessary 
to salvation to believe in it. 

ARC. What ! you do not hold true a matter established 
throughout the world, and which all ages have reverenced. 

BER. Far from holding it true, I consider it, between 
ourselves, one of the greatest follies of mankind ; and to 
look philosophically at things, I do not see a more amu- 
sing mummery ; I do not see anything more ridiculous 
than for one man to undertake to cure another. 

ARG. Why cannot you admit, brother, that one man 
may be able to cure another ? 

BER. For this reason, brother, that the springs of our 
machine are a mystery, of which, up to the present, men 
can see nothing ; and that nature has placed too thick a 
veil before our eyes for our knowing anything about it. 

ARG. Then, in your opinion, doctors know nothing? 

BER. True, brother, most of them have a deal of classi- 
cal learning, know how to speak in good Latin, can name 
all the diseases in Greek, define and classify them ; but as 
regards curing them, that is what they do not know at 
all. 37 

ARG. But, nevertheless, you must agree that, on this 
head, doctors know more than other people. 

BER. They know, brother, what I have told you, which 

w Beralde's attack on the physicians should be compared with the 
thirty-seventh chapter of the Second Book of the Essays of Montaigne. 


does not cure much ; and the whole excellence of their 
art consists in a pompous gibberish, in a specious verbiage, 
which gives you words instead of reasons, and promises 
instead of effects. 

ARC. But after all, brother, there are people as learned 
and as clever as you ; and we find that, in case of illness, 
everyone has recourse to doctors. 

BER. It is a sign of human weakness, and not of the 
truth of their art. 

ARG. But doctors must believe in the truth of their art, 
inasmuch as they make use of it for themselves. 

BER. That is because there are some among them who 
themselves share in the popular error by which they profit ; 
and others who profit by it without sharing in it. Your Mr. 
Purgon, for instance, does not discriminate very clearly ; 
he is a thorough physician from head to foot ; a man who 
believes in his rules more than in all mathematical demon- 
strations, and who would think it a crime to wish to examine 
them ; who sees nothing obscure in physic, nothing dubi- 
ous, nothing difficult, and who, with an impetuosity of 
prejudice, a stiff-necked assurance, a coarse common sense 
and reasoning, rushes into purging and bleeding, and 
hesitates at nothing. You must not owe him a grudge for 
all he might do to you : he would despatch you with the 
most implicit faith ; and he would, in killing you, only do 
what he has done to his wife and children, and what, if 
there were any need, he would do to himself. 

ARG. That is because you bear him a grudge from infancy, 
brother. 88 But to cut it short, let us come to the fact. 
What must we do, then, when we are ill ? 

BER. Nothing, brother. 

ARG. Nothing? 

BER. Nothing. We must remain quiet. If we leave 
nature alone, she recovers gently from the disorder into 
which she has fallen. It is our anxiety, our impatience, 
which spoils all ; and nearly all men die of their remedies, 
not of their diseases.- 

ARG. But you must admit, brother, that this nature may 
be assisted by certain things. 

18 The original has vous avez, man frere, une dent de /ait contre lui ; 
dent de lait means literally, a first or shedding tooth. 


BER. Good Heavens ! brother, these are mere ideas with 
which we love to beguile ourselves; and, at all times, 
beautiful fictions have crept in amongst men, in which we 
believe, because they flatter us, and because it were to be 
wished that they were true. When a physician speaks to 
you of aiding, assisting, and supporting nature, to take 
away from her what is hurtful, and to give her that which 
she wants, to re-establish her, and to put her in the full 
possession of her functions ; when he speaks to you of 
rectifying the blood, of regulating the bowels and the 
brain, of relieving the spleen, of putting the chest to rights, 
of mending the liver, of strengthening the heart, of renew- 
ing and preserving the natural heat, and of being possessed 
of secrets to prolong life till an advanced age, he just tells 
you the romance of physic. But when you come to the 
truth and experience, you find nothing of all this ; and it 
is like those beautiful dreams, which, on awaking, leave 
you nothing but the regret of having believed in them. 

ARC. Which means that all the knowledge of the world 
is contained in your head, and that you profess to know 
more about it than all the great physicians of our age. 

BER. In speaking and in reality, your great physicians 
are two different sorts of persons. Hear them hold forth, 
they are the cleverest people in the world ; see them act, 
they are the most ignorant of all men. 

ARC. Lack-a-day! you are a great doctor; and I should 
much like to have one of these gentlemen here, to refute 
your arguments, and to take you down a peg or two. 

BER. I, brother, I do not assume the task of combating 
the Faculty; and every one, at his own risk and cost, 
may believe whatever he pleases. What I say about it is 
simply between ourselves, and I should have wished to be 
somewhat able to dispel the error in which you are, and 
to take you, for your amusement, to see one of the come- 
dies of Moliere upon this subject, 

ARC. Your Moliere, with his comedies, is a fine imper- 
tinent fellow ! and I think it is like his impudence to go 
and bring upon the stage such worthy persons as the 

BER. He does not make fun of physicians, but of the 
ridiculousness of physic. 


ARC. It is like him to do so, to interfere about con- 
trolling the Faculty ! There is a fine booby, a brazen im- 
pertinent fellow, to make fun of consultations and pre- 
scriptions, to attack the body of physicians, and to put on 
his stage such venerable persons as these gentlemen ! 

BER. What would you have him put there but the 
various professions of men ? They put princes and kings 
there every day, who are of quite as good family as 

ARG. Now, by all that is terrible ! w if I were the physi- 
cians, I would avenge myself of his impertinence; and 
would let him die without assistance, whenever he felt ill. 
He might say and do what he liked ; I would not pre- 
scribe even the least bleeding, or the smallest enema; and 
I would say to him : die, die ; that will teach you another 
time to make fun of the Faculty. 

BER. You are very angry with him ? 

ARG. Yes. He is a foolish fellow ; and if the physicians 
be wise, they will do what I say. 

BER. He will be wiser still than your physicians, for he 
will not ask them for their assistance. 

ARG. So much the worse for him, if he have no 
recourse to remedies. 

BER. He has his reasons for not wishing for them, and 
he maintains that it is permitted only to robust and 
vigorous people, who have sufficient strength left to bear 
the remedies with the disease ; but that, as for him, he 
has just strength enough to bear his illness. 

ARG. Silly reasons these ! There, brother, let us talk 
no more about this man ; for he excites my bile, and you 
will bring on my illness again. 

BER. Very well } brother ; and to change our conversa- 
tion, I will tell you, that on account of a trifling repug- 
nance on the part of your daughter, you should not take 
the violent resolution to place her in a convent : that in 
the choice of a son-in-law, you should not blindly yield 
to a passion which carries you away; and that, in such 
a matter, you should accommodate yourself somewhat to 

89 The original has Par la mart non de diable, used for Par la mort de 
Dieit, non, de diable I 


the inclination of your child, seeing that it is for her life, 
and that on it depends the happiness of a union. 

SCENE IV. MR. FLEURANT, carrying a syringe ; ARGAN, 

ARC. Ah ! by your leave, brother. 

BER. What are you going to do ? 

ARC. Take this little enema: it will soon be done. 

BER. You are jesting. Cannot you be a moment with- 
out an enema or some physic ? Put it off till another time, 
and remain quiet a little. 

ARC. It will be for to-night or for to-morrow morning, 
Mr. Fleurant. 

MR. F. {To Beralde). With what do you meddle, to 
oppose the prescription of the Faculty, and to prevent 
this gentleman from taking my enema? It is very ridicu- 
lous of you to be so rash ! 

BER. Begone, Sir ; we see well enough that you- are 
not accustomed to speak to people's faces. 

MR. F. One should not thus make fun of physic, and 
make me waste my time. I have come here only with a 
good prescription ; and I shall go and tell Mr. Purgon 
how I have been prevented from executing his orders, 
and from performing my function. You shall see, you 
shall see . . . 


ARG. You will be the cause of some mishap here, 

BER. A great mishap not to take an enema which Mr. 
Purgon has ordered ! Once more, brother, is it possible 
that there is no way of curing you of that mania for 
physicians, and that you wish to be buried all the days of 
your life in their remedies ? 

ARG. Good Heavens ! brother, you talk of it as a man 
who is in perfect health ; but if you were in my place, you 
would soon change your language. It is easy to talk 
against physic, when one is in good health. 

BER. But what illness have you ? 

ARG. You will drive me mad. I wish you had it, my 


illness, just to see whether you would prate so much. Ah ! 
here comes Mr. Purgon. 


MR. P. I have just heard some pretty news at the door ; 
that people are making jest of my prescriptions here, and 
refuse to take the remedies which I have prescribed. 

ARC. Sir, it is not . . . 

MR. P. This is a very rash proceeding, a strange revolt 
of a patient against his physician. 

Toi. This is horrible, 

MR. P. An enema which I had taken a pleasure in 
compounding myself. 

ARC. It is not I ... 

MR. P. Invented and concocted according to all the 
rules of the art. 

Toi. He is wrong. 

MR. P. And which was to produce a marvellous effect on 
the bowels. 

ARC. My brother . . . 

MR. P. To send it back with contempt ! 

ARC. (Pointing to Beralde). It is he . . . . 

MR. P. It is a most daring deed. 

Toi. That is true. 

MR. P. An enormous outrage against the medical pro- 

ARG. (Pointing to Beralde). He is the cause . . . 

MR. P. A crime of high treason against the Faculty, 
which cannot be sufficiently punished. 

Toi. You are right. 

MR. P. I declare that I break off all connection with 

ARG. It is my brother . . . 

MR. P. That I no longer desire an alliance with you. 

Toi. You will do well. 

MR. P. And that to make an end of all union with 
you, there is the deed of gift which I made to my nephew, 
in favour of the marriage. (He tears the document to 
pieces, and throws the pieces furiously about. 


ARC. It is my brother who has done all the harm. 

MR. P. To despise my enema ! 

ARC. Let it be brought ; I will take it. 

MR. P. I would have cured you before long. 

Toi. He does not deserve it. 

MR. P. I was going to cleanse your body, and drive out 
all the bad humours. 

ARC. Ah ! brother ! 

MR. P. And it wanted but a dozen more medicines to 
cure you completely. 

Toi. He is unworthy of your care. 

MR. P. But as you do not wish to be cured by my 
hands . . . 

ARC. It is not my fault. 

MR. P. Since you have withdrawn from the obedience 
which a man owes to his physician . . . 

Toi. That cries for vengeance. 

MR. P. Since you have declared yourself a rebel against 
the remedies which I prescribed for you . . . 

ARC. Eh, not at all. 

MR. P. I must tell you that I give you up to your bad 
constitution, to the intemperature of your bowels, to the 
corruption of your blood, to the acrimony of your bile, 
and to the feculence of your humours. 

Toi. That is very well done. 

ARC. Oh, Heavens ! 

MR. P. And I will that in four days you shall be in an 
incurable state. 

ARC. Ah, mercy ! 

MR. P. That you fall into a bradypepsia. 

ARC. Mr. Purgon ! 

MR. P. From bradypepsia into dyspepsia. 

ARC. Mr. Purgon ! 

MR. P. From dyspepsia into apepsy. 

ARC. Mr. Purgon ! 

MR. P. From apepsy into lientery. 

ARC. Mr. Purgon ! 

MR. P. From lientery into dysentery. 

ARC. Mr. Purgon ! 

MR. P. From dysentery into dropsy. 

ARC. Mr. Purgon ! 


MR. P. And from dropsy into a privation of life, 
whither your folly will lead you. 40 


ARC. Ah, Heavens ! I am dead. Brother, you have 
undone me. 

BER. Why ! what is the matter ? 

ARC. I can hold out no longer. I already feel the ven- 
geance of the faculty. 

BER. Really,, brother, you are mad ; and I would not 
have people see you act as you do, for a great deal. Just 
bear up a little, I pray ; be yourself, and do not give way 
so much to your imagination. 

AEG. You see, brother, the strange diseases with which 
he has threatened me. 

BER. What a simpleton you are ! 

ARC. He says that I shall become incurable before four 
days are over. 

BER. What does it signify what he says? Is it an 
oracle that has spoken ? To hear you speak, it looks as if 
Mr. Purgon holds in his hands the thread of your life, and 
that by a supreme authority he lengthens or shortens it 
for you, as it pleases him. Remember that the springs of 
your existence are in yourself, and that the wrath of Mr. 
Purgon is as little capable of killing you as his remedies 
are of keeping you alive. Here is an opportunity, if you 
wish, to rid yourself of the physicians ; or if you were 
born so as not to be able to do without them, it is easy to 
have another with whom, brother, you may run a little 
less risk. 

ARC. Ah ! brother, he knows my entire constitution, 
and the way how to treat me. 

BER. I mus: confess to you that you are a man of great 
prejudice, and that you look at matters with strange eyes. 


Toi. (7!> Argan). Sir, here is a doctor who wishes to 
see you. 

40 Brauypepsia is a slow and imperfect digestion ; apepsy is a defective 
digestion ; lientery is a diarrhoea, in which the food is discharged only 
half digested. 


ARC. And what doctor ? 

Toi. A doctor of the Faculty. 

ARC. I ask you who he is. 

Toi. I do not know him, but he is as like me as two 
drops of water ; and if I were not sure that my mother 
was an honest woman, I should say that this was some 
little brother which she has given me since my father's 

ARG. Let him come in. 


BER. You are served according to your wish. One 
physician leaves you; another presents himself 

ARG. I greatly fear that you may be the cause of some 

BER. Again ! You will always harp upon this. 

ARG. But look you ! All these diseases of which I know 
nothing weigh on my mind ; these . . . 


Toi. Permit me to pay you this visit, Sir, and to offer 
you my small services for all the bleedings and purgings 
of which you may be in want. 

ARG. Sir, I am much obliged to you. ( To Beralde) . 
Upon my word, this is Toinette himself. 

Toi. Pray, excuse me, Sir ; I have forgotten to give a 
message to my servant ; I shall be back immediately. 


ARG. Eh? would you not swear that it was really 
Toinette ? 

BER. It is true that the likeness is very great indeed ; 
but it is not the first time that we have seen this kind of 
things ; and history is full of these freaks of nature. 

ARG. As for me, I am amazed at it ; and . . . 

Toi. What do you want, Sir ? 

*i " Toinette has doffed her physician's dress so soon that it is difficuf 
to believe that she appeared as a doctor before." This note is in the edi 
tion of Moliere's works of 1682. 


ARC. How? 

Toi. Did not you call me ? 

ARG. I? no. 

Toi. My ears must have tingled then. 

ARG. Just remain here a moment, to see how this phyis- 
cian resembles you. 

Toi. (Going out). Yes, indeed ! I have business else- 
where ; and I have seen him enough. 


ARG. If I had not seen them both, I should have be- 
lieved it was but one. 

BER. I have read of sift-prising instances of these kinds 
of likenesses ; and we have seen some of them, in our 
own times, by which the whole world has been deceived. 

ARG. As for me, I should have been deceived by this 
one; and I should have sworn that it was the same person. 


Toi. Sir, I ask your pardon with all my heart. 

ARG. (Softly to Beralde). This is wonderful. 

Toi. You will not take amiss, pray, the curiosity which 
I had to see such an illustrious patient as you ; and your 
reputation, which has spread everywhere, may excuse the 
liberty which I have taken. 

ARG. I am your servant, Sir. 

Toi. I perceive, Sir, that you are looking earnestly at 
me. How old do you really think I am ? 

ARG. I think that you may be six or seven and twenty 
at the most. 

Toi. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ! I am ninety. 

ARG. Ninety ! 

Toi. Yes. You observe an effect of the secrets of my 
art, to keep myself so fresh and vigorous. 

ARG. Upon my word, this is a fine youthful old man 
for ninety ! 

Toi. I am an itinerant physician who go from town 
to town, from province to province, from kingdom to 
kingdom, in search of illustrious materials for my art, to 
find patients worthy of my attention, capable of having 


applied to them the grand and beautiful secrets which I 
have discovered in medicine. I disdain to amuse myself 
with these small fry of ordinary complaints, with trifling 
rheumatisms and colds, small agues, vapours, and head- 
aches. I want diseases of importance, real non-intermit- 
tent fevers, with a disordered brain, real purple fevers, 
real plagues, real confirmed dropsies, real pleurisies with 
inflammations of the lungs ; these are what please me ; 
that is where I triumph ; and I wish, Sir, that you had 
been given up by all the physicians, despaired of, at the 
point of death, that I might show you the excellence of 
my remedies, and the desire which I have to be of service 
to you. 

ARG. I am obliged to you, Sir, for the kindness you 
have for me. 

Tor. Let me feel your pulse. Come, beat as you 
should. Ah ! I shall make you go as you ought. Ho ! 
this pulse plays the impertinent ; I perceive well enough 
that you do not know me as yet. Who is your physician ? 

ARG. Mr. Purgon. 

Tor. This man is not in my note-book amongst the 
great physicians. From what does he say that you 

ARG. He says it is from the liver, and others say it is 
from the spleen. 

Toi. They are all blockheads. It is from the lungs that 
you are ill. 

ARG. From the lungs? 

Toi. Yes. What do you feel ? 

ARG. I feel from time to time qualms. 

Toi. Exactly, the lungs. 

ARG. I seem to have a mist before my eyes some- 

Tor. The lungs. 

ARG. I have now and then a pain at the heart. 

Toi. The lungs. 

ARG. I feel a weariness in my limbs at times. 

Toi. The lungs. 

ARG. And now and then I am taken with pains in the 
stomach, just as if it were the colics. 

Toi. The lungs. Do you relish your food ? 


ARC. Yes, Sir. 

Toi. The lungs. You like to take a little wine? 

ARG. Yes, Sir. 

Toi. The lungs. You feel an inclination to take a little 
nap after your meals, and you are glad to go to sleep? 

ARG. Yes, Sir. 

Toi. The lungs, the lungs, I tell you. What does the 
doctor order you to eat? 

ARG. He orders me soup. 

Toi. The ignorant fellow ! 

ARG. Poultry. 

Toi. The ignorant fellow ! 

ARG. Veal. 

Toi. The ignorant fellow ! 

ARG. Broth. 

Toi. The .ignorant fellow! 

ARG. New-laid eggs. 

Toi. The ignorant fellow ! 

ARG. And in the evening some prunes to loosen the 

Toi. The ignorant fellow ! 

ARG. And above all, to take my wine well diluted. 

Toi. Ignorantus, ignoranta, ignorantum. You must 
drink your wine pure, and, to thicken your blood, which 
is too thin, you must eat good solid beef, good solid pork, 
good Dutch cheese; groats and rice, and chestnuts and 
thin cakes, to thicken and conglutinate. Your doctor is 
an ass. I shall send you one of my choice; and I shall 
come to see you from time to time, while I am in this 

ARG. You will oblige me very much. 

Toi. What the deuce do you want with this arm? 

ARG. How? 

Toi. I would have this arm cut off instanter if I were 

ARG. And why? 

Toi. Do you not see that it attracts to itself all the nou 1 - 
rishment, and that it prevents this side from growing. 

ARG. Yes ; but I want my arm. 

Toi. You have a right eye there, too, which I would 
have taken out, if I were in your place. 


ARC. An eye taken out? 

Toi. Do you not see that it incommodes the other, and 
robs it of its nourishment? Believe me, have it taken out 
as quickly as possible; you will see all the clearer with the 
left eye. 

ARC. There is no hurry. 

Toi. Farewell. I am sorry to leave you so soon ; but I 
must be present at a great consultation which is to be held 
about a man who died yesterday. 

ARG. About a man who died yesterday ? 

Toi. Yes : to consider and see what ought to have been 
done to cure him. Until we meet again. 

ARG. You know that invalids are excused from seeing 
any one to the door. 


BER. This physician really seems very clever. 

ARG. Yes ; but he does things a little too quickly. 

BER. All great physicians are like that. 

ARG. To cut off an arm, to take out an eye, so that 
the other may be better ! I much prefer that the other 
should not be quite so well. A fine operation, to make 
me one-eyed and one-armed. 


Toi. {Pretending to speak to some one outside). Come, 
come, I am your humble servant, I am in no mood to be 

ARG What is the matter ? 

Toi. Your physician, troth who wished to feel my 

ARG. Look at that, at the age of ninety. 

BER. Well now ! brother, since your Mr. Purgon has 
fallen out with you, will you not give me leave to speak to 
you about the match which is proposed for my niece. 

ARG. No, brother : I mean to place her in a convent, 
for having ran counter to my wishes. I perceive well 
enough that there is some love-affair in the case ; and I 
discovered a certain secret interview which they do not 
know that I have discovered. 

BER. Well ! brother ; and suppose there is some slight 


inclination, would that be so very criminal ? And can 
there be aught in it to offend you, when all this aims only 
at what is honourable, marriage. 

ARG. Be that as it may, brother, she shall be a nun ; 
that is a settled thing. 

BER. You wish to please some one. 

ARG. I understand you. You always come back to that, 
and you dislike my wife. 

BER Well then ! yes, brother : since I am to speak 
frankly to you, it is your wife I am alluding to ; and I 
can no more bear your infatuation for physic, than your 
infatuation for her and see you running headlong into 
all the snares which she spreads for you. 

Toi. Ah ! Sir, do not talk about my mistress; she is a 
woman of whom nothing can be said, a woman without 
any guile, and who loves my master, who loves him . . . 
One cannot express it. 

ARG. Just ask her how she caresses me. 

Toi. That is true. 

ARG. What uneasiness my illness causes her. 

Toi. Assuredly. 

ARG. And the care and the pains she takes about me. 

Toi. To be sure. {To Beralde). Do you wish me to 
convince you, and to show you immediately how my mis- 
tress loves master ? ( To Argari). Allow me to show him 
his blunder, Sir, and to convince him of his error. 42 

ARG. How? 

Toi. The mistress is coming back. Put yourself at full 
length in this chair, and pretend that you are dead. You 
shall see the grief she shall be in, when I tell her the news. 

ARG. I will do it. 

Toi. Yes ; but do not leave her long in despair ; for she 
might die of it. 

ARG. Leave it to me. 

Toi. {To Btralde). And you, hide yourself in this 

ARG. Is there not some danger in counterfeiting death? 

42 The original has souffrez que je lui montre son bec-jaune. See Vol. 
II., Don Juan, page 101, note n. 


Toi. No, no. What danger should there be? Only 
stretch yourself out there. (Softly}. It will be a pleasure 
to confound your brother. Here comes the mistress. 
Steady as you are. 

SCENE XVIII. BELINE, ARGAN, stretched out in his chair; 


Toi. (Pretending not to see JBeline). Ah ! good Hea- 
vens ! Ah ! what a misfortune ! What a strange accident ! 

BEL. What ails you, Toinette ? 

Toi. Ah ! mistress ! 

BEL. What is the matter ? 

Toi. Your husband is dead. 

BEL. My husband is dead ? 

Toi. Alas ! yes ! the poor man is gone. 

BEL. Are you sure? 

Toi. I am sure. No one knows the accident as yet ; 
and I was here all alone. He just now passed away in my 
arms. Look, there he is at full length in his chair. 

BEL. Heaven be praised for it ! I have got rid of a great 
burden. How silly you are, Toinette, to make yourself 
miserable about this death ! 

Toi. I thought, mistress, that I ought to cry. 

BEL. Come, come, it is not worth while. What do we 
lose in him ; and what good was he upon the earth ? A 
man who was a trouble to everybody, dirty, disgusting, 
never without some enema or physic in him, always 
blowing his nose, coughing or spitting; without sense, 
tiresome, bad-tempered, for ever fatiguing people, and 
scolding night and day the maids and the servants. 

Toi. This is a pretty funeral oration ! 

BEL. You must help me, Toinette, to execute my plan ; 
and you may depend upon it that, in helping me, your re- 
ward shall be sure. Since, by good fortune, no one has as 
yet been told of the affair, let us carry him to his bed, 
and keep his death secret, until I have managed my busi- 
ness. There are some papers, there is some money which 
I wish to get hold of; and it would not be just that I 
should have fruitlessly wasted the prime of my years with 
him. Come, Toinette; let us first of all take his keys. 

ARC. (Suddenly getting up). Gently. 


BEL. Oh! 

ARC. Aha ! my lady, that is how you love me ! 

Toi. Ah ! Ah ! the dead man is not dead. 

ARC. ( To Beline, who is going). I am very glad to see 
your good feeling, and to have heard the fine panegyric 
which you have pronounced on me. This is a wholesome 
advice which will make me more prudent for the future, 
and which will prevent me from doing many things. 4 * 

SCENE XIX. BERALDE, coming out of the corner where he 
has been hit-den; ARGAN, TOINETTE. 

BER. Well, brother, you see now ? 

Toi. Upon my word, I should never have believed this. 
But I hear your daughter. Place yourself again as you 
were, and let us see in what manner she will take your 
death. It is not a bad thing to find out ; and, while you 
are about it, you shall know, by these means, the feelings 
of your family for you. 

(Beralde goes into hiding again. 


Toi. (Pretending not to see Angelique}. Oh, Heaven ! 
Ah, sad event ! Unhappy day ! 

AN. What ails you Toinette ? and why do you cry ? 

Toi. Alas ! I have sad news to tell you. 

AN. Eh ! what ? 

Toi. Your father is dead. 

AN. My father is dead, Toinette ? 

Toi. Yes. There he is. He has just died of a fainting 
fit that took him. 

AN. Oh, Heaven ! what a misfortune ! what a cruel 
blow ! Alas ! am I to lose my father, the only thing I had 
left in the world ; and, still more, to complete my unhap- 
piness, must I lose him in a moment when he was angry 
with me ! What is to become of me, unhappy being ? and 
what consolation shall I find after so great a loss ? 

43 The primary idea of the character of Beline is to be found in a farce, 
played before Moliere came to Paris, and called The Sick Husband ; 
wherein a wife rejoices, with her lover, on hearing of the death of her 



CLE. What is the matter, fair Angelique? and what 
misfortune are you bewailing? 

AN. Alas ! I am bewailing all that I could lose of what 
is most dear and precious in life; I am bewailing the 
death of my father. 

CLE. Oh, Heavens ! what an accident ! what an unfore- 
seen blow. Alas ! after the request for your hand which 
I besought your uncle to make for me, I came to intro- 
duce myself to him, and to try, by my respects and en- 
treaties, to dispose his heart to grant you to my love. 

AN. Ah ! Cleante ! let us no longer talk of anything ; 
let us leave all thoughts of marriage. After the loss of 
my father, I will no longer belong to this world, and I 
renounce it forever. Yes, father, if I have just now op- 
posed your inclinations, I shall at least carry out one of 
your intentions, and make amends, by that, for the grief 
which I accuse myself of having caused you. ( Throwing 
herself at his fee/). Suffer me, father, now to pledge you 
my word, and to embrace you, to show you my repen- 

ARG. {Embracing Angelique). Ah! daughter. 

AN. Oh! 

ARG. Come. Have no fear ; I am not dead. There, 
you are my own flesh and blood, my own dear daughter j 
and I am delighted to have seen your good feeling. 


AN. Ah ! what an agreeable surprise ! Father, since, 
by an extreme good fortune, Heaven has given you back 
to my love, suffer me to throw myself at your feet to be- 
seech you for one thing. If you are not favourable to the 
inclination of my heart ; if you refuse me Cleante for a 
husband, I implore you, at least, not to force me to marry 
another. This is all the favour I ask of you. 

CLE. (Throwing himself at Argan's feet}. Oh! Sir, 
allow yourself to be touched by her prayers and mine ; 
and do not show yourself opposed to the mutual ardour of 
such a fine affection. 

BER. Can you still hold out, brother? 


Toi. Can you be insensible to so much love, Sir ? 

ARC. Let him become a doctor, and I consent to the 
marriage. (To Cleante}. Yes, become a physician, and 
I give you my daughter. 

CLE. With all my heart, Sir. If it depends but upon 
this to be your son-in-law, I shall become a doctor, an 
apothecary even, if you wish it. It is not much to do, 
and I would consent to many other things to obtain the 
fair Angelique. 

BER. But, brother, a thought comes into my head. Be- 
come a physician yourself. The convenience will be still 
greater of having within yourself all that you need. 

Toi. That is true. That is the proper way of getting 
quickly cured ; and there is no complaint so daring as to 
meddle with the person of a physician. 

ARC. I think that you are jesting with me, brother. Am 
I of an age to study ? 

BER. To study ! that is good. You are learned enough ; 
and there are many among them, who are not mote clever 
than you are. 

ARC. But one should know to speak Latin well, under- 
stand the diseases, and the remedies to apply. 

BER. In receiving the gown and the cap of a physician, 
you will learn all that ; and you will afterwards be more 
skilful than you like to be. 

ARG. What ! do people know how to discourse upon 
diseases when they have on that gown ? 

BER. Yes. You have but to speak with a gown and a 
cap, and any gibberish becomes learned, and all nonsense 
becomes sense. 

Toi. There, Sir, if it was only for your beard, that goes 
a great way already ; for the beard makes more than half 
of the physician. 

CLE. In any case, I am ready to do everything. 

BER. Will you have the thing done immediately ? 

ARG. How, immediately? 

BER. Yes, and in your own house. 

ARG. In my own house ? 

BER. Yes. I know a body of physicians, friends of 
mine, who will come instantly and perform the ceremony 
in your hall. It will cost you nothing. 


ARC. But I, what am I to say? what to answer? 

BER. You will be instructed in two words, and they 
will give you in writing what you are to say. Go and put 
on a decent dress. I shall go and fetch them. 

ARG. Well, let us see all this. 



CLE. What do you mean ? and what do you understand 
by these physician friends of yours ? 

Toi. What is your plan, then ? 

BER. To amuse ourselves a little this evening. The 
comedians have composed a slight interlude about the in- 
stallation of a physician with music and dances. I wish 
that we should enjoy the entertainment together, and that 
my brother should play the principal personage in it. 

AN. But, uncle, I think that you are jesting a little too 
much with my father. 

BER. But, niece, it is rather accommodating ourselves 
to his whims than jesting with him. All this is only be- 
tween ourselves. We can each of us take a part in it our- 
selves, and thus perform the comedy for one another. 
The carnival authorizes all this. Come, let us quickly go 
and get everything ready. 

CLE. (To Angelique). Do you consent ? 

AN. Yes, since my uncle manages the affair. 


A Burlesque Ceremony of admitting a Doctor of Medi- 
cine in recitative Music and Dancing. 

Several upholsterers enter to prepare the hall, and place 
the benches to music. After which the -whole assembly \ com- 
posed of eight syringe -bearers, six apothecaries, twenty-two 
doctors, and the person that is to be admitted physician, eight 
surgeons dancing, and two singing, enter, and take their 
places, each according to his rank. 


PRAESES. Savantissimi Doctores,** 
Medicinae Professores, 
Qui hie assemblati estis ; 
Et vos, altri messiores, 
Sententiarum Facultatis 
Fideles executores ; 
Chirurgiani et apothecari, 
Atque tota compania aussi, 
Salus, honor, et argentum, 
Atque bonum appetitum. 

Non possum, docti confreri 
En moi satis admirari, 
Qua! is bona inventio, 
Est medici professio ; 
Quam bella chosa est et bene trovata, 
Medicina ilia benedicta, 
Quae, suo nomine solo, 
Surprenanti miraculo, 
Depuis si longo tempore, 
Facit a gogo vivere 
Tant de gens omni genere. 

Per totam terrum videmus 

Grandam vogam ubi sumus; 

Et quods grandes et petiti 

Sunt de nobis infatuti. 
Totus mundus, currens ad nostros remedies, 

Nos regardat sicut decs, 

Et nostris ordonnanciis 
Principes et Reges soumissos videtis. 

Doncque il est nostrae sapientiae, 
Boni sensus atque prudentiae, 

De fortement travaillare 

A nos bene conservare 
In tali credito, voga et honore ; 

44 In this interlude there is such an amount of Latin, dog- Latin, Italian, 
French, and of words belonging to no language under the sun, that, by 
rendering any of it into English, the effect of the whole is greatly marred, 
I have, therefore, left it in the original. 


Et prendere gardam a non recevere 

In nostro docto corpora, 

Quam personas capabiles, 

Et tolas dignas remplire 

Has plasas honorabiles. 
C'est pour cela que nunc convocatis estis j 

Et credo quod trovabitis 

Dignam matieram medici 

In savanti homine que voici ; 

Lequel, in chosis omnibus; 

Dono ad interrogandum, 

Et a fond examinandum 

Vostris capacitatibus. 


Si mihi licentiam dat dominus praeses, 
Et tanti docti doctores, 
Et assistantes illustres, 
Tres-savanti bacheliero, 
Quern estimo honoro, 
Domandabo causam et rationem quare 
Opium facit dormire. 


Mihi a docto doctore. 
Domandatur causam et rationem quare 
Opium facit domire. 
A quoi respondeo ; 
Quia est in eo 
Virtus dormitiva, 
Cujus est natura 
Sensus assoupire. tf 

CHORUS. Bene, bene, bene respondere. 
Dignus, dignus est intrare 
In nostro docto corpore. 
Bene, bene respondere. 

45 In Descartes' time, and before him, everything was explained by 
forms, virtues, entities, quiddities. A thing was cold because it had a 
frigorific virtue ; hot because it had a calorific virtue. 



Cum permissione domini praesidis 

Doctissimae Facultatis, 

Et totius his nostris actis 

Companiae assistantis, 
Domandabo tibi, docte bachelierCe 

Quae sunt remedia 

Quae, in maladia 

Dite hydropisia 

Convenit facere? 

Clysterium donare, 

Postea seignare, 

Ensuita purgare. 

CHORUS. Bene, bene, bene, bene respondere- 
Dignus, dignus, est intrare 
In nostros docto corpora. 

Si bonum semblatur domino praesidi, 
Doctissimae Facultati, 
Et companiae praesenti, 

Domandabo tibi, docte bacheliere, 
Quae remedia eticis, 
Pulrnonicis atque asmaticis 
Trovas a propos facere. 


Clysterium donare, 
Postea seignare, 
Ensuita purgare. 

CHORUS. Bene, bene, bene respondere. 
Dignus, dignus est intrare 
In nostro docto corpore. 


Super illas maladias, 
Doctus bachelierus dixit maravillas ; 
Mais, si non ennuyo dominum praesidem. 

Doctissimam Facultatem, 

Et totam honorabilem 

Companiam ecoutantem; 


Faciam illi unam questionem. 
Dds hiero maladus unus 
Tombavit in meas manus ; 
Habet grandam fievram cum redoublamentis, 
Grandam dolorem capitis, 
Et grandum malurn au c6t6. 
Cum granda difficultate 
Et pena de respirare. 
Veillas mihi dire, 
Docte bacheliere 
Quid illi facere. 


Clysterium donare, 
Postea seignare, 
Ensuita purgare. 


Mais, si maladia 
Non vult se garire, 
Quid illi facere? 

BACHELIERUS. Clysterium donare 
Postea seignare, 
Ensuita purgare. 
Reseignare, repurgare, et reclysterisare. 

CHORUS. Bene, bene, bene, bene respondere: 
Dignus, dignus est intrare 
In nostro docto corpore. 

PRAESES. Juras gardare statuta 

Per Facultatem prgescripta, 
Cum sensu et jugeamento ? 


46 It is said that Moli&re felt so ill on pronouncing these words, at the 
fourth representation of The Imaginary Invalid, that he could not get on 
any longer, and the curtain was obliged to fall. 


PRAESES. Essere in omnibus 

Ancieni aviso, 
Aut bono, 
Aut mauvaiso? 


PRAESES. De non jamais te servire 

De remediis aucunis, 

Quam de ceuxseulement doctae Facultatis, 

Maladus dut-il crevare 

Et mori de suo malo ? 

PRAESES. Ego, cum isto boneto 

Venerabili et docto, 
Dono tibi et concedo 
Virtutem et puissanciam 







Et occidendi 
Impune per totam terram. 

Entry of the Ballet. 

All the Surgeons and Apothecaries come to do him reverence 

to Music. 

BACH. Grandes doctores doctrinae 
De la rhubarbe et du sene, 
Ce serait sans douta a moi chosa folia, 
Inepta et ridicula, 
Si j'alloibam m' engageare 
Vobis louangeas donare, 
Et entreprenoibam adjoutare 
Des lumieras au soleillo, 
Et des etoilas au cielo, 
Des ondas a 1' Oceano ; 
Et des rosas au printano. 


Agreate qu' avec uno mo to 
Pro toto remercimento 
Rendam gratias corpori tarn docto. 
Vobis, vobis debeo 

Bien plus qu' a naturae et qu' a patri meo. 
Natura et pater meus 
Hominem me habent factum ; 
Mais vos me, ce qui est bien plus, 
Avetis factum medicum : 
Honor, favor et gratia, 
Qui, in hoc corde que voila, 
Imprimant ressentimenta 
Qui dureront in secula, 

CHORUS. Vivat, vivat, vivat, vivat, cent fois vivat 
Novus doctor, qui tam bene parlat ! 
Mille, mille annis, et manget et bibat, 
Et seignet et tuat ! 

Third Entry of the Ballet. 

All the Surgeons and Apothecaries dance to the sound of the 

Instruments and Voices, and clapping of hands, and 

Apothecaries' Mortars. 

Chirurgus. Puisse-t-il voir doctas 
Suas ordonnancias, 
Omnium chirurgorum, 
Et apothicarum 
Remplire boutiquas ! 

Chorus. Vivat, vivat, vivat, vivat, cent fois vivat, 

Novus doctor, qui, tam bene parlat 
Mille, mille annis, et manget et bibat, 
Et seignet et tuat ! 

Chirurgus. Puissent toti anni 
Lui essere boni 
Et favorabiles, 
Et n' habere jamais 
Quam pestas, verolas, 
Fievras, pleuresias 
Fluxus de sang et dyssenterias I 


Chorus. Vivat, vivat, vivat, vivat, cent fois vivat, 

Novus doctor, qui tarn bene parlat ! 
Mille, mille annis, et magnet et bibat, 
Et seignet et tuat ! 

The Doctors, Surgeons and Apothecaries go out all according 
to their several ranks, with the same ceremony as they 

47 There exists also an addition to the ceremony, namely, speeches of 
three other doctors, and some variations in those of the physicians who 
have spoken, as well as in other parts of the ceremony. But as these 
changes are found only in the editions of Rouen and Amsterdam, and are 
most probably not by Moliere, we do not give them here. 







The Jealousy of le Barbouille is probably an imitation of one of the 
Italian commedia del 'arte, and was composed when Moliere was traveling 
in the provinces, when he sketched or wrote a certain number of come- 
diettas, or rather farces, to amuse his country audiences. 1 It is impossible 
to say when they were first performed, though a few were acted even after 
Moliere's return to Paris. 

The manuscript of The yealousy of le Barbouille, and of the following 
farce, The Flying- Doctor, was, in 1731, in the hands of Jean Baptiste 
Rousseau, who lived then at Brussels. They were first published in 1819, 
and have since that time been generally added to the other dramatic 
works of Moliere. The subject of The Jealousy of le Barbouille appears 
to be taken from one of Boccaccio's tales, 2 which was afterwards devel- 
oped in George Dandin. 

1 The titles of some of these farces are to be found in the Prefatory Memoir of 
Moliere, Vol. I., page xxv. 
*'See Introductory Notice to George Dandin, Vol. II., page 517. 


LE BARBOUILLE, S Angelique's husband. 


VALERE, Angelique's lover. 

GORG I BUS , Angelique 's father. 


CATHAU, her maid. 

3 Le Barbouille' means the besmeared, because probably in former times 
the actor who played this part rubbed his face with flour'. 




It must be admitted that I am the most unfortunate of 
all men ! I have a wife who drives me mad : instead of 
relieving me and doing things as I like, she makes me wish 
myself at the devil twenty times a day ; instead of staying 
at home, she likes to go walking about, loves good cheer, 
and keeps company with I do not know what kind of peo- 
ple. Ah ! poor Barbouille, how wretched you are ! She 
must, however, be punished. Suppose I killed her . . . 
that idea is worth nothing, for you should be hanged. If 
you had her put in prison . . . the slut would find a way 
out of it with her master-key. What the deuce am I to 
do then? But here is the doctor coming. I must ask him 
for a bit of advice as to what I am to do. 


BAR. I was coming after you to make a request of you 
upon a matter of importance to me. 

Doc. You must be very badly brought up, very clum- 
sily, and have been reprimanded very insufficiently, friend, 
to accost me without lifting your hat, without observing 
rationem loci, temporis et persona. What ! to begin with 



an ill-arranged discourse, instead of saying: Salve, vel Sal- 
vus si's, Doctor, doctorum eruditissime. Eh ! for whom do 
you take me, friend? 

BAR. Upon my word, I nope you will excuse me, my 
mind was embarrassed,* and I was not paying any atten- 
tion to what I was doing; but I know full well that you 
are a gallant gentleman. 

Doc. Know you at all whence comes the word " gallant 

BAR. Let it come from Villejuif or Aubervilliers, I care 

Doc. Know that the word gallant gentleman comes from 
"elegant;" taking the g and the a of the last syllable, that 
makes ga, then taking //, adding an a and the last two let- 
ters, that makes gallant, and then adding gentleman, that 
makes gallant gentleman. But, once more, for whom do 
you take me ? 

BAR. I take you for a doctor. But let us talk a little 
of the affair which I wish to propose to you. You must 
know then . . . 

Doc. Know beforehand that I am not only once a doc- 
tor, but that I am a doctor once, twice, three, four, five, 
six, seven, eight, nine, ten times, ist. Because the unit 
being the basis, the foundation, and the first of all num- 
bers, I am consequently the first of all doctors, the learned 
of the learned. 2d. Because two faculties are necessary 
for the perfect knowledge of all things, the senses and the 
understanding ; and, as I am all sense and understanding, 
I am twice doctor. 

BAR. Agreed. It is . . . 

Doc. 30. Because the number of three is that of per- 
fection, according to Aristotle ; and, as I am perfect, and 
all my productions likewise, I am three times doctor. 

BAR. Well, Mr. Doctor . . . 

Doc. 4TH. Because philosophy has four parts: logic, 
morality, physics, and metaphysics; and, as I possess 
them all four, and am perfectly versed in them, I am four 
times doctor. 

4 The original has,favais V esprit en echarpe, I had my mind in a sea 
herefore " awry," " embarrassed." 


BAR. What the deuce ! I do not doubt it. Do listen 
to me then. 

Doc. 5TH. Because there are five universals ; the genus, 
the spices, the difference, the essence, and the accident, 
without the knowledge of which it becomes impossible to 
reason well ; and, as I employ them with advantage, and 
know their usefulness, I am five times doctor. 

BAR. I must have a deal of patience. 

Doc. 6xH. Because the number six is the number of 
labour ; and, as I labour incessantly for my glory, I am 
six times doctor. 

BAR. Ho ! speak as much as you like. 

Doc. 7TH. Because the number of seven is the number 
of felicity ; and, as I possess a perfect knowledge of every- 
thing that can confer happiness, and as I am so indeed by 
my talents, I feel obliged to say of myself; O ter quaterque 
beatum ! 8th. Because the number of eight is the number 
of justice by reason of the equality found in it, and be- 
cause the justice and prudence with which I measure and 
weigh all my actions make me eight times doctor, 
pth. Because there are nine Muses, and because I am 
equally beloved by them. loth. Because, as we cannot 
pass the number of ten without making a repetition of the 
other numbers, and because it is the universal number; 
so, so, when they have found me they have found the 
universal doctor ; I contain in my own self all the other 
doctors. Thus, you perceive by plausible, true, demon- 
strative, and convincing arguments, that I am once, 
twice, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten times 

BAR. What the deuce is this? I expected to find a very 
learned man, who would give me good advice, and I find 
a chimney-sweep, who, instead of talking to me, amuses 
himself by playing Morra 6 with me. One, two, three, 
four; ha, ha, ha! But that is not at all the thing; I pray 
you to listen to me, and to think that I am not the man to 

5 Morra is an Italian game, which consists in holding up quickly some 
fingers of the hand raised and some shut, and for the opposite player to 
guess the precise number of the fingers thus held up. As the Doctor in 
counting probably held up his fingers, Le Barbouille evidently alludes to 
the Morra. 


make you waste your time, and that, if you satisfy me in 
what I wish of you, I will give you anything you like; 
money if you wish it. 

Doc. Money, say you? 

BAR. Yes, money, and anything else you might like to 

Doc. (Hitching up his gown behind htm). Then you 
take me to be a man who would do anything for money, a 
man bound to self-interest, a mercenary soul? Know, 
friend, that, if you were to give me a purse full of pistoles, 
if this purse were in a costly box, this box in a precious 
case, this case in a wondrous casket, this casket in a curious 
cabinet, this cabinet in a magnificent room, this room in 
an agreeable apartment, this apartment in a splendid castle, 
this castle in a matchless citadel, this citadel in a famous 
town, this town in a fruitful island, this island in an 
opulent province, this province in a flourishing kingdom, 
this kingdom stretching over the whole world ; and that 
you would give me this world in which should be this 
flourishing kingdom, in which should be this opulent pro- 
vince, in which should be this fruitful island, in which 
should be this famous town, in which should be this 
matchless citadel, in which should be this splendid castle, 
in which should be this agreeable apartment, in which 
should be this curious cabinet, in which should be this 
wondrous casket, in which should be this precious case, 
in which should be this costly box, and in which should 
be enclosed this purse full of pistoles, I should care as 
little about your money and about yourself as about that. 

(He departs. 

BAR. Upon my word ! I have made a mistake ; I 
thought it well to speak to him of money, because he 
was dressed as a physician ; but as he does not want it, 
nothing is easier than to satisfy him : I will run after him. 

(He goes off. 


AN. I assure you, Sir, that you will oblige me greatly 
by keeping me company now and then ; my husband is 
so ill-shaped, so debauched, such a drunkard, that it is 


torture to me to be with him, and I leave you to guess 
what pleasure one can derive from a clodhopper like him. 

VAL. Madam, 6 you do me too much honour in bearing 
with me. I promise you to contribute everything in my 
power for your entertainment ; and, since you confess 
that my society is not disagreeabl j to you, I shall show 
you by my attentions how much pleased I am at the news 
which you tell me. 

CA. Ah ! change your conversation ; here comes kill- 
joy. 7 


VAL. I am in despair, Madam, at having to bring you 
such grievous tidings; but you might have learned them 
from some one else ; and, as your brother is very ill ... 

AN. Sir, do not tell me *s| more j I am your servant, 
and feel obliged to you br ;i/t trouble you have taken. 

BAR. Upon my were*, 32e fc the certificate of my 
cuckoldom, without going :o the notary for it. Ha! ha! 
mistress slut, I find you with a man, after all my orders 
to the contrary, and you wish to send me from Gemini to 
Capricorn ! 8 

AN. Well ! need you grumble about that ? This gentle- 
man has come to tell me that my brother is very ill : 
what is there to complain ? 

CA. Ah ! here it is ; I was wondering that we should 
be quiet so long. 

BAR. Upon my word, you are spoiling one another, 
you sluts ; you Cathau, you are corrupting my wife : since 
you have been in her service, she is not worth half of 
what she was before. 

CA. Indeed yes, a pretty story that ! 

AN. Leave the sot alone ; do you not see that he is so 
drunk that he does not know what he is saying. 

6 The original has Mademoiselle, see Prefatory Notice, Vol. I., page 
32, note 14. 

7 The original \\asporte-guignon, bearer of ill-luck. 

8 See Rabelais' Pantagruel, book iii. ch. xxv. "How Panuige consulted! 
with Herr Trippa." 



GOR. Here is my cursed son-in-law quarrelling with my again ! 

VIL. Find out what it is. 

GOR. What ! always squabbling ! Will you never have 
any peace among you ? 

BAR. This wretch calls me sot. {To Angelique], Hold, 
I have got a good mind to slap your face 9 in the presence 
of your relatives. 

GOR. Cursed be the purse, if you have done what he 
reproaches you with. 10 

AN. But it is he who always begins to ... 

CA. Cursed be the hour in which you chose this cur- 
mudgeon ! 

VIL. Come, hold your tongue ; peace ! 


Doc. What is this ? What disorder ! what quarrelling ! 
what wrangling ! what noise ! what confusion ! what fall- 
ing out ! what a flare-up ! What is the matter, gentlemen, 
what is the matter ? what is the matter ? Come, come, let 
us see if there is no way of making you agree ; let me be 
your peacemaker ; let me bring union among you. 

GOR. It is my daughter and my son-in-law who have 
some quarrel between them. 

Doc. And what is it ? Just tell me the cause of their 

GOR. Sir . . . 

Doc. But in few words. 

GOR. Yes : but put on your bonnet. 

Doc. Do you know whence comes the word "bonnet" ? 

GOR. No, indeed. 

' The original has j'e suis bien tente de te bailler tine quinte major, I am 
much tempted to give you a high sequence of five. The expression 
quinte major, now called quinte majeure, belongs to the game of piquet, 
for which see Vol. I. The Impertinent*, Act ii., Scene 2. 

10 The original has Je dedonne au (liable I'escarcelle si vous Pavusfait. 
This phrase is very obscure ; I have followed the explanation given by the 
late Mr. E. Despois. 


Doc. It comes from bonum est, good is, that is good, 
because it keeps you from catarrhs and colds. 

GOR. Upon my word, I did not know that. 

Doc. But just tell me quickly about this quarrel. 

GOR. This is what happened . . . 

Doc. I do not think that you are the man to detain me 
long, especially as I request you not to do so. I have some 
pressing business which calls me into town ; but, to restore 
peace in your family, I do not mind stopping for a mo- 

GOR. I shall have done in a moment. 

Doc. Be quick then. 

GOR. Done immediately. 

Doc. You must admit, Mr. Gorgibus, that it is a fine 
gift to be able to say things in a few words, and that great 
talkers, instead of being listened to, often make themselves 
so obnoxious that one does not hear them ; virtutem pri- 
mam esse puta compescere linguam. 11 Yes, the finest quality 
in a gentleman is to speak little. 

GOR. You must know then . . . 

Doc. Socrates recommended three things very carefully 
to his disciples : prudence in actions, sobriety in eating, 
and to say things in few words. Begin then, Mr. Gorgibus. 

GOR. That is what I wish to do. 

Doc. In few words, without ceremony, without amusing 
yourself with many speeches, spare me an apophthegm ; 1J 
quick, quick, Mr. Gorgibus, hurry on, avoid prolixity. 

GOR. Let me speak then. 

Doc. Mr. Gorgibus, shake hands, you speak too much ; 
some one else will have to tell me the cause of this 

VIL. You must know then, Mr. Doctor . . . 

Doc. You are an ignoramus, an illiterate, a man devoid 
of all method and order, 13 in good French, an ass. What ! 

11 " Believe that the first of virtues is to restrain one's tongue." This 
is one of Erasmus' distichs. 

la In The Forced Marriage Pancrace says to Sganarelle, Tranchez-moi 
votre discours cP un apophthegms a la laconienne, Contract your discourse 
into a Laconian apophthegm. See Vol. I., scene 6, page 484. 

13 In The Forced Marriage Pancrace calls Sganar -lie un h imme ignore 
de tout bonne discipline, a man ignorant of all method and order. See 
Vol. I,, Scene 6, page 489. 


you commence your narrative without a word of exordium ! 
Some one else will have to narrate the quarrel. Madam, 
tell me the particulars of this confusion. 

AN. Well ! you see, my big scamp, my wine jug of a 
husband ? 

Doc. Gently, if you please : speak with respect of your 
husband, when before the beard of a doctor like myself. 

AN. Ah ! indeed, yes, doctor ! I care a deal about you 
and your doctrine, and I am a doctor when I like. 

Doc. You are a doctor when you like ; but I think that 
you would make a funny doctor. You look to me much 
as if you would follow your own fancies : of the parts of 
speech, you like but the conjunction ; of the genders, the 
masculine; of the declensions, the genitive: of syntax, 
mobile cumfixo, and, in short, of quanti y, you love but 
the dactyl, quia constat ex una longa et duabns brevibus. 
Come now, just tell me the cause, the subject of your com- 

BAR. Mr. Doctor . . . 

Doc. Ah ! that is well begun ; Mr. Doctor, this word 
has something sweet to the ear, something full of emphasis ; 
Mr. Doctor ! 

BAR. According to my will . . . 

Doc. That is good . . . according to my will ! The 
will presupposes the wish, the wish presupposes the means 
arriving at its ends, and the end presupposes an object ; 
that is good . . . according to my will. 

BAR. I am bursting with rage. 

Doc. Take out that word, I am bursting with rage ; it 
is a low and vulgar term. 

BAR. Eh ! Mr. Doctor, do listen to me, I pray you. 

Doc. Audi, quaeso^ Cicero would have said. 

BAR. Ah ! upon my word, if it breaks, 16 smashes, or is 
destroyed, I hardly care ; but you shall hear me, or I will 
smash your doctoral snout ; and what the devil is this ? 
(JLe Barbouille, Angelique, Gorgibus> Cathau, Villc- 

w This Latin cannot be translated. The rule mobile cum fixo is taken 
from Despautere's Syntax. See The Ccuntes* of Escarbagnas, Scene 
19, page 417, note 17. 

15 A Latin translation of Le Barbouille's words. 

16 The original has si se rompt, a pun on the name Ciceroru 


brequin, each wishing to tell the cause of the quarrel, 
and the Doctor saying that peace is a fine thing, speak 
all at once. In the midst of all this noise Le Bar- 
bouille fastens a rope to the Doctor' s foot, and makes 
him fall on his back j Le Bar bouille drags him away 
by the rope, which he had fastened to his foot, while 
the Doctor endeavours to speak and to count upon his 
fingers all his reasons, as if he had not fallen down 
at all. Le Barbouille and the Doctor disappear. 
GOR. Come daughter, go inside, and try to live in peace 
with your husband. 

VIL. Farewell, good night, and your servant. 

(Villebrequin, Gor gibus, and Angelique go away . 


VAL. I am obliged to you for the pains you have taken, 
Sir, and I promise you to be at the appointed place in an 

LA VAL. It cannot be postponed ; and if you but delay 
a quarter of an hour, the ball will be finished : you shall 
not have the satisfaction of seeing her whom you love if 
you do not come directly. 

VAL. Let us go together this very moment. 

( They go away. 


While my husband is out of the way, I shall go and take 
a turn at a ball, which one of my neighbours is giving. 
I shall be back before him, for he is somewhere in the 
tavern ; he will not notice that I am out ; the rascal leaves 
me alone at home, as if I were his dog. (She goes. 

I knew well enough that I would get the better of this 
doctor and all his confounded doctrine. To the devil 
with the ignorant fellow I I have nicely knocked all his 
science to the ground. I must, however, go and see if 
the wife has prepared my supper. (He goes. 


How unlucky I am ! I came too late, the party is 
over : I arrived just as every one was going ; but never 


mind, it will be for another time. I shall go home, how- 
ever, as if nothing had happened. Why ! the door is 
locked ; Cathau, Cathau ! 


BAR. Cathau, Cathau ! Well, what has she done, 
Cathau? and whence come you, Madam slut, at this 
hour, and in such weather ? 

AN. Whence come I ? just open the door, and I shall 
tell you afterwards. 

BAR. Ah ! indeed, you can go and sleep where you 
came from, or, if you like it better, in the street ; I will 
not open the door to such a gad-about as you. What the 
deuce ! to be all alone at such an hour ! I do not know 
whether it is my fancy, but my forehead seems half as 
rough again as it usually is. 

AN. Well ! and what if I am alone, what do you mean 
by it? You quarrel with me when I have company: what 
would you have me do? 

BAR. You ought to have been within, to look after the 
supper, to take care of the house, of the children ; but, 
without so many useless words, good-bye, good-night, go 
to the devil, and leave me in peace. 

AN. You will not open to me ? 

BAR. No, I shall not open. 

AN. Eh ! my dear little husband, open, I beg of you, 
my dear sweetheart. 

BAR. Ah ! you crocodile ! ah ! you dangerous serpent! 
you are caressing me to betray me. 

AN. Open, open then. 

BAR. Good-bye ! Vade retro, Satanas / 

AN. What ! you will not open ? 

BAR. No! 

AN. And you have no pity on the wife who loves you 
so much ? 

BAR. No, I am inflexible ; you have offended me, I am 
as vindictive as the devil, that is, putting it more strongly, 
I am inexorable. 

AN. Are you aware that, if you drive me to despair, and 
make me angry, I shall do something which you will regret? 

BAR. And what will you do, you nice she-dog ? 


AN. There ; if you do not open to me, I shall kill my. 
self before the door ; my parents who will no doubt come 
here before going to bed, to know if we have made it 
up together, will find me dead, and you shall be hanged. 
BAR. Ah, ah, ah, ah, the great ninny ! and who of the 
vwo will lose most by that ? Go, go, you are not so foolish 
as to do such a trick as that. 

AN. You will not believe it then ? There, there, here 
is my knife quite ready ; if you do not open to me, I shall 
plunge it into my heart this very moment. 
BAR. Take care, the point is very sharp. 
AN. You will not open to me ? 

BAR. I have told you a score of times already that I will 
not open ; kill yourself, die, go to the devil ; what do I 

AN. (Pretending to stab herself). Good-bye then . . . 
Ah ! I am dead. 

BAR. Can she have been fool enough to do such a trick ? 
I must go down with the candle to see." 

AN. I must catch you. If I can get cunningly into the 
house while you are looking for me, it will be my turn 

BAR. Well ! just as if I ought not to have known that 
she was not such a fool. She is dead ; and, however, she 
runs like Pacolet's horse. 18 Upon my word, she has really 
given me a fright. She has done well to get out of the 
way ; for if I had found her alive, after having given me 
such a fright, I should have dealt her five or six kicks to 
teach her to play the fool. I shall go to bed now. Oh ! 
oh ! I think that the .wind has closed the door. Eh ! 
Cathau, Cathau, open the door. 

AN. Cathau, Cathau ! Well ? what has she done to you, 
Cathau ? and whence come you, Master sot ? Ah ! indeed, 
my parents, who will be here in a minute, shall know 

17 Moliere has employed a great part of this scene in the eighth scene 
of the third act of George Dandin. See Vol. 1 1., p. 560. 

18 In the legend of Valentine and Orson, Pacolet is a dwarf in the ser- 
vice of Lady Clerimond, who has an enchanted flying horse of wood, 
which was very swift, and carried the rider anywhere. Rabelais mentions 
the horse in the twenty-fourth chapter of the second book of Panta- 


the truth. Wine-barrel, infamous wretch, you do not stir 
from the tavern, and you leave a poor woman with her 
little ones to dance attendance upon you all day long, 
without caring whether they want for anything or not. 

BAR. Open quickly, you she-devil, or I shall break 
your head. 


GOR. What is this ! always disputes, quarrels, and dis- 

VIL. Eh, what ! will you never be agreed ? 

AN. But just look, here he is drunk, and comes back 
at this hour, to make a horrible noise ; he threatens me. 

GOR. But this is also not a time to come home. Ought 
you not, as a good father of a family, to retire early and live 
in concord with your wife ? 

BAR. May the devil take me if I have stirred away from 
the house : just ask these gentlemen who are yonder in the 
pit ; it is she who has just come back. Ah ! how inno- 
cence is oppressed. 

VIL. Come, come, make it up ; ask her pardon. 

BAR. I ! pardon ! I would sooner have the devil run 
away with her. I am so angry that I do not know what 
I am doing. 

GOR. Come, daughter, kiss your husband, and be good 
friends. 19 

SCENE XIII. THE DOCTOR, at the window, in his night-cap 

Doc. What ! for ever noise, disorder, dissension, quar- 
rels, debates, differences, combustions, and never ceasing 
altercations ? What is the matter ? what is it then ? There 
is no peace to be had. 

19 These three last scenes have been utilized by Moliere in the eighth 
and following Scenes of the third Act of George Dandin (see Vol. II., 
p. 560 ; just as the scenes in which the Doctor appears seem to be the 
outline of the sixth Scene of the second Act of The Love Tiff (see Vol. 
I., p. 97, and of the sixth Scene of The Forced Marriage (see Vol. I., 
p. 484. 


VIL. It is nothing, Sir Doctor ; everyone is agreed. 

Doc. Talking of agreed, would you like me to read 
you a chapter of Aristotle, in which he proves that all the 
parts of the universe exist only because they agree among 
themselves ? M 

VIL. Is it very long ? 

Doc. No, not very long: it contains about sixty or 
eighty pages. 

VIL. Good-bye, good-night, we are much obliged to you. 

GOR. No, we do not want it. 

Doc. You do not wish for it ? 

GOR. No. 

Doc. Good-bye then, since it is even so ; good-night : 
latine, bona nox. 

VIL. Let us go and sup together. 

20 This may perhaps be the fifth chapter of the apocryphal treatise; 
About the World. It is not very long; but the doctor was probably 
going to comment upon it. 






THE subject of The Flying Doctor is probably imitated from an Italian 
farce, // Medico Volante, which was never printed, but often acted, and 
in which the celebrated Harlequin, Dominico, who arrived at Paris in 
1660, produced some sensation. Boursault (see Introductory Notice to 
The Impromptu of Versailles, Vol. I., p. 435,) wrote also a Flying Doctor, 
which was acted in the month of November 1661, at the Hotel de Bour- 
gogne, and which is taken either from the Italian farce from which Mo- 
liere borrowed his play, or from Moliere himself. 

The Flying Doctor was acted several times in Paris, from the years 
1659 until 1664, and twice at Court. 

Moliere made use of several of the scenes of this farce for his Love is 
the Best Doctor (see Vol. II., p. 135, and The Physician in Spite of Him- 
self (see Vol. II., p. 247.). 


GORGIBUS, Lucile s father. 
VALERE, Lucile's lover. 
SGANARELLE, his setvantl 
GROS-RENE, Gorgibus' servant? 

LuciLE, Gorgibus 1 daughter. 
SABINE, her cousin. 

1 Sganarelle is, in The Physician in Spite of Himself (see Vol. II., p. 
249,) also the name of the servant, disguised as a physician. 

2 See Introductory Notice to The Impromptu of Versailles, Vol. I., 
page 435. 




VAL. Well ! Sabine, what advice do you give me ? 

SAB. Really, there is a good deal of news. My uncle 
wishes resolutely that my cousin should wed Villebrequin, 
and matters are so far advanced that I believe they would 
have been married this very day, if you were not loved ; 
but, as my cousin has confided to me the secret of her 
love for you, and as we find ourselves reduced to extremi- 
ties through the avarice of my niggardly ancle, we have 
bethought ourselves of a capital trick to delay the mar- 
riage. At the moment I am speaking to you, my cousin 
is pretending to be ill ; and the good old man, who is 
sufficiently credulous, has sent me to fetch a doctor. If 
you could send one of your intimate friends, to act in 
concert with us, he would advise the patient to take the 
country air. The old man could not fail to lodge my 
cousin in the pavilion which is at the end of the garden, 
and, by this means, you could converse with her without 
the old man's knowledge, marry her, and let him swear 
his fill with Villebrequin. 

VAL. But the difficulty is to find so quickly a doctor 
such as I wish, and who would be willing to risk so much 
in my service. I tell you candidly, I do not know one. 

SAB. I have bethought myself of something. Suppose 



you dress your servant up as a doctor : there is nothing 
easier than to hoodwink the old man. 

VAL. He is a clumsy lout who would spoil everything ; 
but for want of some one else, we must make use of him. 
Farewell, I am going to fetch him. Where am I to find 
that scoundrel just now? but here he comes quite op- 


VAL. Ah ! my poor Sganarelle, how glad I am to see 
you ! I need you for a matter of importance ; but, as I 
do not know what you are capable of doing. . . . 

SCAN. What I am capable of doing, Sir ? Just try me 
in any matter of consequence, or for something important; 
for instance, just send me to see what o'clock it is by some 
time-piece, to find out the price of butter in the market, 
to bait a horse, then you will find out what I am capable 
of doing. 

VAL. That is not it ; you must counterfeit a doctor. 

SGAN. I, a doctor, Sir ! I am ready to do whatever 
pleases you ; but, to act the doctor, by your leave I shall 
do nothing of the kind ; and, good Heavens, how should 
I set about it ? Indeed, Sir, you are making fun of me. 

VAL. If you will undertake this, I shall give you ten 

SCAN. Ah ! when it comes to ten pistoles, I will not 
say that I am not a doctor ; for, look here, Sir, I am not 
sufficiently clever to tell you the truth. But where am I 
to go when I am a doctor ? 

VAL. To Mr. Gorgibus, to see his daughter who is ill ; 
but you are a clumsy lout who, instead of doing things 
rightly, might . . . 

SCAN. Eh ! Good Heavens, Sir, do not worry yourself 
so much ; I shall answer for it that I will kill a person as 
easily as any doctor in town. There is a common pro- 
verb- after death the doctor ; but you shall find that, if 
I have a hand in it, they shall say : after the doctor, ware 
death ! But nevertheless, when I think of it, it is very 
difficult to act the doctor, and suppose I do no good . . 

VAL. Nothing is more easv in this case ; Gorgibus is a 
simplej coarse fellow, who will allow himself to be non- 

scwnt IT.] THE FLYING DOCTOR. 263 

plussed by your discourse, provided you speak of Hippo- 
crates and Galen, and be somewhat brazen-faced. 

SCAN. Which msans that I am to talk philosophy and 
mathematics to him. Leave it to me, if he be the easy 
fellow you say, I answer for it all ; only come and get me 
a doctor's gown, tell me what I am to do, and give me 
my diploma, which are the ten pistoles promised. 

(Exeunt Valere and Sganarelle. 


GOR. Quick, go and fetch a doctor ; for my daughter 
is very ill, and make haste. 

GROS. What the deuce ! why do you wish to give your 
daughter to an old man? Do not you think that it is the 
wish to have a young man that worries her ? Do you 
perceive the connection there is, etc. {Gibberish). * 

GOR. Go, quickly ; I see well enough that this illness 
will postpone the nuptials. 

GROS. And that is the very thing that annoys me. I 
meant to line my belly well,* and behold me done out of 
it. I am going to fetch a doctor for myself, as well as for 
your daughter. I am desperate. (Exit. 


SAB. I find you at the right moment, uncle, to tell you 
some good news. I bring you the ablest doctor in the 
world, a man who comes from foreign lands, who is master 
of the most important secrets, and who will, no doubt, 
cure my cousin. By some good fortune he has been 
pointed out to me, and I have brought him hither. He 
is so learned that I wish with all my heart that I were ill, 
so that he might cure me. 

GOR. Where then is he? 

SAB. He is following me ; look, here he is. 

8 Jacqueline, in The Physician in Spite of Himself (Act ii., Scene i), 
makes the same observation. The word " gibberish " means that the 
actor who played the part improvised after this. 

*The original has/# croyais refaire man venire cTune bonne carrelure. 
Carrelure are the new soles put on shoes or boots, hence a new lining 
for the stomach. As for Gros Rene's corpulence, see The Love-Ti/, 
Vol. I., page 79, note I. 


GOR. The doctor's most humble servant. I have sent 
for you to look at my daughter who is very ill ; I place 
all my hope in you. 

SCAN. Hippocrates says, and Galen, by undoubtful 
arguments, demonstrates that a person is not in good 
health when he is ill. You are right to place your hope 
in me; for I am the greatest, the ablest, the most learned 
physician in the vegetable, sensitive and mineral faculty. 

GOR. I am delighted at it. 

SCAN. Do not imagine that I am an ordinary physician, 
a commonplace doctor. All the other physicians are, in 
my opinion, nothing but abortions of doctors. I have 
peculiar talents, I have secrets. Salamalec, salamalec. 
Rodriguez, have you a heart? Signer, si; Signer, no. 
Per omnia scecula s&culorum? But just let us look. 

SAB. Eh ! it is not he who is ill, it is his daughter. 

SCAN. It matters not ; the blood of the father and the 
daughter are but one thing ; and, by the change of the 
father's, I can ascertain the disease of the daughter. Mr. 
Gorgibus, is it possible to see the urine of the patient? 

GOR. Certainly ; Sabine, go quickly and get the urine 
of my daughter. {Exit Sabine}. Doctor, I am very much 
afraid that she is dying. 

SCAN. Ah ! let her be careful not to do so ! she must 
not amuse herself by allowing herself to die without a pre- 
scription of the doctor. 6 (Sabine re-enters). This urine 
shows a great deal of heat, a great inflammation of the 
bowels ; it is, however, not so very bad. 

GOR. Eh ! what, Sir, you are swallowing it ? 

SCAN. Do not be surprised at that : doctors, as a rule, 
are satisfied with looking at it ; but I am a doctor out of 
the common, I swallow it, for by tasting it I discern much 
better the cause and the effects of the disease. But, to 
tell you the truth, there was too little to judge by : let 
her make water again. 

5 The words which Sganarelle utters are partly Italian, Spanish, Latin, 
Arabic, and a quotation from Corneille's Cid. Whilst saying them, he 
feels Gorgibus' pulse. 

This is also found in the sixth Scene of the second Act of The Phy- 
sician in Spite of Himself. 


SAB. (Goes and comes back again}. I have had a deal 
of trouble to make her pass water. 

SCAN. Is this all ! it is not worth while ! Make her 
pass water copiously, copiously. If all patients pass water 
in this way, I should like to be a physician all my life. 

SAB. (Goes and comes back again). This is all there is 
to be had : she cannot make any more. 

SCAN. What ! Mr. Gorgibus, your daughter passes but 
drops ? She is but a poor performer, your daughter ; I 
see well enough that I shall have to prescribe a water- 
making potion. Is there no way to see the patient ? 

SAB. She is up ; if you wish, I will make her come 


SCAN. Well ! Miss, you are ill ? 

Lu. Yes, Sir. 

SCAN. So much the worse ! It is a sign that you are 
not in good health. Do you feel any great pain in the 
head, or in the loins? 

Lu. Yes, Sir. 

SCAN. That is very well. Yes, this great physician, in 
the chapter which he has written on the nature of animals, 
says ... a hundred fine things ; and, as the humours 
which have a connexion have much of a relation ; as, for 
instance, as melancholy is the enemy of joy, and as the 
bile which spreads through the body makes us become 
yellow, and as nothing is more opposed to health than 
disease, we may say, with this great man, that your 
daughter is very ill. I must give you a prescription. 

GOR. Quick, a table, paper and ink. 

SCAN. Is there any one here who knows how to write ? 

GOR. Do not you know how to do so ? 

SCAN. Ah ! I did not recollect ; I have so many things 
running in my head that I forget half of them ... I 
think it necessary that your daughter should have some 
fresh air ; that she should go and amuse herself in the 

GOR. We have a very fine garden, and some rooms 
that look out upon it ; if you deem it fit, I shall make her 
lodge there. 


SCAN. Let us go and look at the spot. (Exeunt all. 

I have heard that the daughter of Mr. Gorgibus is ill ; 
I must inquire about her health, and offer her my services 
as a friend of the whole family. Hullo, hullo ! is Mr. 
Gorgibus at home? 


LAW. Having heard of your daughter's illness, I have 
come to tell you that I am concerned about it, and to 
offer you anything in my power. 

GOR. I was within with the most learned of men. 

LAW. Is there no means of conversing with him for a 
moment ? 


GOR. Sir, this is one of my friends, a very able gentle- 
man, who wishes to talk to you, and to converse with you. 

SCAN. I have not the leisure, Mr. Gorgibus : I must 
attend to my patients. I will not take the right-hand side 
with you, Sir. 

LAW. Sir, after what Mr. Gorgibus has told me of your 
merit and knowledge, I have the greatest desire in the 
world to have the honour of your acquaintance ; and I 
have taken the liberty to greet you with this intention ; I 
hope you will not take it amiss. We must admit that all 
those who excel in any science are worthy of great praise, 
and particularly those who profess medicine, as much for 
its own usefulness as because it contains several other 
sciences, which makes its perfect knowledge very difficult : 
and it is much to the point that Hippocrates says, in his 
first aphorism : Vita brevis, ars vero longa, occasio autem 
prceceps, experimentum periculosum, judicium difficile. 7 

SCAN. {To Gorgibus). Ficile tantina pota baril cambus- 

T Life is short, art is long, the occasion fleeting, the experiment full of 
dangers, the appreciation difficult. 

8 Sganarelle has remembered only part of the last vford,Jlci/e, of the 
lawyer : all the rest is nonsense. 


LAW. You are not one of those physicians who apply 
themselves only to those physics called rational or dog- 
matic, and I believe that you practise it daily with much 
success, experientia magistra rerum? The first men who 
professed medicine were so much esteemed for this beau- 
tiful science, that they were placed among the gods for 
the splendid cures which they performed daily. We ought 
not to despise a physician for not having restored the 
health of his patient, inasmuch as it does not altogether 
depend upon his remedies, nor upon his knowledge, inter- 
dum docta plus valet arte malum. 10 I fear I am intruding, 
Sir : I bid you farewell, with the hope that at the next 
opportunity I shall have the honour of conversing with 
you more at leisure. Your moments are precious, etc. 

(Exit Lawyer. 

GOR. What think you of this gentleman ? 

SCAN. He has some trifling knowledge. If he had re- 
mained a little longer, I should have led him on to some 
sublime and elevated matter. I must, however, take my 
leave of you. ( Gorgibus gives him some money). Eh ! 
what would you do ? 

GOR. I know what is due to you. 

SCAN. Are you jesting, Mr. Gorgibus ? I shall not 
accept it; I am not a mercenary man. (Taking the money}. 
Your very humble servant. u 

(Exit Sganarelle. Gorgibus enters his house. 


I do not know what Sganarelle may have been up to : I 
have had no news from him, and I am very anxious where 
to find him. (Sganarelle comes back in his servant* s dress). 
Good, here he is. Well ! Sganarelle, what have you done 
since I saw you ? 

9 It is experience which teaches all things. This is one of Erasmus' 
adages, but slightly altered in sense and in the order of the words. 

10 This is from Ovid's Epistles. Sometimes the evil is stronger than art 
and science. 

11 This is also found in the eighth Scene of the second Act of The Phy- 
sician in Spite of Himself. 



SCAN. Wonder upon wonder ; I have managed so well 
that Gorgibus takes me for a very able doctor. I have 
introduced myself into his house ; I have advised him to 
give his daughter fresh air ; she is now in an apartment at 
the end of the garden, so that she is far away from the old 
man, and you may go and see her very easily, 

VAL. Ah, what joy you are giving me ! Without losing 
any time, I shall go and see hen immediately. (Exit. 

SCAN. One must confess that this Mr. Gorgibus is a 
regular nincompoop to allow himself to be deceived in 
this manner. (Perceiving Gorgibus}. Ah ! good Heavens, 
all is lost ; this one blow knocks the whole of the medical 
faculty down ; but I must hoodwink him. 


GOR. Good-day, Sir. 

SCAN. Your servant, Sir ; you behold a poor fellow in 
despair : perhaps you may know a physician who has lately 
arrived in this town, who performs some wonderful cures. 

GOR. Yes, I do know him ; he has just gone away from 

SCAN. I am his brother, Sir : we are twins ; and, as we 
resemble each other very much, we are often taken for one 

GOR. May the deuce take me 12 if I have not been de- 
ceived by it. And what is your name ? 

SCAN. Narcissus, Sir, at your service. You must know 
that, being in his study, I spilt two vials of essence which 
were at the edge of his table. At once he flew into such 
a violent rage with me, that he has turned me out of his 
house ; he never wishes to see me any more, so that I am 
a poor wretch at present, without support, without any 
means, without an acquaintance. 

GOR. Come, I will make your peace ; I am one of his 
friends, and I promise to make it up for you with him ; I 
shall speak to him about it the moment I see him. 

14 The original has Je me dedonne au diable. See The Jealousy of le 
Barbouille, page 584, note 10. 


SCAN. I shall be much obliged to you, Mr. Gorgibus. 

{Exit Sganarelle, who re-enters immediately 
in his doctor* s gown. 


SCAN. One must admit that if patients will not follow 
the orders of the doctor, and give themselves up to 
debauch . . . 

GOR. Your very humble servant, Doctor. I have come 
to ask you a favour. 

SCAN. What is it, Sir ? Is it a question of rendering 
you a service ? 

GOR. I have just met your brother, Sir, who is exceed- 
ingly sorry to ... 

SCAN. He is a rogue, Mr. Gorgibus. 

GOR. I can answer for it that he so much regrets that 
he has made you angry . . . 

SCAN. He is a sot, Mr. Gorgibus. 

GOR. Eh ! Sir, do you wish to drive the poor fellow to 
despair ? 

SCAN. Let me hear no more about him ; but look at 
the impertinence of the rogue to come and find you to 
make his peace for him ; I beg of you to say no more 
about him. 

GOR. In Heaven's name, Doctor ! do this for my sake. 
If I can oblige you in any other thing, I will do so with 
all my heart. I have pledged myself to this, and . . . 

SCAN. You ask me with so much urgency that although 
I had sworn never to pardon him, come, shake hands, I 
pardon him. I assure you that I have done great violence 
to myself, and that I must feel very kindly towards you. 
Farewell, Mr. Gorgibus. 

{Gorgibus enters his house, exit Sganarelle. 


VAL. I must admit that I could never have believed 
that Sganarelle could have acquitted himself so well of his 
task. (Sganarelle enters in his servant's dress~). Ah ! my 
dear fellow, under what obligations I am to you ! what 
joy I have 1 and . . . 


SCAN. Upon my word, you are speaking very easily 
about it. Gorgibus fell in with me ; and, without some 
trick which I contrived, the whole of the train would have 
been discovered. {Perceiving Gorgibus}, But be off, here 
he is. {Exit Valere. 


GOR. I was looking everywhere for you to tell you 
that I have spoken to your brother : he has pledged me 
his word that he would forgive you ; but, to make more 
sure of it, I wish him to embrace you in my presence ; go 
into my house, and I shall go and fetch him. 

SCAN. Ah ! Mr. Gorgibus, I do not think you will find 
him just now ; and besides, I shall not remain in your 
house : I fear his anger too much. 

GOR. Ah ! but you shall remain, for I will lock you in. 
I am going now to fetch your brother ; fear nothing, I 
answer for it that he is no longer angry. (Exit Gorgibus. 

SGAN. {From the window}. In truth I am caught this 
time ; there is no longer a means of escape. The cloud is 
very thick, and I am sorely afraid that, if it bursts, it will 
hail plentiful cudgel-blows on my back, or that, by some 
prescription much stronger than that of any doctor, they 
will apply at least a royal plaster to my shoulders. 13 My 
prospects look very bad : but why despair ? Since I have 
done so much, let us play the rogue to the end. Yes, yes, 
I must still get out of it, and show that Sganarelle is the 
king of rogues. 

{Sganarelle jumps through 
the window and exit. 


GROS. Ah ! upon my word, this is funny ! what the 
deuce are they leaping through the windows for ! I must 
remain here, and see what all this will lead to. 

GOR. I cannot find this doctor ; I do not know where 
the deuce he has hid himself. {Perceiving Sganarelle, who 
is coming back in a doctor* s gown). But here he is. Sir, 
it is not sufficient to have pardoned your brother; I 

1S Sganarelle means by "a royal plaster " a brand. 


beseech you, for my satisfaction, to embrace him : he is 
in my house, and I have been looking for you everywhere 
to entreat you to make this reconciliation in my presence. 

SCAN. You are jesting, Mr. Gorgibus; is it not suffi- 
cient that I pardon him ? I never wish to see him again. 

GOR. But, Sir, for the love of me. 

SCAN. I can refuse you nothing : tell him to come down. 

(While Gorgibus enters the house by tht 
door, Sganarelle gets in at the window. 

GOR. (At the window}. Here is your brother waiting 
for you below ; he has promised me to do all you wish. 

SCAN. (At the window}. Mr. Gorgibus, I entreat you to 
make him come here ; I beseech you let it be in private 
that I ask his pardon, for no doubt he will inflict a 
hundred reprimands, a hundred reproaches upon me be- 
fore every one. 

( Gorgibus comes out of his house by the door. 
Sganarelle by the window. 

GOR. Well, then, I will tell him so ... Sir, he says 
he is ashamed, and begs you to come in, so that he may 
ask your pardon in private. Here is the key ; you can 
go in ; I pray you not to refuse me, and to give me this 

SCAN. There is nothing I would not do for your satis- 
faction ; you shall hear in what manner I will treat him. 
(At the window}. Ah ! here you are, you rogue. Brother, 
I ask your pardon, I assure you that it was not my fault. 
Not your fault, you good-for-nothing, you rogue, I will 
teach you manners, to have the audacity to bother Mr. 
Gorgibus, to pester his brain with your stupid tricks ! 
Brother Hold your tongue, I tell you I will not dis- 
oblige . . . Hold your tongue, you rogue. 

GROS. Who the deuce think you, is in your house at 
present ? 

GOR. It is the doctor and Narcissus, his brother ; they 
had a little quarrel, and they are making it up. 

GROS. The deuce take it ! they are but one. 

SCAN. (At the window). Sot that you are, I will teach 
you how to behave. How he lowers his eyes ! he knows 


well enough that he has done wrong, the hang-dog ! Ah! 
the hypocrite, how he pretends to be a saint ? 

GROS. Just ask him a moment, Sir, to place his brother 
at the window. 

GOR. I say, doctor, I pray you to make your brother 
come to the window. 

SCAN. {From the windovj). He is unworthy to be seen 
by decent people, and besides I cannot bear him near me. 

GOR. Do not refuse me this favour, Sir, after all those 
you have granted me. 

SCAN. {From the window). Really, Mr. Gorgibus, you 
have such a power over me that I can refuse you nothing. 
Show yourself, you rogue. {After having disappeared for 
a moment, he comes back in his servant 's clothes). Mr. 
Gorgibus, I am obliged to you. (He disappears once 
more, and re-appears immediately, in his doctors gown). 
Well ! have you once more seen this image of a good-for- 
nothing ? 

GROS. Upon my word, they are but one j and, to prove 
it, just tell him that you would like to see them together. 

GOR. But do me the favor to make him appear togeth- 
er with you, and to embrace him before me at the 

SCAN. {From the window). It is a thing which I would 
refuse to any one but you ; but, to show you that I will 
do anything for the love of you, I will resolve to do it, 
though with difficulty, and wish him beforehand to ask 
your pardon for all the trouble which he has given you. 
Yes, Mr. Gorgibus, I ask your pardon for having impor- 
tuned you so much, and promise you, brother, in the 
presence of Mr. Gorgibus here, to behave so well for the 
future, that you shall have no more grounds of complaint, 
at the same time entreating you to think no more about 
what has passed. 

{He embraces his cap and his collar, 
which he has placed on his elbow. 

GOR. Well, are they not both there ? 
GROS. Ah ! upon my word, he is a sorcerer. 
SCAN. {Coming out of the house, as the doctor). Here is 
the key of your house which I return to you, Sir; I did 


not wish this rogue to come down with me, for he dis- 
graces me ; I should not like him to be seen in my com- 
pany, in the town where I am held in some repute. You 
will tell him to come out when it shall please you. I 
wish you a good-day, and am your servant, &c. 

(He pretends to go, and after having slipped off 
his gown, re-enters the house by the window. 

GOR. I must go and set this poor fellow free ; in truth, 
if he has forgiven him, it has not been without much ill- 
treatment. (He enters the house, and comes out of it 
with Sganarelle in his servant' s clothes. 

SCAN. I thank you, Sir, for the trouble you have taken, 
and the kindness you have shown ; I shall be obliged to 
you all my life. 

GROS. Where do you think the doctor is at present ? 

GOR. He is gone. 

GROS. (Who has picked ufi the gown of Sganarelle}. I 
have got him under my arm. Here is the rogue who 
acted the doctor, and who deceived you. While he is deceiv- 
ing you, and acting a play in your house, Valere and your 
daughter are together going to the very devil. 

GOR. Oh ! what an unfortunate wretch I am ! but you 
will be hanged, rogue, scoundrel ! 

SCAN. Why do you want to hang me, Sir ? Just listen 
to one word, if you please ; it is true that it was by ray 
contrivance that my master is with your daughter ; but, in 
serving him, I have done you no harm : he is a very suita- 
ble match for her, by birth as well as by wealth. Believe 
me, do not make a noise which would lead to your con- 
fusion, and send this rogue to the devil together with 
Villebrequin. But here are our lovers. 


VAL. We throw ourselves at your feet. 

GOR. I forgive you, and reckon myself fortunate to 
have been deceived by Sganarelle, seeing that it gives me 
such a good son-in-law. Let us go and enjoy ourselves, 
and drink to the health of the company.