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A Selection from the Comedies of Marivaux by Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux

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[66] TU AS NOM. A Latin construction frequently used even

[67] VA DONC POUR LISETTE, 'Lisette be it, then.'

[68] J'EN VEUX AU COEUR DE LISETTE, 'I have designs upon Lisette's heart.'
The more common modern meaning of the idiom _en vouloir a_ is, 'to have a
grudge against'; but the expression used in the text is also frequent with
the meaning here given. Corneille has, "Alidor en voulait a Celie" (_la
Veuve_, I. 181). "Poppee etait une infidele qui n'en voulait qu'au trone"
(_Othon_, I. 194). "Je n'en veux pas, Cleone, au sceptre d'Armenie"
(_Nicomede_, I. 347). And La Fontaine: "Comme il en voulait a l'argent" (_les
deux Mulets_, I. 8). The Academy gives the locution in its Dictionary, with
the remark: "signifie aussi familierement, Avoir quelque pretention sur cette
personne, sur cette chose, en avoir quelque desir. _Il en veut a cette fille.
Il en veut a cette charge._"

[69] AILLE SUR MES BRISEES, 'Be my rival.' _Les brisees_. Branches broken off
by a hunter to recognize the hiding-place of the game, hence 'traces.'
_Suivre les brisees de quelqu'un_, 'To follow someone's example.' _Aller sur
les brisees de quelqu'un_, 'To contest with (or rival) someone' (Littre,
"brisees," 1 deg. and 2 deg.).

[70] VOUS PERDREZ VOTRE PROCES, 'You will get the worst of it.'

[71] ILS SE DONNENT LA COMEDIE, 'They are making fun at my expense.'

[72] QUI L'AURA, 'Who wins his love.'

[73] M'EN CONTER. See note 38.

[74] NOUS SOMMES DANS LE STYLE AMICAL. An expression derived from the

[75] OTER MON CHAPEAU. It was still customary to wear the hat in the house,
even in the presence of ladies, though the habit was dying out.

[76] JOUE. The edition of 1732, as well as that edited by Duviquet, gives
_joue_. Some later editions give _jure_, in the sense of 'blaspheme.'

[77] PLAISANT. See note 37.

[78] ME FASSE MON PROCES, 'Destroys my hopes.' Compare note 70.

[79] D'ABORD QUE. Used for the more modern _des que_ (Littre, 10 deg.).

[80] MALGRE QUE J'EN AIE, 'In spite of myself.' _Malgre que_ in this sense is
used only with the verb _avoir_ (Littre, 5 deg.).

[81] A TORT AVEC TOI. The modern form is _envers toi_.

[82] A PLUS DE TORT. The _de_ has since been dropped in locutions of this

[83] JE CROIS QU'IL M'AMUSE, 'I think that he strikes my fancy.'

[84] JE ME RAPPELLE DE. In modern French the _de_ is omitted.

[85] CONFIDEMMENT. _Confidentiellement_ the more common form.

[86] NE PRENDRE PAS GARDE. The modern construction of the negative with an
infinitive requires both parts of the negative to precede the verb.

[87] EN FAVEUR DE = _Dans l'interet de_.

[88] MON PORTE-MANTEAU. Refers not to the valise, but to the _crocheteur_ who
carried it. The office of _porte-manteau_ was an honourable one at the French
court. Twelve officers of the household bore the title and discharged the
duties of the office, which consisted in taking care of the king's hat,
gloves, stick, and sword, and in handing them to his majesty when called for.
One of these officers always accompanied the king when hunting, with a valise
containing raiment. See A. Cheruel, _Dictionnaire historique des
institutions, moeurs et coutumes de la France_.

[89] AUTANT VAUT, 'That's the same thing.' 'That's just as good.'

[90] LA BELLE. The use of the article is here indicative of familiarity. Used
in this way towards inferiors.

[91] JE VAIS FAIRE DESCENDRE. On the part of a supposed servant, a somewhat
free and easy expression.

[92] UN BEAU-PERE DE LA VEILLE OU DU LENDEMAIN, 'A man who is as good as my

[93] AVANT QUE DE. _Avant de_ is more modern.

[94] L'HOTEL. In the meaning attached to the word in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, that is, 'mansion,' 'residence.' Originally applied
specifically to the king's residence, it soon was used of the mansions of the
nobility in Paris or other towns. Later, the habit arose among the nobility
of renting rooms and apartments within their mansions when the family was not
in residence, and gradually the word assumed its present more extended
meaning. But _hotel_ is still used to denote strictly a residence.

[95] PLAISANT. One must understand here a double meaning, Silvia uses it
evidently in the sense of 'amusing,' 'ridiculous' (see note 37), while
Harlequin fails to catch the point, and, as his reply shows, takes it in its
earlier sense of 'agreeable.' It is scarcely used to-day in this latter

[96] M'EN ETRE FIE A TOI. The _en_ here is difficult to construe. It refers
to the whole of the preceding clauses. In modern construction it would be

[97] DANS LES SUITES. 'After this,' 'henceforth.' For _dans la suite_.

[98] DONNERAI DU MELANCOLIQUE. The more ordinary form is _donnerai dans le

[99] PLAISANTE, 'Agreeable.' See note 95.

[100] QUE DE CET INSTANT. The modern form would be _qu'a l'instant_.

[101] SI MAL BATI, 'In such a bad state.' Colloquial.

[102] RAGOUTANT, 'Tempting,' 'pleasing.' Its earlier and more common meaning
is, 'tempting to the palate.' As used here it is familiar, and corresponds
with the rest of Harlequin's expressions, though it is by no means an
expression confined by Marivaux to servants. Compare: "Ne voila-t-il pas un
amant bien ragoutant!" (_Marianne_, 3e partie). "Cependant comme cette
personne etait fraiche et ragoutante..." (_Le Paysan parvenu_, 1re partie).
"Et a quel age est-on meilleure et plus ragoutante, s'il vous plait?" (id.,
5e partie).

[103] TRINQUER, 'To drink a toast.' From the German _trinken_, Italian
_trincare_. This verb shows a much more jovial spirit than would the verb
_boire_, and, in this case, is more familiar and inelegant.

[104] SI VOUS NE METTEZ ORDRE. After the conjunctions _a moins que_ (unless),
and _si_, in the same sense, the second part of the negation (_pas_) is
omitted. The idiom _mettre ordre a_ means 'to look after.'

[105] VOTRE PRETENDU GENDRE, 'Intended son-in-law.' The word _pretendu_ is
commonly used alone, and then means 'intended.' The usage is derived from the
meaning of the verb _pretendre a_, 'to aspire to,' 'to desire.' Here,
therefore, 'the man who aspires to become your son-in-law.'

[106] VONT LEUR TRAIN, 'Are doing their work,' 'are producing their effect.'

[107] NOUS Y VOILA, 'Just what I feared.'

[108] IL EST DE MAUVAIS GOUT. The _il_ refers not to Arlequin, whom Lisette
takes for Dorante, but to the idea that she should be loved by one so much
her superior socially.

[109] CELA NE LAISSERA PAS QUE D'ETRE, 'It will be no less true.' The idiom
may be expressed more logically by the omission of the _que_ (Littre,
"laisser," 20 deg.).

[110] D'HOMME D'HONNEUR. An ellipsis for the more complete expression which
later editions print, _foi d'homme d'honneur_.

[111] J'AI MENAGE SA TETE, 'I have spared his mind,' 'I have handled him

[112] LE MOMENT. For _l'occasion_.

[113] A VUE DE PAYS, 'From the looks of things.'

[114] FAIT. Some later editions print _tourne_. The idea is the same.

[115] JUSQUE LA, 'To such a degree.'

[116] A LA BONNE HEURE, 'As you please.'

[117] AVANT QUE DE. See note 93.

[118] DE VOTRE FACON, 'Brought forth by you.' The whole figure is both
trivial and bombastic, in perfect accord with the role of Harlequin.

[119] ROQUILLE. An ancient wine measure amounting to a quarter of a _setier_.
A _setier_, in the current use of the word, was equal to half a _pinte_. A
_pinte_ was a little less than a _litre_ (Hatzfeld and Darmesteter). Hence a
_roquille_ would be less than an eighth of a _litre_. A synonym for any small

[120] COMME UN PERDU, 'Desperately.'

[121] VALETAILLE, 'Whole set of valets,' Composed of _valet_ and the
pejorative ending _aille_ (Littre).

[122] SERA. The text of 1732 has _fera_, but this is likely a misprint, as
the f's and long s's were easily confounded.

[123] IMPERTINENT. Here the actor taking the part of Dorante, profiting by
the inattention of Lisette, administers to Harlequin a vigorous kick, which
the latter is obliged to receive with equanimity, much to the amusement of
the spectators. This byplay is also a reminiscence of the habits of the early
_comediens italiens_, who indulged to excess in _lazzi_, which originally
meant, not witticisms, but tricks more or less buffoon in their nature, such
as circus clowns still indulge in. We know that Marivaux objected to any
liberty being taken with the roles by the actors. It may well be questioned
whether the above-mentioned gesture would have met his approval. In a letter
written to Sarcey (published in _Quarante ans de theatre_, tome II, pp. 271-
275), Larroumet writes as follows upon this subject: "Pour ma part, une
longue etude de Marivaux m'a prouve que lazzis et jeux de scene n'etaient
nullement le fait des premiers interpretes qui jouerent sous la direction de
l'auteur, mais bien des troupes de petits theatres qui, apres la disparition
de la comedie italienne, en 1782, recueillirent plusieurs pieces de Marivaux
et les jouerent un peu partout, jusqu'a ce que Mlle. Contat les fit entrer,
vers 1794 et 1796, au Theatre de la Republique."

[124] DEBARRASSE-MOI DE TOUT CECI. A contemptuous expression by which Dorante
designates Lisette. It is entirely in keeping with the manners of the day.

[125] NE TE LIVRE POINT. _Livrer_ is here taken in the sense of 'betray.'

[126] LA QUESTION EST VIVE, 'That is a leading question.'

[127] UN PETIT BRIN. Equivalent to _un petit peu_. _Brin_ means 'spear' (of
grass, etc.), and, as in the case of _goutte_ (drop) and of _mie_ (crumb),
has come to indicate any small particle. Often idiomatically translated by

[128] J'AI PEUR D'EN COURIR LES CHAMPS, 'I am afraid of losing my reason.'
Compare the expression, _etre fou a courir les rues, a courir les champs_,
'to be stark mad ' (Littre, "courir," 23 deg.).

[129] DECOMPTER, 'Deduct.' Still used, though not commonly, for _rabattre_.

[130] LES MAITRES. _On_ may be followed by the plural, if taken in a plural
sense, although some later editions give the singular, _le maitre_. In fact,
after this indefinite pronoun, a noun, adjective, or participle may agree in
gender and number with the person or persons to whom the indefinite refers.

[131] FONT ... A LEUR TETE, 'Have their own way.' The idiom _faire a sa tete_
means 'to do as one pleases.'

[132] BEAU JEU. The idiom _avoir beau jeu_ is a card term, and means first,
'to hold the best cards,' and hence, 'to have a good opportunity.'

[133] PERRETTE OU MARGOT. Names of the lower classes among servants. The idea
is carried out by the reference to the visit to the cellar and the flat
candlestick. Compare: "Ne semble-t-il pas qu'il faille tant de ceremonies
pour parler a madame? On parle bien a Perrette" (_Marianne_, 2e partie).
_Perrette_, from the well-known fable of La Fontaine, _Perrette et le pot at
lait_, has come down to us as the personification of the dreamer, the builder
of air-castles. _Margot_, a diminutive of Marguerite, is a common term for
the chatterbox.

[134] FAUTES D'ORTHOGRAPHE, 'Misapprehensions as to real rank.' The ordinary
meaning of the expression, used figuratively, is _fautes de conduite_.

[135] NE VOILA-T-IL PAS! An exclamation of surprise. It might here be
translated, 'Just listen to that.' It is more correctly expressed by _ne
voila pas_, the barbarism resulting from the consideration of _voila_ as a
verb and the introduction of the euphonic _t_ and the _il_ of impersonal
verbs (Littre, "voila," 10 deg.),

[136] MA MIE. A curious example of deformation. Originally feminine nouns
beginning with a vowel took the feminine _ma_ before them, the vowel of _ma_
being elided. Thus, _m'amie_; but later the word was modified to its present

[137] QU'ON NE LES APPELLE. _Que_ in the sense of _sans que_ requires the
negative particle _ne_. It is less frequently used to-day than in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. _Sans qu'on les appelle_ might replace
this expression.

[138] PUISQUE LE DIABLE LE VEUT. An uncomplimentary variant of the proverb.
"Ce que femme veut, Dieu le veut."

[139] JE VOUS TROUVE ADMIRABLE, 'I think it is very surprising on your part.'

[140] GATE L'ESPRIT SUR SON COMPTE, 'Prejudiced you against him.'

[141] ON N'EN A QUE FAIRE, 'We have no need of them.'

[142] EN QUOI DONC. The _en_ here must refer to _comme elle tourne les
choses_, in Silvia's last remark.

[143] TOUJOURS, 'Still.'

[144] ME NOIRCIR L'IMAGINATION, 'Soil my thoughts.' Marivaux has very
consistently preserved the character of the high-born lady that Silvia is, in
the remarks he puts into her mouth. It is impossible for her to forget her
real rank, or to forget her usual way of considering menials as of an
inferior race.

[145] OBJET. Usually, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, denotes a
woman loved. Occasionally Corneille, like Marivaux here, employs it to denote
a man loved. This, however, is infrequent.

[146] A MOI. There is an ellipsis at the end of Silvia's remark, which,
completed, would read: _Il n'y aurait pas grande perte a cela_. Dorante's
reply, which is not strictly grammatical, even in the use of the time, would
certainly nowadays be constructed differently, e.g., _Non plus que si je m'en
allais aussi, moi_.

[147] NE SONT BONNES QU'EN PASSANT, 'Can only be indulged in once in a

could always be sure of...'

[149] CELA NE RESSEMBLEROIT PLUS A RIEN. The sense is: "My attitude
towards you would be so extraordinary that it might become compromising"

[150] IL N'EN SEROIT NI PLUS NI MOINS = _Cela ne changerait rien_.' It would
make no difference.'

[151] J'AMUSERAI, 'Shall I flatter with vain hopes?' Compare: "Il veut que je
l'amuse, et ne veut rien de plus" (Corneille, _Sertorius_, II, 3). "Car vous
lui promettez tous les huit jours de l'epouser dans la semaine, et il y a
pres d'un an que vous l'amusez" (Dancourt, _Le Chevalier a la Mode_, I, 7).

[152] JE T'EN ASSURE. The _en_ here is unconnected with any other part of the
sentence. In modern construction it would not be used.

[153] TE RENDRE SENSIBLE. An expression very frequently, indeed generally,
used in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for _me faire aimer de toi_.
A reminiscence of the days and modes of thought of the _precieuses_ and the
whole tribe of writers of novels after the manner of _l'Astree_.

[154] SANS DIFFICULTE, 'Undoubtedly.'

[155] IL NE MANQUOIT PLUS QUE CETTE FACON-LA, 'This is the finishing stroke.'

[156] DANS LE RESPECT. The modern form is _par le respect_.

[157] POUR DANS. An awkward expression. The _pour_ might better have been
omitted. Later editions give simply _dans_.

[158] HUMEUR. 'Temper,'

[159] SI FORT SUR LE QUI-VIVE, 'Take offence so readily.'

[160] DANS QUELLE IDEE. _De would be used nowadays instead of _dans.

[161] QUI NE ME CHOQUE. In relative clauses depending upon a negative
antecedent, the second part of the negative (_pas_) in the relative clause is
generally omitted.

[162] CES MOUVEMENTS-LA. 'Emotion.' Compare: "D'un mouvement jaloux je ne fus
pas maitresse" (Racine. _Bajazet_. I. 4). "L'ame n'est qu'une suite
continuelle d'idees et de sentiments qui se succedent et se detruisent: les
mouvements qui reviennent le plus souvent forment ce qu'on appelle le
caractere" (Voltaire, _Supplement au siecle de Louis XIV_. 2e partie).

[163] QUERELLEE, 'Taken her to task.'

[164] UN ESPRIT. In ordinary French of the present day the _un_ would be

[165] SURPRISE. The feminine form of the participle is admissible after _on_.

[166] UN MAUVAIS ESPRIT. Referring to Silvia, although the idea is clear,
grammatical consistency is overthrown in the next line when the pronoun _la_
is used instead of _le_.

[167] DE LA CONSEQUENCE, 'What may be inferred.'

[168] EST. Some later editions give _soit_. This difference in the mode used
in various editions is but another proof of the elasticity of the subjunctive
in French. Either mode is here correct, the indicative expressing greater
positiveness, and the subjunctive more doubt, in the supposition.

[169] J'Y METS BON ORDRE, 'I look after that,' or 'I see that he doesn't. See
note 104.

[170] APOSTILLE, 'Observation.' Literally 'postscript,' from _ad_ and
_postillam_ (low Latin for 'explanation,' 'note.' Littre).

[171] AIMABLE, 'Courteous.'

[172] QUE TU NE ME CHAGRINES. See note 137.

[173] JE T'EN OFFRE AUTANT, 'I can say the same to you.'

[174] MOUVEMENTS. See note 159.

[175] OU. Later editions give _que_, which is preferable in modern French.
The relative pronoun should not follow a construction similar to that of its
antecedent placed in the clause immediately preceding. The same is true of
the conjunctive adverb _ou_ (P. Larousse). One should not, therefore, say:
_C'est_ a vous a qui _je parle_. _C'est_ dans cette maison ou _je suis ne_.
_C'est_ ici ou _je l'ai trouve_. _C'est_ de toi dont _il ecrit_. _Que_
preferred in each case.

[176] A QUI. See preceding note. A construction much blamed by all modern
authorities, although common to Marivaux, and used also by Boileau, Moliere,
and others. "C'est _a vous_, mon Esprit, _a qui_ je veux parler" (Boileau,
_Satire IX_, 1. i). "Mais, madame, puis-je au moins croire que ce soit _a
vous a qui_ je doive la pensee de cet heureux stratageme..." (Moliere,
_L'Amour medecin_, III, vi). In this case _que_ would be better than a qui,
and is so printed in most of the later editions.

[177] PENETRER = _Decouvrir_.

[178] AVANT QUE DE. See note 93.

[179] NEUVE, 'Novel.' Compare: "C'etait bien le plan le plus original,
le plus beau, le plus neuf!" (Merimee, _la Guzla, avertissement_).

[180] IRREGULIER, 'Unseemly,' 'impolite.'

[181] JUSQUE LA. See note 115.

[182] LUI FEROIT TORT. Here modern usage requires the partitive _du_.

[183] SUR L'ARTICLE DE, 'Concerning,' 'in the matter of.'

[184] LUI. Marivaux felt the charm of this artless reply, and repeated it in
_l'Epreuve_ (see Introduction, p. lxiii), with the added epigram of Lisette:
"Et quel est donc cet homme qui s'appelle lui par excellence?"

[185] GUIGNON, 'Bad luck.' From _guigner_ ('to ogle,' 'to peep'), and has
some connection with the idea of the evil eye (Littre).

[186] CELA N'EST POINT CONTRAIRE A FAIRE FORTUNE. _Cela n'empeche pas de
faire fortune_ is more modern and better French.

[187] IMAGINATION. See note 44.

[188] IL LUI PREND. _Il_ is redundant, and in some of the later editions is

[189] ACCOMMODONS-NOUS, 'Let us compromise.' Compare: "Le Ciel defend, de
vrai, certains contentements; mais on trouve avec lui des accommodements."
(Moliere, _le Tartuffe_).

[190] FRIAND, 'Eager.' Primarily _friand_ signified the gift of a delicate
taste, and a rare appreciation of dainties. As used by Harlequin
it recalls his _ragoutant_. Cf. note 132.

[191] HABIT DE CARACTERE. Garb which designates, which characterizes
any particular profession. As used here, it signifies Harlequin's livery as

[192] GALON DE COULEUR, 'The fact that I wear livery.' The reference is to
the braiding on the livery-coats worn by the retainers and domestics of the
nobility in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as at the
present day. "Apres son deuil (the author speaks of Lauzun, who had gone into
mourning for the Grande Mademoiselle), il ne voulut pas reprendre sa livree,
et s'en fit une de brun presque noir, avec des galons bleus et blancs"
(Saint-Simon, _Memoires_, I).

[193] BUFFET, Side-table, on which are placed the dishes destined for table
service, and on which they may be left after clearing the table. The servants
probably often ate the 'leavings' at this table, which may have given rise to
the term _buffet_ for the servants' eating-room, which is the sense in which
the word is used here. Compare: "Je suis las d'etre bien battu et mal
nourri... Je suis las enfin d'avoir de la condescendance pour vos debauches,
et de m'enivrer au _buffet_, pendant que vous vous enivrez a table" (Regnard,
_Attendez-moi sous l'orme_, Sc. l).

[194] SUCCES = _Resultat_.

[195] EN CONTEZ A. See note 38.

[196] LE LANGAGE BIEN PRECIEUX. The use of the expression _du gout_, in the
sense of 'a liking,' 'a fancy,' was much more _recherche_ in the eighteenth
century than now. Hence Mario's feigned surprise at hearing such words from
the lips of a supposed valet. Compare: "Gout, en galanterie, simple
inclination, amusement passager, mot des gens de cour" (De Caillieres, 1690).

[197] A LE BIEN PRENDRE, 'If you look at things rightly.'

[198] PASSEZ, 'Overlook.'

[199] LES, in later editions _mes_, which is evidently the better form.

[200] EST BIEN AUSSI, for _tout aussi_.

[201] QUE JE NE L'AIME. See note 137.

[202] TON COEUR A DE CAQUET, 'How effusive your heart is.'

[203] CELA VAUT FAIT = _C'est comme si c'etait fait: Regardez la chose comme
faite_ (Dict. of the Academy, 1878).

[204] IMPERTINENCE = _Mesalliance_.

[205] ET IL EST TOUT AU PLUS UNI. The edition of Duviquet renders this
passage as follows: "Et il est tout des plus unis." Larroumet explains it:
"Et il est des plus ordinaires, c'est a dire que toute femme a un amour-
propre semblable a celui-la." Translate: 'And it is the commonest (most
ordinary) kind.' For _uni_ in this sense see Littre, 10 deg.. Compare: "Elle
aurait cru se degrader par le soin de son menage, et elle ne donnait pas dans
une piete si vulgaire et si _unie_" (_le Paysan parvenu_, 4e partie).

[206] BIEN CONDITIONNEE, 'In pretty good condition,' 'pretty well turned
(upset).' A peculiar use of this past participle. Duviquet translates it,
"Une tete qui reunit toutes les conditions necessaires pour etre reputee
sage, forte, bien puissante." I prefer to construe it: 'brought into the
condition which Lisette desires,' that is to say, 'subject to her charms.' If
the context were not clear enough, its use in line 13, below, would suffice
to explain it.

[207] LE, referring, of course, to Dorante, and not to tete, as the gender of
the pronoun shows.

[208] PRENDRAI DE PART, 'Care for.'

[209] QU'IL S'ACCOMMODE, for the more modern _qu'il s'arrange_.

[210] SI JE LUI DIS, for si je _le_ lui dis. Marivaux often omits the direct
object pronoun in similar constructions. See _le Legs_, note 25, and _les
Fausses Confidences_, note 127.

[211] LE, see note 207.

ESQUIVIEZ LA MIENNE. An absurd metonymy, perfectly consistent, however, with
Harlequin's jargon, and very similar to the fifth example of _Marivaudage_,
Introduction, p. lxxiv.

[213] IL EN ETOIT QUELQUE CHOSE, 'That is about the truth.'

[214] ENTREPRIS LA FIN DE MA VIE, 'Do you intend to make me die?'

[215] AVANT QUE JE LA DEMANDE A LUI, etc. The modern construction of this
sentence would be: _Avant que je ne la lui demande, souffrez que je vous la
demande a vous._

[216] RENDRE MES GRACES. In modern usage the _mes_ is omitted in this

[217] NENNI, 'No.' An antiquated negative particle, coming from _non illud_,
as _hoc illud_ gave oil > oui (Littre).

[218] IL This second _il_ refers to _present_.

[219] NE FAITES POINT DEPENSE D'EMBARRAS, 'Don't waste your confusion,'
'keep such feelings for a more fitting occasion.'

[220] D'OU VIENT ME DITES-VOUS CELA? 'Why do you tell me that?' A strange
wording for _D'ou vient que vous me dites cela? D'ou vient,_ as used by
Marivaux, is generally synonymous with _pourquoi._

[221] VOILA OU GIT LE LIEVRE, 'That's where the secret lies.' A well-known
proverbial expression, worded also, "C'est la que git le lievre."

[222] A TIRER, 'To be allowed for.'

[223] GLOIRE, 'Rank,' 'show.'

[224] J'ENTRE EN CONFUSION DE MA MISERE, 'To whom I have been ashamed to
reveal my lowly station.'

[225] PARDI. See note 15.

[226] FAUTES D'ORTHOGRAPHE. See note 134.

[227] N'APPRETONS POINT A RIRE, 'Let us give them no occasion to
laugh at us.' _Appreter a rire_, Littre, 8 deg., also Dict. de l'Acad., 1878.

[228] HABIT D'ORDONNANCE, 'Livery.' Until 1666 the regiments in the French
army wore the livery of the colonel commanding. After that date they wore the
king's livery or uniform, though some regiments, more highly favored, wore
the actual colors of the royal livery; the uniform was in fact nothing but a
mark that the wearers belonged to the sovereign. Harlequin has played upon
this fact in a preceding scene, when he has called himself "un soldat

[229] CELA NE LAISSE PAS D'ETRE. See note 109.

[230] TANT Y A QUE, 'However that may be,' or 'Nevertheless, the truth is

[231] LA VOILA BIEN MALADE, 'She is pining with love for me.'

[232] PAR LA VENTREBLEU, _Ventrebleu_, written also _ventrebieu_, is a
euphemism for _ventre (de) Dieu_. A familiar interjection; admitted by the
Academy, 1878. For the _la_, compare a similar corruption of _palsambleu_
(_par le sang [de] Dieu_) into _par LA sambleu_, and _corbleu_ (_corps [de]
Dieu_) into _par LA corbleu_.

[233] CASAQUE. Harlequin's loose upper garment or jacket.

[234] SOUQUENILLE. A long outer garment of coarse cloth, worn especially by
grooms in the care of their horses.

[235] UN AMOUR DE MA FACON, 'A passion inspired by me.'

[236] SUJET A LA CASSE, 'Apt to be thwarted.' _Casse_--literally 'breakage.'

[237] FRIPERIE, 'Old clothes.' Used colloquially; as in English, 'duds.'

[238] POUSSER MA POINTE, 'Carry out my purpose.'

[239] LA MIENNE. Refers to _friperie_.

[240] NOUS L'AVONS DANS NOTRE MANCHE. "Avoir une personne dans sa manche, En
disposer a son gre" (_Dictionnaire de l'Academie francaise_). The expression,
no doubt, is derived from the custom of using the full sleeves as a
receptacle for all manner of objects to be carried about by the wearer at a
time when pockets were not worn. It is still in vogue in certain cases--
military officers, for instance, carry their handkerchiefs in their left
sleeve. Theophile Gautier, in his _Voyage en Italie_, speaks of giving to a
couple of monks "quelques zwantzigs pour dire des messes a notre intention.
Les bons peres prirent l'argent, le glisserent dans le pli de leur manche."

[241] PATE D'HOMME. A familiar expression for 'sort of a man.'

[242] VOUS M'EN DIREZ DES NOUVELLES, 'You will see that I am right.' See
_Nouvelle_, Littre, 1 deg.. Compare: "(Madame Patin) Tu ne sais ce que tu dis.
(Lisette) Vous m'en direz des nouvelles" (Dancourt, _le Chevalier a la Mode_,
I, IX).

[243] VOS PETITES MANIERES, 'Your rude manners.' By apposition to _les belles
manieres_, the manners of a class above one's own.

[244] NOUS VIVRONS BUT A BUT, 'We shall live on the same footing.' To
understand Harlequin's impertinent remark, it must be remembered that while
he is well aware of the real rank of both Lisette and Silvia, Dorante is
still ignorant of it. Harlequin knows his master to be in love with the
latter, and to be about to marry her, in spite of the apparently tremendous
difference in rank, and allows himself a little sarcasm at the expense of his
master. This attitude of the domestic towards his superior is not infrequent
in the comedies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

[245] PREVENU, 'Forestalled.'

[246] CE N'EST PAS A MOI A ... DEMANDER. See note 7.

[247] ENTENDEZ. _Entendre_ is here used for _comprendre_.

[248] EST-CE A VOUS A VOUS PLAINDRE. See note 7. Some later editions print
_de vous plaindre_.

[249] VOUS RENDRE SENSIBLE. See note 153.

[250] VOUS ETES SENSIBLE A, 'You share.'

[251] JE N'Y TACHERAI POINT. This construction would not now be admissible.
The modern form would be, _Je ne tacherai point de le faire_.

[252] LE MERITE VAUT BIEN LA NAISSANCE. A theme often repeated by Marivaux.
Compare: "Son exemple encourageait quiconque avait du merite sans naissance"
(Voltaire, _Russie_, I, 12). Voltaire founded his comedy, _Nanine_, upon this
line of Marivaux. The Comte d'Olban has fallen in love with Nanine, a girl
brought up by his mother, the Marquise d'Olban, and who occupies the position
of half maid, half companion. She is a peasant's daughter, but the Count
marries her, nevertheless, after he has declaimed a number of speeches full
of very noble and liberal ideas on equality and the worth of real virtue, of
which the following extract is a fair sample:--

Je ne prends point, quoiqu'on en puisse croire,
La vanite pour l'honneur et la gloire,
L'eclat vous plait; vous mettez la grandeur
Dans des blasons: je la veux dans le coeur.
L'homme de bien, modeste avec courage,
Et la beaute spirituelle, sage
Sans bien, sans nom, sans tous ces titres vains,
Sont a mes yeux les premiers des humains.

[253] MADAME. Note that this is the first time Dorante has so addressed
Silvia. That is because it is only now that he has learned her real rank.

[254] ALLONS, SAUTE, MARQUIS! from Regnard's _le Joueur_ (1696), IV, vi.


[1] LISETTE. An interesting type. See Introduction, p. lxvii.

[2] LEPINE. One of the three valets of Marivaux which may be considered as
new types. See Introduction, p. lviii.

[3] DE CETTE GRANDE JEUNESSE, 'So very young.'

[4] L'EVENEMENT, 'The result,' 'outcome.'

[5] MOYENNANT, 'Considering.' The modern meaning is 'in consideration

[6] NOUS SOMMES A CETTE CAMPAGNE. _A_ for _dans_, the modern form.

[7] GASCON FROID. A type striking by reason of its exception to the
general class. _Gascon_ is often synonymous with boaster, liar, and
blusterer. Composure or sobriety is the least of his virtues, and when
found may perhaps give reason for distrust. Compare the character of de
Guiche in Rostand's _Cyrano de Bergerac:_ "Le Gascon souple et froid" (Act
I, Sc. iii). "Rien de plus dangereux qu'un Gascon raisonnable" (Act IV,
Sc. iii).

[8] MONSIEUR DE LEPINE. This title, though often ironically or latteringly
given to Lepine throughout the play, goes far to show the type of
independent valet one has to deal with here.

[9] INCONTINENT, 'Immediately.' From the Latin _in continenti_.

[10] SUR LE MEME TON. Equivalent to _pied_, the modern form.

[11] DE SOUPCONS. There is an ellipsis here: _Pour ce qui est de
soupcons_. More usually: _Quant a avoir des soupcons_, _j'en ai_, etc.

[12] JE DIFFERE AVEC VOUS DE PENSEE. This form would scarcely be used
nowadays. _Je ne suis pas de votre avis_ would be preferred.

[13] D'OU VIENT. See _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 220.

[14] LE TOUT EST EGAL, 'Every condition is alike (in that respect).' This
expression would be replaced in modern French by _tout etat est bon_.

[15] MONS, an abbreviation for _Monsieur_. Used to express contempt.

[16] D'HOMME D'HONNEUR. The complete expression would be _Foi d'homme
d'honneur_. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 110.

[17] JE VOUS EN OFFRE AUTANT. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note

saying a good deal if I even know yours now.'

[19] DESSUS. Later editions print _sur_, which would be the modern

[20] SANDIS. A Gascon oath. For _sang (de) Dieu_. Cf. _morbleu_,
_parbleu_, _ventrebleu_. None of these expletives, any more than _mon
Dieu_ should ever be translated literally--They have wholly lost their
original force and meaning.

[21] OUI-DA. See _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 21.

[22] N'Y VOYEZ-VOUS RIEN. Note the use of _y_ applied to a person.
Cf. with the use of the third person.

[23] REVENANT, 'Pleasing.'

[24] DISTINGUE. _Distinguer_ sometimes means 'to examine with a view to
marriage.' Compare: "Est-ce que je l'aimais? Dans le fond je le
distinguais, voila tout; et distinguer un homme, ce n'est pas encore
l'aimer" (Marivaux, _l'Heureux Stratageme_, I, 4).

[25] D'ABONDANCE. This idiom generally means 'offhand,' but it is
undoubtedly used here in the sense of _d'abondant_, 'moreover,' an
expression already antiquated, and usually replaced by the idiom _de

[26] GENS. Generally used, if preceded by a possessive adjective
in the sense of 'servants.' Compare Harlequin's exclamation: "Ah! les
sottes gens que nos gens!" (_le Jeu_, etc., II, VI, p. 42), which has
become almost proverbial.

clear, though the construction is not satisfactory according to modern

[28] NE LUI DISE. For _ne le lui dise_. As has been said, Marivaux not
infrequently omits the direct object pronoun in similar constructions. See
_le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 210, and _les fausses confidences_,
note 127.

[29] CETTE ENFANCE, 'That sort of childishness.' Compare: "Vous venez de
pleurer; c'est une enfance" ... (_Marianne_, 3e partie). Also: "Ce sont
des betises ou des _enfances_ dont il n'y a que de bonnes gens qui soient
capables" (id. 2e partie). See _les fausses confidences_, note 151.

[30] QU'EN SERA-T-IL? 'What will be the result?'

[31] SIMPLESSE, _Simplicite ingenue_. Antiquated, according to Hatzfeld
and Darmesteter. The Dictionary of the Academy (1878) admits it with the
meaning of _ingenuite, accompagnee de douceur et de facilite_.

[32] OCCURRENCE, 'The possible case.' _Occurrence_ always signifies an
unforeseen circumstance,' 'an emergency.' Compare: "N'oublie jamais que tu
as pour le moins la moitie de part a tout ce que je fais dans cette
_occurrence_" (_le Paysan parvenu_, 1e partie).

[33] QUE LA COMMODITE VOUS TENTE, 'Let the convenient opportunity,' etc.,
'Let your own convenience (or advantage) tempt you.'

[34] NE ME VALENT RIEN. The modern form is _n'ont aucune valeur pour moi._

[35] REPARTE, 'Reply,' from _repartir_, used in the sense of _repondre,
repliquer, riposter_. Compare: "Je ne _repartis_ rien a ce discours mais
mes yeux recommencerent a se mouiller" (_Marianne_, 3e partie).

[36] QU'IL ME FAIT BESOIN, 'That I need it.' FAIRE BESOIN = _etre
necessaire_. Common to the writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. Compare: "S'il vous faisait besoin, mon bras est tout a vous"
(Moliere, _le Depit amoureux_, v, 3).

[37] SANDIS. See note 20.

[38] QU'UNE AUTRE. The edition of 1740 prints _qu'un autre_, but this must
be a mistake.

[39] D'OU VIENT. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 220.

[40] JE VOUS FEROIS UN FORT BON PARTI, 'I would settle a handsome sum on
you both.'

[41] DERECHEF, 'Once more.' Compound of _de, re_, and _chef_ (Lat.
_caput_). Growing obsolete, and replaced in modern French by _de nouveau_
or _encore une fois_.

[42] JE VOUS Y BROUILLEROIS, 'I would get you into trouble with her.'
Aside from the fact that _y_ should be avoided in speaking of persons, the
preposition used after the verb _brouiller_ is properly _avec_ and not
_a_, as is understood in the use of _y_.

[43] ELLE ME FAIT TANT D'AMITIE, 'She inspires me with so much love.'

[44] DECONFORTEZ, for the more modern _decouragez_.

[45] N'EN TENEZ COMPTE. _Tenir compte_ may be used in the negative without
the addition of _pas_ or _point_. Compare: "Il n'en a tenu compte."
(Racine, _les Plaideurs_, I. i.) The negative is to-day, however,
generally completed.

[46] LA GARONNE. A river in the southwestern part of France, rising in the
valley of Aran, in the Spanish Pyrenees, then flowing northward and
northwest past Toulouse, Agen, and Bordeaux, to its juncture with the
Dordogne, with which it merges its waters to form the Gironde. A not
uncommon term for the Gascons is _Enfants de la Garonne_.

[47] GARE, "Take care." From the verb _garer_. _Prenez garde que_ is the
more natural modern expression.

[48] MALEPESTE, 'Confound it.' Compare our exclamation, 'plague on it.' It
is an antiquated expression composed of _male (feminine)_ and _peste_.
Obsolete. Admitted by the French, Academy in 1762, but not included in the
dictionary of 1878.

[49] JE N'AVOIS GARDE D'Y ETRE, 'I had no idea whom you meant.' The idiom
_n'avoir garde de_ means 'to be unable' or 'to be far from' (Littre,
"garde." 7 deg.).

[50] JE NE LUI EN VEUX POINT DE MAL, 'I don't wish him any harm.'
Pleonastic for _je ne lui veux point de mal_.

[51] DONT. Better _que_. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 175.

[52] J'Y AI MIS BON ORDRE. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 104;
_le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 169.

[53] IL NE S'Y JOUERA PAS, 'He will not try that.' _Se jouer a quelque
chose_, 'To attempt something' (Littre, 31 deg.).

[54] D'OU VIENT.See _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 220.

[55] VOUS TENIR, 'To confine yourself,' _Vous en tenir_ is the modern

[56] VUE. The text of 1740 gives the form _vu_.

[57] IL SE FAIT LE SCRUPULE, 'He is anxious not to,' _Faire scrupule_
(without the article) is more modern.

[58] VOUS N'Y SONGEZ PAS, 'What are you thinking of?' Cf. note 102, and
see _les fausses confidences_, note 154.

[59] ON NE PEUT PAS MOINS. An ellipsis for _on ne peut pas l'aimer moins
que je ne le fais_.

[60] ARRANGE. Used here in the sense of 'methodical,' 'stiff,' 'prim.'

LONGTEMPS, 'Yes, talk about friends! That's worth while; you won't have
any for a long time to come.' The idea of the marquis is that the admirers
of the countess will be lovers rather than mere friends.

[62] QUAND JE SEROIS AUTRE CHOSE, 'Even should I be something more.'

et du hasard_, note 109.

[64] C'EST QUE VOUS NE CONNOISSEZ QU'ELLE. A figure of speech conveying
this idea: 'You are very well acquainted with her.'

[65] OUI-DA. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 21.

[66] CE N'EST PAS QU'IL N'Y AIT DU RISQUE, 'After all, there is some
danger.' _Ce n'est pas que_ in the sense of _apres tout_ may introduce
either the indicative or the subjunctive with _ne_. The article of the
partitive _du_ is retained because of the affirmative character of the

[67] LA PLUPART. Some later editions print _pour la plupart_. The idea is
the same.

[68] IL N'Y AUROIT QUE FAIRE DE, 'I would have no need to.' Compare _le
Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 141.

[69] PRENEZ. Used in the sense of _supposez_.

[70] NE LE VOILA-T-IL PAS, 'Just see how (far from the point he is).' See
_le jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 135.

[71] UNIS, 'Plain,' 'simple.' Compare _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_,
note 205.

[72] QU'OUI. See _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 3.

[73] D'OU VIENT ... ME L'AVEZ-VOUS LAISSE IGNORER. This peculiar and
somewhat awkward construction is not uncommon to Marivaux. See _le Jeu de
l'amour et du hasard_, note 220. It would now be written _que vous me
l'avez laisse ignorer_, etc.

[74] J'ENTENDS. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 247.

[75] IMAGINATION. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 44.

[76] TOUT A L'HEURE = _tout de suite_, not a modern use. See _les Fausses
Confidences_, note 152.

[77] J'ENTENDS. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 247.

[78] AVANT QUE DE. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 93.

[79] PASSONS NOTRE CONTRAT, 'Let us sign the marriage settlements to-day.'

[80] ICI, an early use instead of _-ci_.

[81] HETEROCLITE. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 18.

[82] RAGOUTANT. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 102. The word
has seemed too coarse to the actors of to-day, and has been replaced by

[83] PASSER. See note 79.

[84] TOUT A L'HEURE. See note 76.

[85] JE N'AI QUE FAIRE DE SORTIR, 'I do not need to go out.' Compare _le
Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 140.

[86] CETTE SOTTE! equivalent to _quelle sotte_. It will be noticed that
the French make a very large use of the demonstrative where in English the
article would be employed. In such cases as the present the English would
be: 'What a ...'

[87] AVEC LE MEDECIN PAR-DESSUS. Doctors have been the butt of jests from
time immemorial. Compare: "Nuper erat medicus; nunc est vespillo Diaulus:
Quod vespillo facit, fecerat et medicus" (Martial, I, 1, Epigram xlviii).

"En depit des medecins nous vivrons jusqu'a la mort" (Leroux de Lincy.
_Proverbes_, t. 1, serie v).

"De jeune medecin cimetiere bossu" (Leroux de Lincy, _Proverbes_, t. 1.
serie v).

"Dans les discours et dans les choses, ce sont deux sortes de personnes
que vos grands medecins. Entendez-les parler, les plus habiles gens du
monde; voyez-les faire, les plus ignorants de tous les hommes" (Moliere,
_le Malade imaginaire_. III, 3).

Votre savoir, mon camarade,
Est d'un succes plus general;
Car s'il n'emporte point le mal,
Il emporte au moins le malade."
(Beaumarchais, _le Barbier de Seville_, II, 13).

These reproaches were, it must be owned, fully justified by the practice
of almost all doctors, which was marked by ignorance and barbarism.

[88] TRANSPORT AN CERVEAU, '_Delirium_.'

[89] SANDIS. See note 20.

[90] LA BELLE CONSEQUENCE, 'What difference does that make?' Used in the
sense of _la belle raison_.

[91] C'EST AUTANT DE RESTE PAR LES CHEMINS, 'I would be as good as left on
the highway.' Compare _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 54.

[92] D'AUJOURD'HUI. The modem meaning of this form is 'from to-day,' but
it is used here in the sense of 'this day.'

[93] JE VIS SOUFFRANT. Used in the sense of _Je suis souffrant_.

[94] FOURNIR LA COURSE, 'manage to reach my journey's end.'

[95] JE FEROIS DES CRIS. _Ferois_ for _pousserois_.

[96] COMMENCOIS D'EN. The modern form is _commencois a_.

[97] FROISSE, 'Bruised.' Used in the sense of _meurtri_ (_Dict. de
l'Acad._, 1878).

[98] IL N'EN SERA NI PLUS NI MOINS. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_,
note 150.

[99] OUI-DA. See _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 21.

[100] De bon jeu, 'Seriously.'

[101] DIANTRE. A euphemism to disguise the word _diable_, as _bleu_ for
_Dieu_ in many exclamations (Littre).

[102] VOUS N'Y PENSEZ PAS, 'What are you thinking of?' Compare note 58,
and _les Fausses Confidences_, note 156.

[103] J'Y SERAI TOUJOURS. For the more modern _Je le serai toujours._

[104] AIME. A singular failure to carry out the agreement of the verb in
the relative clause with its antecedent. _Aimez_ would be the correct

[105] C'EST S'EGORGER, 'It is madness.'

[106] VOS FUREURS, 'Your mad purpose.'

[107] LE. The edition of 1740 prints the article _le_, but the
demonstrative _ce_ would carry out the sense better.

[108] CELA DE PLUS. Accompanied with some gesture of impatience, perhaps a
snap of the thumb-nail against the teeth. With us a snap of the fingers
would accompany the words.

[109] INSTRUIT. That is to say, 'informed' about the matter in hand.

[110] SI CE N'EST. = _Sinon_.

[111] LA FAIRE. _Le_ would be more natural, referring to _reste_, which is
masculine. _La_ evidently refers back to _somme_.

[112] PRETENDS, 'Expect.'

[113] RENDRE RECONCILIES. The simple infinitive _reconcilier_ is more
natural French. Marivaux has purposely lent this loosely constructed
expression to Lepine. Mme. de Sevigne uses "rendre revoltee."

[114] SANDIS. See note 20.

[115] ENTENDS. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 247.

[116] EN PUISSANCE D'EPOUX. A law term meaning: "Qui ne peut contracter ni
disposer de rien sans etre autorisee de son mari" (_Dict. de l'Acad_.,
1878). Used often in the mere sense of 'married,' as here. Compare: "Je ne
comprends meme pas qu'elle se soit amourachee d'un homme en puissance de
femme" (Augier, _les Effrontes_, v, 4).

[117] RIT. This use of the verb _rire_ in the sense of _plaire_ is not

[118] LA SERVITUDE. An incorrect use of the abstract noun. Lepine,
doubtless, means _les serviteurs, les domestiques_.

Compare: "Ne sais-tu pas que les petits scrupules ne conviennent qu'aux
petites gens?" (J.J. Rousseau, _la Nouvelle Heloise_, IV, 13. The same
idea differently applied).

[120] CE QUI EST DE CERTAIN. With _est_ taken in the sense of _il y a_,
the construction is correct. The modern form would be, _Ce qui est

[121] SANS DIFFICULTE. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 154.

[122] ARTICLE, 'Matter.'

[123] DISPUTE. The correct modern word is _conteste. On dispute sur une

[124] ENTENDS. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 247.

[125] JE N'AI CONNU MES MIGRAINES. Equivalent to _Je n'ai eu des

[126] PROCUREUR, 'Attorney.' "Name given formerly to the public officer
called to-day _avoue_" (Littre). An _avoue_ is an officer whose duty it is
to represent the parties before the tribunals, and to draw up the acts of
procedure (Littre).

[127] AVOCAT, 'Lawyer' or 'Counsel.'

[128] D'OU VIENT. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 220.

[129] C'ETOIT BIEN LE MOINS, 'I could do no less.'

[130] PAS TANT DE TORT, ET QUE C'EST... The modern form would be:
_tellement tort, et est-ce ma faute_.

[131] A MOINS QUE JE N'Y SOIS POUR RIEN, 'Unless I have no part in it.'

[132] A TOI A QUI IL EN AURA OBLIGATION. Later editions print _A toi qu'il
en aura obligation_, which is the better form. See page 61, notes 1 and 2.

[133] CONGEDIIEZ. The edition of 1740 prints the form _congediez_, which
would be impossible to-day.

[134] PLAISANTE. See _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 37.

JAMAIS, 'Your answers are no more addressed to me than to some one who
never spoke to you.' A very complicated and unwieldy phrase. See _Le Jeu
de l'amour et du hasard_, note 175 and note 176.

[136] COMME VOTRE AVERSION M'ACCOMMODE, 'How cruelly your aversion treats
me.' _Accommoder_ (Littre, 4 deg.), antiquated.

[137] DIFFICILE. The text of 1740 gives _different_, which would make no
sense here. _Difficile_, moreover, is the general rendering.

[138] DE RESTE, 'Only too well.' Notice the difference in meaning between
this expression and _du reste_ or _au reste_ ('moreover').

[139] CE QUE JE PENSE. Some of the later editions give the more complete
expression, _ce que j'en pense_.

[140] AUX. The use of the preposition _a_ after _avoir regret_ is less
frequent to-day than that of _de_.


[1] ARAMINTE. A young widow of independent character, in whose mind the
prejudice of rank and wealth is not so great as to be insurmountable. One
of Marivaux's favourite types.

[2] MONSIEUR REMY. The uncle of Dorante, a man of rough exterior and
crusty humour, frank to an extreme, overbearing with his nephew, but ready
to take his part, a regular _burbero benefico_ (with which character of
Goldoni's comedy, compare).

[3] PROCUREUR. See _le Legs_, note 126.

[4] MADAME ARGANTE. An imperious, selfish, vain, old woman, of the type
Marivaux generally chooses for the mothers in his comedies.

[5] ARLEQUIN. When this play passed to the stage of the Comedie-Francaise,
the name of _Arlequin_, familiar to the Italian comedy, was changed to
_Lubin_, and his dress modified to suit the new role. See _le Jeu de
l'amour et du hasard_, note 2.

[6] DUBOIS. A "real creation" among the valets of Marivaux. Like Lepine of
_le Legs_, he is quite above the station of the traditional valet, and may
well be called _Monsieur_ Dubois. The intrigue of the piece is entirely in
his hands, and is carried out with the shrewdness and dexterity of an able
man of affairs.

[7] JOAILLIER. One who works in, or sells, _joyaux_ ('jewels'), 'a

[8] DETOURNEZ. Used in the sense of _derangez_ (Littre, 10 deg.).

[9] N'EN FAITES PAS DE FACON. The _en_ nowadays would be considered
superfluous, and _facon_ would be put in the plural. The use of _en_ is
peculiar in this case, for it refers to the idea partly expressed by
Dorante. It stands for _Ne faites pas de facons parce que je me derange
pour vous_.

[10] HONNETE, 'Polite,' 'civil.' Notice the use of the singular, following
the rule that after the pronouns _nous_ and _vous_, when these pronouns
designate a single person, even if the verb is plural, the adjective
remains singular.

[11] QU'IL. A _laquelle_ would be better than _que_, in modern French. The
construction of the sentence is somewhat awkward, and betrays the
lingering influence of the Latin forms, still so evident in many of the
best seventeenth century authors, such as Bossuet, whose use of _qui_ and
_que_ is very striking. In the eighteenth century the language was
acquiring greater freedom, but it is not until the nineteenth that it rids
itself of much of the old syntax.

[12] PROCUREUR. See _le Legs_, note 126.

[13] UNE GRANDE CHARGE DANS LES FINANCES. Marivaux refers to the _ferme
generale_, a syndicate of capitalists that exploited the taxes levied by
the government, and collected by the _fermiers generaux_ and their
subordinates. The business was an exceedingly lucrative one for the
members of the syndicate, who made large fortunes out of the profits of
their contract with the State. The comedy of Lesage, _Turcaret_, turns
upon the intrigues and swindles of one of these _traitants_ or
_partisans_, as they were also called. Dancourt, in his _Chevalier a la
mode_, introduces a pretentious widow, Mme. Patin, of whom her maid says:
"Mme. Patin, la veuve d'un honnete partisan, qui a gagne deux millions de
bien au service du roi!" (Act I, Sc. 1).

[14] PEROU. The gold mines of Peru gave rise to the use of the name as
synonymous with wealth. Compare: "Madame Thibaut est un petit Perou pour
Monsieur de la Brie." (Dancourt, _Femme d'intrigues_, I, 2.)

[15] VOUS M'EN DIREZ DES NOUVELLES. See _le jeu de l'amour et du hasard_,
note 242.

[16] DIANTRE. See _le Legs_, note 101.

[17] LA. _Dans la tete_, with a gesture.

[18] DERANGE. 'Disorderly' or 'irregular' (in his affairs).

[19] SERVITEUR AU COLLATERAL, 'Then the collateral heirs will have to go
without.' _Serviteur au_ is here used in the sense of _tant pis pour.
Serviteur_ is not infrequently used as a formula of dismissal.

[20] VOUS METTEZ. An inverted order quite common in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, when the second of two imperatives is construed with
an object pronoun. Compare: "Quittez cette chimere, et m'aimez "
(Corneille). "Polissez-le sans cesse et le repolissez" (Boileau, _Art
Poetique_, Chant 1).

[21] DONT. _Que would preferably be used to-day, so as not to repeat the
construction of the antecedent. Compare _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_,
note 175.

[22] QU'IL VOUS REVIENNE, 'That you like him.'

[23] MONSIEUR PREVIENT EN SA FAVEUR, 'The gentleman's appearance speaks in
his favour.'

[24] GRACES. In modern French the singular is preferred.

[25] EST-CE A VOUS A QUI IL EN VEUT, 'Is it you whom he has come to see?'
See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 68; _le Jeu de l'amour et du
hasard_, note 175 and note 176; _le Legs_, note 132, and _le Legs_, note

[26] COMME S'EN ALLANT, for, _comme en s'en allant.

[27] PARTI, 'Position' (Littre, 10 deg.). The idea of 'salary' is conveyed by
the word as used here.

[28] RENVERRAI TOUT. That is to say, _tout ce qui se presentera_; 'I will
dismiss all other applicants.'

[29] PARTI. See note 27.

[30] REPRESENTE, 'call attention, 'set forth'; a form often used in

[31] PARDI. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 15.

[32] A VOTRE AISE LE RESTE, 'The rest when you like.'

[33] D'OU VIENT PREFERER CELUI-CI. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_,
note 220.

[34] ARRETE, for the modern French _engage_ ('engaged').

[35] IL ME TARDE, 'I long.'

[36] EN PASSE, 'In a position to.'

[37] D'ALLER A TOUT. For the more modern expression _d'arriver a tout_,
'to attain any height.'

[38] DEFAITE, 'Excuse' or 'pretext' (Littre", 4 deg., also Diet, de l'Acad.

[39] ELEVATION. Used here with the unusual meaning of 'desire for social

[40] ELLE S'ENDORT DANS CET ETAT, 'She is satisfied with her condition.'
While already in the seventeenth century the ambition of rich _bourgeois_
to gain admission to the exclusive circles of the nobility had been
sufficiently marked to induce Moliere to attack it in his _Bourgeois
gentilhomme_, it was even more noticeable in the eighteenth, and
_mesalliances_ between noblemen and women of the middle class became much
more frequent.

[41] REFLEXION ROTURIERE. _Roture_ was the expression used to denote the
_bourgeoisie_ as distinguished from the nobility.

[42] JE N'Y ENTENDS POINT DE FINESSE, 'I cannot enter into such subtle
distinctions on the question of happiness.' She refuses to discuss the
possibility of Araminte's preferring happiness to rank. For her, rank
means happiness, as would wealth.

[43] IL ME L'A PARU = _Cela nil a paru ainsi_.

[44] D'OU VIENT. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 220.

[45] J'Y METTRAI BON ORDRE. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note

[46] PLAISANT. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 37.

[47] TIMBRE COMME CENT, 'As crazy as a loon.' It is difficult to preserve
the figure in an idiomatic translation. Compare the colloquial English,
"You act like _sixty_."

[48] CERVELLE BRULEE. A peculiar use of _cervelle_. _Brulee_ is used here
by Marivaux in the sense _troublee_, as in the passage from Mme. de
Sevigne: "Mme. de Saint-Geran est toute brulee du depart de son mari."

[49] IL EN EST COMME UN PERDU, 'He is like a man who has lost his reason.'
Cf. _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 120.

[50] UN PEU BOUDANT. Nowadays the adverb follows the verb. Here _boudant_
might at first thought be taken for an adjective, but it is a present
participle used verbally and consequently invariable.

[51] ON A BIEN AFFAIRE DE, 'I have no use for.' This idiom must not be
confounded with _avoir affaire a_, which means 'to have to deal with.'

[52] ESPRIT RENVERSE, 'A crazy man.'

[53] MALEPESTE. See _le Legs_, note 48.

[54] AVANT QUE DE. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 93.

[55] IL N'Y AVOIT PLUS PERSONNE AU LOGIS, 'He was quite unconscious.'
(Littre, "logis," 1 deg..)

[56] D'EPIER. Later editions print _qu'epier_, as _d'epier_ would not be
admissible in modern French. _Que de rever... que d'epier_ would be the
most natural modern form.

[57] PAYOIS BOUTEILLE = _Payais a boire_.

[58] LA COMEDIE. The _Comedie-Francaise_, or _Theatre-Francais_, then, as
now, the leading theatre in Paris.

[59] DES QUATRE HEURES. The performance did not begin before five o'clock,
in the eighteenth century,

[60] DANS L'HIVER. The modern form is _en hiver_.

[61] JURANT PAR CI PAR LA, 'Swearing every now and then.'

[62] AUX TUILERIES. The Cours-la-Reine, in the Champs-Elysees, the
Tuileries gardens, and the Palais-Royal, with its covered galleries and
its garden, were the fashionable resorts of promenaders in the eighteenth

[63] CE QU'IL. The _ce_ is superfluous.

[64] PERCER = _S'apercevoir_.

[65] JE ME REMETS = _J'y suis_.

[66] OUI-DA. See _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 21.

[67] COMME PASSANT, for _comme en passant_. Compare _les Fausses
Confidences_, note 26.

[68] C'EST AUTANT DE PRIS. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 54.

[69] QU'EST-IL = _Pourquoi est-il_?

[70] PARDI. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 15.

[71] IL LES FAIT COMME IL LES A. Untranslatable, save by an equivalent. It
is a pun on Dubois' remark: "making eyes at her."

[72] PRENEZ TOUJOURS, 'Take note of them nevertheless."

[73] LE. The text of 1758 prints _le_; _ce_ would carry out the sense even
better. See _le Legs_, note 38.

[74] APPAREMMENT, 'Evidently.' This adverb may be used with or without the
conjunction _que_ to introduce a verb.

[75] D'OU VIENT. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 220.

[76] UNE GUENON, 'a fool.'

[77] QUI SE FASSE = _Qu'il y ait_.

[78] LES PETITES-MAISONS. The old Maladrerie de Saint-Germain, which in
1554 became the Hopital Saint-Germain, later known as les Petites-Maisons,
on account of the great number of cells into which it was divided. It was
used to house infirm old men and women, who received a small weekly dole,
lunatics, and patients suffering from loathsome diseases. The name became
synonymous with either a mad-house or a hospital for certain diseases: it
was changed in 1801 to les Petits-Menages, the insane having then been
transferred, the men to Bicetre, the women to La Salpetriere.

[79] BIEN VENANTS, 'Paid regularly.' Marivaux, like the authors of the
preceding century, considered _bien venants_ as an adjective, and hence
declinable: but _livre_ is feminine, and we should expect here the form
_bien venantes_. The Academy has declared the expression indeclinable.
Compare: "Je le voyais avec vingt-huit mille livres de rente bien
venantes" (Mme. de Sevigne, Dec. 28, 1689).

[80] APPAREMMENT. See _les Fausses Confidences_, note 74.

[81] PARDI. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 15.

[82] VOUS N'AVEZ POINT DE GRE A ME SAVOIR. A well-known idiom, better
expressed to-day: _Vous n'avez point a me savoir gre_.

[83] D'AVEC. A shortened form for some such phrase as _d'une conversation
avec. D'avec_ is generally to be translated 'from,' 'in contradiction to.'

[84] A QUEL HOMME EN VEUT-IL? 'For what man is he looking?' Compare _le
Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 68.

[85] A VOUS. _Aupres de vous_ would be the modern expression.

[86] LE FAISANT SORTIR. Note the peculiar use of _le_, which nowadays
would be replaced by the noun to which it refers--_le garcon_.

[87] DONT. Better _que_. See _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 175.

[88] DESSUS. For _la-dessus_.

[89] SANS DIFFICULTE. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 154.

[90] DE NE VOUS PAS AIMER. _De ne pas vous aimer_ is the more natural
order in modern French.

[91] IL N'A QUE FAIRE DE, 'He has no need to.' Compare _le Jeu de l'amour
et du hasard_, note, 141.

[92] C'EST UN PORTRAIT DE FEMME. The construction of the sentence is
peculiar and incomplete. It requires the introduction, before _c'est un
portrait_, of the words _c'est que_. In modern French the awkwardness of
this form would be obviated. In the second clause _que_ would have to be
prefixed to _c'est ici_.

[93] QUAND. _Puisque_ is also found in incomplete expressions of this
kind. The thought might be completed as follows: _Mais, quand_ (or
_puisque_) _je vous dis, etc., vous devriez me croire_.

[94] ENTENDU, used here in the sense of _compris_.

[95] HUPPEES, 'Fancy,' 'smartly dressed.' It often means 'smart.' Compare;
"Combien en as-tu vu, je dis des plus huppees." (Racine, _Les Plaideurs_,
J, 4); "Bien huppe qui pourra m'attraper sur ce point!" (Moliere, _Ecole
des femmes_, 1, I).

[96] JE N'EN RABATS RIEN, 'I retract nothing.' That is to say, 'I insist
that it is the Count.'

[97] PLAISANT, 'Ridiculous.'

[98] COMME DE CELA. With some gesture of contempt. See _le Legs_, note

[99] LUI. For _le_. The verb _defier_ governs to-day the accusative and
not the dative.

[100] QU'IL. Later editions print _qui_, which is the correct form. The
thought may be expressed more simply by the phrase _Je l'avais vu le

[101] CE QUI EST DE SUR = _Ce qu'il y a de sur_.

[102] LE SUJET = _La raison_.

[103] DE BONNE MAIN, 'By a reliable person.' (Littre, "main," 17.)

[104] CONSENS... DE. The verb _consentir_ takes either _de_ or _a_, before
a following infinitive, although in modern French the latter is the more

[105] TOUS PROCES. Later editions print _tout proces_, which is the more
natural modern form. The plural, in the sense of 'each' or 'every' is,
however, sometimes found without the article. Compare: "L'auteur des
dialogues a dit que les belles sont de tous pays, et moi je dis que les
sottises sont de tous les siecles " (Fontenelle, _Jugement de Pluton_).

[106] AVOIR PRISE ... AVEC, 'To have a dispute with.' PRISE, 'Quarrel,'
'dispute' (Littre, 6 deg., also Dict. de l'Acad., 1878).

[107] TOUS. Later editions print _tout_, which is the modern form. In the
seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries is was not customary to
consider the adverbial _tout_ as necessarily invariable.

[108] MOUVEMENT. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 162.

[109] DONT. _Que is preferable. See _Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note

[110] SAVOIS. A not uncommon use of the imperfect indicative in the sense
of the conditional.

[111] JE N'AUROIS QUE FAIRE DE. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note
68. Compare _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 141, and _le Legs_,
note 85.

[112] A TOI. The English idiom is 'of you.'

[113] AU MOINS, 'Nevertheless.'

[114] CAPABLE. Most editions print _incapable_, beginning the sentence
with _s'il_, and punctuating with a comma after _incapable_. The sense is
better carried out with such a rendering.

[115] Des biais = _Des moyens detournes_.

[116] L'EN DEDIRE = _Le dementir_.

[117] COMME S'EN ALLANT. See _les Fausses Confidences_, note 26.

[118] A CE QU'IL EST NE = _A sa naissance_.

[119] C'EST DE DORANTE, for _Il est de Dorante_: 'It has been painted by

[120] M'EN FAIRE ACCROIRE, 'To impose upon me.'

[121] AVANT QUE DE. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 93.

[122] This speech of Dorante's and Araminte's answer seem to have inspired
Augier and Sandeau in the scene between Bertrand and Helene, in _Mlle. de
la Seigliere_, Act III, sc. 7.

[123] QUE MON AMOUR N'EN AUGMENTE. See _Le jeu de l'amour et du hasard_,
note 137.

[124] JE L'AI PEINTE. The _peinte_ refers to and agrees with _la_ in
Dorante's preceding speech.

[125] AVANT QUE DE. See _Le jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 117.

[126] RUE DU FIGUIER. A very ancient and historic street in Paris,
situated not far from the Lycee Charlemagne, and making a triangle with
the rue Charlemagne and the rue Fauconnier. Even before the year 1300 it
bore this name, from a fine fig-tree which stood at its juncture with the
rue Fauconnier, and which was standing as late as 1605. The most important
edifice of the street is the Hotel de Sens, built in the sixteenth century
by the Archbishop Tristan de Salazar. It was for a time the residence of
Marguerite, first wife of Henry IV.

[127] JE LUI RECOMMANDERAI. Later editions print _je le lui
recommanderai_. Attention has already been called to Marivaux's custom of
omitting the direct object pronoun in similar constructions. Compare _le
Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 210, and _le Legs_, note 29.

[128] MOUVEMENTS. See _Le jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 162.

[129] LUI. See note 99.

[130] FATIGUE, 'Importune' (Littre, 4 deg.).' Compare: "Ainsi donc mes bontes
vous fatiguent peut-etre" (Racine, _Berenice_, II, 4).

[131] AMUSER. See _Le jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 41.

means here 'the ability to keep a secret' (Littre, 5 deg.). Compare;

"Rien ne pese tant qu'un secret:
Le porter loin est difficile aux dames;
Et je sais meme sur ce fait
Bon nombre d'hommes qui sont femmes.'
(La Fontaine, _Fables_, viii, 6.)

[133] LE DIABLE N'Y PERD RIEN, is said of a person who restrains his
feelings with difficulty, or only temporarily (Littre, "diable." 2 deg.). The
whole phrase might here be translated by: 'She cannot conceal the matter,
nor will I.'

[134] ENTENDS. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 247.

[135] OUI-DA. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 21.

[136] DEMEURE. The incorrect use of this verb by Harlequin adds to the
comic of the piece. For correct French one might substitute _se trouve_.

[137] LA RUE DU FIGUIER. See note 126.

[138] SAIS. _Savoir_ as used here means 'to know about the street,' 'to
know that it exists,' 'to know where it may be found'; _connaitre_ would
mean 'to be acquainted with it.'

[139] RENDRA = _Remettra_.

[140] RENDREZ. Some of the later editions print _rendez_.

[141] QUE JE N'AIE VU, 'Until I have seen.' The negative particle _ne_ is
required in a phrase introduced by _que_, when this conjunction stands in
the place of _avant que_.

[142] PRESOMPTIONS. 'Presumptions' or 'reasonable suppositions.' Compare:
"Ce ne sont pas la des convictions entieres; mais ce sont les presomptions
les plus fortes" (Voltaire, _Essai sur les moeurs et l'esprit des
nations_, chap. 166).

[143] DE VOTRE FACON, 'Of your choosing.'

[144] TOUT. Later editions print _tout le monde_, which is evidently the
sense in which this word is used.

[145] ROGUE, 'Arrogant.' In the edition of 1758 the word is printed
_roque_, which has led some editors into the error of correcting to
_rauque_ (hoarse).

[146] NOUS N'AVONS QUE FAIRE ENSEMBLE, 'We have no dealings together.'

[147] NON QUE JE SACHE. _Non, pas que je sache_ is the more complete
modern expression.

[148] A CAUSE QUE. _Parce que_ is more modern. Littre favors the retention
of _a cause que_, since it is used by good authors, and, in certain cases,
is preferable to _parce que_.

[149] AMPLIFIE, 'Exaggerates.'

[150] HORS D'OEUVRE = _Hors de propos_. Generally used to-day as a
substantive, but in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries often used
adverbially as here. Compare: "Dans le _Cid_, toutes celles (the scenes)
de l'infante sont detachees, et paraissent hors d'oeuvre" (Corneille,
_Horace_, Examen).

[151] ENFANCE. For the more modern word _enfantillage_, although the Dict.
de l'Acad., 1878, retains the word in this sense. Compare: "Ils ne font
que des enfances" (Mme. de Sevigne, Jan. 26, 1689). "On passait encore les
enfances a Mme. la duchesse de Bourgogne par la grace qu'elle y mettait"
(St. Simon. 294, 6). "Ce sont des betises ou des enfances dont il n'y a
que de bonnes gens qui soient capables" (_Marianne_, 2e partie.) See _le
Legs_, note 29.

[152] TOUT A L'HEURE. In the sense of _tout de suite_ the expression is
to-day obsolete, and is not admitted by the Dict. de l'Acad., 1878. See
_le Legs_, note 76.

[153] A CAUSE QUE. See note 147.

[154] ENTEND. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 247.

[155] APPAREMMENT, 'Manifestly,' 'Of course.' In this sense the word has
become obsolete, and is not admitted by the Dict. de l'Acad., 1878.

[156] VOUS N'Y SONGEZ PAS. See _le Legs_, note 58, _le Legs_, note 102.

[157] DELIVREE. The edition of 1758 prints _delivrees_, which will be
accounted for by the speaker's including madame Argante in his mind. The
singular is, however, preferable.

[158] EUS. The edition of 1758 prints the past participle _eu_, without
making it agree with the preceding object pronoun. See _le Legs_, note 56.

[159] NOUS DIS. For the position of the object pronoun see note 18.

[160] EUES. The edition of 1738 prints _eu_. For similar carelessness in
Marivaux's use of the past participle compare _le Legs_, note 56, and note

[161] AFFRONTE, 'Deceived' (Littre, 2 deg., also the Dict. de l'Acad., 1878).

[162] FERMIER, 'Farmer,' 'One holding a farm by lease.'

[163] ENTENDS. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 247.

[164] A CAUSE QUE. See note 147.

FEMME-LA MA BRU. This expression, seeming too violent to the spectators of
to-day, was suppressed by the Comedie-Francaise, March 5, 1881. The play
ends with the words of Araminte. See Larroumet, p. 227, note 1.

[166] PARDI. See _le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard_, note 15.

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