Part 1 out of 2
Produced by Thanks to Charles Franks, Delphine Lettau
and the people at Distribued Proofreaders
THE IMAGINARY INVALID.
(LE MALADE IMAGINAIRE.)
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE.
_WITH SHORT INTRODUCTIONS AND EXPLANATORY NOTES_.
CHARLES HERON WALL.
This is the last comedy written by Moliere. He was very ill, nearly
dying, at the time he wrote it. It was first acted at the Palais Royal
Theatre, on February 10, 1673.
Moliere acted the part of Argan.
ARGAN, _an imaginary invalid_.
BELINE, _second wife to_ ARGAN.
ANGELIQUE, _daughter to_ ARGAN, _in love with_ CLEANTE.
LOUISON; ARGAN'S _young daughter, sister to_ ANGELIQUE.
BERALDE, _brother to_ ARGAN.
CLEANTE, _lover to_ ANGELIQUE.
MR. DIAFOIRUS, _a physician_.
THOMAS DIAFOIRUS, _his son, in love with_ ANGELIQUE.
MR. PURGON, _physician to_ ARGAN.
MR. FLEURANT, _an apothecary_.
MR. DE BONNEFOI, _a notary_.
TOINETTE, _maid-servant to_ ARGAN.
SCENE I.--ARGAN (_sitting at a table, adding up his apothecary's
bill with counters_).
ARG. Three and two make five, and five make ten, and ten make twenty.
"Item, on the 24th, a small, insinuative clyster, preparative and
gentle, to soften, moisten, and refresh the bowels of Mr. Argan." What
I like about Mr. Fleurant, my apothecary, is that his bills are always
civil. "The bowels of Mr. Argan." All the same, Mr. Fleurant, it is
not enough to be civil, you must also be reasonable, and not plunder
sick people. Thirty sous for a clyster! I have already told you, with
all due respect to you, that elsewhere you have only charged me twenty
sous; and twenty sous, in the language of apothecaries, means only ten
sous. Here they are, these ten sous. "Item, on the said day, a good
detergent clyster, compounded of double catholicon rhubarb, honey of
roses, and other ingredients, according to the prescription, to scour,
work, and clear out the bowels of Mr. Argan, thirty sons." With your
leave, ten sous. "Item, on the said day, in the evening, a julep,
hepatic, soporiferous, and somniferous, intended to promote the sleep
of Mr. Argan, thirty-five sous." I do not complain of that, for it
made me sleep very well. Ten, fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen sous six
deniers. "Item, on the 25th, a good purgative and corroborative
mixture, composed of fresh cassia with Levantine senna and other
ingredients, according to the prescription of Mr. Purgon, to expel Mr.
Argan's bile, four francs." You are joking, Mr. Fleurant; you must
learn to be reasonable with patients; Mr. Purgon never ordered you to
put four francs. Tut! put three francs, if you please. Twenty; thirty
sous. [Footnote: As usual, Argan only counts half; even after he has
reduced the charge.] "Item, on the said day, a dose, anodyne and
astringent, to make Mr. Argan sleep, thirty sous." Ten sous, Mr.
Fleurant. "Item, on the 26th, a carminative clyster to cure the
flatulence of Mr. Argan, thirty sous." "Item, the clyster repeated in
the evening, as above, thirty sous." Ten sous, Mr. Fleurant. "Item, on
the 27th, a good mixture composed for the purpose of driving out the
bad humours of Mr. Argan, three francs." Good; twenty and thirty sous;
I am glad that you are reasonable. "Item, on the 28th, a dose of
clarified and edulcorated whey, to soften, lenify, temper, and refresh
the blood of Mr. Argan, twenty sous." Good; ten sous. "Item, a potion,
cordial and preservative, composed of twelve grains of bezoar, syrup
of citrons and pomegranates, and other ingredients, according to the
prescription, five francs." Ah! Mr. Fleurant, gently, if you please;
if you go on like that, no one will wish to be unwell. Be satisfied
with four francs. Twenty, forty sous. Three and two are five, and five
are ten, and ten are twenty. Sixty-three francs four sous six deniers.
So that during this month I have taken one, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, eight mixtures, and one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve clysters; and last month there
were twelve mixtures and twenty clysters. I am not astonished,
therefore, that I am not so well this month as last. I shall speak to
Mr. Purgon about it, so that he may set the matter right. Come, let
all this be taken away. (_He sees that no one comes, and that he is
alone._) Nobody. It's no use, I am always left alone; there's no
way of keeping them here. (_He rings a hand-bell._) They don't
hear, and my bell doesn't make enough noise. (_He rings again._)
No one. (_He rings again._) Toinette! (_He rings again._) It's just
as if I didn't ring at all. You hussy! you jade! (_He rings again._)
Confound it all! (_He rings and shouts._) Deuce take you, you
SCENE II.--ARGAN, TOINETTE.
TOI. Coming, coming.
ARG. Ah! you jade, you wretch!
TOI. (_pretending to have knocked her head_). Bother your
impatience! You hurry me so much that I have knocked my head against
ARG. (_angry_). You vixen!
TOI. (_interrupting_ ARGAN). Oh!
ARG. There is....
ARG. For the last hour I....
ARG. You have left me....
ARG. Be silent! you baggage, and let me scold you.
TOI. Well! that's too bad after what I have done to myself.
ARG. You make me bawl till my throat is sore, you jade!
TOI. And you, you made me break my head open; one is just as bad as
the other; so, with your leave, we are quits.
ARG. What! you hussy....
TOI. If you go on scolding me, I shall cry.
ARG. To leave me, you....
TOI. (_again interrupting_ ARGAN.) Oh!
ARG. You would....
TOI. (_still interrupting him_). Oh!
ARG. What! shall I have also to give up the pleasure of scolding her?
TOI. Well, scold as much as you please; do as you like.
ARG. You prevent me, you hussy, by interrupting me every moment.
TOI. If you have the pleasure of scolding, I surely can have that of
crying. Let every one have his fancy; 'tis but right. Oh! oh!
ARG. I must give it up, I suppose. Take this away, take this away, you
jade. Be careful to have some broth ready, for the other that I am to
TOI. This Mr. Fleurant and Mr. Purgon amuse themselves finely with
your body. They have a rare milch-cow in you, I must say; and I should
like them to tell me what disease it is you have for them to physic
ARG. Hold your tongue, simpleton; it is not for you to control the
decrees of the faculty. Ask my daughter Angelique to come to me. I
have something to tell her.
TOI. Here she is, coming of her own accord; she must have guessed your
SCENE III.--ARGAN, ANGELIQUE, TOINETTE.
ARG. You come just in time; I want to speak to you.
ANG. I am quite ready to hear you.
ARG. Wait a moment. (_To_ TOINETTE) Give me my walking-stick;
I'll come back directly.
TOI. Go, Sir, go quickly; Mr. Fleurant gives us plenty to do.
SCENE IV.--ANGELIQUE, TOINETTE.
TOI. Well! what?
ANG. Look at me a little.
TOI. Well, I am looking at you.
TOI. Well! what, Toinette?
ANG. Don't you guess what I want to speak about?
TOI. Oh! yes, I have some slight idea that you want to speak of our
young lover, for it is of him we have been speaking for the last six
days, and you are not well unless you mention him at every turn.
ANG. Since you know what it is I want, why are you not the first to
speak to me of him? and why do you not spare me the trouble of being
the one to start the conversation?
TOI. You don't give me time, and you are so eager that it is difficult
to be beforehand with you on the subject.
ANG. I acknowledge that I am never weary of speaking of him, and that
my heart takes eager advantage of every moment I have to open my heart
to you. But tell me, Toinette, do you blame the feelings I have
TOI. I am far from doing so.
ANG. Am I wrong in giving way to these sweet impressions?
TOI. I don't say that you are.
ANG. And would you have me insensible to the tender protestations of
ardent love which he shows me?
TOI. Heaven forbid!
ANG. Tell me, do you not see, as I do, Something providential, some
act of destiny in the unexpected adventure from which our acquaintance
ANG. That it is impossible to act more generously?
ANG. And that he did all this with the greatest possible grace?
TOI. Oh! yes.
ANG. Do you not think, Toinette, that he is very handsome?
ANG. That he has the best manners in the world?
TOI. No doubt about it.
ANG. That there is always something noble in what he says and what he
TOI. Most certainly.
ANG. That there never was anything more tender than all he says to me?
ARG. And that there can be nothing more painful than the restraint
under which I am kept? for it prevents all sweet intercourse, and puts
an end to that mutual love with which Heaven has inspired us.
TOI. You are right.
ANG. But, dear Toinette, tell me, do you think that he loves me as
much as he says he does?
TOI. Hum! That's a thing hardly to be trusted at any time. A show of
love is sadly like the real thing, and I have met with very good
actors in that line.
ANG. Ah! Toinette, what are you saying there? Alas! judging by the
manner in which he speaks, is it possible that he is not telling the
TOI. At any rate, you will soon be satisfied on this point, and the
resolution which he says he has taken of asking you in marriage, is a
sure and ready way of showing you if what he says is true or not. That
is the all-sufficient proof.
ANG. Ah! Toinette, if he deceives me, I shall never in all my life
believe in any man.
TOI. Here is your father coming back.
SCENE V.--ARGAN, ANGELIQUE, TOINETTE.
ARG. I say, Angelique, I have a piece of news for yon which, perhaps,
you did not expect. You have been asked of me in marriage. Halloa! how
is that? You are smiling. It is pleasant, is it not, that word
marriage? there is nothing so funny to young girls. Ah! nature!
nature! So, from what I see, daughter, there is no need of my asking
you if you are willing to marry.
ANG. I ought to obey you in everything, father.
ARG. I am very glad to possess such an obedient daughter; the thing is
settled then, and I have promised you.
ANG. It is my duty, father, blindly to follow all you determine upon
ARG. My wife, your mother-in-law, wanted me to make a nun of you and
of your little sister Louison also. She has always been bent upon
TOI. (_aside_). The excellent creature has her reasons.
ARG. She would not consent to this marriage; but I carried the day,
and my word is given.
TOI. (_to_ ARGAN). Really, I am pleased with you for that, and it
is the wisest thing you ever did in your life.
ARG. I have not seen the person in question; but I am told that I
shall be satisfied with him, and that you too will be satisfied.
ANG. Most certainly, father.
ARG. How! have you seen him then?
ANG. Since your consent to our marriage authorises me to open my heart
to you, I will not hide from you that chance made us acquainted six
days ago, and that the request which has been made to you is the
result of the sympathy we felt for one another at first sight.
ARG. They did not tell me that; but I am glad of it; it is much better
that things should be so. They say that he is a tall, well-made young
ANG. Yes, father.
ARG. Of a fine build.
ANG. Yes, indeed.
ARG. A good face.
ANG. Very good.
ARG. Steady and of good family.
ARG. With very good manners.
ANG. The best possible.
ARG. And speaks both Latin and Greek.
ANG. Ah! that I don't know anything about.
ARG. And that he will in three days be made a doctor.
ANG. He, father?
ARG. Yes; did he not tell you?
ANG. No, indeed! who told you?
ARG. Mr. Purgon.
ANG. Does Mr. Purgon know him?
ARG. What a question! Of course he knows him, since he is his nephew.
ANG. Cleante is the nephew of Mr. Purgon?
ARG. What Cleante? We are speaking about him who has asked you in
ANG. Yes, of course.
ARG. Well, he is the nephew of Mr. Purgon, and the son of his
brother-in-law, Mr. Diafoirus; and this son is called Thomas Diafoirus,
and not Cleante. Mr. Fleurant and I decided upon this match this
morning, and to-morrow this future son-in-law will be brought to me by
his father ...What is the matter, you look all scared?
ANG. It is because, father, I see that you have been speaking of one
person, and I of another.
TOI. What! Sir, you have formed such a queer project as that, and,
with all the wealth you possess, you want to marry your daughter to a
ARG. What business is it of yours, you impudent jade?
TOI. Gently, gently. You always begin by abuse. Can we not reason
together without getting into a rage? Come, let us speak quietly. What
reason have you, if you please, for such a marriage?
ARG. My reason is, that seeing myself infirm and sick, I wish to have
a son-in-law and relatives who are doctors, in order to secure their
kind assistance in my illness, to have in my family the fountain-head
of those remedies which are necessary to me, and to be within reach of
consultations and prescriptions.
TOI. Very well; at least that is giving a reason, and there is a
certain pleasure in answering one another calmly. But now, Sir, on
your conscience, do you really and truly believe that you are ill?
ARG. Believe that I am ill, you jade? Believe that I am ill, you
TOI. Very well, then, Sir, you are ill; don't let us quarrel about
that. Yes, you are very ill, I agree with you upon that point, more
ill even than you think. Now, is that settled? But your daughter is to
marry a husband for herself, and as she is not ill, what is the use of
giving her a doctor?
ARG. It is for my sake that I give her this doctor, and a good
daughter ought to be delighted to marry for the sake of her father's
TOI. In good troth, Sir, shall I, as a friend, give you a piece of
ARG. What is this advice?
TOI. Not to think of this match.
ARG. And your reason?
TOI. The reason is that your daughter will never consent to it.
ARG. My daughter will not consent to it?
ARG. My daughter?
TOI. Your daughter. She will tell you that she has no need of Mr.
Diafoirus, nor of his son, Mr. Thomas Diafoirus, nor all the
Diafoiruses in the world.
ARG. But I have need of them. Besides, the match is more advantageous
than you think. Mr. Diafoirus has only this son for his heir; and,
moreover, Mr. Purgon, who has neither wife nor child, gives all he has
in favour of this marriage; and Mr. Purgon is a man worth eight
thousand francs a year.
TOI. What a lot of people he must have killed to have become so rich!
ARG. Eight thousand francs is something, without counting the property
of the father.
TOI. That is very well, Sir, but, all the same, I advise you, between
ourselves, to choose another husband for her; she is not of a make to
become a Mrs. Diafoirus.
ARG. But I will have it so.
TOI. Fie! nonsense! Don't speak like that.
ARG. Don't speak like that? Why not?
TOI. Dear me, no, don't.
ARG. And why should I not speak like that?
TOI. People will say that you don't know what you are talking about.
ARG. People will say all they like, but I tell you that I will have
her make my promise good.
TOI. I feel sure that she won't.
ARG. Then I will force her to do it.
TOI. She will not do it, I tell you.
ARG. She will, or I will shut her up in a convent
ARG. How good?
TOI. You will not shut her up in a convent.
ARG. I shall not shut her up in a convent?
ARG. Well, this is cool! I shall not put my daughter in a convent if I
TOI. No, I tell you.
ARG. And who will hinder me?
TOI. You yourself.
TOI. You will never have the heart to do it.
ARG. I shall.
TOI. You are joking.
ARG. I am not joking.
TOI. Fatherly love will hinder you.
ARG. It will not hinder me.
TOI. A little tear or two, her arms thrown round your neck, Or "My
darling little papa," said very tenderly, will be enough to touch your
ARG. All that will be useless.
TOI. Oh yes!
ARG. I tell you that nothing will move me.
ARG. You have no business to say "Rubbish."
TOI. I know you well enough; you are naturally kind-hearted.
ARG. (_angrily_). I am not kind-hearted, and I am ill-natured
when I like.
TOI. Gently, Sir, you forget that you are ill.
ARG. I command her to prepare herself to take the husband I have fixed
TOI. And I decidedly forbid her to do anything of the kind.
ARG. What have we come to? And what boldness is this for a scrub of a
servant to speak in such a way before her master?
TOI. When a master does not consider what he is doing, a sensible
servant should set him right.
ARG. (_running after_ TOINETTE). Ah, impudent girl, I will kill
TOI. (_avoiding_ ARGAN, _and putting the chair between her and
him_). It is my duty to oppose what would be a dishonour to you.
ARG. (_running after_ TOINETTE _with his cane in his hand_).
Come here, come here, let me teach you how to speak.
TOI. (_running to the opposite side of the chair_). I interest
myself in your affairs as I ought to do, and I don't wish to see you
commit any folly.
ARG. (_as before_). Jade!
TOI. (_as before_). No, I will never consent to this marriage.
ARG. (_as before_). Worthless hussy!
TOI. (_as before_). I won't have her marry your Thomas Diafoirus.
ARG. (_as before_). Vixen!
TOI. (_as before_). She will obey me sooner than you.
ARG. (_stopping_). Angelique, won't you stop that jade for me?
ANG. Ah! father, don't make yourself ill.
ARG. (_to_ ANGELIQUE). If you don't stop her, I will refuse you
TOI. (_going away_). And I will disinherit her if she obeys you.
ARG. (_throwing himself into his chair_). Ah! I am done for. It
is enough to kill me!
SCENE VI.--BELINE, ARGAN.
ARG. Ah! come near, my wife.
BEL. What ails you, my poor, dear husband?
ARG. Come to my help.
BEL. What is the matter, my little darling child?
ARG. My love.
BEL. My love.
ARG. They have just put me in a rage.
BEL. Alas! my poor little husband! How was that, my own dear pet?
ARG. That jade of yours, Toinette, has grown more insolent than ever.
BEL. Don't excite yourself.
ARG. She has put me in a rage, my dove.
BEL. Gently, my child.
ARG. She has been thwarting me for the last hour about everything I
want to do.
BEL. There, there; never mind.
ARG. And has had the impudence to say that I am not ill.
BEL. She is an impertinent hussy.
ARG. You know, my soul, what the truth is?
BEL. Yes, my darling, she is wrong.
ARG. My own dear, that jade will be the death of me.
BEL. Now, don't, don't.
ARG. She is the cause of all my bile.
BEL. Don't be so angry.
ARG. And I have asked you ever so many times to send her away.
BEL. Alas! my child, there is no servant without defects. We are
obliged to put up at times with their bad qualities on account of
their good ones. The girl is skilful, careful, diligent, and, above
all, honest; and you know that in our days we must be very careful
what people we take into our house. I say, Toinette.
SCENE VII.--ARGAN, BELINE, TOINETTE.
BEL. How is this? Why do you put my husband in a passion?
TOI. (_in a soft tone_). I, Madam? Alas! I don't know what you
mean, and my only aim is to please master in everything.
ARG. Ah! the deceitful girl!
TOI. He said to us that he wished to marry his daughter to the son of
Mr. Diafoirus. I told him that I thought the match very advantageous
for her, but that I believed he would do better to put her in a
BEL. There is not much harm in that, and I think that she is right.
ARG. Ah! deary, do you believe her? She is a vile girl, and has said a
hundred insolent things to me.
BEL. Well, I believe you, my dear. Come, compose yourself; and you,
Toinette, listen to me. If ever you make my husband angry again, I
will send you away. Come, give me his fur cloak and some pillows, that
I may make him comfortable in his arm-chair. You are all anyhow. Pull
your night-cap right down over your ears; there is nothing that gives
people such bad colds as letting in the air through the ears.
ARG. Ah, deary! how much obliged I am to you for all the care you take
BEL. (_adjusting the pillows, which she puts round him_). Raise
yourself a little for me to put this under you. Let us put this one
for you to lean upon, and this one on the other side; this one behind
your back, and this other to support your head.
TOI. (_clapping a pillow rudely on his head_). And this other to
keep you from the evening damp.
ARG. (_rising angrily, and throwing the pillows after_ TOINETTE,
_who runs away_). Ah, wretch! you want to smother me.
SCENE VIII.--ARGAN, BELINE.
BEL. Now, now; what is it again?
ARG. (_throwing himself in his chair_). Ah! I can hold out no
BEL. But why do you fly into such a passion? she thought she was doing
ARG. You don't know, darling, the wickedness of that villainous
baggage. She has altogether upset me, and I shall want more than eight
different mixtures and twelve injections to remedy the evil.
BEL. Come, come, my dearie, compose yourself a little.
ARG. Lovey, you are my only consolation.
BEL. Poor little pet!
ARG. To repay you for all the love you have for me, my darling, I
will, as I told you, make my will.
BEL. Ah, my soul I do not let us speak of that, I beseech you. I
cannot bear to think of it, and the very word "will" makes me die of
ARG. I had asked you to speak to our notary about it.
BEL. There he is, close at hand; I have brought him with me.
ARG. Make him come in then, my life!
BEL. Alas! my darling, when a woman loves her husband so much, she
finds it almost impossible to think of these things.
SCENE IX.--MR. DE BONNEFOI, BELINE, ARGAN.
ARG. Come here, Mr. de Bonnefoi, come here. Take a seat, if you
please. My wife tells me, Sir, that you are a very honest man, and
altogether one of her friends; I have therefore asked her to speak to
you about a will which I wish to make.
BEL. Alas! I cannot speak of those things.
MR. DE BON. She has fully explained to me your intentions, Sir, and
what you mean to do for her. But I have to tell you that you can give
nothing to your wife by will.
ARG. But why so?
MR. DE BON. It is against custom. If you were in a district where
statute law prevailed, the thing could he done; but in Paris, and in
almost all places governed by custom, it cannot be done; and the will
would be held void. The only settlement that man and wife can make on
each other is by mutual donation while they are alive, and even then
there must be no children from either that marriage or from any
previous marriage at the decease of the first who dies.
ARG. It's a very impertinent custom that a husband can leave nothing
to a wife whom he loves, by whom he is tenderly loved, and who takes
so much care of him. I should like to consult my own advocate to see
what I can do.
MR. DE BON. It is not to an advocate that you must apply; for they are
very particular on this point and think it a great crime to bestow
one's property contrary to the law. They are people to make
difficulties, and are ignorant of the bylaws of conscience. There are
others whom you may consult with advantage on that point, and who have
expedients for gently overriding the law, and for rendering just that
which is not allowed. These know how to smooth over the difficulties
of an affair, and to find the means of eluding custom by some indirect
advantage. Without that, what would become of us every day? We must
make things easy; otherwise we should do nothing, and I wouldn't give
a penny for our business.
ARG. My wife had rightly told me, Sir, that you were a very clever and
honest man. What can I do, pray, to give her my fortune and deprive my
children of it?
MR. DE BON. What you can do? You can discreetly choose a friend of
your wife, to whom you will give all you own in due form by your will,
and that friend will give it up to her afterwards; or else you can
sign a great many safe bonds in favour of various creditors who will
lend their names to your wife, and in whose hands they will leave a
declaration that what was done was only to serve her. You can also in
your lifetime put in her hands ready money and bills which you can
make payable to bearer.
BEL. Alas! you must not trouble yourself about all that. If I lose
you, my child, I will stay no longer in the world.
ARG. My darling!
BEL. Yes, my pet, if I were unfortunate enough to lose you....
ARG. My dear wifey!
BEL. Life would be nothing to me.
ARG. My love!
BEL. And I would follow you to the grave, to show you all the
tenderness I feel for you.
ARG. You will break my heart, deary; comfort yourself, I beseech you.
MR. DE BON. (_to_ BELINE). These tears are unseasonable; things
have not come to that yet.
BEL. Ah, Sir! you don't know what it is to have a husband one loves
ARG. All the regret I shall have, if I die, my darling, will be to
have no child from you. Mr. Purgon told me he would make me have one.
MR. DE BON. That may come still.
ARG. I must make my will, deary, according to what this gentleman
advises; but, out of precaution, I will give you the twenty thousand
francs in gold which I have in the wainscoting of the recess of my
room, and two bills payable to bearer which are due to me, one from
Mr. Damon, the other from Mr. Geronte.
BEL. No, no! I will have nothing to do with all that. Ah! How much do
you say there is in the recess?
ARG. Twenty thousand francs, darling.
BEL. Don't speak to me of your money, I beseech you. Ah! How much are
the two bills for?
ARG. One, my love, is for four thousand francs, and the other for six
BEL. All the wealth in the world, my soul, is nothing to me compared
MR. DE BON. (_to_ ARGAN). Shall we draw up the will?
ARG. Yes, Sir. But we shall be more comfortable in my own little
study. Help me, my love.
BEL. Come, my poor, dear child.
SCENE X.--ANGELIQUE, TOINETTE.
TOI. They are shut up with the notary, and I heard something about a
will; your mother-in-law doesn't go to sleep; it is, no doubt, some
conspiracy of hers against your interests to which she is urging your
ANG. Let him dispose of his money as he likes, as long as be does not
dispose of my heart in the same way. You see, Toinette, to what
violence it is subjected. Do not forsake me, I beseech you, in this my
TOI. I forsake you! I had rather die. In vain does your stepmother try
to take me into her confidence, and make me espouse her interests. I
never could like her, and I have always been on your side. Trust me, I
will do every thing to serve you. But, in order to serve you more
effectually, I shall change my tactics, hide my wish to help you, and
affect to enter into the feelings of your father and your stepmother.
ANG. Try, I beseech you, to let Cleante know about the marriage they
have decided upon.
TOI. I have nobody to employ for that duty but the old usurer
Punchinello, my lover; it will cost me a few honeyed words, which I
am most willing to spend for you. To-day it is too late for that, but
to-morrow morning early I will send for him, and he will be delighted
SCENE XI.--BELINE (_in the house_), ANGELIQUE, TOINETTE.
TOI. (_to_ ANGELIQUE). I am called away. Good night. Trust me.
SCENE I.--CLEANTE, TOINETTE.
TOI. (_not recognising_ CLEANTE). What is it you want, Sir?
CLE. What do I want?
TOI. Ah! ah! is it you? What a surprise! What are you coming here for?
CLE. To learn my destiny, to speak to the lovely Angelique, to consult
the feelings of her heart, and to ask her what she means to do about
this fatal marriage of which I have been told.
TOI. Very well; but no one speaks so easily as all that to Angelique;
you must take precautions, and you have been told how narrowly she is
watched. She never goes out, nor does she see anybody. It was through
the curiosity of an old aunt that we obtained leave to go to the play
where your love began, and we have taken good care not to say anything
CLE. Therefore am I not here as Cleante, nor as her lover, but as the
friend of her music-master, from whom I have obtained leave to say
that I have come in his stead.
TOI. Here is her father; withdraw a little, and let me tell him who
SCENE II.--ARGAN, TOINETTE.
ARG. (_thinking himself alone_). Mr. Purgon told me that I was to
walk twelve times to and fro in my room every morning, but I forgot to
ask him whether it should be lengthways or across.
TOI. Sir, here is a gentleman....
ARG. Speak in a lower tone, you jade; you split my head open; and you
forget that we should never speak so loud to sick people.
TOI. I wanted to tell you, Sir....
ARG. Speak low, I tell you.
TOI. Sir...(_She moves her lips as if she were speaking._)
TOI. I tell you that...(_As before_.)
ARG. What is it you say?
TOI. (_aloud_). I say that there is a gentleman here who wants to
speak to you.
ARG. Let him come in.
SCENE III:--ARGAN, CLEANTE, TOINETTE.
TOI. (_to_ CLEANTE). Do not speak so loud, for fear of splitting
open the head of Mr. Argan.
CLE. Sir, I am delighted to find you up, and to see you better.
TOI. (_affecting to be angry_). How! better? It is false; master
is always ill.
CLE. I had heard that your master was better, and I think that he
looks well in the face.
TOI. What do you mean by his looking well in the face? He looks very
bad, and it is only impertinent folks who say that he is better; he
never was so ill in his life.
ARG. She is right.
TOI. He walks, sleeps, eats, and drinks, like other folks, but that
does not hinder him from being very ill.
ARG. Quite true.
CLE. I am heartily sorry for it, Sir. I am sent by your daughter's
music-master; he was obliged to go into the country for a few days,
and as I am his intimate friend, he has asked me to come here in his
place, to go on with the lessons, for fear that, if they were
discontinued, she should forget what she has already learnt.
ARG. Very well. (To TOINETTE) Call Angelique.
TOI. I think, Sir, It would be better to take the gentleman to her
ARG. No, make her come here.
TOI. He cannot give her a good lesson if they are not left alone.
ARG. Oh! yes, he can.
TOI. Sir, it will stun you; and you should have nothing to disturb you
in the state of health you are in.
ARG. No, no; I like music, and I should be glad to...Ah! here she is.
(_To_ TOINETTE) Go and see if my wife is dressed.
SCENE IV.--ARGAN, ANGELIQUE, CLEANTE.
ARG. Come, my daughter, your music-master is gone into the country,
and here is a person whom he sends instead, to give you your lesson.
ANG. (_recognising_ CLEANTE). O heavens!
ARG. What is the matter? Why this surprise?
ANG. It is....
ARG. What can disturb you in that manner?
ANG. It is such a strange coincidence.
ARG. How so?
ANG. I dreamt last night that I was in the greatest trouble
imaginable, and that some one exactly like this gentleman came to me.
I asked him to help me, and presently he saved me from the great
trouble I was in. My surprise was very great to meet unexpectedly, on
my coming here, him of whom I had been dreaming all night.
CLE. It is no small happiness to occupy your thoughts whether sleeping
or waking, and my delight would be great indeed if you were in any
trouble out of which you would think me worthy of delivering you.
There is nothing that I would not do for....
SCENE V.--ARGAN, ANGELIQUE, CLEANTE, TOINETTE.
TOI. (_to_ ARGAN). Indeed, Sir, I am of your opinion now, and I
unsay all that I said yesterday. Here are Mr. Diafoirus the father,
and Mr. Diafoirus the son, who are coming to visit you. How well
provided with a son-in-law you will be! You will see the best-made
young fellow in the world, and the most intellectual. He said but two
words to me, it is true, but I was struck with them, and your daughter
will be delighted with him.
ARG. (_to_ CLEANTE, _who moves as if to go_). Do not go,
Sir. I am about, as you see, to marry my daughter, and they have just
brought her future husband, whom she has not as yet seen.
CLE. You do me great honour, Sir, in wishing me to be witness of such
a pleasant interview.
ARG. He is the son of a clever doctor, and the marriage will take
place in four days.
ARG. Please inform her music-master of it, that he may be at the
CLE. I will not fail to do so.
ARG. And I invite you also.
CLE. You do me too much honour.
TOI. Come, make room; here they are.
SCENE VI.--MR. DIAFOIRUS, THOMAS DIAFOIRUS, ARGAN, ANGELIQUE, CLEANTE,
ARG. (_putting up his hand to his night-cap without taking it
off_). Mr. Purgon has forbidden me to uncover my head. You belong
to the profession, and know what would be the consequence if I did so.
MR. DIA. We are bound in all our visits to bring relief to invalids,
and not to injure them.
(MR. ARGAN _and_ MR. DIAFOIRUS _speak at the same time_.)
ARG. I receive, Sir....
MR. DIA. We come here, Sir....
ARG. With great joy....
MR. DIA. My son Thomas and myself....
ARG. The honour you do me....
MR. DIA. To declare to you, Sir....
ARG. And I wish....
MR. DIA. The delight we are in....
ARG. I could have gone to your house....
MR. DIA. At the favour you do us....
ARG. To assure you of it....
MR. DIA. In so kindly admitting us....
ARG. But you know, Sir....
MR. DIA. To the honour, Sir....
ARG. What it is to be a poor invalid....
MR. DIA. Of your alliance....
ARG. Who can only....
MR. DIA. And assure you....
ARG. Tell you here....
MR. DIA. That in all that depends on our knowledge....
ARG. That he will seize every opportunity....
MR. DIA. As well as in any other way....
ARG. To show you, Sir....
MR. DIA: That we shall ever be ready, Sir....
ARG. That he is entirely at your service....
MR. DIA. To show you our zeal. (_To his son_) Now, Thomas, come
forward, and pay your respects.
T. DIA. (_to_ MR. DIAFOIRUS). Ought I not to begin with the
MR. DIA. Yes.
T. DIA. (_to_ ARGAN). Sir, I come to salute, acknowledge,
cherish, and revere in you a second father; but a second father to
whom I owe more, I make bold to say, than to the first. The first gave
me birth; but you have chosen me. He received me by necessity, but you
have accepted me by choice. What I have from him is of the body,
corporal; what I hold from you is of the will, voluntary; and in so
much the more as the mental faculties are above the corporal, in so
much the more do I hold precious this future affiliation, for which I
come beforehand to-day to render you my most humble and most
TOI. Long life to the colleges which send such clever people into the
T. DIA. (_to_ MR. DIAFOIRUS). Has this been said to your
MR. DIA. _Optime_.
ARG. (_to_ ANGELIQUE). Come, bow to this gentleman.
T DIA. (_to_ MR. DIAFOIRUS). Shall I kiss?
MR. DIA. Yes, yes.
T. DIA. (_to_ ANGELIQUE). Madam, it is with justice that heaven
has given you the name of stepmother, since we see in you steps
towards the perfect beauty which....[Footnote: Thomas Diafoirus is
evidently going to base some compliment on the _belle-mere_. The
only way out of the difficulty in English seems to be to complete the
ARG. (_to_ THOMAS DIAFOIRUS). It is not to my wife, but to my
daughter, that you are speaking.
T. DIA. Where is she?
ARG. She will soon come.
T. DIA. Shall I wait, father, till she comes?
MR. DIA. No; go through your compliments to the young lady in the
T. DIA. Madam, as the statue of Memnon gave forth a harmonious sound
when it was struck by the first rays of the sun, in like manner do I
experience a sweet rapture at the apparition of this sun of your
beauty. As the naturalists remark that the flower styled heliotrope
always turns towards the star of day, so will my heart for ever turn
towards the resplendent stars of your adorable eyes as to its only
pole. Suffer me, then, Madam, to make to-day on the altar of your
charms the offering of a heart which longs for and is ambitious of no
greater glory than to be till death, Madam, your most humble, most
obedient, most faithful servant and husband.
TOI. Ah! See what it is to study, and how one learns to say fine
ARG. (_to_ CLEANTE). Well! what do you say to that?
CLE. The gentleman does wonders, and if he is as good a doctor as he
is an orator, it will be most pleasant to be one of his patients.
TOI. Certainly, it will be something admirable if his cures are as
wonderful as his speeches.
ARG. Now, quick, my chair; and seats for everybody. (_Servants bring
chairs._) Sit down here, my daughter. (_To_ MR. DIAFOIRUS) You
see, Sir, that everybody admires your son; and I think you very
fortunate in being the father of such a fine young man.
MR. DIA. Sir, it is not because I am his father, but I can boast that
I have reason to be satisfied with him, and that all those who see him
speak of him as of a youth without guile. He has not a very lively
imagination, nor that sparkling wit which is found in some others; but
it is this which has always made me augur well of his judgment, a
quality required for the exercise of our art. As a child he never was
what is called sharp or lively. He was always gentle, peaceful,
taciturn, never saying a word, and never playing at any of those
little pastimes that we call children's games. It was found most
difficult to teach him to read, and he was nine years old before he
knew his letters. A good omen, I used to say to myself; trees slow of
growth bear the best fruit. We engrave on marble with much more
difficulty than on sand, but the result is more lasting; and that
dulness of apprehension, that heaviness of imagination, is a mark of a
sound judgment in the future. When I sent him to college, he found it
hard work, but he stuck to his duty, and bore up with obstinacy
against all difficulties. His tutors always praised him for his
assiduity and the trouble he took. In short, by dint of continual
hammering, he at last succeeded gloriously in obtaining his degree;
and I can say, without vanity, that from that time till now there has
been no candidate who has made more noise than he in all the
disputations of our school. There he has rendered himself formidable,
and no debate passes but be goes and argues loudly and to the last
extreme on the opposite side. He is firm in dispute, strong as a Turk
in his principles, never changes his opinion, and pursues an argument
to the last recesses of logic. But, above all things, what pleases me
in him, and what I am glad to see him follow my example in, is that he
is blindly attached to the opinions of the ancients, and that he would
never understand nor listen to the reasons and the experiences of the
pretended discoveries of our century concerning the circulation of the
blood and other opinions of the same stamp. [Footnote: Harvey's
treatise on the circulation of the blood was published in 1628. His
discovery was violently opposed for a long time afterwards.]
T. DIA. (_pulling out of his pocket a long paper rolled up, and
presenting it to_ ANGELIQUE). I have upheld against these
circulators a thesis which, with the permission (_bowing to_
ARGAN) of this gentleman, I venture to present to the young lady as
the first-fruits of my genius.
ANG. Sir, it is a useless piece of furniture to me; I do not
understand these things.
TOI. (_taking the paper_). Never mind; give it all the same; the
picture will be of use, and we will adorn our attic with it.
T. DIA. (_again bowing to_ ANGELIQUE). With the permission of
this gentleman, I invite you to come one of these days to amuse
yourself by assisting at the dissection of a woman upon whose body I
am to give lectures.
TOI. The treat will be most welcome. There are some who give the
pleasure of seeing a play to their lady-love; but a dissection is much
MR. DIA. Moreover, in respect to the qualities required for marriage,
I assure you that he is all you could wish, and that his children will
be strong and healthy.
ARG. Do you not intend, Sir, to push his way at court, and obtain for
him the post of physician there?
MR. DIA. To tell you the truth, I have never had any predilection to
practice with the great; it never seemed pleasant to me, and I have
found that it is better for us to confine ourselves to the ordinary
public. Ordinary people are more convenient; you are accountable to
nobody for your actions, and as long as you follow the common rules
laid down by the faculty, there is no necessity to trouble yourself
about the result. What is vexatious among people of rank is that, when
they are ill, they positively expect their doctor to cure them.
TOI. How very absurd! How impertinent of them to ask of you doctors to
cure them! You are not placed near them for that, but only to receive
your fees and to prescribe remedies. It is their own look-out to get
well if they can.
MR. DIA. Quite so. We are only bound to treat people according to
ARG. (_to_ CLEANTE). Sir, please make my daughter sing before the
CLE. I was waiting for your commands, Sir; and I propose, in order to
amuse the company, to sing with the young lady an operetta which has
lately come out. (_To_ ANGELIQUE, _giving her a paper_) There is
CLE. (_aside to_ ANGELIQUE). Don't refuse, pray; but let me
explain to you what is the scene we must sing. (_Aloud_) I have
no voice; but in this case it is sufficient if I make myself
understood; and you must have the goodness to excuse me, because I am
under the necessity of making the young lady sing.
ARG. Are the verses pretty?
CLE. It is really nothing but a small extempore opera, and what you
will hear is only rhythmical prose or a kind of irregular verse, such
as passion and necessity make two people utter.
ARG. Very well; let us hear.
CLE. The subject of the scene is as follows. A shepherd was paying
every attention to the beauties of a play, when he was disturbed by a
noise close to him, and on turning round he saw a scoundrel who, with
insolent language, was annoying a young shepherdess. He immediately
espoused the cause of a sex to which all men owe homage; and after
having chastised the brute for his insolence, he came near the
shepherdess to comfort her. He sees a young girl with the most
beautiful eyes he has ever beheld, who is shedding tears which he
thinks the most precious in the world. Alas! says he to himself, can
any one be capable of insulting such charms? Where is the unfeeling
wretch, the barbarous man to be found who will not feel touched by
such tears? He endeavours to stop those beautiful tears, and the
lovely shepherdess takes the opportunity of thanking him for the
slight service he has rendered her. But she does it in a manner so
touching, so tender, and so passionate that the shepherd cannot resist
it, and each word, each look is a burning shaft which penetrates his
heart. Is there anything in the world worthy of such thanks? and what
will not one do, what service and what danger will not one be
delighted to run to attract upon oneself even for a moment the
touching sweetness of so grateful a heart? The whole play was acted
without his paying any more attention to it; yet he complains that it
was too short, since the end separates him from his lovely
shepherdess. From that moment, from that first sight, he carries away
with him a love which has the strength of a passion of many years. He
now feels all the pangs of absence, and is tormented in no longer
seeing what he beheld for so short a time. He tries every means to
meet again with a sight so dear to him, and the remembrance of which
pursues him day and night. But the great watch which is kept over his
shepherdess deprives him of all the power of doing so. The violence of
his passion urges him to ask in marriage the adorable beauty without
whom he can no longer live, and he obtains from her the permission of
doing so, by means of a note that he has succeeded in sending to her.
But he is told in the meantime that the father of her whom he loves
has decided upon marrying her to another, and that everything is being
got ready to celebrate the wedding. Judge what a cruel wound for the
heart of that poor shepherd! Behold him suffering from this mortal
blow; he cannot bear the dreadful idea of seeing her he loves in the
arms of another; and in his despair he finds the means of introducing
himself into the house of his shepherdess, in order to learn her
feelings and to hear from her the fate he must expect. There he sees
everything ready for what he fears; he sees the unworthy rival whom
the caprice of a father opposes to the tenderness of his love; he sees
that ridiculous rival triumphant near the lovely shepherdess, as if
already assured of his conquest. Such a sight fills him with a wrath
he can hardly master. He looks despairingly at her whom he adores, but
the respect he has for her and the presence of her father prevent him
from speaking except with his eyes. At last he breaks through all
restraint, and the greatness of his love forces him to speak as
Phyllis, too sharp a pain you bid me bear;
Break this stern silence, tell me what to fear;
Disclose your thoughts, and bid them open lie
To tell me if I live or die.
The marriage preparations sadden me.
O'erwhelmed with sorrow,
My eyes I lift to heaven; I strive to pray,
Then gaze on you and sigh. No more I say.
Tircis, who fain would woo,
Tell him, Phyllis, is it true,
Is he so blest by your sweet grace
As in your heart to find a place?
I may not hide it, in this dire extreme,
Tircis, I own for you my love....
O blessed words! am I indeed so blest?
Repeat them, Phyllis; set my doubts at rest.
I love you, Tircis!
Ah! Phyllis, once again.
I love you, Tircis!
Alas! I fain
A hundred times would hearken to that strain.
I love you! I love you!
Tircis, I love you!
Ye kings and gods who, from your eternal seat,
Behold the world of men beneath your feet,
Can you possess a happiness more sweet?
My Phyllis! one dark haunting fear
Our peaceful joy disturbs unsought;
A rival may my homage share.
Ah! worse than death is such a thought!
Its presence equal torment is
To both, and mars my bliss.
CLE. Your father to his vow would subject you.
ANG. Ah! welcome death before I prove untrue.
ARG. And what does the father say to all that?
ARG. Then that father is a fool to put up with those silly things,
without saying a word!
CLE. (_trying to go on singing_).
Ah! my love....
ARG. No; no; that will do. An opera like that is in very bad taste.
The shepherd Tircis is an impertinent fellow, and the shepherdess
Phyllis an impudent girl to speak in that way in the presence of her
father. (_To_ ANGELIQUE) Show me that paper. Ah! ah! and where
are the words that you have just sung? This is only the music.
CLE. Are you not aware, Sir, that the way of writing the words with
the notes themselves has been lately discovered?
ARG. Has it? Good-bye for the present. We could have done very well
without your impertinent opera.
CLE. I thought I should amuse you.
ARG. Foolish things do not amuse, Sir. Ah! here is my wife.
SCENE VII.--BELINE, ARGAN, ANGELIQUE MR. DIAFOIRUS, T. DIAFOIRUS,
ARG. My love, here is the son of Mr. Diafoirus.
T. DIA. Madam, it is with justice that heaven has given you the title
of stepmother, since we see in you steps....
BEL. Sir, I am delighted to have come here just in time to see you.
T. DIA. Since we see in you...since we see in you ...Madam, you have
interrupted me in the middle of my period, and have troubled my
MR. DIA. Keep it for another time.
ARG. I wish, my dear, that you had been here just now.
TOI. Ah! Madam, how much you have lost by not being at the second
father, the statue of Memnon, and the flower styled heliotrope.
ARG. Come, my daughter, shake hands with this gentleman, and pledge
him your troth.
ARG. Well? What do you mean by "Father"?
ANG. I beseech you not to be in such a hurry; give us time to become
acquainted with each other, and to see grow in us that sympathy so
necessary to a perfect union.
T. DIA. As far as I am concerned, Madam, it is already full-grown
within me, and there is no occasion for me to wait.
ANG. I am not so quick as you are, Sir, and I must confess that your
merit has not yet made enough impression on my heart.
ARG. Oh! nonsense! There will be time enough for the impression to be
made after you are married.
ANG. Ah! my father, give me time, I beseech you! Marriage is a chain
which should never be imposed by force. And if this gentleman is a man
of honour, he ought not to accept a person who would be his only by
T. DIA. _Nego consequentiam._ I can be a man of honour, Madam,
and at the same time accept you from the hands of your father.
ANG. To do violence to any one is a strange way of setting about
T. DIA. We read in the ancients, Madam, that it was their custom to
carry off by main force from their father's house the maiden they
wished to marry, so that the latter might not seem to fly of her own
accord into the arms of a man.
ANG. The ancients, Sir, are the ancients; but we are the moderns.
Pretences are not necessary in our age; and when a marriage pleases
us, we know very well how to go to it without being dragged by force.
Have a little patience; if you love me, Sir, you ought to do what I
T. DIA. Certainly, Madam, but without prejudice to the interest of my
ANG. But the greatest mark of love is to submit to the will of her who
T. DIA. _Distinguo_, Madam. In what does not regard the
possession of her, _concedo_; but in what regards it,
TOI. (to ANGELIQUE). It is in vain for you to argue. This gentleman is
bran new from college, and will be more than a match for you. Why
resist, and refuse the glory of belonging to the faculty?
BEL. She may have some other inclination in her head.
ANG. If I had, Madam, it would be such as reason and honour allow.
ARG. Heyday! I am acting a pleasant part here!
BEL. If I were you, my child, I would not force her to marry; I know
very well what I should do.
ANG. I know what you mean, Madam, and how kind you are to me; but it
may be hoped that your advice may not be fortunate enough to be
BEL. That is because well-brought-up and good children, like you,
scorn to be obedient to the will of their fathers. Obedience was all
very well in former times.
ANG. The duty of a daughter has its limits, Madam, and neither reason
nor law extend it to all things.
BEL. Which means that your thoughts are all in favour of marriage, but
that you will choose a husband for yourself.
ANG. If my father will not give me a husband I like, at least I
beseech him not to force me to marry one I can never love.
ARG. Gentlemen, I beg your pardon for all this.
ANG. We all have our own end in marrying. For my part, as I only want
a husband that I can love sincerely, and as I intend to consecrate my
whole life to him, I feel bound, I confess, to be cautious. There are
some who marry simply to free themselves from the yoke of their
parents, and to be at liberty to do all they like. There are others,
Madam, who see in marriage only a matter of mere interest; who marry
only to get a settlement, and to enrich themselves by the death of
those they marry. They pass without scruple from husband to husband,
with an eye to their possessions. These, no doubt, Madam, are not so
difficult to satisfy, and care little what the husband is like.
BEL. You are very full of reasoning to-day. I wonder what you mean by
ANG. I, Madam? What can I mean but what I say?
BEL. You are such a simpleton, my dear, that one can hardly bear with
ANG. You would like to extract from me some rude answer; but I warn
you that you will not have the pleasure of doing so.
BEL. Nothing can equal your impertinence.
ANG. It is of no use, Madam; you will not.
BEL. And you have a ridiculous pride, an impertinent presumption,
which makes you the scorn of everybody.
ANG. All this will be useless, Madam. I shall be quiet in spite of
you; and to take away from you all hope of succeeding in what you
wish, I will withdraw from your presence.
SCENE VIII.--ARGAN, BELINE, MR. DIAFOIRUS, T. DIAFOIRUS, TOINETTE.
ARG. (_to_ ANGELIQUE, _as she goes away_). Listen to me! Of
two things, one. Either you will marry this gentleman or you will go
into a convent. I give you four days to consider. (_To_ BELINE)
Don't be anxious; I will bring her to reason.
BEL. I am sorry to leave you, my child; but I have some important
business which calls me to town. I shall soon be back.
ARG. Go, my darling; call upon the notary, and tell him to be quick
about you know what.
BEL. Good-bye, my child.
ARG. Good-bye, deary.
SCENE IX.--ARGAN, MR. DIAFOIRUS, T. DIAFOIRUS, TOINETTE.
ARG. How much this woman loves me; it is perfectly incredible.
MR. DIA. We shall now take our leave of you, Sir.
ARG. I beg of you, Sir, to tell me how I am.
MR. DIA. (_feeling_ ARGAN'S _pulse_). Now, Thomas, take the
other arm of the gentleman, so that I may see whether you can form a
right judgment on his pulse. _Quid dicis?_
T. DIA. _Dico_ that the pulse of this gentleman is the pulse of a
man who is not well.
MR. DIA. Good.
T. DIA. That it is _duriusculus_, not to say _durus_.
MR. DIA. Very well.
T. DIA. Irregular.
MR. DIA. _Bene_.
T. DIA. And even a little caprizant.
MR. DIA. _Optime_.
T. DIA. Which speaks of an intemperance in the splenetic
_parenchyma_; that is to say, the spleen.
MR. DIA. Quite right.
ARG. It cannot be, for Mr. Purgon says that it is my liver which is
out of order.
MR. DIA. Certainly; he who says _parenchyma_ says both one and
the other, because of the great sympathy which exists between them
through the means of the _vas breve_, of the _pylorus_, and
often of the _meatus choledici_. He no doubt orders you to eat
plenty of roast-meat.
ARG. No; nothing but boiled meat.
MR. DIA. Yes, yes; roast or boiled, it is all the same; he orders very
wisely, and you could not have fallen into better hands.
ARG. Sir, tell me how many grains of salt I ought to put to an egg?
MR. DIA. Six, eight, ten, by even numbers; just as in medicines by odd
ARG. Good-bye, Sir; I hope soon to have the pleasure of seeing you
SCENE X.--BELINE, ARGAN.
BEL. Before I go out, I must inform you of one thing you must be
careful about. While passing before Angelique's door, I saw with her a
young man, who ran away as soon as he noticed me.
ARG. A young man with my daughter!
BEL. Yes; your little girl Louison, who was with them, will tell you
all about it.
ARG. Send her here, my love, send her here at once. Ah! the brazen-faced
girl! (_Alone_.) I no longer wonder at the resistance she showed.
SCENE XI.--ARGAN, LOUISON.
LOU. What do you want, papa? My step-mamma told me to come to you.
ARG. Yes; come here. Come nearer. Turn round, and hold up your head.
Look straight at me. Well?
LOU. What, papa?
ARG. Have you nothing to say to me?
LOU. Yes. I will, to amuse you, tell you, if you like, the story of
the Ass's Skin or the fable of the Fox and the Crow, which I have
ARG. That is not what I want of you.
LOU. What is it then?
ARG. Ah! cunning little girl, you know very well what I mean.
LOU. No indeed, papa.
ARG. Is that the way you obey me?
LOU. What, papa?
ARG. Have I not asked you to tell me at once all you see?
LOU. Yes, papa.
ARG. Have you done so?
LOU. Yes, papa. I always come and tell you all I see.
ARG. And have you seen nothing to-day?
LOU. No, papa.
LOU. No, papa.
ARG. Quite sure?
LOU. Quite sure.
ARG. Ah! indeed! I will make you see something soon.
LOU. (_seeing_ ARGAN _take a rod_). Ah! papa!
ARG. Ah! ah! false little girl; you do not tell me that you saw a man
in your sister's room!
LOU. (_crying_). Papa!
ARG. (_taking_ LOUISON _by the arm_). This will teach you to
LOU. (_throwing herself on her knees_). Ah! my dear papa! pray
forgive me. My sister had asked me not to say anything to you, but I
will tell you everything.
ARG. First you must have a flogging for having told an untruth, then
we will see to the rest.
LOU. Forgive me, papa, forgive me!
ARG. No, no!
LOU. My dear papa, don't whip me.
ARG. Yes, you shall be whipped.
LOU. For pity's sake! don't whip me, papa.
ARG. (_going to whip her_). Come, come.
LOU. Ah! papa, you have hurt me; I am dead! (_She feigns to be
ARG. How, now! What does this mean? Louison! Louison! Ah! heaven!
Louison! My child! Ah! wretched father! My poor child is dead! What
have I done? Ah! villainous rod! A curse on the rod! Ah! my poor
child! My dear little Louison!
LOU. Come, come, dear papa; don't weep so. I am not quite dead yet.
ARG. Just see the cunning little wench. Well! I forgive you this once,
but you must tell me everything.
LOU. Oh yes, dear papa.
ARG. Be sure you take great care, for here is my little finger that
knows everything, and it will tell me if you don't speak the truth.
LOU. But, papa, you won't tell sister that I told you.
ARG. No, no.
LOU. (_after having listened to see if any one can hear_). Papa,
a young man came into sister's room while I was there.
LOU. I asked him what he wanted; he said that he was her music-master.
ARG. (_aside_). Hm! hm! I see. (_To_ LOUISON) Well?
LOU. Then sister came.
LOU. She said to him, "Go away, go away, go. Good heavens! you will
drive me to despair."
LOU. But he would not go away.
ARG. What did he say to her?
LOU. Oh! ever so many things.
ARG. But what?
LOU. He told her this, and that, and the other; that he loved her
dearly; that she was the most beautiful person in the world.
ARG. And then, after?
LOU. Then he knelt down before her.
ARG. And then?
LOU. Then he kept on kissing her hands.
ARG. And then?
LOU. Then my mamma came to the door, and, he escaped.
ARG. Nothing else?
LOU. No, dear papa.
ARG. Here is my little finger, which says something though.
(_Putting his finger up to his ear_.) Wait. Stay, eh? ah! ah!
Yes? oh! oh! here is my little finger, which says that there is
something you saw, and which you do not tell me.
LOU. Ah! papa, your little finger is a story-teller.
ARG. Take care.
LOU. No, don't believe him; he tells a story, I assure you.
ARG. Oh! Well, well; we will see to that. Go away now, and pay great
attention to what you see. (_Alone_.) Ah! children are no longer
children nowadays! What trouble! I have not even enough leisure to
attend to my illness. I am quite done up. (_He falls down into his
SCENE XII.--BERALDE, ARGAN.
BER. Well, brother! What is the matter? How are you?
ARG. Ah! very bad, brother; very bad.
BER. How is that?
ARG. No one would believe how very feeble I am.
BER. That's a sad thing, indeed.
ARG. I have hardly enough strength to speak.
BER. I came here, brother, to propose a match for my niece, Angelique.
ARG. (_in a rage, speaking with great fury, and starting up from his
chair_). Brother, don't speak to me of that wicked, good-for-nothing,
insolent, brazen-faced girl. I will put her in a convent before two days
BER. Ah! all right! I am glad to see that you have a little strength
still left, and that my visit does you good. Well, well, we will talk
of business by-and-by. I have brought you an entertainment, which will
dissipate your melancholy, and will dispose you better for what we
have to talk about. They are gipsies dressed in Moorish clothes. They
perform some dances mixed with songs, which, I am sure, you will like,
and which will be as good as a prescription from Mr. Purgon. Come
MEN _and_ WOMEN (_dressed as Moors_).
FIRST MOORISH WOMAN.
When blooms the spring of life,
The golden harvest reap.
Waste not your years in bootless strife,
Till age upon your bodies creep.
But now, when shines the kindly light,
Give up your soul to love's delight.
No touch of sweetest joy
This longing heart can know,
No bliss without alloy
When love does silent show.
Then up, ye lads and lasses gay!
The spring of life is fair;
Cloud not these hours with care,
For love must win the day.
Years roll by,
Obscure the sky.
And joys so sweet of yore
Shall charm us then no more.
Then up, ye lads and lasses gay!
The spring of life is fair;
Cloud not these hours with care,
For love must win the day.
_First Entry of the_ BALLET.
2ND MOORISH WOMAN.
They bid us love, they bid us woo,
Why seek delay?
To tender sighs and kisses too
In youth's fair day,
Our hearts are but too true.
The sweetest charms has Cupid's spell.
No sooner felt, the ready heart
His conquered self would yield him well
Ere yet the god had winged his dart.
But yet the tale we often hear
Of tears and sorrows keen,
To share in them, I ween,
Though sweet, would make us fear!
3RD MOORISH WOMAN.
To love a lover true,
In youth's kind day, I trow,
Is pleasant task enow;
But think how we must rue
If he inconstant show!
4TH MOORISH WOMAN.
The loss of lover false to me
But trifling grief would be,
Yet this is far the keenest smart
That he had stol'n away our heart.