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The Miser by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin

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HAR. (_to_ MARIANNE). Do not be offended, fair one, if I come to
you with my glasses on. I know that your beauty is great enough to be
seen with the naked eye; but, still, it is with glasses that we look
at the stars, and I maintain and uphold that you are a star, the most
beautiful and in the land of stars. Frosine, she does not answer,
star, it seems to me, shows no joy at the sight of me.

FRO. It is because she is still quite awe-struck, and young girls are
always shy at first, and afraid of showing what they feel.

HAR. (_to_ FROSINE). You are right. (_To_ MARIANNE) My
pretty darling, there is my daughter coming to welcome you.


MAR. I am very late in acquitting myself of the visit I owed you.

ELI. You have done what I ought to have done. It was for me to have
come and seen you first.

HAR. You see what a great girl she is; but ill weeds grow apace.

MAR. (_aside to_ FROSINE). Oh, what an unpleasant man!

HAR. (_to_ FROSINE). What does my fair one say?

FRO. That she thinks you perfect.

HAR. You do me too much honour, my adorable darling.

MAR. (_aside_). What a dreadful creature!

HAR. I really feel too grateful to you for these sentiments.

MAR. (_aside_). I can bear it no longer.


HAR. Here is my son, who also comes to pay his respects to you.

MAR. (_aside to_ FROSINE). Oh, Frosine! what a strange meeting!
He is the very one of whom I spoke to you.

FRO. (_to_ MARIANNE). Well, that is extraordinary.

HAR. You are surprised to see that my children can be so old; but I
shall soon get rid of both of them.

CLE. (_to_ MARIANNE). Madam, to tell you the truth, I little
expected such an event; and my father surprised me not a little when
he told me to-day of the decision he had come to.

MAR. I can say the same thing. It is an unexpected meeting; and I
certainly was far from being prepared for such an event.

CLE. Madam, my father cannot make a better choice, and it is a great
joy to me to have the honour of welcoming you here. At the same time,
I cannot say that I should rejoice if it were your intention to become
my stepmother. I must confess that I should find it difficult to pay
you the compliment; and it is a title, forgive me, that I cannot wish
you to have. To some this speech would seem coarse, but I feel that
you understand it. This marriage, Madam, is altogether repugnant to
me. You are not ignorant, now that you know who I am, how opposed it
is to all my own interests, and with my father's permission I hope you
will allow me to say that, if things depended on me, it would never
take place.

HAR. (_aside_). What a very impertinent speech to make; and what
a confession to make to her!

MAR. And as my answer, I must tell you that things are much the same
with me, and that, if you have any repugnance in seeing me your
stepmother, I shall have no less in seeing you my stepson. Do not
believe, I beg of you, that it is of my own will that this trouble has
come upon you. I should be deeply grieved to cause you the least
sorrow, and unless I am forced to it by a power I must obey, I give
you my word that, I will never consent to a marriage which is so
painful to you.

HAR. She is right. A foolish speech deserves a foolish answer. I beg
your pardon, my love, for the impertinence of my son. He is a silly
young fellow, who has not yet learnt the value of his own words.

MAR. I assure you that he has not at all offended me. I am thankful,
on the contrary, that he has spoken so openly. I care greatly for such
a confession from him, and if he had spoken differently, I should feel
much less esteem for him.

HAR. It is very kind of you to excuse him thus. Time will make him
wiser, and you will see that his feelings will change.

CLE. No, father, they will never change; and I earnestly beg of you,
Madam, to believe me.

HAR. Did ever anybody see such folly? He is becoming worse and worse.

CLE. Would you have me false to my inmost feelings?

HAR. Again! Change your manners, if you please.

CLE. Very well, since you wish me to speak differently. Allow me,
Madam, to take for a moment my father's place; and forgive me if I
tell you that I never saw in the world anybody more charming than you
are; that I can understand no happiness to equal that of pleasing you,
and that to be your husband is a glory, a felicity, I should prefer to
the destinies of the greatest princes upon earth. Yes, Madam, to
possess you is, in my mind, to possess the best of all treasures; to
obtain you is all my ambition. There is nothing I would not do for so
precious a conquest, and the most powerful obstacles....

HAR. Gently, gently, my son, if you please.

CLE. These are complimentary words which I speak to her in your name.

HAR. Bless me! I have a tongue of my own to explain my feelings, and I
really don't care for such an advocate as you... Here, bring us some

FRO. No; I think it is better for us to go at once to the fair, in
order to be back earlier, and have plenty of time for talking.

HAR. (_to_ BRINDAVOINE). Have the carriage ready at once.


HAR. (_to_ MARIANNE). I hope you will excuse me, my dear, but I
forgot to order some refreshments for you, before you went out.

CLE. I have thought of it, father, and have ordered to be brought in
here some baskets of China oranges, sweet citrons, and preserves,
which I sent for in your name.

HAR. (_aside, to_ VALÈRE). Valère!

VAL. (_aside, to_ HARPAGON). He has lost his senses!

CLE. You are afraid, father, that it will not be enough? I hope,
Madam, that you will have the kindness to excuse it.

MAR. It was by no means necessary.

CLE. Did you ever see, Madam, a more brilliant diamond than the one my
father has upon his finger?

MAR. It certainly sparkles very much.

CLE. (_taking the diamond off his father's finger_). You must see
it near.

MAR. It is a beautiful one; it possesses great lustre.

CLE. (_steps before_ MARIANNE, _who wants to restore it_).
No, Madam, it is in hands too beautiful; it is a present my father
gives you.


CLE. Is it not true, father, that you wish her to keep it for your

HAR. (_aside, to his son_). What?

CLE. (_to_ MARIANNE). A strange question indeed! He is making me
signs that I am to force you to accept it.

MAR. I would not....

CLE. (_to_ MARIANNE). I beg of you.... He would not take it back.

HAR. (_aside_). I am bursting with rage!

MAR. It would be....

CLE. (_still hindering_ MARIANNE _from returning it_). No; I
tell you, you will offend him.

MAR. Pray....

CLE. By no means.

HAR. (_aside_). Plague take....

CLE. He is perfectly shocked at your refusal.

HAR. (_aside, to his son_). Ah! traitor!

CLE. (_to_ MARIANNE). You see he is in despair.

HAR. (_aside, to his son, threatening him_). You villain!

CLE. Really, father, it is not my fault. I do all I can to persuade
her to accept it; but she is obstinate.

HAR. (_in a rage, aside to his son_). Rascal!

CLE. You are the cause, Madam, of my father scolding me.

HAR. (_aside, with the same looks_). Scoundrel!

CLE. (_to_ MARIANNE). You will make him ill; for goodness' sake,
hesitate no longer.

FRO. (_to_ MARIANNE). Why so much ceremony? Keep the ring, since
the gentleman wishes you to.

MAR. (_to_ HARPAGON). I will keep it now, Sir, in order not to
make you angry, and I shall take another opportunity of returning it
to you.


BRIND. Sir, there is a gentleman here who wants to speak to you.

HAR. Tell him that I am engaged, and that I cannot see him to-day.

BRIND. He says he has some money for you.

HAR. (_to_ MARIANNE). Pray, excuse me; I will come back directly.


LA MER. (_comes in running, and throws_ HARPAGON _down_).

HAR. Oh! he has killed me.

CLE. What's the matter, father? Have you hurt yourself?

HAR. The wretch must have been bribed by some of my debtors to break
my neck.

VAL. (_to_ HARPAGON). There is nothing serious.

LA MER. (_to_ HARPAGON). I beg your pardon, Sir; I thought I had
better run fast to tell you....

HAR. What?

LA MER. That your two horses have lost their shoes.

HAR. Take them quickly to the smith.

CLE. In the meantime, father, I will do the honours of the house for
you, and take this lady into the garden, where lunch will be brought.


HAR. Valère, look after all this; and take care, I beseech you, to
save as much of it as you can, so that we may send it back to the
tradesman again.

VAL. I will.

HAR. (_alone_). Miscreant! do you mean to ruin me?



CLE. Let us come in here; we shall be much better. There is no one
about us that we need be afraid of, and we can speak openly.

ELI. Yes, Madam, my brother has told me of the love he has for you. I
know what sorrow and anxiety such trials as these may cause, and I
assure you that I have the greatest sympathy for you.

MAR. I feel it a great comfort in my trouble to have the sympathy of a
person like you, and I entreat you, Madam, ever to retain for me a
friendship so capable of softening the cruelty of my fate.

FRO. You really are both very unfortunate not to have told me of all
this before. I might certainly have warded off the blow, and not have
carried things so far.

CLE. What could I do? It is my evil destiny which has willed it so.
But you, fair Marianne, what have you resolved to do? What resolution
have you taken?

MAR. Alas! Is it in my power to take any resolution? And, dependent as
I am, can I do anything else except form wishes?

CLE. No other support for me in your heart? Nothing but mere wishes?
No pitying energy? No kindly relief? No active affection?

MAR. What am I to say to you? Put yourself in my place, and judge what
I can possibly do. Advise me, dispose of me, I trust myself entirely
to you, for I am sure that you will never ask of me anything but what
is modest and seemly.

CLE. Alas! to what do you reduce me when you wish me to be guided
entirely by feelings of strict duty and of scrupulous propriety.

MAR. But what would you have me do? Even if I were, for you, to divest
myself of the many scruples which our sex imposes on us, I have too
much regard for my mother, who has brought me up with great
tenderness, for me to give her any cause of sorrow. Do all you can
with her. Strive to win her. I give you leave to say and do all you
wish; and if anything depends upon her knowing the true state of my
feelings, by all means tell her what they are; indeed I will do it
myself if necessary.

CLE. Frosine, dear Frosine, will you not help us?

FRO. Indeed, I should like to do so, as you know. I am not naturally
unkind. Heaven has not given me a heart of flint, and I feel but too
ready to help when I see young people loving each other in all
earnestness and honesty. What can we do in this case?

CLE. Try and think a little.

MAR. Advise us.

ELI. Invent something to undo what you have done.

FRO. Rather a difficult piece of business. (_To_ MARIANNE) As far
as your mother is concerned, she is not altogether unreasonable and we
might succeed in making her give to the son the gift she reserved for
the father. (_To_ CLÉANTE) But the most disheartening part of it
all is that your father is your father.

CLE. Yes, so it is.

FRO. I mean that he will bear malice if he sees that he is refused,
and he will be in no way disposed afterwards to give his consent to
your marriage. It would be well if the refusal could be made to come
from him, and you ought to try by some means or other to make him
dislike you, Marianne.

CLE. You are quite right.

FRO. Yes, right enough, no doubt. That is what ought to be done; but
how in the world are we to set about it? Wait a moment. Suppose we had
a somewhat elderly woman with a little of the ability which I possess,
and able sufficiently well to represent a lady of rank, by means of a
retinue made up in haste, and of some whimsical title of a marchioness
or viscountess, whom we would suppose to come from Lower Brittany. I
should have enough power over your father to persuade him that she is
a rich woman, in possession, besides her houses, of a hundred thousand
crowns in ready money; that she is deeply in love with him, and that
she would marry him at any cost, were she even to give him all her
money by the marriage contract. I have no doubt he would listen to the
proposal. For certainly he loves you very much, my dear, but he loves
money still better. When once he has consented to your marriage, it
does not signify much how he finds out the true state of affairs about
our marchioness.

CLE. All that is very well made up.

FRO. Leave it to me; I just remember one of my friends who will do

CLE. Depend on my gratitude, Frosine, if you succeed. But, dear
Marianne, let us begin, I beg of you, by gaining over your mother; it
would be a great deal accomplished if this marriage were once broken
off. Make use, I beseech you, of all the power that her tenderness for
you gives you over her. Display without hesitation those eloquent
graces, those all-powerful charms, with which Heaven has endowed your
eyes and lips; forget not, I beseech you, those sweet persuasions,
those tender entreaties, those loving caresses to which, I feel,
nothing could be refused.

MAR. I will do all I can, and will forget nothing.


HAR. (aside, and without being seen). Ah! ah! my son is kissing the
hand of his intended stepmother, and his intended stepmother does not
seem much averse to it! Can there be any mystery in all this?

ELI. Here comes my father.

HAR. The carriage is quite ready, and you can start when you like.

CLE. Since you are not going, father, allow me to take care of them.

HAR. No, stop here; they can easily take care of themselves, and I
want you.


HAR. Well, now, all consideration of stepmother aside, tell me what do
you think of this lady?

CLE. What I think of her?

HAR. Yes, what do you think of her appearance, her figure, her beauty
and intelligence?

CLE. So, so.

HAR. But still?

CLE. To tell you the truth, I did not find her such as I expected. Her
manner is that of a thorough coquette, her figure is rather awkward,
her beauty very middling, and her intelligence of the meanest order.
Do not suppose that I say this to make you dislike her; for if I must
have a stepmother, I like the idea of this one as well as of any

HAR. You spoke to her just now, nevertheless....

CLE. I paid her several compliments in your name, but it was to please

HAR. So then you don't care for her?

CLE. Who? I? Not in the least.

HAR. I am sorry for it, for that puts an end to a scheme which had
occurred to me. Since I have seen her here, I have been thinking of my
own age; and I feel that people would find fault with me for marrying
so young a girl. This consideration had made me determine to abandon
the project, and as I had demanded her in marriage, and had given her
my promise, I would have given her to you if it were not for the
dislike you have for her.

CLE. To me?

HAR. To you.

CLE. In marriage?

HAR. In marriage.

CLE. It is true she is not at all to my taste; but, to please you,
father, I will bring myself to marry her, if you please.

HAR. If I please! I am more reasonable than you think. I don't wish to
compel you.

CLE. Excuse me! I will make an attempt to love her.

HAR. No, no; a marriage cannot be happy where there is no love.

CLE. That, my father, will, perhaps, come by and by, and it is said
that love is often the fruit of marriage.

HAR. No, it is not right to risk it on the side of the man, and there
are some troublesome things I don't care to run the chance of. If you
had felt any inclination for her, you should have married her instead
of me, but as it is, I will return to my first intention and marry her

CLE. Well, father, since things are so, I had better be frank with
you, and reveal our secret to you. The truth is that I have loved her
ever since I saw her one day on the promenade. I intended to ask you
today to let me marry her, and I was only deterred from it because you
spoke of marrying her, and because I feared to displease you.

HAR. Have you ever paid her any visits?

CLE. Yes, father.

HAR. Many?

CLE. Yes; considering how long we have been acquainted.

HAR. You were well received.

CLE. Very well, but without her knowing who I was; and that is why
Marianne was so surprised when she saw me today.

HAR. Have you told her of your love, and of your intention of marrying

CLE. Certainly, and I also spoke a little to the mother on the

HAR. Did she kindly receive your proposal for her daughter?

CLE. Yes, very kindly.

HAR. And does the daughter return your love?

CLE. If I can believe appearances, she is certainly well disposed
towards me.

HAR. (_aside_). Well! I am very glad to have found out this
secret; it is the very thing I wanted to know. (_To his son_)
Now, look here, my son, I tell you what. You will have, if you please,
to get rid of your love for Marianne, to cease to pay your attentions
to a person I intend for myself, and to marry very soon the wife I
have chosen for you.

CLE. So, father, it is thus you deceive me! Very well, since things
are come to such a pass, I openly declare to you that I shall not give
up my love for Marianne. No! understand that henceforth there is
nothing from which I shall shrink in order to dispute her with you;
and if you have on your side the consent of the mother, perhaps I
shall have some other resources left to aid me.

HAR. What, rascal! You dare to trespass on my grounds?

CLE. It is you who trespass on mine. I was the first.

HAR. Am I not your father, and do you not owe me respect?

CLE. There are things in which children are not called upon to pay
deference to their fathers; and love is no respector of persons.

HAR. My stick will make you know me better.

CLE. All your threatenings are nothing to me.

HAR. You will give up Marianne?

CLE. Never!

HAR. Bring me my stick. Quick, I say! my stick!


JAC. Hold! hold! Gentlemen, what does this mean? What are you thinking

CLE. I don't care a bit for it.

JAC. (_to_ CLÉANTE). Ah! Sir, gently.

HAR. He dares to speak to me with such impudence as that!

JAC. (_to_ HARPAGON). Ah! Sir, I beg of you.

CLE. I shall keep to it.

JAC, (_to_ CLÉANTE). What! to your father?

HAR. Let me do it.

JAC. (_to_ HARPAGON). What! to your son? To me it's different.

HAR. I will make you judge between us, Master Jacques, so that you may
see that I have right on my side.

JAC. Willingly. (_To_ CLÉANTE) Go a little farther back.

HAR. There is a young girl I love and want to marry, and the scoundrel
has the impudence to love her also, and wants to marry her in spite of

JAC. Oh! he is wrong.

HAR. Is it not an abominable thing to see a son who does not shrink
from becoming the rival of his father? And is it not his bounden duty
to refrain from interfering with my love?

JAC. You are quite right; stop here, and let me go and speak to him.

CLE. (_to_ MASTER JACQUES, _who comes near him_). Very well;
if he wants to make you a judge between us, I have no objection. I
care little who it is, and I don't mind referring our quarrel to you.

JAC. You do me great honour.

CLE. I am in love with a young girl who returns my affection, and who
receives kindly the offer of my heart; but my father takes it into his
head to disturb our love by asking her in marriage.

JAC. He certainly is wrong.

CLE. Is it not shameful for a man of his age to think of marrying? I
ask you if it is right for him to fall in love? and ought he not now
to leave that to younger men?

JAC. You are quite right; he is not serious; let me speak a word or
two to him. (_To_ HARPAGON) Really, your son is not so extravagant
as you think, and is amenable to reason. He says that he is conscious
of the respect he owes you, and that he only got angry in the heat of
the moment. He will willingly submit to all you wish if you will only
promise to treat him more kindly than you do, and will give him in
marriage a person to his taste.

HAR. Ah! tell him, Master Jacques, that he will obtain everything from
me on those terms, and that, except Marianne, I leave him free to
choose for his wife whomsoever he pleases.

JAC. Leave that to me. (_To_ CLÉANTE) Really, your father is not
so unreasonable as you make him out to me; and he tells me that it is
your violence which irritated him. He only objects to your way of
doing things, and is quite ready to grant you all you want, provided
you will use gentle means and will give him the deference, respect,
and submission that a son owes to his father.

CLE. Ah! Master Jacques, you can assure him that if he grants me
Marianne, he will always find me the most submissive of men, and that
I shall never do anything contrary to his pleasure.

JAC. (_to_ HARPAGON). It's all right; he consents to what you

HARP. Nothing could be better.

JAC. (_to_ CLÉANTE). It's all settled; he is satisfied with your
promises. CLE. Heaven be praised!

JAC. Gentlemen, you have nothing to do but to talk quietly over the
matter together; you are agreed now, and yet you were on the point of
quarrelling through want of understanding each other.

CLE. My poor Jacques, I shall be obliged to you all my life.

JAC. Don't mention it, Sir.

HAR. You have given me great pleasure, Master Jacques, and deserve a
reward. (HARPAGON _feels in his pocket_, JACQUES _holds out his
hand, but_ HARPAGON _only pulls out his handkerchief, and
says_,) Go; I will remember it, I promise you.

JAC. I thank you kindly, Sir.


CLE. I beg your pardon, father, for having been angry.

HAR. It is nothing.

CLE. I assure you that I feel very sorry about it.

HAR. I am very happy to see you reasonable again.

CLE. How very kind of you so soon to forget my fault.

HAR. One easily forgets the faults of children when they return to
their duty.

CLE. What! you are not angry with me for my extravagant behaviour?

HAR. By your submission and respectful conduct you compel me to forget
my anger.

CLE. I assure you, father, I shall for ever keep in heart the
remembrance of all your kindness.

HAR. And I promise you that, in future, you will obtain all you like
from me.

CLE. Oh, father! I ask nothing more; it is sufficient for me that you
give me Marianne.

HAR. What?

CLE. I say, father, that I am only too thankful already for what you
have done, and that when you give me Marianne, you give me everything.

HAR. Who talks of giving you Marianne?

CLE. You, father.


CLE. Yes.

HAR. What! is it not you who promised to give her up?

CLE. I! give her up?

HAR. Yes.

CLE. Certainly not.

HAR. Did you not give up all pretensions to her?

CLE. On the contrary, I am more determined than ever to have her.

HAR. What, scoundrel! again?

CLE. Nothing can make me change my mind.

HAR. Let me get at you again, wretch!

CLE. You can do as you please.

HAR. I forbid you ever to come within my sight.

CLE. As you like.

HAR. I abandon you.

CLE. Abandon me.

HAR. I disown you.

CLE. Disown me.

HAR. I disinherit you.

CLE. As you will.

HAR. I give you my curse.

CLE. I want none of your gifts.


LA FL. (_leaving the garden with a casket_). Ah! Sir, you are
just in the nick of time. Quick! follow me.

CLE. What is the matter?

LA FL. Follow me, I say. We are saved.

CLE. How?

LA FL. Here is all you want.

CLE. What?

LA FL. I have watched for this all day.

CLE. What is it?

LA FL. Your father's treasure that I have got hold of.

CLE. How did you manage it?

LA FL. I will tell you all about it. Let us be off. I can hear him
calling out.

SCENE VII.--HARPAGON, _from the garden, rushing in without his hat,
and crying_--

Thieves! thieves! assassins! murder! Justice, just heavens! I am
undone; I am murdered; they have cut my throat; they have stolen my
money! Who can it be? What has become of him? Where is he? Where is he
hiding himself? What shall I do to find him? Where shall I run? Where
shall I not run? Is he not here? Who is this? Stop! (_To himself,
taking hold of his own arm_) Give me back my money, wretch....
Ah...! it is myself.... My mind is wandering, and I know not where I
am, who I am, and what I am doing. Alas! my poor money! my poor money!
my dearest friend, they have bereaved me of thee; and since thou art
gone, I have lost my support, my consolation, and my joy. All is ended
for me, and I have nothing more to do in the world! Without thee it is
impossible for me to live. It is all over with me; I can bear it no
longer. I am dying; I am dead; I am buried. Is there nobody who will
call me from the dead, by restoring my dear money to me, or by telling
me who has taken it? Ah! what is it you say? It is no one. Whoever has
committed the deed must have watched carefully for his opportunity,
and must have chosen the very moment when I was talking with my
miscreant of a son. I must go. I will demand justice, and have the
whole of my house put to the torture--my maids and my valets, my son,
my daughter, and myself too. What a crowd of people are assembled
here! Everyone seems to be my thief. I see no one who does not rouse
suspicion in me. Ha! what are they speaking of there? Of him who stole
my money? What noise is that up yonder? Is it my thief who is there?
For pity's sake, if you know anything of my thief, I beseech you to
tell me. Is he hiding there among you? They all look at me and laugh.
We shall see that they all have a share in the robbery. Quick!
magistrates, police, provosts, judges, racks, gibbets, and
executioners. I will hang everybody, and if I do not find my money, I
will hang myself afterwards.



OFF. Leave that to me. I know my business. Thank Heaven! this is not
the first time I have been employed in finding out thieves; and I wish
I had as many bags of a thousand francs as I have had people hanged.

HAR. Every magistrate must take this affair in hand; and if my money
is not found, I shall call justice against justice itself.

OFF. We must take all needful steps. You say there was in that

HAR. Ten thousand crowns in cash.

OFF. Ten thousand crowns!

HAR. Ten thousand crowns.

OFF. A considerable theft.

HAR. There is no punishment great enough for the enormity of the
crime; and if it remain unpunished, the most sacred things are no
longer secure.

OFF. In what coins was that sum?

HAR. In good louis d'or and pistoles of full weight.

OFF. Whom do you suspect of this robbery?

HAR. Everybody. I wish you to take into custody the whole town and

OFF. You must not, if you trust me, frighten anybody, but must use
gentle means to collect evidence, in order afterwards to proceed with
more rigour for the recovery of the sum which has been taken from you.


JAC. (_at the end of the stage, turning back to the door by which he
came in_). I am coming back. Have his throat cut at once; have his
feet singed; put him in boiling water, and hang him up to the ceiling.

HAR. What! Him who has robbed me?

JAC. I was speaking of a sucking pig that your steward has just sent
me; and I want to have it dressed for you after my own fancy.

HAR. This is no longer the question; and you have to speak of
something else to this gentleman.

OFF. (_to_ JACQUES). Don't get frightened. I am not a man to
cause any scandal, and matters will be carried on by gentle means.

JAC. (_to_ HARPAGON). Is this gentleman coming to supper with

OFF. You must, in this case, my good man, hide nothing from your

JAC. Indeed, Sir, I will show you all I know, and will treat you in
the best manner I possibly can.

OFF. That's not the question.

JAC. If I do not give as good fare as I should like, it is the fault
of your steward, who has clipped my wings with the scissors of his

HAR. Rascal! We have other matters to talk about than your supper; and
I want you to tell me what has become of the money which has been
stolen from me.

JAC. Some money has been stolen from you?

HAR. Yes, you rascal! And I'll have you hanged if you don't give it me
back again.

OFF. (_to_ HARPAGON). Pray, don't be hard upon him. I see by his
looks that he is an honest fellow, and that he will tell you all you
want to know without going to prison. Yes, my friend, if you confess,
no harm shall come to you, and you shall be well rewarded by your
master. Some money has been stolen from him, and it is not possible
that you know nothing about it.

JAC. (_aside_). The very thing I wanted in order to be revenged
of our steward. Ever since he came here, he has been the favourite,
and his advice is the only one listened to. Moreover, I have forgotten
neither the cudgelling of to-day nor....

HAR. What are you muttering about there?

OFF. (_to_ HARPAGON). Leave him alone. He is preparing himself to
satisfy you; I told you that he was an honest fellow.

JAC. Sir, since you want me to tell you what I know, I believe it is
your steward who has done this.

HAR. Valère?

JAC. Yes.

HAR. He who seemed so faithful to me!

JAC. Himself. I believe that it is he who has robbed you.

HAR. And what makes you believe it?

JAC. What makes me believe it?

HAR. Yes.

JAC. I believe it...because I believe it.

OFF. But you must tell us the proofs you have.

HAR. Did you see him hanging about the place where I had put my money?

JAC. Yes, indeed. Where was your money?

HAR. In the garden.

JAC. Exactly; I saw him loitering about in the garden; and in what was
your money?

HAR. In a casket.

JAC. The very thing. I saw him with a casket.

HAR. And this casket, what was it like? I shall soon see if it is

JAC. What it was like?

HAR. Yes.

JAC. It was like...like a casket.

OFF. Of course. But describe it a little, to see if it is the same.

JAC. It was a large casket.

HAR. The one taken from me is a small one.

JAC. Yes, small if you look at it in that way; but I call it large
because of what it contains.

HAR. And what colour was it?

JAC. What colour?

OFF. Yes.

JAC. Of a colour...of a certain colour.... Can't you help me to find
the word?

HAR. Ugh!

JAC. Red; isn't it?

HAR. No, grey.

JAC. Ha! yes, reddish-grey! That's what I meant.

HAR. There is no doubt about it, it's my casket for certain. Write
down his evidence, Sir! Heavens! whom can we trust after that? We must
never swear to anything, and I believe now that I might rob my own

JAC. (_to_ HARPAGON). There he is coming back, Sir; I beg of you
not to go and tell him that it was I who let it all out, Sir.


HAR. Come, come near, and confess the most abominable action, the most
horrible crime, that was ever committed.

VAL. What do you want, Sir?

HAR. What, wretch! you do not blush for shame after such a crime?

VAL. Of what crime do you speak?

HAR. Of what crime I speak? Base villain, as if you did not know what
I mean! It is in vain for you to try to hide it; the thing is
discovered, and I have just heard all the particulars. How could you
thus abuse my kindness, introduce yourself on purpose into my house to
betray me, and to play upon me such an abominable trick?

VAL. Sir, since everything is known to you, I will neither deny what I
have done nor will I try to palliate it.

JAC. (_aside_). Oh! oh! Have I guessed the truth?

VAL. I intended to speak to you about it, and I was watching for a
favourable opportunity; but, as this is no longer possible, I beg of
you not to be angry, and to hear my motives.

HAR. And what fine motives can you possibly give me, infamous thief?

VAL. Ah! Sir, I do not deserve these names. I am guilty towards you,
it is true; but, after all, my fault is pardonable.

HAR. How pardonable? A premeditated trick, and such an assassination
as this!

VAL. I beseech you not to be so angry with me. When you have heard all
I have to say, you will see that the harm is not so great as you make
it out to be.

HAR. The harm not so great as I make it out to be! What! my heart's
blood, scoundrel!

VAL. Your blood, Sir, has not fallen into bad hands. My rank is high
enough not to disgrace it, and there is nothing in all this for which
reparation cannot be made.

HAR. It is, indeed, my intention that you should restore what you have
taken from me.

VAL. Your honour, Sir, shall be fully satisfied.

HAR. Honour is not the question in all this. But tell me what made you
commit such a deed?

VAL. Alas! do you ask it?

HAR. Yes, I should rather think that I do.

VAL. A god, Sir, who carries with him his excuses for all he makes
people do: Love.

HAR. Love?

VAL. Yes.

HAR. Fine love that! fine love, indeed! the love of my gold!

VAL. No, Sir, it is not your wealth that has tempted me, it is not
that which has dazzled me; and I swear never to pretend to any of your
possessions, provided you leave me what I have.

HAR. In the name of all the devils, no, I shall not leave it to you.
But did anyone ever meet with such villainy! He wishes to keep what he
has robbed me of!

VAL. Do you call that a robbery?

HAR. If I call that a robbery? A treasure like that!

VAL. I readily acknowledge that it is a treasure, and the most
precious one you have. But it will not be losing it to leave it to me.
I ask you on my knees to leave in my possession this treasure so full
of charms; and if you do right, you will grant it to me.

HAR. I will do nothing of the kind. What in the world are you driving

VAL. We have pledged our faith to each other, and have taken an oath
never to forsake one another.

HAR. The oath is admirable, and the promise strange enough!

VAL. Yes, we are engaged to each other for ever.

HAR. I know pretty well how to disengage you, I assure you of that.

VAL. Nothing but death can separate us.

HAR. You must be devilishly bewitched by my money.

VAL. I have told you already, Sir, that it is not self-interest which
has prompted me to what I have done. It was not that which prompted my
heart; a nobler motive inspired me.

HAR. We shall hear presently that it is out of Christian charity that
he covets my money! But I will put a stop to all this, and justice,
impudent rascal, will soon give me satisfaction.

VAL. You will do as you please, and I am ready to suffer all the
violence you care to inflict upon me, but I beg of you to believe, at
least, that if there is any harm done, I am the only one guilty, and
that your daughter has done nothing wrong in all this.

HAR. I should think not! It would be strange, indeed, if my daughter
had a share in this crime. But I will have that treasure back again,
and you must confess to what place you have carried it off. [Footnote:
A good deal of the mystification is lost in the translation through
the necessity of occasionally putting _it_ for _casket_, and
_she_ for Élise.]

VAL. I have not carried it off, and it is still in your house.

HAR. (_aside_). O my beloved casket! (_To_ VALÈRE) My
treasure has not left my house?

VAL. No, Sir.

HAR. Well, then, tell me, have you taken any liberties with...?

VAL. Ah! Sir, you wrong us both; the flame with which I burn is too
pure, too full of respect.

HAR. (_aside_). He burns for my casket!

VAL. I had rather die than show the least offensive thought: I found
too much modesty and too much purity for that.

HAR. (_aside_). My cash-box modest!

VAL. All my desires were limited to the pleasures of sight, and
nothing criminal has profaned the passion those fair eyes have
inspired me with.

HAR. (_aside_). The fair eyes of my cash-box! He speaks of it as
a lover does of his mistress.

VAL. Dame Claude knows the whole truth, and she can bear witness to

HAR. Hallo! my servant is an accomplice in this affair?

VAL. Yes, Sir, she was a witness to our engagement; and it was after
being sure of the innocence of my love that she helped me to persuade
your daughter to engage herself to me.

HAR. Ah! (_Aside_) Has the fear of justice made him lose his
senses? (_To_ VALÈRE) What rubbish are you talking about my

VAL. I say, Sir, that I found it most difficult to make her modesty
consent to what my love asked of her.

HAR. The modesty of whom?

VAL. Of your daughter; and it was only yesterday that she could make
up her mind to sign our mutual promise of marriage.

HAR. My daughter has signed a promise of marriage?

VAL. Yes, Sir, and I have also signed.

HAR. O heavens! another misfortune!

JAC. (_to the_ OFFICER). Write, Sir, write.

HAR. Aggravation of misery! Excess of despair! (_To the_ OFFICER)
Sir, discharge your duty, and draw me up an indictment against him as
a thief and a suborner.

JAC. As a thief and a suborner.

VAL. These are names which I do not deserve, and when you know who I


HAR. Ah! guilty daughter! unworthy of a father like me! is it thus
that you put into practice the lessons I have given you? You give your
love to an infamous thief, and engage yourself to him without my
consent! But you shall both be disappointed. (_To_ ÉLISE) Four
strong walls will answer for your conduct in the future; (_to_
VALÈRE) and good gallows, impudent thief, shall do me justice for your

VAL. Your anger will be no judge in this affair, and I shall at least
have a hearing before I am condemned.

HAR. I was wrong to say gallows; you shall be broken alive on the

ELI. (_kneeling to her father_). Ah! my father, be more merciful,
I beseech you, and do not let your paternal authority drive matters to
extremes. Do not suffer yourself to be carried away by the first
outburst of your anger, but give yourself time to consider what you
do. Take the trouble of inquiring about him whose conduct has offended
you. He is not what you imagine, and you will think it less strange
that I should have given myself to him, when you know that without him
you would long ago have lost me for ever. Yes, father, it is he who
saved me from the great danger I ran in the waters, and to whom you
owe the life of that very daughter who....

HAR. All this is nothing; and it would have been much better for me if
he had suffered you to be drowned rather than do what he has done.

ELI. My father, I beseech you, in the name of paternal love, grant

HAR. No, no. I will hear nothing, and justice must have its course.

JAC. (_aside_). You shall pay me for the blows you gave me.

FRO. What a perplexing state of affairs!


ANS. What can have happened, Mr. Harpagon? You are quite upset.

HAR. Ah, Mr. Anselme, you see in me the most unfortunate of men; and
you can never imagine what vexation and disorder is connected with the
contract you have come to sign! I am attacked in my property; I am
attacked in my honour; and you see there a scoundrel and a wretch who
has violated the most sacred rights, who has introduced himself into
my house as a servant in order to steal my money, and seduce my

VAL. Who ever thought of your money about which you rave?

HAR. Yes; they have given each other a promise of marriage. This
insult concerns you, Mr. Anselme; and it is you who ought to be
plaintiff against him, and who at your own expense ought to prosecute
him to the utmost, in order to be revenged.

ANS. It is not my intention to force anybody to marry me, and to lay
claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself; but as far as your
interests are concerned, I am ready to espouse them as if they were my

HAR. This is the gentleman, an honest commissary, who has promised
that he will omit nothing of what concerns the duties of his office.
(_To the_ OFFICER, _showing_ VALÈRE) Charge him, Sir, as he
ought to be, and make matters very criminal.

VAL. I do not see what crime they can make of my passion for your
daughter, nor the punishment you think I ought to be condemned to for
our engagement; when it is known who I am....

HAR. I don't care a pin for all those stories, and the world is full,
nowadays, of those pretenders to nobility, of those impostors, who
take advantage of their obscurity and deck themselves out insolently
with the first illustrious name that comes into their head.

VAL. Know that I am too upright to adorn myself with a name which is
not mine, and that all Naples can bear testimony to my birth!

ANS. Softly! Take care of what you are about to say. You speak before
a man to whom all Naples is known, and who can soon see if your story
is true.

VAL. (_proudly putting on his hat_). I am not the man to fear
anything; and if all Naples is known to you, you know who was Don
Thomas d'Alburci.

ANS. Certainly; I know who he is, and few people know him better than
I do.

HAR. I care neither for Don Thomas nor Don Martin. (_Seeing two
candles burning, he blows one out_.)

ANS. Have patience and let him speak; we shall soon know what he has
to say of him.

VAL. That it is to him that I owe my birth.

ANS. To him?

VAL. Yes.

ANS. Nonsense; you are laughing. Try and make out a more likely story,
and don't pretend to shelter yourself under such a piece of imposture.

VAL. Consider your words better before you speak; it is no imposture,
and I say nothing here that I cannot prove.

ANS. What! You dare to call yourself the son of Don Thomas d'Alburci?

VAL. Yes, I dare to do so; and I am ready to maintain the truth
against anyone, who ever he may be.

ANS. This audacity is marvellous. Learn to your confusion that it is
now at least sixteen years ago since the man of whom you speak died in
a shipwreck at sea with his wife and children, when he was trying to
save their lives from the cruel persecutions which accompanied the
troubles at Naples, and which caused the banishment of several noble
families. VAL. Yes; but learn to your confusion that his son, seven
years of age, was, with a servant, saved from the wreck by a Spanish
vessel, and that this son is he who now speaks to you. Learn that the
captain of that ship, touched with compassion at my misfortune, loved
me; that he had me brought up as his own son, and that the profession
of arms has been my occupation ever since I was fit for it; that
lately I heard that my father is not dead, as I thought he was; that,
passing this way to go and find him out, an accident, arranged by
heaven, brought to my sight the charming Élise; that the sight of her
made me a slave to her beauty, and that the violence of my love and
the harshness of her father made me take the resolution to come into
his house disguised as a servant, and to send some one else to look
after my parents.

ANS. But what other proofs have you besides your own words that all
this is not a fable based by you upon truth.

VAL. What proofs? The captain of the Spanish vessel; a ruby seal which
belonged to my father; an agate bracelet which my mother put upon my
arm; and old Pedro, that servant who was saved with me from the wreck.

MAR. Alas! I can answer here for what you have said; that you do not
deceive us; and all you say clearly tells me that you are my brother.

VAL. You my sister!

MAR. Yes, my heart was touched as soon as you began to speak; and our
mother, who will be delighted at seeing you, often told me of the
misfortunes of our family. Heaven spared us also in that dreadful
wreck; but our life was spared at the cost of our liberty, for my
mother and myself were taken up by pirates from the wreck of our
vessel. After ten years of slavery a lucky event gave us back to
liberty, and we returned to Naples, where we found all our property
sold, and could hear no news of our father. We embarked for Genoa,
where my mother went to gather what remained of a family estate which
had been much disputed. Leaving her unjust relatives, she came here,
where she has lived but a weary life.

ANS. O heaven! how wonderful are thy doings, and how true it is that
it only belongs to thee to work miracles! Come to my arms, my
children, and share the joy of your happy father!

VAL. You are our father?

MAR. It was for you that my mother wept?

ANS. Yes, my daughter; yes, my son; I am Don Thomas d'Alburci, whom
heaven saved from the waves, with all the money he had with him, and
who, after sixteen years, believing you all dead, was preparing, after
long journeys, to seek the consolations of a new family in marrying a
gentle and virtuous woman. The little security there was for my life
in Naples has made me abandon the idea of returning there, and having
found the means of selling what I had, I settled here under the name
of Anselme. I wished to forget the sorrows of a name associated with
so many and great troubles.

HAR. (_to_ ANSELME). He is your son?

ANS. Yes.

HAR. That being so, I make you responsible for the ten thousand crowns
that he has stolen from me.

ANS. He steal anything from you!

HAR. Yes.

VAL. Who said so?

HAR. Master Jacques.

VAL. (_to_ MASTER JACQUES). You say that?

JAC. You see that I am not saying anything.

HAR. He certainly did. There is the officer who has received his

VAL. Can you really believe me capable of such a base action?

HAR. Capable or not capable, I must find my money.


CLE. Do not grieve for your money, father, and accuse any one. I have
news of it, and I come here to tell you that if you consent to let me
marry Marianne, your money will be given back to you.

HAR. Where is it?

CLE. Do not trouble yourself about that. It is in a safe place, and I
answer for it; everything depends on your resolve. It is for you to
decide, and you have the choice either of losing Marianne or your

HAR. Has nothing been taken out?

CLE. Nothing at all. Is it your intention to agree to this marriage,
and to join your consent to that of her mother, who leaves her at
liberty to do as she likes?

MAR. (_to_ CLÉANTE). But you do not know that this consent is no
longer sufficient, and that heaven has given me back a brother
(_showing_ VALÈRE), at the same time that it has given me back a
father (_showing_ ANSELME); and you have now to obtain me from

ANS. Heaven, my dear children, has not restored you to me that I might
oppose your wishes. Mr. Harpagon, you must be aware that the choice of
a young girl is more likely to fall upon the son than upon the father.
Come, now, do not force people to say to you what is unnecessary, and
consent, as I do, to this double marriage.

HAR. In order for me to be well advised, I must see my casket.

CLE. You shall see it safe and sound.

HAR. I have no money to give my children in marriage.

ANS. Never mind, I have some; do not let this trouble you.

HAR. Do you take upon yourself to defray the expenses of these two

ANS. Yes, I will take this responsibility upon myself. Are you

HAR. Yes, provided you order me a new suit of clothes for the wedding.

ANS. Agreed! Let us go and enjoy the blessings this happy day brings

OFF. Stop, Sirs, stop; softly, if you please. Who is to pay me for my

HAR. We have nothing to do with your writing.

OFF. Indeed! and yet I do not pretend to have done it for nothing.

HAR. (_showing_ MASTER JACQUES). There is a fellow you can hang
in payment!

JAC. Alas! what is one to do? I receive a good cudgelling for telling
the truth, and now they would hang me for lying.

ANS. Mr. Harpagon, you must forgive him this piece of imposture.

HAR. You will pay the officer then?

ANS. Let it be so. Let us go quickly, my children, to share our joy
with your mother!

HAR. And I to see my dear casket

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