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The Shopkeeper Turned Gentleman by Moliere (Poquelin)

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COV. But, in short, she is as whimsical as any woman can be.

CLE. Yes, she is, I agree with you there; but everything becomes those
we love. We bear everything from them.

COV. Since you go on so, I see pretty well that you are determined to
love her still.

CLE. I? I had rather die this moment, and I mean in future to hate her
as much as I loved her before.

COV. How can you if you think her so perfect?

CLE. In this way shall my revenge shine; in this way shall the
strength of my decision to hate her be better displayed; if thinking
her most beautiful, most charming, most amiable, I still part from
her. Here she is.


NIC. (_to_ LUCILE). I was quite shocked at it.

LUC. It can only be what I tell you, Nicole; but there he is.

CLE. (_to_ COVIELLE). I will not condescend even to speak to her.

COV. I will do like you.

LUC. What is it, Cleonte? What can be the matter with you?

NIC. What ails you, Covielle?

LUC. What trouble afflicts you?

NIC. What fit of bad temper has got hold of you?

LUC. Are you dumb, Cleonte?

NIC. Have you lost your tongue, Covielle?

CLE. How deceitful she is!

COV. How Judas-like!

LUC. I see that our meeting of this morning has troubled your mind.

CLE. (_to_ COVIELLE). Ah! ah! we are conscious of what we have

NIC. Our reception of this morning has put you out.

COV. (_to_ CLEONTE). We know where the shoe pinches.

LUC. Is it not true, Cleonte; is not this the cause of your vexation?

CLE. Yes, faithless girl, it is, since I am to speak; but I must
inform you that you shall not have, as you fancy, all the glory of
your faithlessness; I wish to be the first to break with you, and you
shall not have the pleasure of driving me away. I shall find it hard,
I know, to conquer the love I feel for you; it will bring grief to me;
I am sure, to suffer for a while; but I will overcome it, and I had
rather stab myself to the heart than be weak enough to return to you.

COV. (_to_ NICOLE). As the master says, so says the man.

LUC. This is much ado about nothing, Cleonte, and I wish to tell you
what made me avoid you this morning.

CLE. (_trying to go away to avoid_ LUCILE). I will hear nothing.

NIC. (_to_ COVIELLE). I want to tell you why we passed you so

COV. (_trying also to go away to avoid_ NICOLE). I will hear

LUC. (_following_ CLEONTE). Know, then, that this morning....

CLE. (_still walking away without looking at_ LUCILE). No, I tell

NIC. (_following_ COVIELLE). Let me tell you....

COV. (_still walking away without looking at_ NICOLE). No, you

LUC. Listen.

CLE. Don't trouble me.

NIC. Let me tell you.

COV. I am deaf.

LUC. Cleonte!

CLE. No.

NIC. Covielle!

COV. No.

LUC. Wait.

CLE. Nonsense.

NIC. Listen to me.

COV. Rubbish.

LUC. One moment.

CLE. Not a bit.

NIC. A little patience.

COV. Fiddle-de-dee!

LUC. A couple of words.

CLE. No; all is over.

NIC. One word.

COV. Not one.

LUC. (_stopping_). Very well! Since you will not listen to me,
keep your own thoughts to yourself, and do as you please.

NIC. (_stopping also_). Since you act in that fashion, think what
you like.

CLE. (_turning towards_ LUCILE). Well, what was the reason for
such a welcome?

LUC. (_going away in her turn_, _to avoid_ CLEONTE). I don't
choose to tell you now.

COV. (_turning towards_ NICOLE). Give us that story.

NIC. (_going away also_, _to avoid_ COVIELLE). I don't wish
to tell it you now.

CLE. (_following_ LUCILE). Tell me....

LUC. (_walking away without looking at_ CLEONTE). No; I will tell
you nothing.

COV. (_following_ NICOLE). Relate to me....

NIC. (_walking away without looking at_ COVIELLE). No; I shall
relate nothing.

CLE. For mercy's sake!

LUC. No, I tell you.

COV. For pity's sake!

NIC. No; not another word.

CLE. I beseech you.

LUC. Leave me.

COV. I entreat you.

NIC. Get away from here.

CLE. Lucile!

LUC. No.

COV. Nicole!

NIC. Nothing.

CLE. For heaven's sake.

LUC. I will not.

COV. Speak to me.

NIC. I won't.

CLE. Clear up my doubts.

LUC. No; I will do nothing of the kind.

COV. Ease my mind.

NIC. No; it is not my wish to do so.

CLE. Very well! Since you care so little to relieve my grief, and to
justify yourself of the unworthy treatment my love has received from
you, you see me for the last time; and I am going away from you to die
of grief and love.

COV. (_to_ NICOLE). And I will follow his steps.

LUC. (_to_ CLEONTE, _who is going_). Cleonte!

NIC. (_to_ COVIELLE, _who is going_). Covielle!

CLE. (_stopping_). Hey?

COV. (_stopping also_). What do you say?

LUC. Where are you going?

CLE. Where I have told you.

COV. We are going to die.

LUC. You are going to die, Cleonte?

CLE. Yes, cruel one, since you wish it.

LUC. I! I wish you to die!

CLE. Yes, you wish it.

LUC. Who told you such a thing?

CLE. Is it not wishing it, to refuse to clear up my suspicions?

LUC. Is it my fault? If you had but listened to me, I would have told
you at once that the treatment you complain of was caused by the
presence of an old aunt, who persists in saying that the mere approach
of a man is dishonour to a girl; she is always lecturing us about it,
and depicts all men to us as so many scamps whom we ought always to

NIC. (_to_ COVIELLE.) This is the whole secret of the affair.

CLE. (_to_ LUCILE). Are you not deceiving me, Lucile?

COV. (_to_ NICOLE). Are you not imposing upon me?

LUC. It is the exact truth.

NIC. That's how it is.

COV. (_to_ CLEONTE). Shall we surrender after this?

CLE. Ah! Lucile! How you can with one word bring back peace to my
heart; and how easily we suffer ourselves to be persuaded by those we

COV. How easily these queer animals succeed in getting round us.


MRS. JOUR. I am very glad to see you, Cleonte. You are just in time,
for my husband will be here in a moment. Seize that opportunity of
asking him to give you Lucile in marriage.

CLE. Oh! how welcome these kind words are, and how well they
correspond to the inmost wishes of my heart. Could I ever receive an
order more flattering, a favour more precious?


CLE. Sir, I would not ask anybody to come instead of me to make you a
request which I have long wished to make. The matter interests me too
much for me not to do it myself. Allow me to tell you then, without
further words, that the honour of becoming your son-in-law is a favour
I earnestly solicit, and one which I beseech you to grant me.

MR. JOUR. Before I give you an answer, Sir, I beg you to tell me if
you are a nobleman.

CLE. Sir, most people would answer that question without any
hesitation whatever. The word is easily spoken; a title is generally
adopted without scruple, and present custom seems to sanction the
theft. For my part, however, I must confess that I look upon any kind
of imposture as unworthy of an honest man. I think it base to hide
what heaven has made us, to adorn ourselves before the world with a
title, and to wish to pass for what we are not. I am the son of
parents who have filled honourable offices. I have acquitted myself
with honour in the army, where I served for six years, and I am rich
enough to hold a tolerable position in the world; but for all this, I
will not assume a name that others might think I could pretend to in
my position, and I tell you openly that I cannot be reckoned a

MR. JOUR. Shake hands, then, my daughter is no wife for you.

CLE. How! May I know...?

MR. JOUR. You are not a nobleman, therefore you shall not have my

MRS. JOUR. What is it you mean by your nobleman? Are we ourselves
descended from St. Louis?

MR. JOUR. Be silent, wife; I see what you are driving at.

MRS. JOUR. Are we not both descended from good, simple tradesmen?

MR. JOUR. Is not that a wicked slander?

MRS. JOUR. Was not your father a tradesman as well as mine?

MR. JOUR. Plague take the woman! She has never done with that. If your
father was a tradesman, so much the worse for him; as for mine, it is
only ill-informed people who say so, and all I have to tell you is
that I will have a gentleman for my son-in-law.

MRS. JOUR. Your daughter must have a husband who suits her; and it is
better for her to marry an honest man, rich and handsome, than a
deformed and beggarly gentleman.

NIC. That's quite true. We have the son of the squire in our village,
who is the most awkwardly built and stupid noodle that I have ever
seen in my life.

MR. JOUR. (_to_ NICOLE). Hold your tongue, will you? and mind
your own business. I have wealth enough and to spare for my daughter.
I only wish for honours, and I will have her a marchioness.

MRS. JOUR. A marchioness?

MR. JOUR. Yes, a marchioness.

MRS. JOUR. alas! God forbid.

MR. JOUR. It's a thing that I'm determined upon.

MRS. JOUR. I will never consent to it. Marriages between people who
are not of the same rank are always subject to the most serious
inconveniences. I do not wish to have a son-in-law who would have it
in his power to reproach my daughter with her parentage; nor that she
should have children who would be ashamed to call me their
grandmother. If she came to see me with the equipage of a grand lady,
and failed through inadvertency to salute some of the neighbours,
people would not fail to say a thousand ill-natured things. "Just
see," they would say, "our lady the marchioness, who is so puffed up
now, she is Mr. Jourdain's daughter; she was only too pleased, when a
child, to play at my lady with us. She has not always been so exalted
as now, and her two grandfathers sold cloth near St. Innocents' Gate.
They have laid a great deal of money by for their children, for which,
may be, they are now paying dearly in the other world, for one does
not generally become so rich by honest means." I do not wish to give
occasion for such gossip, and I desire to meet with a man who, to cut
it short, will be grateful to me for my daughter, and to whom I can
say, "Sit down there, son-in-law, and dine with me."

MR. JOUR. How all these feelings show a narrow mind, satisfied to live
for ever in a low condition of life. Let me have no more replies; my
daughter shall be a marchioness in spite of everybody, and if you
provoke me too much, I will make her a duchess.


MRS. JOUR. Do not give up all hope, Cleonte. Follow me, Lucile; come
and tell your father with firmness and decision that, unless you have
Cleonte for a husband, you will never marry.


COV. Well! you have done a fine piece of work, with your lofty

CLE. What could I do? I have scruples on that subject which no
precedent could overcome.

COV. What nonsense to be serious with a man like that! Do you not see
that he is infatuated with one idea, and would it have cost you much
to fall in with his gentility?

CLE. I am afraid you are right; but the fact is I had not thought
before that it was necessary to show proofs of gentility in order to
become Mr. Jourdain's son-in-law.

COV. (_laughing_). Ha! ha! ha!

CLE. What are you laughing at?

COV. At the thought of something that has just come into my head; it
will play off our man, and help you to succeed in what you want.

CLE. How so?

COV. It is most amusing even to think of it.

CLE. What is it?

COV. We have had lately a certain masquerade, which seems to me the
very thing wanted, and which I mean to make use of to play a trick on
our absurd old fellow. The whole affair seems rather silly, but with
him we may risk many things; there is no need of much cunning, and he
is one to play his part wonderfully well, and to swallow greedily all
the nonsense we may venture to tell him. I have actors and costumes
all ready; only leave it to me.

CLE. But tell me....

COV. Yes, I must tell you all about it; but let us go away, for here
he is coming back again.

SCENE XV.--MR. JOURDAIN (_alone_).

What the deuce does it all mean? They do nothing but reproach me with
my great lords, and I, for my part, see nothing so fine as to
associate with great lords; we find only honour and civility with
them; and I would give two fingers of my hand to have been born a
count or a marquis.


SER. Sir, here is the count, and a lady with him.

MR. JOUR. Bless me! and I have some orders to give. Tell them I shall
be here in a moment.


SER. My master says he will be here directly.

DOR. Very well.


DORI. I am afraid, Dorante, that I am doing a very strange thing in
allowing myself to be brought by you into a house where I know nobody.

DOR. Where then can I go to entertain you, Madam, since, to avoid
remarks being made, you will see me neither at your own house nor at

DORI. Yes; but you do not mention that I am little by little brought
to accept too great proofs of your love. In vain do I refuse my
acquiescence in all you do, you triumph over my resistance, and you
have a kind of persevering civility which causes me by degrees to do
all that you wish. You began with frequent visits; next came
declarations, and they have drawn after them serenades and
entertainments, followed by presents. I was opposed to all these
things, but you are not to be discouraged, and step by step you have
overcome all my resolutions. For my part, I dare answer for nothing
now; and I believe that at last you will persuade me to marry you,
although I had set my heart against it.

DOR. Indeed, Madam, you should have been persuaded before. You are a
widow, and depend on nobody but yourself. I am my own master, and I
love you more than my life. What is there to prevent you from making
me supremely happy?

DORI. To say the truth, Dorante, it requires many good qualities on
both sides for people to live happily together, and the two most
sensible people in the world will often find it difficult to make up a
union with which they are satisfied.

DOR. You are wrong, Madam, to fear so many drawbacks to the happiness
of a married life, and your sad experience proves nothing.

DORI. In short, I still come back to this; the expenses which you run
into for my sake make me anxious for two reasons: the first that they
involve me more than I should wish, and the other that I feel certain--
pray be not offended with me--that you cannot incur them without much
inconvenience to yourself; and I do not wish such a state of things to
go on.

DOR. Ah, Madam, these are trifles not worth mentioning, and it is not
from that....

DORI. I know what I am saying; and, among other things, the diamond
you forced upon me is of a price....

DOR. Nay, Madam, do not set such value upon a thing which my love
thinks so unworthy of you; and allow me.... Here is the master of the


MR. JOUR. (_after having made two bows, finds himself too near
to_ DORIMENE). A little farther, Madam.

DORI. What?

MR. JOUR. One step more, if you please.

DOR. What then?

MR. JOUR. Fall back a little for the third.

DOR. Mr. Jourdain, Madam, knows whom he is addressing.

MR. JOUR. Madam, it is a very great glory to me that I am fortunate
enough to be so happy as to have the felicity that you should have had
the goodness to do me the honour of honouring me with the favour of
your presence, and had I also the merit to merit such merit as yours
and that heaven ... envious of my good fortune ... had granted me ...
the advantage of being worthy ... of the....

DOR. Mr. Jourdain, this is quite enough; Madam does not care for great
compliments, and she knows that you are a clever and witty man.
(_Aside to_ DORIMENE) He is a harmless citizen, ridiculous
enough, as you see, in his behaviour.

DORI. (_aside to_ DORANTE). It is not difficult to perceive that.

DOR. Madam, this is one of my greatest friends.

MR. JOUR. You do me too much honour.

DOR. A most excellent and polite man.

DORI. I feel the greatest esteem for him.

MR. JOUR. I have done nothing as yet, Madam, to deserve such a favour.

DOR. (_aside to_ MR. JOURDAIN). Be very careful not to speak to
her of the diamond you gave her.

MR. JOUR (_aside to_ DORANTE). May I not just ask her how she
likes it?

DOR. (_aside to_ MR. JOURDAIN). Eh? Be sure not to do that. It
would be most vulgar of you; and to behave like a true gentleman, you
should act in all things as if you had made no present at all.
(_Aloud_) Mr. Jourdain says, Madam, that he is delighted to see
you in his house.

DORI. He does me great honour.

MR. JOUR. (_aside to_ DORANTE). How truly obliged I am to you,
Sir, for speaking of me to her as you do.

DOR. (_aside to_ MR. JOURDAIN). I had all the trouble in the
world to make her come here.

MR. JOUR. (_as before_). I don't know how to thank you enough for

DOR. He says, Madam, that he thinks you the most beautiful woman in
the world.

DORI. It is a great favour he does me.

MR. JOUR. Madam, it is you who grant the favours, and....

DOR. Let us think of the dinner.


SER. (_to_ MR. JOURDAIN). Everything is ready, Sir.

DOR. Come, then, let us go and sit down. Tell the musicians to come.

SCENE XXI.--_Entry of the_ BALLET.

_The_ COOKS, _who have prepared the banquet, dance together,
and make the third interlude; after which they bring in a table
covered with various dishes_.



DORI. Really, Dorante, this is a magnificent dinner.

MR. JOUR. You are pleased to say So, Madam, but I only wish it were
more worthy of your acceptance.


DOR. Mr. Jourdain is right, Madam, in what he says; and he obliges me
by doing so well the honours of his house to you. I agree with him
that the dinner is not worthy of you. As it was I who ordered it, and
as I have not for this kind of thing the knowledge of some of our
friends, you will not find here a well studied repast, but will meet
with many incongruities of good eating and some barbarisms against
good taste. If our good friend Damis had ordered it, all would be
according to rule; there would be elegance and erudition everywhere;
and he would not fail to exaggerate to you the excellence of every
dish, and to make you acknowledge his high capacity in the science of
good eating. He would speak to you of a loaf with golden sides, crusty
all over, and yielding tenderly under the teeth; of wine full-bodied
and of not too perceptible an acidity; of a saddle of mutton stewed
with parsley; of a loin of Normandy veal, long, white, tender, and
which is, as it were, an almond paste between the teeth; of partridges
wonderful in flavour; and as his masterpiece, a pearl broth reinforced
with a large turkey flanked with young pigeons, and crowned with white
onions blended with endive. For my part I confess my ignorance; and as
Mr. Jourdain has very well said, I wish the repast were more worthy of
your acceptance.

DORI. Well, I can only answer to this compliment by eating as I am

MR. JOUR. Ah! what beautiful hands!

DORI. The hands have not much to boast of, Mr. Jourdain; it is the
diamond which you wish to speak of; it is indeed very beautiful.

MR. JOUR. I, Madam? Heaven forbid that I should speak of it. It would
be ungentlemanly to do so, and the diamond is but a trifle.

DOR. You are difficult to please.

MR. JOUR. You are too kind, and....

DOR. (_after having made signs to_ MR. JOURDAIN). Come, come,
give a little wine to Mr. Jourdain and to these gentlemen, who will do
us the pleasure of singing us a drinking song.

DORI. It is a most charming thought to make good music accompany good
food, and I find myself most kindly entertained here.

MR. JOUR. Madam, it is not....

DOR. Mr. Jourdain, let us listen to the music; what these gentlemen
will tell us is better than all you and I could say.

1ST _and_ 2ND SINGERS _together, each with a glass in his

Phyllis, deign to fill my glass;
Give the draught an added charm.
Which is fairer, wine or lass,
Love for both my heart doth arm?--
In this hour supernal,
Let us swear, while we can,
For wine, woman, and man,
A friendship eternal.

Ruby-red, the blushing wine,
Paints thy lips with brighter shade,
While its colours softer shine
Where thy glances fall, fair maid!--
While our youth is vernal,
Let us swear, while we can,
For wine, woman, and man,
A friendship eternal.

_Drinking Song_.

Fill your glass, fill your glass, my friends,
Let us drink, though time fly;
We must live while we live, my friends,
For time passes by.

When we cross the waves of the river,
Wine and love say farewell
We must leave them behind for ever,
So value them well.

What though fools spend their time in thinking
Of the true aim of life!
Our philosophy lies in drinking,
Not in wordy strife.

And glory, wisdom, and wealth,
Do not ease life of ill,
But we find our pleasure and health
As the wine-cup we fill.

DORI. I never heard anything better sung, and all this is really

MR. JOUR. I see something still more beautiful here, Madam.

DORI. Why, Mr. Jourdain, you are a greater flatterer than I should
have thought.

DOR. And for what, Madam, do you take Mr. Jourdain?

MR. JOUR. I wish she would take me for what I could name.

DORI. Again!

DOR. (_to_ DORIMENE). You do not know him.

MR. JOUR. But she will know me whenever it pleases her.

DORI. Oh, I give up.

DOR. He is a man always ready with an answer. But do you not see,
Madam, that Mr. Jourdain eats all the pieces you have touched.

DORI. Mr. Jourdain is a man I am charmed with.

MR. JOUR. If I could only charm your heart, I should be....


MRS. JOUR. Ah! ah! I find charming company here, and I see clearly
that I was not expected. It is for this fine piece of business, Sir,
that you showed such anxiety to pack me off to my sister; was it? I
have just seen a theatre down below, and here I find a banquet worthy
of a wedding. That is the way you spend your money, and thus it is
that you feast ladies in my absence, and give them music and the
comedy, whilst you send me, trotting.

DOR. What do you mean, Mrs. Jourdain, and what fancies are you taking
into your head to go and imagine that your husband is spending his
money and giving the dinner to this lady? I beg to tell you that he
has only lent me his house, and that it is I who give this feast, and
not he. You should be a little more cautious in what you say.

MR. JOUR. Yes, rude woman that you are, it is the count who gives all
that to this lady, who is a lady of rank. He does me the honour of
making use of my house, and of wishing me to be with him.

MRS. JOUR. All this is rubbish; I know what I know.

DOR. Put on better spectacles, Mrs. Jourdain.

MRS. JOUR. I have no need of spectacles, Sir, and I see clearly enough
what is going on. It is some time since I have seen things as they
are, and I am no fool. It is very wrong of you, a great lord, to
encourage my husband in his delusion. And for you, Madam, a great
lady, it is neither handsome nor honest to sow dissension in a family,
and to allow my husband to be in love with you.

DORI. What does all this mean? How very wrong of you, Dorante, to
expose me to the preposterous fancies of this foolish woman.

DOR. (_following_ DORIMENE, _who is going away_). Madam,
stop, I pray; where are you going?

MR. JOUR. Madam.... My Lord the Count, present my humblest apologies
to her and try to bring her back.


MR. JOUR. Ah! insolent woman that you are; these are your fine doings.
You come and abuse me before everybody, and send away from my house
persons of quality.

MRS. JOUR. I don't care a pin for their quality.

MR. JOUR. I don't know, accursed woman that you are, what prevents me
from beating your skull in with what remains of the feast you have
come and disturbed.

MRS. JOUR. (_going away_). I despise your threats. I come here to
defend my own rights, and all wives will be on my side.

MR. JOUR. You do wisely to avoid my anger, I can tell you.

SCENE IV.--MR. JOURDAIN (_alone_).

She came in at a most unlucky moment. I was in a mood to tell her very
pretty things, and I never felt so full of wit. But what does this


COV. Sir, I am not sure if I have the honour of being known to you.

MR. JOUR. No, Sir.

COV. (_putting his hand about a foot from the ground_). I saw you
when you were not taller than that.


COV. Yes! You were the most beautiful child in the world, and all the
ladies used to lift you up in their arms to kiss you.

MR. JOUR. To kiss me?

COV. Yes. I was a great friend of the late nobleman your father.

MR. JOUR. Of the late nobleman my father?

COV. Yes, he was a most kind gentleman.

MR. JOUR. What do you say?

COV. I say that he was a most kind gentleman.

MR. JOUR. My father?

COV. Your father.

MR. JOUR. You knew him well?

COV. Very well indeed.

MR. JOUR. And you know him to have been a nobleman?

COV. Undoubtedly.

MR. JOUR. Well, I don't understand what the world means.

COV. What do you say?

MR. JOUR. There are some stupid people who try to persuade me that he
was a shopkeeper.

COV. He a shopkeeper! It is sheer calumny. All he did was this: he was
extremely kind and obliging, and understood different kinds of stuff
very well; therefore he used to go everywhere and choose some; then,
he had them brought to his house, and was in the habit of letting his
friends have some for money if they chose.

MR. JOUR. I am delighted to have made your acquaintance, so that you
may testify that my father was a nobleman.

COV. I will maintain it before the whole world.

MR. JOUR. You will oblige me greatly; may I know what business brings
you here?

COV. Since my acquaintance with your late father--a perfect gentleman,
as I was telling you--I have travelled to the end of the world.

MR. JOUR. To the end of the world?

COV. Yes.

MR. JOUR. I suppose it is a very far-off country.

COV. Very far off. I only returned four days ago, and owing to the
interest I take in all that concerns you, I have come to give you the
best news possible.

MR. JOUR. What can it be?

COV. You know that the son of the Grand Turk is here. [Footnote: There
seems to have been a Turkish envoy in Paris at that time.]

MR. JOUR. No, I didn't know.

COV. You didn't know! He has a most magnificent retinue of attendants.
Everybody goes to see him, and he has been received in this country as
a personage of the greatest importance.

MR. JOUR. Indeed? I have heard nothing of it.

COV. What is of great concern to you is that he is in love with your

MR. JOUR. The son of the Grand Turk?

COV. Yes, and that he wishes to, become your son-in-law.

MR. JOUR. My son-in-law, the son of the Grand Turk!

COV. The son of the Grand Turk your son-in-law When I went to see him,
as I understand his language perfectly, we had a long chat together;
and after having talked of different things, he told me, _Acciam
croc soler onch alla moustaph gidelum amanahem varahini oussere
carbulath_? that is to say, "Have you not seen a beautiful young
girl who is the daughter of Mr. Jourdain, a nobleman of Paris?"

MR. JOUR. The son of the Grand Turk said that of me?

COV. Yes. Then I answered him that I knew you perfectly well, and that
I had seen your daughter. Ah! said he, _marababa sahem_! which is
to say, "Ah! how much I love her!"

MR. JOUR. _Marababa sahem_! means, "Ah! how I love her!"

COV. Yes.

MR. JOUR. Indeed, you do right to tell me; for I should never have
known that _Marababa sahem_! meant, "Ah I how much I love her!"
This Turkish language is admirable.

COV. More admirable than you would ever imagine. For instance, do you
know what _Cacaracamouchen_ means?

MR. JOUR. _Cacaracamouchen_? No.

COV. It means, "My dear love."

MR. JOUR. _Cacaracamouchen_ means, "My dear love"?

COV. Yes.

MR. JOUR. It is wonderful! _Cacaracamouchen_, "My dear love." Who
would ever have thought it? I am perfectly astounded.

COV. In short, in order to end my embassy, I must tell you that he is
coming to ask your daughter in marriage; and in order to have a
father-in-law worthy of him, he wants to make you a _mamamouchi_,
which is a great dignity in his country.

MR. JOUR. _Mamamouchi_?

COV. _Mamamouchi_; that is to say in our own language, a paladin.
Paladin, you know those ancient paladins; in short, there is nothing
more noble than that in the whole world, and you will take rank with
the greatest lords upon the earth.

MR. JOUR. The son of the Grand Turk honours me greatly, and I beg of
you to take me to his house, that I may return him my thanks.

COV. Not at all; he is just coming here.

MR. JOUR. He is coming here?

COV. Yes, and he is bringing with him everything necessary for the

MR. JOUR. It is doing things rather quickly.

COV. Yes, his love will suffer no delay.

MR. JOUR. All that perplexes me in this affair is that my daughter is
a very obstinate girl, who has taken it into her head to have a
certain Cleonte for her husband, and vows she will marry no other.

COV. She is sure to change her mind when she sees the son of the Grand
Turk; besides, wonderful to relate, the son of the Grand Turk has a
strong likeness to that very Cleonte. People showed him to me, and I
have just seen him; the love she feels for the one is sure to pass to
the other, and ... I hear him coming! Lo, here he is.

SCENE VI.--CLEONTE (_dressed as a Turk_), THREE PAGES
(_carrying the vest of_ CLEONTE), MR. JOURDAIN, COVIELLE.

CLE. _Ambousahim oqui boraf, Giourdina, salamatequi_.

COV. (_to_ MR. JOURDAIN). That is to say, "Mr. Jourdain, may your
heart be all the year round a budding rose tree." It is a way of
speaking they have in that country.

MR. JOUR. I am your Turkish highness's humble servant.

COV. _Carigar camboto oustin moraf_.

CLE. _Oustin yoc catamalequi basum base alla moran_.

COV. He says, "May heaven grant you the strength of the lion and the
prudence of the serpent."

MR. JOUR. His Turkish highness does me too much honour, and I wish him
all manner of prosperity.

COV. _Ossa binamen sadoc baballi oracaf ouram_.

CLE. _Belmen_.

COV. He says you must go quickly with him to prepare for the ceremony,
in order afterwards to see your daughter and conclude the marriage.

MR. JOUR. So many things comprised in two words?

COV. Yes, The Turkish language is like that, it says a good deal in a
few words. Go quickly where he wishes you.


Ah! ah! ah! Upon my soul, this is most absurd. What a dupe! Had he
learnt his part by heart, he would not have played it better. Ah! ah!


COV. I beg of you, Sir, to help us here in a little affair we have in

DOR. Hallo! Covielle, who would have known you again? What a get up!

COV. As you see. Ah! ah! ah!

DOR. What are you laughing at?

COV. At a thing worth laughing at, I can tell you.

DOR. What is it?

COV. You would never guess the stratagem we have invented to induce
Mr. Jourdain to give my master his daughter in marriage.

DOR. I certainly can't guess what it is, but I can guess that it will
succeed since you are at the head of affairs.

COV. I know, Sir, that the animal is appreciated by you.

DOR. Tell me what you are about.

COV. Kindly go a little on one side to make room for what I see
coming. You will be able to have a view of a part of the business
whilst I explain the rest to you.

SCENE IX.--THE TURKISH CEREMONY. [Footnote: Lulli composed the music,
and acted the part of the Mufti.]


SIX TURKS _enter gravely, two and two at the sound of instruments.
They carry three carpets which they lift very high as they dance
several dances The_ TURKS _pass under the carpets, singing and
range themselves on each side of the stage. The_ MUFTI, _accompanied
by_ DERVISHES, _closes the march. The_ TURKS _then spread the
carpets on the ground, and kneel down upon them. The_ MUFTI
_and the_ DERVISHES _stand up in the middle of them; and while
the_ MUFTI _invokes Mahomet in dumb contortions and grimaces
the_ TURKS _prostrate themselves to the ground, singing_ Alli, _raising
their hands to heaven, singing_ Alla, _and continue so alternately to
the end of the invocation; after which they all rise up, singing_, Alla
eckber, _and two_ DERVISHES _go and fetch_ MR. JOURDAIN.

JOURDAIN, _dressed like a Turk, his head shaved, without any turban
or sword_.


[1] Se ti sabir,
Ti respondir;
Se non sabir,
Tazir, tazir.

Mi star muphti,
Ti qui star si?
Non intendir;
Tazir, tazir. [2]

_Lingua franca,_ jargon composed of Italian, Spanish, &c., and
spoken in the Levant.

If you understand,
If you do not understand,
Hold thy peace, hold thy peace.
I am the Mufti


SCENE XI.--THE MUFTI, DERVISHES, TURKS, _singing and dancing_.

MUF. Dice, Turque, qui star quista? Anabatista? anabatista? [Say,
Turk, who is this? Is he Anabaptist? Anabaptist?]

TUR. Ioc. [No.]

MUF. Zuinglista? [A Zwinglian?]

TUR. Ioc. [No.]

MUF. Coffita? [A Capht?]

TUR. Ioc. [No.]

MUF. Hussita? Morista? Fronista? [A Hussite? a Moor? a Phronist?]

TUR. Ioc, ioc; ioc. [No, no, no.]

MUF. Ioc, ioc, ioc. Star pagana? [No, no, no. Is he a pagan?]

TUR. Ioc. [No.]

MUF. Luterana? [A Lutheran?]

TUR. Ioc. [No.]

MUF. Puritana? [A Puritan?]

TUR. Ioc. [No.]

MUF. Bramina? Moffina? Zurina? [A Brahmin? a Moffian? a Zurian?]

TUR. Ioc, ioc, ioc. [No, no, no.]

MUF. Ioc, ioc, ioc. Mahametana? Mahametana? [No, no, no. A Mahometan?
a Mahometan?]

TUR. Hi Valla. Hi Valla. [There you have it. There you have it.]

MUF. Como chamara? Como chamara? [How is he called? How is he called?]

TUR. Giourdina, Giourdina. [Jourdain, Jourdain.]

MUF. (_jumping_). Giourdina, Giourdina. [Jourdain, Jourdain.]

TUR. Giourdina, Giourdina. [Jourdain, Jourdain.]


Mahameta, per Giourdina,
Mi pregar sera e matina.
Voler far un paladina
De Giourdina, de Giourdina;
Dar turbanta, e dar scarrina,
Con galera, e brigantina,
Per deffender Palestina.
Mahameta, per Giourdina,
Mi pregar sera e matina.
(_To the_ TURKS.)
Star bon Turca Giourdina?

To Mahomet for Jourdain,
I pray night and day.
I wish to make a paladin
Of Jourdain, of Jourdain.
Give him a turban, and give him a sword,
With a galley and a brigantine,
To defend Palestine.
To Mahomet for Jourdain
I pray night and day.
(_To the_ TURKS.).
Is Jourdain a good Turk?

TUR. Hi Valla. Hi Valla. [Yes, by Allah!]

MUF. (_singing and dancing_). Ha la ba, ba la chou, ba la ba, ba
la da.

TUR. Ha la ba, ba la chou, ba la ba ba la da. [2]

Thus separated, these words have no sense; but by joining and
correcting them, we have: _Allah baba, hou, Allah hou_, which
are really Turkish, and which signify, "_God my Father; God my
Father_." (_Auger_.)

SCENE XI.--TURKS, _singing and dancing_. _Second entry of
the_ BALLET.


_The_ MUFTI _returns, wearing on his head the state turban,
which is of enormous size, and adorned with lighted candles, four or
five rows deep; he is accompanied by_ TWO DERVISHES _bearing the
Koran, and wearing cone-shaped caps also adorned with lighted candles.

The two other_ DERVISHES _lead in_ MR. JOURDAIN, _and make
him kneel down, his two hands on the ground, so that his back, on
which the Koran is placed, serves for a desk for the_ MUFTI, _who
makes a second burlesque invocation, knitting his eyebrows, striking
from time to time on the Koran, and turning over the pages with
precipitation; after which, lifting up his hands, he cries with a loud
voice_, "HOU."

_During this second invocation, the other_ TURKS, _bowing down
and raising themselves alternately, sing likewise_, "Hou, hou,

MR. JOUR. (_after they have taken the Koran from off his back_).

THE MUFTI (_to_ MR. JOURDAIN). Ti non star furba? [Thou wilt not
be a knave?]

THE TURKS. No, no, no.

THE MUFTI. Non star forfanta? [Nor be a thief?]

THE TURKS. No, no, no.

THE MUFTI (_to the_ TURKS). Donar turbanta. [Give the turban.]

Ti non star furba? [Thou wilt not be a knave?]
No, no, no.
Non star forfanta? [Nor be a thief?]
No, no, no.
Donar turbanta. [Give the turban.]

Third entry of the BALLET.

_The_ TURKS, _dancing, put the turban on_ MR. JOURDAIN'S
_head at the sound of the instruments_.

THE MUFTI (_giving a sabre to_ MR. JOURDAIN).
Ti star nobile, non star fabbola. [Be brave, be no Scoundrel]
Pigliar schiabbola [Take the Sword.]

THE TURKS (_drawing their sabres_).
Ti star nobile, non star fabbola. [Be brave, be no Scoundrel]
Pigliar schiabbola. [Take the Sword.]

_Fourth entry of the_ BALLET.

_The_ TURKS, _dancing, strike_ MR. JOURDAIN _several times
with their swords, keeping time with the music_.

Dara, dara
Bastonnara. [Give, give the bastonnade.]

Dara, dara
Bastonnara. [Give, give the bastonnade.]

_Fifth entry of the_ BALLET.

_The_ Turks, _dancing, give_ MR. JOURDAIN _several blows
with a stick, keeping time meanwhile_.

Non tener honta; [Think it not a shame;]
Questa star l'ultima affronta. [This is the last affront.]

Non tener honta; [Think it not a shame;]
Questa star l'ultima affronta. [This is the last affront.]

_The_ MUFTI _begins a third invocation. The_ DERVISHES
_support him under the arms with great respect, after which the_
TURKS, _singing and dancing round the_ MUFTI, _retire with him,
and lead off_ MR. JOURDAIN.



MRS. JOUR. Goodness gracious me! Lord, have mercy on us! What can this
be? What a figure! Is it a _momon_ [Footnote: Apparently there is
no English equivalent to _momon_ in this sense.] you have in
hand, and is this carnival time? Do speak! What does all this mean?
Who trussed you up in this manner?

MR. JOUR. Just see the impertinent woman, to speak after such a manner
to a _mamamouchi_.

MRS. JOUR. What do you say?

MR. JOUR. Yes, you must show me respect now; I have just been made a

MRS. JOUR. What can you possibly mean with your _mamamouchi_?

MR. JOUR. _Mamamouchi_, I tell you; I am a _mamamouchi_.

MRS. JOUR. What kind of a beast is that?

MR. JOUR. _Mamamouchi_; which in our language means paladin.

MRS. JOUR. Ballet in? Are you of an age to be dancing ballets?

MR. JOUR. What an ignorant woman you are! I say "paladin," which is a
dignity which has just been conferred upon me with all due ceremony.

MRS. JOUR. What ceremony?

MR. JOUR. _Mahameta per Jordina_.

MRS. JOUR. What does that mean?

MR. JOUR. _Jordina, that is to say Jourdain_.

MRS. JOUR. Well? What, Jourdain?

MR. JOUR. _Voler far un paladina de Jordina_.

MRS. JOUR. What?

MR. JOUR. _Dar turbanta con galera_.

MRS. JOUR. What does that mean?

MR. JOUR. _Per deffender Palestina_.

MRS. JOUR. Tell me what you mean then.

MR. JOUR. _Dara, dara bastonnara_.

MRS. JOUR. What is all this jargon?

MR. JOUR. _Non tener honta, questa star l'ultima affronta_.

MRS. JOUR. Whatever is all this?

MR. JOUR. (_singing and dancing_). _Hou la ba, ba la chow, ba
la ba, ba la da_. (_Falls to the ground_.)

MRS. JOUR. Alas, alas! my husband is gone out of his mind.

MR. JOUR. (_getting up and walking off_). Peace! Show respect to
the _mamamouchi_.

MRS. JOUR. (_alone_). Where can he have lost his senses? I must
run after him and prevent him from going out! (_Seeing_ DORIMENE
_and_ DORANTE.) Oh dear! Oh dear! Here's the last straw! I see
nothing but trouble and disgrace everywhere!


DOR. Yes, Madam, it is the most amusing thing that you ever saw, and I
do not think that there is in the whole world a man as, crazy as this
one. Moreover, we must try to help Cleonte and back up his masquerade.
He is a most excellent fellow, and one who deserves all your interest.

DORI. I have the greatest esteem for him, and he is worthy of all

DOR. We also have here, Madam, a ballet due to us. We must not miss
it, for I should be glad to see if my idea succeeds.

DORI. I saw magnificent preparations yonder; and this is a state of
things, Dorante, with which I can bear no longer. Yes, I must put an
end to your profusion; and in order to cut short all the expenses I
see you run into for me, I have decided upon marrying you as soon as
possible. This is the real secret of my decision; all these things, as
you know, end ever in matrimony.

DOR. Ah, Madam, is it possible that you should have come to such a
kind determination in my favour?

DORI. It is only to prevent you from ruining yourself, for, if I am
not quick, I clearly see that before long you will not have a penny

DOR. What thanks I owe you for your anxiety about my fortune! That and
my heart are entirely yours, and you can dispose of both as shall seem
good to you.

DORI. I will make a right use of both. But here is our man coming.
What an admirable figure!


DOR. Sir, we have both come to do homage to your new dignity, and to
rejoice with you over the marriage of your daughter with the son of
the Grand Turk.

MR. JOUR. (_after bowing in the Turkish manner_). Sir, I wish you
the strength of the serpent, and the wisdom of the lion.

DORI. I am very glad to be one of the first, Sir, to come and
congratulate you on the high degree of glory to which you are raised.

MR. JOUR. Madam, may your rose-tree bloom all the year round. I am
infinitely obliged to you for interesting yourself in the honour just
bestowed upon me; and I am greatly rejoiced to see you back here, so
that I may tender to you my most humble apologies for the
extraordinary conduct of my wife.

DORI. Don't speak about it. I excuse in her such a momentary impulse;
your heart ought to be very precious to her; and it is not to be
wondered at that the possession of such a man as you are may cause her
some alarm.

MR. JOUR. The possession of my heart is a thing you have altogether

DOR. You see, Madam, that Mr. Jourdain is not one of those whom
prosperity blinds, and that, even in his elevation, he knows how to
recognise his friends.

DORI. It is the proof of a truly generous soul.

DOR. Where can his Turkish highness be? We should like, as your
friends, to pay our homage to him.

MR. JOUR. Here he is coming, and I sent for my daughter to give him
her hand.


DORI. (_to_ CLEONTE). Sir, we come, as friends of your father-in-law,
to salute your highness, and to assure you with all respect of our most
humble services.

MR. JOUR. Where is the interpreter, to tell him who you are, and to
make him understand what you say? You shall see that he will answer
you, and he speaks Turkish wonderfully well. Holla, here! where the
deuce is he gone? (_To_ CLEONTE) _Strouf strif, strof, straf_. This
gentleman is a _grande segnore, grande segnore, grande segnore_;
and this lady a _granda dama, granda dama. (Seeing that he is not
understood)_ Ah! (_To_ CLEONTE, _showing him_ DORANTE) This
gentleman is a French _mamamouchi_, and the lady she is a French
_mamamouchess_. I cannot explain myself more clearly. Good! Here
is the interpreter.

Turk_); COVIELLE (_disguised_).

MR. JOUR. Where are you going, then? You know that we can say nothing
without you. (_Showing_ CLEONTE.) Just tell him that this
gentleman and this lady are people of very high rank, who have come to
pay their homage to him, as friends of mine, and to assure him of
their services. (_To_ DORIMENE _and_ DORANTE) You will see how
he will answer.

COV. _Alabala crociam acci boram alabamen_.

CLE. _Catalequi tubal ouria soter amalouchan_.

MR. JOUR. (to DORIMENE and DORANTE). Do you see?

COV. He says, "May the rain of prosperity water at all times the
garden of your family."

MR. JOUR. I told you that he spoke Turkish.

DOR. This is admirable.


MR. JOUR. Come, my daughter; come near, and give your hand to this
gentleman, who does you the honour of asking you in marriage.

LUC. Why, father, how strangely dressed you are! Are you acting a

MR. JOUR. No, no; it is no comedy, but a very serious affair, and the
most honourable for you that could ever be wished for. (_Showing_
CLEONTE.) Here is the husband I bestow upon you.

LUC. Bestow upon me, father?

MR. JOUR. Yes, upon you. There, give him your hand, and thank heaven
for your good fortune.

LUC. I have no wish to marry.

MR. JOUR. It is all very well, but I wish it; I who am your father.

LUC. I will do nothing of the kind.

MR. JOUR. Ah! what a noise! Come, I say, give him your hand.

LUC. No, father; I told you already that no power upon earth will
force me to marry any other but Cleonte; and I would have recourse to
any extremity rather than.... (_Recognising_ CLEONTE.) But it is
true that you are my father, and that I owe you absolute obedience;
dispose of me, then, according to your will.

MR. JOUR. Truly, I am delighted to see you return so quickly to a
sense of your duty; and it is a pleasure to me to have such an
obedient daughter.


MRS JOUR. What is it? What is the meaning of all this? They say you
want to give your daughter in marriage to a mummer.

MR. JOUR. Will you be silent? You always come and disturb everything
with your follies; and there is no possibility of teaching you how to
behave yourself.

MRS. JOUR. It is because there is no possibility of making you wise;
and you go from folly to folly. What are your intentions? and what do
you mean to do with all this assembly of people?

MR. JOUR. I wish to marry my daughter to the son of the Grand Turk.

MRS. JOUR. To the son of the Grand Turk?

MR. JOUR. (_showing_ COVIELLE). Yes; ask the interpreter to
present your compliments to him from you.

MRS. JOUR. I have no need of an interpreter, and I can tell him myself
easily to his face that he shall not have my daughter.

MR. JOUR. Will you be silent? I ask once more.

DOR. What! Mrs. Jourdain, you oppose yourself to such an honour as
this? You refuse his Turkish highness for a son-in-law?

MRS. JOUR. Good gracious, Sir! Mind your own business, if you please.

DORI. It is an honour by no means to be rejected.

MRS. JOUR. I pray you also not to trouble yourself with that which is
no concern of yours.

DOR. It is the friendship we have for you which makes us interest
ourselves in your welfare.

MRS. JOUR. I can do very well without your friendship.

DOR. You see that your daughter yields to her father's will.

MRS. JOUR. My daughter consents to marry a Turk?

DOR. Certainly.

MRS. JOUR. She can forget Cleonte?

DOR. What will not one do to be a grand lady?

MRS. JOUR. I would strangle her with my own hands if she had done such
a thing.

MR. JOUR. Too much prating by half! I tell you the marriage shall take

MRS. JOUR. And I tell you that it shan't.

MR. JOUR. Ah! what a row!

LUC. Mother!

MRS. JOUR. Leave me alone, you are a bad girl.

MR. JOUR. (_to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). What! you scold her because she
is obedient to me?

MRS. JOUR. Certainly; she belongs to me as much as she belongs to you.

COV. (_to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Madam.

MRS. JOUR. What business have you to speak to me, you?

COV. One word.

MRS. JOUR. I'll have nothing to do with your word.

COV. (_to_ MR. JOURDAIN). Sir, if she will only listen to a word
in private, I promise you to make her consent to all you want.

MRS. JOUR. I will never consent to it.

COV. Only hear me.


MR. JOUR. (_to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Hear him.

MRS. JOUR. No; I will not hear him.

MR. JOUR. He will tell you....

MRS. JOUR. I don't want him to tell me anything.

MR. JOUR. Did ever anybody see such obstinacy in a woman! Would it
hurt you to hear him?

COV. Only listen to me; you may do what you please afterwards.

MRS. JOUR. Well, what?

COV. (_aside, to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). We have made signs to you for
the last hour. Do you not see that all this is done to fit in with the
fancies of your husband? that we are imposing upon him under this
disguise, and that it is Cleonte himself who is the son of the Grand

MRS. JOUR. (_aside, to_ COVIELLE). Oh! oh!

COV. (_aside, to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). And that it is I, Covielle, who
am the interpreter?

MRS. JOUR. (_aside, to _COVIELLE). Ah! if it is so, I give in.

COV. (_aside, to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Seem not to have any idea of
what's going on.

MRS. JOUR. (_aloud_). Very well, let it be; I consent to the

MR. JOUR. So, everyone is agreed. (_To_ MRS. JOURDAIN) You would
not listen to him. I knew he would explain to you what the son of the
Grand Turk is.

MRS. JOUR. He has explained it quite sufficiently, and I am satisfied
with it. Let us send for a notary.

DOR. The very thing! And Mrs. Jourdain, in order to set your mind at
rest, and that you should lose to-day all feelings of jealousy which
you may have felt about your husband, this lady and I will ask the
same notary to marry us.

MRS. JOUR. I consent to that also.

MR. JOUR. (_aside_, to DORANTE). It is to deceive her, is it not?

DOR. (_aside_, to MR. JOURDAIN). We must amuse her with this

MR. JOUR. Good, good. (_Aloud_) Let somebody go at once for the

DOR. Whilst he draws up the contract, let us see our ballet, and give
the entertainment to his Turkish highness.

MR. JOUR. It is well thought of. Let us go to our places.

MRS. JOUR. And Nicole?

MR. JOUR. I give her to the interpreter, and my wife to anyone who
will have her.

COV. Sir, I thank you. (_Aside_) If it is possible to find a
greater fool than this one, I will go and publish it in Rome.


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