The Shopkeeper Turned Gentleman
Part 1 out of 2
Produced by Charles Franks, Delphine Lettau and the people at DP.
THE SHOPKEEPER TURNED GENTLEMAN. (LE BOURGEOIS GENTILHOMME.)
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE.
_WITH SHORT INTRODUCTIONS AND EXPLANATORY NOTES_.
CHARLES HERON WALL.
'Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme' was acted before the King for the first
time at Chambord, on October 14, 1670, and on November 28 at the
Palais Royal. After the second representation, Louis XIV. said to
Moliere, "You have never written anything which amused me more, and
your play is excellent." But it obtained a still greater success in
Paris, where the _bourgeois_ willingly and good-humouredly
laughed at what they deemed their neighbours' weaknesses. The three
first acts are the best; Louis XIV. hurried Moliere so with the last
that they degenerated into burlesque.
Moliere acted the part of the Bourgeois.
CLEONTE, _in love with_ LUCILE.
DORANTE, _a count, in love with_ DORIMENE.
COVIELLE, _servant to_ CLEONTE.
A MUSIC MASTER, ETC.
A DANCING MASTER, ETC.
A FENCING MASTER.
A PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY.
A MASTER TAILOR.
LUCILE, _daughter to_ MR. JOURDAIN.
DORIMENE, _a marchioness_.
NICOLE, _maid-servant to_ MR. JOURDAIN.
_The scene is in_ PARIS, _in_ MR. JOURDAIN'S _house_.
THE SHOPKEEPER TURNED GENTLEMAN.
_The overture is played by a great many instruments; and in the
middle of the stage the PUPIL of the MUSIC MASTER is seated at a table
composing a serenade which MR. JOURDAIN has asked for_.
SCENE I.--MUSIC MASTER, DANCING MASTER, THREE SINGERS, TWO VIOLIN
PLAYERS, FOUR DANCERS.
MUS. MAS. (_to the_ MUSICIANS). Come into this room, and rest
till he comes.
DAN. MAS. (_to the_ DANCERS). Come also, on this side.
MUS. MAS. (_to his_ PUPIL). Have you finished?
MUS. MAS. Let me see. Very good.
DAN. MAS. Is it anything new?
MUS. MAS. Yes; it is an air for a serenade that I made him compose
while we are waiting for our gentleman to wake up.
DAN. MAS. Will you allow me to see what it is?
MUS. MAS. You shall hear it, as well as the dialogue, when he comes;
he won't be long.
DAN. MAS. We both have plenty to do now; have we not?
MUS. MAS. Indeed we have. We have found the very man we both wanted.
He brings us in a comfortable little income, with his notions of
gentility and gallantry which he has taken into his head; and it would
be well for your dancing and my music if everybody were like him.
DAN. MAS. No; not altogether. I wish, for his sake, that he would
appreciate better than he does the things we give him.
MUS. MAS. He certainly understands them but little; but he pays well,
and that is nowadays what our arts require above all things.
DAN. MAS. I must confess, for my part, that I rather hunger after
glory. Applause finds a very ready answer in my heart, and I think it
mortifying enough that in the fine arts we should have to exhibit
ourselves before fools, and submit our compositions to the vulgar
taste of an ass. No! say what you will, there is a real pleasure in
working for people who are able to appreciate the refinements of an
art; who know how to yield a kind recognition to the beauties of a
work, and who, by felicitous approbations, reward you for your labour.
Yes! the most charming recompense one can receive for the things which
one does is to see them understood, and to have them received with the
applause that honours. Nothing, in my opinion, can repay us better
than this for all our fatigues; and the praises of the enlightened are
a true delight to me.
MUS. MAS. I grant it; and I relish them as much as you do. There is
certainly nothing more refreshing than the applause you speak of;
still we cannot live on this flattering acknowledgment of our talent.
Undiluted praise does not give competence to a man; we must have
something more solid to fall back upon, and the best praise is the
praise of the pocket. Our man, it is true, is a man of very limited
capacity, who speaks at random upon all things, and only gives
applause in the wrong place; but his money makes up for the errors of
his judgment. He keeps his discernment in his purse, and his praises
are golden. This ignorant, commonplace citizen is, as you see, better
to us than that clever nobleman who introduced us here.
DAN. MAS. There is some truth in what you say; still I think that you
set a little too much value on money, and that it is in itself
something so base that he who respects himself should never make a
display of his love for it.
MUS. MAS. Yet you receive readily enough the money our man gives you.
DAN. MAS. Certainly; but my whole happiness does not depend upon it;
and I can still wish that with all his wealth he had good taste.
MUS. MAS. I wish it as much as you do; and we are both working as hard
as we can towards that end. But at the same time he gives us the
opportunity of making ourselves known. He shall pay for others, and
others shall praise for him.
DAN. MAS. Here he comes.
SCENE II.--MR. JOURDAIN (_in a dressing-gown and night-cap_), THE
MUSIC MASTER, THE DANCING MASTER, THE PUPIL OF THE MUSIC MASTER, A
LADY SINGER, TWO MEN SINGERS, DANCERS, TWO SERVANTS.
MR. JOUR. Well, gentlemen! and what have you got there? Are you ready
to show me your little drollery?
DAN. MAS. How? What little drollery?
MR. JOUR. Why, the ... what do you call it? Your prologue or dialogue
of songs and dancing.
DAN. MAS. Ah, ah!
MUS. MAS. You see we are quite ready.
MR. JOUR. I have kept you waiting a little, but it is because I am to
be dressed to-day like a man of rank, and my tailor sent me a pair of
silk stockings which I thought I should never be able to get on.
MUS. MAS. We are here only to await your leisure.
MR. JOUR. I hope you will both stop till they have brought me my
clothes, so that you may see me.
DAN. MAS. As you please.
MR. JOUR. You will see me equipped fashionably from head to foot.
MUS. MAS. We have no doubt of it.
MR. JOUR. I have had this dressing gown made for me.
DAN. MAS. It is very handsome,
MR. JOUR. My tailor told me that people of quality are dressed like
this in the morning.
MUS. MAS. It becomes you wonderfully well.
MR. JOUR. Hullo! fellows! hullo! I say; my two lackeys, here!
1ST LACK. Do you want anything, Sir?
MR. JOUR. No; it was only to see if you heard me readily. (_To
the_ TWO MASTERS) What do you think of my liveries?
DAN. MAS. They are magnificent.
MR. JOUR. (_opening his gown, and showing his tight breeches of
scarlet velvet, and a green velvet morning jacket which he is
wearing_). This is a kind of deshabille to go about early in the
MUS. MAS. It is charming.
MR. JOUR. I say! lackey!
1ST LACK. Sir.
MR. JOUR. The other.
2ND LACK. Sir.
MR. JOUR. (_taking off his dressing-gown_). Hold my dressing-gown.
(_To the_ TWO MASTERS) Do you think I look well so?
DAN. MAS. Perfectly well; nothing could be better.
MR. JOUR. Now let us see a little of this affair of yours.
MUS. MAS. I should like, first of all, for you to hear an air which he
(_pointing to his_ PUPIL) has just composed for the serenade you
asked of me. He is one of my pupils, who has an admirable talent for
this kind of thing.
MR. JOUR. Yes; but you should not have had it done by a pupil; you
were not too good for the business yourself.
MUS. MAS. You must not be deceived, Sir, by the name of pupil. These
kind of pupils know sometimes as much as the greatest masters; and the
air is as beautiful as possible. Only just listen to it.
MR. JOUR. (_to his_ SERVANTS). Hand me my dressing-gown, so that
may hear better.... Stay, I believe that I shall be better without....
No, give it me back again; that will be best.
All night and day I languish on;
the sick man none can save
Since those bright eyes have laid him low,
to your stern laws a slave;
If thus to those you love
a meed of care you bring,
What pain, fair Iris, will you find
your foemen's hearts to wring?
MR. JOUR. This song seems to me rather dismal; it sends one to sleep;
could you not enliven it a bit here and there?
MUS. MAS. We must, Sir, suit the air to the words.
MR. JOUR. I was taught a very pretty one quite lately; stop a moment ...
ahem ... What is it? How does it begin?
DAN. MAS. Upon my word, Sir, I do not know.
MR. JOUR. There is some lamb in it.
DAN. MAS. Lamb?
MR. JOUR. Yes, ah! I have it. (_He sings._) /
When I had Jenny seen,
I thought her kind as fair,
I thought she'd gentler been
Than lambkin on the green;
But ah! but ah! she's far less mild,
Far sterner, I declare,
Than tigers are in forests wild.
Now, isn't it pretty?
MUS. MAS. The prettiest thing in the world.
DAN. MAS. And you sing it very well.
MR. JOUR. Do I? I have never learnt music.
MUS. MAS. You ought to learn it, Sir, as you do dancing. These are two
arts which are closely bound together.
DAN. MAS. And which open the human mind to the beauty of things.
MR. JOUR. Do people of rank learn music also?
MUS. MAS. Yes, Sir.
MR. JOUR. I will learn it, then; but I hardly know how I shall find
time for it; for, besides the fencing master who teaches me, I have
engaged a professor of philosophy, who is to begin this morning.
MUS. MAS. Philosophy is something, no doubt; but music, Sir, music....
DAN. MAS. Music and dancing, Sir; in music and dancing we have all
that we need.
MUS. MAS. There is nothing so useful in a state as music.
DAN. MAS. There is nothing so necessary to men as dancing.
MUS. MAS. Without music no kingdom can exist.
DAN. MAS. Without dancing a man can do nothing.
MUS. MAS. All the disorders, all the wars that happen in the world,
are caused by nothing but the want of music.
DAN. MAS. All the sorrows and troubles of mankind, all the fatal
misfortunes which fill the pages of history, the blunders of
statesmen, the failures of great captains, all these come from the
want of a knowledge of dancing.
MR. JOUR. How is that?
MUS. MAS. Does not war arise from a want of concord between them?
MR. JOUR. True.
MUS. MAS. And if all men learnt music, would not this be the means of
keeping them in better harmony, and of seeing universal peace reign in
MR. JOUR. You are quite right.
DAN. MAS. When a man has committed some fault, either in the
management of his family affairs, or in the government of a state, or
in the command of an army, do we not say, "So-and-so has made a false
step in such an affair"?
MR. JOUR. Yes, we do say so.
DAN. MAS. And from whence can proceed the false step if it is not from
ignorance of the art of dancing?
MR. JOUR. This is true, and you are both right.
DAN. MAS. This will give you an idea of the excellence and importance
of dancing and music.
MR. JOUR. I understand it now.
MUS. MAS. Will you look at our two compositions?
MR. JOUR. Yes.
MUS. MAS. I have already told you that it is a short attempt which I
made some time since to represent the different passions which can be
expressed by music.
MR. JOUR. Very well.
MUS. MAS. (_to the_ SINGERS). Come forward. (_To_ MR.
JOURDAIN) You must fancy that they are dressed like shepherds.
MR. JOUR. Why always shepherds? One sees nothing but that everywhere.
DAN. MAS. When we make people speak to music, we must, for the sake of
probability, adopt the pastoral. Singing has always been affected by
shepherds, and it is not very likely that our princes or citizens
would sing their passions in dialogue.
MR. JOUR. Well! well! Go on.
The realm of passion in a loving heart
Full many a care may vex, full many a smart;
In vain we fondly languish, softly sigh;
We learn too late, whatever friends may cry,
To value liberty before it fly.
1ST MAN SINGER.
Sweeter than liberty are love's bright fires,
Kindling in two fond hearts the same desires;
Happiness could never live by love unfed,
Pleasure itself would die if love were dead.
2ND MAN SINGER.
Love would be sweet if love could constant be,
But ah! sad fate, no faithful loves we see!
The fair are false; no prayers their heart can move,
And who will love when they inconstant prove?
1ST SING. Ah! love, how sweet thou art!
LADY SING. Ah! freedom is happier!
2ND SING. Thou inconstant heart!
1ST SING. To me how dear, how blest!
LADY SING. My soul enraptured see!
2ND SING. I shrink, I turn from thee!
1ST SING. Ah! leave this idle strife, and learn to love.
LADY SING. I will show thee one who'll constant prove.
2ND SING. Alas! where seek her?
To defend our name,
I offer you my heart, nor heed your blame.
2ND SING. But, Lady, dare I trust that promise blest?
LADY SING. Experience will decide who loves the best.
Who fails in constancy or depth of love
The gods from him their favour will remove.
Such noble feelings should our souls inspire,
And melt our heart beneath love's gentle fire.
For love is sweet when hearts are true and pure,
And love shall last while earth and heaven endure.
MR. JOUR. Is that all?
MUS. MAS. Yes.
MR. JOUR. I think it very well turned out, and there are in it some
pretty enough little sayings.
DAN. MAS. You have here from me an essay of the most beautiful
movements and most graceful attitudes with which a dance can be
MR. JOUR. Are these shepherds also?
DAN. MAS. They are what you please. (_To the_ DANCERS) Ho! ho!
_Entry of the_ BALLET.
FOUR DANCERS _execute the various movements and steps which the_
DANCING MASTER _orders them_.
SCENE I.--MR. JOURDAIN, DANCING MASTER, MUSIC MASTER.
MR. JOUR. This performance is not bad, and these fellows don't do it
MUS. MAS. When the dance is accompanied by the music, you will find it
still more effective, and you will see something charming in the
little ballet we have prepared for you.
MR. JOUR. It is for this afternoon, mind; and the person for whom I
have ordered all this is to do me the honour of coming to dine here.
DAN. MAS. Everything is ready.
MUS. MAS. But, Sir, this is not enough; a gentleman magnificent in all
his ideas like you, and who has taste for doing things handsomely,
should have a concert at his house every Wednesday or Thursday.
MR. JOUR. But why should I? Do people of quality have concerts?
MUS. MAS. Yes, Sir.
MR. JOUR. Oh! very well! Then I too must have some. It'll be fine?
MUS. MAS. Very. You must have three voices: a treble, a counter-tenor,
and a bass; which must be accompanied by a bass-viol, a theorbo lute,
and a harpsichord for the thorough-basses, with two violins to play
MR. JOUR. You must also have a trumpet-marine. [Footnote: An
instrument with one thick string.] The trumpet-marine is an instrument
that I like, and a very harmonious one.
MUS. MAS. Leave all the arrangements to us.
MR. JOUR. Be sure you don't forget to send me, by and by, some singers
to sing at table.
MUS. MAS. You shall have all that is necessary.
MR. JOUR. But, above all, give us a nice ballet.
MUS. MAS. You will be pleased with it, and particularly with certain
minuets which you shall see in it.
MR. JOUR. Ah! minuets are my favourite dance, and you should see me
dance one. Come, my master.
DAN. MAS. A hat, Sir, if you please. (MR. JOURDAIN _takes the hat
from his_ SERVANT, _and puts it on over his night-cap; his master
takes him by both hands, and makes him dance to a minuet air which he
hums._) La, la, la, la, la, la; la, la, la, la, la, la, la; la, la,
la, la, la, la; la, la, la, la, la, la; la, la, la, la, la; in time,
if you please; la, la, la, la, la; the right leg, la, la, la; do not
shake your shoulders so much; la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la;
your two arms are crippled; la, la, la, la, la; hold up your head;
turn out your toes; la, la, la; your body erect.
MR. JOUR. Eh! eh!
MUS. MAS. Wonderfully well done.
MR. JOUR. Now I think of it! Teach me to make a bow to a marchioness.
I shall have need of it presently.
DAN. MAS. A bow to a marchioness?
MR. JOUR. Yes; a marchioness, whose name is Dorimene.
DAN. MAS. Give me your hand.
MR. JOUR. No. You need only do it yourself. I shall be sure to
DAN. MAS. If you want to salute her with great respect, you must first
of all bow whilst stepping backward, then, advancing towards her, make
three bows, and at the last bow bend down to her very knees.
MR. JOUR. Do it a little for me to see. (_After the_ DANCING
MASTER _has made three bows_) Good.
SCENE II.--MR. JOURDAIN, MUSIC MASTER, DANCING MASTER, A SERVANT.
SER. Sir, your fencing master is here.
MR. JOUR. Make him come in here for my lesson. (_To the_ MUSIC
_and_ DANCING MASTERS) I wish you to see me perform.
SCENE III.--MR. JOURDAIN, FENCING MASTER, MUSIC MASTER, DANCING
MASTER, A SERVANT _holding two foils_.
FEN. MAS. (_taking the two foils from the hands of the_ SERVANT,
_and giving one to_ MR. JOURDAIN). Now, Sir, the salute. The body
upright, resting slightly on the left thigh. The legs not so far
apart; the feet in a line. The wrist in a line with the thigh. The
point of the foil opposite the shoulder. The arm not quite so much
extended. The left hand as high as the eye. The left shoulder more
squared. The head erect; the look firm. Advance; the body steady.
Engage my blade in quart, and retain the engagement. One, two. As you
were. Once more, with the foot firm. One, two; a step to the rear.
When you make an attack, Sir, the sword should move first, and the
body be well held back. One, two. Engage my blade in tierce, and
retain the engagement. Advance; the body steady. Advance; one, two.
Recover. Once more. One, two. A step to the rear. On guard, Sir; on
guard. (_The_ FENCING MASTER _delivers two or three attacks,
calling out_, "On guard!")
MR. JOUR. Ah!
MUS. MAS. You are doing wonders.
FEN. MAS. As I have already told you, the whole art of fencing
consists of one of two things--in giving and not receiving; and as I
showed you the other day by demonstrative reason, it is impossible for
you to receive if you know how to turn aside your adversary's weapon
from the line of your body; and this again depends only on a slight
movement of the wrist to the inside or the out. [Footnote: Kindly
corrected by Mr. Maclaren, The Gymnasium, Oxford.]
MR. JOUR. So that a man, without having any courage, is sure of
killing his man, and of not being killed himself.
FEN. MAS. Exactly. Did you not see plainly the demonstration of it?
MR. JOUR. Yes.
FEN. MAS. And this shows you of what importance we must be in a state;
and how much the science of arms is superior to all the other useless
sciences, such as dancing, music....
DAN. MAS. Gently, Mr. Fencing Master; speak of dancing with respect,
if you please.
MUS. MAS. Pray learn to treat more properly the excellence of music.
FEN. MAS. You certainly are odd sort of people to try and compare your
sciences to mine.
MUS. MAS. Just see the man of importance!
DAN. MAS. A fine animal, to be sure, with his plastron.
FEN. MAS. Take care, my little dancing master, or I shall make you
dance in fine style. And you, my little musician, I'll teach you to
DAN. MAS. And you, my beater of iron, I'll teach you your trade.
MR. JOUR. (_to the_ DANCING MASTER). Are you mad to go and
quarrel with a man, who understands tierce and quart, and knows how to
kill another by demonstrative reason?
DAN. MAS. I don't care a straw for his demonstrative reason, and his
tierce and his quart.
MR. JOUR. (_to the_ DANCING MASTER). Gently, I tell you.
FEN. MAS. (_to the_ DANCING MASTER). How! You little impudent
MR. JOUR. Ah! my fencing master!
DAN. MAS. (_to the_ FENCING MASTER). How! you great cart-horse!
MR. JOUR. Stop! my dancing master!
FEN. MAS. If I once begin with you....
MR. JOUR. (_to the_ FENCING MASTER). Gently.
DAN. MAR. If I lay my hand upon you....
MR. JOUR. Softly.
FEN. MAS. I will beat you after such a fashion....
MR. JOUR. (_to the_ FENCING MASTER). For goodness sake!
DAN. MAS. I'll thrash you in such a style....
MR. JOUR. (_to the_ DANCING MASTER). I beg of you....
MUS. MAS. Let us teach him a little how to behave himself.
MR. JOUR. (_to the_ MUSIC MASTER). Gracious heavens! Do stop.
SCENE IV.--PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY, MR. JOURDAIN, MUSIC MASTER,
DANCING MASTER, FENCING MASTER, A SERVANT.
MR. JOUR. Oh! you are in the very nick of time with your philosophy.
Pray come here and restore peace among these people.
PROF. PHIL. What is going on? What is the matter, gentlemen?
MR. JOUR. They have got themselves into such a rage about the
importance that ought to be attached to their different professions
that they have almost come to blows over it.
PROF. PHIL. For shame, gentlemen; how can you thus forget yourselves?
Have you not read the learned treatise which Seneca composed on anger?
Is there anything more base and more shameful than the passion which
changes a man into a savage beast, and ought not reason to govern all
DAN. MAS. How, Sir! He comes and insults us both in our professions;
he despises dancing, which I teach, and music, which is his
PROF. PHIL. A wise man is above all the insults that can be offered
him; and the best and noblest answer one can make to all kinds of
provocation is moderation and patience.
FEN. MAS. They have both the impertinence to compare their professions
PROF. PHIL. Why should this offend you? It is not for vain glory and
rank that men should strive among themselves. What distinguishes one
man from another is wisdom and virtue.
DAN. MAS. I maintain that dancing is a science which we cannot honour
too much. [Footnote: In fact, dancing was much more honoured in
Moliere's time than it is now.]
MUS. MAS. And I that music is a science which all ages have revered.
FEN. MAS. And I, I maintain against them both that the science of
attack and defence is the best and most necessary of all sciences.
PROF. PHIL. And for what, then, do you count philosophy? I think you
are all three very bold fellows to dare to speak before me with this
arrogance, and impudently to give the name of science to things which
are not even to be honoured with the name of art, but which can only
be classed with the trades of prize-fighter, street-singer, and
FEN. MAS. Get out, you dog of a philosopher.
MUS. MAS. Get along with you, you beggarly pedant.
DAN. MAS. Begone, you empty-headed college scout.
PROF. PHIL. How, scoundrels that you are!
(_The_ PHILOSOPHER _rushes upon them, and they all three
MR. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher.
PROF. PHIL. Infamous villains!
MR. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher!
FEN. MAS. Plague take the animal!
MR. JOUR. Gentlemen!
PROF. PHIL. Impudent cads!
MR. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher!
DAN. MAS. Deuce take the saddled ass!
MR. JOUR. Gentlemen!
PROF. PHIL. Scoundrels!
MR. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher!
MUS. MAS. Devil take the insolent fellow!
MR. JOUR. Gentlemen!
PROF. PHIL. Knaves, beggars, wretches, impostors!
MR. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher! Gentlemen! Mr. Philosopher! Gentlemen! Mr.
SCENE V.--MR. JOURDAIN, A SERVANT.
MR. JOUR. Well! fight as much as you like, I can't help it; but don't
expect me to go and spoil my dressing-gown to separate you. I should
be a fool indeed to thrust myself among them, and receive some blow or
other that might hurt me.
SCENE VI.--PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY, MR. JOURDAIN, A SERVANT.
PROF. PHIL. (_setting his collar in order_). Now for our lesson.
MR. JOUR. Ah! Sir, how sorry I am for the blows they have given you.
PROF. PHIL. It is of no consequence. A philosopher knows how to
receive things calmly, and I shall compose against them a satire, in
the style of Juvenal, which will cut them up in proper fashion. Let us
drop this subject. What do you wish to learn?
MR. JOUR. Everything I can, for I have the greatest desire in the
world to be learned; and it vexes me more than I can tell that my
father and mother did not make me learn thoroughly all the sciences
when I was young.
PROF. PHIL. This is a praiseworthy feeling. _Nam sine doctrina vita
est quasi mortis imago_. You understand this, and you have no doubt
a knowledge of Latin?
MR. JOUR. Yes; but act as if I had none. Explain to me the meaning of
PROF. PHIL. The meaning of it is, that, _without science, life is an
image of death_.
MR. JOUR. That Latin is quite right.
PROF. PHIL. Have you any principles, any rudiments of science?
MR. JOUR. Oh yes; I can read and write.
PROF. PHIL. With what would you like to begin? Shall I teach you
MR. JOUR. And what may this logic be?
PROF. PHIL. It is that which teaches us the three operations of the
MR. JOUR. What are they, these three operations of the mind?
PROF. PHIL. The first, the second, and the third. The first is to
conceive well by means of universals; the second, to judge well by
means of categories; and the third, to draw a conclusion aright by
means of the figures _Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferio, Baralipton_, &c.
MR. JOUR. Pooh! what repulsive words. This logic does not by any means
suit me. Teach me something more enlivening.
PROF. PHIL. Will you learn moral philosophy?
MR. JOUR. Moral philosophy?
PROF. PHIL. Yes.
MR. JOUR. What does it say, this moral philosophy?
PROF. PHIL. It treats of happiness, teaches men to moderate their
MR. JOUR. No, none of that. I am devilishly hot-tempered, and,
morality or no morality, I like to give full vent to my anger whenever
I have a mind to it.
PROF. PHIL. Would you like to learn physics?
MR. JOUR. And what have physics to say for themselves?
PROF. PHIL. Physics are that science which explains the principles of
natural things and the properties of bodies, which discourses of the
nature of the elements, of metals, minerals, stones, plants, and
animals; which teaches us the cause of all the meteors, the rainbow,
the _ignis fatuus_, comets, lightning, thunder, thunderbolts,
rain, snow, hail, wind, and whirlwinds.
MR. JOUR. There is too much hullaballoo in all that; too much riot and
PROF. PHIL. What would you have me teach you then?
MR. JOUR. Teach me spelling.
PROF. PHIL. Very good.
MR. JOUR. Afterwards you will teach me the almanac, so that I may know
when there is a moon, and when there isn't one.
PROF. PHIL. Be it so. In order to give a right interpretation to your
thought, and to treat this matter philosophically, we must begin,
according to the order of things, with an exact knowledge of the
nature of the letters, and the different way in which each is
pronounced. And on this head I have to tell you that letters are
divided into vowels, so called because they express the voice, and
into consonants, so called because they are sounded with the vowels,
and only mark the different articulations of the voice. There are five
vowels or voices, _a, e, i, o, u_. [Footnote: It is scarcely
necessary to say that this description, such as it is, only applies to
the French vowels as they are pronounced in _pate, the, ici, cote,
MR. JOUR. I understand all that.
PROF. PHIL. The vowel _a_ is formed by opening the mouth very
MR. JOUR. _A, a_; yes.
PROF. PHIL. The vowel _e_ is formed by drawing the lower jaw a
little nearer to the upper; _a, e_.
MR. JOUR. _A, e; a, e;_ to be sure. Ah! how beautiful that is!
PROF. PHIL. And the vowel _i_ by bringing the jaws still closer
to one another, and stretching the two corners of the mouth towards
the ears; _a, e, i_.
MR. JOUR. _A, e, i, i, i, i_. Quite true. Long live science!
PROF. PHIL. The vowel _o_ is formed by opening the jaws, and
drawing in the lips at the two corners, the upper and the lower;_
MR. JOUR. _O, o_. Nothing can be more correct; _a, e, i, o, i,
o_. It is admirable! _I, o, i, o_.
PROF. PHIL. The opening of the mouth exactly makes a little circle,
which resembles an _o_.
MR. JOUR. _O, o, o_. You are right. _O_! Ah! what a fine
thing it is to know something!
PROF. PHIL. The vowel _u_ is formed by bringing the teeth near
each other without entirely joining them, and thrusting out both the
lips whilst also bringing them near together without quite joining
MR. JOUR. _U, u_. There is nothing more true; _u_.
PROF. PHIL. Your two lips lengthen as if you were pouting; so that, if
you wish to make a grimace at anybody, and to laugh at him, you have
only to _u_ him.
MR. JOUR. _U, u_. It's true. Oh! that I had studied when I was
younger, so as to know all this.
PROF. PHIL. To-morrow we will speak of the other letters, which are
MR. JOUR. Is there anything as curious in them as in these?
PROF. PHIL. Certainly. For instance, the consonant _d_ is
pronounced by striking the tip of the tongue above the upper teeth;
MR. JOUR. _Da, da_. [Footnote: Untranslatable. _Dada_ equals
"cock-horse" in nursery language] Yes. Ah! what beautiful things, what
PROF. PHIL. The _f_, by pressing the upper teeth upon the lower
MR. JOUR. _Fa, fa_. 'Tis the truth. Ah! my father and my mother,
how angry I feel with you!
PROF. PHIL. And the _r_, by carrying the tip of the tongue up to
the roof of the palate, so that, being grazed by the air which comes
out with force, it yields to it, and, returning to the same place,
causes a sort of tremour; _r, ra_.
MR. JOUR. _R-r-ra; r-r-r-r-r-ra_. That's true. Ah! what a clever
man you are, and what time I have lost. _R-r-ra_.
PROF. PHIL. I will thoroughly explain all these curiosities to you.
MR. JOUR. Pray do. And now I want to entrust you with a great secret.
I am in love with a lady of quality, and I should be glad if you would
help me to write something to her in a short letter which I mean to
drop at her feet.
PROF. PHIL. Very well.
MR. JOUR. That will be gallant; will it not?
PROF. PHIL. Undoubtedly. Is it verse you wish to write to her?
MR. JOUR. Oh no; not verse.
PROF. PHIL. You only wish for prose?
MR. JOUR. No. I wish for neither verse nor prose.
PROF. PHIL. It must be one or the other.
MR. JOUR. Why?
PROF. PHIL. Because, Sir, there is nothing by which we can express
ourselves except prose or verse.
MR. JOUR. There is nothing but prose or verse?
PROF. PHIL. No, Sir. Whatever is not prose is verse; and whatever is
not verse is prose.
MR. JOUR. And when we speak, what is that, then?
PROF. PHIL. Prose.
MR. JOUR. What! When I say, "Nicole, bring me my slippers, and give me
my night-cap," is that prose?
PROF. PHIL. Yes, Sir.
MR. JOUR. Upon my word, I have been speaking prose these forty years
without being aware of it; and I am under the greatest obligation to
you for informing me of it. Well, then, I wish to write to her in a
letter, _Fair Marchioness, your beautiful eyes make me die of
love_; but I would have this worded in a genteel manner, and turned
PROF. PHIL. Say that the fire of her eyes has reduced your heart to
ashes; that you suffer day and night for her tortures....
MR. JOUR. No, no, no; I don't want any of that. I simply wish for what
I tell you. _Fair Marchioness, your beautiful eyes make me die of
PROF. PHIL. Still, you might amplify the thing a little?
MR. JOUR. No, I tell you, I will have nothing but those very words in
the letter; but they must be put in a fashionable way, and arranged as
they should be. Pray show me a little, so that I may see the different
ways in which they can be put.
PROF. PHIL. They may be put, first of all, as you have said, _Fair
Marchioness, your beautiful eyes make me die of love_; or else,
_Of love die make me, fair Marchioness, your beautiful eyes_; or,
_Your beautiful eyes of love make me, fair Marchioness, die_; or,
_Die of love your beautiful eyes, fair Marchioness, make me_; or
else, _Me make your beautiful eyes die, fair Marchioness, of
MR. JOUR. But of all these ways, which is the best?
PROF. PHIL. The one you said: _Fair Marchioness, your beautiful eyes
make me die of love_.
MR. JOUR. Yet I have never studied, and I did all that right off at
the first shot. I thank you with all my heart, and I beg of you to
come to-morrow morning early.
PROF. PHIL. I shall not fail.
SCENE VII.--MR. JOURDAIN, A SERVANT.
MR. JOUR. What? Has my suit of clothes not come yet?
SER. No, Sir.
MR. JOUR. That confounded tailor makes me wait a long time on a day
like this, when I have so much business to attend to. I am furious.
May the deuce fly away with the tailor! May the plague choke the
tailor! May the ague shake that brute of a tailor! If I had him here
now, that rascally tailor, that wretch of a tailor, I....
SCENE VIII.--MR. JOURDAIN, THE MASTER TAILOR, AN ASSISTANT TAILOR
(_bringing a suit of clothes for_ MR. JOURDAIN), A SERVANT.
MR. JOUR. Ha! here you are. I was just on the point of getting angry
TAIL. I could not come sooner, although I set twenty people to work at
MR. JOUR. You have sent me such a small pair of silk stockings that I
had no end of trouble to put them on, and two of the stitches are
TAIL. They are pretty sure to become only too large.
MR. JOUR. No doubt, if I keep on breaking the stitches. You also sent
me a pair of shoes that hurt me horribly.
TAIL. Not at all, Sir.
MR. JOUR. How! not at all?
TAIL. No; they do not hurt you at all.
MR. JOUR. I tell you they do hurt me.
TAIL. You fancy so.
MR. JOUR. I fancy so because I feel it to be so. Did any one ever hear
such an argument!
TAIL. See, we have the most beautiful and the best matched suit in the
whole court. It is a work of art to have discovered a sober suit of
clothes not black; and I bet that the most skilful tailors would not
do as much after half a dozen trials.
MR. JOUR. Why, what does this mean? You have put all the flowers
TAIL. You did not tell me you wished to have them the other way up.
MR. JOUR. Was it necessary to say that?
TAIL. Yes, certainly; for all the people of quality wear them in this
MR. JOUR. All people of quality wear the flowers bottom upwards?
TAIL. Yes, Sir.
MR. JOUR. Oh, then it's all right.
TAIL. If you wish it, I will put them the other way up.
MR. JOUR. No, no.
TAIL. You have only to say so.
MR. JOUR. No, no. I tell you that you have done right. Do you think my
clothes fit me well?
TAIL. No doubt about it. I defy any painter with his pencil to draw
you anything to fit more exactly. I have in my house a workman who to
get up a rhinegrave is the greatest genius of our time, and another
who in putting together a doublet is the hero of our age.
MR. JOUR. Are the wig and feathers as they should be?
TAIL. Everything is right.
MR. JOUR. (_looking carefully at the tailor's coat_). Oh! oh! Mr.
Tailor, you have there some of the stuff of the last coat you made for
me! I know it well.
TAIL. I thought the stuff so beautiful that I could not help cutting a
coat from it for myself.
MR. JOUR. Yes; but you should not have cut it from mine.
TAIL. Will you put on your coat?
MR. JOUR. Yes; give it me.
TAIL. Wait a moment. Things are not done in that manner. I have
brought my people with me to dress you to music; such coats as these
are only put on with ceremony. Hullo there! Come in.
SCENE IX.--MR. JOURDAIN, MASTER TAILOR, ASSISTANT TAILORS
(_dancing_), A SERVANT.
TAIL. Put this gentleman's suit on as you put on those of people of
(_The four tailors, dancing, come near_ MR. JOURDAIN; _two of
them pull off the breeches he has had on for his exercises; two others
take off his waistcoat; then, still dancing, they dress him in his new
suit_. MR. JOURDAIN _walks round in the midst of them, and shows
them his clothes for them to see whether they fit him_.)
TAILS. My noble gentleman, give something, if you please, to the
tailors to drink your health with.
MR. JOUR. How do you call me?
TAILS. My noble gentleman.
MR. JOUR. See what it is to be dressed like a person of quality! Go
about all your life dressed like a citizen, and nobody will ever call
you a "noble gentleman." (_Giving some money_.) This is for "My
TAILS. We are greatly obliged to you, my lord.
MR. JOUR. Oh! oh! Wait a minute, my friends. "My lord" deserves
something; it is no small thing to be "My lord." Here is what his
lordship gives you.
TAILS. My lord, we shall go and drink your grace's health.
MR. JOUR. "Your grace!" Oh! oh! oh! Stay, don't go yet. "Your grace"
to me! (_Aside_) Upon my word, if he goes as far as highness, he
will have the whole purse. (_Aloud_) Take this for "Your grace."
TAILS. My lord, we most humbly thank you for your liberality.
MR. JOUR. He did well to stop. I should have given him all.
_Second entry of the_ BALLET.
_The_ FOUR ASSISTANTS _rejoice, dancing, at the generosity
of_ MR. JOURDAIN.
SCENE I.--MR. JOURDAIN, TWO LACKEYS.
MR. JOUR. Follow me, that I may go and show my clothes about the town;
and be very careful, both of you, to walk close to my heels, so that
people may see that you belong to me.
LACK. Yes, Sir.
MR. JOUR. Just call Nicole. I have some orders to give her. You need
not move; here she comes.
SCENE II.--MR. JOURDAIN, NICOLE, TWO LACKEYS.
MR. JOUR. Nicole!
NIC. What is it, Sir?
MR. JOUR. Listen.
NIC. (_laughing_). Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. What are you laughing at?
NIC. Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. What does the hussy mean?
NIC. Hi, hi, hi. What a figure you cut! Hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. Eh? What?
NIC. Ah! ah! my goodness! Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. What an impertinent jade! Are you laughing at me?
NIC. Oh no, Sir. I should be very sorry to do so. Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. I'll slap your face if you laugh again.
NIC. I can't help it, Sir. Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. Will you leave off?
NIC. Sir; I beg your pardon, Sir; but you are so very comical that I
can't help laughing. Hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. Did you ever see such impudence?
NIC. You are so odd like that. Hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. I'll....
NIC. I beg of you to excuse me. Hi, hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. Look here, if you laugh again ever so little, I swear I will
give you a box on the ears such as you never had before in all your
NIC. Well, Sir, I have done. I won't laugh any more.
MR. JOUR. Mind you don't. You must for this afternoon clean....
NIC. Hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. You must clean thoroughly....
NIC. Hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. You must, I say, clean the drawing-room, and....
NIC. Hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. Again?
NIC. (_tumbling down with laughing_). There, Sir, beat me rather,
but let me laugh to my heart's content. I am sure it will be better
for me. Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. I am boiling with rage.
NIC. For pity's sake, Sir, let me laugh. Hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. If I begin....
NIC. Si-r-r, I shall bur-r-st if I d-don't laugh. Hi, hi, hi.
MR. JOUR. But did you ever see such a hussy? She comes and laughs at
me to my face, instead of attending to my orders.
NIC. What is it you wish me to do, Sir.
MR. JOUR. I want you to get this house ready for the company which is
to come here by and by.
NIC. (_getting up_). Ah, well! All my wish to laugh is gone now;
your company brings such disorder here that what you say is quite
sufficient to put me out of temper.
MR. JOUR. I suppose that, to please you, I ought to shut my door
NIC. Anyhow, you would do just as well to shut it against certain
SCENE III.--MRS. JOURDAIN, MR. JOURDAIN, NICOLE, TWO SERVANTS.
MRS. JOUR. Ah me! Here is some new vexation! Why, husband, what do you
possibly mean by this strange get-up? Have you lost your senses that
you go and deck yourself out like this, and do you wish to be the
laughing-stock of everybody wherever you go?
MR. JOUR. Let me tell you, my good wife, that no one but a fool will
laugh at me.
MRS. JOUR. No one has waited until to-day for that; and it is now some
time since your ways of going on have been the amusement of everybody.
MR. JOUR. And who may everybody be, please?
MRS. JOUR. Everybody is a body who is in the right, and who has more
sense than you. For my part, I am quite shocked at the life you lead.
I don't know our home again. One would think, by what goes on, that it
was one everlasting carnival here; and as soon as day breaks, for fear
we should have any rest in it, we have a regular din of fiddles and
singers, that are a positive nuisance to all the neighbourhood.
NIC. What mistress says is quite right. There is no longer any chance
of having the house clean with all that heap of people you bring in.
Their feet seem to have gone purposely to pick up the mud in the four
quarters of the town in order to bring it in here afterwards; and poor
Francoise is almost off her legs with the constant scrubbing of the
floors, which your masters come and dirty every day as regular as
MR. JOUR. I say there, our servant Nicole; you have a pretty sharp
tongue of your own for a country wench.
MRS. JOUR. Nicole is right, and she has more sense by far than you
have. I should like to know, for instance, what you mean to do with a
dancing master at your age?
NIC. And with that big fencing master, who comes here stamping enough
to shake the whole house down and to tear up the floor tiles of our
MR. JOUR. Gently, my servant and my wife.
MRS. JOUR. Do you mean to learn dancing for the time when you can't
stand on your legs any longer?
NIC. Do you intend to kill anybody?
MR. JOUR. Hold your tongues, I say. You are only ignorant women, both
of you, and understand nothing concerning the prerogative of all this.
MRS. JOUR. You would do much better to think of seeing your daughter
married, for she is now of an age to be provided for.
MR. JOUR. I shall think of seeing my daughter married when a suitable
match presents itself; but, in the meantime, I wish to think of
acquiring fine learning.
NIC. I have heard say also, mistress, that, to go the whole hog, he
has now taken a professor of philosophy.
MR. JOUR. To be sure I have. I wish to be clever, and reason
concerning things with people of quality.
MRS. JOUR. Had you not better go to school one of these days, and get
the birch, at your age?
MR. JOUR. Why not? Would to heaven I were flogged this very instant,
before all the world, so that I might know all they learn at school.
NIC. Yes, to be sure; that would much improve the shape of your leg.
MR. JOUR. Of course.
MRS. JOUR. And all this is very necessary for the management of your
MR. JOUR. Certainly. You both speak like asses; and I am ashamed of
your ignorance. (_To_ MRS. JOURDAIN) Let me see, for instance, if
you know what you are speaking this very moment.
MRS. JOUR. Yes, I know that what I speak is rightly spoken; and that
you should think of leading a different life.
MR. JOUR. I do not mean that. I ask you what the words are which you
are now speaking.
MRS. JOUR. They are sensible words, I tell you, and that is more than
your conduct is.
MR. JOUR. I am not speaking of that. I ask you what it is that I am
now saying to you. That which I am now speaking to you, what is it?
MRS. JOUR. Rubbish.
MR. JOUR. No! no! I don't mean that. What we both speak; the language
we are speaking this very moment.
MRS. JOUR. Well?
MR. JOUR. How is it called?
MRS. JOUR. It is called whatever you like to call it.
MR. JOUR. It is prose, you ignorant woman.
MRS. JOUR. Prose?
MR. JOUR. Whatever is prose is not verse, and whatever is not verse is
prose. There! you see what it is to study. (_To_ NICOLE) And you,
do you even know what you must do to say _u_?
NIC. Eh? What?
MR. JOUR. Yes; what do you do when you say _u_?
NIC. What I do?
MR. JOUR. Say _u_ a little to try.
NIC. Well, _u_.
MR. JOUR. What is it you do?
NIC. I say _u_.
MR. JOUR. Yes; but when you say _u_, what is it you do?
NIC. I do what you ask me to do.
MR. JOUR. Oh! What a strange thing it is to have to do with dunces!
You pout your lips outwards, and bring your upper jaw near your lower
jaw like this, _u_; I make a face; _u_. Do you see?
NIC. Yes, that's beautiful.
MRS. JOUR. It's admirable!
MR. JOUR. What would you say then if you had seen _o_, and _da,
da_, and _fa, fa_?
MRS. JOUR. What is all this absurd stuff?
NIC. And what are we the better for all this?
MR. JOUR. I have no patience with such ignorant women.
MRS. JOUR. Believe me, pack off all those people with their ridiculous
NIC. And particularly that great scraggy fencing master, who fills the
whole place with dust.
MR. JOUR. Goodness me! The fencing master seems to set your teeth on
edge. Come here, and I will show you at once your senseless
impertinence. (_He asks for two foils, and gives one to_ NICOLE.)
Here, reason demonstrative the line of the body. When you thrust in
quart, you have only to do so; and, when you thrust in tierce, only to
do so! That is the way never to be killed; and is it not a fine thing
to be quite safe when one fights against anybody? There, thrust at me
a little to try.
NIC. Well, what? (NICOLE _gives him several thrusts_)
MR. JOUR. Gently! Hold! Oh! Softly. Deuce take the wench!
NIC: You tell me to thrust at you.
MR. JOUR. Yes; but you thrust in tierce before thrusting at me in
quart, and you haven't the patience to wait till I parry.
MRS: JOUR. You are crazy, husband, with all your fads; and this has
come upon you since you have taken it into your head to frequent the
MR. JOUR. By frequenting the gentlefolk I show my judgment. It is
surely better than keeping company with your citizens.
MRS. JOUR. Yes: there is much good to be got by frequenting your
nobility, and you have done a noble stroke of business with that fine
count with whom you are so wrapped up.
MR. JOUR. Peace. Be careful what you say. Let me tell you, wife, that
you do not know of whom you are speaking when you speak of him! He is
a man of more importance than you can imagine, a nobleman who is held
in great honour at court, and who speaks to the king just as I speak
to you. Is it not a thing which does me great honour that such a
person should be seen so often in my house, should call me his dear
friend, and should treat me as if I were his equal? He has more
kindness for me than you could ever guess, and he treats me before the
world with such affection that I am perfectly ashamed.
MRS. JOUR. Yes; he is kind to you, and flatters you, but he borrows
your money of you.
MR. JOUR. Well? Is it not a great honour to lend money to a man of his
position? And could I do less for a lord who calls me his dear friend?
MRS. JOUR. And this lord, what does he do for you?
MR. JOUR. Things that would astound you if you only knew them.
MRS. JOUR. But what?
MR. JOUR. There! I can't explain myself. It is quite sufficient that,
if I have lent him money, he will give it back to me, and that before
MRS. JOUR. Yes, trust him for that.
MR. JOUR. Certainly I will. Has he not said so?
MRS. JOUR. Yes, yes; and he won't fail not to do it.
MR. JOUR. He has given me his word as a gentleman.
MRS. JOUR. Mere stuff.
MR. JOUR. Dear me! You are very obstinate, wife! I tell you that he
will keep his word; I am quite sure of it.
MRS. JOUR. And I am quite sure that he won't; and that all the
caresses he loads you with are only meant to deceive you.
MR. JOUR. Be silent; here he comes.
MRS. JOUR. That's to finish up. He comes, no doubt, to borrow from you
again; the very sight of him takes my appetite away.
MR: JOUR. Hold your tongue, I tell you.
SCENE IV.--DORANTE, MR. JOURDAIN, MRS. JOURDAIN, NICOLE.
DOR. Mr. Jourdain, my dear friend, how do you do?
MR. JOUR. Very well, Sir; at your service.
DOR. And Mrs. Jourdain, how does she do?
MRS. JOUR. Mrs. Jourdain does as well as may be.
DOR. I declare, Mr. Jourdain, that you have the most genteel dress in
MR. JOUR. You see.
DOR. You look exceedingly well in this dress, and we have no young men
at court better made than you.
MR. JOUR. He! he!
MRS. JOUR. (_aside_). He scratches him where it itches.
DOR. Turn round. This is quite gallant.
MRS. JOUR. (_aside_). Yes, as fine a fool behind as before.
DOR. Indeed, Mr. Jourdain, I was very impatient to see you. You are
the man I esteem most in the world, and I was talking of you again
this very morning at the king's levee.
MR. JOUR. You do me too much honour, Sir. (_To_ MRS. JOURDAIN) At
the king's levee.
DOR. Come, put on your hat.
MR. JOUR. Sir, I know the respect I owe you;
DOR. Pray, put on your hat. No ceremony between us, I beg.
MR. JOUR. Sir!
DOR. Nay! nay! Put on your hat, I tell you, Mr. Jourdain; you are my
MR. JOUR. Sir, I am your humble servant.
DOR. I will not put mine on unless you do.
MR. JOUR. (_putting on his hat_). I had rather be unmannerly than
DOR. I am your debtor, as you know.
MRS. JOUR. (_aside_). Yes, we know it but too well.
DOR. On several occasions you have generously lent me some money, and
you have obliged me, I must acknowledge, with the best grace in the
MR. JOUR. Sir, I beg of you.
DOR. But I know how to pay back what is lent to me, and how to
acknowledge services rendered.
MR. JOUR. I have no doubt about it, Sir.
DOR. I want to acquit myself towards you, and I have come to settle my
MR. JOUR. (_aside to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Well? Do you see how wrong
you were, wife?
DOR. I like to get out of debt as soon as I can.
MR. JOUR. (_aside to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Did I not tell you so?
DOR. Let us see how much I owe you.
MR. JOUR. (_aside to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). There you are, with your
DOR. Do you quite remember how much you have lent me?
MR. JOUR. I believe so. I have made a little memorandum of it. Here it
is. At one time I gave you two hundred louis.
DOR. Quite true.
MR. JOUR. At another time, one hundred and twenty.
MR. JOUR. At another time, one hundred and forty.
DOR. You are quite right.
MR. JOUR. These three payments make four hundred and sixty louis,
which comes to five thousand and sixty livres.
DOR. This account is quite correct; five thousand and sixty livres.
MR. JOUR. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-two livres to your
DOR. Just so.
MR. JOUR. Two thousand seven hundred and eighty livres to your tailor.
DOR. It is true.
MR. JOUR. Four thousand three hundred and seventy-nine livres, twelve
sous, eight deniers, to your tradesman.
DOR. Twelve sous, eight deniers; the account is perfectly right.
MR. JOUR. And one thousand seven hundred and forty-eight livres, seven
sous, four deniers, to your saddler.
DOR. It is so. How much does all this come to?
MR. JOUR. Sum-total, fifteen thousand eight hundred livres.
DOR. The sum-total is exact; fifteen thousand eight hundred livres.
Add to this two hundred pistoles which you are going to lend me, and
it will make exactly eighteen thousand francs, which I will pay you at
the first opportunity.
MRS. JOUR. (_aside to_ MR. JOURDAIN). Well? Did I not guess
MR. JOUR. (_aside to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Peace!
DOR. Will it be inconvenient to you to lend me what I say?
MR. JOUR. Oh dear! no.
MRS. JOUR. (_aside to_ MR. JOURDAIN). That man makes a milch-cow
MR. JOUR. (_aside to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Be silent!
DOR. If I at all inconvenience you, I will get it elsewhere.
MR. JOUR. No, Sir.
MRS. JOUR. (_aside to_ MR. JOURDAIN). He won't be satisfied until
he has ruined you.
MR. JOUR. (_aside to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Hold your tongue, I say.
DOR. You have only to tell me if this will embarrass you.
MR. JOUR. Not at all, Sir.
MRS. JOUR. (_aside to_ MR. JOURDAIN). He is a regular deceiver.
MR. JOUR. (_aside to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Do hold your peace.
MRS. JOUR. (_aside to_ MR. JOURDAIN). He will drain you to the
MR. JOUR. (_aside to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). Will you hold your tongue?
DOR. There are a great many people who would advance me money with
pleasure; but as I look upon you as my best friend, I was afraid of
wronging you if I asked it of anyone else.
MR. JOUR. You do me too much honour, Sir. I will go and fetch what you
MRS. JOUR. (_aside_ to MR. JOURDAIN). What! are you going to give
him that also?
MR. JOUR. (_aside_ to MRS. JOURDAIN). What can I do? How can I
refuse a man of such rank, a man who spoke of me this morning at the
MRS. JOUR. (_aside_ to MR. JOURDAIN). There, go; you are nothing
but a dupe.
SCENE V.--DORANTE, MRS. JOURDAIN, NICOLE.
DOR. You appear to me quite low-spirited! What can be the matter with
you, Mrs. Jourdain?
MRS. JOUR. My head is bigger than my fist, and yet it isn't swollen.
DOR. Where is your daughter, that I have not seen her?
MRS. JOUR. My daughter is very well where she is.
DOR. How does she get on?
MRS. JOUR. She gets on on her two legs.
DOR. Would you not like one of these days to come with her to see the
ballet and the play which are being acted at court?
MRS. JOUR. Ah! yes. We have a great fancy for laughing, a great fancy
DOR. I think, Mrs. Jourdain, that you must have had plenty of lovers
in your young days, so handsome, and so sweet-tempered as you must
MRS. JOUR. My goodness, Sir! Has Mrs. Jourdain grown decrepit, and
does her head already shake on her shoulders?
DOR. Oh! Mrs Jourdain, I really beg your pardon! I had forgotten that
you are young, and I am very often absent. I beg of you to excuse my
SCENE VI.--MR. JOURDAIN, MRS. JOURDAIN, DORANTE, NICOLE.
MR. JOUR. (_to_ DORANTE). Here are two hundred louis in full.
DOR. I assure you, Mr. Jourdain, that you may dispose of me in any way
you like, and that I long to render you some service at court.
MR. JOUR. I am much obliged to you.
DOR. If Mrs. Jourdain wishes to see the royal entertainment,
[Footnote: 'The Magnificent Lovers.'] I will obtain the best places in
the room for her.
MRS. JOUR. Mrs. Jourdain is your humble servant.
DOR. (_aside to_ MR. JOURDAIN). Our lovely marchioness, as I told
you in my note, is coming here this afternoon for the ballet and the
banquet, as I have at last prevailed on her to accept the
entertainment you wish to give her. [Footnote: _Cadeau_ does not
mean "present," as at first sight it seems to mean. Compare also the
next speech of Dorante.]
MR. JOUR. Let us go a little further. I need not tell you the reason.
DOR. It is a whole week since I saw you; and I did not send you any
news of the diamond which you placed in my hands to make her a present
of from you; it is because I found it the most difficult thing in the
world to make her accept it; and it is only to-day that she could
conquer her scruples about it.
MR. JOUR. How does she like it?
DOR. Exceedingly; and, unless I am greatly mistaken, the beauty of
that diamond will produce an admirable effect on her mind towards you.
MR. JOUR. Ah, may it be so!
MRS. JOUR. (_to_ NICOLE). When once he is with him, he can't
DOR. I described to her in glowing colours the expense of such a
present, and the greatness of your love.
MR. JOUR. Your kindness is too much for me, Sir, and I feel perfectly
ashamed to see a man of such high standing condescend to do for me the
things you do.
DOR. Nonsense! Do friends stand upon such scruples? and would you not
do for me the very same thing if the opportunity presented itself?
MR. JOUR. Oh, decidedly, and with all my heart!
MRS. JOUR. (_aside to_ NICOLE). How hard for me to bear with his
DOR. For my part, I hesitate at nothing when I want to serve a friend;
and as soon as you told me of your admiration for this charming
marchioness, with whom I was acquainted, you saw me at once put myself
at your disposal to serve your love.
MR. JOUR. It is perfectly true. Such kindness confounds me.
MRS. JOUR. (_to_ NICOLE). Will he never go?
NIC. (_to_ MRS. JOURDAIN). They are very thick together.
DOR. You went the right way to work to touch her heart. There is
nothing women like more than the expenses one makes for them; and your
frequent serenades, your numerous bouquets, the magnificent display of
fireworks which she saw on the water, the diamond which she received
from you, and the entertainment you are preparing for her, all this
tells more in favour of your love than all the speeches you could make
to her about it.
MR. JOUR. There is no expense I would not make to find access to her
heart. A woman of quality has for me the most dazzling charms, and it
is an honour which I would purchase at any price.
MRS. JOUR. (_aside to_ NICOLE). What on earth can they have to
say together? Go and listen!
DOR. You will enjoy to-day the pleasure of seeing her; and your eyes
will have full leisure to satisfy themselves.
MR. JOUR. In order to be free, I have arranged for my wife to go and
dine with my sister, and she will spend the whole-afternoon there.
DOR. You have acted wisely, for your wife might be in the way. I have
given the necessary orders to the cook, and for everything which may
be necessary for the ballet. It is my own invention, and if the
execution comes up to the conception, I am sure that it will be
MR. JOUR. (_seeing_ NICOLE _listening, and giving her a box on
the ears_). Ha! you rude, impertinent hussy! (_To_ DORANTE)
Let us go out, if you please.
SCENE VII.--MRS. JOURDAIN, NICOLE.
NIC. Well, Madam, my curiosity has cost me something; but all the same
I believe that there is something in the wind, for they were speaking
of an affair where they do not wish you to be present.
MRS. JOUR. This is not the first time, Nicole, that I have had some
suspicions about my husband. Either I am greatly mistaken or there is
some love affair on foot; and I am doing my best to discover what it
maybe. But, first of all, let us think of my daughter. You know that
Cleonte loves her; he is a man after my own heart, and I wish to help
him, and give him to Lucile if I can.
NIC. To tell you the truth, Madam, I am delighted to find you think
so; for if the master pleases you, the servant pleases me as well, and
I wish our own marriage could take place at the same time as theirs.
MRS. JOUR. Go, then, and speak to him about what I told you; and tell
him to come presently, that we may both together ask my husband to
grant him my daughter.
NIC. I run with joy, Madam, and I could not receive a more pleasant
order. (_Alone_.) How happy I am going to make certain people!
SCENE VIII.--NICOLE, CLEONTE, COVIELLE.
NIC. Ah, what a lucky meeting! I am a messenger of joy, and I came....
CLE. Leave me, false woman, and don't think of deceiving me with your
NIC. Do you receive me in that way?
CLE. Leave me, I say, and go and tell your faithless mistress that she
never shall again deceive the too credulous Cleonte.
NIC. What a change? My poor Covielle, tell me, I pray, what all this
COV. Your poor Covielle, indeed, you wicked girl! Go, minx! decamp;
get out of my sight as fast as you can, and leave me alone!
NIC. What! and do you also...?
COV. Get out of my sight, I say; I will never speak to you any more,
as long as I live.
NIC. (_aside_). Mercy on us! What has happened to both of them? I
must go and tell my mistress this pretty piece of news.
SCENE IX.--CLEONTE, COVIELLE.
CLE. What! to treat a lover in that fashion, and the most faithful and
affectionate of all lovers!
COV. It is shameful what they have done to both of us!
CLE. I show her all possible ardour and tenderness; I love nothing in
the world better, and have nothing in my thoughts but her; she is all
my care, all my desire, all my joy; I speak of nothing but her, think
of nothing but her, dream of nothing but her. I live but for her; my
heart beats but for her; and, behold the reward of so much devotion! I
am two whole days without seeing her, two days which seem to me
centuries of frightful length; I meet her by accident, my heart at the
sight of her feels transported; joy sparkles in my face. I fly to her
with delight, and the faithless one turns away her eyes, and passes by
me hastily, as if she had never seen me before in her life!
COV. I can only repeat the same story.
CLE. Can anything be compared, Covielle, to the perfidy of the
COV. And to that, Sir, of that hussy Nicole?
CLE. After so many passionate sacrifices, sighs, and vows which I have
paid to her charms!
COV. After so many attentions, cares, and services I have rendered her
in the kitchen!
CLE. So many tears that I have shed at her feet!
COV. So many buckets of water that I have drawn for her from the well!
CLE. Such warmth as I have shown in loving her more than myself!
COV. Such heat as I have endured in turning the spit for her!
CLE. She avoids me with contempt!
COV. She rudely turns her back upon me!
CLE. This perfidy deserves the greatest chastisement.
COV. This treachery deserves a thousand blows.
CLE. Mind, you never speak to me of her any more.
COV. I, Sir? Heaven forbid!
CLE. Do not venture to palliate her wrongs before me.
COV. Never fear.
CLE. No; for all you would say in her defence would be lost upon me.
COV. Who dreams of such a thing?
CLE. I wish to nurse up my wrath against her, and to break off all
intercourse with her.
COV. I am quite willing.
CLE. This count who goes to her house has turned her head, no doubt;
and rank, I see, dazzles her mind. But I must, for my own honour,
prevent her triumphing in her inconstancy. I will do as much as she
does towards a change which I plainly see she desires, and I will not
let her have all the pleasure of having dismissed me.
COV. You are in the right, and I enter into all your feelings.
CLE. Help me in my resentment, and support my resolution against the
remainder of my love that might still plead for her. Tell me, I pray
you, all the evil you can think of her. Draw a description of her
person which may bring her down in my estimation, and, in order to
make me dislike her more surely, show me all the defects you can see
COV. She, indeed, Sir! a fine specimen, a fine piece of affectation to
be in love with! I see nothing in her but the most common attractions,
and you will find a thousand girls more worthy of your love than she
is. To begin with, her eyes are small... [Footnote: It is Moliere's
wife that is here described.]
CLE. Yes, it is true, her eyes are small, Covielle; but they are full
of fire, the most sparkling, the most searching in the world, and the
tenderest also that could be found.
COV. Her mouth is large....
CLE. Yes; but you find there charms that can be found in no other. The
sight of that mouth inspires me with love; it is the most attractive
and the most amorous mouth in the world!
COV. As to her height, she is not tall.
CLE. No; but she is well shaped and graceful.
COV. She affects great carelessness in her speech, and her
CLE. It is true; but she is graceful in all she does, and her manners
are attractive, and possess a certain charm which at once takes
possession of one's heart.
COV. As for wit....
CLE. Ah, Covielle! her wit is of the most refined, the most delicate
COV. Her conversation....
CLE. Her conversation is charming.
COV. It is always grave.
CLE. Would you prefer an unrestrained gaiety, a perpetual liveliness?
and can you find anything more unpleasant than those women who giggle
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