The Middle Class Gentleman

by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (Moliere)

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SCENE I (Monsieur Jourdain and his two Lackeys)

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Follow me, I am going to show off my clothes a little about town. And above all both of you take care to walk close at my heels, so people can see that you are with me.

LACKEYS: Yes, Sir.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Call Nicole for me, so I can give her some orders. Don't bother, there she is.

SCENE II (Nicole, Monsieur Jourdain, two Lackeys)


NICOLE: Yes, sir?


NICOLE: He, he, he, he, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What are you laughing about?

NICOLE: He, he, he, he, he, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What does the hussy mean by this?

NICOLE: He, he, he! Oh, how you are got up! He, he, he!


NICOLE: Ah! Ah! Oh Lord! He, he, he, he, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What kind of little baggage is this? Are you mocking me?

NICOLE: Certainly not, sir, I should be very sorry to do so. He, he, he, he, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I'll give you a smack on the nose if you go on laughing.

NICOLE: Sir, I can't help it. He, he, he, he, he, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: You are not going to stop?

NICOLE: Sir, I beg pardon. But you are so funny that I couldn't help laughing. He, he, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What insolence!

NICOLE: You're so funny like that. He, he!


NICOLE: Please excuse me. He, he, he, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Listen. If you go on laughing the least bit, I swear I'll give you the biggest slap ever given.

NICOLE: Alright, sir, it's done, I won't laugh any more.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Take good care not to. Presently you must clean . . .

NICOLE: He, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: You must clean . . .

NICOLE: He, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: You must, I say, clean the room and . . .

NICOLE: He, he!


NICOLE: (Falling down with laughter) Then beat me sir, and let me have my laugh out, it will do me more good. He, he, he, he, he!


NICOLE: Have mercy, sir! I beg you to let me laugh. He, he, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: If I catch you . . .

NICOLE: Sir! I shall burst . . . Oh! if I don't laugh. He, he, he!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: But did anyone ever see such a hussy as that, who laughs in my face instead of receiving my, orders?

NICOLE: What would you have me do, sir?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: That you consider getting my house ready for the company that's coming soon, you hussy.

NICOLE: Ah, by my faith, I don't feel like laughing any more. All your guests make such a disorder here that the word "company" is enough to put me in a bad humor.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Why, should I shut my door to everyone for your sake?

NICOLE: You should at least shut it to some people.

SCENE III (Madame Jourdain, Monsieur Jourdain, Nicole, Lackeys)

MADAME JOURDAIN: Ah, ah! Here's a new story! What's this, what's this, husband, this outfit you have on there? Don't you care what people think of you when you are got up like that? And do you want yourself laughed at everywhere?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: None but fools and dolts will laugh at me wife.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Truly, they haven't waited until now, your antics have long given a laugh to everyone.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Who's everyone, if you please?

MADAME JOURDAIN: Everyone is everyone who is right and who is wiser than you. For my part, I am scandalized at the life you lead. I no longer recognize our house. One would say it's the beginning of Carnival here, every day; and beginning early in the morning, so it won't be forgotten, one hears nothing but the racket of fiddles and singers which disturbs the whole neighborhood.

NICOLE: Madame speaks well. I'll never be able to get my housework done properly with that gang you have come here. They have feet that hunt for mud in every part of town to bring it here; and poor Françoise almost has her teeth on the floor, scrubbing the boards that your fine masters come to dirty up every day.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What, our servant Nicole, you have quite a tongue for a peasant.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Nicole is right, and she has more sense than you. I'd like to know what you think you're going to do with a Dancing Master, at your age?

NICOLE: And with a hulking Fencing Master who comes stamping his feet, shaking the whole house and tearing up all the floorboards in our drawing-room.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Be quiet, both servant and wife!

MADAME JOURDAIN: Is it that you're learning to dance for the time when you'll have no legs to dance on?

NICOLE: Do you want to kill someone?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Quiet, I tell you! You are ignorant women, both of you, and you don't know the advantages of all this.

MADAME JOURDAIN: You should instead be thinking of marrying off your daughter, who is of an age to be provided for.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I'll think of marrying off my daughter when a suitable match comes along, but I also want to learn about fine things.

NICOLE: I heard said, Madame, that today he took a Philosophy Master to thicken the soup!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Very well. I have a wish to have wit and to reason about things with decent people.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Don't you intend, one of these days, to go to school and have yourself whipped at your age?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Why not? Would to God I were whipped this minute in front of everyone, if I only knew what they learn at school!

NICOLE: Yes, my faith! That would get you into better shape.


MADAME JOURDAIN: All this is very important to the management of your house.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Assuredly. You both talk like beasts, and I'm ashamed of your ignorance. For example, do you know what are you speaking just now?

MADAME JOURDAIN: Yes, I know that what I'm saying is well said and that you ought to be considering living in another way.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I'm not talking about that. I'm asking if you know what the words are that you are saying here?

MADAME JOURDAIN: They are words that are very sensible, and your conduct is scarcely so.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I'm not talking about that, I tell you. I'm asking you: what is it that I'm speaking to you this minute, what is it?


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: No, no! That's not it. What is it we are both saying, what language is it that we are speaking right now?


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What is it called?

MADAME JOURDAIN: It's called whatever you want.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: It's prose, you ignorant creature.


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Yes, prose. Everything is prose that is not verse; and everything that's not verse is prose. There! This is what it is to study! And you (to Nicole), do you know what you must do to say U?


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Say U, in order to see.

NICOLE: Oh Well, U.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What do you do?

NICOLE: I say U.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Yes, but, when you say U, what do you do?

NICOLE: I do what you tell me to.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Oh, how strange it is to have to deal with morons! You thrust your lips out and bring your lower jaw to your upper jaw: U, see? U. Do you see? I make a pout: U.

NICOLE: Yes, that's beautiful.

MADAME JOURDAIN: How admirable.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: But it's quite another thing, if you have seen O, and D, D, and F, F.

MADAME JOURDAIN: What is all this rigmarole?

NICOLE: What does all this do for us?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: It enrages me when I see these ignorant women.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Go, go, you ought to send all those people packing with their foolishness.

NICOLE: And above all, that great gawk of a Fencing Master, who ruins all my work with dust.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Well! This Fencing Master seems to get under your skin. I'll soon show you how impertinent you are.(He has the foils brought and gives one to Nicole). There. Demonstration: The line of the body. When your opponent thrusts in quarte, you need only do this, and when they thrust in tierce, you need only do this. That is the way never to be killed, and isn't it fine to be assured of what one does, when fighting against someone? There, thrust at me a little, to see.

NICOLE: Well then, what? (Nicole thrusts, giving him several hits).

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Easy! Wait! Oh! Gently! Devil take the hussy!

NICOLE: You told me to thrust.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Yes, but you thrust in tierce, before you thrust in quarte, and you didn't have the patience to let me parry.

MADAME JOURDAIN: You are a fool, husband, with all your fantasies, and this has come to you since you took a notion to associate with the nobility.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: When I associate with the nobility, I show my good judgment; and that's better than associating with your shopkeepers.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Oh yes, truly! There's a great deal to gain by consorting with your nobles, and you did so well with your fine Count you were so taken with!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Peace! Think what you're saying. You know very well, wife, that you don't know who you're talking about, when you talk about him! He's a more important person than you think: a great Lord, respected at court, and who talks to the King just as I talk to you. Is it not a thing which does me great honor, that a person of this quality is seen to come so often to my house, who calls me his dear friend and treats me as if I were his equal? He has more regard for me than one would ever imagine; and, in front of everyone, he shows me so much affection that I am embarrassed myself.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Yes, he has a kindness for you, and shows his affection, but he borrows your money.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: So! Isn't it an honor for me to lend money to a man of that condition? And can I do less for a lord who calls me his dear friend?

MADAME JOURDAIN: And this lord, what does he do for you?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Things that would astonish you if you knew them.


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Blast! I cannot explain myself. It must suffice that if I have lent him money, he'll pay it back fully, and before long.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Yes. You are waiting for that.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Assuredly. Didn't he tell me so?

MADAME JOURDAIN: Yes, yes, he won't fail to do it.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: He swore it on the faith of a gentleman.


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Well! You are very obstinate, wife. I tell you he will keep his word, I'm sure of it.

MADAME JOURDAIN: And I'm sure he will not, and that all his show of affection is only to flatter you.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Be still. Here he is.

MADAME JOURDAIN: That's all we needed! He's come again perhaps to borrow something from you. The very sight of him spoils my appetite.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Be still, I tell you.

SCENE IV (Count Dorante, Monsieur Jourdain, Madame Jourdain, Nicole)

DORANTE: My dear friend, Monsieur Jourdain, how do you do?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Very well, sir, to render you my small services.

DORANTE: And Madame Jourdain there, how is she?

MADAME JOURDAIN: Madame Jourdain is as well as she can be.

DORANTE: Well! Monsieur Jourdain, you are excellently well dressed!


DORANTE: You have a fine air in that suit, and we have no young men at court who are better made than you.


MADAME JOURDAIN: (Aside) He scratches him where it itches.

DORANTE: Turn around. It's positively elegant.

MADAME JOURDAIN: (Aside) Yes, as big a fool behind as in front.

DORANTE: My faith, Monsieur Jourdain, I was strangely impatient to see you. You are the man in the world I esteem most, and I was speaking of you again this morning in the bedchamber of the King.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: You do me great honor, sir. (To Madame Jourdain) In the King's bedchamber!

DORANTE: Come, put on . . .

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Sir, I know the respect I owe you.

DORANTE: Heavens! Put on your hat; I pray you, no ceremony between us.


DORANTE: Put it on, I tell you, Monsieur Jourdain: you are my friend.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Sir, I am your humble servant.

DORANTE: I won't be covered if you won't.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: (Putting on his hat) I would rather be uncivil than troublesome.

DORANTE: I am in your debt, as you know.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Yes, we know it all too well.

DORANTE: You have generously lent me money upon several occasions, and you have obliged me with the best grace in the world, assuredly.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Sir, you jest with me.

DORANTE: But I know how to repay what is lent me, and to acknowledge the favors rendered me.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I have no doubt of it, sir.

DoRANTE: I want to settle this matter with you, and I came here to make up our accounts together.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: There wife! You see your impertinence!

DORANTE: I am a man who likes to repay debts as soon as I can.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: (Aside to Madame Jourdain) I told you so.

DORANTE: Let's see how much do I owe you.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: (Aside to Madame Jourdain) There you are, with your ridiculous suspicions.

DORANTE: Do you remember well all the money you have lent me?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I believe so. I made a little note of it. Here it is. Once you were given two hundred louis d'or.

DORANTE: That's true.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Another time, six-score.


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: And another time, a hundred and forty.

DORANTE: You're right.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: These three items make four hundred and sixty louis d'or, which comes to five thousand sixty livres.

DORANTE: The account is quite right. Five thousand sixty livres.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: One thousand eight hundred thirty-two livres to your plume-maker.

DORANTE: Exactly.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Two thousand seven hundred eighty livres to your tailor.

DoRANTE: It's true.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Four thousand three hundred seventy-nine livres twelve sols eight deniers to your tradesman.

DORANTE: Quite right. Twelve sols eight deniers. The account is exact.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: And one thousand seven hundred forty-eight livres seven sols four deniers to your saddler.

DORANTE: All that is true. What does that come to?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Sum total, fifteen thousand eight hundred livres.

DORANTE: The sum total is exact: fifteen thousand eight hundred livres. To which add two hundred pistoles that you are going to give me, which will make exactly eighteen thousand francs, which I shall pay you at the first opportunity.

MADAME JOURDAIN: (Aside) Well, didn't I predict it?


DORANTE: Will that inconvenience you, to give me the amount I say?


MADAME JOURDAIN: (Aside) That man is making a milk-cow out of you!


DoRANTE: If that inconveniences you, I will seek it somewhere else.


MADAME JOURDAIN: (Aside) He won't be content until he's ruined you.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Be quiet, I tell you.

DORANTE: You have only to tell me if that embarrasses you.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Not at all, sir.

MADAME JOURDAIN: (Aside) He's a real wheedler!


MADAME JOURDAIN: (Aside) He'll drain you to the last sou.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Will you be quiet?

DORANTE: I have a number of people who would gladly lend it to me; but since you are my best friend, I believed I might do you wrong if I asked someone else for it.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: It's too great an honor, sir, that you do me. I'll go get it for you.

MADAME JOURDAIN: (Aside) What! You're going to give it to him again?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What can I do? Do you want me to refuse a man of this station, who spoke about me this morning in the King's bedchamber?

MADAME JOURDAIN: (Aside) Go on, you're a true dupe.

SCENE V (Dorante, Madame Jourdain, Nicole)

DORANTE: You appear to be very melancholy. What is wrong, Madame Jourdain?

MADAME JOURDAIN: I have a head bigger than my fist, even if it's not swollen.

DORANTE: Mademoiselle, your daughter, where is she that I don't see her?

MADAME JOURDAIN: Mademoiselle my daughter is right where she is.

DORANTE: How is she getting on?

MADAME JOURDAIN: She "gets on" on her two legs.

DORANTE: Wouldn't you like to come with her one of these days to see the ballet and the comedy they are putting on at court?

MADAME JOURDAIN: Yes truly, we have a great desire to laugh, a very great desire to laugh.

DORANTE: I think, Madame Jourdain, that you must have had many admirers in your youth, beautiful and good humored as you were.

MADAME JOURDAIN: By Our Lady! Sir, is Madame Jourdain decrepit, and does her head already shake with palsy?

DORANTE: Ah! My faith, Madame Jourdain, I beg pardon. I did not remember that you are young. I am often distracted. Pray excuse my impertinence.

SCENE VI (Monsieur Jourdain, Madame Jourdain, Dorante, Nicole)

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: There are two hundred louis d'or.

DORANTE: I assure you, Monsieur Jourdain, that I am completely yours, and that I am eager to render you a service at court.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I'm much obliged to you.

DORANTE: If Madame Jourdain desires to see the royal entertainment, I will have the best places in the ballroom given to her.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Madame Jourdain kisses your hands [but declines].

DORANTE: (Aside to Monsieur Jourdain) Our beautiful marchioness, as I sent word to you, in my note, will come here soon for the ballet and refreshments; I finally brought her to consent to the entertainment you wish to give her.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Let us move a little farther away, for a certain reason.

DORANTE: It has been eight days since I saw you, and I have sent you no news regarding the diamond you put into my hands to present to her on your behalf; but it's because I had the greatest difficulty in conquering her scruples, and it's only today that she resolved to accept it.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: How did she judge it?

DORANTE: Marvelous. And I am greatly deceived if the beauty of that diamond does not produce for you an admirable effect on her spirit.


MADAME JOURDAIN: (To Nicole) Once he's with him he cannot leave him.

DORANTE: I made her value as she should the richness of that present and the grandeur of your love.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: These are, sir, favors which overwhelm me; and I am in the very greatest confusion at seeing a person of your quality demean himself for me as you do.

DORANTE: Are you joking? Among friends, does one stop at these sorts of scruples? And wouldn't you do the same thing for me, if the occasion offered?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Oh! Certainly, and with all my heart.

MADAME JOURDAIN: (To Nicole) His presence weighs me down!

DORANTE: As for me, I never mind anything when it is necessary to serve a friend; and when you confided in me about the ardent passion you have formed for that delightful marchioness with whom I have contacts, you saw that I volunteered immediately to assist your love.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: It's true, these are favors that confound me.

MADAME JOURDAIN: (To Nicole) Will he never go?

NICOLE: They enjoy being together.

DORANTE: You took the right tack to touch her heart. Women love above all the expenses we go to for them; and your frequent serenades, your continual bouquets, that superb fireworks for her over the water, the diamond she has received from you, and the entertainment you are preparing for her, all this speaks much better in favor of your love than all the words you might have spoken yourself.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: There are no expenditures I would not make if by that means I might find the road to her heart. A woman of quality has ravishing charms for me and it's an honor I would purchase at any price.

MADAME JOURDAIN: (To Nicole) What can they talk about so much? Steal over and listen a little.

DORANTE: Soon enough you will enjoy at your ease the pleasure of seeing her, and your eyes will have a long time to satisfy themselves.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: To be completely free, I have arranged for my wife to go to dinner at her sister's, where she'll spend all the after-dinner hours.

DORANTE: You have done prudently, as your wife might have embarrassed us. I have given the necessary orders to the cook for you, and for the ballet. It is of my own invention; and, provided the execution corresponds to the idea, I am sure it will be found . . .

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: (Sees that Nicole is listening, and gives her a slap) Say! You're very impertinent! (To Dorante) Let's go, if you please.

SCENE VII (Madame Jourdain, Nicole)

NICOLE: My faith, Madame, curiosity has cost me; but I believe something's afoot, since they were talking of some event where they did not want you to be.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Today's not the first time, Nicole, that I've had suspicions about my husband. I'm the most mistaken woman in the world, or there's some love-affair in the making. But let us see to my daughter. You know the love Cléonte has for her. He's a man who appeals to me, and I want to help his suit and give him Lucile, if I can.

NICOLE: Truly, Madame, I'm the most delighted creature in the world to see that you feel this way, since, if the master appeals to you, his valet appeals to me no less, and I could wish our marriage made under the shadow of theirs.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Go speak to Cléonte about it for me, and tell him to come to me soon so we can present his request to my husband for my daughter in marriage.

NICOLE: I hasten, Madame, with joy, for I could not receive a more agreeable commission. (Alone) I shall, I think, make them very happy.

SCENE VIII (Cléonte, Covielle, Nicole)

NICOLE: Ah! I'm glad to have found you. I'm an ambassadress of joy, and I come . . .

CLÉONTE: Get out, traitor, and don't come to amuse me with your treacherous words.

NICOLE: Is this how you receive me . . .

CLÉONTE: Get out, I tell you, and go tell your faithless mistress that she will never again in her life deceive the too trusting Cléonte.

NICOLE: What caprice is this? My dear Covielle, explain a little what you are trying to say.

COVIELLE: Your dear Covielle, little hussy? Go, quickly, out of my sight, villainess , and leave me in peace.

NICOLE: What! You come to me too. . .

COVIELLE: Out of my sight, I tell you, and never speak to me again.

NICOLE: My word! What fly has bitten those two? Let's go tell this pretty story to my mistress.

SCENE IX (Cléonte, Covielle)

CLÉONTE: What! Treat a lover in this way? And a lover who is the most faithful and passionate of lovers?

COVIELLE: It is a frightful thing that they have done to us both.

CLÉONTE: I show a woman all the ardor and tenderness that can be imagined; I love nothing in the world but her, and I have nothing but her in my thoughts; she is all I care for, all my desire, all my joy; I talk of nothing but her, I think of nothing but her, I have no dreams but of her, I breathe only because of her, my heart lives wholly in her; and see how so much love is well repaid! I have been two days without seeing her, which are for me two frightful centuries; I meet her by chance; my heart, at that sight, is completely transported, my joy shines on my face; I fly with ecstasy towards her -- and the faithless one averts her eyes and hurries by as if she had never seen me in her life!

COVIELLE: I say the same things as you.

CLÉONTE: Covielle, can one see anything to equal this perfidy of the ungrateful Lucile?

COVIELLE: And that, Monsieur, of the treacherous Nicole?

CLÉONTE: After so many ardent homages, sighs, and vows that I have made to her charms!

COVIELLE: After so many assiduous compliments, cares, and services that I rendered her in the kitchen!

CLÉONTE: So many tears I have shed at her knees!

COVIELLE: So many buckets of water I have drawn for her!

CLÉONTE: So much passion I have shown her in loving her more than myself!

COVIELLE: So much heat I have endured in turning the spit for her!

CLÉONTE: She flies from me in disdain!

COVIELLE: She turns her back on me!

CLÉONTE: It is perfidy worthy of the greatest punishments.

COVIELLE: It is treachery that merits a thousand slaps.

CLÉONTE: Don't think, I beg you, of ever speaking in her favor to me.

COVIELLE: I, sir? God forbid!

CLÉONTE: Never come to excuse the action of this faithless woman.

COVIELLE: Have no fear.

CLEONTE; No, you see, all your speeches in her defense will serve no purpose.

COVIELLE: Who even thinks of that?

CLÉONTE: I want to conserve my resentment against her and end all contact with her.

COVIELLE: I agree.

CLÉONTE: This Count who goes to her house is perhaps pleasant in her view; and her mind, I well see, allows itself to be dazzled by social standing. But it is necessary for me, for my honor, to prevent the scandal of her inconstancy. I want to break off with her first and not leave her all the glory of dumping me.

COVIELLE: That's very well said, and I agree, for my part, with all your feelings.

CLÉONTE: Strengthen my resentment and aid my resolve against all the remains of love that could speak in her behalf. Tell me, I order you, all the bad you can of her; make for me a painting of her that will render her despicable; and show well, in order to disgust me, all the faults that you can see in her.

COVIELLE: Her, sir? There's a pretty fool, a well made flirt for you to give so much love! I see only mediocrity in her, and you will find a hundred women who will be more worthy of you. First of all, she has small eyes.

CLÉONTE: That's true, she has small eyes; but they are full of fire, the brightest, the keenest in the world, the most touching eyes that one can see.

COVIELLE: She has a big mouth.

CLÉONTE: Yes; but upon it one sees grace that one never sees on other mouths; and the sight of that mouth, which is the most attractive, the most amorous in the world, inspires desire.

COVIELLE: As for her figure, she's not tall.

CLÉONTE: No, but she is graceful and well made.

COVIELLE: She affects a nonchalance in her speech and in her actions.

CLÉONTE: That's true; but she may be forgiven all that, for her manners are so engaging, they have an irresistible charm.

COVIELLE: As to her wit . . .

CLÉONTE: Ah! She has that, Covielle, the finest, the most delicate!

COVIELLE: Her conversation . . .

CLÉONTE: Her conversation is charming.

COVIELLE: She is always serious . . .

CLEONTE; Would you have grinning playfulness, constant open merriment? And do you see anything more impertinent than those women who laugh all the time?

COVIELLE: But finally she is as capricious as any woman in the world.

CLÉONTE: Yes, she is capricious, I concede; but everything becomes beautiful ladies well, one suffers everything for beauty.

COVIELLE: I see clearly how it goes, you want to go on loving her.

CLÉONTE: Me, I'd like better to die; and I am going to hate her as much as I loved her.

COVIELLE: How, if you find her so perfect?

CLÉONTE: That's how my vengeance will be more striking, in that way I'll show better the strength of my heart, by hating her, by quitting her, with all her beauty, all her charms, and as lovable as I find her. Here she is.

SCENE X (Cléonte, Lucile, Covielle, Nicole)

NICOLE: For my part, I was completely shocked at it.

LUCILE: It can only be, Nicole, what I told you. But there he is.

CLÉONTE: I don't even want to speak to her.

COVIELLE: I'll imitate you.

LUCILE: What's the matter Cléonte? What's wrong with you?

NICOLE: What's the matter with you, Covielle?

LUCILE: What grief possesses you?

NICOLE: What bad humor holds you?

LUCILE: Are you mute, Cléonte?

NICOLE: Have you lost your voice, Covielle?

CLÉONTE: Is this not villainous!

COVIELLE: It's a Judas!

LUCILE: I clearly see that our recent meeting has troubled you.

CLÉONTE: Ah! Ah! She sees what she's done.

NICOLE: Our greeting this morning has annoyed you.

COVIELLE: She has guessed the problem.

LUCILE: Isn't it true, Cléonte, that this is the cause of your resentment?

CLÉONTE: Yes, perfidious one, it is, since I must speak; and I must tell that you shall not triumph in your faithlessness as you think, I want to be the first to break with you, and you won't have the advantage of driving me away. I will have difficulty in conquering the love I have for you; it will cause me pain; I will suffer for a while. But I'll come through it, and I would rather stab myself through the heart than have the weakness to return to you.


LUCILE: What an uproar over nothing. I want to tell you, Cléonte, what made me avoid joining you this morning.

CLÉONTE: No, I don't want to listen to anything . . .

NICOLE: I want to tell you what made us pass so quickly.

COVIELLE: I don't want to hear anything.

LUCILE: (Following Cléonte) Know that this morning . . .

CLÉONTE: No, I tell you.

NICOLE: (Following Covielle) Learn that . . .

COVIELLE: No, traitor.

LUCILE: Listen.

CLÉONTE: I won't listen.

NICOLE: Let me speak.

COVIELLE: I'm deaf.

LUCILE: Cléonte!


NICOLE: Covielle!

COVIELLE: I won't listen.


CLÉONTE: Gibberish!

NICOLE: Listen to me.

COVIELLE: Rubbish!

LUCILE: One moment.


NICOLE: A little patience.

COVIELLE: Not interested!

LUCILE: Two words.

CLÉONTE: No, you've had them.

NICOLE: One word.

COVIELLE: No more talking.

LUCILE: Alright! Since you don't want to listen to me, think what you like, and do what you want.

NICOLE: Since you act like that, make whatever you like of it all.

CLÉONTE: Let us know the reason, then, for such a fine reception.

LUCILE: It no longer pleases me to say.

COVIELLE: Let us know something of your story.

NICOLE: I, myself, no longer want to tell you.

CLÉONTE: Tell me . . .

LUCILE: No, I don't want to say anything.

COVIELLE: Tell it . . .

NICOLE: No, I'll tell nothing.

CLÉONTE: For pity . . .

LUCILE: No, I say.

COVIELLE: Have mercy.

NICOLE: It's no use.

CLÉONTE: I beg you.

LUCILE: Leave me . . .

COVIELLE: I plead with you.

NICOLE: Get out of here.

CLÉONTE: Lucile!



NICOLE: Never.

CLÉONTE: In the name of God! . . .

LUCILE: I don't want to.

COVIELLE: Talk to me.

NICOLE: Definitely not.

CLÉONTE: Clear up my doubts.

LUCILE: No, I'll do nothing.

COVIELLE: Relieve my mind!

NICOLE: No, I don't care to.

CLÉONTE: Alright! since you are so little concerned to take me out of my pain and to justify yourself for the shameful treatment you gave to my passion, you are seeing me, ingrate, for the last time, and I am going far from you to die of sorrow and love.

COVIELLE: And I -- I will follow in his steps.

LUCILE: Cléonte!

NICOLE: Covielle!



LUCILE: Where are you going?

CLÉONTE: Where I told you.

COVIELLE: We are going to die.

LUCILE: You are going to die, Cléonte?

CLÉONTE: Yes, cruel one, since you wish it.

LUCILE: Me! I wish you to die?

CLÉONTE: Yes, you wish it.

LUCILE: Who told you that?

CLÉONTE: Is it not wishing it when you don't wish to clear up my suspicions?

LUCILE: Is it my fault? And, if you had wished to listen to me, would I not have told you that the incident you complain of was caused this morning by the presence of an old aunt who insists that the mere approach of a man dishonors a woman -- an aunt who constantly delivers sermons to us on this text, and tells us that all men are like devils we must flee?

NICOLE: There's the key to the entire affair.

CLÉONTE: Are you sure you're not deceiving me, Lucile?

COVIELLE: Aren't you making this up?

LUCILE: There's nothing more true.

NICOLE: It's the absolute truth.

COVIELLE: Are we going to give in to this?

CLÉONTE: Ah! Lucile, how with a word from your lips you are able to appease the things in my heart, and how easily one allows himself to be persuaded by the people one loves!

COVIELLE: How easily we are manipulated by these blasted minxes!

SCENE XI (Madame Jourdain, Cléonte, Lucile, Covielle, Nicole)

MADAME JOURDAIN: I am very glad to see you, Cléonte and you are here at just the right time. My husband is coming, seize the opportunity to ask for Lucile in marriage.

CLÉONTE: Ah! Madame, how sweet that word is to me, and how it flatters my desires! Could I receive an order more charming, a favor more precious?

SCENE XII (Monsieur Jourdain, Madame Jourdain, Cléonte, Lucile, Covielle, Nicole)

CLÉONTE: Sir, I did not want to use anyone to make a request of you that I have long considered. It affects me enough for me to take charge of it myself; and, without further ado, I will say to you that the honor of being your son-in-law is a glorious favor that I beg you to grant me.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Before giving you a reply, sir, I beg to ask if you are a gentleman.

CLÉONTE: Sir, most people don't hesitate much over this question. They use the word carelessly. They take the name without scruple, and the usage of today seems to validate the theft. As for me, I confess to you, I have a little more delicate feelings on this matter. I find all imposture undignified for an honest man, and that there is cowardice in disguising what Heaven made us at birth; to present ourselves to the eyes of the world with a stolen title; to wish to give a false impression. I was born of parents who, without doubt, held honorable positions. I have six years of service in the army, and I find myself established well enough to maintain a tolerable rank in the world; but despite all that I certainly have no wish to give myself a name to which others in my place might believe they could pretend, and I will tell you frankly that I am not a gentleman.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Shake hands, Sir! My daughter is not for you.


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: You are not a gentleman. You will not have my daughter.

MADAME JOURDAIN: What are you trying to say with your talk of gentleman? Are we ourselves of the line of St. Louis?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Quiet, wife, I see what you are up to.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Aren't we both descended from good bourgeois families?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: There's that hateful word!

MADAME JOURDAIN: And wasn't your father a merchant just like mine?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Plague take the woman! She never fails to do this! If your father was a merchant, so much the worse for him! But, as for mine, those who say that are misinformed. All that I have to say to you is, that I want a gentleman for a son-in-law.

MADAME JOURDAIN: It's necessary for your daughter to have a husband who is worthy of her, and it's better for her to have an honest rich man who is well made than an impoverished gentleman who is badly built.

NICOLE: That's true. We have the son of a gentleman in our village who is the most ill formed and the greatest fool I have ever seen.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Hold your impertinent tongue! You always butt into the conversation. I have enough money for my daughter, I need only honor, and I want to make her a marchioness.

MADAME JOURDAIN: A marchioness?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Yes, marchioness.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Alas! God save me from it!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: It's a thing I have resolved.

MADAME JOURDAIN: As for me, it's a thing I'll never consent to. Marriages above one's station are always subject to great inconveniences. I have absolutely no wish for a son-in-law who can reproach her parents to my daughter, and I don't want her to have children who will be ashamed to call me their grandmother. If she arrives to visit me in the equipage of a great lady and if she fails, by mischance, to greet someone of the neighborhood, they wouldn't fail immediately to say a hundred stupidities. "Do you see," they would say, "this madam marchioness who gives herself such glorious airs? It's the daughter of Monsieur Jourdain, who was all too glad, when she was little, to play house with us; she's not always been so haughty as she now is; and her two grandfathers sold cloth near St. Innocent's Gate. They amassed wealth for their children, they're paying dearly perhaps for it now in the other world, and one can scarcely get that rich by being honest." I certainly don't want all that gossip, and I want, in a word, a man who will be obliged to me for my daughter and to whom I can say, "Sit down there, my son-in-law, and have dinner with me."

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Surely those are the sentiments of a little spirit, to want to remain always in a base condition. Don't talk back to me: my daughter will be a marchioness in spite of everyone. And, if you make me angrier, I'll make a duchess of her.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Cléonte, don't lose courage yet. Follow me, my daughter, and tell your father resolutely that, if you can't have him, you don't want to marry anyone.

SCENE XIII (Cléonte, Covielle)

COVIELLE: You've made a fine business, with your pretty sentiments.

CLÉONTE: What do you want? I have a scruple about that which precedent cannot conquer.

COVIELLE: Don't you make a fool of yourself by taking it seriously with a man like that? Don't you see that he is a fool? And would it cost you anything to accommodate yourself to his fantasies?

CLÉONTE: You're right. But I didn't believe it necessary to prove nobility in order to be Monsieur Jourdain's son-in-law.

COVIELLE: Ha, ha, ha!

CLÉONTE: What are you laughing at?

COVIELLE: At a thought that just occurred to me of how to play our man a trick and help you obtain what you desire.


COVIELLE: The idea is really funny.

CLÉONTE: What is it?

COVIELLE: A short time ago there was a certain masquerade which fits here better than anything, and that I intend to make part of a prank I want to play on our fool. It all seems a little phony; but, with him, one can try anything, there is hardly any reason to be subtle, and he is the man to play his role marvelously and to swallow easily any fabrication we want to tell him. I have the actors, I have the costumes ready, just leave it to me.

CLÉONTE: But tell me . . .

COVIELLE: I am going to instruct you in everything. Let's go, there he is, returning.

SCENE XIV (Monsieur Jourdain, Lackey)

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What the devil is this? They have nothing other than the great lords to reproach me with, and as for me, I see nothing so fine as to associate with the great lords; there is only honor and civility among them, and I would have given two fingers of a hand to have been born a count or a marquis.

LACKEY: Sir, here's the Count, and he has a lady with him.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What! My Goodness, I have some orders to give. Tell them I'll be back here soon.

SCENE XV (Dorimène, Dorante, Lackey)

LACKEY: Monsieur says that he'll be here very soon.

DORANTE: That's fine.

DORIMÈNE: I don't know, Dorante; I feel strange allowing you to bring me to this house where I know no one.

DORANTE: Then where would you like, Madame, for me to express my love with an entertainment, since you will allow neither your house nor mine for fear of scandal?

DORIMÈNE: But you don't mention that every day I am gradually preparing myself to receive too great proofs of your passion? As good a defense as I have put up, you wear down my resistance, and you have a polite persistence which makes me come gently to whatever you like. The frequent visits began, declarations followed, after them came serenades and amusements in their train, and presents followed them. I withstood all that, but you don't give up at all and step by step you are overcoming my resolve. As for me, I can no longer answer for anything, and I believe that in the end you will bring me to marriage, which I have so far avoided.

DORANTE: My faith! Madame, you should already have come to it. You are a widow, and you answer only to yourself. I am my own master and I love you more than my life. Why shouldn't you be all my happiness from today onward?

DORIMÈNE: Goodness! Dorante, for two people to live happily together both of them need particular qualities; and two of the most reasonable persons in the world often have trouble making a union satisfactory to them both.

DORANTE: You're fooling yourself, Madame, to imagine so many difficulties, and the experience you had with one marriage doesn't determine anything for others.

DORIMÈNE: Finally I always come back to this. The expenses that I see you go to for me disturb me for two reasons: one is that they get me more involved than I would like; and the other is that I am sure -- meaning no offense -- that you cannot do this without financially inconveniencing yourself, and I certainly don't want that.

DORANTE: Ah! Madame, they are trifles, and it isn't by that . . .

DORIMÈNE: I know what I'm talking about; and among other gifts, the diamond you forced me to take is worth ...

DORANTE: Oh! Madame, mercy, don't put any value on a thing that my love finds unworthy of you, and allow ... Here's the master of the house.

SCENE XVI (Monsieur Jourdain, Dorimène, Dorante, Lackey)

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: (After having made two bows, finding himself too near Dorimène) A little farther, Madame.


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: One step, if you please.

DORIMÈNE: What is it?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Step back a little for the third.

DORANTE: Madame, Monsieur Jourdain is very knowledgeable.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Madame, it is a very great honor to me to be fortunate enough to be so happy as to have the joy that you should have had the goodness to accord me the graciousness of doing me the honor of honoring me with the favor of your presence; and, if I also had the merit to merit a merit such as yours, and if Heaven . . . envious of my luck . . . should have accorded me . . . the advantage of seeing me worthy . . . of the . . .

DORANTE: Monsieur Jourdain, that is enough. Madame doesn't like grand compliments, and she knows that you are a man of wit. (Aside to Dorimène) As you can see, this good bourgeois is ridiculous enough in all his manners.

DORIMÈNE: It isn't difficult to see it.

DORANTE: Madame, he is the best of my friends.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: You do me too much honor.

DORANTE: A completely gallant man.

DORIMÈNE: I have great esteem for him.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I have done nothing yet, Madame, to merit this favor.

DORANTE: (Aside to Monsieur Jourdain) Take care, nonetheless, to say absolutely nothing to her about the diamond that you gave her.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Can't I even ask her how she likes it?

DORANTE: What? Take care that you don't. That would be loutish of you; and, to act as a gallant man, you must act as though it were not you who made her this present. (Aloud) Monsieur Jourdain, Madame, says he is delighted to see you in his home.

DORIMÈNE: He honors me greatly.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: How obliged I am to you, sir, for speaking thus to her for me!

DORANTE: I have had frightful trouble getting her to come here.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I don't know how to thank you enough.

DORANTE: He says, Madame, that he finds you the most beautiful woman in the world.

DORIMÈNE: He does me a great favor.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Madame, it is you who does the favors, and . . .

DORANTE: Let's consider eating.

LACKEY: Everything is ready, sir.

DORANTE: Come then let us sit at the table. And bring on the musicians. (Six cooks, who have prepared the feast, dance together and make the third interlude; after which, they carry in a table covered with many dishes.)


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