Scene I.Arnolphe, alone.
It is no doubt well, when I think of it, that I have lost my way, and failed to find him; for after all, I should not have been able entirely to conceal from his eyes the overwhelming pang of my heart. The grief that preys upon me would have broken forth, and I do not wish him to know what he is at present ignorant of. But I am not the man to put up with this, and leave a free field for this young spark to pursue his design. I am resolved to check his progress, and learn, without delay, how far they understand each other. My honour is specially involved in this. I regard her already as my wife. She cannot have made a slip without covering me with shame; and whatever she does will be placed to my account. Fatal absence! Unfortunate voyage! (Knocks at his door.)
Scene II.Arnolphe, Alain, Georgette.
Alain. Ah, master, this time
Arnolphe. Peace. Come here, both of you. That way, that way. Come along, come, I tell you.
Georgette. Ah, you frighten me; all my blood runs cold.
Arnolphe. Is it thus you have obeyed me in my absence? You have both combined to betray me!
Georgette(falling at Arnolphes feet). Oh, master, do not eat me, I implore you.
Alain(aside). I am sure some mad dog has bitten him.
Arnolphe (aside). Ugh, I cannot speak, I am so filled with rage. I am choking, and should like to throw off my clothes (to Alain and Georgette). You cursed scoundrels, you have permitted a man to come (to Alain, who tries to escape). You would run away, would you! You must this instant (to Georgette). If you move Now I wish you to tell me (to Alain). Hi! Yes, I wish you both (Alain and Georgette rise, and again try to escape) Whoever of you moves, upon my word, I shall knock him down. How came that man into my house? Now speak. Make haste, quick, directly, instantly, no thinking! Will you speak?
Both. Oh, oh!
Georgette(falling at his kness). My heart fails me!
Alain(falling at his knees). I am dying.
Arnolphe(aside). I perspire all over. Let me take a breath. I must fan myself, and walk about. Could I believe, when I saw Horace as a little boy, that he would grow up for this? Heaven, how I suffer! I think it would be better that I should gently draw from Agnès own mouth an account of what touches me so. Let me try to moderate my anger. Patience, my heart; softly, softly. (To Alain and Georgette.) Rice, go in, and bid Agnès come to me Stay, her surprise would be less. They will go and tell her how uneasy I am. I will go myself and bring her out. (To Alain andGeorgette.) Wait for me here.
Scene III.Alain, Georgette.
Georgette. Heavens, how terrible he is! His looks made me afraidhorribly afraid. Never did I see a more hideous Christian.
Alain. This gentleman has vexed him; I told you so.
Georgette. But what on earth is the reason that he so strictly makes us keep our mistress in the house? Why does he wish to hide her from all the world, and cannot bear to see any one approach her?
Alain. Because that makes him jealous.
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