Act I

Scene I.—Madame Pernelle, Elmire, Mariane, Cléante, Damis, Dorine, Flipote.

Madame Pernelle. Come along, Flipote, come along; let us get away from them.

Elmire. You walk so fast, that one can hardly keep up with you.

Madame Pernelle. Do not trouble yourself, daughter-in-law, do not trouble yourself, do not come any farther; there is no need for all this ceremony.

Elmire. We only give you your due. But pray, mother, why are you in such haste to leave us?

Madame Pernelle. Because I cannot bear to see such goings on. No one cares to please me. I leave your house very little edified: all my advice is despised; nothing is respected, everyone has his say aloud, and it is just like the court of King Pétaud.

Dorine. If …

Madame Pernelle. You are, my dear, a little too much of a talker, and a great deal too saucy for a waiting maid. You give your advice about everything.

Damis. But …

Madame Pernelle. Four letters spell your name, my child, a “fool’’: I, your grandmother, tell you so; and I have already predicted to my son, your father, a hundred times, that you are fast becoming a good-for- nothing, who will give him nought but trouble.

Mariane. I think …

Madame Pernelle. Good-lack! grand-daughter, you play the prude, and to look at you, butter would not melt in your mouth. But still waters run deep, as the saying is; and I do not like your sly doings at all.

Elmire. But, mother …

Madame Pernelle. By your leave, daughter-in-law, your whole conduct is altogether wrong; you ought to set them a good example; and their late mother managed them a great deal better. You are extravagant; and it disgusts me to see you decked out like a princess. The woman who wishes to please her husband only, daughter-in-law, has no need of so much finery.

Cléante. But after all, Madam …

Madame Pernelle. As for you, Sir, who are her brother, I esteem, love, and respect you very much; but, nevertheless, if I were my son and her husband, I would beg of you earnestly not to enter our house. You are always laying down maxims which respectable people ought not to follow. I speak to you rather frankly; but it is a way I have got, and I do not mince my words when I have something on my mind.

Damis. Your M. Tartuffe is an angel, no doubt.…

Madame Pernelle. He is a very worthy man, who ought to be listened to; and I cannot, without getting angry, suffer him to be sneered at by a fool like you.

Damis. What! am I to allow a censorious bigot to usurp an absolute authority in this house! and shall we not be permitted to amuse ourselves, unless that precious gentleman condescends to give us leave!

Dorine. If any one were to listen to him and believe in his maxims, one could not do anything without committing a sin; for he controls everything, this carping critic.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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