Scene I.—Damis, Dorine.

Damis. May lightning strike me dead on the spot, may everyone treat me as the greatest of scoundrels, if any respect or authority shall stop me from doing something rash!

Dorine. Curb this temper for Heaven’s sake: your father did but mention it. People do not carry out all their proposals; and the road between the saying and the doing is a long one.

Damis. I must put a stop to this fellow’s plots, and whisper a word or two in his ear.

Dorine. Gently, pray! leave him, and your father as well, to your mother-in-law’s management. She has some influence with Tartuffe: he agrees to all that she says, and I should not wonder if he had some sneaking regard for her. Would to Heaven that it were true! A pretty thing that would be. In short, your interest obliges her to send for him: she wishes to sound him about this marriage that troubles you, to know his intentions, and to acquaint him with the sad contentions which he may cause, if he entertains any hope on this subject. His servant told me he was at prayers, and that I could not get sight of him; but said that he was coming down. Go, therefore, I pray you, and let me wait for him.

Damis. I may be present at this interview.

Dorine. Not at all. They must be alone.

Damis. I shall not say a word to him.

Dorine. You deceive yourself: we know your usual outbursts; and that is just the way to spoil all. Go.

Damis. No; I will see, without getting angry.

Dorine. How tiresome you are! Here he comes. Go away. (Damis hides himself in a closet at the farther end of the stage.)

Scene II.—Tartuffe, Dorine.

Tartuffe. (The moment he perceives Dorine, he begins to speak loudly to his servant, who is behind). Laurent, put away my hair shirt and my scourge, and pray that Heaven may ever enlighten you. If any one calls to see me, say that I have gone to the prisoners to distribute the alms which I have received.

Dorine (aside). What affectation and boasting!

Tartuffe. What do you want?

Dorine. To tell you …

Tartuffe (pulling a handkerchief from his pocket). For Heaven’s sake! before you go any farther, take this handkerchief, I pray.

Dorine. For what?

Tartuffe. Cover this bosom, which I cannot bear to see. The spirit is offended by such sights, and they evoke sinful thoughts.

Dorine. You are, then, mighty susceptible to temptation; and the flesh seems to make a great impression on your senses! I cannot tell, of course, what heat inflames you; but my desires are not so easily aroused; and I could see you naked from top to toe, without being in the least tempted by the whole of your skin.

Tartuffe. Be a little more modest in your expressions, or I shall leave you on the spot.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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