functions are to bear, without annoyance, the injustice of others in our good cause; and just in the same way as a heart full of virtue …

Alceste. I know that you are a most fluent speaker, sir; that you always abound in fine arguments; but you are wasting your time, and all your fine speeches. Reason tells me to retire for my own good. I cannot command my tongue sufficiently; I cannot answer for what I might say, and should very probably get myself into a hundred scrapes. Allow me, without any more words, to wait for Célimène. She must consent to the plan that brings me here. I shall see whether her heart has any love for me; and this very hour will prove it to me.

Philinte. Let us go upstairs to Eliante, and wait her coming.

Alceste. No, my mind is too harassed. You go and see her, and leave me in this little dark corner with my black care.

Philinte. That is strange company to leave you in; I will induce Eliante to come down.

scene II.—Célimène, Oronte, Alceste.

Oronte. Yes, Madam, it remains for you to consider whether, by ties so dear, you will make me wholly yours, I must be absolutely certain of your affection: a lover dislikes to be held in suspense upon such a subject. If the ardour of my affection has been able to move your feelings, you ought not to hesitate to let me see it; and the proof, after all, which I ask of you, is not to allow Alceste to wait upon you any longer; to sacrifice him to my love, and, in short, to banish him from your house this very day.

Célimène. But why are you so incensed against him; you, whom I have so often heard speak of his merits?

Oronte. There is no need, Madam, of these explanations; the question is, what are your feelings? Please to choose between the one or the other; my resolution depends entirely upon yours.

Alceste (coming out of his corner). Yes, this gentleman is right, Madam, you must make a choice; and his request agrees perfectly with mine. I am equally eager, and the same anxiety brings me here. My love requires a sure proof. Things cannot go on any longer in this way, and the moment has arrived for explaining your feelings.

Oronte. I have no wish, Sir, in any way to disturb, by an untimely affection, your good fortune.

Alceste. And I have no wish, Sir, jealous or not jealous, to share aught in her heart with you.

Oronte. If she prefers your affection to mine …

Alceste. If she has the slightest inclination towards you …

Oronte. I swear henceforth not to pretend to it again.

Alceste. I peremptorily swear never to see her again.

Oronte. Madam, it remains with you now to speak openly.

Alceste. Madam, you can explain yourself fearlessly.

Oronte. You have simply to tell us where your feelings are engaged.

Alceste. You may simply finish the matter, by choosing between us two.

Oronte. What! you seem to be at a loss to make such a choice.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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