Madame Pernelle. And whatever he does control, is well controlled. He wishes to lead you on the road to Heaven: and my son ought to make you all love him.
Damis. No, look here, grandmother, neither father nor anyone else shall ever induce me to look kindly upon him. I should belie my heart to say otherwise. His manners every moment enrage me; I can foresee the consequence, and one time or other I shall have to come to an open quarrel with this low-bred fellow.
Dorine. Certainly, it is a downright scandal to see a stranger exercise such authority in this house; to see a beggar, who, when he came, had not a shoe to his foot, and whose whole dress may have been worth twopence, so far forget himself as to cavil at everything, and to assume the authority of a master.
Madame Pernelle. Eh! mercy on me! things would go on much better if everything were managed according to his pious directions.
Dorine. He passes for a saint in your opinion; but believe me, he is nothing but a hypocrite.
Madame Pernelle. What a tongue!
Dorine. I should not like to trust myself with him, nor with his man Laurent, without a good guarantee.
Madame Pernelle. I do not know what the servant may be at heart; but as for the master, I will vouch for him as a good man. You bear him ill-will, and only reject him because he tells all of you the truth. It is against sin that his heart waxes wroth, and his only motive is the interest of Heaven.
Dorine. Ay; but why, particularly for some time past, can he not bear any one to come to the house? What is there offensive to Heaven in a civil visit, that there must be a noise about it fit to split ones ears? Between ourselves, do you wish me to explain? (Pointing to ELMIRE). Upon my word, I believe him to be jealous of my mistress.
Madame Pernelle. Hold your tongue, and mind what you say.
It is not he only who blames these visits. All the bustle of these people who frequent this house, these carriages everlastingly standing at the door, and the noisy crowd of so many servants, cause a great disturbance in the whole neighbourhood. I am willing to believe that there is really no harm done; but people will talk of it, and that is not right.
Cléante. Alas, Madam, will you prevent people talking? It would be a very hard thing if, in life, for the sake of the foolish things which may be said about us, we had to renounce our best friends. And even if we could resolve to do so, do you think we could compel every one to hold his tongue? There is no protection against slander. Let us, therefore, pay no regard to all this silly tittle-tattle; let us endeavour to live honestly, and leave the gossips to say what they please.
Dorine. May not Daphne, our neighbour, and her little husband, be those who speak ill of us? They whose own conduct is the most ridiculous are always the first to slander others. They never fail to catch eagerly at the slightest rumour of a love-affair, to spread the news of it with joy, and to give it the turn which they want. They think to justify their own actions before the world by those of others, painted in colours of their choosing, either in the false expectation of glossing over their own intrigues with some semblance of innocence, or else by making to fall elsewhere some part of that public blame with which they are too heavily burdened.
Madame Pernelle. All these arguments are nothing to the purpose. Oronte is known to lead an exemplary life. All her cares tend to Heaven; and I have learned from people that she strongly condemns the company who visit here.
Dorine. An admirable pattern indeed, and she is very good, this lady! It is true that she lives very austerely; but age has put this ardent zeal into her breast; people know that she is a prude against her own will. She
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