Clitandre. Answer me, I pray.
Acaste. I meet with nothing but rebuffs.
Clitandre. A truce to your raillery; and tell me that hope she has held out to you.
Acaste. I am the rejected, and you are the lucky one. She has a great aversion to me, and one of these days I shall have to hang myself.
Clitandre. Nonsense. Shall we two, marquis, to adjust our love affairs, make a compact together? Whenever one of us shall be able to show a certain proof of having the greater share in Célimènes heart, the other shall leave the field free to the supposed conqueror, and by that means rid him of an obstinate rival.
Acaste. Egad! you please me with these words, and I agree to that from the bottom of my heart. But, hush.
Scene II.Célimène, Acaste, Clitandre.
Célimène. What! here still?
Clitandre. Love, madam, detains us.
Célimène. I hear a carriage below. Do you know whose it is?
Scene III.Célimène, Acaste, Clitandre, Basque.
Basque. Arsinoé, Madam, is coming up to see you.
Célimène. What does the woman want with me?
Basque. Eliante is down stairs talking to her.
Célimène. What is she thinking about, and what brings her here?
Acaste. She has everywhere the reputation of being a consummate prude, and her fervent zeal
Célimène. Psha, downright humbug. In her inmost soul she is as worldly as any; and her every nerve is strained to hook some one, without being successful, however. She can only look with envious eyes on the accepted lovers of others; and in her wretched condition, forsaken by all, she is for ever railing against the blindness of the age. She endeavours to hide the dreadful isolation of her home under a false cloak of prudishness; and to save the credit of her feeble charms, she brands as criminal the power which they lack. Yet a swain would not come at all amiss to the lady; and she has even a tender hankering after Alceste. Every attention that he pays me, she looks upon as a theft committed by me, and as an insult to her attractions; and her jealous spite, which she can hardly hide, breaks out against me at every opportunity, and in an underhand manner. In short, I never saw anything, to my fancy, so stupid. She is impertinent to the last degree
Scene IV.Arsinoé, Célimène, Clitandre, Acaste.
Célimène. Ah! what happy chance brings you here, Madam? I was really getting uneasy about you.
Arsinoé. I have come to give you some advice as a matter of duty.
Célimène. How very glad I am to see you!
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