(The scene represents a spot near Géronte’s house.)

Scene I.—Léandre, Sganarelle.

Léandre. I think that I am not at all badly got up for an apothecary; and as her father has scarcely ever seen me, this change of dress and wig is likely enough, I think, to disguise me.

Sganarelle. There is no doubt of it.

Léandre. Only I should like to know five or six big medical words to leaven my conversation with, and to give me the air of a learned man.

Sganarelle. Go along, go along; it is not at all necessary. The dress is sufficient; and I know no more about it than you do.

Léandre. How is that!

Sganarelle. The devil take me if I understand anything about medicine! You are a gentleman, and I do not mind confiding in you, as you have confided in me.

Léandre. What! Then you are not really …

Sganarelle. No, I tell you. They have made me a physician in the teeth of my protests. I have never attempted to be so learned as that; and all my studies did not go farther than the lowest class at school. I do not know how the idea has come to them; but when I saw that in spite of everything they would have it that I was a physician, I made up my mind to be so at somebody’s expense. You would not believe, however, how this error has spread, and how everyone is possessed, and believes me to a learned man. They come seeking me on all sides; and if things go on in this way, I am resolved to stick to the profession all my life. I find that it is the best trade of all; for, whether we manage well or ill, we are paid just the same. Bad workmanship never recoils on us; and we cut the material we have to work with pretty much as we like. A shoemaker, in making a pair of shoes, cannot spoil a scrap of leather without having to bear the loss; but in our business we may spoil a man without its costing us a farthing. The blunders are never put down to us, and it is always the fault of the fellow who dies. The best of this profession is, that there is the greatest honesty and discretion among the dead; for you never find them complain of the physician who has killed them.

Léandre. It is true that the dead are very honourable in that respect.

Sganarelle (seeing some people advancing towards him). There come some people, who seem anxious to consult me. (To Léandre). Go and wait for me near the house of your lady-love.

Scene II.—Thibaut, Perrin, Sganarelle.

Thibaut. Sir, we come to look for you, my son Perrin and myself.

Sganarelle. What is the matter?

Thibaut. His poor mother, whose name is Perrette, has been on a bed of sickness for the last six months.

Sganarelle (holding out his hand as if to receive money). What would you have me do to her?

Thibaut. I would like you to give me some little doctor’s stuff to cure her.

Sganarelle. We must first see what is the matter with her.

Thibaut. She is ill with the hypocrisy, Sir.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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