Act II

Scene I.—Cléante, La Flèche.

Cléante. Ah! wretch that you are! where have you been? Did I not give you the order …

La Flèche. Yes, Sir; and I came here to wait for you without stirring: but your father, the most surely of men, ordered me out in spite of myself, at the risk of a thrashing.

Cléante. How is our affair getting on? Matters press more than ever, and since I have seen you, I have found out that my father is my rival.

La Flèche. Your father in love?

Cléante. Yes; and I have had the utmost difficulty in concealing from him the trouble which these tidings have caused me.

La Flèche. He meddle with love! What the devil put that in his head? Is he making fun of every one? and has love been made for people like him?

Cléante. This passion must have got into his head to punish me for my sins.

La Flèche. But for what reason do you keep your love a secret from him?

Cléante. In order to give him less suspicion, and to keep, if needs be, the means open for dissuading him from this marriage. What answer have they made to you?

La Flèche. Upon my word, Sir, borrowers are very unlucky people; and one must put up with strange things, when one is compelled, like you, to pass through the hands of money-lenders.

Clénte. Will the affair fall through?

La Flèche. I beg your pardon. Our Master Simon, the agent who has been recommended to us, an active and zealous man, says that he has done wonders for you, and he assures me that your face alone has won his heart.

Cléante. Shall I have the fifteen thousand francs which I want?

La Flèche. Yes, but with some trifling conditions which you must accept, if you purpose that the affair should be carried through.

Cléante. Has he allowed you to speak to the person who is to lend the money?

La Flèche. Ah! really, things are not managed in that way. He takes even more care to remain unknown than you do; and these things are much greater mysteries than you think. Simon would not tell me his name at all, and he will be confronted with you to-day in a house borrowed for the occasion, to be informed by you, personally, of your own substance and that of your family; and I have no doubt that the very name of your father may make things go smoothly.

Cléante. And above all our mother being dead, whose property cannot be alienated.

La Flèche. Here are some clauses, which he has himself dictated to our go-between, to be shown to you before doing anything:— “Provided that the lender see all his securities, and that the borrower be of age, and of a family whose estate is ample, solid, secure, and undoubted, and free from all incumbrance, a binding and correct bond shall be executed before a notary, the most honest man to be found, and who, for this purpose, shall be chosen by the borrower, to whom it is of the greatest importance that the instrument shall be regularly drawn up.’’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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