Scene I.Harpagon, Cléante, Elise, Valère; Mistress Claude holding a broom, Master Jacques, La Merluche, Brindavoine.
Harpagon. Come here, all of you, that I may give you my orders for just now, and tell every one what he has to do. Come here, Mistress Claude; let us begin with you. (Looking at her broom.) That is right, arms in hand. I trust to you for cleaning up everywhere: and above all, take care not to rub the furniture too hard, for fear of wearing it out. Besides this, I appoint you to look after the bottles during the supper; and, if one is missing, or if something gets broken, I shall hold you responsible, and deduct it from your wages.
Jacques (aside). There is policy in that punishment. Harpagon (to Mistress Claude). You can go.
Scene II.Harpagon, Cléante, Elise, Valère, Master Jacques, Brindavoine, La Merluche.
Harpagon. You, Brindavoine, and you, La Merluche, I confide to you the care of rinsing the glasses, and of serving out the drink, but only when the people are thirsty, and not in the manner of these impertinent lacqueys who come and provoke them, and put drinking into their heads when they have no thought of such a thing. Wait till you are asked for it more than once, and bear in mind always to bring a good deal of water.
Jacques (aside). Yes. Wine undiluted mounts to the head.
La Merluche. Shall we throw off our smocks, Sir?
Harpagon. Yes, when you see the people coming; and take care not to spoil your clothes.
Brindavoine. You know, Sir, that the front of my doublet is covered with a large stain of oil from the lamp.
La Merluche. And I, Sir, I have a large hole in the seat of my breeches, and saving your presence, people can see
Harpagon. Peace; keep it adroitly to the side of the wall, and always show your front to the world. (To Brindavoine, showing him how he is to keep his hat before his doublet, in order to hide the stain). And you, always hold your hat thus while you are waiting upon the guests.
Scene III.Harpagon, Cléante, Elise, Valère, Master Jacques.
Harpagon. As for you, daughter, you will keep an eye upon what goes away from the table, and take care that nothing be wasted. It becomes girls to do so. Meanwhile, get yourself ready to receive my intended properly. She is coming to visit you, and will take you to the fair with her. Do you hear what I say to you?
Elise. Yes, father.
Scene IV.Harpagon, Cléante, Valère, Master Jacques.
Harpagon. And you, my foppish son, to whom I have been good enough to forgive what has happened just now, do not take it into your head to show her a sour face.
Cléante. I! father? a sour face. And for what reason?
Harpagon. Egad! we know the ways of children whose fathers marry again, and with what sort of eyes they are in the habit of looking at their so-called stepmothers. But if you wish me to lose the recollection of this last escapade of yours, I recommend you, above all, to show this lady a friendly countenance, and to give her, in fact, the best possible reception.
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