Meet us on:
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people."

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Act IV

    • Rate it:
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 5
    Previous Chapter
    SCENE I.--LELIO, disguised as an Armenian; MASCARILLE.

    MASC. You are dressed in a most comical fashion.

    LEL. I had abandoned all hope, but you have revived it again by this contrivance.

    MASC. My anger is always too soon over; it is vain to swear and curse, I can never keep to my oaths.

    LEL. Be assured that if ever it lies in my power you shall be satisfied with the proofs of my gratitude, and though I had but one piece of bread...

    MASC. Enough: Study well this new project; for if you commit now any blunder, you cannot lay the blame upon ignorance of the plot; you ought to know your part in the play perfectly by heart.

    LEL. But how did Trufaldin receive you?

    MASC. I cozened the good fellow with a pretended zeal for his interests. I went with alacrity to tell him that, unless he took very great care, some people would come and surprise him; that from different quarters they had designs upon her of whose origin a letter had given a false account; that they would have liked to draw me in for a share in the business, but that I kept well out of it; and that, being full of zeal for what so nearly concerned him, I came to give him timely notice that he might take his precautions. Then, moralizing, I discoursed solemnly about the many rogueries one sees every day here below; that, as for me, being tired with the world and its infamies, I wished to work out my soul's salvation, retire from all its noise, and live with some worthy honest man, with whom I could spend the rest of my days in peace; that, if he had no objection, I should desire nothing more than to pass the remainder of my life with him; that I had taken such a liking to him, that, without asking for any wages to serve him, I was ready to place in his hands, knowing it to be safe there, some property my father had left me, as well as my savings, which I was fully determined to leave to him alone, if it pleased Heaven to take me hence. That was the right way to gain his affection. You and your beloved should decide what means to use to attain your wishes. I was anxious to arrange a secret interview between you two; he himself has contrived to show me a most excellent method, by which you may fairly and openly stay in her house. Happening to talk to me about a son he had lost, and whom he dreamt last night had come to life again, he told me the following story, upon which, just now, I founded my stratagem.

    LEL. Enough; I know it all; you have told it me twice already.

    [Footnote: Though Lelio says to Mascarille, "Enough, I know it all," he has not been listening to the speech of his servant, but, in the meanwhile, is arranging his dress, and smoothing his ruffles, and making it clear to the spectator that he knows nothing, and that he will be a bad performer of the part assigned to him. This explains the blunders he makes afterwards in the second and fifth scenes of the same act.]

    MASC. Yes, yes; but even if I should tell it thrice, it may happen still, that with all your conceit, you might break down in some minor detail.

    LEL. I long to be at it already.

    MASC. Pray, not quite so fast, for fear we might stumble. Your skull is rather thick, therefore you should be perfectly well instructed in your part. Some time ago Trufaldin left Naples; his name was then Zanobio Ruberti. Being suspected in his native town of having participated in a certain rebellion, raised by some political faction (though really he is not a man to disturb any state), he was obliged to quit it stealthily by night, leaving behind him his daughter, who was very young, and his wife. Some time afterwards he received the news that they were both dead, and in this perplexity, wishing to take with him to some other town, not only his property, but also the only one who was left of all his family, his young son, a schoolboy, called Horatio, he wrote to Bologna, where a certain tutor, named Alberto, had taken the boy when very young, to finish there his education; but though for two whole years he appointed several times to meet them, they never made their appearance. Believing them to be dead, after so long a time, he came to this city, where he took the name he now bears, without for twelve years ever having discovered any traces of this Alberto, or of his son Horatio. This is the substance of the story, which I have repeated so that you may better remember the groundwork of the plot. Now, you are to personate an Armenian merchant, who has seen them both safe and sound in Turkey. If I have invented this scheme, in preference to any other, of bringing them to life again according to his dream, it is because it is very common in adventures for people to be taken at sea by some Turkish pirate, and afterwards restored to their families in the very nick of time, when thought lost for fifteen or twenty years. For my part, I have heard a hundred of that kind of stories. Without giving ourselves the trouble of inventing something fresh, let us make use of this one; what does it matter? You must say you heard the story of their being made slaves from their own mouths, and also that you lent them money to pay their ransom; but that as urgent business obliged you to set out before them, Horatio asked you to go and visit his father here, whose adventures he was acquainted with, and with whom you were to stay a few days till their arrival. I have given you a long lesson now.

    LEL. These repetitions are superfluous. From the very beginning I understood it all.

    MASC. I shall go in and prepare the way.

    LEL. Listen, Mascarille, there is only one thing that troubles me; suppose he should ask me to describe his son's countenance?

    MASC. There is no difficulty in answering that! You know he was very little when he saw him last. Besides it is very likely that increase of years and slavery have completely changed him.

    LEL. That is true. But pray, if he should remember my face, what must I do then?

    MASC. Have you no memory at all? I told you just now, that he has merely seen you for a minute, that therefore you could only have produced a very transient impression on his mind; besides, your beard and dress disguise you completely.

    LEL. Very well. But, now I think of it, what part of Turkey...?

    MASC. It is all the same, I tell you, Turkey or Barbary.

    LEL. But what is the name of the town I saw them in?

    MASC. Tunis. I think he will keep me till night. He tells me it is useless to repeat that name so often, and I have already mentioned it a dozen times.

    LEL. Go, go in and prepare matters; I want nothing more.

    MASC. Be cautious at least, and act wisely. Let us have none of your inventions here.

    LEL. Let me alone! Trust to me, I say, once more.

    MASC. Observe, Horatio, a schoolboy in Bologna; Trufaldin, his true name Zanobio Ruberti, a citizen of Naples; the tutor was called Alberto...

    LEL. You make me blush by preaching so much to me; do you think I am a fool?

    MASC. No, not completely, but something very like it.

    SCENE II.--LELIO, alone.

    When I do not stand in need of him he cringes, but now, because he very well knows of how much use he is to me, his familiarity indulges in such remarks as he just now made. I shall bask in the sunshine of those beautiful eyes, which hold me in so sweet a captivity, and, without hindrance, depict in the most glaring colours the tortures I feel. I shall then know my fate.... But here they are.


    TRUF. Thanks, righteous heaven, for this favourable turn of my fortune!

    MASC. You are the man to see visions and dream dreams, since you prove how untrue is the saying that dreams are falsehoods.

    [Footnote: In French there is a play on words between songes, dreams, and mensonges, falsehoods, which cannot be rendered into English.]

    TRUF. How can I thank you? what returns can I make you, sir? You, whom I ought to style the messenger sent from Heaven to announce my happiness!

    LEL. These compliments are superfluous; I can dispense with them.

    TRUF. (To Mascarille). I have seen somebody like this Armenian, but I do not know where.

    MASC. That is what I was saying, but one sees surprising likenesses sometimes.

    TRUF. You have seen that son of mine, in whom all my hopes are centred?

    LEL. Yes, Signor Trufaldin, and he was as well as well can be.

    TRUF. He related to you his life and spoke much about me, did he not?

    LEL. More than ten thousand times.

    MASC. (Aside to Lelio). Not quite so much, I should say.

    LEL. He described you just as I see you, your face, your gait.

    TRUF. Is that possible? He has not seen me since he was seven years old. And even his tutor, after so long a time, would scarcely know my face again.

    MASC. One's own flesh and blood never forget the image of one's relations; this likeness is imprinted so deeply, that my father...

    TRUF. Hold your tongue. Where was it you left him?

    LEL. In Turkey, at Turin.

    TRUF. Turin! but I thought that town was in Piedmont.

    MASC. (Aside). Oh the dunce! (To Trufaldin). You do not understand him; he means Tunis; it was in reality there he left your son; but the Armenians always have a certain vicious pronunciation, which seems very harsh to us; the reason of it is because in all their words they change nis into rin; and so, instead of saying Tunis, they pronounce Turin.

    TRUF. I ought to know this in order to understand him. Did he tell you in what way you could meet with his father?

    MASC. (Aside). What answer will he give?

    [Footnote: Trufaldin having found out that Mascarille makes signs to his master, the servant pretends to fence.]

    (To Trufaldin, after pretending to fence). I was just practising some passes; I have handled the foils in many a fencing school.

    TRUF. (To Mascarille). That is not the thing I wish to know now. (To Lelio). What other name did he say I went by?

    MASC. Ah, Signor Zanobio Ruberti. How glad you ought to be for what Heaven sends you!

    LEL. That is your real name; the other is assumed.

    TRUF. But where did he tell you he first saw the light?

    MASC. Naples seems a very nice place, but you must feel a decided aversion to it.

    TRUF. Can you not let us go on with our conversation, without interrupting us?

    LEL. Naples is the place where he first drew his breath.

    TRUF. Whither did I send him in his infancy, and under whose care?

    MASC. That poor Albert behaved very well, for having accompanied your son from Bologna, whom you committed to his care.

    TRUF. Pshaw!

    MASC. (Aside). We are undone if this conversation lasts long.

    TRUF. I should very much like to know their adventures; aboard what ship did my adverse fate...?

    MASC. I do not know what is the matter with me, I do nothing but yawn. But, Signor Trufaldin, perhaps this stranger may want some refreshment; besides, it grows late.

    LEL. No refreshment for me.

    MASC. Oh sir, you are more hungry than you imagine.

    TRUF. Please to walk in then.

    LEL. After you, sir.

    [Footnote: It shows that Lelio knows not what he is about when he does the honours of the house to the master of the house himself, and forgets that as a stranger he ought to go in first.]

    MASC. (To Trufaldin). Sir, in Armenia, the masters of the house use no ceremony. (To Lelio, after Trufaldin has gone in). Poor fellow, have you not a word to say for yourself?

    LEL. He surprised me at first; but never fear, I have rallied my spirits, and am going to rattle away boldly..

    MASC. Here comes our rival, who knows nothing of our plot. (They go into Trufaldin's house).


    ANS. Stay, Leander, and allow me to tell you something which concerns your peace and reputation. I do not speak to you as the father of Hippolyta, as a man interested for my own family, but as your father, anxious for your welfare, without wishing to flatter you or to disguise anything; in short, openly and honestly, as I would wish a child of mine to be treated upon the like occasion. Do you know how everybody regards this amour of yours, which in one night has burst forth? How your yesterday's undertaking is everywhere talked of and ridiculed? What people think of the whim which, they say, has made you select for a wife a gipsy outcast, a strolling wench, whose noble occupation was only begging? I really blushed for you, even more than I did for myself, who am also compromised by this public scandal. Yes, I am compromised, I say, I whose daughter, being engaged to you, cannot bear to see her slighted, without taking offence at it. For shame, Leander; arise from your humiliation; consider well your infatuation; if none of us are wise at all times, yet the shortest errors are always the best. When a man receives no dowry with his wife, but beauty only, repentance follows soon after wedlock; and the handsomest woman in the world can hardly defend herself against a lukewarmness caused by possession. I repeat it, those fervent raptures, those youthful ardours and ecstacies, may make us pass a few agreeable nights, but this bliss is not at all lasting, and as our passions grow cool, very unpleasant days follow those pleasant nights; hence proceed cares, anxieties, miseries, sons disinherited through their fathers' wrath.

    LEAND. All that I now hear from you is no more than what my own reason has already suggested to me. I know how much I am obliged to you for the great honour you are inclined to pay me, and of which I am unworthy. In spite of the passion which sways me, I have ever retained a just sense of your daughter's merit and virtue: therefore I will endeavour...

    ANS. Somebody is opening this door; let us retire to a distance, lest some contagion spreads from it, which may attack you suddenly.


    MASC. We shall soon see our roguery miscarry if you persist in such palpable blunders.

    LEL. Must I always hear your reprimands? What can you complain of? Have I not done admirably since...?

    MASC. Only middling; for example, you called the Turks heretics, and you affirmed, on your corporal oath, that they worshipped the sun and moon as their gods. Let that pass. What vexes me most is that, when you are with Celia, you strangely forget yourself; your love is like porridge, which by too fierce a fire swells, mounts up to the brim, and runs over everywhere.

    LEL. Could any one be more reserved? As yet I have hardly spoken to her.

    MASC. You are right! but it is not enough to be silent; you had not been a moment at table till your gestures roused more suspicion than other people would have excited in a whole twelvemonth.

    LEL. How so?

    MASC. How so? Everybody might have seen it. At table, where Trufaldin made her sit down, you never kept your eyes off her, blushed, looked quite silly, cast sheep's eyes at her, without ever minding what you were helped to; you were never thirsty but when she drank, and took the glass eagerly from her hands; and without rinsing it, or throwing a drop of it away, you drank what she left in it, and seemed to choose in preference that side of the glass which her lips had touched; upon every piece which her slender hand had touched, or which she had bit, you laid your paw as quickly as a cat does upon a mouse, and you swallowed it as glibly as if you were a regular glutton. Then, besides all this, you made an intolerable noise, shuffling with your feet under the table, for which Trufaldin, who received two lusty kicks, twice punished a couple of innocent dogs, who would have growled at you if they dared; and yet, in spite of all this, you say you behaved finely! For my part I sat upon thorns all the time; notwithstanding the cold, I feel even now in a perspiration. I hung over you just as a bowler does over his bowl after he has thrown it, and thought to restrain your actions by contorting my body ever so many times.

    LEL. Lack-a day! how easy it is for you to condemn things of which you do not feel the enchanting cause. In order to humour you for once I have, nevertheless, a good mind to put a restraint upon that love which sways me. Henceforth...


    MASC. We were speaking about your son's adventures.

    TRUF. (To Lelio). You did quite right. Will you do me the favour of letting me have one word in private with him?

    LEL. I should be very rude if I did not. (Lelio goes into Trufaldin's House).


    TRUF. Hark ye! do you know what I have just been doing?

    MASC. No, but if you think it proper, I shall certainly not remain long in ignorance.

    TRUF. I have just now cut off from a large and sturdy oak, of about two hundred years old, an admirable branch, selected on purpose, of tolerable thickness, of which immediately, upon the spot, I made a cudgel, about ... yes, of this size (showing his arm); not so thick at one end as at the other, but fitter, I imagine, than thirty switches to belabour the shoulders withal; for it is well poised, green, knotty, and heavy.

    MASC. But, pray, for whom is all this preparation?

    TRUF. For yourself, first of all; then, secondly, for that fellow, who wishes to palm one person upon me, and trick me out of another; for this Armenian, this merchant in disguise, introduced by a lying and pretended story.

    MASC. What! you do not believe...?

    TRUF. Do not try to find an excuse; he himself, fortunately, discovered his own stratagem, by telling Celia, whilst he squeezed her hand at the same time, that it was for her sake alone he came disguised in this manner. He did not perceive Jeannette, my little god-daughter, who overheard every word he said. Though your name was not mentioned, I do not doubt but you are a cursed accomplice in all this.

    MASC. Indeed, you wrong me. If you are really deceived, believe me I was the first imposed upon with his story.

    TRUF. Would you convince me you speak the truth? Assist me in giving him a sound drubbing, and in driving him away; let us give it the rascal well, and then I will acquit you of all participation in this piece of rascality.

    MASC. Ay, ay, with all my soul. I will dust his jacket for him so soundly, that you shall see I had no hand in this matter. (Aside). Ah! you shall have a good licking, Mister Armenian, who always spoil everything.


    TRUF. (Knocks at his door, and then addresses Lelio). A word with you, if you please. So, Mr. Cheat, you have the assurance to fool a respectable man, and make game of him?

    MASC. To pretend to have seen his son abroad, in order to get the more easily into his house!

    TRUF. (Beating Lelio). Go away, go away immediately.

    LEL. (To Mascarille, who beats him likewise). Oh! you scoundrel!

    MASC. It is thus that rogues...

    LEL. Villain!

    MASC. Are served here. Keep that for my sake!

    LEL. What? Is a gentleman...?

    MASC. (Beating him and driving him off). March off, begone, I tell you, or I shall break all the bones in your body.

    TRUF. I am delighted with this; come in, I am satisfied. (Mascarille follows Trufaldin into his house).

    LEL. (Returning). This to me! To be thus affronted by a servant! Could I have thought the wretch would have dared thus to ill-treat his master?

    MASC. (From Trufaldin's window). May I take the liberty to ask how your shoulders are?

    LEL. What! Have you the impudence still to address me?

    MASC. Now see what it is not to have perceived Jeannette, and to have always a blabbing tongue in your head! However, this time I am not angry with you, I have done cursing and swearing at you; though you behaved very imprudently, yet my hand has made your shoulders pay for your fault.

    LEL. Ha! I shall be revenged on you for your treacherous behaviour.

    MASC. You yourself were the cause of all this mischief.

    LEL. I?

    MASC. If you had had a grain of sense when you were talking to your idol you would have perceived Jeannette at your heels, whose sharp ears overheard the whole affair.

    LEL. Could anybody possibly catch one word I spoke to Celia?

    MASC. And what else was the cause why you were suddenly turned out of doors? Yes, you are shut out by your own tittle-tattle. I do not know whether you play often at piquet, but you at least throw your cards away in an admirable manner.

    LEL. Oh! I am the most unhappy of all men. But why did you drive me away also?

    MASC. I never did better than in acting thus. By these means, at least, I prevent all suspicion of my being the inventor or an accomplice of this stratagem.

    LEL. But you should have laid it on more gently.

    MASC. I was no such fool! Trufaldin watched me most narrowly; besides, I must tell you, under the pretence of being of use to you, I was not at all displeased to vent my spleen. However, the thing is done, and if you will give me your word of honour, never, directly or indirectly, to be revenged on me for the blows on the back I so heartily gave you, I promise you, by the help of my present station, to satisfy your wishes within these two nights.

    LEL. Though you have treated me very harshly, yet what would not such a promise prevail upon me to do?

    MASC. You promise, then?

    LEL. Yes, I do.

    MASC. But that is not all; promise never to meddle in anything I take in hand.

    LEL. I do.

    MASC. If you break your word may you get the cold shivers!

    LEL. Then keep it with me, and do not forget my uneasiness.

    MASC. Go and change your dress, and rub something on your back.

    LEL. (Alone). Will ill-luck always follow me, and heap upon me one misfortune after another?

    MASC. (Coming out of Trufaldin's house). What! Not gone yet? Hence immediately; but, above all, be sure you don't trouble your head about any thing. Be satisfied, that I am on your side; do not make the least attempt to assist me; remain quiet.

    LEL. (Going). Yes, to be sure, I will remain quiet.

    MASC. (Alone). Now let me see what course I am to steer.


    ERG. Mascarille, I come to tell you a piece of news, which will give a cruel blow to your projects. At the very moment I am talking to you, a young gipsy, who nevertheless is no black, and looks like a gentleman, has arrived with a very wan-looking old woman, and is to call upon Trufaldin to purchase the slave you wished to redeem. He seems to be very anxious to get possession of her.

    MASC. Doubtless it is the lover Celia spoke about. Were ever fortunes so tangled as ours? No sooner have we got rid of one trouble than we fall into another. In vain do we hear that Leander intends to abandon his pursuit, and to give us no further trouble; that the unexpected arrival of his father has turned the scales in favour of Hippolyta; that the old gentleman has employed his parental authority to make a thorough change, and that the marriage contract is going to be signed this very day; as soon as one rival withdraws, another and a more dangerous one starts up to destroy what little hope there was left. However, by a wonderful stratagem, I believe I shall be able to delay their departure and gain what time I want to put the finishing stroke to this famous affair. A great robbery has lately been committed, by whom, nobody knows. These gipsies have not generally the reputation of being very honest; upon this slight suspicion, I will cleverly get the fellow imprisoned for a few days. I know some officers of justice, open to a bribe, who will not hesitate on such an occasion; greedy and expecting some present, there is nothing they will not attempt with their eyes shut; be the accused ever so innocent, the purse is always criminal, and must pay for the offence.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 5
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere essay and need some advice, post your Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Want to read

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?