Fiction > Harvard Classics > Molière > Tartuffe
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Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622–1673).  Tartuffe.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act II
 
Scene IV
 
 
VALÈRE,  MARIANE,  DORINE

Valère

Madam, a piece of news—quite new to me—
Has just come out, and very fine it is.
 
Mariane

What piece of news?
 
Valère

        Your marriage with Tartuffe.
 
Mariane

’Tis true my father has this plan in mind.
        5
 
Valère

Your father, madam…
 
Mariane

        Yes, he’s changed his plans,
And did but now propose it to me.
 
Valère

        What!
Seriously?        10
 
Mariane

        Yes, he was serious,
And openly insisted on the match.
 
Valère

And what’s your resolution in the matter,
Madam?
 
Mariane

        I don’t know.
        15
 
Valère

        That’s a pretty answer.
You don’t know?
 
Mariane

        No.
 
Valère

        No?
 
Mariane

        What do you advise?
        20
 
Valère

I? My advice is, marry him, by all means.
 
Mariane

That’s your advice?
 
Valère

        Yes.
 
Mariane

        Do you mean it?
 
Valère

        Surely.
        25
A splendid choice, and worthy your acceptance.
 
Mariane

Oh, very well, sir! I shall take your counsel.
 
Valère

You’ll find no trouble taking it, I warrant.
 
Mariane

No more than you did giving it, be sure.
 
Valère

I gave it, truly, to oblige you, madam.
        30
 
Mariane

And I shall take it to oblige you, sir.
 
Dorine  (withdrawing to the back of the stage)

Let’s see what this affair will come to.
 
Valère

        So,
That is your love? And it was all deceit
When you…        35
 
Mariane

        I beg you, say no more of that.
You told me, squarely, sir, I should accept
The husband that is offered me; and I
Will tell you squarely that I mean to do so,
Since you have given me this good advice.        40
 
Valère

Don’t shield yourself with talk of my advice.
You had your mind made up, that’s evident;
And now you’re snatching at a trifling pretext
To justify the breaking of your word.
 
Mariane

Exactly so.
        45
 
Valère

        Of course it is; your heart
Has never known true love for me.
 
Mariane

        Alas!
You’re free to think so, if you please.
 
Valère

        Yes, yes,
        50
I’m free to think so; and my outraged love
May yet forestall you in your perfidy,
And offer elsewhere both my heart and hand.
 
Mariane

No doubt of it; the love your high deserts
May win…        55
 
Valère

        Good Lord, have done with my deserts!
I know I have but few, and you have proved it.
But I may find more kindness in another;
I know of someone, who’ll not be ashamed
To take your leavings, and make up my loss.        60
 
Mariane

The loss is not so great; you’ll easily
Console yourself completely for this change.
 
Valère

I’ll try my best, that you may well believe.
When we’re forgotten by a woman’s heart,
Our pride is challenged; we, too, must forget;        65
Or if we cannot, must at least pretend to.
No other way can man such baseness prove,
As be a lover scorned, and still in love.
 
Mariane

In faith, a high and noble sentiment.
 
Valère

Yes; and it’s one that all men must approve.
        70
What! Would you have me keep my love alive,
And see you fly into another’s arms
Before my very eyes; and never offer
To someone else the heart that you had scorned?
 
Mariane

Oh, no, indeed! For my part, I could wish
        75
That it were done already.
 
Valère

        What! You wish it?
 
Mariane

Yes.
 
Valère

        This is insult heaped on injury;
I’ll go at once and do as you desire.        80
 
(He takes a step or two as if to go away.)

Mariane

Oh, very well then.
 
Valère  (turning back)

        But remember this.
’Twas you that drove me to this desperate pass.
 
Mariane

Of course.
 
Valère  (turning back again)

        And in the plan that I have formed
        85
I only follow your example.
 
Mariane

        Yes.
 
Valère  (at the door)

Enough; you shall be punctually obeyed.
 
Mariane

So much the better.
 
Valère  (coming back again)

        This is once for all.
        90
 
Mariane

So be it, then.
 
Valère  (He goes toward the door, but just as he reaches it, turns around)

        Eh?
 
Mariane

        What?
 
Valère

        You didn’t call me?
 
Mariane

I? You are dreaming.
        95
 
Valère

        Very well, I’m gone.
Madam, farewell.
 
(He walks slowly away.)
Mariane

        Farewell, sir.
 
Dorine

        I must say
You’ve lost your senses and both gone clean daft!        100
I’ve let you fight it out to the end o’ the chapter
To see how far the thing could go. Oho, there,
Mister Valère!
 
(She goes and seizes him by the arm, to stop him. He makes a great show of resistance.)
Valère

        What do you want, Dorine?
 
Dorine

Come here.
        105
 
Valère

        No, no, I’m quite beside myself.
Don’t hinder me from doing as she wishes.
 
Dorine

Stop!
 
Valère

        No. You see, I’m fixed, resolved, determined.
 
Dorine

So!
        110
 
Mariane  (aside)

        Since my presence pains him, makes him go,
I’d better go myself, and leave him free.
 
Dorine  (leaving VALÈRE, and running after MARIANE)

Now t’other! Where are you going?
 
Mariane

        Let me be.
 
Dorine

Come back.
        115
 
Mariane

        No, no, it isn’t any use.
 
Valère  (aside)

’Tis clear the sight of me is torture to her;
No doubt, t’were better I should free her from it.
 
Dorine  (leaving MARIANE and running after VALÈRE)

Same thing again! Deuce take you both, I say.
Now stop your fooling; come here, you; and you.        120
 
(She pulls first one, then the other, toward the middle of the stage.)

Valère to Dorine

What’s your idea?
 
Mariane to Valère

  What can you mean to do?
 
Dorine

Set you to rights, and pull you out o’ the scrape.
        125
 
(To VALÈRE)

Are you quite mad, to quarrel with her now?
 
Valère

Didn’t you hear the things she said to me?
 
Dorine to Mariane

Are you quite mad, to get in such a passion?
 
Mariane

Didn’t you see the way he treated me?
 
Dorine

Fools, both of you.
        130
 
(To VALÈRE)

  She thinks of nothing else
But to keep faith with you, I vouch for it.
 
(To MARIANE)

And he loves none but you, and longs for nothing
But just to marry you, I stake my life on’t.
 
Mariane  (to VALÈRE)

Why did you give me such advice then, pray?
        135
 
Valère  (to MARIANE)

Why ask for my advice on such a matter?
 
Dorine

You both are daft, I tell you. Here, your hands.
 
(To VALÈRE)

Come, yours.
 
Valère  (giving DORINE his hand)

        What for?
 
Dorine  (to MARIANE)

        Now, yours.
        140
 
Mariane  (giving DORINE her hand)

        But what’s the use?
 
Dorine

Oh, quick now, come along. There, both of you—
You love each other better than you think.
 
(VALÈRE and MARIANE hold each other’s hands some time without looking at each other.)

Valère  (at last turning toward MARIANE)

Come, don’t be so ungracious now about it;
Look at a man as if you didn’t hate him.        145
 
(MARIANE looks sideways toward VALÈRE, with just a bit of a smile.)

Dorine

My faith and troth, what fools these lovers be!
 
Valère  (to MARIANE)

But come now, have I not a just complaint?
And truly, are you not a wicked creature
To take delight in saying what would pain me?
 
Mariane

And are you not yourself the most ungrateful…?
        150
 
Dorine

Leave this discussion till another time;
Now, think how you’ll stave off this plaguey marriage.
 
Mariane

Then tell us how to go about it.
 
Dorine

        Well,
We’ll try all sorts of ways.        155
 
(To MARIANE)

Your father’s daft;
 
(To VALÈRE)

        This plan is nonsense.
 
(To MARIANE)

        You had better humour
His notions by a semblance of consent,
So that in case of danger, you can still        160
Find means to block the marriage by delay.
If you gain time, the rest is easy, trust me.
One day you’ll fool them with a sudden illness,
Causing delay; another day, ill omens:
You’ve met a funeral, or broke a mirror,        165
Or dreamed of muddy water. Best of all,
They cannot marry you to anyone
Without your saying yes. But now, methinks,
They mustn’t find you chattering together.
 
(To VALÈRE)

You, go at once and set your friends at work
        170
To make him keep his word to you; while we
Will bring the brother’s influence to bear,
And get the step-mother on our side, too.
Good-bye.
 
Valère  (to MARIANE)

        Whatever efforts we may make,
        175
My greatest hope, be sure, must rest on you.
 
Mariane  (to VALÈRE)

I cannot answer for my father’s whims;
But no one save Valère shall ever have me.
 
Valère

You thrill me through with joy! Whatever comes…
 
Dorine

Oho! These lovers! Never done with prattling!
        180
Now go.
 
Valère  (starting to go, and coming back again)
One last word…
 
Dorine

        What a gabble and pother!
Be off! By this door, you. And you, by t’other.
 
(She pushes them off, by the shoulders, in opposite directions.)
        185
 

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