Fiction > Harvard Classics > Molière > Tartuffe
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Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622–1673).  Tartuffe.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act IV
 
Scene IV
 
 
ELMIRE,  ORGON

Elmire

Bring up this table, and get under it.
 
Orgon

What?
 
Elmire

        One essential is to hide you well.
 
Orgon

Why under there?
 
Elmire

        Oh, dear! Do as I say;
        5
I know what I’m about, as you shall see.
Get under, now, I tell you; and once there
Be careful no one either sees or hears you.
 
Orgon

I’m going a long way to humour you,
I must say; but I’ll see you through your scheme.        10
 
Elmire

And then you’ll have, I think, no more to say.
 
(To her husband, who is now under the table.)

But mind, I’m going to meddle with strange matters;
Prepare yourself to be in no wise shocked.
Whatever I may say must pass, because
’Tis only to convince you, as I promised.        15
By wheedling speeches, since I’m forced to do it,
I’ll make this hypocrite put off his mask,
Flatter the longings of his shameless passion,
And give free play to all his impudence.
But, since ’tis for your sake, to prove to you        20
His guilt, that I shall feign to share his love,
I can leave off as soon as you’re convinced,
And things shall go no farther than you choose.
So, when you think they’ve gone quite far enough,
It is for you to stop his mad pursuit,        25
To spare your wife, and not expose me farther
Than you shall need, yourself, to undeceive you.
It is your own affair, and you must end it
When… Here he comes. Keep still, don’t show yourself.
 

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