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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Peace-Making, Reconciliation, and Robbery
By Molière (1622–1673)
 
        
From ‘L’Avare’: Translation of Charles Heron Wall
  
  [The scene is the house of Harpagon, the miser of the play; Master Jacques is undertaking to reconcile Harpagon to his son Cléante, who has greatly offended his father by obstinacy as a rival for the hand of Marianne. The son and father are on opposite sides of the stage, paying no attention to each other.]

HARPAGON—Is it not an abominable thing to see a son who does not shrink from becoming the rival of his father? And is it not his bounden duty to refrain from interfering with my love?  1
  Jacques—You are quite right: stop here, and let me go and speak to him.  2
  Cléante  [to Master Jacques, who comes near him]—Very well: if he wants to make you a judge between us, I have no objection. I care little who it is, and I don’t mind referring our quarrel to you.  3
  Jacques—You do me great honor.  4
  Cléante—I am in love with a young girl who returns my affection, and who receives kindly the offer of my heart; but my father takes it into his head to disturb our love by asking her in marriage for himself.  5
  Jacques—He certainly is wrong.  6
  Cléante—Is it not shameful for a man of his age to think of marrying? I ask you if it is right for him to fall in love? and ought he not now to leave that to younger men?  7
  Jacques—You are quite right: he is not serious; let me speak a word or two to him.  [To Harpagon.]  Really, your son is not so extravagant as you think, and is amenable to reason. He says that he is conscious of the respect he owes you, and that he only got angry in the heat of the moment. He will willingly submit to all you wish if you will only promise to treat him more kindly than you do, and will give him in marriage a person to his taste.  8
  Harpagon—Ah! tell him, Master Jacques, that he will obtain everything from me on those terms; and that, except Marianne, I leave him free to choose for his wife whomsoever he pleases.  9
  Jacques—Leave that to me.  [To Cléante.]  Really, your father is not so unreasonable as you make him out to me; and he tells me that it is your violence which irritated him. He only objects to your way of doing things, and is quite ready to grant you all you want, provided you will use gentle means, and will give him the deference, respect, and submission that a son owes to his father.  10
  Cléante—Ah, Master Jacques! you can assure him that if he grants me Marianne, he will always find me the most submissive of men, and that I shall never do anything contrary to his pleasure.  11
  Jacques  [to Harpagon]—It’s all right: he consents to what you say.  12
  Harpagon—Nothing could be better.  13
  Jacques  [to Cléante]—It’s all settled: he is satisfied with your promises.  14
  Cléante—Heaven be praised!  15
  Jacques—Gentlemen, you have nothing to do but to talk quietly over the matter together; you are agreed now: and yet you were on the point of quarreling through want of understanding each other.  16
  Cléante—My poor Jacques, I shall be obliged to you all my life.  17
  Jacques—Don’t mention it, sir.  18
  Harpagon—You have given me great pleasure, Master Jacques, and deserve a reward.  [Feels in his pocket.  Jacques holds out his hand, but Harpagon only pulls out his handkerchief, and says:]  Go; I will remember it, I promise you.  19
  Jacques—I thank you kindly, sir.  [Exit.]  20
  Cléante—I beg your pardon, father, for having been angry.  21
  Harpagon—It is nothing.  22
  Cléante—I assure you that I feel very sorry about it.  23
  Harpagon—I am very happy to see you reasonable again.  24
  Cléante—How very kind of you so soon to forget my fault!  25
  Harpagon—One easily forgets the faults of children when they return to their duty.  26
  Cléante—What! you are not angry with me for my extravagant behavior?  27
  Harpagon—By your submission and respectful conduct you compel me to forget my anger.  28
  Cléante—I assure you, father, I shall forever keep in heart the remembrance of all your kindness.  29
  Harpagon—And I promise you that in future you will obtain all you like from me.  30
  Cléante—Oh, father! I ask nothing more: it is sufficient for me that you give me Marianne.  31
  Harpagon—What?  32
  Cléante—I say, father, that I am only too thankful already for what you have done; and that when you give me Marianne you give me everything.  33
  Harpagon—Who talks of giving you Marianne?  34
  Cléante—You, father.  35
  Harpagon—I?  36
  Cléante—Yes.  37
  Harpagon—What! is it not you who promised to give her up?  38
  Cléante—I! give her up?  39
  Harpagon—Yes.  40
  Cléante—Certainly not.  41
  Harpagon—Did you not give up all pretensions to her?  42
  Cléante—On the contrary, I am more determined than ever to have her.  43
  Harpagon—What, scoundrel! again?  44
  Cléante—Nothing can make me change my mind.  45
  Harpagon—Let me get at you again, wretch!  46
  Cléante—You can do as you please.  47
  Harpagon—I forbid you ever to come within my sight.  48
  Cléante—As you like.  49
  Harpagon—I abandon you.  50
  Cléante—Abandon me.  51
  Harpagon—I disown you.  52
  Cléante—Disown me.  53
  Harpagon—I disinherit you.  54
  Cléante—As you will.  55
  Harpagon—I give you my curse.  56
  Cléante—I want none of your gifts.  57
 
[The next scene shows Cléante without Harpagon; La Flèche is just leaving the garden with a casket, and calls to Cléante.]

  La Flèche—Ah, sir, you are just in the nick of time! Quick! follow me.
  58
  Cléante—What is the matter?  59
  La Flèche—Follow me, I say. We are saved.  60
  Cléante—How?  61
  La Flèche—Here is all you want.  62
  Cléante—What?  63
  La Flèche—I have watched for this all day.  64
  Cléante—What is it?  65
  La Flèche—Your father’s treasure that I have got hold of.  66
  Cléante—How did you manage it?  67
  La Flèche—I will tell you all about it. Let us be off. I can hear him calling out.  [Exeunt.]  68
  Harpagon  [from the garden, rushing in without his hat]—Thieves! thieves! assassins! murder! Justice, just heavens! I am undone; I am murdered; they have cut my throat; they have stolen my money! Who can it be? What has become of him? Where is he? Where is he hiding himself? What shall I do to find him? Where shall I run? Where shall I not run? Is he not here?—Who is this? Stop!  [To himself, taking hold of his own arm.]  Give me back my money, wretch!—Ah! it is myself.—My mind is wandering, and I know not where I am, who I am, and what I am doing. Alas! my poor money! my poor money! my dearest friend, they have bereaved me of thee; and since thou art gone, I have lost my support, my consolation, and my joy. All is ended for me, and I have nothing more to do in the world! Without thee it is impossible for me to live. It is all over with me; I can bear it no longer. I am dying; I am dead; I am buried. Is there nobody who will call me from the dead, by restoring my dear money to me, or by telling me who has taken it? Ah! what is it you say? It is no one. Whoever has committed the deed must have watched carefully for his opportunity, and must have chosen the very moment when I was talking with my miscreant of a son. I must go. I will demand justice, and have the whole of my house put to the torture,—my maids and my valets, my son, my daughter, and myself too. What a crowd of people are assembled here! Every one seems to be my thief. I see no one who does not rouse suspicion in me. Ha! what are they speaking of there? Of him who stole my money? What noise is that up yonder? Is it my thief who is there? For pity’s sake, if you know anything of my thief, I beseech you to tell me. Is he hiding there among you? They all look at me and laugh. We shall see that they all have a share in the robbery. Quick! magistrates, police, provosts, judges, racks, gibbets, and executioners. I will hang everybody; and if I do not find my money, I will hang myself afterwards.  69
 
 
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