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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Orgon Proposes Marianne’s Marriage with Tartuffe
By Molière (1622–1673)
 
From ‘Tartuffe’: Translation of Charles Heron Wall

Enter to Orgon, in the drawing-room of his house, his young daughter Marianne

ORGON—Marianne!  1
  Marianne—Father!  2
  Orgon—Come here: I have something to say to you privately.  3
  Marianne  [to Orgon, who peers into a little side-room]—What are you looking for?  4
  Orgon—I want to see if there is any one there who could overhear us: this is a most likely place for such a purpose. Now we are all right. Marianne, I have always found you of a sweet disposition, and you have always been very dear to me.  5
  Marianne—I thank you very much for this fatherly love.  6
  Orgon—Rightly spoken, my daughter; and to deserve it, you should think of nothing but of pleasing me.  7
  Marianne—I have no dearer wish at heart.  8
  Orgon—Very well: then tell me, what do you say of our guest, Tartuffe?  9
  Marianne—Who, I?  10
  Orgon—You. Be careful how you answer.  11
  Marianne—Alas! I will say anything you please of him.  12
Dorine, the maid, comes in softly, and stands behind Orgon without being noticed by him.
  Orgon—You speak wisely. Then say, daughter, that he possesses the greatest merit; that he has touched your heart; and that it would be happiness to you to see him, with my approbation, become your husband.
  13
  Marianne  [drawing back with surprise]—Eh!  14
  Orgon—What is the matter?  15
  Marianne—What did you say?  16
  Orgon—What?  17
  Marianne—Did I make a mistake?  18
  Orgon—Make a mistake?  19
  Marianne—Who is it, father, that you would have me say has touched my heart, and whom, with your approbation, it would be happiness to have for a husband?  20
  Orgon—Tartuffe.  21
  Marianne—But I feel nothing of the kind, I assure you, father. Why would you have me tell such a falsehood?  22
  Orgon—But I wish it to be the truth; and it is sufficient for you that I have decided it should be so.  23
  Marianne—What! you wish me, father—  24
  Orgon—Yes, daughter, I intend to unite Tartuffe to my family by marrying him to you. I am resolved that he shall be your husband; and as I can—  [Seeing Dorine.]—What are you doing here? Your curiosity must be very strong, young damsel, for you to come and listen to us after that fashion.  25
  Dorine—Really, sir, I don’t know whether the report arose from conjecture or by chance; but I have just been told of this match, and I treated the whole story as a sorry joke.  26
  Orgon—Why! is the thing so incredible?  27
  Dorine—So incredible, sir, that I do not believe it, even when I hear you speak of it.  28
  Orgon—I shall find the means of making you believe it, you may be sure.  29
  Dorine—Pooh! pooh! you are telling us a fine story indeed!  30
  Orgon—I am telling you what will very soon prove true.  31
  Dorine—Nonsense!  32
  Orgon  [to Marianne]—I assure you, daughter, that I am not jesting.  33
  Dorine  [to Marianne]—Ah! ah! Don’t you go and believe your father: he is only laughing.  34
  Orgon  [to Dorine]—I tell you—  35
  Dorine—It’ll all be lost time: nobody will believe you.  36
  Orgon—My anger at last—  37
  Dorine—Very well! very well! We believe you, and so much the worse for you. What! is it possible, sir, that with your wise looks, and that large beard in the very midst of your face, you should be foolish enough to wish—  38
  Orgon—Now listen. You have of late taken certain liberties here which do not please me at all. Do you hear?  39
  Dorine—Let us speak calmly, sir, I beseech you. Are you laughing at us with this scheme? Your daughter will never do for a bigot: she has something else to think about. And then, what does such an alliance bring to you? Why should you, with all your wealth, go and choose a beggar for your son-in-law?  40
  Orgon—Hold your tongue! If he has no money, remember that that is the very reason why we should esteem him. His poverty is a noble poverty, and one which ought to place him above all greatness; for he lost his fortune through the little care he had for the things of this world, and through his anxiety for the next. However, with my help, he will have the means of settling his affairs and of recovering his own. For poor as he is, he is a gentleman; and the estate which he has a right to is considerable.  41
  Dorine—Yes; at least he says so. But this vanity, sir, does not agree well with piety. Whoever gives himself to the privations of a holy life should not make such a boast of title and lineage: the humble ways of piety suffer from the publicity of such ambition. Why such pride?—But what I say vexes you. Let us leave his nobility aside and speak of his person. Would you really, without sorrow, give a girl like your daughter to a man of his stamp? And ought you not to think a little of propriety, and prevent the consequences of such a union? You ought to know that you endanger a woman’s virtue when you marry her against her will or taste. Her living virtuously in the bonds of matrimony depends much on the husband who is given to her; and those who are everywhere pointed at, have often made their wives what they are. It is, in fact, very difficult to remain faithful to husbands of a certain kind; and whoever gives his daughter to a man she hates is responsible to Heaven for all the sins she commits. Think to what danger you are exposed by such a scheme.  42
  Orgon  [to no one]—I see that I shall have to learn from her what to do!  43
  Dorine—It would be all the better for you if you followed my advice.  44
  Orgon  [to Marianne]—Daughter, let us no longer waste our time with such nonsense: I am your father, and I know what you want. I had promised you to Valère; but from what I am told, not only is he rather given to gambling, but I also suspect him of being a free-thinker. I never see him come to church.  45
  Dorine—Would you have him run there at your fixed hours, like those who go there only to be seen?  46
  Orgon  [to Dorine]—I don’t ask your opinion in the matter.  [To Marianne.]  In short, Tartuffe is on the best terms with Heaven, and this is a treasure to which nothing else can be compared. You will find all your wishes satisfied by such a union: it will prove a continual source of delight and pleasure. You will live together in your faithful love like two young children—like two turtle-doves. Never will any unhappy discussion arise between you, and you will make anything you like of him.  47
  Dorine—She will make naught but a fool of him, I know.  48
  Orgon—Gracious me, what language!  49
  Dorine—I tell you that he has the look of one, and that his destiny will overrule, sir, all the virtue your daughter may have.  50
  Orgon—Leave off interrupting me. Mind you keep silent, and not poke your word in where you have no business.  51
  Dorine  [interrupting him each time he turns round to speak to his daughter]—What I say is only for your own good, sir.  52
  Orgon—You take too much upon you. Be quiet, if you please.  53
  Dorine—If I did not love you—  54
  Orgon—I don’t wish to be loved.  55
  Dorine—And I shall love you in spite of yourself, sir.  56
  Orgon—How now?  57
  Dorine—I have your honor at heart, and I cannot bear to see you bring a thousand ill-natured remarks upon yourself.  58
  Orgon—Will you be silent?  59
  Dorine—It is a shame to allow you to think of such a marriage.  60
  Orgon—Will you hold your peace, you serpent, whose insolence—  61
  Dorine—What! you’re a pious man, and you give way to anger?  62
  Orgon—Yes: my patience must give way before all this. I insist upon your holding your tongue.  63
  Dorine—Very well; but although I don’t speak, I think none the less.  64
 
 
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