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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Feelings of an Artist
By Émile Augier (1820–1889)
 
From ‘M. Poirier’s Son-in-Law’

POIRIER  [alone]—How vexatious he is, that son-in-law of mine! and there’s no way to get rid of him. He’ll die a nobleman, for he will do nothing and he is good for nothing.——There’s no end to the money he costs me.——He is master of my house.——I’ll put a stop to it.  [He rings.  Enter a servant.]  Send up the porter and the cook. We shall see my son-in-law! I have set up my back. I’ve unsheathed my velvet paws. You will make no concessions, eh, my fine gentleman? Take your comfort! I will not yield either: you may remain marquis, and I will again become a bourgeois. At least I’ll have the pleasure of living to my fancy.  1
  The Porter—Monsieur has sent for me?  2
  Poirier—Yes, François, Monsieur has sent for you. You can put the sign on the door at once.  3
  The Porter—The sign?  4
  Poirier—“To let immediately, a magnificent apartment on the first floor, with stables and carriage houses.”  5
  The Porter—The apartment of Monsieur le Marquis?  6
  Poirier—You have said it, François.  7
  The Porter—But Monsieur le Marquis has not given the order.  8
  Poirier—Who is the master here, donkey? Who owns this mansion?  9
  The Porter—You, Monsieur.  10
  Poirier—Then do what I tell you without arguing.  11
  The Porter—Yes, Monsieur.  [Enter Vatel.]  12
  Poirier—Go, François.  [Exit Porter.]  Come in, Monsieur Vatel: you are getting up a big dinner for to-morrow?  13
  Vatel—Yes, Monsieur, and I venture to say that the menu would not be disowned by my illustrious ancestor himself. It is really a work of art, and Monsieur Poirier will be astonished.  14
  Poirier—Have you the menu with you?  15
  Vatel—No, Monsieur, it is being copied; but I know it by heart.  16
  Poirier—Then recite it to me.  17
  Vatel—Le potage aux ravioles à l’Italienne et le potage à l’orge à la Marie Stuart.  18
  Poirier—You will replace these unknown concoctions by a good meat soup, with some vegetables on a plate.  19
  Vatel—What, Monsieur?  20
  Poirier—I mean it. Go on.  21
  Vatel—Relevé. La carpe du Rhin à la Lithuanienne, les poulardes à la Godard—le filet de bœuf braisé aux raisins à la Napolitaine, le jambon de Westphalie, rotie madère.  22
  Poirier—Here is a simpler and far more sensible fish course: brill with caper sauce—then Bayonne ham with spinach, and a savory stew of bird, with well-browned rabbit.  23
  Vatel—But, Monsieur Poirier—I will never consent.  24
  Poirier—I am master—do you hear? Go on.  25
  Vatel—Entrées. Les filets de volaille à la concordat—les croustades de truffe garniés de foies à la royale, le faison étoffe à la Montpensier, les perdreaux rouges farcis à la bohemienne.  26
  Poirier—In place of these side dishes we will have nothing at all, and we will go at once to the roast,—that is the only essential.  27
  Vatel—That is against the precepts of art.  28
  Poirier—I’ll take the blame of that: let us have your roasts.  29
  Vatel—It is not worth while, Monsieur: my ancestor would have run his sword through his body for a less affront. I offer my resignation.  30
  Poirier—And I was about to ask for it, my good friend; but as one has eight days to replace a servant—  31
  Vatel—A servant, Monsieur? I am an artist!  32
  Poirier—I will fill your place by a woman. But in the mean time, as you still have eight days in my service, I wish you to prepare my menu.  33
  Vatel—I will blow my brains out before I dishonor my name.  34
  Poirier  [aside]—Another fellow who adores his name!  [Aloud.]  You may burn your brains, Monsieur Vatel, but don’t burn your sauces.—Well, bon jour!  [Exit Vatel.]  And now to write invitations to my old cronies of the Rue des Bourdonnais. Monsieur le Marquis de Presles, I’ll soon take the starch out of you.
  [He goes out whistling the first couplet of ‘Monsieur and Madame Denis.’]
  35
 
 
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