Come here, you rascal, come here. Do you know, Master Villain,
that your talk is sufficient to cause me to knock you down, and that
my wrath waits only for a stick to thrash you as I intend?
If you take it in that way, Monsieur, I have nothing more to
say; you will be always in the right.
So? You scoundrel, you wish to impose upon me as truths tales
which I know to be extravagantly far-fetched?
No; I am the servant, and you are the master; it shall not be
otherwise than you wish it, Monsieur.
Come, I will choke down the anger that inflames me, and hear
all you have to say about your mission. I must unravel this
confusion before I see my wife. Collect your senses, think well over
what you say, and answer each question word for word.
But, lest I make a mistake, tell me, I beseech you, beforehand,
in what way it would please you to have this affair healed. Shall I
speak, Monsieur, according to my conscience, or as usual when near
the great? Shall I tell the truth or use a certain complaisance?
No; I only wish you to give me a perfectly unvarnished account.
Good. That is enough; leave it to me; you have, but to interrogate me.
Upon the order which I lately gave you . . .
I set forth under skies veiled in black crape, swearing
bitterly against you for this wretched martyrdom, and cursing twenty
times the order of which you speak.
No, Monsieur, it is the simple truth: this I was at your house
sooner than I; and, I swear to you, I was there before I had arrived.
Pray, where does all this cursed nonsense come from? Is it a
dream? Is it drunkenness? Mind-wandering? Or a sorry joke?
No, it is the thing as it is, and by no means an idle tale. I
am a man of honour, I give you my word, and you must please believe
it. I tell you, believing I was but one Sosie, I found myself two at
your house; and of these two I's, piqued with jealousy, one is at
the house, and the other is with you; the I who is here, tired out,
found the other I fresh, jolly and active, having no other anxiety
than to fight and break bones.
I confess I must be of a very placid temper, very peaceable,
very gentle, to permit a valet to entertain me with such nonsense!
If you become angry, no more conference between us: you know
all will be over at once.
No; I will listen to you without being carried away; I
promised it. But tell me in good earnest, is there any shadow of
likelihood in this new mystery which you have just told me?
No; you are right, the matter must appear to everyone past
credit. It is a fact past understanding, an extravagant, ridiculous,
far-fetched tale: it shocks common sense; but it is none the less a fact.
How can anyone believe it, unless he has taken leave of his senses?
I myself did not believe it without extreme difficulty: I
thought I was losing my senses when I saw myself two, and, for a
long time, I treated my other self as an impostor: but he compelled
me in the end to recognise myself; I saw it was I, without any
trickery; from head to foot he is like me-handsome, a noble air,
well built, charming manners; in fact, two peas do not resemble each
other more; were it not that his hands are a little too heavy, I
should be perfectly satisfied.
I had need exhort myself to patience! But did you not in the
end go into the house?
Good, go in! Ah! In what fashion? Have I never wished to listen
to reason? Did I not forbid myself to enter our door?
Yes, I; not the I who is here, but the I from the house, who
Heaven confound you for talking to me like this!
I am not joking; the I whom I have just met has great
advantages over the I who speaks to you. He has a strong arm and
great courage; I have had proofs of both; this devil of an I has
licked me soundly; he is a fellow who can do wonders.
Let us, cease this. Have you seen my wife?
Who hindered you, scoundrel? Explain yourself.
Must I repeat the same thing twenty times? I, I tell you, this
I who is more robust than I, this I who took possession of the door
by force, this I who made me slope off, this I who wishes to be the
only I, this I who is jealous of myself, this valiant I, whose anger
made itself known to this poltroon of an I, in fact, this I who is
at our house, this I who has shown himself to be my master, this I
who has racked me with pain.
His brain must be addled by having had too much to drink this morning.
May I be hanged if I have had anything to drink but water: I
take my oath on it.
Then your senses must have been fast asleep: some silly dream
has shown you all these fairy tales and confused mysteries which you
wish me to take for truths.
That is just as far away from the truth. I have not slept, and
I do not even feel inclined that way. I am speaking to you wide-
awake; I was wide awake this morning, upon my life! And the other
Sosie was also wide-awake, when he drubbed me so well.
Follow me; I order you to be silent. You tire my brain too
much; I must be an out-and-out fool to have the patience to listen
to the nonsense a valet has to say.
All talk is nonsense that comes from a man who is unknown. If a
great man were to say it, it would be exquisite language.
Let us go in without waiting any longer. But here comes
Alcmene clothed in all her charms. Doubtless she does not expect me
so soon, and my arrival will surprise her.