ACT THREE
Scene III
 

(Madame Jourdain, Monsieur Jourdain, Nicole, Lackeys)

MADAME JOURDAIN
Ah, ah! Here's a new story! What's this, what's this, husband, this outfit you have on there? Don't you care what people think of you when you are got up like that? And do you want yourself laughed at everywhere?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
None but fools and dolts will laugh at me wife.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Truly, they haven't waited until now, your antics have long given a laugh to everyone.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Who's everyone, if you please?

MADAME JOURDAIN
Everyone is everyone who is right and who is wiser than you. For my part, I am scandalized at the life you lead. I no longer recognize our house. One would say it's the beginning of Carnival here, every day; and beginning early in the morning, so it won't be forgotten, one hears nothing but the racket of fiddles and singers which disturbs the whole neighborhood.

NICOLE
Madame speaks well. I'll never be able to get my housework done properly with that gang you have come here. They have feet that hunt for mud in every part of town to bring it here; and poor Françoise almost has her teeth on the floor, scrubbing the boards that your fine masters come to dirty up every day.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
What, our servant Nicole, you have quite a tongue for a peasant.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Nicole is right, and she has more sense than you. I'd like to know what you think you're going to do with a Dancing Master, at your age?

NICOLE
And with a hulking Fencing Master who comes stamping his feet, shaking the whole house and tearing up all the floorboards in our drawing-room.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Be quiet, both servant and wife!

MADAME JOURDAIN
Is it that you're learning to dance for the time when you'll have no legs to dance on?

NICOLE
Do you want to kill someone?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Quiet, I tell you! You are ignorant women, both of you, and you don't know the advantages of all this.

MADAME JOURDAIN
You should instead be thinking of marrying off your daughter, who is of an age to be provided for.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
I'll think of marrying off my daughter when a suitable match comes along, but I also want to learn about fine things.

NICOLE
I heard said, Madame, that today he took a Philosophy Master to thicken the soup!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Very well. I have a wish to have wit and to reason about things with decent people.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Don't you intend, one of these days, to go to school and have yourself whipped at your age?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Why not? Would to God I were whipped this minute in front of everyone, if I only knew what they learn at school!

NICOLE
Yes, my faith! That would get you into better shape.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Without doubt.

MADAME JOURDAIN
All this is very important to the management of your house.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Assuredly. You both talk like beasts, and I'm ashamed of your ignorance. For example, do you know what are you speaking just now?

MADAME JOURDAIN
Yes, I know that what I'm saying is well said and that you ought to be considering living in another way.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
I'm not talking about that. I'm asking if you know what the words are that you are saying here?

MADAME JOURDAIN
They are words that are very sensible, and your conduct is scarcely so.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
I'm not talking about that, I tell you. I'm asking you: what is it that I'm speaking to you this minute, what is it?

MADAME JOURDAIN
Nonsense.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, no! That's not it. What is it we are both saying, what language is it that we are speaking right now?

MADAME JOURDAIN
Well?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
What is it called?

MADAME JOURDAIN
It's called whatever you want.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
It's prose, you ignorant creature.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Prose?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Yes, prose. Everything is prose that is not verse; and everything that's not verse is prose. There! This is what it is to study! And you (to Nicole), do you know what you must do to say U?

NICOLE
What?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Say U, in order to see.

NICOLE
Oh Well, U.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
What do you do?

NICOLE
I say U.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Yes, but, when you say U, what do you do?

NICOLE
I do what you tell me to.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Oh, how strange it is to have to deal with morons! You thrust your lips out and bring your lower jaw to your upper jaw: U, see? U. Do you see? I make a pout: U.

NICOLE
Yes, that's beautiful.

MADAME JOURDAIN
How admirable.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
But it's quite another thing, if you have seen O, and D, D, and F, F.

MADAME JOURDAIN
What is all this rigmarole?

NICOLE
What does all this do for us?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
It enrages me when I see these ignorant women.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Go, go, you ought to send all those people packing with their foolishness.

NICOLE
And above all, that great gawk of a Fencing Master, who ruins all my work with dust.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Well! This Fencing Master seems to get under your skin. I'll soon show you how impertinent you are.(He has the foils brought and gives one to Nicole). There. Demonstration: The line of the body. When your opponent thrusts in quarte, you need only do this, and when they thrust in tierce, you need only do this. That is the way never to be killed, and isn't it fine to be assured of what one does, when fighting against someone? There, thrust at me a little, to see.

NICOLE
Well then, what? (Nicole thrusts, giving him several hits).

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Easy! Wait! Oh! Gently! Devil take the hussy!

NICOLE
You told me to thrust.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Yes, but you thrust in tierce, before you thrust in quarte, and you didn't have the patience to let me parry.

MADAME JOURDAIN
You are a fool, husband, with all your fantasies, and this has come to you since you took a notion to associate with the nobility.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
When I associate with the nobility, I show my good judgment; and that's better than associating with your shopkeepers.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Oh yes, truly! There's a great deal to gain by consorting with your nobles, and you did so well with your fine Count you were so taken with!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Peace! Think what you're saying. You know very well, wife, that you don't know who you're talking about, when you talk about him! He's a more important person than you think: a great Lord, respected at court, and who talks to the King just as I talk to you. Is it not a thing which does me great honor, that a person of this quality is seen to come so often to my house, who calls me his dear friend and treats me as if I were his equal? He has more regard for me than one would ever imagine; and, in front of everyone, he shows me so much affection that I am embarrassed myself.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Yes, he has a kindness for you, and shows his affection, but he borrows your money.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
So! Isn't it an honor for me to lend money to a man of that condition? And can I do less for a lord who calls me his dear friend?

MADAME JOURDAIN
And this lord, what does he do for you?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Things that would astonish you if you knew them.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Like what?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Blast! I cannot explain myself. It must suffice that if I have lent him money, he'll pay it back fully, and before long.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Yes. You are waiting for that.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Assuredly. Didn't he tell me so?

MADAME JOURDAIN
Yes, yes, he won't fail to do it.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
He swore it on the faith of a gentleman.

MADAME JOURDAIN
Nonsense!

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Well! You are very obstinate, wife. I tell you he will keep his word, I'm sure of it.

MADAME JOURDAIN
And I'm sure he will not, and that all his show of affection is only to flatter you.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Be still. Here he is.

MADAME JOURDAIN
That's all we needed! He's come again perhaps to borrow something from you. The very sight of him spoils my appetite.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Be still, I tell you.