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Tartuffe Or, the Hypocrite

by Moliere

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  MADAME PERNELLE  Come, come, Flipotte, and let me get away.

  ELMIRE  You hurry so, I hardly can attend you.

  MADAME PERNELLE  Then don't, my daughter-in law. Stay where you are.  I can dispense with your polite attentions.

  ELMIRE  We're only paying what is due you, mother.  Why must you go away in such a hurry?

  MADAME PERNELLE  Because I can't endure your carryings-on,  And no one takes the slightest pains to please me.  I leave your house, I tell you, quite disgusted;  You do the opposite of my instructions;  You've no respect for anything; each one  Must have his say; it's perfect pandemonium.

  DORINE  If …

  MADAME PERNELLE  You're a servant wench, my girl, and much  Too full of gab, and too impertinent  And free with your advice on all occasions.

  DAMIS  But …

  MADAME PERNELLE  You're a fool, my boy—f, o, o, l  Just spells your name. Let grandma tell you that  I've said a hundred times to my poor son,  Your father, that you'd never come to good  Or give him anything but plague and torment.

  MARIANE  I think …

  MADAME PERNELLE  O dearie me, his little sister!  You're all demureness, butter wouldn't melt  In your mouth, one would think to look at you.  Still waters, though, they say … you know the proverb;  And I don't like your doings on the sly.

  ELMIRE  But, mother …

  MADAME PERNELLE  Daughter, by your leave, your conduct  In everything is altogether wrong;  You ought to set a good example for 'em;  Their dear departed mother did much better.  You are extravagant; and it offends me,  To see you always decked out like a princess.  A woman who would please her husband's eyes  Alone, wants no such wealth of fineries.

  CLEANTE  But, madam, after all …

  MADAME PERNELLE  Sir, as for you,  The lady's brother, I esteem you highly,  Love and respect you. But, sir, all the same,  If I were in my son's, her husband's, place,  I'd urgently entreat you not to come  Within our doors. You preach a way of living  That decent people cannot tolerate.  I'm rather frank with you; but that's my way—  I don't mince matters, when I mean a thing.

  DAMIS  Mr. Tartuffe, your friend, is mighty lucky …

  MADAME PERNELLE  He is a holy man, and must be heeded;  I can't endure, with any show of patience,  To hear a scatterbrains like you attack him.

  DAMIS  What! Shall I let a bigot criticaster  Come and usurp a tyrant's power here?  And shall we never dare amuse ourselves  Till this fine gentleman deigns to consent?

  DORINE  If we must hark to him, and heed his maxims,  There's not a thing we do but what's a crime;  He censures everything, this zealous carper.

  MADAME PERNELLE  And all he censures is well censured, too....