SCENE I.——LE BARBOUILLÉ.
Bar. Everybody must acknowledge that I am the most unfortunate of men! I have a wife who plagues me to death; and who, instead of bringing me comfort and doing things as I like them to be done, makes me swear at her twenty times a day. Instead of keeping at home, she likes gadding about, eating good dinners, and passing her time with people of I don't know what description. Ah! poor Barbouillé, how much you are to be pitied! But she must be punished. Suppose you killed her?… It would do no good, for you would be hung afterwards. If you were to have her sent to prison?… The minx would find means of coming out. What the deuce are you to do?—But here is the doctor coming out this way; suppose I ask his advice on my difficulties.
SCENE II.——DOCTOR, LE BARBOUILLÉ.
Bar. I was going to fetch you, to beg for your opinion on a question of great importance to me.
Doc. You must be very ill-bred, very loutish, and very badly taught, my friend, to speak to me in that fashion, without first taking off your hat, without observing rationem loci, temporis et personæ. What! you begin by an abrupt speech, instead of saying Salve, vel salvus sis, doctor doctorum eruditissime. What do you take me for, eh?
Bar. Really, doctor, I am very sorry; the fact is that I am almost beside myself, and did not think of what I was doing; but I know you are a gallant man.
Doc. Do you know what gallant man comes from?
Bar. It matters little to me whether it comes from Villejuif or Aubervilliers.
Doc. Know that the word gallant man comes from elegant. By taking the g and the a of the last syllable, that makes ga; then by taking the two ll's, adding a and the two last letters nt, that makes gallant; then by adding man you have gallant man. But to come back to what I said; What do you take me for?
Bar. I take you for a doctor. But let us speak a little of what I have to propose to you. You must know that …
Doc. Let me tell you first that I am not only a doctor, but that I am one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten times doctor. Firstly, number one is the base, the foundation, and the first of all numbers; so am I the first of all doctors, the most learned of the learned. Secondly, there are two faculties essential for a perfect knowledge of things: the sense and the understanding; I am all sense, all understanding: ergo, I am twice doctor.
Bar. Agreed. What I want …
Doc. Thirdly, according to Aristotle, the number three is that of perfection; I am perfect; and every thing I do is perfect: ergo, I am three times doctor.
Bar. Very well then, doctor….
Doc. Fourthly, philosophy is divided into four parts, logic, morals, physics, and metaphysics; I possess all four, and know them perfectly: ergo, I am four times doctor.
Bar. Deuce take it, I don't doubt it. Listen to me then.
Doc. Fifthly, there are five universals: the genus, the species, the differentia, the property, and the accident, without knowing which it is impossible to arrive at any satisfactory conclusions; I make great use of them, and know how important they are; ergo, I am five times doctor....