Good heavens! If everybody was like you a love-story would
soon be over. Matrimony ought never to happen till after other adventures.
A lover, to be agreeable, must understand how to utter fine sentiments,
to breathe soft, tender, and passionate vows; his courtship must be according
to the rules. In the first place, he should behold the fair one of whom
he becomes enamoured either at a place of worship, or when out walking,
or at some public ceremony; or else he should be introduced to her by a
relative or a friend, as if by chance, and when he leaves her he should
appear in a pensive and melancholy mood. For some time he should conceal
his passion from the object of his love, but pay her several visits, in
every one of which he ought to introduce some gallant subject to exercise
the wits of all the company. When the day comes to make his declarations--which
generally should be contrived in some shady garden-walk while the company
is at a distance--it should be quickly followed by anger, which is shown
by our blushing, and which, for a while, banishes the lover from our presence.
He finds afterwards means to pacify us, to accustom us gradually to hear
him depict his passion, and to draw from us that confession which causes
us so much pain. After that come the adventures, the rivals who thwart mutual
inclination, the persecutions of fathers, the jealousies arising without
any foundation, complaints, despair, running away with, and its consequences.
Thus things are carried on in fashionable life, and veritable gallantry
cannot dispense with these forms. But to come out point-blank with a proposal
of marriage--to make no love but with a marriage-contract, and begin a novel
at the wrong end! Once more, father, nothing can be more tradesman like,
and the mere thought of it makes me sick at heart.
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Molière. New
York: R. Worthington Publishers, 1880.
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