If we take fifty-two from sixty-four, we get twelve; five
years you spent in Holland, seventeen; seven years spent in England, twenty-four;
eight years in Rome, thirty-two; and if to thirty-two we add your age when
we first became acquainted, we have exactly fifty-two. So that, Mr. Sganarelle,
according to your own confession, you are between fifty-two and fifty-three
years of age. The calculation is exact enough. Now, I will tell you frankly,
as a friend--according to the promise you made me give you--that marriage
would suit you but little. Marriage is a thing about which young people
ought to think long and seriously before they risk themselves, but of which
people of your age ought not to think at all; and if, as some say, the greatest
folly a man can commit is to marry, I know nothing more preposterous than
to commit such a folly at a time of life when we should be most prudent.
In short, to speak to you plainly, I advise you not to marry; and I should
think you very ridiculous if, after having remained free up to your time
of life, you were now to burden yourself with the heaviest of all chains.
[Pause.] What's that? You're in love with her? Ah! That's
quite another thing. You didn't tell me that. By all means marry, then;
I haven't another word to say.
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Molière, Vol. II.
Ed. Charles Heron Wall. London: George Bell & Sons, 1898.
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