from The Miser

Moliere
French
1622 – 1673

 

Since you wish it, Sir, I will tell you frankly
that you are the laughing-stock of everybody;
that they taunt us everywhere by a thousand
jokes on your account, and that nothing
delights people more than to make sport of
you, and to tell stories without end about
your stinginess. One says that you have
special almanacs printed, where you double
the ember days and vigils, so that you may
profit by the fasts to which you bind all your
house; another, that you always have a ready-
made quarrel for your servants at Christmas
time or when they leave you, so that you may
give them nothing. One tells a story how not
long since you prosecuted a neighbor’s cat
because it had eaten up the remainder of a leg
of mutton; another says that one night you
were caught stealing your horses’ oats, and
that your coachman–that is the man who was
before me–gave you, in the dark, a good
sound drubbing, of which you said nothing.
In short, what is the use of going on? We can
go nowhere but we are sure to hear you
pulled to pieces. You are the butt and jest and
byword of everybody; and never does anyone
mention you but under the names of miser,
stingy, mean fellow and userer.

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