SCENE I.--CLÉANTE, MARIANNE, ÉLISE, FROSINE.
CLE. Let us come in here; we shall be much better. There is no one about us that we
need be afraid of, and we can speak openly.
ELI. Yes, Madam, my brother has told me of the love he has for you. I know what
sorrow and anxiety such trials as these may cause, and I assure you that I have the
greatest sympathy for you.
MAR. I feel it a great comfort in my trouble to have the sympathy of a person like you,
and I entreat you, Madam, ever to retain for me a friendship so capable of softening the
cruelty of my fate.
FRO. You really are both very unfortunate not to have told me of all this before. I might
certainly have warded off the blow, and not have carried things so far.
CLE. What could I do? It is my evil destiny which has willed it so. But you, fair
Marianne, what have you resolved to do? What resolution have you taken?
MAR. Alas! Is it in my power to take any resolution? And, dependent as I am, can I do
anything else except form wishes?
CLE. No other support for me in your heart? Nothing but mere wishes? No pitying
energy? No kindly relief? No active affection?
MAR. What am I to say to you? Put yourself in my place, and judge what I can possibly
do. Advise me, dispose of me, I trust myself entirely to you, for I am sure that you will
never ask of me anything but what is modest and seemly.
CLE. Alas! to what do you reduce me when you wish me to be guided entirely by
feelings of strict duty and of scrupulous propriety.
MAR. But what would you have me do? Even if I were, for you, to divest myself of the
many scruples which our sex imposes on us, I have too much regard for my mother, who
has brought me up with great tenderness, for me to give her any cause of sorrow. Do all
you can with her. Strive to win her. I give you leave to say and do all you wish; and if
anything depends upon her knowing the true state of my feelings, by all means tell her
what they are; indeed I will do it myself if necessary.
CLE. Frosine, dear Frosine, will you not help us?