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Mercadet A Comedy in Three Acts   By: (1799-1850)

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Presented for the First Time in Paris At the Theatre du Gymnase Dramatique August 24, 1851


Mercadet, a speculator Madame Mercadet, his wife Julie, their daughter Minard, clerk of Mercadet Verdelin, friend of Mercadet Goulard, creditor of Mercadet Pierquin, creditor of Mercadet Violette, creditor of Mercadet Mericourt, acquaintance of Mercadet De la Brive, suitor to Julie Justin, valet Therese, lady's maid Virginie, cook Various other creditors of Mercadet

SCENE: Paris, in the house of Mercadet

TIME: About 1845




(A drawing room. A door in the centre. Side doors. At the front, to the left, a mantel piece with a mirror. To the right, a window, and next it a writing table. Armchairs.)

Justin, Virginie and Therese

Justin (finishing dusting the room) Yes, my dears, he finds it very hard to swim; he is certain to drown, poor M. Mercadet.

Virginie (her basket on her arm) Honestly, do you think that?

Justin He is ruined! And although there is much fat to be stewed from a master while he is financially embarrassed, you must not forget that he owes us a year's wages, and we had better get ourselves discharged.

Therese Some masters are so frightfully stubborn! I spoke to the mistress disrespectfully two or three times, and she pretended not to hear me.

Virginie Ah! I have been at service in many middle class houses; but I have never seen one like this! I am going to leave my stove, and become an actress in some theatre.

Justin All of us here are nothing but actors in a theatre.

Virginie Yes, indeed, sometimes one has to put on an air of astonishment, as if just fallen from the moon, when a creditor appears: "Didn't you know it, sir?" "No." "M. Mercadet has gone to Lyons." "Ah! He is away?" "Yes, his prospects are most brilliant; he has discovered some coal mines." "Ah! So much the better! When does he return?" "I do not know." Sometimes I put on an expression as if I had lost the dearest friend I had in the world.

Justin (aside) That would be her money.

Virginie (pretending to cry) "Monsieur and mademoiselle are in the greatest distress. It seems that we are going to lose poor Madame Mercadet. They have taken her away to the waters! Ah!"

Therese And then, there are some creditors who are actual brutes! They speak to you as if you were the masters!

Virginie There's an end of it. I ask them for their bill and tell them I am going to settle. But now, the tradesmen refuse to give anything without the money! And you may be sure that I am not going to lend any of mine.

Justin Let us demand our wages.

Virginie and Therese Yes, let us demand our wages.

Virginie Who are middle class people? Middle class people are those who spend a great deal on their kitchen

Justin Who are devoted to their servants

Virginie And who leave them a pension. That is how middle class people ought to behave to their servants.

Therese The lady of Picardy speaks well. But all the same, I pity mademoiselle and young Minard, her suitor.

Justin M. Mercadet is not going to give his daughter to a miserable bookkeeper who earns no more than eighteen hundred francs a year; he has better views for her than that.

Therese and Virginie Who is the man he thinks of?

Justin Yesterday two fine young gentlemen came here in a carriage, and their groom told old Gruneau that one of them was going to marry Mlle. Mercadet.

Virginie You don't mean to say so! Are those gentlemen in yellow gloves, with fine flowered waistcoats, going to marry mademoiselle?

Justin Not both of them, lady of Picardy.

Virginie The panels of their carriage shone like satin... Continue reading book >>

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