After many counts and checks of records, Argan realized finally why his state of health had deteriorated so recently: as it turned out, this month he took eight types of medicines and did twelve washing injections, while last month there were as many as twelve types of medicines and twenty clichiers. This circumstance, he decided to invariably put in appearance the doctor who used it Purgon. So in fact, and not for long.
Home Argan had different feelings about his obsession with his own health: the second wife, Belina, in all things indulged the doctors in the belief that their drugs would bring all the diseases to the grave; daughter, Angelica, perhaps, did not approve of his father’s mania, but, as prescribed by her daughter’s duty and reverence for the parent, modestly kept quiet; but the maid of Toonet completely extinguished herself – she defied the doctors and cheekily refused to study the contents of the master’s night pot on the subject of the bile left by the drugs.
The same Toonet was the only one to whom Angelica opened in the grip of her feeling for the youth Cleant. With her, she saw only once – in the theater, but for this brief date the young man managed to charm the girl. Not only that Cleant was very handsome, he also guarded Angelica, not being then familiar with it, from the rudeness of the irreverent gentleman.
What was the surprise of Angelica, when his father spoke to her about marriage – from the very first words she decided that Cleant had begged her. But Argan soon disappointed his daughter: he did not mean Kleant, but a much more suitable, from his point of view, groom – the nephew of Dr. Purgon and the son of his brother-in-law, Dr. Diafuarus, Tom Diafuarus, who himself was a five minutes doctor. In Diafuarus Jr., as in a son-in-law, he saw a lot of advantages: firstly, the family will have his own doctor, which will save money from doctors; secondly, Tom – the only heir to his father and uncle Purgon.
Angelica, though terrified, did not utter a word out of modesty, but everything that follows Argan listened to from Tuanet. But the servant only shook the air in vain – Argan firmly stood his ground.
Angelica’s marriage was also safe for Belina, but she had her own reasons: she did not want to share Argan’s legacy with the stepdaughter, and so she tried hard to get her into a monastery. So, Angelica
completely trusted her fate with Tuanete, who willingly agreed to help the girl. The first thing she had to do was inform Cleant that Angelica was being married to another. She chose as a messenger long ago and hopelessly in love with her old usurer Polishinel.
The procession of an intoxicated love Polishinelya on the street, which led to a funny incident with the police, was the content of the first interlude with songs and dances.
Cleant did not wait long, and soon appeared in the house of Argan, but not as a lover boy wanting to ask for Angelica’s hand, but as a temporary teacher of singing – a real teacher of Angelica, a friend of Cleant, as if he had to leave urgently to the village. Argan agreed to a replacement, but insisted that the classes were held only in his presence.
No sooner had the lesson begun, however, as Argan was reported about the arrival of Diafuarus-father and Diafuarus-son, The future son-in-man made a great impression on the host of the house with a multi-lectured welcome speech. Then, however, he took Angelica for Argan’s wife and spoke to her as to a future mother-in-law, but when the misunderstanding cleared up, Tom Diafuarus offered her a sentence in expressions that delighted the grateful listeners – there was also a statue of Memnon with its harmonious sounds, and heliotrope, and an altar of delights… As a gift to Tom’s bride presented his treatise against the followers of the harmful theory of blood circulation, and as the first joint entertainment, Angelica was invited to visit an autopsy of a female corpse the other day.
Completely satisfied with the merits of the groom, Argan wished that his daughter showed herself. The presence of the teacher of singing was here as well as possible, and my father told Angelica to sing something for the entertainment of society. Kleant handed her notes and said that he had just a sketch of a new opera – so, a trifling improvisation. Turning, as it were, to everyone, and actually only to the beloved, he in a bucolic vein – replacing himself with a shepherd, and with her cowherd boy and placing both in the appropriate entourage – retold a brief history of their love with Anzhelika, supposedly served as a plot of the work. The story ended with the appearance of a shepherdess in the house of the cowherd boy, where he found an unworthy rival who was favored by her father; now or never, despite the presence of the father, the lovers should have explained themselves.
The lovers sang a duet, while Argan did not feel that something was going on indecently, although, what exactly, he did not understand. Telling them to stop, he immediately went to work – offered Angelica to give his hand to Tom Diafarus and call him his husband, but Angelica, who had not dared to contradict her father before, refused flatly. The venerable Diafuaruses withdrew with nothing, trying to keep a good professional mine in the case of a bad game.
Argan was already beside himself, and now Belina found Angelica Kleant in the room, who at the sight of her turned to flight. So, when his brother Berald showed up to him and started talking about the fact that he has a good groom for his daughter in mind, Argan did not want to hear anything about it. But Berald was saving for his brother a cure for excessive gloominess – the representation of a gypsy company, which should have acted no worse than the Wagon Clichiers.
Gypsy dances and their songs about love, youth, spring and joy of life were a second interlude, entertaining viewers in the break between activities.
In an interview with Argan, Berald tried to appeal to the mind of his brother, but without success: he was firm in the belief that his son-in-law should become only a doctor, and no one else but whom Angelica wants to marry is the tenth thing. But is it really, Berald was perplexed, Argan with his iron health all his life going to mess with doctors and pharmacists? In the excellent fortress of Argan’s health, doubt, according to Berald, could not be at least because all the sea of medicines he has taken has not yet killed him.
The conversation gradually shifted to the topic of medicine as such, and its very right to exist. Berald claimed that all doctors – although they are mostly well-educated people in the humanities, who speak Latin and Greek – are either charlatans, deftly devastating purses of trusting patients, or artisans who naively believe in charlatans’ incantations, but also benefit from it. The device of the human body is so thin, complex and full of mysteries, sacredly protected by nature, that it is impossible to penetrate into it. Only the nature itself can defeat the disease, provided, of course, that it will not be hindered by the doctor.
No matter how hard Berald struggled, his brother stood to his death. The last known to Berald means to overcome the blind faith in doctors was somehow to reduce Argan to one of the comedies of Moliere, in which the representatives of medical pseudoscience get so good. But Argan did not want to hear about Moliere and foretold to him the terrible death thrown to the mercy of fate by his doctors.
This highly scientific polemic was interrupted by the appearance of the apothecary of Fleuran with a clyster, with his own hands and with love prepared by Dr. Purgon according to all the rules of science. Despite Argan’s protests, the apothecary was banished by Berald. When he left, he promised to complain to Purgon himself and kept his promise-after a short time after he left Argan, Dr. Purgon, insulted to the depths of his soul, burst in. A lot of things he saw in this life, but so that his clichir could be cynically rejected… Purgon announced that he did not want to have any affairs with Argan from now on, who, without his care, would undoubtedly come to a state of utter incurability in a few days, and a few more – will give up the ends of bradypepsy, apepsia, dyspepsia, lenteria, etc.
It was worthwhile, however, to one doctor forever to say goodbye to Argan, as at his doorstep another one appeared, the truth suspiciously similar to the servant Tuanet. He introduced himself to the course unsurpassed itinerant healer, who is not interested in trivial cases – it set a good vodyanochku, plevritik with pneumonia, at worst plague. Such a famous patient, like Argan, simply could not help attracting his attention. The new doctor instantly recognized Purgon as a charlatan, did the exact opposite of Purgon’s instructions, and with that he retired.
On this medical topic was exhausted, and the brothers resumed the conversation about the marriage of Angelica. For a doctor or a monastery – the third is not given, argued Argan. The idea of defining a daughter in a monastery, obviously with bad intentions, imposed on her husband Belin, but Argan refused to believe that her, the person closest to him, might have some bad intention. Then Tuaneta proposed to arrange a small rally, which was to reveal the true face of Belina. Argan agreed and pretended to be dead.
Belina was indecently pleased with the death of her husband – now finally she could dispose of all his money! Angelica, and after her and Cleant, seeing Argan dead, sincerely were killed and even wanted to give up the idea of marriage. Resurrected – to the horror of Belina and the joy of Angelica and Cleant – Argan gave his consent to the marriage of his daughter… but with the condition that Cleant will study for a doctor.
Berald, however, expressed a more robust idea: why not learn the doctor himself Argan. And what about the fact that at his age, knowledge is unlikely to get into your head – it’s nothing, no knowledge and it is not required. It is worth wearing a doctor’s robe and hat, how easily you start to talk about illnesses, and besides – in Latin.
By a lucky chance there were actors who were familiar to Berald, who performed the last interlude – clownish, flavored with dances and music, the initiation ceremony in the doctor.