Altsest did not cease to amaze his people with his temper, convictions and actions, and now even his old friend Philint refused to consider his friend – for the fact that he talked too warmly with a man whose name could only then be remembered with great difficulty. From the point of view of Alzest, his former friend demonstrated a low hypocrisy incompatible with genuine spiritual dignity. In response to Philint’s objection that, as they say, while living in society, a person is not free from the requisites required by manners and customs, Alzestc decisively branded the unholy godliness of secular lies and pretense. No, insisted Alzest, always and under all circumstances should tell people the truth in person, never sinking to flattery.
Loyalty to his convictions Alzeste not only declared out loud, but also proved in practice. So, for example, he flatly refused to persuade the judge, on whom the outcome of the important litigation for him depended, and to his beloved Selimena’s house, where he found Philint, Alzestes came precisely so that, with inspired impartial speeches, cleanse her soul from the scum – characteristic of the spirit of the time of frivolity, coquetry and habit of blasphemy; and let such words be unpleasant to Selimene…
The conversation of friends was interrupted by a young man named Orontes. He, too, like Alceste, had a tender affection for the charming coquette, and now wished to present to the court of Alzest
Selimena was not accustomed to the fact that admirers-and she had a lot of them-sought meetings only in order to grumble and swear. And that’s exactly how Alceste behaved. He most vehemently denounced the windiness of Selimena, something that, to a greater or lesser degree, she bestows benevolence on all of the knights around her. The girl objected that it was not in her power to stop attracting fans – she did nothing for this, everything happens by itself. On the other hand, do not drive them all from the threshold, the more so that it is pleasant to take the signs of attention, and sometimes – when they come from people who have weight and influence – and is useful. Only Alzest, Selimena said, we love her for real, and for him it’s much better that she is equally friendly with all the others, and does not single out one of them and does not give them grounds for jealousy.
When Selimene was informed of the two visitors – the court dandies Marquise Acasta and the Marquise of Clitendra – Alceste became disgusted and he left; rather, having overcome himself, remained. Selimena’s conversation with the marquises developed exactly as Altsest was expecting – the hostess and the guests tasted the secular friends familiar with taste, and in each they found something worthy of ridicule: one was stupid, another was boastful and vain, with the third one no one would support acquaintances, if not for the rare talents of his cook.
The sharp tongue of Selimena deserved the stormy praise of the marquesses, and this overflowed the patience of Alzestus, who had not opened his mouth until then. He branded from the heart both the scandal of the interlocutors and the harmful flattery with which the fans indulged the girl’s weaknesses.
Alceste decided not to leave Selimen alone with Acastus and Clytander, but the gendarme prevented him from fulfilling this intention, which came with the order to immediately deliver Alzest to the administration. Philint persuaded him to obey – he believed that the whole matter was a quarrel between Alzestom and Orontes because of the sonnet. Probably, they planned to reconcile them in the gendarmerie.
The brilliant courtiers of cavaliers, Acastus and Klitander, are accustomed to easy successes in cardiac affairs. Among the admirers of the Selimena, they decidedly did not find anyone who could make them any kind of competition, and therefore concluded an agreement among themselves: which of the two will provide a stronger proof of the favor of the beauty, and then the battlefield will remain; the other will not disturb him.
Meanwhile, with a visit to Selimene Arsinoe, who was considered, in principle, her friend, appeared. Selimena was convinced that Arsinoe’s modesty and virtue preached only involuntarily – insofar as her own miserable charms could not inspire anyone to violate the boundaries of these very modesty and virtues. However, I met Selimena’s guest quite graciously.
Arsinoe did not have time to enter, and immediately, referring to the fact that she ought to talk about it with the duty of friendship, she started a speech about the rumor surrounding the name of Selimena. She herself, well, of course, did not believe a second of idle speculation, but nevertheless strongly advised Selimene to change the habits that give such a soil. In response, Selimena – as soon as the girlfriend must certainly speak in the face of any truth – Arsinoe said that they talk about herself: pious in the church, Arsinoe beats servants and does not pay them money; seeks to hang the nakedness on the canvas, but strives to introduce himself to the case, to beckon with his. And advice for Arsinoe Selimena was ready: to watch first for yourself, and only then for neighbors. Word by word, the girlfriends dispute has almost outgrown to a quarrel, when, as it is impossible more by the way, has returned Альцест.
Selimena retired, leaving Altsesta alone with Arsinoe, who had long been secretly indifferent to him. Wanting to be a pleasant companion, Arsinoe spoke of how easily Alzestes has people with her; taking advantage of this happy gift, she believed, he could succeed at court. Extremely dissatisfied, Alceste replied that the court career is good for anyone, but not for him – a man with a rebellious soul, bold and nourishing disgust for hypocrisy and pretense.
Arsinoe hurriedly changed the subject and began defaming Selimen in the eyes of Alzeste, allegedly meanly cheating on him, but he did not want to believe the allegations. Then Арсиноя has promised, that Альцест soon will receive the true proof of perfidy of the beloved.
What Arsinoea really was right about, this is because Alzest, despite his oddities, had the gift of disposing of people. So, a deep spiritual inclination for him was fueled by the cousin Selimena, Eliant, who in Alzeste was bribed rare in other straightforwardness and noble heroism. She even admitted to Filint that she would gladly become Altsest’s wife, when he was not passionately in love with another.
Philint, meanwhile, sincerely wondered how his friend could have blazed with a feeling for the wolf-tailed Selimene and did not prefer to give her an example of all virtues – Elianto. The Union of Alzestes with Elianta would please Filint, but if Alzestes were still married to Selimena, he himself would have been very pleased to offer Elianta his heart and hand.
A declaration of love did not allow Filint Altsest to finish up, burst into the room, all blazing with anger and indignation. He just fell into the hands of a letter from Selimena, completely exposing her infidelity and guile. The letter was addressed, according to the person who gave it to Alzest, the rhymeplet of Orontes, with whom he had barely managed to reconcile with the mediation of the authorities. Alzestes decided to forever break with Selimeno, and in addition, in a very unexpected way, to take revenge on her-to take Eliantu as wife. Let insidious see, what happiness has deprived itself!
Eliant advised Alceste to try to reconcile with his lover, but he, seeing Selimenu, brought down on her a hail of bitter reproaches and offensive accusations. Selimena did not consider the letter reprehensible, since, according to her, the addressee was a woman, but when the girl was tired of reassuring Altsesta of her love and hearing only rudeness in response, she announced that if it so pleased, she wrote to the Orontes, fascinated by its innumerable virtues.
A stormy explanation put an end to the appearance of the frightened servant of Alcestus, Dubois. Every now and again, staggering with excitement, Dubois said that the judge – the very one his master did not want to coerce, relying on the incorruptibility of justice – made an extremely unfavorable decision on the lawsuit of Alzest, and so now both of them, in order to avoid major trouble, you can leave the city sooner.
No matter how Filint tried to convince him, Alzestes flatly refused to file a complaint and contest a knowingly unjust sentence that, in his opinion, only once again confirmed that dishonor, lies and debauchery reign supreme in society. From this society, he will retire, and for his deception the selected money will have the unquestionable right to shout at all corners about the evil lie that rules the earth.
Now Alzetz had only one thing left: to wait for Selimen to inform him of the imminent change in his fate; if the girl really loves him, she will agree to share it with him, if not – the tablecloth road.
But the final decision required Selimena not just one Alzest – the same was tormented by her Orontes. In her heart she had already made a choice, but she was harassed by public confessions, usually fraught with loud resentments. The situation of the girl was further aggravated by Acast with Clitander, who also wished to receive some clarification from her. They had in their hands Selimena’s letter to Arsinoe-a letter, as before, to Alcestis, supplied the marquises with a jealous addressee-containing witty and very evil portraits of her heart’s seekers.
After reading this letter aloud, followed by a noisy scene, after which Akast, Klitander, Orontes and Arsinoe, resentful and wounded, hastily bowed. The remaining Alcestis, for the last time, turned to Selimen all his eloquence, urging him to go somewhere in the wilderness, away from the vices of light. But such dedication was beyond the power of a young creature, spoiled by universal worship – loneliness is so terrible in twenty years.
Wishing Philint and Elianta great happiness and love, Alzestes said goodbye to them, for he now had to go looking for a corner around the world where nothing would stop a person from always being completely honest.