Last Updated September 5, 2023.
The Affected Young Ladies, a one act play by Moliere, starts with the two "repulsed lovers" La Grange and Du Croisy stating that they have just been treated with disdain by a couple of "country wenches, giving themselves more ridiculous airs." Shocked and angry, they plot revenge. La Grange tells his friend he has a valet named Mascarille who they could persuade to pose as the rich, romantic, poetic type the girls seem to crave.
Meanwhile Gorgibus, who set up the meeting between his niece Cathos and daughter Magdelon and the two men, is mythed at the two men's vague replies to his questions. Curious, and little upset, he visits his niece and daughter to find out what happened.
They tell him that the two men simply weren't good enough. In their words the perfect lover should be
agreeable, must understand how to utter fine sentiments, to breathe soft, tender, and passionate vows; his courtship must be according to the rules.
They continue to talk in a naive fashion, even asking Gorgibus to call them Aminthe and Polixene, names they think "possess a charm, which you must needs acknowledge."
The maid announces that a man called the Marquis de Mascarille (La Grange's valet) has come to visit. The girls are immediately excited and the Marquis
doesn't disappoint them, impressing the girls with his wit and turn of phrase. At one point Cathos compares him to a fictional hero called Amilcar.
As the so called Marquis continues to entertain the girls with his terrible poetry and songs, the maid reenters to tell them that the Viscount de Jodelet is here to see them (Du Croisy's valet.).
The Marquis and the Viscount pretend to be good friends and the Viscount pretends to be an army veteran. Rather flirtatiously, and to the girl's delight, he lets them touch his scar, resulting in a competition between him and the Marquis where they compare wounds and stories about the famous people they know.
The girls then order musicians and the meeting turns into a dance where the Marquis and the Viscount continue to compete with each other. La Grange and Du Croisy interrupt the dance in scene 16 to reveal the Marquis and Viscount as their valets. The two girls are shocked. They complain to Gorgibus, but he states they deserve everything they got.
Yes, it is a cruel trick, but you may thank your own impertinence for it, you jades. They have revenged themselves for the way you treat.