Arnolphe is talking to his friend, Chrysalde. He has outlined his
To marry a silly girl is not to become silly myself. I believe, as a good Christian, that your better half is very wise; but a clever wife is ominous, and I know what some people have to pay for choosing theirs with too much talent. What, I go and saddle myself with an intellectual woman, who talks of nothing but of her assembly and ruelle; who writes tender things in prose and in verse, and is visited by Marquises and wits, whilst, as "Mrs. So−and−so's husband, " I should be like a saint, whom no one calls upon! No, no, I will have none of your lofty minds. A woman who writes knows more than she ought to do. I intend that my wife shall not even be clever enough to know what a rhyme is. If one plays at corbillon with her, and asks her in her turn "What is put into the basket, " I will have her answer, "A cream tart. " In a word, let her be very ignorant; and to tell you the plain truth, it is enough for her that she can say her prayers, love me, saw and spin.
For the full play, see http://www.searchengine.org.uk/ebooks/85/18.pdf
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