Paul Robeson sings “Joe Hill” (2)


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Paul Robeson 1942 crop.jpg

Paul Leroy Robeson (

I reread my post and made a change. If one returns to work untested and works in a contaminated environment, one’s life is a stake and contagion will continue exponentially.

To liberate…

The Washington Post has stories and pictures that tell the unacceptable. President Trump is smiling as he encourages States to end the lockdown using the word “liberate.”  “Liberate?” People may return to work because they have yet to receive money from Washington. What happened to the “stimulus” fund?

If a person has not received an income for two months, he or she may return to work at the cost of his or her life, which is scandalous. Before a person reënters the workplace, that person has to test negative and the workplace must be as safe an environment as possible.

There is enough money in the United States to keep people secure for a few more weeks. At the moment, returning to work is unsafe. Moreover, some people will have suffered emotionally and mentally. They require help.

Paul Robeson was a magnificent singer.


Love to everyone 💕

refer to caption

Robeson in football uniform at Rutgers, c. 1919 (

© Micheline Walker
18 April 2020


Chronicling Covid-19 (10): Numbers


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Fallen Angel by Alexandre Cabanel, 1847 (

When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou!

Sir Walter Scott
Marmion (1808)

Today’s update

Yesterday, Canada had 31,642 cases of coronavirus

  • Quebec had 16,798 confirmed cases (including 688 deaths, 3,068 resolved)
  • Ontario: 9,525 confirmed (including 478 deaths, 4,556 resolved)

In other words, Quebec has more than half the Canadian cases.

Last weekend, Premier François Legault solicited the help of all physicians in the Province of Quebec, including specialists. Moreover, he has also called on Canada’s government to send qualified members of the Canadian armed forces. As requested by François Legault, the Quebec Premier, Canada is sending 150 medically qualified members the Canadian Armed Forces to relieve a truly overburdened Quebec.

A large number of cases of the novel coronavirus in Quebec are in nursing homes, or long-term care facilities, which is also the case, to a lesser extent, in other provinces. It is believed that Quebecers returning from their March-break may have brought in the coronavirus. Quebec’s March-break occurred earlier than in other provinces. Moreover, many Quebecers travel to Florida to escape Quebec’s harsh winter. Several, retired persons in particular, own a home, in Florida. This could explain, Quebec’s plight.

However, as is well know, the world did not act swiftly when China reported its outbreak of coronavirus. Chinese Dr Li Wenliang, the whistleblower, was reprimanded in early January by Huwan authorities. He died on 7 February 2020. This matter will probably be investigated. Delay in reporting a contagious illness in Huwan did not do anyone any good, in or outside China, but China is not altogether to blame. Quebec locked itself down on 23 March and President Trump of the United States favours an early return to work. The economy is suffering. This could prompt a second wave of the disease.


Quebec physicians are unionized, but broke directives given by their union. A pandemic is an extraordinary event. The sick require the intervention of doctors.

The first American case was a man who had travelled to Wuhan. He returned to Seattle on 15 January 2020 and fell ill a day after his return. On 17 January, the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control) had alerted the authorities. Yet, the surgeon general of the United States, Dr Jerome Adams, has stated that this week: “more than five times as many Americans died from covid-19 last week than were killed in the World War II raid.”

In the United States, the lockdown has been eased. The President wanted to reopen the entire country, but, in the end, the matter was left to the Governor of each state to decide. Contagion has been far more severe in the state of New York. New York City is densely populated.

Yesterday, there were 31,642 confirmed and 11 presumptive cases in Canada. The latest (late yesterday) are higher:

  • Quebec: 16,798 confirmed (including 688 deaths, 3,068 resolved)
  • Ontario: 9,525 confirmed (including 478 deaths, 4,556 resolved)
  • Alberta: 2,158 confirmed (including 50 deaths, 914 resolved)
  • British Columbia: 1,575 confirmed (including 78 deaths, 983 resolved)
  • Nova Scotia: 606 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 177 resolved)
  • Saskatchewan: 305 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 219 resolved)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 256 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 176 resolves)
  • Manitoba: 239 confirmed (including 5 deaths, 121 resolved)
  • New Brunswick: 117 confirmed (including 80 resolved)
  • Prince Edward Island: 26 confirmed (including 23 resolved)
  • Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed
  • Yukon: 8 confirmed (including 6 resolved)
  • Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 2 resolved)
  • Nunavut: No confirmed cases

© Provided by The Canadian Press, was first published April 17, 2020.

Quebec has not announced an end of the lockdown. A partial and cautious return to work has been announced elsewhere.


When crises occur, political views seem no longer rigidly significant. As for an early and premature return to work, this may not be advisable. However, it may help the morale of persons whose income drops considerably or is terminated. But consider the cost: it could a person’s life and further contagion. Health care practices may also be revisited. One has the right to be treated and to live. Would that I could understand why Dr Li Wenliang was reprimanded. It doesn’t make any sense.

Nicola Porpora – “Alto Giove” – Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor


© Micheline Walker
18 April 2020


Chronicling Covid-19 (9): Testing


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Prefatory miniature from a moralized Bible of “God as architect of the world”, folio I verso, Paris ca. 1220–1230. Ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum 1′ 1½” × 8¼”. Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna 2554. (See Bible moralisée, Wikipedia.)

The Spartan Cube


The Spartan Cube, a Covid-19 testing device, is exclusive to Canada. I suspect that Spartan Bioscience is unable to manufacture an extremely large number of cubes. The Spartan Cube is a DNA analyzer that isn’t brand new. Spartan Bioscience adapted a test used to diagnose Legionnaire‘s disease. As I noted, in an earlier post, the cube is about the size of a large coffee mug, which makes it portable, and results are available in a half hour. It was developed in less than 25 days and could perhaps be improved. But it might suffice to replicate and manufacture the Cube in facilities outside Canada. The Spartan Cube will be available to Canadians at the beginning of May.


At the moment, we are told to self-test according to symptoms and phone if symptoms are severe. This is a way of tending to the sick. But our economy cannot survive if the healthy cannot leave home and work.

I would propose taking the cubes to the people in unsophisticated, but disinfected buses. The test would be administered by health professionals and, for safety reasons, I don’t think people should enter the bus. However, people should be comfortable and could sit in a second bus.

For many health professionals, a half hour is too long. But, quite frankly, at the testing phase, most people will test negative. Care is not given at that time.

Residences for the Elderly & Hospitals

Covid-19 attacks the elderly who have entered a residence. These individuals cannot self-isolate easily. They eat in a dining-room. They use common areas and most do not have a private room. I believe wards are a mistake as are unlimited visiting hours and unlimited number of visitors.  We have turned hospitals into institutions where people get sick.

We also need masks, gloves, ventilators, beds, people who disinfect the street, etc. These are in short supply. We therefore need businesses that would manufacture the materials needed by health-care professionals and the public.

The novel (new) coronavirus is an unknown. We learn something new every day. So, in no way should we allow persons who test positive not to be treated. Nor should those who have been hospitalized return to work prematurely. In North America, the disease has not peaked.

A long time ago, I posted articles on illuminated manuscripts. Jean de France, duc de Berry, had the Limbourg brothers ornament his Très Riches Heures. Jean de France died of the plague, so did the artists who made his Très Riches Heures de Jean de France, duc de Berry. All died in 1416.

Humanity has suffered too many natural disasters, but we have not been taking good care of Mother Earth or our societies. After this calimity, we will need to revisit many areas. The poor live in cramped quarters and the not-so-poor in areas that are simply too small.

Love to everyone 💕

Georg Philipp Telemann


© Micheline Walker
15 April 2020

Chronicling Covid-19 (8): the Spartan Cube


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Le cube Spartan a été développé par l'entreprise Spartan Bioscience,...

Paul Lem is the CEO/PDG and co-founder of Spartan Bioscience  (Canadian Press)

The difficulty facing doctors is the scarcity of testing devices and the time it takes to obtain results. However, a new test device has just been approved by Health Canada. It was developed by Spartan Bioscience of Ottawa, Canada.

The testing device is called the Spartan Cube, le cube Spartan, and it does not differ considerably from the test used until now. However, it is smaller, the size of a coffee mug, portable and results are ready in less than an hour: a half hour. It is its own lab, which explains is rapidity.

I wouldn’t dare state that the nightmare is about to end, but I see hope. Spartan Bioscience has a contract with the Government of Quebec, the most severely affected province of Canada, but all Canadian Provinces are buying large supplies of the Spartan Cube. The previous test worked, but it was slow. A diagnostic will now be reached more rapidly.

The Spartan Cube is a testing device. It cannot cure individuals whose life is threatened by Covid-19.


Tiziano Vecellio, Tobiolo e l’Angelo, Olio su tavola, 1512-14, Gallerie dell’ Accademia, Venezia (Franco Canavesio blog)

© Micheline Walker
13 April 2020


A Letter to Prince Harry


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Prince Harry of the United Kingdom

Harry (left) talking to an injured soldier at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, 15 May 2013 (Wikipedia)

I have been in love, so I understand that Meghan is everything in your eyes and that you want to be at her side and near Archie. Meghan is now in her country and among actors, and other celebrities. But she may follow you. Your country is Britain and Britain needs you. You are a British Prince and you are Archie’s father. He too is royalty and your family would love to see him.

May I urge you to go to Britain. The Palace is safe and your country needs you. I haven’t kept up with the Sussexes, but I know that you are in Malibu, California, which is quite a distance away from Britain. William and your entire family need you more than ever. You are in the military and so is William. The two of you are young and strong and both have duties.

Please fly home immediately and take Archie. He is British Royalty. It could well be that Meghan will accompany the two of you. She married a Prince of the United Kingdom. You also have a home: Frogmore. I heard that Meghan was taking acting lessons. These can be postponed. Britain needs your energy, your smile, and your love. Remember that you are an accomplished Prince. That is your job. Remember as well that today is the first day of the rest of your life. You are William’s brother and he needs you. Imagine how awful it is for him to be alone.

Your grandmother is showing considerable courage and leadership at this very dark hour, but she and your grandfather are ageing.

We have a monster to beat.

Purcell‘s Trumpet Voluntary
Budapest Brass Quintet Petz Pál, Palotai István – trumpet Füzes Péter – horn Farkas István Péter – trombone

Résultat d’images pour picture of prince harry

Prince Harry

© Micheline Walker
13 April 2020

Chronicling Covid-19 (7): The Plan



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I would invite you to reread the article I posted yesterday.

I have not changed my mind. I believe that we have to test people and let the healthy return to the workplace. Self-isolation alone will not keep us safe. Not if we can no longer work and earn a living. There is no overnight miracle, but testing may allow the economy to recover more quickly.

Testing is much easier than discovering a vaccine. As I mentioned yesterday, there is an American group who is working with doctors and scientists and would send the healthy back to a safe workplace. Testing would be needed.

A vaccine will be produced, but it may not be produced in the foreseeable future, luck being a factor. Who will come up with the brilliant idea that will allow a cure and also allow the world to be as it should be. We can now see the magnificent Himalayan range of mountains.

Leaders, doctors and scientists must work together, but expertise must inform decisions made by elected officials. Mr Trump is ready to send people back to work to save the economy. But we cannot allow people who test positive to return to work. They must still self-isolate, or the pandemic will continue.

A Triage: Testing

What I am suggesting is a triage that would separate the healthy from the sick and allow those who test negative to return to work. The sick would be treated, but the healthy would keep the economy alive. We have new tools: Skype, etc. Although humanity has been scourged for millennia, it has survived.

I have a healthy nephew whose employees are healthy, but they are not allowed to work. So why do we not test them? Testing was carried out in Germany quite successfully.

We cannot close the future down. We cannot let massive unemployment follow the pandemic. That is a grim scenario. Scientists would continue to search for a vaccine, but the economy would not crumble. Testing may be difficult to organize, but it has to be organized. There is no other way.

Expertise is what world leaders need. I do not wish to trivialize world leaders, but they need guidance from doctors, scientists and economists, which is leadership in the days of the novel coronavirus.

Streets would still be disinfected as well as the workplace, but we would ensure economic stability and lift the world’s morale. Can we truly justify the self-isolation of my nephew and his healthy employees?

I am not a medical doctor, a scientist, or an economist. I am quite simply civic-minded. If we test and test, we will find those who test negative. I’m scared, because this virus may be airborne. Hence cleaning the workplace. But why isolate people who would test negative and create a new nightmare.


The Creation
, Die Schöpfung, by Joseph Haydn


Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States.

© Micheline Walker
12 April 2020








Chronicling Covid-19 (6): A Plan


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a person riding on the back of a bicycle

© Provided by The Canadian Press


Yesterday, there were 20,765 confirmed and presumptive cases of covid-19 in Canada. Quebec has 10,912 confirmed (including 175 deaths, 827 resolved).

  • Quebec: 10,912 confirmed (including 216 deaths, 1,112 resolved)
  • Ontario: 5,759 confirmed (including 200 deaths, 2,305 resolved)

If the above numbers are accurate, I live in the province of Canada that is home to half the confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) warned of a potential pandemic at the very end of 2019.

Dr Li Wenliang died on 7 February 2020.

Li Wen Liang.jpg

Dr Li Wenliang

As soon as Dr Li Wenliang died, we knew. At that point, North-Americans needed to find the persons who had been in the immediate proximity of the first victims and test them.  In other words, medical experts should have been mobilized. It didn’t happen. I need not remind anyone that President Trump reassured Americans. Yet, the time had come to test Americans and forbid the young from spending the March break on beaches and partying. Dr Jerome Adams, the surgeon general of the United States, has stated that Covid-19 was spread mainly by the young. Many Quebecers travel to Florida during the March break.

If an extremely dangerous and unknown virus surfaces, doctors must guide leaders. I read in the Washington Post, that Americans were organizing to map out a strategy the President cannot put forward. There are times when democracy fails us. The plan is to test the population and have the healthy occupy positions formerly held by persons who have fallen ill many of whom have yet to recover or have died, and other positions. There is a healthy population and there are experts: doctors, chemists, and economists. They and elected officials must work together.

No, we cannot count on Mr Trump. He is not qualified to deal with this matter, but the United States has other leaders and it has experts.

In other words, Quebec and other North-Americans have to find people who can keep the population safe and the economy afloat. We have to test people. Many of us are healthy and can work.

I have heard libertarians scream: this is a “free country.” Well, there is freedom and then there is freedom. No one is free to infect other persons. As I have written in several posts and taught my students, one’s freedom ends where the freedom of others begin and expertise overrides uneducated popularity.

I’m not suggesting mutiny and revenge. Violence is out of the question. I am simply sharing what I read in the Washington Post. But I would like to see fine and qualified human beings make sure that

  • the sick are sequestered and treated,
  • that a force is making sure doctors and other health professionals are fully protected,
  • that tests, tests, tests be performed,
  • that the healthy return to work.

But be very careful.–alert-national&wpmk=1

Love to everyone 💕

Johan Nepomuk Hummel

Du lieber Augustin

© Micheline Walker
11 April 2020





Molière’s “L’Étourdi,” “The Blunderer” (5) Recognition


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After publishing Anselme on Love (4), I realised that in some copies, not all quotations were translated in full. That was a huge mistake. I believe the finished post was translated, but that drafts came to the surface. I hope all quotations have now been translated.


Dramatis Personæ (the cast)

LÉLIE, (son of) fils de Pandolphe.
CÉLIE, (slave to) esclave de Trufaldin.
MASCARILLE, (lackey to) valet de Lélie.
HIPPOLYTE, (daughter of) fille d’Anselme.
ANSELME, (old man) vieillard.
TRUFALDIN, vieillard.
PANDOLPHE, vieillard.
LÉANDRE, (son) fils de famille.
ANDRÈS, (believed to be) cru égyptien.
ERGASTE, valet.

The scene is in Messina




We will now read the remainder of Molière’s L’Étourdi, The Blunderer.

  • a doubling

Lélie always crosses Mascarille’s plan, but Molière has built a sub-plot which could be called a doubling. However, the rules of classical theater demand that elements of the play be introduced in Act One. No one knows Célie’s identity, which points to a discovery, an anagnorisis. Mascarille, however,  knows details of Trufaldin’s life. There will be a discovery that will allow Lélie and Célie to marry. The play is entitled L’Étourdi ou les contretemps. Contretemps are unexpected events. Lélie blunders, but he is often misled by appearances and by his beliefs. We have seen that he will not allow Léandre to look upon Célie has a loose woman.

The beginning of Célie’s story

Almost as soon as the curtain lifts, we learn that Trufaldin’s slave, Célie, has parents. She is very beautiful, but Lélie, who is in love with her and knows her heart, suspects that she is of higher birth. Molière makes room for a redeeming recognition.

Pour moi, dans ses discours, comme dans son visage,/ Je vois pour sa naissance un noble témoignage,/ Et je crois que le Ciel dedans un rang si bas,/ 30 Cache son origine, et ne l’en tire pas.
Lélie à Mascarille (I. ii)
[For my part, in her conversation as well as in her countenance, I see evidence of her noble birth. I believe that Heaven has concealed a lofty origin beneath such a lowly station.]
Lélie to Mascarille (I. 2, p. 10).

When Lélie and Mascarille go to Trufaldin’s house to know their fortune and be certain Célie’s feelings are compatible with Lélie’s, Célie reassures Lélie, saying, however, that her heart has not hurt anyone:

Mon cœur, qu’avec raison votre discours étonne,/ N’entend pas que mes yeux fassent mal à personne;/ Et si dans quelque chose, ils vous ont outragé,/ Je puis vous assurer que c’est sans mon congé.
Célie à Lélie (I. iii)
[My heart, which has good reason to be astonished
at your speech, does not wish my eyes to injure any one;
if they have offended you in anything, I can assure you I did not intend it.]
Célie to Lélie (I. iii, p. 12)

When Trufaldin realizes that Célie is outdoors, he tells her that she is not allowed to leave the house. She comments that a long time ago, she knew this fine man, suggesting a life gone bye: autrefois (in the past).

Autrefois j’ai connu cet honnête garçon ;
130 Et vous n’avez pas lieu d’en prendre aucun soupçon.
Célie à Trufaldin (I. iv)
[I was once acquainted with this respectable young man; You have no reason to be suspicious of him.]
Célie to Trufaldin (I. iv, p. 12)

Moreover, there is a ring.

Cette bague connue,
Vous dira le sujet qui cause ma venue.
Mascarille à Trufaldin (II. ix)
[This ring, which you know, will inform you what business brings me hither.]
Mascarille to Trufaldin (II. 2, p. 12)

This is the ring he is to take to Nérine as a token of Anselme’s love.

Et l’on m’a mis en main une bague à la mode,/ Q’après vous payerez si cela l’accommode.
Mascarille à Anselme (I. iii, v. 254)
[No, there is no need of your money ; without troubling yourself, I will make her a present ; a fashionable ring has been left in my hands, which you may pay for afterwards, if it fits her.]
Mascarille to Anselme (I. 6, p. 16)

Lélie has a courier bring a letter in which a Spanish nobleman states that he is travelling to take his daughter back to Spain. Although Mascarille has the ring, Trufaldin believes the courier. There is a past, an autrefois.

The Visit to Trufaldin’s

In Act Four, Scene One, Mascarille tells Lélie, as much as he knows about Zanobio Ruberti. He and Lélie will have dinner with Trufaldin and Célie. As the image at the top of this post reveals, Lélie is disguised as an Armenian. He has to learn a role, but Lélie doesn’t think he needs tutoring.

Ces répétitions ne sont que superflues;/ Dès l’abord mon esprit a compris tout le fait.
Lélie à Mascarille (IV. i)
[These repetitions are superfluous. From the very beginning I understood it all.]
Lélie to Mascarille (IV. 1, p. 50)

They aren’t. Lélie cannot remember that he parted with Trufaldin’s son in Tunis. He says Turin. Consequently, Trufaldin knows Lélie has not met his son. This “comedy” incurs Trufaldin’s wrath because it is cruel. Moreover, Lélie cannot keep his eyes from admiring Célie and in the process, he pays no attention to Trufaldin’s niece Jeannette. This is yet another blunder. Therefore, Trufaldin has a stick made from an old oak tree. Lélie will be beaten and Mascarille joins in to keep his cover. Others must believe he is a friend.

We skip Scene Three because we have read Anselme on Love (4).

Blunders or Fate

In Scene Four, Lélie states that love misguides him and that Mascarille doesn’t know its force:

Qu’il est aisé de condamner des choses/ Dont tu ne ressens point les agréables causes!/ Je veux  bien néanmoins, pour te plaire une fois,/ Faire force à l’amour qui m’impose ses lois./ Désormais…
Lélie à Mascarille (IV. iv)
[Lack-a day! how easy it is for you to condemn things of which you do not feel the enchanting cause. In order to humour you for once I have, nevertheless, a good mind to put a restraint upon that love which sways me.
Henceforth . . .]
Lélie to Mascarille (IV. 5)

Lélie also feels that his fate is cruel.

Faut-il que le malheur qui me suit à la trace/ Me fasse voir toujours disgrâce sur disgrâce.
Lélie, seul (IV. vi, v. 1635)
[Will ill-luck always follow me, and heap upon me one misfortune after another?]
Lélie, alone (IV. 8, p. 58)

A Second Rival: Andrès

In Scene Seven, Ergaste tells Mascarille that a young man, an Egyptian whose skin is white and seems prosperous, and an old woman have arrived.

À l’heure que je parle, un jeune Égyptien,/ Qui n’est pas noir pourtant, et sent assez son bien,/ Arrive, accompagné d’une vieille fort hâve,/ Et vient chez Trufaldin racheter cette esclave/ Que vous vouliez; pour elle il paraît fort zélé.
Ergaste à Mascarille (IV.  vii)
[At the very moment I am talking to you, a young gipsy, who nevertheless is no black, and looks like a gentleman, has arrived with a very wan-looking old woman, and is to call upon Trufaldin to purchase the slave you wished to redeem. He seems to be very anxious to get possession of her.]
Ergaste to Mascarille (IV. 9, p. 59)

Lélie blundered, but destiny is unkind to both Lélie and Mascarille.

Lorsqu’un rival s’éloigne, un autre plus funeste/ S’en revient enlever tout l’espoir qui nous reste.
Mascarille à Ergaste (IV. vii)
[As soon as one rival withdraws, another and a more dangerous one starts up to destroy what little hope there was left. However, by a wonderful stratagem, I believe I shall be as left.]
Mascarille to Ergaste (IV. 9, p. 59)

Yet Mascarille comes up with a new stratagem. There has been a theft, so he will bribe some officers who will imprison all gypsies, including Andrès.

1665 Il s’est fait un grand vol, par qui, l’on n’en sait rien;/ Eux autres rarement passent pour gens de bien:/ Je veux adroitement sur un soupçon frivole,/ Faire pour quelques jours emprisonner ce drôle;/ Je sais des officiers de justice altérés …
Mascarille à Ergaste (IV. vii, v 1663-)
[A great robbery has lately been committed, by whom, nobody knows. These gipsies have not generally the reputation of being very honest; upon this slight suspicion, I will cleverly get the fellow imprisoned for a few days. I know some officers of justice, open to a bribe, who will not hesitate on such an occasion ; greedy and expecting some present, there is nothing they will not attempt with their eyes shut; be the accused ever so innocent, the purse is always criminal, and must pay for the offence.]
Mascarille to Ergaste (IV. 9. p. 60)

This stratagem could have worked, but Lélie will not let anyone imprison a “respectable” man. Andrès is not a gypsy.

Par les soins vigilants de l’exempt balafré,/ Ton affaire allait bien, le drôle était coffré,/ Si ton maître au moment ne fût venu lui-même,/ 1680 En vrai désespéré rompre ton stratagème: «Je ne saurais souffrir, a-t-il dit hautement,/ Qu’un honnête homme soit traîné honteusement;/ J’en réponds sur sa mine, et je le cautionne»:/ Et comme on résistait à lâcher sa personne,/ 1685 D’abord il a chargé si bien sur les recors,/ Qui sont gens d’ordinaire à craindre pour leurs corps,/ Qu’à l’heure que je parle ils sont encore en fuite,/ Et pensent tous avoir un Lélie à leur suite.
Ergaste à Mascarille (V.I, v. 1677-)
[The constable took great care everything was going on smoothly; the fellow would have been in jail, had not your master come up that very moment, and, like a madman spoiled your plot. “I cannot suffer,” says he in a loud voice, “that a respectable man should be dragged to prison in this disgraceful manner; I will be responsible for him, from his very looks, and will be his bail.”]
Ergaste to Mascarille (V.I, p. 60)

Andrès buys Célie, who once loved him, and is about to take her away. She persuades Andrès to defer their trip because she has a violent headache and would like to rest until it has abated. Mascarille quickly turns himself into a Swiss who can rent a house he has quickly transformed into an inn by posting a sign. Mascarille once planned to take Célie to the same house while Léandre negotiated marrying Célie with his father.

This stratagem may also have worked, but enters Lélie who learns from Andrès that he has bought Célie who is resting in a house that belongs to Lélie’s father and is looked after by Mascarille. He believes Andrès will let him marry Célie, but Andrès has other plans.

The Anagnorisis

At this point, nothing can be done. The laws of comedy, its formulaic happy ending, and the hand of destiny must rescue Lélie.

In Scene Five, Lélie asks Mascarille to shed his disguise. He thinks matters have been dealt with. We revisit Act One, Scene Four where Lélie believes that all that remains to be done is negotiating the price that will allow him to marry Célie. Similarly, five acts later, Lélie believes Andrès will let him marry the woman he loves: Célie. He doesn’t know how to thank Andrès who tells him not to thanks him.

Non, ne m’en [remerciements] faites point, je n’en veux nullement.
Andrès à Lélie (V.iv, v. 1806)
[No, give me none ; I will have none.]
Andrès to Lélie (V. 6, p. 164)

In Scene Five, speaks about his success to Mascarille. He is proud.

J’aurai c’est honneur d’avoir fini l’ouvrage.
Lélie à Mascarille (V.v, v. 1835)
Soit; vous aurez été bien plus heureux que sage.
Mascarille à Lélie (V.v, v. 1836)

[… mine will be the honour of having finished the work.]
Lélie to Mascarille (V. 9, p. 65)
[You have been more lucky than wise.]
Mascarille to Lélie (V. 9, p. 65)

In Scene Six, Andrès says that he will not give Célie to Lélie

1841 Mais enfin, ce bienfait aurait trop de rigueur,
S’il fallait le payer aux dépens de mon cœur ;
Jugez, dans le transport où sa beauté me jette
Si je dois à ce prix vous acquitter ma dette …

Andrès à Lélie (
[… but this kindness would be too dearly bought were I to repay it at the expense of my heart. Judge, by the rapture her beauty causes me, whether I ought to discharge my debt to you at such a price.]
Andrès to Lélie (V. 9, p. 65)


  • Hippolyte and Célie
  • the gypsies fighting: good and bad
  • the Egyptian woman recognizes Zanobio Ruberti, Célie’s real father
  • Andrès has also found his father: Zanobio Ruberti

Hippolyte has joined the group. She tells Célie that her beauty has stolen hearts. She has lost Léandre.  She can tell, however, the “irresistible sway of your [Célie’s] charms.” She does not begrudge Célie. In fact, she has not lost Léandre. It is Célie who has lost Lélie.

The moment we have awaited has come.  Mascarille tells in a récit that a bad gypsy had taken Célie from her. These two gypsy women have just had a terrible fight. One was the woman who stole Célie and the other, the good gypsy, or the woman who has been looking for Zanobio Ruberti and finds him:

« C’est vous, si quelque erreur n’abuse ici mes yeux,/ Qu’on m’a dit qui viviez inconnu dans ces lieux»,/ A-t-elle dit tout haut, « ô! rencontre opportune!/ 1960 Oui, seigneur Zanobio Ruberti, la fortune/ Me fait vous reconnaître
Votre femme, je crois, conçut tant de douleur,/ Que cela servit fort pour avancer sa vie:/ Si bien qu’entre mes mains cette fille ravie,/ Me faisant redouter un reproche fâcheux,/ Je vous fis annoncer la mort de toutes deux:/…
1975 Mais il faut maintenant, puisque je l’ai connue,/ Qu’elle fasse savoir ce qu’elle est devenue ; Au nom de Zanobio Ruberti, que sa voix…
Mascarille/l’Égyptienne (V.ix, v. 1955- )
[“It is you, unless my sight misgives me, who, I was informed, lived privately in this town; most happy meeting! Yes, Signer Zanobio Ruberti, fortune made me find you out at the very moment I was giving myself so much trouble for your sake.”
but now, as I have found out the thief, she must tell us what has become of your child.”]
Mascarille/l’Égyptienne (V. 14)

Hearing Trufaldin’s real name, Andrès realizes that Trufaldin is Zanobio Ruberti and tells him that he has found his father.

Au nom de Zanobio Ruberti, que sa voix …
[At the name of Zanobio Ruberti …]

1983 Oui, mon père, je suis Horace votre fils,/ D’Albert qui me gardait les jours étant finis,/ Me sentant naître au cœur d’autres inquiétudes/ Je sortis de Bologne, et quittant mes études,/Portai durant six ans mes pas en divers lieux,/ Selon que me poussait un désir curieux …
Andrès à Trufaldin (V. ix, v. 1983 – )
[I am Horatio, your son; my tutor, Albert, having died, I felt anew certain uneasiness in my mind, left Bologna, and abandoning my studies, wandered about for six years in different places, according as my curiosity led me.]
Andrès à Trufaldin(V. 14, p. 68)

The Consequences: marriages

Enfin, pour retrancher ce que plus à loisir,/ Vous aurez le moyen de vous faire éclaircir,/ Par la confession de votre Égyptienne,/ Trufaldin maintenant vous reconnaît pour sienne; / 2005 Andrès est votre frère; et comme de sa sœur/ Il ne peut plus songer à se voir possesseur,/ Une obligation qu’il prétend reconnaître,/ A fait qu’il vous obtient pour épouse à mon maître;/ Dont le père témoin de tout l’événement,/ 2010 Donne à cette hyménée un plein consentement …
Mascarille, surtout (V.ix)
[… in one word (to tell you shortly that which you will have an opportunity of learning afterwards more at your leisure, from the confession of the old gipsywoman), Trufaldin owns you (to Celia) now for his daughter; Andres is your brother; and as he can no longer think of marrying his sister, and as he acknowledges he is under some obligation to my master, Lelio, he has obtained for him your hand. Pandolphus being present at this discovery, gives his full consent to the marriage; and to complete the happiness of the family, proposes that the newly-found Horatio should marry his daughter. See how many incidents are produced at one and the same time!
Mascarille, mostly (V. 14, p. 68)

Lélie will marry Célie. As for his rival Léandre, he apologizes to Hippolyte who crave[s] “nothing but a generous pardon.” As for Andrès/Horatio, he cannot marry his sister. He embraces Lélie. But Mascarille is empty-handed…

His own enemy …

Yes, Lélie crosses Mascarille’s stratagems, but fate plays a role in these failed attempts…  So does virtue. Lélie returns his purse to Anselme, and does so spontaneously. Célie is his own enemy. For instance, when a courier prevents Mascarille, not Léandre, from purchasing Célie, can Lélie tell that the purchaser is Mascarille. Lélie realizes that he is his own enemy, but Mascarille forgives quickly and uses another ruse. Lélie does brandish a sword, only to drop it. But Mascarille stops him:

Fût-il jamais au monde un esprit moins sensé!
Mascarille (III.iv, v. 1053)
Was there ever in the world a creature so dull of understanding?
Mascarille ( III. 4, p. 41)

Ancient roots: killing Pandolfe

  • virtue and virtuosity
  • “killing” Pandolfe: atavistic

As in other Molière plays, the threat to the marriage of the young lovers stems from within and, to a significant extent, from a conflict between virtue and virtuosity, or the immunity given the trickster. Mascarille’s stratagems are morally questionable. After killing Pandolfe, he fears Pandolfe. He therefore asks Lélie to make sure he and his father are reconciled. Comedy is rooted in ancient rituals which at times included the killing of an old king. The longest night called for a renewal. Pandolfe is not killed, but it could be said that l’Étourdi is somewhat atavistic, despite the two marriages of its dénouement.

In The Blunderer, the young lover and his valet are separate figures who seem to negate one another. However, one can foresee the juxtaposition in one character of the Lélie who will not accept that Célie be looked upon as a loose woman, and Mascarille who does whatever is needed to bring out the marriage(s) of the dénouement. Lélie inhabits a literal world, where the end does not justify the means, which it does for Mascarille. Mascarille calls himself virtuous, which he is, but upside down. He is a virtuoso among virtuosi, but a marriage there cannot be despite his finest stratagems. Hence, the arrival of Andrès and the old Égyptienne who recognizes and names Zanobio Ruberti, or the anagnorisis.


Sources and Resources



Cornford, Francis MacDonald, with Notes by Theodor H. Gaster, The Origin of Attic Comedy, A Double Day Anchor Book, 1961 [1914].
Sir James Frazer, The Golden Bough, 1891.
Frye, Northrop, Anatomy of Criticism, Princeton University Press, 1957.
Gilbert  Murray … scholar proponent of English as an international language.

Love to everyone 💕


Study for L’Étourdi by François Boucher (Catalogue Gazette Drouot)

© Micheline Walker
8 April 2020

Chronicling Covid-19 (5) Self-Help


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For those of you who feel helpless, here are ways of protecting yourself:

  • washing your hands
  • self-isolating
  • self-distancing (two meters: six to seven feet)
  • keeping the kitchen counters disinfected
  • keeping the toilet lid down
  • no travelling

I hope the military, or related force, will be deployed to keep people at a distance when they shop for the necessities. They must wear protective gear. There have been nasty incidents that have led to stiff fines and may lead to imprisonment. If you do not have money, you should not be expected to pay, but be honest. Governments can deal with this problem. You will probably get money soon. It starts today in Canada.

The military or related force could make sure these measures are enforced immediately. The nice thing about the military or related force is that they can also be your go-to persons.

I wish you well.

My love to everyone💕

Stjefan HauserSchubert’s Ave Maria

Boucher - Bergere

Bergère par François Boucher

© Micheline Walker
6 April 2020







Chronicling Covid-19 (4)


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The angel of death striking a door during the plague of Rome; engraving by Levasseur after Jules-Elie Delaunay

The angel of death striking a door during the plague of Rome; engraving by Levasseur after Jules-Elie Delaunay (Wikipedia)


Denial is our worst enemy. I saw the people of my building flaunting so many rules (consignes) that they should have been penalized. I wrote emails to the Committee managing this building to report dangerous interaction.

However, I did not write that the dangerous interaction I witnessed was in violation of rules put into place by authorities. But, my star fell. I was no longer the quiet person who had purchased an apartment in the building, but someone who would not let her neighbours huddle by the mailboxes, in violation of the rules put into place to protect the citizens of Quebec.

It’s quite simple. The only outings that are allowed are trips to the grocery store and the pharmacy. One cannot touch the money one gives to the pharmacy’s delivery man. Mail is delivered, but parcels are not signed by recipients. Distancing has its rules. One cannot go out to walk the dog.

But what about leaders elsewhere? We know that it took a long time for President Trump to realize that the danger was real and imminent. Not in the United States! Yet, I wonder to what extent he would have been believed had he mobilized the authorities at the end of January. The highways remain busy. I hope these people are driving home. It took a long time for President Trump to suggest self-isolation. He may have thought that the United States was a “free” country and that as President, he had to comfort Americans.

People are now throwing stones at Mr Trump for looking upon the coronavirus as no more than the yearly flu. However, had he closed the country down, would citizens of a “free” country have taken him seriously? I don’t think so. There are exceptionally dutiful Americans. They died on both fronts, the Atlantic and the Pacific, during World War II. Had the President closed the country, he may well have been deemed “un-American” by the very persons who elected him to the Presidency of their country?

Yes, President Trump reassured everyone. This will go come April. His attitude did not differ much from the attitude of my neighbours who didn’t “believe in” the coronavirus and would have agreed with Mr Trump that come April, etc… But I jumped like a lioness. Yet, I don’t think I would point a guilty finger at “sinners.” Nor would I pronounce the  President of the United States guilty of a genocide. It’s a pandemic.

The government of China reprimanded the whistle-blower, Dr Li Wenliang. Many Quebecers went to Florida and other sunny destinations several days after I had gone into self-isolation.

Is now the time to throw stones? Not quite. Now is the time when one does not leave one’s house or apartment, except to get food and medication, wearing protective gear. Now is the time when industries produce whatever doctors, nurses require as rapidly as they produce weapons.

I live in the most defiant province of Canada, but the management of this building has now issued consignes, rules, that could prevent hundreds of death were they respected everywhere. I said to a member of the managing committee of this building that I understood my neighbours. They are asked to live upside down. A few weeks ago, they could greet one another and hug when they picked up their mail. They could also exercise in the pool, but all these rooms are closed. My star rose.


Denial is strange. It is as though one believed, yet did not believe at the same time. It’s a defense mechanism. Yet, would that Mr Trump had seen what was going in Wuhan!

One of my nieces so wanted to go to Cuba with her husband and two children.  She postponed the trip by a year. Another niece cancelled a trip to Disneyland. Is anything real?

President Trump did take a long time to understand what to him was incomprehensible. Capt. Brett Crozier was dismissed because he disclosed the manner in which coronavirus was managed aboard his ship.

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus died of the plague, the Antonine Plague, Antonine after his complete name.

Sources and Resources

Past Pandemics that Ravaged Europe (BBC.UK)

Love to everyone 💕

Medieval illustration of the Black Death

The bubonic plague killed an estimated 137 million worldwide (BBC.UK)

© Micheline Walker
5 April 2020