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Enter MENAECHMUS SOSICLES, with the mantle on.
I did very foolishly a while since, in entrusting my purse to Messenio with the money. I suspect he has got himself into some bad house1 or other. Enter the WIFE of Menaechmus of Epidamnus, from the house. THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I'll look out to see how soon my husband is going to return home. But here he is; I see him; I'm all right, he's bringing back the mantle. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
to himself . I wonder where Messenio can be walking now. THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I'll go and receive the fellow with such language as he deserves. Accosting him. Are you not ashamed to come forward in my presence, you disgraceful man, in that garb? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
What's the matter? What thing is troubling you, woman? THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Do you dare, you shameless fellow, to utter even a single word, or to speak to me? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Pray, what wrong have I committed, that I shouldn't dare to speak to you? THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Do you ask me? O dear, the impudent audacity of the fellow! MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Don't you know, madam, for what reason the Greeks used to say that Hecuba was a bitch2? THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I don't know, indeed. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Because Hecuba used to do the same thing that you are now doing. She used to heap all kinds of imprecations on every one she saw; and, therefore, for that reason she was properly begun to be called a bitch. THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I can't put up with this disgraceful conduct of yours; for I had rather see my life that of a widow, than endure this vile conduct of yours that you are guilty of. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
What is it to me, whether you are able to endure to live in the married state, or whether you will separate from your husband? Is it thus the fashion here to tell these stories to a stranger on his arrival? THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
What stories? I say, I'll not endure it henceforth, but live separate rather than put up with these ways. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Troth, so far indeed as I'm concerned, do live separate, even so long as Jupiter shall hold his sway. THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
By heavens, I'll certainly now send for my father, and I'll tell him your disgraceful conduct that you are guilty of. Go, Decio calling to a SERVANT , seek for my father, that he may come along with you to me; tell him that occasion has arisen for it. I'll. now disclose to him this disgraceful conduct of yours. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Are you in your senses? What disgraceful conduct of mine? THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
When you filch from home my mantle and gold trinkets, without the knowledge of your wife, and carry them off to your mistress. Don't I state this correctly? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
O dear! madam, by my faith, you are both very bold and very perverse. Do you dare to say pointing at the mantle that this was stolen from you which another woman gave me, for me to get it trimmed? THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
A little while since you didn't deny that you had purloined it from me; do you now hold up that same before my eyes? Are you not ashamed?MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
By my faith, madam, I entreat you, if you know, show me what I'm to drink3, by means of which I may put up with your impertinence. What person you are taking me to be, I don't know; I know you just as well as Parthaon4. THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
If you laugh at me, still, i' troth, you can't do so at him; my father, I mean, who's coming here. Why don't you look back? Do you know that person? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Just as well as Calchas5 do I know him; I have seen him on that same day on which I have seen yourself before this present day. THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Do you deny that you know me? Do you deny that you know my father? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Troth, I shall say the same thing, if you choose to bring your grandfather. THE WIFE OF MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I' faith, you do this and other things just in a like fashion.
2 Hecuba was a bitch: Hecuba was the daughter of Cisseus or of Dymas, and the wife of Priam, King of Troy. In the distribution of the spoil, after the siege of Troy, she fell to the share of Ulysses, and became his slave, but lied soon after in Thrace. Servius alleges, with Plautus, that the Greeks circulated the story of her transformation into a bitch, because she was perpetually railing at them to provoke them to put her to death, rather than condemn her to the life of a slave. According to Strabo and Pomponius Mela, in their time the place of her burial was still to be seen in Thrace. It was called κύνος σημά, "the Tomb of the bitch." Euripides, in his "Hecuba," has not followed this tradition, but represents her as complaining that the Greeks had chained her to the door of Agamemnon like a dog.
3 What I'm to drink: Some Commentators think that he is asking for a medical potion, to help him to swallow down the "petulantia," or insulting conduct. This supposition does not seem necessary, for even a draught of water would have the same effect in such a case.
4 As well as Parthaon: Parthaon was the father of Oeneus, King of Aetona, the father of Deianeira, the wife of Hercules. The name is used to signify a person who lived so long ago that it was impossible to know him.
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