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[161] Vix tenui risum. The reader may perhaps be shocked at this behaviour of Helen upon her husband's going to Crete. The concessions she has hitherto made, have been accompanied with an air of modesty and reserve. She would rather have them ascribed to pity and tenderness, than to any loose inclination. Here, on the other hand, she seems to own, that even before her husband's departure, she had not only received favorable impressions of Paris, but determined to grant him all without reserve; and had gone so far, as to ridicule Menelaus, and despise him, for his easy simple credulity. But this must be understood with some softenings: it is plain, from her manner of relating it, that she wished for his absence; but her smiling at his committing the Trojan guest to her care, might not proceed so much from contempt, as her own consciousness that she was fully disposed to obey his commands, and a certain pleasure she might take in perceiving he had no suspicion of their private. designs.

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