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Enter AMPHITRYON and SOSIA, at the end of the stage.

AMPH.
Come, do you follow after me.

SOSIA
I'm following; I'm following close after you.

AMPH.
I think that you are the veriest rogue----

SOSIA
But for what reason?

AMPH.
Because that which neither is, nor ever was, nor will be, you declare to me.

SOSIA
Look at that; you are now acting according to your usual fashion, to be putting no trust in your servants.

AMPH.
Why is it so? For what reason? Surely now, by the powers, I'll cut out that villanous tongue of yours, you villain.

SOSIA
I am yours; do each thing just as it is agreable and as it pleases you. Still you never can, by any method, hinder me from saying these things just as they took place here.

AMPH.
You consummate villain, do you dare tell me this, that you are now at home, who are here present?

SOSIA
I speak the truth.

AMPH.
A mishap shall the Gods send upon you, and I this day will send it as well.

SOSIA
That's in your power, for I am your property.

AMPH.
Do you dare, you whip-scoundrel, to play your tricks with me, your master? Do you dare affirm that which no person ever yet before this has seen, and which cannot possibly happen, for the same man to be in two places together at the same time?

SOSIA
Undoubtedly, such as I say is the fact.

AMPH.
May Jupiter confound you!

SOSIA
What evil, master, have I been deemed deserving of in your service?

AMPH.
Do you ask me, you rogue, who are even making sport of me?

SOSIA
With reason might you curse me, if it had not so happened. But I tell no lie, and I speak as the thing really did happen.

AMPH.
This fellow's drunk, as I imagine.

SOSIA
What, I?

AMPH.
Yes--you there.

SOSIA
I wish I were so.

AMPH.
You are wishing for that which is fact; where have you been drinking?

SOSIA
Nowhere, indeed.

AMPH.
What is this, that is the matter with the fellow?

SOSIA
Really I have told you ten times over. I am both at home now, I say (do you mark me?), and I, Sosia, am with you likewise. Don't I appear, master, to have told you quite distinctly, and quite circumstantially, that this is so.

AMPH.
Avaunt, get away with you from me.

SOSIA
What's the matter?

AMPH.
A pestilence possesses you.

SOSIA
But why do you say so to me? I really am quite well and in perfect health, Amphitryon.

AMPH.
But I'll make you this very day, just as you have deserved, not to be quite so well, and to be miserable instead of your perfect health, if I return home. Follow me, you who in this fashion are making sport of your master with your crack-brained talk; you, who, since you have neglected to perform what your master ordered, are now come even of your own accord to laugh at your master. Things which neither can happen, and which no one ever yet heard of in talk, you are telling of, you villain; on your back I'll take care and make those lies to tell this very day.

SOSIA
Amphitryon, this is the most wretched of wretchedness to a good servant, who is telling the truth to his master, if that same truth is overpowered by violence.

AMPH.
Discuss it with me by proofs. Why, how the plague can such a thing happen, for you now to be both here and at home? That I want to be told.

SOSIA
I really am both here and there; this any person has a right to wonder at; nor, Amphitryon, does this seem more. strange to you than to myself.

AMPH.
In what way?

SOSIA
In no degree, I say, is this more strange to you than to myself; nor, so may the Deities love me, did I at first credit Sosia--me myself, until that Sosia, I myself, made me to believe me myself. In order did he relate everything, as each thing came to pass, when we sojourned with the enemy; and then besides, he has carried off my figure together with my name. Not even is milk more like to milk than is that I myself like to me myself. For when some time since, before daybreak, you sent me from the harbour home before you----

AMPH.
What then?

SOSIA
I had been standing a long time at the door before I had got there.

AMPH.
Plague on it, what nonsense! Are you quite in your senses?

SOSIA
I'm just as you see me.

AMPH.
Some mischief, I know not what, has befallen this fellow from an evil hand1 since he left me.

SOSIA
I confess it; for I have been most shockingly bruised with his fists.

AMPH.
Who has been beating you?

SOSIA
I myself, who am now at home, beat me myself.

AMPH.
Take you care to say nothing but what I shall ask you. Now, do you answer me. First of all, who this Sosia is, of that I want to be informed.

SOSIA
He is your servant.

AMPH.
Really I have even more than I desire by your own one self. Never, too, since I was born, had I a servant Sosia besides yourself.

SOSIA
But now, Amphitryon, I say this; I'll make you, I say, on your arrival, meet with another Sosia at home, a servant of yours, besides myself, a son of Davus, the same father with myself, of figure and age as well just like myself. What need is there of words? This Sosia of yours is become twofold.

AMPH.
You talk of things extremely wonderful. But did you see my wife?

SOSIA
Nay, but it was never allowed me to go in-doors into the house.

AMPH.
Who hindered you?

SOSIA
This Sosia, whom I was just now telling of, he who thumped me.

AMPH.
Who is this Sosia?

SOSIA
Myself, I say; how often must it be told you?

AMPH.
But how say you? Have you been sleeping the while?

SOSIA
Not the slightest in the world.

AMPH.
Then, perhaps, you might perchance have seen some Sosia in your dreams.

SOSIA
I am not in the habit of performing the orders of my master in a sleepy fashion. Awake I saw him, awake I now see you, awake I am talking, awake did he, a little while since, thump me about with his fists.

AMPH.
What person did so?

SOSIA
Sosia, that I myself,--he, I say. Prithee, don't you understand?

AMPH.
How, the plague, can any one possibly understand? You are jabbering such nonsense.

SOSIA
But you'll know him shortly.

AMPH.
Whom?

SOSIA
You'll know this servant Sosia.

AMPH.
Follow me this way, then; for it is necessary for me first to enquire into this. But take care that all the things that I ordered are now brought from the ship.

SOSIA
I am both mindful and diligent that what you order shall be performed; together with the wine, I have not drunk up your commands.

AMPH.
May the Gods grant, that, in the event, what you have said may prove untrue. They stand apart.

1 An evil hand: " Malâ manu." In this line these words relate to sorcery or enchantment, probably through spells, in which the hand was employed. Sosia takes the opportunity of punning, by understanding the words in their literal sense. " Evil hand," indeed, he says, "when I have been almost mauled to death with fists."

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