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Enter ACROPOLISTIS from the house.
Why is it, father, that you have called me out before the house? PERIPHIANES
That you may see and accost your mother, and wish her health on her arrival, and give her kisses. ACROPOLISTIS
looking about . What mother of mine? PERIPHIANES
pointing to PHILIPPA . She who, half dead, is following your gaze. PHILIPPA
Who is this that you are requesting to kiss me? PERIPHIANES
Your own daughter. PHILIPPA
What, she? PERIPHIANES
What--am I to kiss her? PERIPHIANES
Why not, her who was born of you? PHILIPPA
Man, you are mad. PERIPHIANES
What, I? PHILIPPA
Yes, you. PERT.
Because this woman--I neither know nor understand who she is, nor have I beheld her with my eyes before this day. PERIPHIANES
I know why you are mistaken; because this woman has her dress and ornaments changed. PHILIPPA
Puppies have one smell1, pigs quite another; I say that I do not know her, who she is. PERIPHIANES
stamping with rage . Oh! by our trust in Gods and men, what is this? Am I following the calling of a Procurer, to be keeping strange women in my house, and to be emptying my house of my money? To ACROPOLISTIS. What are you to be calling me your father and kissing me? Why stand you stupidly there? Why do you keep silent? ACROPOLISTIS
What do you want me to say? PERIPHIANES
pointing to PHILIPPA . She denies that she is your mother. ACROPOLISTIS
Don't let her be so, if she don't choose. For my own part, whether she likes it or not, I shall be my mother's daughter still. It isn't right for me to compel this woman to be my mother if she doesn't like. PERIPHIANES
Why then did you call me father? ACROPOLISTIS
That is your own fault, not mine; ought I not to call you father when you call me daughter? Her too, as well pointing to PHILIPPA if she were to call me daughter, I should call mother. She declares that I am not her daughter; then she is not my mother. In fine, this is no fault of mine; what I've been taught, I've told you all of it. Epidicus was my instructor. PERIPHIANES
I'm undone! I've upset my waggon2! ACROPOLISTIS
Have I done anything amiss towards that? PERIPHIANES
Upon my faith, if I ever hear you call me father, I'll put an end to your life, you jade! ACROPOLISTIS
I shan't call you so. When you want to be my father, then be so; when you don't want, don't be my father. PHILIPPA
to PERIPHANES . What? Did you purchase her for that reason, because you supposed her to be your daughter? By what signs did you recognize her? PERIPHIANES
By none. PHILIPPA
Why did you suppose her to be our daughter? PERIPHIANES
My servant Epidicus told me so. PHILIPPA
What if it had seemed to your servant otherwise? Prithee, could you not have known? PERIPHIANES
How should I, who had never seen her after having once beheld her. PHILIPPA
Wretched creature, I'm quite undone! Begins to weep. PERIPHIANES
Don't weep, madam; go in-doors; be of good courage; I'll find her out. PHILIPPA
An Attic citizen from Athens here purchased her Indeed, they said it was a young man who had bought her. PERIPHIANES
I will find her; hold your peace. Only do go in-doors, and keep an eye upon this Circe3, this daughter of the Sun. She goes into the house, followed by ACROPOLISTIS. All business laid aside, I'll give my attention to seeking for Epidicus. If I find him, I'll make this day become the final one for him. (Exit.)
1 Have one smell: She means that all animals have an instinct by which they recognize their own young.
2 I've upset my waggon: Evidently a proverbial expression borrowed from rustic life. "To upset a man's apple-cart," is used in cant phrase-ology in our day, as meaning to do a person a disservice.
3 Upon this Circe: He calls her a Circe, because she has laid a spell upon him, as it were by enchantments, for which Circe was famous. Perhaps, too, he calls her a daughter of the Sun, from his not knowing who her father really is, when he has so recently supposed himself to be so.
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