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Enter CALLICLES, attended by SLAVES, with his MAID-SERVANT and SYRA, bound.
to his SERVANT . Do I use ill language to you, or do I wish you so very ill? According to my ideas, you have both pretty well experienced how mild and gentle a person I am. I interrogated you both, as you were lashed and hanging up by the arms; I well remember it; the way in which you quite confessed each point, I know. Here now, I wish in the same way to learn; do you confess without a punishment. Although you are both of you of the serpent nature, I tell you beforehand, you mustn't be having double tongues, lest with your two tongues I should be putting you to death; unless, perhaps, you wish to be taken to the men who go clink, clink1. A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
Violence forces me to confess the truth; the thongs do so gall my arms. CALLICLES
But, if you confess the truth to me, you shall be relieved from the chains. DINARCHUS
apart . Even now, what's the matter, I'm at a loss to know and uncertain; except that still I'm afraid. SYRA
What I've done wrong I know not. CALLICLES
First of all, then, you stand apart. They stand apart. Aye, so; that's what I mean; that you mayn't be making signs between you, I'll be a party-wall. To his MAID-SERVANT. Speak you. A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
What am I to speak about? CALLICLES
What was done with the child that my daughter was delivered of? My grandchild, I mean? Tell me the circumstances of the case. A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
I gave it to her. Pointing to SYRA. CALLICLES
to the MAID-SERVANT . Now hold your tongue. To SYRA. Did you receive the child from her? SYRA
I did receive it. CALLICLES
to SYRA . Hold your tongue; I want no more; you've confessed enough. SYRA
I'm not going to deny it. CALLICLES
By this you've now caused some relief for your shoulder-blades. So far, the account of each of them tallies. DINARCHUS
apart . Ah wretched me! my doings are now being disclosed, which I hoped would be concealed. CALLICLES
to the MAID-SERVANT . Speak, you. Who bade you give the child to her? A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
My elder mistress. CALLICLES
to SYRA. . What say you? Why did you receive it? SYRA
My young mistress entreated me that the child might be brought, and that all this might remain secret. CALLICLES
to SYRA . Speak, you. What did you do with this child? SYRA
I took it to my mistress. CALLICLES
What did your mistress do with this child? SYRA
Gave it at once to my mistress. CALLICLES
Plague on it, to what mistress? A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
There are two of them. CALLICLES
to the MAID . Take you care, unless I ask you anything, only to answer that which I ask of you. SYRA
The mother, I say, made a present of it to the daughter. CALLICLES
You are saying more than you did just now. SYRA
You are asking more. CALLICLES
Answer me quickly; what did she do, to whom it was given? Tell me. SYRA
She passed it off as---- CALLICLES
As her own son. CALLICLES
As her own son? Ye Gods, by my trust in you I do appeal to you, how much more easily does another than she to whom it belongs, bring forth another's child! She, by the labours of another, has brought forth this child without pain. A child blest indeed! two mothers it has got, and grandams two2. I'm now afraid how many fathers there may have been. Do see, please, the shocking deeds of women! A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
I' troth, this fraud relates rather to the men than to the women. 'Twas a man, and not a woman, that caused her pregnancy. CALLICLES
I know that too. You were a trusty guardian for it. A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
He can do the most, who is strong the most. He was a man; he was the strongest; he prevailed; what he wanted, he carried off. CALLICLES
And, i' faith, he too brought a heavy mishap, in fact, upon yourself. A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
The thing itself experienced, I myself fully know that, even if you had held your tongue. CALLICLES
Never, this day, have I been able to made you declare who he was. A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
aside, on catching sight of DINARCHUS . I've held my tongue; but now I shan't hold my tongue, since he's here; it's necessary I should tell. DINARCHUS
apart . I'm petrified; in my wretchedness, I dare not move myself; the matter's all out! The trial's now going on here for my life! These are my misdeeds, this is my folly. I'm in dread how soon I may be named. CALLICLES
to the MAID-SERVANT . Speak out, who was it, debauched my maiden daughter? A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
I see him near you. CALLICLES
Hussy, who was it? A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
A supporter of the wall3. DINARCHUS
apart . I'm neither alive nor dead, nor know I what I am now to do; neither know I how to go away hence, nor how to accost him; I'm numbed with fear. CALLICLES
Will you tell me, or no? A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
It is Dinarchus, to whom you first betrothed her. CALLICLES
looking round . Where is this person whom you mention? DINARCHUS
stepping forward . Here I am, Callicles. Falling on the ground. By your knees I do entreat you that you will bear with wisdom that which was done in folly; and that you will pardon me that, which, losing my senses, I did through the bad influence of wine. CALLICLES
You please me not. You throw the blame on what is dumb4, that which cannot speak. But the wine, if it could speak, would defend itself. It's not wine that's in the habit of ruling men, but men wine; those, indeed, who are virtuous men; but he who is bad, although he drinks water, or if indeed he abstains from intoxicating liquors, still, by nature he's bad. DINARCHUS
Well, I'm sensible that many reproaches must be heard by me, which I would prefer not. I confess that I've offended you, and am privy to the crime. A MAID-SERVANT of Callicles.
Callicles, prithee beware that you do injury to no person; the accused is pleading his cause at large, the witnesses you are keeping in bonds. CALLICLES
to his SLAVES . Release those women. They are unbound. Come to each of them in turn , do you be off home, and you home as well. To SYRA. Tell your mistress this. she must give up the child, if any one asks for it. (SYRA goes into the house of PHRONESIUM, and exit the MAID-SERVANT.) You, Dinarchus, let's go before the judge. DINARCHUS
Why do you wish me to go before the judge? You are the Prætor to me. But I entreat of you, Callicles, that you'll give me your daughter for a wife. CALLICLES
I' faith, I find, indeed, that you've come to a decision on that point yourself; for you haven't waited till I gave her; you have helped yourself. Now keep her, as you've got her, but I'll fine you this grand haul; six great talents will I deduct from her dowry for this folly. DINARCHUS
You act kindly towards me. CALLICLES
'Twere best for you to demand your son back from thence. Pointing to the house of PHRONESIUM. But your wife, as soon as possible, take away from my house. I shall at once, therefore, send a messenger to that kinsman of mine by marriage, and tell him to look out for another match for his son. (Exit.) DINARCHUS
to himself . But I'll demand back the child of her, lest by-and-by she should deny it. That's of no use; for she herself, of her own accord, has discovered the whole matter to me, how it happened. But see, right opportunely, i' faith, is she coming out of doors from her house. Assuredly, a far-darting sting has that woman, who even from that distance is wounding my heart. Stands aside.
1 Men who go clink, clink: " Tintinnaculos." The executioners or torturers are so called, either from their putting fetters on the persons to be punished, or else from their fastening bells (tintinnabula) upon them, to prevent their running away.
2 And grandams two: Plautus must, of course, mean two grandmothers by the mother's side alone; otherwise there was nothing wonderful in a child having two grandmothers.
3 Supporter of the wall: Dinarchus, in his fright, is sneaking close to the wall. The servant espying him, sneeringly calls him "patronus parieti," "the patron" or "supporter of the wall."
4 On what is dumb: By throwing the blame on wine, that could not defend itself.
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