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Enter HEGIO and GETA, conversing, at a distance.
Oh immortal Gods! a disgraceful action, Geta! What is it you tell me? GETA
Such is the fact. HEGIO
That so ignoble a deed should come from that family! Oh Aeschinus, assuredly you haven't taken after your father in that ! DEMEA
apart. Why surely, he has heard this about the Music-girl; that gives him concern, though a stranger; this father of his thinks nothing of it. Ah me! I wish he were somewhere close at hand to overhear this. HEGIO
Unless they do as they ought to do, they shall not come off so easily. GETA
All our hopes, Hegio, are centred in you; you we have for our only friend; you are our protector, our father. The old man, Simulus, when dying, recommended us to you; if you forsake us, we are undone. HEGIO
Beware how you mention that; I neither will do it, nor do I think that, with due regard to the ties of relationship, I could. DEMEA
apart. I'll accost him. Approaches HEGIO. Hegio, I bid you welcome right heartily; HEGIO
starting. Oh! you are the very man I was looking for. Greetings to you, Demea. DEMEA
Why, what's the matter? HEGIO
Your eldest son Aeschinus, whom you gave to your brother to adopt, has been acting the part of neither an honest man nor a gentleman. DEMEA
What has he been doing? HEGIO
You knew my friend and year's-mate, Simulus? DEMEA
Why not? HEGIO
He has debauched his daughter, a virgin. DEMEA
Stay, Demea. You have not yet heard the worst. DEMEA
Is there any thing still worse? HEGIO
Worse, by far: for this indeed might in some measure have been borne with. The hour of night prompted him; passion, wine, young blood; 'tis human nature. When he was sensible of what he had done, he came voluntarily to the girl's mother, weeping, praying, entreating, pledging his honor, vowing that he would take her home. 1 The affair was pardoned, hushed up, his word taken. The girl from that intercourse became pregnant: this is the tenth month. He, worthy fellow, has provided himself, if it please the Gods, with a Music-girl to live with; the other he has cast off. DEMEA
Do you say this for certain? HEGIO
The mother of the young woman is among us, 2 the young woman too; the fact speaks for itself; this Geta, besides, according to the common run of servants, not a bad one or of idle habits; he supports them; alone, maintains the whole family; take him, bind him, 3 examine him upon the matter. GETA
Aye, faith, put me to the torture, Demea, if such is not the fact: besides, he will not deny it. Confront me with him. DEMEA
aside. I am ashamed; and what to do, or how to answer him, I don't know. PAMPHILA
crying out within the house of SOSTRATA. Ah me! I am racked with pains! Juno Lucina, 4 bring aid, save me, I beseech thee. HEGIO
Hold; is she in labor, pray? GETA
No doubt of it, Hegio. HEGIO
Ah! she is now imploring your protection, Demea; let her obtain from you spontaneously what the power of the law compels you to give. I do entreat the Gods that what befits you may at once be clone. But if your sentiments are otherwise, Demea, I will defend both them and him who is dead to the utmost of my power. He was my kinsman: 5 we were brought up together from children, we were companions in the wars and at home, together we experienced the hardships of poverty. I will therefore exert myself, strive, use all methods, in fine lay down my life, rather than forsake these women. What answer do you give me? DEMEA
I'll go find my brother, Hegio: the advice he gives me upon this matter I'll follow. 6 HEGIO
But, Demea, take you care and reflect upon this: the more easy you are in your circumstances, the more powerful, wealthy, affluent, and noble you are, so much the more ought you with equanimity to observe the dictates of justice, if you would have yourselves esteemed as men of probity. DEMEA
Go back now; 7 every thing shall be done that is proper to be done. HEGIO
It becomes you to act thus. Geta, show me in to Sostrata. Follows GETA into SOSTRATA'S house. DEMEA
to himself. Not without warning on my part have these things happened: I only wish it may end here; but this immoderate indulgence will undoubtedly lead to some great misfortune. I'll go find my brother, and vent these feelings upon him. (Exit.)
1 Would take her home: As his wife.
3 Take him, bind him.: In allusion to the method of examining slaves, by binding and torturing them.
5 He was my kinsman: In the Play of Menander, Hegio was the brother of Sostrata.
6 Upon this matter I'll follow: "Is, quod mihi de hac re dederat consilium, id sequar." Colman has the following Noto on this passage: "Madame Dacier rejects this line, because it is also: to be found in the Phormio. But it is no uncommon thing with our author to use the same expression or verse for different places, especially on familiar occasions. There is no impropriety in it here, and the foregoing hemistich is rather lame without it. The propriety of consulting Micio, or Demea's present ill-humor with him, are of no consequence. The old man is surprised at Hegio's story, does not know what to do or say, and means to evade giving a positive answer, by saying that he would consult his brother."
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