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Enter SYRUS, from the house.
It has been done as you ordered, Demea. DEMEA
You are a worthy fellow. Upon my faith,--in my opinion, at least,--I think Syrus ought at once to be made free. MICIO
He free! For what reason? DEMEA
For many. SYRUS
O my dear Demea! upon my word, you are a worthy man! I have strictly taken care of both these sons of yours, from childhood; I have taught, advised, and carefully instructed them in every thing I could. DEMEA
The thing is evident; and then, besides all this, to cater for them, secretly bring, home a wench, prepare a morning entertainment;1 these are the accomplishments of no ordinary person. SYRUS
O, what a delightful man ! DEMEA
Last of all, he assisted to-day in purchasing this Music-wench--he had the management of it; it is right he should be rewarded; other servants will be encouraged thereby: besides, he pointing to AESCHINUS desires it to be so. MICIO
to AESCHINUS. Do you desire this to be done? AESCHINUS
I do wish it. MICIO
Why then, if you desire it, just come hither, Syrus, to me performing the ceremony of manumission ; be a free man.2 SYRUS
You act generously; I return my thanks to you all;--and to you, Demea, in particular. DEMEA
I congratulate you. AESCHINUS
And I. SYRUS
I believe you. I wish that this joy were made complete--that I could see my wife, Phrygia,3 free as well. DEMEA
Really, a most excellent woman. SYRUS
And the first to suckle your grandchild, his son, today pointing to AESCHINUS . DEMEA
Why really, in seriousness, if she was the first to do so, there is no doubt she ought to be made free. MICIO
What, for doing that? DEMEA
For doing that; in fine, receive the amount from me4 at which she is valued. SYRUS
May all the Gods always grant you, Demea, all you desire. MICIO
Syrus, you have thrived pretty well to-day. DEMEA
If, in addition, Micio, you will do your duty, and lend him a little ready money in hand for present use, he will soon repay you. MICIO
Less than this snapping his fingers . AESCHINUS
He is a deserving fellow. SYRUS
Upon my word, I will repay it; only lend it me. AESCHINUS
Do, father. MICIO
I'll consider of it afterward. DEMEA
He'll do it, Syrus. SYRUS
O most worthy man ! AESCHINUS
O most kind-hearted father! MICIO
How is this? What has so suddenly changed your disposition, Demea? What caprice is this? What means this sudden liberality?5 DEMEA
I will tell you:--That I may convince you of this, Micio, that the fact that they consider you an easy and kind-hearted man, does not proceed from your real life, nor, indeed, from a regard for virtue and justice; but from your humoring, indulging, and pampering them. Now therefore, Aeschinus, if my mode of life has been displeasing to you, because I do not quite humor you in every thing, just or unjust, I have done: squander, buy, do what you please. But if you would rather have one to reprove and correct those faults, the results of which, by reason of your youth, you can not see, which you pursue too ardently, and are thoughtless upon, and in due season to direct you; behold me ready to do it for you. AESCHINUS
Father, we leave it to you; you best know what ought to be done. But what is to be done about my brother? DEMEA
I consent. Let him have his mistress:6 with her let him make an end of his follies. MICIO
That's right. To the AUDIENCE. Grant us your applause.
1 A morning entertainment: A banquet in the early part or middle of the day was considered by the Greeks a debauch.
2 Be a free man: He touches Syrus on the ear, and makes him free. The same occurs in the Epidicus of Plautus, Act V., Sc. 2, 1. 65.
3 My wife, Phrygia: The so-called marriage, or rather cohabitation, of the Roman slaves will be found treated upon in the Notes to Plautus. Syrus calls Phrygia his wife on anticipation that she will become a free woman.
4 Receive the amount from me: The only sign of generosity he has yet shown.
6 Let him have his mistress: It must be remembered that he has the notions of a Greek parent, and sees no such criminality in this sanction as a parent would be sensible of at the present day.
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