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Enter CHREMES and SOSTRATA from the house.
Really, sir, if you don't take care, you'll be causing some mischief to your son; and indeed I do wonder at it, my husband, how anything so foolish could ever come into your head. CHREMES
Oh, you persist in being the woman? Did I ever wish for any one thing in all my life, Sostrata, but that you were my contradicter on that occasion? And yet if I were now to ask you what it is that I have done amiss, or why you act thus, you would not know in what point you are now so obstinately opposing me in your folly. SOSTRATA
I, not know? CHREMES
Yes, rather, I should have said you do know; inasmuch as either expression amounts to the same thing.1 SOSTRATA
Alas! you are unreasonable to expect me to be silent in a matter of such importance. CHREMES
I don't expect it; talk on then, I shall still do it not a bit the less. SOSTRATA
Will you do it? CHREMES
Don't you see how much evil you will be causing by that course?--He suspects himself to be a foundling. CHREMES
Do you say so? SOSTRATA
Assuredly it will be so. CHREMES
Admit it. SOSTRATA
Hold now--prithee, let that be for our enemies. Am I to admit that he is not my son who really is? CHREMES
What! are you afraid that you can not prove that he is yours, whenever you please? SOSTRATA
Because my daughter has been found?2 CHREMES
No; but for a reason why it should be much sooner believed--because he is just like you in disposition, you will easily prove that he is your child; for he is exactly like you; why, he has not a single vice left him but you have just the same. Then, besides, no woman could have been the mother of such a son but yourself. But he's coming out of doors, and how demure! When you understand the matter, you may form your own conclusions.
1 Amounts to the same thing: "Quam quidem redit ad integrum eadem oratio;" meaning, "it amounts to one and the same thing," or, "it is all the same thing," whether you do or whether you don't know.
2 Because my daughter has been found: This sentence has given much trouble to the Commentators. Colman has the following just remarks upon it: "Madame Dacier, as well as all the rest of the Commentators, has stuck at these words. Most of them imagine she means to say, that the discovery of Antiphila is a plain proof that she is not barren. Madame Dacier supposes that she intimates such a proof to be easy, because Clitipho and Antiphila were extremely alike; which sense she thinks immediately confirmed by the answer of Chremes. I can not agree with any of them, and think that the whole difficulty of the passage here, as in many other places, is entirely of their own making. Sostrata could not refer to the reply of Chremes, because she could not possibly tell what it would be; but her own speech is intended as an answer to his preceding one, which she takes as a sneer on her late wonderful discovery of a daughter; imagining that he means to insinuate that she could at any time with equal ease make out the proofs of the birth of her son. The elliptical mode of expression so usual with Terence, together with the refinements of Commentators, seem to have created all the obscurity."
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