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Enter PARMENO from the house of LACHES.
at the door, speaking to SCIRTUS within. If the old man should be asking for me, do you say that I have just gone to the harbor to inquire about the arrival of Pamphilus. Do you hear what I say, Scirtus? If he asks for me, then you are to say so; if he does not, why, say nothing at all; so that at another time I may be able to employ that excuse as a new one. Comes forward, and looking around. --But is it my dear Philotis that I see? How has she come here? Accosting her. Philotis heartily good-morrow. PHILOTIS
O, good-morrow, Parmeno, SYRA
By my troth, good-morrow, Parmeno. PARMENO
I' faith, Syra, the same to you. Philotis, tell me, where have you been enjoying yourself so long? PHILOTIS
For my part, indeed, I have been far from enjoying myself, in leaving this place for Corinth with a most brutal captain; for two whole years, there, had I to put up with him to my sorrow. PARMENO
I' troth, I fancy that regret for Athens full oft possessed you, and that you thought but poorly of your foresight. PHILOTIS
It can not be expressed how impatient I was to return hither, get rid of the captain, and see yourselves here, that after our old fashion I might at my ease enjoy the merry-makings among you; for there it was not allowed me to speak, except at the moment prescribed, and on such subjects as he chose. PARMENO
sarcastically. I don't think it was gallant in the captain to place a restraint on your tongue. PHILOTIS
But what is this piece of business that Bacchis has just now been telling me in-doors here? pointing to her house. A thing I never supposed would come to pass, that he, in her lifetime, could possibly prevail upon his feelings to take a wife. PARMENO
To take, indeed! PHILOTIS
Why, look you, has he not taken one? PARMENO
He has; but I doubt whether this match will be lasting. PHILOTIS
May the Gods and Goddesses grant it so, if it is for the advantage of Bacchis. But why am I to believe it is so? Tell me, Parmeno. PARMENO
There is no need for its being spread abroad; ask me no more about it. PHILOTIS
For fear, I suppose, it may be made public. So may the Gods prosper me, I do not ask you in order that I may spread it abroad, but that, in silence, I may rejoice within myself. PARMENO
You'll never speak me so fairly, that I shall trust my back to your discretion. PHILOTIS
Oh, don't say so, Parmeno ;1 as though you were not much more impatient to tell me this, than I to learn what I'm inquiring about. PARMENO
to himself. She tells the truth there; and that is my greatest failing. To PHILOTIS. If you give me your word that you'll keep it a secret, I'll tell you. PHILOTIS
You are now returning to your natural disposition. I give you my word; say on. PARMENO
I'm all attention. PARMENO
Pamphilus was in the height of his passion for Bacchis here, when his father began to importune him to take a wife, and to urge those points which are usual with all fathers, that he himself was now in years, and that he was his only son, that he wished for a support for his declining years. He refused at first. But on his father pressing more urgently, he caused him to become wavering in his mind, whether to yield rather to duty or to love. By hammering on and teazing him, at last the old man gained his point; and betrothed him to the daughter of our next-door neighbor here pointing to the house of PHIDIPPUS . This did not seem so very disagreeable to Pamphilus, until on the very point of marriage, when he saw that all was ready, and that no respite was granted, but marry he must; then, at last, he took it so much to heart, that I do believe if Bacchis had been present, even she would have pitied him. Whenever opportunity was afforded for us being alone, so that he could converse with me, he used to say: "Parmeno, I am ruined! What have I done! Into what misery have I plunged myself! Parmeno, I shall never be able to endure this. To my misery, I am undone !" PHILOTIS
vehemently exclaiming. May the Gods and Goddesses confound you, Laches, for vexing him so ! PARMENO
To cut the matter short, he took home his wife. On the first night, he did not touch the girl; the night that followed that, not a bit the more. PHILOTIS
What is it you tell me? A young man go to bed with a virgin, intoxicated to boot, and able to restrain himiself from touching her! You do not say what's likely; nor do I believe it to be the truth. PARMENO
I suppose it does seem so to you, for no one comes to you unless he is eager for you; but he had married her against his will. PHILOTIS
After this, what followed ? PARMENO
In a very few days after, Pamphilus took me aside, away from the house, and told me how that the young woman was still untouched by him; and how that before he had taken her home as his wife, he had hoped to be able to endure this marriage: "But, Parmeno, as I can not resolve to live with her any longer, it is neither honorable in me, nor of advantage to the young woman herself, for her to be turned to ridicule, but rather I ought to return her to her relations just as I received her." PHILOTIS
You tell me of a conscientious and virtuous disposition in Pamphilus. PARMENO
"For me to declare this, I consider to be inconvenient to me, but for her to be sent back to her father without mentioning any blame, would be insolent; but I am in hopes that she, when she is sensible that she can not live with me, will go at last of her own accord." PHILOTIS
What did he do in the mean while ? Used he to visit Bacchis? PARMENO
Every day. But as usually is the case, after she saw that he belonged to another, she immediately became more ill-natured and more peevish. PHILOTIS
I' faith, that's not to be wondered at. PARMENO
And this circumstance in especial contributed to estrange him from her; after he had fairly examined himself, and her, and the one that was at home, he formed a judgment, by comparison, upon the principles of them both. She, just as might be expected from a person of respectable and free birth, chaste and virtuous, patient under the slights and all the insults of her husband, and concealing his affronts. Upon this, his mind, partly overcome by compassion for his wife, partly constrained by the insolence of the other, was gradually estranged from Bacchis, and transferred its affections to the other, after having found a congenial disposition. In the mean time, there dies at Imbros2 an old man, a relative of theirs. His property there devolved on them by law. Thither his father drove the love-sick Pamphilus, much against his will. He left his wife here with his mother, for the old man has retired into the country; he seldom comes into the city. PHILOTIS
What is there yet in this marriage to prevent its being lasting ? PARMENO
You shall hear just now. At first, for several days, there really was a good understanding between them. In the mean time, however, in a strange way, she began to take a dislike to Sostrata; nor yet was there ever any quarrel or words between them. PHILOTIS
What then ? PARMENO
If at any time she came to converse with her, she would instantly withdraw from her presence,3 and refuse to see her; in fine, when she could no longer endure her, she pretended that she was sent for by her mother to assist at a sacrifice. When she had been there a few days, Sostrata ordered her to be fetched. She made some, I know not what, excuse. Again she gave similar orders; no one sent back any excuse. After she had sent for her repeatedly, they pretended that the damsel was sick. My mistress immediately went to see her; no one admitted her. On the old man coming to know of this, he yesterday came up from the country on purpose, and waited immediately upon the father of Philumena. What passed between them, I do not know as yet; but really I do feel some anxiety in what way this is to end. You now have the whole matter; and I shall proceed whither I was on my way. PHILOTIS
And I too, for I made an appointment with a certain stranger4 to meet him. PARMENO
May the Gods prosper what you undertake! PHILOTIS
And a kind farewell to you, my dear Philotis. (Exeunt severally.)
1 Don't say so, Parmeno: She says this ironically, at the same time intimating that she knows Parmeno too well, not to be sure that he is as impatient to impart the secret to her as she is to know it. Donatus remarks, that she pretends she has no curiosity to hear it, that he may deem her the more worthy to be intrusted with the secret.
3 From her presence: For the purpose, as will afterward appear, of not letting Sostrata see that she was pregnant.
4 With a certain stranger: Here Philotis gives a reason, as Donatus observes, why she does not again appear in the Play. The following is an extract from Colman's remarks on this passage: "It were to be wished, for the sake of the credit of our author's acknowledged art in the Drama, that Philotis had assigned as good a reason for her appearing at all. Eugraphius justly says: 'The Courtesan in this Scene is a character quite foreign to the fable.' Donatus also says much the same thing in his Preface, and in his first Note to this Comedy; but adds that 'Terence chose this method rather. than to relate the argument by means of a Prologue, or to introduce a God speaking from a machine. I will venture to say that the Poet might have taken a much shorter and easier method than either; I mean, to have begun the Play with the very Scene which now opens the Second Act.'"
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