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Enter PHIDIPPUS and a NURSE.
(to the NURSE.) Nothing at my house will I suffer you to be in want of; but whatever is requisite shall be supplied you in abundance. Still, when you are well fed and well drenched, do take care that the child has enough. The NURSE goes into his house. LACHES
to BACCHIS. My son's father-in-law, I see, is coming; he is bringing a nurse for the child. Accosting him. Phidippus, Bacchis swears most solemnly. PHIDIPPUS
Is this she? LACHES
It is. PHIDIPPUS
Upon my faith, those women don't fear the Gods; and I don't think that the Gods care about them. BACCHIS
pointing to her ATTENDANTS. I will give you up my female servants; with my full permission, examine them with any tortures you please. The business at present is this: I must make his wife return home to Pamphilus; should I effect that, I shall not regret its being reported that I have been the only one to do what other courtesans avoid doing.1 LACHES
We find, Phidippus, that our wives have been unjustly suspected2 by us in this matter. Let us now try her still further; for if your wife discovers that she has given credence to a false charge, she will dismiss her resentment; but if my son is also angry, by reason of the circumstance that his wife has been brought to bed without his knowledge, that is a trifle: his anger on that account will speedily subside. Assuredly in this matter, there is nothing so bad as to be deserving of a separation. PHIDIPPUS
I sincerely wish it may be so. LACHES
Examine her; here she is; she herself will satisfy you. PHIDIPPUS
Why do you tell me these things? Is it because you have not already heard what my feelings are with regard to this matter, Laches? Do you only satisfy their minds. LACHES
Troth now, Bacchis, I do entreat that what you have promised me you will do. BACCHIS
Would you wish me, then, to go in about this business? LACHES
Go, and satisfy their minds, so as to make them believe it. BACCHIS
I'll go: although, upon my word, I am quite sure that my presence will be disagreeable to them, for a married woman is the enemy of a mistress, when she has been separated from her husband. LACH.
But they will be your friends, when they know the reason of your coming. PHIDIPPUS
And I promise that they shall be your friends, when they know the fact; for you will release them from their mistake, and yourself, at the same time, from suspicion. BACCHIS
Wretched me! I'm ashamed to meet Philumena. (To her ATTENDANTS.) Do you both follow me into the house. Goes into the house with PHIDIPPUS and her ATTENDANTS. LACHES
to himself. What is there that I could more wish for, than what I see has happened to this woman? To gain favor without loss to myself, and to benefit myself at the same time. For if now it is the fact that she has really withdrawn from Pamphilus, she knows that by that step she has acquired honor and reputation: she returns the favor to him, and, by the same means, attaches us as friends to herself. Goes into the house.
1 Other courtesans avoid doing: Colman has the following quotation from Donatus: "Terence, by his uncommon art, has attempted many innovations with great success. In this Comedy, he introduces, contrary to received prejudices, a good step-mother and an honest courtesan; but at the same time he so carefully assigns their motives of action, that by him alone every thing seems reconcilable to truth and nature; for this is just the opposite of what he mentions in another place, as the common privilege of all Poets, 'to paint good matrons and wicked courtesans.'" Perhaps the same good feeling prompted Terence, in showing that a mother-in-law and a courtesan could be capable of acting with good and disinterested feelings, which caused Cumberland to write his Play of "The Jew," to combat the popular prejudice against that persecuted class, by showing, in the character of Sheva, that a Jew might possibly be a virtuous man.
2 Have been unjustly suspected: The words here employed are also capable of meaning, if an active sense is given to "suspectas," "our wives have entertained wrong suspicions;" but the sense above given seems preferable, as being the meaning of the passage.
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