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Enter ANTIPHO from the house, behind at a distance.
to himself. I'm expecting every moment that Geta will be here. But I see my uncle standing close by, with my father. Ah me! how much I fear what influence his return may have upon my father! GETA
to himself I'll accost them. Goes up to them. O welcome to you, our neighbor Chremes. CHREMES
Save you, Geta. GETA
I'm delighted to see you safe returned. CHREMES
I believe you. GETA
How go matters? CHREMES
Many changes here upon my arrival, as usually the case. GETA
True; have you heard what has happened to Antipho? CHREMES
to DEMIPHO. What, have you told him? Disgraceful conduct, Chremes, thus to be imposed on. DEMIPHO
It was about that I was talking to him just now. GETA
But really, on carefully reflecting upon this matter I think I have found a remedy. DEMIPHO
What is the remedy? GETA
When I left you, by accident Phormio met me. CHREMES
Who is Phormio? GETA
He who patronized her. CHREMES
I understand. GETA
It seemed to me that I might first sound him; I took the fellow aside: "Phormio," said I, "why don't we try to settle these matters between us rather with a good grace than with a bad one? My master's a generous man, and one who hates litigation; but really, upon my faith, all his friends were just now advising him with one voice to turn her instantly out of doors." ANTIPHO
apart. What is he about? Or where is this to end at last? GETA
continuing the supposed conversation. "He'll have to give satisfaction at law, you say, if he turns her out? That has been already inquired into: aye, aye, you'll have enough to do, if you engage with him; he is so eloquent. But suppose he's beaten; still, however, it's not his life, but his money that's at stake." After I found that the fellow was influenced by these words, I said: "We are now by ourselves here; come now, what should you like to be given you, money down, to drop this suit with my master, so that she may betake herself off, and you annoy us no more?" ANTIPHO
apart. Are the Gods quite on good terms with him?1 GETA
continuing the conversation. "For I'm quite sure, if you were to mention any thing that's fair and reasonable, as he is a reasonable man, you'll not have to bandy three words with him." DEMIPHO
Who ordered you to say so? CHREMES
Nay, he could not have more happily contrived to bring about what we want. ANTIPHO
apart. Undone! CHREMES
Go on with your story. GETA
At first the fellow raved. DEMIPHO
Say, what did he ask? GETA
What? A great deal too much. CHREMES
How much? Tell me. GETA
Suppose he were to give a great talent. DEMIPHO
Aye, faith, perdition to him rather; has he no shame? GETA
Just what I said to him: "Pray," said I, "suppose he was portioning an only daughter of his own. It has been of little benefit that he hasn't one of his own, when another has been found to be demanding a fortune." To be brief, and to pass over his impertinences, this at last was his final answer: "I," said he," from the very first, have been desirous to marry the daughter of my friend, as was fit I should; for I was aware of the ill results of this, a poor wife being married into a rich family, and becoming a slave. But, as I am now conversing with you unreservedly, I was in want of a wife to bring me a little money with which to pay off my debts; and even yet, if Demipho is willing to give as much as I am to receive with her to whom I am engaged, there is no one whom I should better like for a wife." ANTIPHO
apart. Whether to say he's doing this through folly or mischief, through stupidity or design, I'm in doubt. DEMIPHO
What if he's in debt to the amount of his life?2 GETA
His land is mortgaged,--for ten minae he said. DEMIPHO
Well, well, let him take her then; I'll give it. GETA
He has a house besides, mortgaged for another ten. DEMIPHO
Huy, huy! that's too much. CHREMES
Don't be crying out; you may have those ten of me. GETA
A lady's maid must be brought for his wife; and then too, a little more is wanted for some furniture, and some is wanted for the wedding expenses. " Well then," said he, "for these items, put down ten more." DEMIPHO
Then let him at once bring six hundred actions3 against me; I shall give nothing at all; is this dirty fellow to be laughing at me as well? CHREMES
Pray do be quiet; I'll give it: do you only bring your son to marry the woman we want him to have. ANTIPHO
apart. Ah me! Geta, you have ruined me by your treachery. CHREMES
'Tis on my account she's turned off; it's right that I should bear the loss. GETA
" Take care and let me know," said he, "as soon as possible, if they are going to let me have her, that I may get rid of the other, so that I mayn't be in doubt; for the others have agreed to.pay me down the portion directly." CHREMES
Let him have her at once; let him give notice to them that he breaks off the match with the other, and let him marry this woman. DEMIPHO
Yes, and little joy to him of the bargain! CHREMES
Luckily, too, I've now brought home some money with me, the rents which my wife's farms at Lemnos produce. I'll take it out of that, and tell my wife that you had occasion for it. They go into the house of CHREMES.
1 Good terms with him: Meaning, "Is he in his senses or not?"
2 Amount of his life: "Quid si animam debet?" Erasmus tells us that this was a proverb among the Greeks applied to those who ran so deeply in debt, that their persons, and consequently, in one sense, their very existence, came into the power of their creditors.
3 Six hundred actions: "Sescentos;" literally, "six hundred." The Romans used this term as we do the words "ten thousand," to signify a large, but indefinite number.
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