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Enter CHARINUS, at a distance.

CHARINUS
to himself . Never, I do think, was any person more wretched than myself, nor one who had more everlasting crosses. Isn't it the fact, that whatever thing there is that I have commenced to attempt, it cannot fall out to my wish according as I desire? To such an extent is some evil fortune always befalling me, which overwhelms my fair intentions. To my misfortune, I procured me a mistress to please my inclination; I acquired her for a sum of money, fancying that I could keep her unknown to my father. He has found her out, and has seen her, and has undone me. Nor have I yet determined what to say when he asks me, so much do uncertain thoughts, aye, tenfold, struggle within my breast; nor know I now in my mind what resolution I can possibly take; so much uncertainty, mingled with anxiety, is there in my feelings, at one moment the advice of my servant pleases me, then again it doesn't please me, and it doesn't seem possible for my father to be induced to think that she was bought as a maid-servant for my mother. Now, if I say, as is the fact, and declare that I purchased her for myself, what will he think of me? He may take her away, too, and carry her hence beyond sea, to be sold! Well taught at home, I know how severe he is. Is this, then, being in love? I'd rather be at the plough-tail1 than love in this fashion. Before to-day, long ago, he drove me away against my inclination from his house, my home, and bade me go and traffic. There did I meet with this misfortune. When its misery can surpass its pleasure, what is there delightful in it? In vain I've hidden her, concealed her, kept her in secret; my father's a very fly2; nothing can be kept away from him; nothing so sacred or so profane is there, but that he's there at once; neither have I any assured hope in my mind through which to feel confidence in my fortunes.

DEMIPHO
apart . What's the reason of this, that my son is talking to himself alone? He seems to me anxious about some matter, I know not what.

CHARINUS
looking round . Heyday, now! Why, surely it's my father here that I see. I'll go and accost him. Accosting him. How goes it, father?

DEMIPHO
Whence do you come? Why are you in a hurry, my son?

CHARINUS
It's all right, father.

DEMIPHO
So I trust; but what's the reason that your colour's so changed? Do you feel ill at all?

CHARINUS
I know not what it is affects my spirits, father; this last night I didn't rest quite as well as I wished.

DEMIPHO
As you've been travelling by sea, your eyes, I suppose, are at present rather unaccustomed to the shore.

CHARINUS
No doubt it is that; but it will be going off presently.

DEMIPHO
Troth, it's for that reason you are pale; if you were prudent, you'd go home and lie down.

CHARINUS
I haven't the leisure; I wish to attend to business on commission.

DEMIPHO
Attend to it to-morrow; the day after, attend to it.

CHARINUS
I've often heard from you, father, it behoves all wise men, the first thing, to give their earliest attention to business upon commission.

DEMIPHO
Do so, then; I have no wish to be striving against your opinion.

CHARINUS
aside . I'm all right, if, indeed, his adherence to that sentiment is immoveable and lasting.

DEMIPHO
aside . Why is it that he calls himself aside into counsel with himself? I'm not afraid now lest he should be able to come to know that I'm in love with her, because I've not as yet done anything in a foolish manner, as people in love are wont to do.

CHARINUS
aside . I' faith, the affair for the present is really quite safe; for I'm quite certain that he doesn't know anything about that mistress of mine; if he did know, his talk would have been different.

DEMIPHO
aside . Why don't I accost him about her?

CHARINUS
aside . Why don't I betake myself off hence? Aloud. I'm going to deliver the commissions from my friends to their friends. Moves as if going.

DEMIPHO
Nay, but stop; I still want to make a few enquiries of you first.

CHARINUS
Say what it is you wish.

DEMIPHO
Have you all along been well?

CHARINUS
Quite well all the time, so long, indeed, as I was there; but as soon as I had arrived here in harbour, I don't know what faintness it was came over me.

DEMIPHO
I' faith, I suppose it arose from sea-sickness; but it will be going off just now. But how say you? What servant-maid is this that you have brought from Rhodes for your mother?

CHARINUS
I've brought one.

DEMIPHO
Well, what sort of a woman is she as to appearance?

CHARINUS
Not an ill-favored one, i' faith.

DEMIPHO
How is she as to manners?

CHARINUS
In my way of thinking, I never saw one better.

DEN.
So, indeed, i' faith, she seemed to me when I saw her.

CHARINUS
How now, have you seen her, father?

DEMIPHO
I have seen her; but she doesn't suit our ways, and so she doesn't please me.

CHARINUS
Why so?

DEMIPHO
Because she hasn't a figure suitable to our establishment; we stand in need of no female servant but one who can weave, grind, chop wood, make yarn, sweep out the house, stand a beating, and who can have every day's victuals cooked for the household. This one will be able to do not any single one of these things.

CHARINUS
Why, in fact, for this reason I purchased her, to make a present of her to my mother.

DEMIPHO
Don't you be giving her, nor mention that you have brought her.

CHARINUS
aside . The Deities favour me.

DEMIPHO
aside . I'm shaking him by slow degrees. Aloud. But, what I omitted to say,--she can neither with due propriety follow your mother as an attendant; nor will I allow it.

CHARINUS
But why?

DEMIPHO
Because, with those good looks, it would be scandalous if she were to be following a matron when she's walking through the streets; all people would be staring, gazing, nodding, winking, hissing, twitching, crying out, be annoying, and singing serenades at our door; my door, perhaps, would be filled with the charcoal marks3 of her praises; and, according as persons are scandalizing at the present day, they might throw it in the teeth of my wife and myself, that we are carrying on the business of a Procurer. Now what occasion is there for this?

CHARINUS
Why, faith, you say what's just, and I agree with you. But what shall be done with her now?

DEMIPHO
Exactly; I'll buy for your mother some stout wench of a female slave, not a bad servant, but of ungainly figure, as befits the mistress of a family--either a Syrian or an Egyptian woman: she shall do the grinding, spin out the yarn, and stand a lashing; and on her account no disgrace at all will be befalling our doors.

CHARINUS
What then if she is restored to the person of whom she was purchased?

DEMIPHO
By no means in the world.

CHARINUS
He said that he would take her back, if she didn't suit.

DEMIPHO
There's no need of that; I don't want you to get into litigation, nor yet your honor to be called in question. I' troth, I would much rather, if any must be endured, put up with the loss myself, than that disgrace or scandal on account of a woman should be brought upon my house. I think that I am able to sell for you at a good profit.

CHARINUS
I' faith, so long, indeed, as you don't be selling her at a less price than I bought her at, father.

DEMIPHO
Do you only hold your tongue; there is a certain old gentleman who commissioned me to buy one for him of just that same appearance.

CHARINUS
But, father, a certain young man commissioned me to buy one for him of just that same appearance that she is of.

DEMIPHO
I think that I am able to dispose of her for twenty minæ.

CHARINUS
But, if I had chosen, there have been already seven-and-twenty minæ offered.

DEMIPHO
But I----

CHARINUS
Nay, but I, I say----

DEMIPHO
But you don't know what I was going to say; do hold your tongue. I can add three minæ even to that, so that there will be thirty. Looks as though on one side at a distance.

CHARINUS
What are you turning yourself towards?

DEMIPHO
Towards him who's making the purchase.

CHARINUS
staring about . Why, where in the world is this person?

DEMIPHO
Look there, I see him4, yonder pointing ; he's bidding me even still to add five minæ.

CHARINUS
aside . By my troth, may the Gods send a curse upon him, whoever he is!

DEMIPHO
looking in the distance . There he is again, making a sign to me, even still, for me to add six minæ.

CHARINUS
My man is bidding seven minæ, for her, full weight, father. Aside. I' faith, he shall never this day outdo me.

DEMIPHO
He's bidding in vain; I will have her!

CHARINUS
But the other one made the first offer.

DEMIPHO
I care nothing for that.

CHARINUS
He bids fifty.

DEMIPHO
No, a hundred's the offer. Can't you desist from bidding against the determination of my mind. I' troth, you'll be having an immense profit, in such a way is this old gentleman for whom she's being purchased. He's not in his senses by reason of his love; whatever you ask, you'll get.

CHARINUS
I' faith, that young man, for whom I'm purchasing, is assuredly dying with distraction for love of her.

DEMIPHO
Troth, very much more so is that old gentleman, if you did but know it.

CHARINUS
I' faith, that old man never was nor ever will be more distracted with love than that young man, father, to whom I'm lending this assistance.

DEMIPHO
Do be quiet, I tell you; I'll see to that matter, that it's all right.

CHARINUS
How say you----?

DEMIPHO
What is it?

CHARINUS
I didn't take her for a slave; but it was he that took her for such.

DEMIPHO
Let me alone.

CHARINUS
By law you cannot put her up for sale.

DEMIPHO
I'll somehow see to that.

CHARINUS
And then besides, she's the common property of myself and another person; how do I know how he's disposed, whether he does wish or doesn't wish to sell her?

DEMIPHO
I'm sure he does wish.

CHARINUS
But, i' faith, I believe that there's a certain person who doesn't wish.

DEMIPHO
What matters that to me?

CHARINUS
Because it's right that he should have the disposal of his own property.

DEMIPHO
What is it you say?

CHARINUS
She is the common property of myself and another person; he isn't here at present.

DEMIPHO
You are answering me before I ask.

CHARINUS
You are buying, father, before I sell. I don't know, I say, whether he chooses to part with her or not.

DEMIPHO
But if she is purchased for that certain person who gave you the commission, will he choose it then? If I purchase her for that person who gave me the commission, will he then not choose it? You avail nothing. Never, on my faith, shall any person have her in preference to the person that I wish. That I'm resolved upon.

CHARINUS
Have you made up your mind that it is resolved upon?

DEMIPHO
Why, I'm going hence at once to the ship; there she shall be sold.

CHARINUS
Do you wish me to go there with you?

DEMIPHO
I don't wish you.

CHARINUS
You don't choose it, then.

DEMIPHO
It's better for you to give your earliest attention to the business which you've been commissioned upon.

CHARINUS
You are hindering me from doing so.

DEMIPHO
Then do you make your excuse that you have used all diligence. Don't you go to the harbour, I tell you that now.

CHARINUS
That shall be attended to.

DEMIPHO
aside . I'll be off to the harbour, and (I have need of caution lest he should find it out) I'll not buy her myself, but commission my friend Lysimachus; he said just now that he was going to the harbour. I'm delaying while I'm standing here. (Exit.)

1 Rather be at the plough-tail: "Arare mavelim, quam sic amare." There is an insipid play upon the resemblance of the words "arare," "to plough," and "amare" "to love."

2 A very fly: The flies of those days seem to have been as annoying and inquisitive as those of modern times. "Muscæ" was a term of reproach for Parasites and busybodies.

3 With the charcoal marks: Colman, who translated this Play in Thornton's edition, has this Note here: "Some consider these words as alluding to defamatory, rather than commendatory verses, alleging that praise was written in chalk, and scandal in coal. 'Ilia prius chartâ, mox hæc carbone.' I have followed the opinion, however, of other Commentators, who suppose that in these cases chalk, or coal, or lighted torches, were used indiscriminately, according to the colour of the ground--as a Poet would write a panegyric in black ink upon white paper, or a lover delineate the name of his mistress with the smoke of a candle on a white-washed ceiling."

4 There, I see him: He says this by way of joking, just for the moment, in order to withdraw his son's notice from the manifest iniquity of which he is guilty.

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