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DÆMONES, LABRAX, PALÆSTRA, AMPELISCA, and SERVANTS.

DÆM.
to LABRAX, who is struggling with the SERVANTS . Which, you Procurer, had you rather do, be quiet with a thrashing, or e'en as it is, without the thrashing, if you had the choice?

LABRAX
Old fellow, I don't care a straw for what you say. My own women, in fact, I shall drag away this instant from the altar by the hair, in spite of yourself, and Venus, and supreme Jove.

DÆM.
Just touch them.

LABRAX
going towards them I' troth, I surely will touch them.

DÆM.
Just come then; only approach this way.

LABRAX
Only bid both those fellows, then, to move away from there.

DÆM.
On the contrary, they shall move towards you.

LABRAX
I' faith, for my own part, I don't think so.

DÆM.
If they do move nearer to you, what will you do?

LABRAX
I'll retire. But, old fellow, if ever I catch you in the city, never again, upon my faith, shall any one call me a Procurer, if I don't give you some most disagreable sport.

DÆM.
Do what you threaten. But now, in the meantime, if you do touch them, a heavy punishment shall be inflicted on you.

LABRAX
How heavy, in fact?

DÆM.
Just as much as is sufficient for a Procurer.

LABRAX
These threats of yours I don't value one straw; I certainly shall seize them both this instant without your leave.

DÆM.
Just touch them.

LABRAX
By my troth, I surely will touch them.

DÆM.
You will touch them, but do you know with what result? Go then, Turbalio, with all haste, and bring hither from out of the house two cudgels.

LABRAX
Cudgels?

DÆM.
Aye, good ones; make haste speedily. TURBALIO goes in. I'll let you have a reception this day in proper style, as you are deserving of.

LABRAX
aside . Alas! cursedly unfortunate. I lost my headpiece in the ship; it would now have been handy for me, if it had been saved. To DÆMONES. May I at least address these women?

DÆM.
You may not * * * * * TURBALIO enters bringing two cudgels. Well now, by my faith, look, the cudgel-man is coming very opportunely here.

LABRAX
aside . By my troth, this surely is a tingling for my ears.

DÆM.
Come, Sparax, do you take this other cudgel. Giving him one. Come, take your stand, one on one side, the other on one other. Take your stations both of you. They stand with lifted cudgels on each side of he altar. Just so. Now then attend to me: if, i' faith, that fellow there should this day touch these women with his finger against their inclination, if you don't give him a reception1 with these cudgels even to that degree that he shan't know which way he is to get home, you are undone, both of you. If he shall call for any one, do you make answer to this fellow in their stead. But if he himself shall attempt to get away from here, that instant, as hard a you can, lay on to his legs with your sticks.

LABRAX
Are they not even to allow me to go away from here?

DÆM.
I've said sufficient. And when that servant comes here with his master, he that has gone to fetch his master, do you at once go home. Attend to this with great diligence, will you. DÆMONES goes into his house.

LABRAX
O rare, by my troth, the Temple here is surely changed all of a sudden; this is now the Temple of Hercules2 which was that of Venus before; in such fashion has the old fellow planted two statues here with clubs. I' faith, I don't know now whither in the world I shall fly from here; so greatly are they both raging now against me, both land and sea. Palæstra!

SERV.
What do you want?

LABRAX
Away with you, there is a misunderstanding between us; that, indeed, is not my Palæstra3 that answers. Harkye, Ampelisca.

SERV.
Beware of a mishap, will you.

LABRAX
aside . So far as they can, the worthless fellows advise me rightly enough. Aloud. But, harkye, I ask you, whether it is any harm to you for me to come nearer to these women?

SERV.
Why none at all to ourselves.

LABRAX
Will there be any harm to myself?

SERV.
None at all, if you only take care.

LABRAX
What is it that I'm to take care against?

SERV.
Why, look you, against a heavy mishap.

LABRAX
Troth now, prithee, do let me approach them.

SERV.
Approach them, if you like.

LABRAX
I' faith, obligingly done; I return you thanks, I'll go nearer to them. Approaches them.

SERV.
Do you stand there on the spot, where you are. Drags him to his place, with the cudgel over his head.

LABRAX
aside . By my faith, I've come scurvily off in many ways. Still, I'm resolved to get the better of them this day by constantly besieging them.

1 Their inclination--a reception: "Invitos--invitassitis." He here plays upon the resemblance of the words "invitos," signifying "against their will," and "invito," being a verb signifying "to invite," and admitting of much the same equivocal use as our expression, "to give a warm reception to."

2 Temple of Hercules: Seeing the servants with their cudgels, he is reminded of Hercules, who was thus depicted, and was called by the Poets "Claviger."

3 Not my Palæstra: Echard, borrowing the notion from Madame Dacier, has the following Note on this passage: "This 'Palæstra' was a place of public exercise, over the gate of which was a statue of Hercules, with an inscription 'Palæstra;' now Labrax, finding this stout fellow with his club, whom before he had compared to Hercules, answering instead of Palæstra, he wittily alludes to that statue, and says that that Palæstra was none of his." Thornton appears to be right in considering this a far-fetched conceit on the part of the fair Commentatress.

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