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Enter DAVUS from the house of SIMO.

DAVUS
aloud to himself. I was wondering if this matter was to go off thus; and was continually dreading where my master's good humor would end; for, after he had heard that a wife would not be given to his son, he never uttered a word to any one of us, or took it amiss.

SIMO
apart, overhearing him. But now he'll do so: and that, I fancy, not without heavy cost to you.

DAVUS
to himself: He meant this, that we, thus unsuspecting, should be led away by delusive joy; that now in hope, all fear being removed, we might during our supineness be surprised, so that there might be no time for planning a rupture of the marriage. How clever!

SIMO
apart. The villain ! what does he say?

DAVUS
overhearing him, to himself. It's my master, and I didn't see him.

SIMO
Davus.

DAVUS
Well, what is it ?

SIMO
Just step this way to me.

DAVUS
to himself. What does he want ?

SIMO
What are you saying ?

DAVUS
About what?

SIMO
Do you ask the question? There's a report that my son's in love.

DAVUS
The public troubles itself about that,1 of course.

SIMO
Will you attend to this, or not?

DAVUS
Certainly, I will, to that.

SIMO
But for me to inquire now into these matters, were the part of a severe father. For what he has done hitherto, doesn't concern me at all. So long as his time of life prompted to that course, I allowed him to indulge his inclination: now this day brings on another mode of life, demands other habits. From this time forward, I do request, or if it is reasonable, I do entreat you, Davus, that he may now return to the right path.

DAVUS
aside. What can this mean?

SIMO
All who are intriguing take it ill to have a wife given them.

DAVUS
So they say.

SIMO
And if anyone has adopted a bad instructor in that course, he generally urges the enfeebled mind to pursuits still more unbecoming.

DAVUS
I'faith, I do not comprehend.

SIMO
No? Ha----

DAVUS
No--I am Davus, not OEdipus.2

SIMO
Of course then, you wish me to speak plainly in what further I have to say.

DAVUS
Certainly, by all means.

SIMO
If I this day find out that you are attempting any trickery about this marriage, to the end that it may not take place; or are desirous that in this matter it should be proved how knowing you are; I'll hand you over, Davus, beaten with stripes, to the mill,3 even to your dying day, upon this condition and pledge, that if ever I release you, I shall grind in your place. Now, do you understand this? Or not yet even this ?

DAVUS
Yes, perfectly: you have now spoken so plainly upon the subject, you have not used the least circumlocution.

SIMO
In any thing would I more willingly allow myself to be imposed upon than in this matter.

DAVUS
Fair words, I entreat.

SIMO
You are ridiculing me: you don't at all deceive me. I give you warning, don't act rashly, and don't say you were not warned. Take care. Shaking his stick, goes into the house.

1 Troubles itself about that: He says this contemptuously, as if it was likely that the public should take any such great interest in his son as the father would imply by his remark. By thus saying, he also avoids giving a direct reply.

2 Davus, not OEdipus: Alluding to the circumstance of OEdipus alone being able to solve the riddle of the Sphynx.

3 To the mill: The “"pistrinum,"” or "hand-mill," for grinding corn, was used as a mode of punishment for refractory slaves. See the Notes to the Translation of Plautus.

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