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Enter PHRONESIUM, from her house.
speaking at the door to the SERVANTS within . Give the breast to that child. To herself, coming forward. How wretchedly and anxiously are mothers1 distressed in mind. I' faith, 'twas craftily contrived; and when I revolve this matter in my mind, we are accounted to be much less artful than we naturally are in disposition. I'm now speaking of what, but lately, for the first time, I've been taught at home; how great is my anxiety of mind, what pangs I do feel in my heart, lest through the death of the child the plot should fail. Because I'm styled its mother, for that reason am I the more anxious for its life, who have ventured thus secretly to attempt a stratagem so great. In my avarice, for the sake of gain, have I entered on this disgraceful scheme; the pangs of others have I falsely shammed for myself. You must attempt nothing by craftiness, unless you would carry it out with cunning and with care. To the AUDIENCE. You yourselves now see in what garb2 I go; I'm now pretending that I'm an invalid from having lain in. A thing that a woman attempts to do in fraud, unless she is perfect in carrying it out, that same is as bad as disease to her, that same is as bad as old age to her, that to her, wretched creature, is wretchedness: if she begins to do what's right, soon does weariness of it overtake her. How very few are tired who have commenced to do what's wrong; how very few carry it out, if they have commenced to do anything aright. To a female it is a much less burden to do bad than good. In that I'm an artful one, through the agency of my mother3 and my own artful disposition am I artful, who have thus feigned to the Babylonian Captain that I am pregnant. I wish now the Captain may find this artful plot concocted well. He'll be here no long time hence, I suppose; forewarned of that I'm now forearmed, and I'm wearing this garb, as though I had just lain in in pregnancy. Calls to the SERVANTS within. Bring me hither some myrrh and fire for the altar, that I may pay adoration to my Lucina. They bring it. Place it here pointing to an altar near the door , and go out of my sight. Ho there! Pithecium, help me to lay me down. Come hither; thus is it proper to help one who has just lain in. A couch is brought in by ASTAPHIUM and two HANDMAIDS, and she lays herself down. Take off my sandals; throw a coverlet here over me, Archylis. Astaphium, where are you? Bring me hither, holy herbs, frankincense, and sweetmeats. Bring water for my hands. The SERVANTS go and fetch the things as ordered. Now, i' faith, I could wish that the Captain should come. The SERVANTS stand aside.
1 Anxiously are mothers: This, of course, she says ironically, with a smile on her face.
2 In what garb: She alludes to the dress she is wearing-- that of a woman who has just lain in.
3 Agency of my mother: This may, perhaps, mean the Procuress who had instructed her in her evil ways. These wretches were generally thus called by their disciples.
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