The Self-Tormentor, by Terence

Act the Fourth.

Scene I.

Syrus, alone.

My mind misgives me, my defeat is nigh,
This unexpected incident has driven
My forces into such a narrow pass,
I can not even handsomely retreat
Without some feint, to hinder our old man
From seeing that this wench is Clitipho’s.
As for the money, and the trick I dream’d of,
Those hopes are flown, and I shall hold it triumph,
So I but ’scape a scouring — Cursed fortune,
To have so delicate a morsel snatch’d
Out of my very jaws! — What shall I do?
What new device? for I must change my plan.
— Nothing so difficult, but may be won
By industry. — Suppose, I try it thus. (Thinking.)
— ’Twill never do. — Or thus? — No better still.
But thus I think. — No, no. — Yes, excellent!
Courage! I have it. — Good! — Good! — best of all! —
— ’Faith, I begin to hope to lay fast hold
Of that same slipp’ry money after all.

Scene II.

Enter Clinia at another part of the stage.

Clin. Henceforward, fate, do with me what thou wilt!
Such is my joy, so full and absolute,
I can not know vexation. From this hour
To you, my father, I resign myself,
Content to be more frugal than you wish!

Syrus (overhearing). ’Tis just as I suppos’d. The girl’s acknowledged;
His raptures speak it so. — (Going up.) I’m overjoyed
That things have happen’d to your wish.

Clin. O Syrus!
Have you then heard it too?

Syrus. Undoubtedly.
I, who was present at the very time!

Clin. Was ever any thing so lucky?

Syrus. Nothing.

Clin. Now, Heav’n so help me, I rejoice at this
On her account much rather than my own,
Her, whom I know worthy the highest honors.

Syrus. No doubt on’t. — But now, Clinia, hold a while!
Give me a moment’s hearing in my turn.
For your friend’s business must be thought of now,
And well secur’d, lest our old gentleman
Suspect about the wench.

Clin. O Jupiter! (In raptures.)

Syrus. Peace! (Impatiently.)

Clin. My Antiphila shall be my wife.

Syrus. And will you interrupt me?

Clin. Oh, my Syrus,
What can I do! I’m overjoy’d. Bear with me.

Syrus. Troth so I do.

Clin. We’re happy, as the Gods.

Syrus. I lose my labor on you.

Clin. Speak; I hear.

Syrus. Aye, but you don’t attend.

Clin. I’m all attention.

Syrus. I say then, Clinia, that your friend’s affairs
Must be attended to, and well secur’d:
For if you now depart abruptly from us,
And leave the wench upon our hands, my master
Will instantly discover she belongs
To Clitipho. But if you take her off,
It will remain, as still it is, a secret.

Clin. But, Syrus, this is flatly opposite
To what I most devoutly wish, my marriage,
For with what face shall I accost my father?
D’ye understand me?

Syrus. Aye.

Clin. What can I say?
What reason can I give him?

Syrus. Tell no lie.
Speak the plain truth.

Clin. How?

Syrus. Every syllable.
Tell him your passion for Antiphila;
Tell him you wish to marry her, and tell him,
Bacchis belongs to Clitipho.

Clin. ’Tis well,
In reason, and may easily be done:
And then besides you’d have me win my father,
To keep it hid from your old gentleman.

Syrus. No; rather to prevail on him, to go
And tell him the whole truth immediately.

Clin. How? are you mad? or drunk? You’ll be the ruin
Of Clitipho: for how can he be safe?
Eh, Sirrah!

Syrus. That’s my master-piece: this plot
Is my chief glory, and I’m proud to think
I have such force, such power of cunning in me,
As to be able to deceive them both,
By speaking the plain truth: that when your father
Tells Chremes, Bacchis is his own son’s mistress,
He sha’n’t believe it.

Clin. But that way again
You blast my hopes of marriage: for while Chremes
Supposes her my mistress, he’ll not grant
His daughter to me. You, perhaps, don’t care,
So you provide for him, what comes of me.

Syrus. Why, plague! d’ye think I’d have you counterfeit
Forever? but a day, to give me time
To bubble Chremes of the money. — Peace!
Not an hour more.

Clin. Is that sufficient for you?
But then, suppose his father find it out!

Syrus. Suppose, as some folks say, the sky should fall!

Clin. Still I’m afraid.

Syrus. Afraid indeed, as if
It was not in your pow’r, whene’er you pleas’d,
To clear yourself, and tell the whole affair.

Clin. Well, well, let Bacchis be brought over then!

Syrus. Well said; and here she comes.

Scene III.

Enter Bacchis, Phrygia, etc., at another part of the stage.

Bacch. Upon my life,
This Syrus with his golden promises
Has fool’d me hither charmingly! Ten minæ
He gave me full assurance of: but if
He now deceives me, come whene’er he will,
Canting and fawning to allure me hither,
It shall be all in vain; I will not stir.
Or when I have agreed, and fix’d a time,
Of which he shall have giv’n his master notice,
And Clitipho is all agog with hope,
I’ll fairly jilt them both, and not come near them;
And master Syrus’ back shall smart for it.

Clin. She promises you very fair.

Syrus. D’ye think
She jests? She’ll do it, if I don’t take heed.

Bacch. They sleep: i’ faith, I’ll rouse them. Hark ye, Phrygia,
Did you observe the villa of Charinus,
Which yonder fellow shew’d us? (Aloud.)

Phry. I did, Madam.

Bacch. The next upon the right.

Phry. I recollect.

Bacch. Run thither quickly: for the Captain spends
The Dionysia there. (Aloud.)

Syrus (behind). What means she now?

Bacch. Tell him I’m here; and sore against my will,
Detain’d by force; but I’ll devise some means
To slip away and come to him. (Aloud.)

Syrus. Confusion! — (Comes forward.)
Stay, Bacchis, Bacchis! where d’ye send that girl?
Bid her stop!

Bacch. Go! (To Phrygia .)

Syrus. The money’s ready for you.

Bacch. Oh! then I stay. (Phrygia returns.)

Syrus. You shall be paid directly.

Bacch. When you please; I don’t press you.

Syrus. But d’ye know
What you’re to do?

Bacch. Why, what?

Syrus. You must go over,
You and your equipage, to Menedemus.

Bacch. What are you at now, sauce-box?

Syrus. Coining money
For your use, Bacchis.

Bacch. Do you think to play
Your jests on me?

Syrus. No; this is downright earnest.

Bacch. Are you the person I’m to deal with?

Syrus. No.
But ’twill secure your money.

Bacch. Let us go then!

Syrus. Follow her there. — Ho, Dromo!

Scene IV.

Enter Dromo .

Dromo. Who calls?

Syrus. Syrus.

Dromo. Your pleasure! What’s the matter now?

Syrus. Conduct
All Bacchis’ maids to your house instantly.

Dromo. Why so?

Syrus. No questions: let them carry over
All they brought hither. Our old gentleman
Will think himself reliev’d from much expense
By their departure. Troth, he little knows
With how much loss this small gain threatens him.
If you’re wise, Dromo, know not what you know.

Dromo. I’m dumb.

Exit Dromo, with Bacchis ’ servants and baggage, into the house of Menedemus .

Scene V.

Enter Chremes .

Chrem. (to himself). ’Fore Heav’n, I pity Menedemus.
His case is lamentable: to maintain
That jade and all her harlot family!
Although I know for some few days to come
He will not feel it; so exceedingly
He long’d to have his son: but when he sees
Such monstrous household riot and expense
Continue daily, without end or measure,
He’ll wish his son away from him again.
But yonder’s Syrus in good time. (Seeing Syrus .)

Syrus. I’ll to him. (Aside.)

Chrem. Syrus!

Syrus. Who’s there? (Turning about.)

Chrem. What now?

Syrus. The very man!
I have been wishing for you this long time.

Chrem. You seem to’ve been at work with Menedemus.

Syrus. What! at our plot? No sooner said than done.

Chrem. Indeed!

Syrus. Indeed.

Chrem. I can’t forbear to stroke
Your head for it. Good lad! come nearer, Syrus!
I’ll do thee some good turn for this. I will,
I promise you. (Patting his head.)

Syrus. Ah, if you did but know
How luckily it came into my head!

Chrem. Pshaw, are you vain of your good luck?

Syrus. Not I.
I speak the plain truth.

Chrem. Let me know it then.

Syrus. Clinia has told his father that the wench
Is mistress to your Clitipho; and that
He brought her over with him to their house,
To hinder your detecting it.

Chrem. Good! good!

Syrus. D’ye think so?

Chrem. Charming!

Syrus. Aye, if you knew all.
But only hear the rest of our device.
He’ll tell his father he has seen your daughter,
Whose beauty has so charm’d him at first sight,
He longs to marry her.

Chrem. Antiphila?

Syrus. The same: and he’ll request him to demand her
Of you in marriage.

Chrem. To what purpose, Syrus?
I don’t conceive the drift on’t.

Syrus. No! you’re slow.

Chrem. Perhaps so.

Syrus. Menedemus instantly
Will furnish him with money for the wedding,
To buy — d’ye take me?

Chrem. Clothes and jewels.

Syrus. Aye.

Chrem. But I will neither marry, nor betroth
My daughter to him.

Syrus. No? Why?

Chrem. Why! — is that
A question? to a wretch! —

Syrus. Well, as you please.
I never meant that he should marry her,
But only to pretend —

Chrem. I hate pretense.
Plot as you please, but do not render me
An engine in your rogueries. Shall I
Contract my daughter, where I never can
Consent to marry her?

Syrus. I fancied so.

Chrem. Not I.

Syrus. It might be done most dextrously:
And, in obedience to your strict commands,
I undertook this business.

Chrem. I believe it.

Syrus. However, Sir, I meant it well.

Chrem. Nay, nay,
Do’t by all means, and spare no trouble in’t;
But bring your scheme to bear some other way.

Syrus. It shall be done: I’ll think upon some other.
— But then the money which I mention’d to you,
Owing to Bacchis by Antiphila,
Must be repaid her: and you will not now
Attempt to shift the matter off; or say,
“ — What is’t to me? was I the borrower?
Did I command it? Could she pledge my daughter
Against my will?” — These pleas you cannot urge;
For ’tis a common saying, and a true,
That strictest law is oft the highest wrong.

Chrem. I mean not to evade it.

Syrus. No, I’ll warrant.
Nay you, though others did, could never think on’t;
For all the world imagines you’ve acquir’d
A fair and handsome fortune.

Chrem. I will carry
The money to her instantly myself.

Syrus. No; rather send it by your son.

Chrem. Why so!

Syrus. Because he acts the part of her gallant.

Chrem. What then?

Syrus. Why then ’twill seem more probable,
If he presents it: I too shall effect
My scheme more easily. — And here he is. —
In, Sir, and fetch the money out.

Chrem. I will.

Exit Chremes .

Scene VI.

Enter Clitipho .

Clit. (to himself). Nothing so easy in itself, but when
Perform’d against one’s will, grows difficult.
This little walk how easy! yet how faint
And weary it has made me! — and I fear
Lest I be still excluded, and forbid
To come near Bacchis. (Seeing Syrus .) — Now all powers above.
Confound you, Syrus, for the trick you play’d me!
That brain of yours is evermore contriving
Some villainy to torture me withal.
Syrus. Away, you malapert! Your frowardness
Had well-nigh been my ruin.

Clit. Would it had!
For you deserv’d it richly.

Syrus. How! deserv’d it?
I’faith I’m glad I heard you say so much
Before you touch’d the cash, that I was just
About to give you.

Clit. Why, what can I say?
You went away; came back, beyond my hopes,
And brought my mistress with you; then again
Forbade my touching her.

Syrus. Well, well, I can’t
Be peevish with you now — But do you know
Where Bacchis is?

Clit. At our house.

Syrus. No.

Clit. Where then?

Syrus. At Clinia’s.

Clit. Then I’m ruin’d.

Syrus. Courage, man!
You shall go to her instantly, and carry
The money that you promis’d her.

Clit. Fine talk!
Where should I get it?

Syrus. From your father.

Clit. Pshaw!
You play upon me.

Syrus. The event shall show.

Clit. Then I am bless’d indeed. Thanks, thanks, dear Syrus!

Syrus. Hist! here’s your father. — Have a care! don’t seem
Surpris’d at any thing: give way in all:
Do as he bids, and say but little. Mum!

Scene VII.

Enter Chremes .

Chrem. Where’s Clitipho?

Syrus (to Clitipho). Here, say.

Clit. Here, Sir!

Chrem. Have you
Inform’d him of the business? (To Syrus .)

Syrus. In good part.

Chrem. Here, take the money then, and carry it. (To Clitipho .)

Syrus. Plague, how you stand, log! — take it.

Clit. Give it me. (Awkwardly.)

Syrus. Now in with me immediately! — You, Sir, (To Chremes .)
Be pleas’d meanwhile to wait our coming here;
There’s nothing to detain us very long.

Exit Clitipho and Syrus .

Scene VIII.

Chremes alone.

My daughter now has had ten minæ of me,
Which I account laid out upon her board:
Ten more her clothes will come to: and moreover
Two talents for her portion. — How unjust
And absolute is custom! I must now
Leave every thing, and find a stranger out,
On whom I may bestow the sum of wealth
Which I have so much labor’d to acquire.

Scene IX.

Enter Menedemus .

Mene. (to himself). Oh son, how happy hast thou made thy father,
Convinc’d of thy repentance!

Chrem. (overhearing). How mistaken!

Mene. Chremes! I wish’d for you. — ’Tis in your power,
And I beseech you do it, to preserve
My son, myself, and family.

Chrem. I’ll do’t.
Wherein can I oblige you?

Mene. You to-day
Have found a daughter.

Chrem. True. What then?

Mene. My Clinia
Begs your consent to marry her.

Chrem. Good Heaven!
What kind of man are you?

Mene. What mean you, Chremes?

Chrem. Has it then slipp’d your memory so soon,
The conversation that we had together,
Touching the rogueries they should devise,
To trick you of your money?

Mene. I remember.

Chrem. This is the trick.

Mene. How, Chremes? I’m deceiv’d.
’Tis as you say. From what a pleasing hope
Have I then fall’n!

Chrem. And she, I warrant you,
Now at your house, is my son’s mistress? Eh!

Mene. So they say.

Chrem. What! and you believ’d it?

Mene. All.

Chrem. — And they say too he wants to marry her;
That soon as I’ve consented, you may give him
Money to furnish her with jewels, clothes,
And other necessaries.

Mene. Aye, ’tis so:
The money’s for his mistress.

Chrem. To be sure.

Mene. Alas, my transports are all groundless then.
— Yet I would rather bear with any thing,
Than lose my son again. — What answer, Chremes,
Shall I return with, that he mayn’t perceive
I’ve found him out, and take offense?

Chrem. Offense!
You’re too indulgent to him, Menedemus!

Mene. Allow me. I’ve begun, and must go through.
Do but continue to assist me, Chremes.

Chrem. Say we have met, and treated of the match.

Mene. Well; and what else?

Chrem. That I give full consent;
That I approve my son-in-law; — In short,
You may assure him also, if you please,
That I’ve betroth’d my daughter to him.

Mene. Good!
The very thing I wanted.

Chrem. So your son
The sooner shall demand the money of you;
And so shall you, according to your wish
The sooner give.

Mene. It is my wish indeed.

Chrem. ’Fore heaven, friend, as far as I can judge,
You’ll soon be weary of your son again.
But be it as it may, give cautiously,
A little at a time, if you are wise.

Mene. I will.

Chrem. Go in, and see what he demands.
If you should want me, I’m at home.

Mene. ’Tis well.
For I shall let you know, do what I will.

Exeunt severally.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 20:04