The Step-Mother, by Terence

Act the Fifth.

Scene I.

Parmeno alone.

I’ faith my master holds my labor cheap,
To send me to the Citadel for nothing,
Where I have waited the whole day in vain
For his Myconian, Callidemides.
There was I sitting, gaping like a fool,
And running up, if any one appear’d,
— “Are you, Sir, a Myconian?” — “No, not I.” —
— “But your name’s Callidemides?” — “Not it.” —
“And have not you a guest here of the name
Of Pamphilus?” — No — no — All No.
In short, I don’t believe there’s such a man.
At last I grew asham’d, and so sneak’d off.
— But is’t not Bacchis that I see come forth
From our new kinsman? What can she do there?

Scene II.

Enter Bacchis .

Bacch. Oh Parmeno, I’m glad I’ve met with you.
Run quick to Pamphilus.

Par. On what account?

Bacch. Tell him that I desire he’d come.

Par. To you?

Bacch. No; to Philumena.

Par. Why? what’s the matter?

Bacch. Nothing to you; so ask no questions.

Par. Must I
Say nothing else?

Bacch. Yes; tell him too,
That Myrrhina acknowledges the ring,
Which formerly he gave me, as her daughter’s.

Par. I understand you. But is that all?

Bacch. All.
He’ll come the moment that you tell him that.
What! do you loiter?

Par. No, i’ faith, not I.
I have not had it in my pow’r, I’ve been
So bandied to and fro, sent here and there,
Trotting, and running up and down all day.


Scene III.

Bacchis alone.

What joy have I procur’d to Pamphilus
By coming here to-day! what blessings brought him!
And from how many sorrows rescued him!
His son, by his and their means nearly lost,
I sav’d; a wife he meant to put away,
I have restor’d; and from the strong suspicions
Of Laches and Phidippus set him free.
— Of all these things the ring has been the cause.
For I remember, near ten months ago,
That he came running home to me one evening,
Breathless, alone, and much inflam’d with wine,
Bringing this ring. I was alarm’d at it.
“Prithee, my dearest Pamphilus, said I,
Whence comes all this confusion? whence this ring?
Tell me, my love.” — He put me off at first:
Perceiving this, it made me apprehend
Something of serious import, and I urg’d him
More earnestly to tell me. — He confess’d
That, as he came along, he had committed
A rape upon a virgin — whom he knew not —
And as she struggled, forc’d from her that ring:
Which Myrrhina now seeing on my finger,
Immediately acknowledg’d, and inquir’d
How I came by it. I told all this story:
Whence ’twas discover’d that Philumena
Was she who had been ravish’d, and the child
Conceiv’d from that encounter. — That I’ve been
The instrument of all these joys I’m glad,
Though other courtesans would not be so;
Nor is it for our profit and advantage
That lovers should be happy in their marriage.
But never will I, for my calling’s sake,
Suffer ingratitude to taint my mind.
I found him, while occasion gave him leave,
Kind, pleasant, and good-humor’d: and this marriage
Happen’d unluckily, I must confess.
Yet I did nothing to estrange his love;
And since I have receiv’d much kindness from him,
’Tis fit I should endure this one affliction.

Scene IV.

Enter at a distance Pamphilus and Parmeno .

Pam. Be sure you prove this to me, Parmeno;
Prithee, be sure on’t. Do not bubble me
With false and short-liv’d joy.

Par. ’Tis even so.

Pam. For certain?

Par. Aye, for certain.

Pam. I’m in heaven,
If this be so.

Par. You’ll find it very true.

Pam. Hold, I beseech you. — I’m afraid I think
One thing, while you relate another.

Par. Well?

Pam. You said, I think, “that Myrrhina discover’d
The ring on Bacchis’ finger was her own.”

Par. She did.

Pam. “The same I gave her formerly.
— And Bacchis bade you run and tell me this.”
Is it not so?

Par. I tell you, Sir, it is.

Pam. Who is more fortunate, more bless’d than I?
— What shall I give you for this news? what? what?
I don’t know.

Par. But I know.

Pam. What?

Par. Just nothing.
For I see nothing of advantage to you,
Or in the message, or myself.

Pam. Shall I
Permit you to go unrewarded; you,
Who have restor’d me ev’n from death to life?
Ah, Parmeno, d’ye think me so ungrateful?
— But yonder’s Bacchis standing at the door.
She waits for me, I fancy. I’ll go to her.

Bacch. (seeing him). Pamphilus, save you.

Pam. Bacchis! my dear Bacchis!
My guardian! my protectress!

Bacch. All is well:
And I’m o’erjoy’d at it.

Pam. Your actions speak it.
You’re still the charming girl I ever found you.
Your presence, company, and conversation,
Come where you will, bring joy and pleasure with them.

Bacch. And you, in faith, are still the same as ever,
The sweetest, most engaging man on earth.

Pam. Ha! ha! ha! that speech from you, dear Bacchis?

Bacch. You lov’d your wife with reason, Pamphilus:
Never that I remember, did I see her
Before to-day; and she’s a charming woman.

Pam. Speak truth.

Bacch. So Heaven help me, Pamphilus!

Pam. Say, have you told my father any part
Of this tale?

Bacch. Not a word.

Pam. Nor is there need.
Let all be hush! I would not have it here,
As in a comedy, where every thing
Is known to every body. Here those persons
Whom it concerns already know it; they,
Who ’twere not meet should know it, never shall.

Bacch. I promise you it may with ease be hid.
Myrrhina told Phidippus that my oath
Convinc’d her, and she held you clear.

Pam. Good! good!
All will be well, and all, I hope, end well.

Par. May I know, Sir, what good I’ve done to-day?
And what’s the meaning of your conversation?

Pam. No.

Par. I suspect, however. — “I restore him
From death to life” — which way? —

Pam. Oh, Parmeno,
You can’t conceive the good you’ve done to-day;
From what distress you have deliver’d me.

Par. Ah, but I know, and did it with design.

Pam. Oh, I’m convinced of that. (Ironically.)

Par. Did Parmeno
Ever let slip an opportunity
Of doing what he ought, Sir?

Pam. Parmeno,
In after me!

Par. I follow. — By my troth,
I’ve done more good to-day, without design,
Than ever with design in all my life. —
Clap your hands!

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The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01