Enter Demipho and Chremes — and soon after, on t’other side, Phormio .
Dem. Well may we thank the gracious Gods, good brother,
That all things have succeeded to our wish.
— But now let’s find out Phormio with all speed,
Before he throws away our thirty minæ.
Phor. (pretending not to see him).
I’ll go and see if Demipho’s at home,
That I may —
Dem. (meeting him). — We were coming to you, Phormio.
Phor. On the old score, I warrant.
Phor. I thought so.
— Why should you go to me? — ridiculous!
Was you afraid I’d break my contract with you?
No, no! how great soe’er my poverty,
I’ve always shown myself a man of honor.
Chrem. Apart. Has not she, as I said, a liberal air?
Dem. She has.
Phor. — And therefore I was coming, Demipho,
To let you know I’m ready to receive
My wife whene’er you please. For I postpon’d
All other business, as indeed I ought,
Soon as I found ye were so bent on this.
Dem. Aye, but my brother has dissuaded me
From going any further in this business.
“For how will people talk of it?” says he:
“At first you might have done it handsomely;
But then you’d not consent to it; and now,
After cohabitation with your son,
To think of a divorce is infamous.”
— In short, he urg’d almost the very things
That you so lately charg’d me with yourself.
Phor. You trifle with me, gentlemen.
Dem. How so?
Phor. How so? Because I can not marry t’other,
With whom I told you I was first in treaty.
For with what face can I return to her
Whom I have held in such contempt?
Chrem. Tell him
Antipho does not care to part with her. (Prompting Demipho .)
Dem. And my son too don’t care to part with her:
— Step to the Forum then, and give an order
For the repayment of our money, Phormio.
Phor. What! when I’ve paid it to my creditors?
Dem. What’s to be done then?
Phor. Give me but the wife
To whom you have betroth’d me, and I’ll wed her.
But if you’d rather she should stay with you,
The portion stays with me, good Demipho,
For ’tis not just I should be bubbled by you;
When, to retrieve your honor, I’ve refus’d
Another woman with an equal fortune.
Dem. A plague upon your idle vaporing,
You vagabond! — D’ye fancy we don’t know you?
You, and your fine proceedings?
Phor. You provoke me.
Dem. Why, would you marry her, if proffer’d?
Phor. Try me.
Dem. What! that my son may keep her privately
At your house? — That was your intention.
What say you, Sir?
Dem. Give me my money, Sirrah!
Phor. Give me my wife, I say.
Dem. To justice with him!
Phor. To justice? Now, by Heaven, gentlemen,
If you continue to be troublesome —
Dem. What will you do?
Phor. What will I do? Perhaps
You think that I can only patronize
Girls without portion; but be sure of this,
I’ve some with portions too.
Chrem. What’s that to us?
Phor. Nothing. — I know a lady here whose husband —
Chrem. Ha! (Carelessly.)
Dem. What’s the matter?
Phor. — Had another wife
Chrem. (aside). I’m a dead man.
Phor. — By which other
He had a daughter; whom he now brings up
Chrem. (aside). Dead and buried.
Phor. This I’ll tell her. (Going toward the house.)
Chrem. Don’t, I beseech you!
Phor. Oh! are you the man?
Dem. Death! how insulting!
Chrem. (to Phormio). We discharge you.
Chrem. What would you more? The money you have got
We will forgive you.
Phor. Well; I hear you now.
— But what a plague d’ye mean by fooling thus,
Acting and talking like mere children with me?
— I won’t; I will: I will; I won’t again:—
Give, take; say, unsay; do, and then undo.
Chrem. (to Demipho). Which way could he have learn’d this?
Dem. I don’t know;
But I am sure I never mention’d it.
Chrem. Good now! amazing!
Phor. I have ruffled them. (Aside.)
Dem. What! shall he carry off so large a sum,
And laugh at us so openly? — By Heaven,
I’d rather die. — Be of good courage, brother!
Pluck up the spirit of a man! You see
This slip of yours is got abroad; nor can you
Keep it a secret from your wife. Now, therefore,
’Tis more conducive to your peace, good Chremes,
That we should fairly tell it her ourselves,
Than she should hear the story from another.
And then we shall be quite at liberty
To take our own revenge upon this rascal.
Phor. Ha! — If I don’t take care I’m ruin’d still.
They’re growing desperate, and making tow’rd me
With a determin’d gladiatorial air.
Chrem. (to Demipho). I fear she’ll ne’er forgive me.
Dem. Courage, Chremes!
I’ll reconcile her to’t; especially
The mother being dead and gone.
Phor. Is this
Your dealing, gentlemen? You come upon me
Extremely cunningly. — But, Demipho,
You have but ill consulted for your brother,
To urge me to extremities. — And you, Sir (to Chremes),
When you have play’d the whoremaster abroad;
Having no reverence for your lady here,
A woman of condition; wronging her
After the grossest manner; come you now
To wash away your crimes with mean submission?
No. — I will kindle such a flame in her,
As, though you melt in tears, you sha’n’t extinguish.
Dem. A plague upon him! was there ever man
So very impudent? — A knave! he ought
To be transported at the public charge
Into some desert.
Chrem. I am so confounded,
I know not what to do with him.
Dem. I know.
Bring him before a judge!
Phor. Before a judge?
A lady-judge; in here, Sirs, if you please.
Dem. Run you and hold him, while I call her servants.
Chrem. I can not by myself; come up and help me.
Phor. I have an action of assault against you. (To Demipho .)
Chrem. Bring it!
Phor. Another against you too, Chremes!
Dem. Drag him away! (Both lay hold of him.)
Phor. (struggling). Is that your way with me!
Then I must raise my voice. — Nausistrata!
Chrem. Stop his mouth!
Dem. (struggling). A sturdy rogue!
How strong he is!
Phor. (struggling). Nausistrata, I say.
Chrem. (struggling). Peace, Sirrah!
Phor. Peace, indeed!
Dem. Unless he follows, strike him in the stomach!
Phor. Aye, or put out an eye! — But here comes one
Will give me full revenge upon you both.
To them Nausistrata .
Naus. Who calls for me?
Naus. (to Chremes). Pray, my dear,
What’s this disturbance?
Phor. Dumb, old Truepenny!
Naus. Who is this man? — Why don’t you answer me? (To Chremes .)
Phor. He answer you! he’s hardly in his senses.
Chrem. Never believe him!
Phor. Do but go and touch him;
He’s in a shivering fit, I’ll lay my life.
Chrem. Nay —
Naus. But what means he then?
Phor. I’ll tell you, madam;
Do but attend!
Chrem. Will you believe him then?
Naus. What is there to believe, when he says nothing?
Phor. Poor man! his fear deprives him of his wits.
Naus. (to Chremes). I’m sure you’re not so much afraid
Chrem. What! I afraid? (Endeavoring to take heart.)
Phor. Oh, not at all! — And since
You’re in no fright, and what I say means nothing,
Tell it yourself.
Dem. At your desire, you rascal?
Phor. Oh, you’ve done rarely for your brother, Sir!
Naus. What! Won’t you tell me, husband?
Chrem. But —
Naus. But what?
Chrem. There’s no occasion for it.
Phor. Not for you:
But for the Lady there is much occasion.
In Lemnos —
Chrem. Ha! what say you?
Dem. (to Phormio). Hold your peace!
Phor. Without your knowledge —
Chrem. Oh dear!
Phor. He has had
Naus. My husband? Heav’n forbid!
Phor. ’Tis even so.
Naus. Ah me! I am undone.
Phor. — And had a daughter by her there; while you
Was left to sleep in ignorance alone.
Naus. Oh Heavens! — Baseness! — Treachery!
Phor. ’Tis fact.
Naus. Was ever any thing more infamous?
When they’re with us, their wives forsooth, they’re old.
— Demipho, I appeal to you: for him
I can not bear to speak to. — And were these
His frequent journeys and long stay at Lemnos?
Was this the cheapness that reduc’d our rents?
Dem. That he has been to blame, Nausistrata,
I don’t deny; but not beyond all pardon.
Phor. You’re talking to the dead.
Dem. It was not done
Out of aversion or contempt to you.
In liquor, almost fifteen years ago,
He met this woman, whence he had this daughter;
Nor e’er had commerce with her from that hour.
She’s dead: your only grievance is remov’d.
Wherefore I beg you’d show your wonted goodness,
And bear it patiently.
Naus. How! bear it patiently?
Alas! I wish his vices might end here.
But have I the least hope? can I suppose
That years will cure these rank offenses in him?
Ev’n at that time he was already old,
If age could make him modest. — Are my years
And beauty, think ye, like to please him more
At present, Demipho, than formerly?
— In short, what ground, what reason to expect
That he should not commit the same hereafter?
Phor. (aloud). Whoever would attend the funeral
Of Chremes, now’s the time! — See! that’s my way.
Come on then! provoke Phormio now, who dares!
Like Chremes, he shall fall a victim to me.
— Let him get into favor when he will!
I’ve had revenge sufficient. She has something
To ring into his ears his whole life long.
Naus. Have I deserv’d this? — Need I, Demipho,
Number up each particular, and say
How good a wife I’ve been?
Dem. I know it all.
Naus. Am I then justly treated?
Dem. Not at all.
But since reproaches can’t undo what’s done,
Forgive him! he begs pardon; owns his fault;
And promises to mend. — What would you more?
Phor. But hold; before she ratifies his pardon,
I must secure myself and Phædria. (Aside.)
— Nausistrata, a word! — Before you give
Your answer rashly, hear me!
Naus. What’s your pleasure?
Phor. I trick’d your husband there of thirty minæ,
Which I have giv’n your son; and he has paid them
To a procurer for a mistress.
What say you?
Naus. Is it such a heinous crime
For your young son, d’ye think, to have one mistress,
While you have two wives? — Are you not asham’d?
Have you the face to chide him? answer me!
Dem. He shall do ev’ry thing you please.
Naus. Nay, nay,
To tell you plainly my whole mind at once,
I’ll not forgive, nor promise any thing,
Nor give an answer, till I see my son.
Phor. Wisely resolv’d, Nausistrata.
Naus. Is that
Sufficient satisfaction for you?
I rest contented, well pleas’d, past my hopes.
Naus. What is your name, pray?
Phor. My name? Phormio:
A faithful friend to all your family,
Especially to Phædria.
Naus. Trust me, Phormio,
I’ll do you all the service in my power.
Phor. I’m much oblig’d to you.
Naus. You’re worthy on’t.
Phor. Will you then even now, Nausistrata,
Grant me one favor that will pleasure me,
And grieve your husband’s sight?
Naus. With all my soul.
Phor. Ask me to supper!
Naus. I invite you.
Dem. In then!
Naus. We will. But where is Phædria, our judge?
Phor. He shall be with you. — (To the Audience .)
Farewell; Clap your hands!
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Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01