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PLAUTUS


The Two Bacchises

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Pistoc.

Gad! And I know what I'm fearing. But, I say.

Bacch.

Well?

Pistoc.

What if there should happen to be an impromptu luncheon or drinking party at your house, or a dinner party, perhaps— the ordinary thing at resorts like yours—where would my place be then?

Bacch.

Next to me, darling; a nice boy and a nice girl side by side. This place at my house is your very own always, no matter how unexpectedly you come. Whenever you want to have a nice time just say, "Give me a comfy place, rosey dear," and I'll give you a nice place to be comfy in.

Pistoc.

(half to himself) This is a rapid stream: dangerous crossing here!

Bacch.

(aside) My conscience, yes! And a stream you're bound to lose something in, young man! (aloud) Give me your hand and come along. (tries to take it)

Pistoc.

(drawing back) Oh no, not a bit of it!

Bacch.

Why not?

Pistoc.

Because a young fellow couldn't be offered a more enticing combination than that—wine, woman, and evening hours.

Bacch.

All right then. Dear me, I don't mind at all except for your sake, indeed I don't. To be sure he'll carry her off; but don't you come near me if you don't like to. (looks at him sadly and appealingly)

Pistoc.

(half aside) So I've no mind at all, eh—no power to control myself?

Bacch.

What is it you're afraid of?

Pistoc.

(pauses, then ardently) Nothing! Bagatelles! I surrender myself to you, my lady: I'm all your own; command me.

Bacch.

That's a nice boy! (petting him) Now this is what I want you to do. I want to give my sister a dinner to-day to celebrate her coming. I'll tell them to bring you out some money at once, and you're to see to provisioning us in perfectly splendid style. (turns to call to servant hither)

Pistoc.

(eagerly) I'll stand the provisioning myself: why, it wouldn't be decent of me to let you give me a good time, in your kindness, and pay the bills for it too.

Bacch.

(glancing slyly at her sister) But I don't want it to cost you anything.

Pistoc.

Do let me.

Bacch.

Oh, very well, if you really want to. Hurry along, there's a dear.

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