ACT III
Scene II
 

MERCURY, AMPHITRYON

MERCURY
Since love does not offer me any pleasure here, I will at least enjoy myself in another way, and enliven my dismal leisure by putting Amphitron out of all patience. This may not be very charitable in a God; but I shall not bother myself about that; my planet tells me I am somewhat given to malice.

AMPHITRYON
How is it that the door is closed at this hour?

MERCURY
Hullo! Gently, gently! Who knocks?

AMPHITRYON
I.

MERCURY
Who, I?

AMPHITRYON
Ah! Open.

MERCURY
What do you mean by 'open'? Who are you, pray, to make such a row, and speak like that?

AMPHITRYON
So? You do not know me?

MERCURY
No, nor have I the least wish to.

AMPHITRYON
Is every one losing his senses today? Is the malady spreading? Sosie! Hullo, Sosie!

MERCURY
Come, now! Sosie: that is my name; are you afraid I shall forget it?

AMPHITRYON
Do you see me?

MERCURY
Well enough. What can possess your arm to make such an uproar? What do you want down there?

AMPHITRYON
I, you gallows-bird! What do I want?

MERCURY
What do you not want then? Speak, if you want to be understood.

AMPHITRYON
Listen, you villain: I will come up with a stick to make you understand, and give you a fine lesson. How dare you speak to me like that?

MERCURY
Softly, softly! If you make the least attempt to create an uproar, I shall send you down some messengers who will annoy you.

AMPHITRYON
Oh Heavens! Did anyone ever conceive such insolence? And from a servant, from a beggar?

MERCURY
Come, now! What is the matter? Have you gone over everything correctly? Have your big eyes taken everything in? He glares, so savage he looks! If looks could bite, he would have torn me to shreds by now.

AMPHITRYON
I tremble at what you are bringing upon yourself with all this impudent talk. What a frightful storm you are brewing for yourself! What a tempest of blows will storm down on your back!

MERCURY
If you do not soon disappear from here, my friend, you may come in for some mauling.

AMPHITRYON
Ah! You villain, you shall know to your confusion what it is for a valet to attack his master.

MERCURY
You, my master?

AMPHITRYON
Yes, rascal. Do you dare to say you do not recognise me?

MERCURY
I do not recognise any other master than Amphitryon.

AMPHITRYON
And who, besides myself, may this Amphitryon be?

MERCURY
Amphitryon?

AMPHITRYON
Certainly.

MERCURY
Ah! What an illusion! Come, tell me in what decent tavern you have addled your brain?

AMPHITRYON
What? Again?

MERCURY
Was it a feast-day wine?

AMPHITRYON
Heavens!

MERCURY
Was it old or new?

AMPHITRYON
What insults!

MERCURY
New goes to one's head, if drunk without water.

AMPHITRYON
Ah! I shall tear your tongue out soon.

MERCURY
Pass on, my dear friend; believe me, no one here will listen to you. I respect wine. Go away, make yourself scarce, and leave Amphitryon to the pleasures which he is tasting.

AMPHITRYON
What! Is Amphitryon in there?

MERCURY
Rather: covered with the laurels of his fine victory, he is side by side with the lovely Alcmene enjoying the delights of a charming tete-a-tete. They are tasting the pleasures of being reconciled, now their love-tiff has blown over. Take care how you disturb their sweet privacy, unless you wish him to punish you for your excessive rashness.