Something must have turned his brain; but the brother will soon
finish this quarrel.
This is a very sharp blow for my master; his fate is cruel. I
greatly fear something coming for myself. I will go softly in enlightening her.
Let me see whether he will so much as speak to me! I will not
These things are often annoying when one knows about them: I
hesitate to ask her. Would it not be better not to risk anything,
and to ignore what may have happened? Yet, at all hazard, I must
see. I cannot help myself. Curiosity concerning things which one
would rather not know is a human weakness. Heaven preserve you, Cleanthis!
Ah! Ah! You dare to come near me, you villain!
Good Heavens! What is the matter with you? You are always in a
temper, and become angry about nothing!
What do you call about nothing? Speak out.
I call about nothing what is called about nothing in verse as
well as in prose; and nothing, as you well know, means to say
nothing, or very little.
I do not know what keeps me from scratching your eyes out,
infamous rascal, to teach you how far the anger of a woman can go.
Hullo! What do you mean by this furious rage?
Then you call that nothing, perhaps, which you have done to me?
So? You feign to be innocent? Do you follow the example of your
master and say you did not return here?
No, I know the contrary too well; but I will be frank with you.
We had drunk some wretched wine, which might have made me forget what I did.
You think, perhaps, to excuse yourself by this trick, . . .
No, in truth you may believe me. I was in such a condition that
I may have done things I should regret; I do not remember what they were.
You do not even remember the manner in which you thought fit to
treat me when you came from the port?
Not at all. You had better tell me all about it; I am just and
sincere, and would condemn myself were I wrong.
CLEANTHIS.Well? Amphitryon having warned me of your return, I sat up until
you came; but I never saw such coldness: I had myself to remind you
that you had a wife; and, when I wanted to kiss you, you, turned
away your head, and gave me your ear.
In short, my flame bad to burn alone, its chaste ardour did not
find anything in you but ice; you were the culprit in a return that
might have been so different: you even went so far as to refuse to
take your place in bed, which the laws of wedlock oblige you to occupy.
It is but too true, you rascal. Of all affronts this affront is
the greatest; and, instead of your heart repairing its wrong this
morning, you left me with words full of undisguised contempt.
Is this the way to express your grief at such an outrage?
I should never have believed I could be so prudent.
Instead of condemning yourself for such a perfidious trick, you
rejoice at it to my face!
Good gracious! Gently, gently! If I appear pleased, you must
believe that I have a very strong private reason for it; without
thinking of it, I never did better than in using you in such a manner as I did.
No, I am speaking openly to you. I was in a wretched state. I
had a certain load, which your words have lifted from my soul. I was
very apprehensive, and feared that I had played the fool with you.
What is this fear? Come, let us know what you mean.
The doctors say that, when one is drunk, one should abstain
from one's wife, for, in that condition we can only have children
who are dull, and who cannot live. Think, if my heart had not armed
itself with coldness, what troubles might have followed!
I do not care a fig for doctors, with their insipid reasonings.
Let them rule those who are sick without wishing to govern healthy
people. They meddle with too many affairs when they seek to rein in
our chaste desires; in addition to the dog days, and their strict
rules, they tell us a hundred ridiculous stories into the bargain.
No; I maintain theirs is a worthless conclusion: those reasons
come from idiotic brains. Neither wine nor time ought to prevent the
duties of conjugal love from being fulfilled; doctors are donkeys.
I entreat you, moderate your anger against them; they are
honest people, whatever the world may say of them.
Things are not what you think them; you can shut up; your
excuse will not go down; and, sooner or later, I tell you plainly, I
will avenge myself for the contempt you show me every day. I
remember everything you said just now, and I shall try to make use
of the liberty you gave me, You faithless, cowardly husband.