Joessa. Pythias. Lysias
Jo. Cross boy! But I deserve it all! I ought to have treated you as any other girl would do,--bothered you for money, and been engaged when you called, and made you cheat your father or rob your mother to get presents for me; instead of which, I have always let you in from the very first time, and it has never cost you a penny, Lysias. Think of all the lovers I have sent away: Ethocles, now a Chairman of Committees, and Pasion the shipowner, and young Melissus, who had just come into all his father's money. I would not have a word to say to one of them; I kept myself for you, hard-hearted Phaon that you are! I was fool enough to believe all your vows, and have been living like a Penelope for your sake; mother is furious about it, and is always talking at me to her friends. And now that you feel sure of me, and know how I dote on you, what is the consequence? You flirt with Lycaena under my very eyes, just to vex me; you sit next to me at dinner, and pay compliments to Magidium, a mere music-girl, and hurt my feelings, and make me cry. And that wine-party the other day, with Thraso and Diphilus, when Cymbalium the flute-girl was there, and Pyrallis: you know how I hate that girl: as for Cymbalium, whom you kissed no less than five times,
[paragraph continues] I didn't mind so much about that,--it must have been sufficient punishment in itself:--but the way in which you were always making signs to Pyrallis to notice your cup, and whispering to the boy, when you gave it back to him, that he was not to fill it for any one but Pyrallis! and that piece of apple that you bit off and shot across right into her lap, when you saw that Diphilus was occupied with Thraso,--you never even tried to conceal it from me! and she kissed it, and hid it away beneath her girdle. What is the meaning of it all? What have I ever done to you? Did I ever displease you? ever look at any other man? Do I not live for you alone? A brave thing, is it not, Lysias, to vex a poor weak woman who loves you to distraction! There is a Nemesis who watches such deeds. You will be sorry some day, perhaps, when you hear of my hanging myself, or jumping head first into a well; for die I will, one way or another, rather than live to be an eyesore to you. There will be an achievement for you to boast of! You need not look at me like that, nor gnash your teeth: if you have anything to say against me, here is Pythias; let her judge between us. Oh, you are going away without a word?--You see what I have to put up with, Pythias!
Py. Monster! He cares nothing for her tears. He must be made of stone instead of flesh and blood. But the truth is, my dear, you have spoilt him, by letting him see how fond you are of him. It is a great mistake to make so much of them; they get uppish. Don't cry, dear: take my advice, and shut him out once or twice; it will be his turn to dote on you then.
Jo. Shut him out? Don't breathe a word of such a thing! I only wish he would wait till I turned him out!
Py. Why, here he is back again.
Jo. Pythias! What have you done? If he should have overheard that about shutting him out!
Ly. I am coming back on your account, Pythias, not on hers;
[paragraph continues] I will never look at her again, after what she has done: but I don't want you to think badly of me; it shall not be said that Lysias was hard-hearted.
Py. Exactly what I was saying.
Ly. But what would you have me do? This girl, who is so tearful now, has been disloyal to me, and received another lover; I actually found them together!
Py. Well, after all------. But when did you make this discovery?
Ly. It must have been something like five days ago; yes, it was, because it was on the second, and to-day is the seventh. My father had found out about this precious Joessa, and how long it had been going on, and he locked me in, and gave the porter orders not to open to me. Well, I wasn't going to be kept away from her, so I told Dromo to slip along the courtyard to the lowest part of the wall, and then let me mount on his back; I knew I could easily get over that way. To make a long story short, I got out, and came here. It was midnight, and I found the door carefully barred. Instead of knocking, I quietly lifted the door off its hinges (it was not the first time I had done so) and passed noiselessly in. Every one was asleep. I groped my way along the wall, and stopped at the bedside.
Jo. Good Heavens! What is coming? I am in torment!
Ly. I perceived from the breathing that there was more than one person there, and thought at first that Lyde must be sleeping with her. Pythias, I was mistaken! My hands passed over a smooth, beardless man's face; the fellow was close-cropped, and reeked of scent like any woman. I had not brought my sword with me, or you may be sure I should have known what to do with it--What are you both laughing at? Is it so amusing, Pythias?
Jo. Oh, Lysias! is that all? Why, it was Pythias who was sleeping with me!
Py. Joessa, don't tell him!
Jo. Why not? Lysias, dear, it was Pythias; I had asked her to come and sleep with me; I was so lonely without you.
Ly. Pythias? Then her hair has grown pretty fast in five days.
Jo. She has been ill, and her hair was falling off, and she had to have it cropped. And now she has got false hair. Pythias, show him that it is so. Behold your rival, Lysias! this is the young gentleman of whom you were jealous.
Ly. And what lover would not have been jealous? I had the evidence of my hands, remember.
Jo. Well, you know better now. Suppose I were to return you evil for evil? What should you say to that? It is my turn to be angry with you now.
Ly. No, you mustn't be angry. We will have some wine, and Pythias must join us; the truce cannot be ratified without her.
Jo. Of course not. A pretty scrape you have led me into, Pythias, you nice young man!
Py. The nice young man has led you out of it again too, so you must forgive him. I say, Lysias, you need not tell any one--about my hair, you know.