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UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
AND OTHER STORIES.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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CHOOSING THE CASKET
JHE J^EflGHANT OF VENICE,
AND OTHER STORIES,
FRANCES BRUNDAGE, M. BOWLEY,
Pobli^e^ io Tkeir Tlaje^hej
T>e rt'»">§ Cr Queen .
£r TU-hOne. "Prints <T "Pnr.ce^ c£ W-ljj
PRINTED IN ENGLAND.
The Merchant of Venice.
Timon of Athens.
The Comedy of Errors*
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
^NTONIO was a rich and prosperous
merchant of Venice. His ships were
^L on nearly every sea, and he traded with
fl* Portugal, with Mexico, with England,
ci, and with India. Although proud of
®° his riches, he was very generous with
them, and delighted to use them in
6 THE MERCHANT OF TENICE.
relieving the wants of his friends,
among whom his relation, Bassanio,
held the first place.
Now Bassanio, like many another
gay and gallant gentleman, was reck-
less and extravagant, and finding that
he had not only come to the end of his
for time, but was also unable to pay his
creditors, he went to Antonio for fur-
" To you, Antonio," he said, " I owe
the most in money and in love : and I
have thought of a plan to pay every-
thing I owe if you will but help me."
u Say what I can do, and it shall be
done," answered his friend.
Then said Bassanio, u In Belmont is
a lady richly left, and from all quarters
of the globe renowned suitors come to
woo her, not only because she is rich,
but because she is beautiful and good as
well. She looked on me with such
favour when last we met, that I feel
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. 7
sure that I should win her away from
all rivals for her love had I but the
means to go to Belmont, where she
" All my fortunes," said Antonio,
ki are at sea, and so I have no ready
money ; but luckily my credit is good
in Venice, and I will borrow for you
what you need."
There was living in Venice at this
time a rich money - lender, named
Shylock. Antonio despised and dis-
liked this man very much, and treated
him with the greatest harshness and
scorn. He would thrust him, like a
cur, over his threshold, and would even
spit on him. Shylock submitted to all
these indignities with a patient shrug ;
but deep in his heart he cherished a
desire for revenge on the rich, smug
merchant. For Antonio both hurt his
pride and injured his business. " But
for him," thought Shylock, " I should
8 THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
be richer by half a million ducats. On
the market place, and wherever he can,
he denounces the rate of interest I
charge, and — worse than that — he lends
out money freely."
So when Bassanio came to him to
ask for a loan of three thousand
ducats to Antonio for three months,
Shylock hid his hatred, and turning to
Antonio, said — " Harshly as you have
treated me, I would be friends with
you and have your love. So I will
lend you the money and charge you no
interest. But, just for fun, you shall
sign a bond in which it shall be agreed
that if you do not repay me in three
months' time, then I shall have the
right to a pound of your flesh, to be
cut from what part of your body I
" No," cried Bassanio to his friend,
" you shall run no such risk for me."
" Why, fear not," said Antonio, " my
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
ships will be home a month before the
time. I will sign the bond."
Thus Bassanio was furnished with the
10 THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
means to go to Belmont, there to woo
the lovely Portia. The very night he
started, the money - lender's pretty
daughter, Jessica, ran away from her
father's house with her lover, and she
took with her from her father's hoards
some bags of ducats and precious stones.
Shylock's grief and anger were terrible
to see. His love for her changed to
hate. " I would she were dead at my
feet and the jewels in her ear," he
cried. His only comfort now was in
hearing of the serious losses which had
befallen Antonio, some of whose ships
were wrecked. " Let him look to his
bond," said Shylock, "let him look to
Meanwhile Bassanio had reached Bel-
mont, and had visited the fair Portia.
He found, as he had told Antonio, that
the rumour of her wealth and beauty
had drawn to her suitors from far and
near. But to all of them Portia had
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. 11
but one reply. She would only accept
that suitor who would pledge himself
to abide by the terms of her father's
will. These were conditions that
frightened away many an ardent
wooer. For he who would win Por-
tia's heart and hand, had to guess
which of three caskets held her por-
trait. If he guessed aright, then Portia
would be his bride ; if wrong, then he
was bound by oath never to reveal
which casket he chose, never to marry,
and to go away at once.
The caskets were of gold, silver,
and lead. The gold one bore this in-
scription : — " Who chooseth me shall
gain what many men desire " ; the
silver one had this : — " Who chooseth
me shall get as much as he deserves " ;
while on the lead one were these
words : — " Who chooseth me must give
and hazard all he hath." The Prince
of Morocco, as brave as he was black,
12 T2E MERCHANT OF VENICE.
was among the first to submit to this
test. He chose the gold casket, for he
said neither base lead nor silver could
contain her picture. So he chose the
gold casket, and found inside the like-
ness of what many men desire — death.
After him came the haughty Prince
of Arragon, and saying, IC Let me have
what I deserve — surely I deserve the
lady," he chose the silver one, and
found inside a fool's head. " Did I
deserve no more than a fool's head ? "
Then at last came Bassanio, and
Portia would have delayed him from
making his choice from very fear of
his choosing wrong. For she loved him
dearly, even as he loved her. " But,"
said Bassanio, " let me choose at once,
for, as I am, I live upon the rack."
Then Portia bade her servants to bring
music and play while her gallant lover
made his choice. And Bassanio took
THE MERCHANT OF TENICE.
the oath and walked up to the caskets —
the musicians playing softly the while.
" Mere outward show," he said, " is to
be despised. The world is still deceived
with ornament, and so no gaudy gold or
shining silver for me. I choose the
lead casket ; joy be the consequence ! "
14 THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
And opening it, he found fair Portia's
portrait inside, and he turned to her
and asked if it were true that she was
" Yes," said Portia, " I am yours,
and this house is yours, and with .them
I give you this ring, from which you
must never part."
And Bassanio, saying that he could
hardly speak for joy, found words to
swear that he would never part with
the ring while he lived.
Then suddenly all his happiness was
dashed with sorrow, for messengers
came from Venice to tell him that
Antonio was ruined, and that Shylock
demanded from the Duke the fulfilment
of the bond, under which he was enti-
tled to a pound of the merchant's flesh.
Portia was as grieved as Bassanio to
hear of the danger which threatened
" First," she said, " take me to church
TKE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
and make me your wife, and then go to
Venice at once to help your friend.
You shall take with you money enough
to pay his debt twenty times over."
But when her newly -made husband
had gone, Portia went after him, and
arrived in Venice disguised as a lawyer,
and with an introduction from a cele-
brated lawyer Bellario, whom the Duke
of Venice had called in to decide the
legal questions raised by Shylock's
claim to a pound of Antonio's flesh.
When the Court met, Bassanio offered
Shylock twice the money borrowed, if
he would withdraw his claim. But the
money-lender's only answer was —
u If every ducat in six thousand ducats
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them, — I would have my bond."
It was then that Portia arrived in her
disguise, and not even her own husband
knew her. The Duke gave her wel-
come on account of the great Bellario's
15 THE MERCHANT OF TENICE.
introduction, and left the settlement of
the case to her. Then in noble words
she bade Shylock have mercy. But he
was deaf to her entreaties. " I will
have the pound of flesh," was his
" What have you to say ? " asked
Portia of the merchant.
" But little," he answered ; " I am
armed and well prepared."
" The Court awards you a pound of
Antonio's flesh," said Portia to the
" Most righteous judge ! " cried
Shylock. " A sentence ; come, pre-
" Tarry a little. This bond gives you
no right to Antonio's blood, only to his
flesh. If, then, you spill a drop of his
blood, all your property will be for-
feited to the State. Such is the Law."
And Shylock, in his fear, said, " Then
I will take Bassanio's offer."
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
Jessica Leaving Home.
18 THE MERCHANT OP VENICE.
"No," said Portia sternly, "you shall
have nothing but your bond. Take
your pound of flesh, but remember,
that if you take more or less, even by
the weight of a hair, you will lose
your property and your life."
Shylock now grew very much fright-
ened. " Give me my three thousand
ducats that I lent him, and let him go."
Bassanio would have paid it to him,
but said Portia, "No! He shall have
nothing but his bond."
" You, a foreigner," she added,
" have sought to take the life of a
Venetian citizen, and thus by the
Venetian law, your life and goods are
forfeited. Down, therefore, and beg
mercy of the Duke.''
Thus were the tables turned, and no
mercy would have been shown to Shy-
lock, had it not been for Antonio. As it
was, the money-lender forfeited half his
fortune to the State, and he had to settle
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
the other half on his daughter's hus-
band, and with this he had to be
Bassanio, in his gratitude to the
clever lawyer, was induced to part with
the ring his wife had given hira, and with
which he had promised never to part, and
when on his return to Belmont he con-
fessed as much to Portia, she seemed
very angry, and vowed she would not be
20 THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
friends with him until she had her ring
again. But at last she told him that it
was she who, in the disguise of the
lawyer, had saved his friend's life, and
got the ring from him. So Bassanio
was forgiven, and made happier than
ever, to know how rich a prize he had
drawn in the lottery of the caskets.
TIMON OF ATHENS-
J 1 OUR hundred years before the
birth of Christ, a man lived in
Athens whose generosity was not only
great, but absurd. He was very rich,
but no worldly wealth was enough for
a man who spent and gave like Timon.
If anybody gave Timon jaj^horse, he
22 TIM ON OF ATHEN3.
received from Timon twenty better
horses. If anybody borrowed money
of Timon and offered to repay it,
Timon was offended. If a poet had
written a poem and* Timon had time to
read it, he would be sure to buy it ; and
a painter had only to hold up his canvas
in front of Timon to receive double its
Flavius, his steward, looked with dis-
may at his reckless mode of life. When
Timon' s house was full of noisy lords
drinking and spilling costly wine,
Flavius would sit in a cellar and cry.
He would say to himself, " There are
ten thousand candles burning in this
house, and each of those singers bray-
ing in the concert-room costs a poor
man's yearly income a night" ; and he
would remember a terrible thing said
by Apemantus, one of his master's
friends, " what a number of men eat
Timon, and Timon sees them not ! "
TIMON OF ATHENS. } 23
Of course, Timon was much praised.
A jeweller who sold him a diamond
pretended that it was not quite perfect
till Timon wore it. " You mend the
jewel by wearing it/' he said. Timon
gave the diamond to a lord called Sem-
pronius, and the lord exclaimed, ¥ O,
he's the very soul of bounty." " Timon
is infinitely dear to me," said another
lord, called Lucullus, to whom he gave
a beautiful horse ; and other Athenians
paid him compliments as sweet.
But when Apemantus had listened to
some of them, he said, u I'm going to
knock out an honest Athenian's brains."
" You will die for that," said Timon.
" Then I shall die for doing nothing,"
said Apemantus. And now you know
what a joke was like four hundred years
This Apemantus was a frank despiser
of mankind, but a healthy one, because
he was not unhappy. In this mixed
TIMON OF ATHENS
world anyone with a number of ac-
quaintances knows a person who talks
bitterly of men, but does not shun them,
and boasts that he is never deceived by
their fine speeches, and is inwardly
cheerful and proud. Apemantus was
a man like that.
Timon, you will be surprised to hear,
became much worse than Apemantus,
after the dawning of a day which we
call Quarter Day.
Quarter Day is the day when bills
pour in. The grocer, the butcher, and
the baker are all thinking of their
debtors on that day, and the wise man
has saved enough money to be ready
for them. But Timon had not ; and he
did not only owe money for food. He
owed it for jewels and horses and fur-
niture ; and, worst of all, he owed it to
money-lenders, who expected him to
pay twice as much as he had borrowed.
Quarter Day is a day when promises
TIMON OF ATHENS.
to pay are scorned, and on that day
Tinion was asked for a large sum of
money. " Sell some land/' he said to
his steward. " You have no land," was
the reply. " Nonsense ! I had a hun-
dred thousand acres," said Timon.
" You could have spent the price of
the world if you had possessed it," said
TIMON OF ATHENS.
" Borrow some then," said Timon ;
" try Ventidius." He thought of Ven-
tidius because he had once got Ventidius
out of prison by paying a creditor of
this young man. Ventidius was now
rich. Timon trusted in his gratitude.
But not for all; so much did he owe!
Servants were despatched with requests
for loans of money to several friends.
One servant (Flaminius) went to
Lucullus. When he was announced
Lucullus said, "A gift, I warrant. I
dreamt of a silver jug and basin last
night." Then, changing his tone,
" How is that honourable, free-hearted,
perfect gentleman, your master, eh?"
"Well in health, sir," replied Fla-
' i And what have you got there under
your cloak ? " asked Lucullus, jovially.
"Faith, sir, nothing but an empty
box, which, on my master's behalf, I
beg you to fill with money, sir."
TIMON OF ATHENS.
7 "La! la! la!" said Lucullus, who
could not pretend to mean, "Ha! ha!
ha ! " " Your master's one fault is that
he is too fond of giving parties. I've
warned him that it was expensive.
Now, look here, Flaminius, you know
this is no time to lend money without
security, so suppose you act like a good
boy and tell him that I was not at
home. Here's three solidares for your-
"Back, wretched money," cried
Flaminius, " to him who worships
Others of Timon's friends were tried
and found stingy. Amongst them was
" Hum," he said to Timon's servant,
" has he asked Ventidius ? Ventidius
is beholden to him."
" Well, have you asked Lucullus ? "
" He refused."
TIMOJi OF ATHENS.
" A poor compliment to apply to me
last of all," said Sempronius, in affected
anger. u If he had sent to me at first,
I would gladly have lent him money,
but Fm not going to be such a fool as to
lend him any now."
" Your lordship makes a good
villain," said the servant.
When Timon found that his friends
were so mean, he took advantage of a
lull in his storm of creditors to invite
Ventidius and Company to a banquet.
Flavius was horrified, but Ventidius and
Company were not in the least ashamed,
and they assembled accordingly in
Timon' s house, and said to one another
that their princely host had been jesting
" 1 had to put off an important en-
gagement in order to come here,"
said Lucullus; "but who could refuse
"It was a real grief to me to be
TIMON OF ATHENS.
without ready money when he asked
for some," said Semproniiis.
" The same here," chimed in a third
Timon now* appeared, and his guests
3» TIM ON OF ATHENS.
vied with one another in apologies and
compliments. Inwardly sneering, Timon
was gracious to them all.
In the banqueting hall was a table
resplendent with covered dishes.
Mouths watered. These summer-friends
loved good food.
"Be seated, worthy friends," said
Timon. He then prayed aloud to the
gods of Greece. " Give each man
enough," he said, "for if you, who are
our gods, were to borrow of men they
would cease to adore you. Let men
love the joint more than the host. Let
every score of guests contain twenty
villains. Bless my friends as much as
they have blessed me. Uncover the
dishes, dogs, and lap ! "
The hungry lords were too much sur-
prised by this speech to resent it. They
thought Timon was unwell, and,
although he had called them dogs, they
uncovered the dishes.
TIMON OF ATHENS. 31
There was nothing in them but warm
" May you never see a better feast,"
wished Tim on. "I wash off the flat-
teries with which you plastered me and
sprinkle you with your villainy." With
these words he threw the water into his
guests' faces, and then he pelted them
with the dishes. Having thus ended
the banquet, he went into an outhouse,
seized a spade, and quitted Athens for
His next dwelling was a cave near
Of all his friends, the only one who
had not refused him aid was a handsome
soldier named Alcibiades, and he had
not been asked because, having quar-
relled with the Government of Athens,
he had left that town. The thought
that Alcibiades might have proved a
true friend did not soften Timon's bitter
feeling. He was too weak-minded to
32 TIMON OF ATHENS.
discern the fact that good cannot be far
from evil in this mixed world. He
determined to see nothing better in all
mankind than the ingratitude of Ven-
tidius and the meanness of Lucullus.
He became a vegetarian, and talked
pages to himself as he dug in the earth
One day, when he was digging for
roots near the shore, his spade struck
gold. If he had been a wise man he
would have enriched himself quickly,
and returned to Athens to live in com-
fort. But the sight of the gold vein
gave no joy but only scorn to Timon.
"This yellow slave," he said, "will
make and break religions. It will
make black white and foul fair. It
will buy murder and bless the
He was still ranting when Alcibiades,
now an enemy of Athens, approached
with his soldiers and two beautiful
TIMON OF ATHENS. 33
women who cared for nothing but
Timon was so changed by his bad
thoughts and rough life that Alcibiades
did not recognise him at first.
" Who are you?" he asked.
" A beast, as you are," was the reply.
Alcibiades knew his voice, and offered
him help and money. But Timon
would none of it, and began to insult
the women. They, however, when
they found he had discovered a gold
mine, cared not a jot for his opinion of
them, but said, " Give us some gold,
good Timon. Have you more ? "
With further insults, Timon filled
their aprons with gold ore.
" Farewell," said Alcibiades, who
deemed that Timon' s wits were lost ;
and then his disciplined soldiers left
without profit the mine which could
have paid their wages, and marched
34 TIMON OF ATHENS.
Timon continued to dig and curse,
and affected great delight when he dug
up a root and discovered that it was
not a grape.
Just then Apemantus appeared. " I
am told that you imitate me," said
" Only," said Timon, " because you
haven't a dog which I can imitate."
" You are revenging yourself on your
friends by punishing yourself," said
Apemantus. "That is very silly, for
they live just as comfortably as they
ever did. I am sorry that a fool should
"HI were like you," said Timon, " I
should throw myself away."
" You have done so," sneered Ape-
mantus. a Will the cold brook make you
a good morning drink, or an east wind
warm your clothes as a valet would ? ''
"Off with you!" said Timon; but
Apemantus stayed a while longer and
TIMON OF ATHENS.
told him he had a passion for extremes,
which was true. Apemantus even made
a pun, but there was no good laughter
to be got out of Timon.
Finally, they lost their temper like
two schoolboys, and Timon said he was
T.IMON OF ATHENS.
sorry to lose the stone which he flung
at Apemantus, who left him with an
This was almost an "at-home" day
for Timon, for when Apemantus had
departed, he was visited by some rob-
bers. They wanted gold.
" You want too much," said Timon.
" Here are water, roots and berries."
"We are not birds and pigs," said
"No, you are cannibals, " k said Timon.
"Take the gold, then, and-may it poison
you ! Henceforth rob/ one another." .. .. 3
He spoke so frightfully to them that,
though they went away withj[full
pockets, they almost repented of their
His last visitor on that day of visits
was his good steward Flavius. " My
dearest master ! n cried he.
u Away ! What are you ? " said
TIMON OF ATHENS. 37
" Have you forgotten me, sir ? " asked
"I have forgotten all men," was
the reply ; " and if you'll allow
that you are a man, I have forgotten
"I was your honest servant," said
"Nonsense! I never had an honest
man about me," retorted Timon.
Flavius began to cry.
u What ! shedding tears ? " said
Timon. u Come nearer, then. I will
love you because you are a woman, and
unlike men, who only weep when they
laugh or beg."
They talked awhile; then Timon
said, " Yon gold is mine. I will make
you rich, Flavius, if you promise me
to live by yourself and hate mankind.
I will make you very rich if you
promise me that you will see the flesh
slide off the beggar's bones before you
TIMON OF ATHENS.
feed him, and let the debtor die in gaol
before you pay his debt."
Flavins simply said, M Let me stay to
comfort yon, my master."
" If yon dislike cnrsing, leave me,"
replied Timon, and he turned his back
on Flavius, who went sadly back to
Athens, too much accustomed to obed-
ience to force his services upon his
The steward had accepted nothing,
but a report got about that a mighty
nugget of gold had been given him by
his former master, and Timon therefore
received more visitors. They were a
painter and a poet, whom he had
patronised in his prosperity.
" Hail, worthy Timon ! " said the
poet. " We heard with astonishment
how your friends deserted you. No
whip's large enough for their backs ! "
" We have come," put in the painter,
"to offer 'our services."
TIMON OF ATHENS.
"You've heard that I have gold,"
said Tim on.
a There was a report," said the
painter, blushing; "but my friend and
I did not come for that."
" Good honest men ! " jeered Timon.
(i All the same, you shall have plenty of
gold if you will rid me of two
"Name them," said his two visitors
in one breath.
a Both of you ! " answered Timon.
Giving the painter a whack with a big
stick, he said, " Put that into your
palette and make money out of it."
Then he gave a whack to the poet, and
said, " Make a poem out of that and
get paid for it. There's gold for
They hurriedly withdrew.
Finally Timon was visited by two
senators who, now that Athens was
threatened by Alcibiades, desired to
40 TIMON OF ATHENS.
have on their side this bitter noble
whose gold might help the foe.
*t Forget your injuries," said the
first senator. " Athens offers you dig-
nities whereby you may honourably
a Athens confesses that your merit
was overlooked, and wishes to atone,
and more than atone, for her forgetful-
ness," said the second senator.
" Worthy senators," replied Timon, in
his grim way, a I am almost weeping ;
you touch me so! All I need are the
eyes of a woman and the heart of a
But the senators were patriots. They
believed that this bitter man could save
Athens, and they would not quarrel
with him. "Be our captain," they
said, "and lead Athens against Alci-
biades, who threatens to destroy her."
" Let him destroy the Athenians too,
for all I care/' said Timon ; and seeing
TIM ON OF ATHENS.
an evil despair in his face, they left
The senators returned to Athens,
and soon afterwards trumpets were
42 TIM ON OF ATHENS.
blown before its walls. Upon the walls
they stood and listened to Alcibiades,
who told them that wrong-doers should
quake in their easy chairs. They
looked at his confident army, and were
convinced that Athens must yield if he
assaulted it, therefore they used the
voice that strikes deeper than arrows.
" These walls of ours were built by
the hands of men who never wronged
you, Alcibiades," said the first senator.
" Enter," said the second senator,
" and slay every tenth man, if your
revenge needs human flesh."
16 Spare the cradle," said the first
" I ask only justice,'' said Alcibiades.
" If you admit my army, I will inflict
the penalty of your own laws upon any
soldier who breaks them.''
At that moment a soldier approached
Alcibiades, and said, " My noble general,
Timon is dead." He handed Alcibiades
TIMON OF ATHENS. 43
a sheet of wax, saying, " He is buried
by the sea, on the beach, and over his
grave is a stone with letters on it
which I cannot read, and therefore I
have impressed them on wax."
Alcibiades read from the sheet of wax
this couplet —
" Here lie I, Timon, who, alive, all living men
Pass by and say your worst ; but pass, and
stay not here your gait."
tl Dead, then, is noble Timon," said
Alcibiades; and he entered Athens
with an olive branch instead of a
So it was one of Timon' s friends who
was generous in a greater matter than
Timon's need ; yet are the sorrow and
rage of Timon remembered as a warn-
ing lest another ingratitude should arise
to turn love into hate.
' -^- V^~v/
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
/FGrEON was a merchant of Syracuse,
which is a seaport in Sicily. His
wife was iEmilia, and they were very
happy until iEgeon's manager died, and
he was obliged to go by himself to a
place called Epidamnum on the Adriatic.
As soon as she could iEmilia followed
him, and after they had been together
some time two baby boys were born to
them. The babies were exactly alike ;
even when they were dressed differently
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. 45
And now yon must believe a very-
strange thing. At the same inn where
these children were born, and on the
same day, two baby boys were born to
a much poorer couple than iEmilia and
iEgeon; so poor, indeed, were the
parents of these twins that they sold
them to the parents of the other twins.
^Emilia was eager to show her
children to her friends in Syracuse, and
in treacherous weather she and iEgeon
and the four babies sailed homewards.
They were still far from Syracuse when
their ship sprang a leak, and the crew
left it in a body by the only boat, caring
little what became of their passengers.
iEmilia fastened one of her children
to a mast and tied one of the slave-
children to him ; iEgeon followed her
example with the remaining children.
Then the parents secured themselves to
the same masts, and hoped for safety.
The ship, however, suddenly struck a
46 THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
rock and was split in two, and iEmilia,
and the two children whom she had
tied, floated away from iEgeon and the
other children. iEmilia and her charges
were picked up by some people of
Epidamnum, but some fishermen of
Corinth took the babies from her by
force, and she returned to Epidamnum
alone, and very miserable. Afterwards
she settled in Ephesus, a famous town
in Asia Minor.
iEgeon and his charges were also
saved ; and, more fortunate than
iEmilia, he was able to return to
Syracuse and keep them till they were
eighteen. His own child he called
Antipholus, and the slave-child he
called Dromio ; and, strangely enough,
these were the names given to the
children who floated away from him.
At the age of eighteen the son who
was with iEgeon grew restless with a
desire to find his brother. iEgeon let
THE COMEDT OF ERRORS.
him depart with his servant, and the
young men are henceforth known as
Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of
Left alone, iEgeon found his home
too dreary to dwell in, and travelled for
five years. He did not, during his
48 THE OOMEDY OF ERRORS.
absence, learn all the news of Syracuse,
or he would never have gone to
As it was, his melancholy wandering
ceased in that town, where he was
arrested almost as soon as he arrived.
He then found that the Duke of
Syracuse had been acting in so tyran-
nical a manner to Ephesians unlucky
enough to fall into his hands, that the
Government of Ephesus had angrily
passed a law which punished by death
or a fine of a thousand pounds any
Syracusan who should come to Ephesus.
iEgeon was brought before Solinus,
Duke of Ephesus, who told him that he
must die or pay a thousand pounds
before the end of the day.
You will think there was fate in this
when I tell you that the children who
were kidnapped by the fishermen of
Corinth were now citizens of Ephesus,
whither they had been brought by
THE OOMEDY OF ERRORS.
Duke Menaphon, an uncle of Duke
Solinus. They will henceforth be
called Antipholus of Ephesus and
Dromio of Ephesus.
Moreover, on the very day when
^Egeon was arrested, Antipholus of
Syracuse landed in Ephesus and pre-
tended that he came from Epidamnum
in order to avoid a penalty. He handed
his money to his servant Dromio of
Syracuse, and bade him take it to the
Centaur Inn and remain there till he
In less than ten minutes he was met
on the Mart by Dromio of Ephesus, his
brother's slave, and immediately mis-
took him for his own Dromio. "Why
are you back so soon ? Where did you
leave the money ? " asked Antipholus of
This Dromio knew of no money
except sixpence, which he had received
©n the previous Wednesday and given
60 m THE OOMEDT OF ERRORS.
to the saddler ; but he did know that
his mistress was annoyed because his
master was not in to dinner, and he
asked Antipholus of Syracuse to go to
a ; house called The Phoenix without
delay. His speech angered the hearer,
who would have beaten him if he had
not fled. Antipholus of Syracuse then
went to The Centaur, found that his
gold had been deposited there, and
walked out of the inn.
He was wandering about Ephesus
when two beautiful ladies signalled to
him with their hands. They were
sisters, and their names were Adriana
and Luciana. Adriana was the wife of
his brother Antipholus of Ephesus, and
she Lad made up her mind, from the
strar. ge account given her by Dromio of
Ephesus, that her husband preferred
another woman to his wife. " Ay, you
may look as if you did not know me,''
she said to the man who was really her
THE OOME&Y Off ERRORS, 51
brother-in-law, " but I can remember
when no words were sweet unless I said
them, no meat flavoursome unless I
"Is it I you address?" said Anti-
pholus of Syracuse stiffly. lt I do not
" Fie, brother," said Luciana. " You
know perfectly well that she sent
Dromio to you to bid you come to
dinner " ; and Adriana said, " Come,
come ; I have been made a fool of long
enough. My truant husband shall dine
with me and confess his silly pranks
and be forgiven."
They were determined ladies, and
Antipholus of Syracuse grew weary of
disputing with them, and followed them
obediently to The Phoenix, where a very
late " mid-day " dinner awaited them.
They were at dinner when Anti-
pholus of Ephesus and his slave Dromio
demanded admittance. " Maud, Bridget,
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
Marian, Cecily, Gillian, Ginn ! " shouted
Dromio of Ephesus, who knew all his
fellow- servants' names by heart.
From within came the reply, u Fool,
dray-horse, coxcomb, idiot I" It was
Dromio of Syracuse unconsciously in-
sulting his brother.
Master and man did their best to get
in, short of using a crowbar, and finally
went away ; but Antipholus of Ephesus
felt so annoyed with his wife that he
decided to give a gold chain which he
had promised her, to another woman.
Inside The Phoenix, Luciana, who
believed Antipholus of Syracuse to be
her-^sister's husband, attempted, by a
discourse in rhyme, when alone with
him, to make him kinder to Adriana.
In reply he told her that he was not
married, but that he loved her so much
that, if Luciana were a mermaid, he
would gladly lie on the sea if he might
feel beneath him her floating golden hair.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
Luciana was shocked and left him,
and reported his lovemaking to Adriana,
who said that her husband was old and
ugly, and not fit to be seen or heard,
though secretly she was very fond of
Antipholus of Syracuse soon received
54 TKE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
a visitor in the shape of Angelo the
goldsmith, of whom Antipholus of
Ephesus had ordered the chain which
he had promised his wife and intended
to give to another woman.
The goldsmith handed the chain to
Antipholus of Syracuse, and treated his
" I bespoke it not " as mere fun, so that
the puzzled merchant took the chain as
good-humouredly as he had partaken of
Adriana's dinner. He offered payment,
but Angelo foolishly said he would call
The consequence w^as that Angelo
was without money when a creditor
of the sort that stands no nonsense,
threatened him with arrest unless he
paid his debt immediately. This
creditor had brought a police officer
with him, and Angelo was relieved to
see Antipholus of Ephesus coming out
of the house where he had been dining
because he had been locked out of The
THE OOMEDY OF ERRORS. '55
Phoenix. Bitter was Angelo's dismay
when Antipholus denied receipt of the
chain, x^ngelo could have sent his
mother to prison if she had said that,
and he gave Antipholus of Ephesus in
At this moment up came Dromio of
Syracuse and told the wrong Antipholus
that he had shipped his goods, and that
a favourable wind was blowing. To
the ears of Antipholus of Ephesus this
talk was simple nonsense. He would
gladly have beaten the slave, but con-
tented himself with crossly telling him
to hurry to Adriana and bid her send
to her arrested husband a purse of
money which she would find in his desk.
Though Adriana was furious with her
husband because she thought he had
been making love to her sister, she did
not prevent Luciana from getting the
purse, and she bade Dromio of Syracuse
bring home his master immediately.
66 THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
Unfortunately, before Dromio could
reach the police station he met his real
master, who had never been arrested,
and did not understand what he meant
by offering him a purse. Antipholus of
Syracuse was further surprised when a
lady whom he did not know asked him
for a chain that he had promised her.
She was, of course, the lady with whom
Antipholus of Ephesus had dined when
his brother was occupying his place at
table. " Avaunt, thou witch ! " was the
answer which, to her astonishment, she
Meanwhile Antipholus of Ephesus
waited vainly for the money which was
to have released him. Never a good-
tempered man, he was crazy with anger
when Dromio of Ephesus, who, of
course, had not been instructed to fetch
a purse, appeared with nothing more
useful than a rope. He beat the slave
in the street despite the remonstrance
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
of the police officer ; and his temper did
not mend when Adriana, Luciana, and
a doctor arrived tinder the impression
that he was mad and must have his
pulse felt. He raged so much that
men came forward to bind him. But
the kindness of Adriana spared him this
shame. She promised to pay the sum
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
demanded of him, and asked the doctor
to lead him to The Phoenix.
Angelo's merchant creditor being
paid, the two were friendly again, and
might soon have been seen chatting
before an abbey about the odd be-
haviour of Antipholus of Ephesus.
" Softly," said the merchant at last,
" that's he, I think."
It was not ; it was Antipholus of
Syracuse with his servant Dromio, and
he wore Angelo's chain round his neck !
The reconciled pair fairly pounced upon
him to know what he meant by denying
the receipt of the chain he had the
impudence to wear. Antipholus of
Syracuse lost his temper, and drew his
sword, and at that moment Adriana
and several others appeared. u Hold ! "
shouted the careful wife. "Hurt him
not ; he is mad. Take his sword away.
Bind him — and Dromio too."
Dromio of Syracuse did not wish to
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
be bound, and he said to his master,
" Run, master ! Into that abbey, quick,
or we shall be robbed ! "
They accordingly retreated into the
Adriana, Luciana, and a crowd re-
mained outside, and the Abbess came
out, and said, st People, why do you
gather here ? "
"To fetch my poor distracted hus-
band," replied Adriana.
Angelo and the merchant remarked
that they had not known that he was
Adriana then told the Abbess rather
too much about her wifely worries, for
the Abbess received the idea that
Adriana was a shrew, and that if her
husband was distracted he had better
not return to her for the present.
Adriana determined, therefore, to
complain to Duke Solinus, and, lo and
behold ! a minute afterwards the great
THE 00M1SDY OF ERRORS.
man appeared with officers and two
others. The others were JEgeon and
the headsman. The thousand marks
had not been found, and ^Egeon's fate
Ere the Duke could pass the abbey
Adriana knelt before him, and told a
woeful tale of a mad husband rushing
about stealing jewelry and drawing his
sword, adding that the Abbess refused
to allow her to lead him home.
The Duke bade the Abbess be sum-
moned, and no sooner had he given the
order than a servant from The Phoenix
ran to Adriana with the tale that his
master had singed off the doctor's beard.
" Nonsense ! " said Adriana, " he's in
si As sure as I live I speak the truth,"
said the servant.
Antipholus of Syracuse had not come
out of the abbey, before his brother of
Ephesus prostrated|himself in front of the
THE (XJHEDY OF SJaROES.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
Duke, exclaiming, a Justice, most gra-
cious Duke, against that woman." He
pointed to Adriana. "She has treated
another man like her husband in my
Even while he was speaking iEgeon
said, " Unless I am delirious, I see my
No one noticed him, and Antipholus
of Ephesus went on to say how the
doctor, whom he called "a threadbare
juggler," had been one of a gang who
tied him to his slave Dromio, and
thrust them into a vault, whence he
had escaped by gnawing through his
The Duke could not understand how
the same man who spoke to him was
seen to go into the abbey, and he was
still wondering when iEgeon asked
Antipholus of Ephesus if he was not
his son. He replied, tl I never saw my
father in my life ; '' but so deceived was
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
iEgeon by his likeness to the brother
whom he had brought up, that he said,
" Thou art ashamed to acknowledge me
Soon, however, the Abbess advanced
with Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio
Then cried Adriana, " I see two hus-
bands or mine eyes deceive me ; n and
Antipholus, espying his father, said,
" Thou art iEgeon or his ghost."
It was a day of surprises, for the
Abbess said, "I will free that man by
paying his fine, and gain my husband
whom I lost. Speak, iEgeon, for I am
thy wife iEmilia."
The Duke was touched. " He is free
without a fine," he said.
So iEgeon and iEmilia were reunited,
and Adriana and her husband recon-
ciled ; but no one was happier than An-
tipholus of Syracuse, who, in the Duke's
presence, went to Luciana and said, " I
THE OOMBDY OF ERRORS.
told you I loved you. Will you be my
Her answer was given by a look,
and therefore is not written.
The two Dromios were glad to think
they would receive no more beatings.
A SELECTION FROM
RAPHAEL TUCK & SONS'
THE CHILDREN'S GEM LIBRARY.
A series of 18 cloth-bound Story Books by the most popular Writers
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