Page:The Palace of Pleasure, Volume 1 (1890).djvu/185
THE EIGHTEENTH NOUELL.
The Historie of Papyrius Pratextatus.
The same historie is written by Cato, in an oration which he made to his souldiours against Galba, contayninge in effecte as foloweth. The Senatours of Rome vsed before this time, to enter into the Senate house with their sonnes, Prætextatis, that is, in long robes garded about the skirtes with purple silke. When the Senate debated of graue and waightie matters, they euer deferred the same till the next day, forbiddinge that those causes should not be published, before they were throughly decreed. The mother of this yong gentleman Papyrius, which had been with his father in the Senate house, asked of him, what the fathers had done in the Senate house that day? Papyrius aunswered, that in any wife, he ought not to tell the secretes of the same. The mother more desirous to know then she was before, went about by faire meanes, foule wordes and correction, to vnderstand the secretes of the Senate, and the cause why the same were kept so silente. Wherefore she more earnestlye endeuoured to learne the same of her sonne. The yong man by compulsion of his mother, toke occasion to inuent a pleasaunt and mery lie, in this wife. "Mother (quoth he) the Senate doth deliberate and consult, whether it be more commodious and profitable for the common wealthe, that one man mould haue two wiues, or whether one wife shoulde haue two husbandes." When the old Ladie heard this she was abashed, and in fearefull wife goeth to the other Ladies and matrones of Rome, tellinge them, where about their husbands did consult. The next day the women flocked together in great traines, and in lamentable wife repaired to the Senate, beseching them that one woman might rather be maried to two husbands, then two wiues to one man. The Senatours entring into the Court, marueyled what toyes were in the womens heads, to make that demaunde. The yong gentleman Papyrius stepped foorth, declaring how im-