Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/179

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61
THE READING-CLUB.

Ing. What use is such a plaything?
Par. Use? They are beautiful; that is their use.
The sight of them makes glad the eye; their scent
Refreshes, cheers. There!
(Fastens the half -finished garland round a cup and presents it to him.) Is not that, now, beautiful?
Ing. Ay—by the bright sun ! That dark-green mixed
Up with the gay flowers! Thou must teach oar women
To weave such garlands.
Par. That is soon done: thy wife
Herself shall soon weave wreaths as well as I.
Ing. (Laughing heartily.) My wife! my wife! a woman
Dost thou say?
I thank the gods, not I. This is my wife—

[Pointing to his accoutrements.

My spear, my shield, my sword ; let him who will
Waste cattle, slaves, or gold, to buy a woman;
Not I—not I!
Par. To buy a woman?—how?
Ing. What is the matter? why dost look so strangely?
Par. How ! did I hear aright? bargain for brides
As you would slaves — buy them like cattle?
Ing. Well, I think a woman fit only for a slave.
We follow our own customs, as you yours.
How do you in your city there?
Par. Consult our hearts.
Massilia's free-born daughters are not sold,
But bound by choice with bands as light and sweet
As these I hold. Love only buys us there.
Ing. Marry for love—what! do you love your husbands?
Par. Why marry else?
Ing. Marry for love; that's strange!
I cannot comprehend. I love my horse,
My dogs, my brave companions—but no woman!
What dost thou mean by love—what is it, girl?
Par. What is it? 'Tis of all things the most sweet—
The heaven of life—or, so my mother says,
I never felt it.
Ing. Never?
Par. No, indeed.

[Looking at garland.

Now look how beautiful ! Here would I weave
Red flowers if I had them.
Ing. Yonder there,
In that thick wood they grow.