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Enter EPIDICUS, from the house of PERIPHANES, with a bag of money round his neck.
to PERIPHANES, within the house . You've done your duty then; it now befits me to do mine. Through this care of mine, you may be allowed to be at ease. In a lower voice. This, in fact, is now lost to you; don't at all be setting your hopes on it. Holding some of the coins in his hands. How very shining it is! You only trust me for that. This way I'm going to act, this way my forefathers have acted before me. O ye immortal Gods, what a brilliant day you have bestowed upon me in this how propitious and how favourable to my requests! But why do I delay to take my departure hence, that I may bear this supply with lucky auspices to the colony1. I'm delaying while I'm standing here. But what means this? Before the house I see the two companions, my master and Chæribulus. Accosting them. What are you doing? Take this, will you. Gives STRATIPPOCLES the bag of money. STRATIPPOCLES
How much is there in this? EPIDICUS
As much as is enough, and more than enough; a superabundance; I've brought more by ten minæ than you owe to the Banker. So long as I please and obey you, I value my own back at a straw. STRATIPPOCLES
But why so? EPIDICUS
Because I shall make your father a bag-murderer2. STRATIPPOCLES
What kind of expression is that? EPIDICUS
I don't at all care for your old-fashioned and every-day words; you chouse by purses full3, but I'll chouse by bags full. For the procurer took away a whole lot of money for the music-girl (I paid it; with these hands I counted it out), her whom your father supposes to be his own daughter. Now, again, that your father may be deceived, and assistance be provided for you, I've discovered a method. In such a way have I persuaded the old gentleman--and had a talk to this effect, that, when you returned, you might not have possession of her4---- STRATIPPOCLES
She's now at your house5 in place of her. STRATIPPOCLES
I understand. EPIDICUS
Now he has given me Apæcides by way of guarantee in this matter (he's waiting for me at the Forum), as if to seem the purchaser. STRATIPPOCLES
Not a bad precaution! EPIDICUS
The cautious man's now taken in himself; your own father himself placed this purse around my neck6. He's making preparation, that immediately on your arrival home you shall be married. STRATIPPOCLES
In one way only will he persuade me; if Orcus takes her away from me, who has been brought with me. EPIDICUS
Now I've hit upon this scheme: I'll go by myself alone to the procurer's house; I'll instruct him, if any one comes to him, to say that the money has been paid him for the music-girl; inasmuch as, the day before yesterday, I paid it down with my own hands for this mistress of yours, whom your father takes to be his own daughter. Then the procurer, unknowingly, will be staking his accursed head, as though he had received the money for her who has now been brought here together with you. CHÆR.
You are more versatile than a potter's-wheel. EPIDICUS
Now I'll get ready some artful music-girl, who's hired at a didrachm, to pretend that she has been purchased, and cleverly to trick the two old fellows: Apæcides, together with her, will bring her to your father. STRATIPPOCLES
How adroitly managed! EPIDICUS
Her, prepared beforehand with my devices, and provided with my schemes, I shall send to him. But I'm talking at too great length; you have delayed me too long: you now know these things how they are to be; I'll be off. STRATIPPOCLES
Success attend you! Exit EPIDICUS. CHÆR.
He is very clever at artful tricks. STRATIPPOCLES
Indeed, by his plans, he has saved me, that's sure. CHÆR.
Let's go hence into my house. STRATIPPOCLES
Yes, and a little more joyfully than I came out of your house, by the courage and conduct of Epidicus, do I return into camp with the spoil. They go into the house.
1 To the colony: He means the house of Chæribulus, which has just been peopled by his master.
2 A bag- murderer: "Perenticidam." A word coined by the author for the occasion, on account of its resemblance to "parenticida," "a parricide."
3 Chouse by purses full: Echard gives a particular meaning te this passage, and Warner seems to adopt his notion, which certainly seems farfetched. The former says, in a Note, "Epidicus here carries on the fancy of 'perenticida,' and 'parenticide, and the Poet has luckily hit upon a line that exactly agrees with either. For the common punishment of parricides was to put them into a sack with a cock, a serpent, and an ape, and then throw them into the river. Now the ward 'ductare' signifies equally 'to bring a man into punishment,' or 'to cheat him;' so that the phrase 'peratim ductare' is the same thing; only 'follis' was a much larger sack than 'pera.'" M. Guiet considers this passage to be spurious.
4 Possession of her: Madame Dacier is of opinion that some lines are wanting here. Echard and Warner are also of that opinion.
5 She's now at your house: That is, the first mistress of Stratippocles is at his father's house personating the lost daughter.
6 This purse around my neck: Purses containing large sums of money were generally slung round the neck by a string. See the Aulularia, l. 258 Asinaria, l. 661; and Truculentus, l. 648.
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