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Enter, from his house, AGORASTOCLES, followed by MILPHIO.
Full oft have I entrusted many matters to you, Milphio, matters of doubt and necessity, and standing in need of good counsel, which you wisely, discreetly, cleverly, and skilfully have by your aid brought to completion for me. For which services I do confess that both your liberty and many kind thanks are due unto you. MILPHIO
An old adage, if you timely introduce it, is a clever thing: but your compliments are to me what are wont to be called sheer nonsense, and, upon my faith, mere bagatelles1. Just now, you are full of kind speeches towards me; yesterday, without hesitation, upon my back you wore out three bulls' hides with flogging. AGORASTOCLES
But if, being in love, I did anything by reason of my distraction, Milphio, it's only reasonable that you should pardon me for it. MILPHIO
I've seen nothing more reasonable. I, too, am now dying for love; allow me to thrash you just as you did me, for no fault at all; and then, after that, do you pardon me being thus in love. AGORASTOCLES
If you have a mind for it, or it gives you pleasure, I do permit it; tie me up, bind me, scourge me; I recommend you, I give you my permission. MILPHIO
If, hereafter, you should revoke your permission, when you are unloosed, I myself should be hung up2 for punishment. AGORASTOCLES
And would I venture to do that, to yourself espercially? On the contrary, if I see you but struck, it gives me pain immediately. MILPHIO
To me, indeed, i' faith. AGORASTOCLES
No, to me. MILPHIO
I could prefer that to be the case. But what now do you wish? AGORASTOCLES
Why need I tell a lie to you? I am desperately in love. MILPHIO
My shoulder-blades feel that. AGORASTOCLES
But I mean with this damsel, my neighbour Adelphasium, the elder Courtesan that belongs to this Procurer. MILPHIO
For my own part, I've heard that from yourself already. AGORASTOCLES
I'm on the rack with love for her. But than this Procurer Lycus, her master, not dirt itself is more dirty. MILPHIO
Do you wish now to present him with some mischief? AGORASTOCLES
I should like it. MILPHIO
Why look then, present him with me. AGORASTOCLES
Go and be hanged! MILPHIO
But tell me seriously, do you wish to present him with a plague? AGORASTOCLES
I should like it. MILPHIO
Well then, present him with this selfsame me; I'd cause him to be having both a mischief and a plague. AGORASTOCLES
You are joking. MILPHIO
Should you like this very day, without risk to yourself, to make her free3? AGORASTOCLES
I should like it, Milphio. MILPHIO
I'll manage for you to make her so. You have indoors three hundred golden Philippean pieces4. AGORASTOCLES
Six hundred even. MILPHIO
Three hundred are enough. AGORASTOCLES
To do what with them? MILPHIO
Hold your peace. This day I'll make you a present of the Procurer, whole, with all his household. AGORASTOCLES
What to do? MILPHIO
You shall soon know. Collybiscus, your bailiff, is in the city just now. The Procurer doesn't know him. Do you fully understand? AGORASTOCLES
I' faith, I understand that; but what you are driving at I know not. MILPHIO
You don't know? AGORASTOCLES
Not I, faith. MILPHIO
But I'll soon let you know. The gold shall be given him, for him to take to the Procurer, and say that he's a stranger from another city; that he's amorously inclined, and wishes to gratify his inclinations; that he wants free range to be found him, where he may secretly indulge his appetite, so that there may be no overlooker. The Procurer, greedy for the gold, will at once take him into his house; he'll conceal the man and the gold. AGORASTOCLES
The design pleases me. MILPHIO
Do you then enquire of him whether your slave hasn't come to him. He'll think that I am being sought for; immediately he'll say no to you. Have you any doubt but that the Procurer will at once have to double the gold for you, and be considered to have stolen the man? Neither has he the means of raising it. When he comes to trial, the Prætor will award5 his whole household to you. Thus with a pitfall shall we deceive the Procurer Lycus. AGORASTOCLES
The design pleases me. MILPHIO
Aye, when I've polished it up, you'll then say so still more even; now it's but in the rough. AGORASTOCLES
I'm going to the Temple of Venus, unless, Milphio, you wish for anything. It's the Aphrodisia6 to-day. MILPHIO
I know. AGORASTOCLES
I wish to amuse my eyes with the harlot finery. MILPHIO
Let's first proceed to this, the plan we have resolved upon. Let's go in-doors, that we may instruct Collybiscus, the bailiff, how to plant this cheatery. AGORASTOCLES
Although Cupid has the sway in my heart, still I'll listen to you. MILPHIO
I'll cause you to be glad it's done. AGORASTOCLES goes into his house. There is a speck of love upon this man's breast, which cannot by any means be washed out without great harm; this Lycus, too, the Procurer, is such a wicked person, against whom the engine of mischief is now well aimed, which before long I shall discharge from my battery7. But see, here's Adelphasium coming out, and Anterastylis. The first is the one who renders my master distracted. But I'll call him out. Goes to the door and calls. Hallo! Agorastocles, come out of doors if you would see most joyous sports! in haste, from the house. AGORASTOCLES
What's this bustle, Milphio? MILPHIO
pointing to the door of LYCUS'S house . Why, here's your mistress, if you'd like to see her. AGORASTOCLES
O may the Gods bestow many a blessing on you, for having presented to me a sight so charming as this! They stand apart.
1 Mere bagatelles: Λῆροι. This word almost exactly answers to the word "bagatelles," or "kickshaws," borrowed by us from the French. As to the origin of the word "gerræ," in the sense of "trifles," or "nonsense,' Festus gives the following anecdote:--"Osier-twigs, in bundles, were called 'gerræ.' When the Athenians were besieging the Syracusans, and were often calling aloud for these fascines, the besieged, in ridicule, used to cry out, 'gerræ, on which account that word came in use, to signify, in contempt,> anything trifling."
2 Be hung up: "Pendeam." He alludes to the practice of tying slaves up by the hands for the purpose of being flogged.
3 To make her free: "Tuam libertam." "Your freed-woman;" you being the one to give her her liberty.
4 Philippean pieces: The Philippean piece had the head of Philip of Macedon on it, and was in value about two guineas of our money.
5 Prætor will award: In consequence of his being unable to pay the penalty or damages decreed against him.
6 The Aphrodisia: The Aphrodisia were festivals periodically celebrated in honor of Venus or Aphrodite, in most of the towns of Greece. The worshippers were, however, mostly of the class of courtesans.
7 From my battery: "Balistario." According to Lipsius, "balistarium" was the same as the balista itself; while Turnebus thinks it was the place where the 'balista" was mounted.
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