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Enter MILPHIO and COLLYBISCUS, from the house of AGORASTOCLES, dressed as a person of quality.
Have you now got your instructions by heart? COLLYBISCUS
Take care you understand them, please. COLLYBISCUS
What need is there of talking? I won't let my own legs understand1 as well. MILPHIO
Only take you care that your speeches are learnt by heart for this plot. COLLYBISCUS
Why, upon my faith, I am more perfect than tragic or comic actors are. MILPHIO
You are a capital fellow. AGORASTOCLES
to the ASSISTANTS . Let's go nearer to them. Accosting MILPHIO and COLLYBISCUS. Here are the witnesses. MILPHIO
to AGORASTOCLES . Really you could not have brought as many men better suited for this purpose; for not one of them is tongue-tied as a witness2; they are genuine men of the law-courts; there they take up their abode; there you may see them more frequently than the Prætor. At this very time there are no better cookers-up of a lawsuit3, to stir up litigation, than are these men; for they, if there is no litigation, sow litigation. ADVOCATI
May the Gods confound you! MILPHIO
You I really do commend, inasmuch as, whoever you are, still you act both worthily and kindly in giving your aid to my master thus in love. To AGORASTOCLES. But do they now know what the business is? AGORASTOCLES
The whole matter, all in its order. MILPHIO
In that case, do you, then, give me your attention. Do you know this Procurer Lycus? ADVOCATI
But, upon my faith, I don't know him, of what appearance he is. I wish that you would point this fellow out to me. ADVOCATI
We'll take all care: we've been instructed quite enough. AGORASTOCLES
pointing to COLLYBISCUS . He has got three hundred pieces counted out. ADVOCATI
Then it's right, Agorastocles, that we should see this gold, that we may know what to say by-and-by as our testimony. AGORASTOCLES
Come and look at it. Opens the bag which COLLYBISCUS holds in his hand. COLLYBISCUS
to the AUDIENCE . Undoubtedly it's gold, Spectators--playhouse gold4; upon this, soaked in water, in foreign lands, the cattle become fat5: but, for the carrying out of this design, 'tis real Philippean gold. ADVOCATI
We'll make believe it is so. COLLYBISCUS
But do you make believe as though I were a foreigner. ADVOCATI
Just so; and, in fact, as though you, on your arrival to-day, had asked us to show you a spot for freedom and pleasure; where you might wench, drink, and live like a Greek. MILPHIO
Dear me! Crafty fellows, upon my faith! AGORASTOCLES
But it was I who instructed them. MILPHIO
And who you, in your turn? COLLYBISCUS
Come, be of' in-doors, Agorastocles, lest the Procurer should see you together with me, and some accident might befall our plan. MILPHIO
This person is extremely prudent. To AGORASTOCLES. Do as he bids you. AGORASTOCLES
Let's be off. To the ASSISTANTS. But you-has enough been said? COLLYBISCUS
Do you be off. AGORASTOCLES
I'm off. Immortal Gods, I beg---- COLLYBISCUS
Nay, but why don't you be off? AGORASTOCLES
I'm off. COLLYBISCUS
You do wisely. AGORASTOCLES and MILPHIO go into the house. Hush! be quiet. ADVOCATI
What's the matter? COLLYBISCUS
This door pointing to the door of the house of LYCUS was guilty of a great indecency just now. ADVOCATI
What indecency is that? COLLYBISCUS
It rumbled aloud. AsSIST. May the Deities confound you! Get you behind us. COLLYBISCUS
Be it so. Goes behind them. ADVOCATI
We'll walk first. COLLYBISCUS
aside . They do what town-fellows are in the habit of doing: they put worthy men behind themselves. ADVOCATI
pointing to the PROCURER'S house . That man that's coming out is the Procurer. COLLYBISCUS
He's a real good one; for he's like a bad man6. Even now, as he comes forth, I'll suck out his blood at this distance.
1 My own legs understand: "Callum aprugnum callere æque non sinam." For a literal translation of this pun, see the Persa, l. 306, and the Note to the passage.
2 Tongue-tied as a witness: "Nefastus," forbidden to give evidence as witness, either through incompetency as being slaves, or through infamy of character.
3 Cookers-up of a lawsuit: "Juris coctiores." "Jus" means, according to the context, "law" or "justice." As the same word also means "broth," Milphio puns upon this double meaning, in conjunction with the word "coctior," "better versed in."
4 Playhouse gold: He alludes to the practice of using lupines in their purses on the stage, to represent gold. They were probably used for this purpose on account of their yellow colour.
5 Cattle become fat.: He means, that in other conntries than Greece lupines are used for the purpose on fattening cattle.
6 Like a bad man: He means that the worse the man, the better the Procurer.
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