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Enter THAIS from her house, attended by PYTHIAS.
as she comes out. I thought I just now heard the Captain's voice. And look, here he is. Welcome, my dear Thraso. THRASO
O my Thais, my sweet one, how are you? How much do you love me in return for that music girl? PARMENO
apart. How polite! What a beginning he has made on meeting her! THAIS
Very much, as you deserve. GNATHO
Let's go to dinner then. (To THRASO.) What do you stand here for? PARMENO
apart. Then there's the other one: you would declare that he was born for his belly's sake. THRASO
When you please; I sha'n't delay. PARMENO
apart. I'll accost them, and pretend as though I had just come out. He comes forward. Are you going any where, Thais? THAIS
Ha! Parmeno; well done; just going out for the day. PARMENO
aside, pointing at THRASO. Why! don't you see him? PARMENO
aside. I see him, and I'm sorry for it. Aloud. Phaedria's presents are ready for you when you please. THRASO
impatiently. Why are we to stand here? Why don't we be off? PARMENO
to THRASO. Troth now, pray, do let us, with your leave, present to her the things we intend, and accost and speak to her. THRASO
ironically. Very fine presents, I suppose, or at least equal to mine. PARMENO
The fact will prove itself. Goes to the door of LACHES' house and calls. Ho there! bid those people come out of doors at once, as I ordered. Enter from the house a BLACK GIRL. PARMENO
Do you step forward this way. To THAIS. She comes all the way from Aethiopia. THRASO
contemptuously. Here are some three minae in value. GNATHO
Hardly so much. PARMENO
Where are you, Dorus? Step this way. Enter CHAEREA from the house, dressed like the EUNUCH. PARMENO
There's a Eunuch for you--of what a genteel appearance! of what a prime age! THAIS
God bless me, he's handsome. PARMENO
What say you, Gnatho? Do you see any thing to find fault with? And what say you, Thraso? Aside. They hold their tongues; they praise him sufficiently thereby. To THAIS. Make trial of him in literature, try him in exercises,1 and in music; I'll warrant him well skilled in what it becomes a gentleman to know. THRASO
That Eunuch, if occasion served,2 even in my sober senses, I--- PARMENO
And he who has sent these things makes no request that you will live for him alone, and that for his own sake others may be excluded; he neither tells of battles nor shows his scars, nor does he restrict you as looking at THRASO a certain person does; but when it is not inconvenient, whenever you think fit, whenever you have the time, he is satisfied to be admitted. THRASO
to GNATHO, contemptuously. It appears that this is the servant of some beggarly, wretched master. GNATHO
Why, faith, no person, I'm quite sure of that, could possibly put up with him, who had the means to get another. PARMENO
You hold your tongue--a fellow whom I consider beneath all men of the very lowest grade: for when you can bring yourself to flatter that fellow pointing at THRASO , I do believe you could pick your victuals out of the very flames.3 THRASO
Are we to go now? THAIS
I'll take these in-doors first pointing to CHAEREA and the AETHIOPIAN , and at the same time I'll order what I wish; after that I'll return immediately. Goes into the house with PYTHIAS, CHAEREA, and the SLAVE. THRASO
to GNATHO. I shall be off. Do you wait for her. PARMENO
It is not a proper thing for a general to be walking in the street with a mistress. THRASO
Why should I use many words with you? You are the very ape of your master. (Exit PARMENO. GNATHO
laughing. Ha, ha, ha! THRASO
What are you laughing at? GNATHO
At what you were mentioning just now; that saying, too, about the Rhodian, recurred to my mind. But Thais is coming out. THRASO
You go before; take care that every thing is ready at home. GNATHO
Very well. (Exit.) Re-enter THAIS, with PYTHIAS and FEMALE ATTENDANTS. THAIS
Take care, Pythias, and be sure that if Chremes should happen to come,4 to beg him to wait; if that is not convenient, then to come again; if he can not do that, bring him to me. PYTHIAS
I'll do so. THAIS
Well, what else was I intending to say? O, do you take particular care of that young woman; be sure that you keep at home. THRASO
Let us begone. THAIS
to her attendants. You follow me. Exeunt THAIS and THRASO, followed by the Attendants. PYTHIAS goes into the house.
1 In exercises: Reference will be found made to the "palaestrae," or "places of exercise," in the Notes to the Translation of Plautus.
2 If occasion served: The Aposiopesis in this line is very aptly introduced, on account of the presence of the female; but it admirably illustrates the abominable turpitude of the speaker, and perhaps in a somewhat more decent manner than that in which Plautus attributes a similar tendency to his Braggart Captain, l. 1111.
3 Out of the very flames: This was a proverb expressive of the lowest degree of meanness and infamy. When they burned the bodies of the dead, it was the custom of the ancients to throw meat and various articles of food upon the funeral pile, and it was considered the greatest possible affront to tell a person that he was capable of snatching these things out of the flames.
4 If Chremes should happen to come: This is the first allusion to the arrangement which ultimately causes the quarrel between Thais and the Captain.
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