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[102] “No,” I said, “I should prefer to take refuge in boldness, slip down a rope into the boat, cut the painter, and leave the rest to luck. I do not invite Eumolpus to share the risk. It is not fair to load an innocent person with another's troubles. I am satisfied if chance will help us to get down.” “It is a clever plan,” said Eumolpus, if there were any way of starting it. But every one will see you going: especially the helmsman, who watches all night long, and keeps guard even over the motions of the stars. Of course you might elude his unsleeping watchfulness, if you wanted to escape off another part of the ship; but as it is, you want to slip off the stern close to the helm itself, where the rope which[p. 207] holds the boat safe hangs just by, Again, I am surprised that it did not occur to you, Encolpius, that one sailor is always on duty night and day lying in the boat, and you cannot turn this sentry out except by killing him, or throw him out except by force. You must ask your own bold heart whether that can be done. As far as my coming with you goes, I do not shirk any danger which offers a chance of safety. But I suppose that even you do not wish to squander your lives like a vain trifle without any reason. Now see whether you approve of this. I will roll you in two bales, tie you up, and put you among my clothes as luggage, of course leaving the ends a bit open, so that you can get your breath and your food. Then I will raise the cry that my slaves have jumped overboard in the dark, being afraid of some heavier punishment. Then after we have arrived in harbour, I will carry you out like baggage without arousing any suspicion."

“What,” I cried, “tie us up like wholly solid people whose stomachs never make them unhappy? Like people who never sneeze nor snore? Just because this kind of trick on one occasion turned out a success?1 But even supposing we could endure one day tied up: what if we were detained longer by a calm or by rough weather? What should we do? Even clothes that are tied up too long get creased and spoilt, and papers in bundles lose their shape. Are we young fellows who never worked in our lives to put up with bondage in dirty cloths as if we were statues?. . . No, we still have to find some way of salvation. Look at what I thought of. Eumolpus, as a man of learning,[p. 209] is sure to have some ink. We will use this medicine to dye ourselves, hair, nails, everything. Then we will stand by you with pleasure like Aethiopian slaves, without undergoing any tortures, and our change of colour will take in our enemies.” “Oh! yes,” said Giton, “and please circumcise us too, so that we look like Jews, and bore our ears to imitate Arabians, and chalk our faces till Gaul takes us for her own sons; as if this colour alone could alter our shapes, when it takes a number of points in unison to make a good lie. Suppose the stain of dye on the face could last for some time; imagine that never a drop of water could make any mark on our skins, nor our clothes stick to the ink, which often clings to us without the use of any cement: but, tell me, can we make our lips swell to a hideous thickness? Or transform our hair with curling-tongs? Or plough up our foreheads with scars? Or walk bow-legged? Or bend our ankles over to the ground? Or trim our beards in a foreign cut? Artificial colours dirty one's body without altering it. Listen, I have thought of this in desperation. Let us tie our heads in our clothes, and plunge into the deep.”

1 Cleopatra had herself conveyed to Julius Caesar at Alexandria wrapped up in a carpet. Plutarch: Life of Caesar, c. 49. Shaw: Caesar and Cleopatra, Act iii.

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