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[117] Eumolpus was more cautious, and directed his attention to the novelty of the case, declaring that this kind of prophecy did not make him uneasy. I thought the old man was joking with the light heart of a poet, but then he said, I only wish I had a more ample background, I mean a more gentlemanly dress, and finer ornaments, to lend colour to my strange tale; I declare I would not put off the business, I would bring you into great wealth in a moment. Anyhow, I promise to do whatever my fellow-robber demands, so long as my clothes are satisfactory, and whatever we may find in Lycurgus's house when we break in. I am sure that our mother goddess for her honour's sake will pay up some coin to us for present needs.". . .“Well then,” said Eumolpus, “Why shouldn't we make up a farce? Now appoint me your master, if you like the business.” No one dared to grumble at this harmless device. So to keep the lie safe among us all, we took an oath to obey Eumolpus; to endure burning, bondage, flogging, death by the sword, or anything else that Eumolpus ordered. We[p. 249] pledged our bodies and souls to our master most solemnly, like regular gladiators. When the oath was over, we posed like slaves and saluted our master, and learned all together that Eumolpus had lost a son, a young man of great eloquence and promise, and that the poor old man had left his own country for this reason, to escape seeing his son's dependants and friends, or the tomb which was the source of his daily tears. His grief had been increased by a recent shipwreck, in which he lost over two million sesterces: it was not the loss that troubled him, but with no servant to wait upon him he could not recognize his own importance. Besides, he had thirty millions invested in Africa in estates and bonds; such a horde of his slaves was scattered over the fields of Numidia that he could positively have sacked Carthage. Under this scheme we ordered Eumolpus to cough frequently, sometimes to be bilious, and to find fault openly with all his food; he must talk of gold and silver and his disappointing farms and the obstinate barrenness of the soil; further, he must sit over his accounts daily, and revise the sheets of his will every month. To make the setting quite complete, he was to use the wrong names whenever he tried to call one of us, so that it would clearly look as though our master had also in his mind some servants who were not present. This was all arranged; we offered a prayer to Heaven for a prosperous and happy issue, and started on our journey. But Giton was not used to a burden and could not bear it, and the slave Corax, a shirker of work, kept putting down his bundle and cursing our hurry, and declaring that he would either throw the baggage away or run off with his load. “You seem to think I am a beast of burden or[p. 251] a ship for carrying stones,” he cried. “You paid for the services of a man, not a horse. I am just as free as you are, although my father did leave me a poor man.” Not satisfied with curses, he kept lifting his leg up and filling the whole road with a disgusting noise and smell. Giton laughed at his impudence and matched every noise he made. . . .

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