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[14] But Ascyltos was afraid of the law: “Nobody knows us in this place,” he said, "and nobody will believe what we say, I should certainly like to buy the thing, although it is ours and we know it. It is better to get back our savings cheaply than to embark upon the perils of a lawsuit:

“Of what avail are laws where money rules alone, and the poor suitor can never succeed? The very men who mock at the times by carrying the Cynic's scrip have sometimes been known to betray the truth for a price. So a lawsuit is nothing more than a public auction, and the knightly juror who sits listening to the case gives his vote as he is paid.”

But we had nothing in hand except one sixpence,1 with which we had meant to buy pease and lupines. And so for fear our prize should escape us, we decided to sell the cloak cheaper than we had intended, and so to incur a slight loss for a greater gain. We had just unrolled our piece, when a veiled woman, who was standing by the countryman, looked carefully at the marks, and then seized the cloak with both hands, shouting at the top of her voice, “Thieves!” We were terrified, but rather than do nothing, we began to tug at the dirty torn shirt, and cried out with equal bitterness that these people had taken some spoil that was ours. But the dispute was in no way even, and the dealers who were attracted by the noise of course laughed at our indignation, since one side was laying claim to an expensive cloak, the other to a set of rags[p. 21] which would not serve to make a decent patchwork.

1 Literally, a coin worth 2 asses.

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