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[94] “Happy was the mother who bore such a son as you,” he said, “be good and prosper. Beauty and wisdom make a rare conjunction. And do not think that all your words have been wasted. In me you have found a lover. I will do justice to your worth in verse. I will teach and protect you, and follow you even where you do not bid me. I do Encolpius no wrong; he loves another.”

That soldier who took away my sword did Eumolpus a good turn too; otherwise I would have appeased the wrath raised in me against Ascyltos with the blood of Eumolpus. Giton was not blind to this. So he went out of the room on a pretence of fetching water, and[p. 189] quenched my wrath by his tactful departure. Then, as my fury cooled a little, I said, “I would prefer even that you should talk poetry now, Eumolpus, rather than harbour such hopes. I am choleric, and you are lecherous: you understand that these dispositions do not suit each other. Well, regard me as a maniac, yield to my infirmity, in short, get out quick.” Eumolpus was staggered by this attack, and never asked why I was angry, but went out of the room at once and suddenly banged the door, taking me completely by surprise and shutting me in. He pulled out the key in a moment and ran off to look for Giton.

I was locked in. I made up my mind to hang myself and die. I had just tied a belt to the frame of a bed which stood by the wall, and was pushing my neck into the noose, when the door was unlocked, Eumolpus came in with Giton, and called me back to light from the very bourne of death. Nay, Giton passed from grief to raving madness, and raised a shout, pushed me with both hands and threw me on the bed, and cried,“Encolpius, you are wrong if you suppose you could possibly die before me. I thought of suicide first; I looked for a sword in Ascyltos's lodgings. If I had not found you I would have hurled myself to death over a precipice. I will show you that death stands close by those who seek him: behold in your turn the scene you wished me to behold.”

With these words he snatched a razor from Eumolpus's servant, drew it once, twice across his throat, and tumbled down at our feet. I gave a cry of horror, rushed to him as he fell, and sought the road of death with the same steel. But Giton was not marked with any trace of a wound, and I did not feel the least pain. The razor was untempered, and specially blunted[p. 191] in order to give boy pupils the courage of a barber: and so it had grown a sheath. So the servant had not been alarmed when the steel was snatched from him, and Eumolpus did not interrupt our death-scene.

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