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Enter LEONIDA, running.
to himself . Where now shall I find Libanus, or my master's son, that I may make them more mirthful than is Mirth herself1? Great booty and a triumph do I bring them on my arrival. Inasmuch as together with me they drink, together with me they are wont to wench, why, this booty that I've got, together with them will I share it. LIBANUS
apart . This fellow has been robbing a house, if he has been acting after his usual manner. Woe to the person that has so carelessly kept the door! LEONIDA
to himself . I could be ready to be a slave for an age, if I could only meet with Libanus. LIBANUS
apart . I' faith, with my assistance, indeed, you shall never be free a bit the sooner. LEONIDA
to himself . I'd give two hundred teeming lashes2 on my back as well. LIBANUS
apart . He's giving away all his substance, for he carries his treasures on his back3. LEONIDA
to himself . But if time should intervene upon this opportunity, never, upon my faith, will he hereafter obtain it again, oven with white horses4. He'll be deserting his master in the siege; he'll be increasing the courage of the foe. But if with me he is desirous to seize hold upon this opportunity which has presented itself, very great bounties brimful of joyousness, will he, together with myself, be producing for his masters, both for the son and the father. So that, for life, they will be indebted to us both, bound by our services. LIBANUS
apart . He's talking of persons being bound5, I don't know who. I don't like it; I fear for us in common, lest he may have been cheating in some cheatery. LEONIDA
to himself . I'm utterly undone, unless I find Libanus at once, wherever in the world he is. LIBANUS
apart . This fellow's looking out for an accomplice, to unite with himself in a bad design. I don't like it: 'tis a portentous sign that instant, when a person trembles that sweats6. LEONIDA
to himself . But why, as I hasten, do I loiter here with my feet, and make myself so bounteous with my tongue? Why don't I bid it be quiet, that in its talkativeness is wearing out the day? LIBANUS
apart . Upon my faith, an unfortunate man, to check his patroness; for if he has done anything roguishly, his tongue perjures itself in his behalf. LEONIDA
to himself . I'll make haste, lest I should be providing a safe keeping for my spoil too late. LIBANUS
apart . What spoil is this? I'll go meet him, and enquire what it is. He accosts him. I wish you health in as loud a voice as my strength admits of. LEONIDA
Exerciser of the whip, health to you. LIBANUS
Keeper of the gaol, how do you do? LEONIDA
Ha! colonizer of the chains. LIBANUS
Ha! delight of the scourges. LEONIDA
When naked, how many pounds do you say you are in weight? LIBANUS
Upon my faith, I don't know. LEONIDA
I know that you don't know; but, i' faith, I who have weighed you do know. Tied up naked, you were a hundred pounds in weight, when you were hanging with your feet downwards. LIBANUS
On what evidence is that? LEONIDA
I'll tell you on what evidence, and in what way. When you are tied up with a full hundred pounds to your feet7, when the manacles are fastened to your hands, and tied to the beam, you are weighing neither more nor less, than as being a worthless and good-for-nothing fellow. LIBANUS
Woe be to you! LEONIDA
That, Servitude bequeaths to you by her will. LIBANUS
I wish this skirmishing of words to be cut short. What matter is this? LEONIDA
Am I sure in trusting you? LIBANUS
You may, without hesitation. LEONIDA
If you wish to assist our master's son in his amour, there is so much of a good opportunity on a sudden, but still mingled with evil--all the hangman's days will be rendered famous by ourselves. Libanus, now have we occasion to find some boldness and inventiveness. An exploit so great have I thought of just now, that we two may be pronounced the most deserving of all for torture to befall us. LIBANUS
'Twas on that account I was wondering why my shoulder-blades were aching just now, which were beginning to prognosticate that there was some danger for them at home. Whatever it is, speak out. LEONIDA
'Tis great booty with great risk. LIBANUS
If indeed all persons by compact were to collect all the tortures, I have, I fancy, a back at home, so that I need not seek it out of doors. LEONIDA
If you maintain such firmness of resolve, then we are all right. LIBANUS
Why, if the matter were to be atoned for by my back, I could wish to seize the public money: I'll persist in my denial, and I'll endure all; in fine, I'll forswear myself. LEONIDA
Ah! that's true valour, when occasion is, for one to endure misfortune with boldness. He that endures misfortune with boldness, that man afterwards enjoys good fortune. LIBANUS
Why don't you tell the matter at once? I'm longing to tempt the scourge. LEONIDA
breathing hard . Ask deliberately each particular then, that I may rest me. Don't you see that I'm still out of breath with running? LIBANUS
Well, well, I'll wait your pleasure, even, in fact, till you die. LEONIDA
Where's our master, pray? LIBANUS
The old one is at the Forum, the young one is here in-doors. LEONIDA
That's enough for me then. LIBANUS
Is it then that you've become a rich man? LEONIDA
Leave off your raillery. LIBANUS
I'll have done; for my ears are in expectation of what you are bringing me. LEONIDA
Give your attention, that equally with myself you may learn this. LIBANUS
I'm silent, then. LEONIDA
You oblige me. Don't you remember that our chamberlain sold some Arcadian asses to a dealer of Pella8? LIBANUS
I remember it; after that, what then? LEONIDA
Well, he has sent some money here then to be paid to Saurea, for the asses; a young man has just now come who has brought this money. LIBANUS
Where is this person? LEONIDA
You think he ought to be devoured this instant, if you could see him. LIBANUS
Aye, to be sure. But, however, you are speaking, I suppose, of those asses, aged and lame, whose hoofs were quite worn away to their very thighs? LEONIDA
Those same ones, that carried the elm twigs hither from the country, for your use. LIBANUS
I understand you; and the same ones carried you from here, bound, into the country9. LEONIDA
You say what's quite correct. But as I was sitting in the barber's shop, he began to make enquiries of me, whether I knew a certain Demænetus, the son of Strato. At once I said that I knew him, and that I was his servant; and I pointed out our house. LIBANUS
After that, what then? LEONIDA
He said that he was bringing the money for the asses to the chamberlain Saurea, twenty minæ in amount; but that he himself didn't know the individual, who he was, but that he knew Demænetus quite well. Since he spoke thus to this effect---- LIBANUS
What then? LEONIDA
Listen then, and you'll know. At once I made myself courteous, and a person of consequence. I said that I was the chamberlain. Thus, in these terms did he answer me: "Upon my faith, I don't know Saurea, nor yet of what appearance he is. It isn't fair for you to blame me; but if you like, bring here Demænetus, your master, whom I do know; I'll not prevent you taking the money then." I said that I would bring him, and that I should be at home immediately. He's about to go to the baths10, from there he'll afterwards come here. What plan do you think, now, I ought to adopt? Tell me. LIBANUS
Why, I'm thinking of this, how to get between the money, and the stranger, and Saurea. At present this matter is rough-hewn; but if this stranger brings here the money first, then are we both at once shut out from it. But the old man to-day took me apart at a distance from the house, and threatened me and yourself that we should be tasters of the elm twigs, if Argyrippus didn't this very day get twenty mine of silver. He commanded that we should cheat either the chamberlain or his own wife, and said that he would give the aid he promised. Now, do you go to the Forum to our master, and tell him this, how we are going to manage; that you, from Leonida, are going to be the chamberlain Saurea, until the dealer has brought the money for the asses. LEONIDA
I'll do as you request me. LIBANUS
In the meantime, I'll amuse him here, if by chance he should come first. LEONIDA
But what say you----? LIBANUS
What do you want? LEONIDA
If I give you a blow on the cheek with my fist, by-and-by, while I'm personating Saurea11, don't you be offended. LIBANUS
I' faith, but you'll have a care not to be touching me, if you are wise; you'll surely have changed your name to day with a bad omen12. LEONIDA
Prithee, do endure it with resolution. LIBANUS
Do you endure the cuff that I, too, shall be giving you in return. LEONIDA
I speak as it's in the habit of being done. LIBANUS
I' faith, and I speak, too, of how I'm likely to act. LEONIDA
Don't refuse me. LIBANUS
Why I promise, I tell you, to give you a like return, just as you deserve. LEONIDA
I'm off; I know that you'll put up with it by-and-by. But who's this? 'Tis he--'tis the very man himself. I'll return here just now; in the meantime do you detain him here; I want to inform the old gentleman. (Exit.) LIBANUS
Well, do your duty, then, and fly.
2 Teeming lashes: "Plagas prægnantes." Literally, "pregnant stripes"--"blows that generate other blows."
3 Treasures on his back: "Talk of giving,"--he says, "stripes on his back are all that he has to give."
4 With white horses: White horses were most esteemed by the ancients, and were supposed to excel others in swiftness.
5 Talking of persons being bound: He catches, or pretends to catch, the two last syllables of the word "devincti," "obligated," and then says that Leonida is speaking of people being "vincti," "chained" or "bound." This he deems, or pretends to deem, to be ominous of ill.
6 Person trembles that sweats: Probably Leonida is out of breath and in a perspiration; Libanus considers this as a bad omen. By his remark he is supposed to allude to the "sudiculum," a kind of scourge, which received its name from making those sweat who were punished with it.
7 Hundred pounds to your feet: When slaves were hung up by the arms to be scourged, it was usual to fasten heavy weights to their feet, to prevent them from kicking those who scourged them. The peor wit of Leonida seems to have this meaning: punning upon the word "pendeo," which signifies either "to hang from" or "to weigh," he says, that when Libanus is tied up with the weight at his feet, he weighs just as much as the weight and no more; for, being a worthless fellow, he has no weight whatever as a good man.
9 Bound, into the country: Namely, to the "ergastulum," of "puteus," the place to which refractory slaves were sent for hard labour, and which was generally at the country-house of the master.
10 To go to the baths: It was very natural that after a long journey he should first go to the barber's shop, and then repair to the public baths to refresh himself.
11 Personating Saurea: Saurea, as the "atriensis," "chamberlain" or "gentleman-usher," was the head of the slave family; and it was his privilege to beat the other slaves, if they offended him or neglected their duties.
12 Your name to-day with a bad omen: Limiers says that this is said in allusion to his having assumed the name of "Saurea," which meant "a lash" or "scourge."
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