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More than thirty years have I been born yet during that time I never did any more mischievous or more evil trick than this day, when, to my misfortune, I thrust myself into the midst of the assembly1. while I was gaping about there, Menaechmus stole away from me, and went, I suppose, to his mistress, and didn't want to take me. May all the Divinities confound that man who first mischievously devised the holding of an assembly, which keeps men thus engaged. By my troth, is it not fitting that men who are disengaged should be chosen for that purpose? These, when they are cited, if they are not present, let the officers exact the fine2 forthwith ... the senate ... Abundance of men are there who every day eat their victuals alone, who have no business, who are neither invited nor invite to feast; these ought to give their attendance at the assembly and the law-courts3. If so it had been, this say I shouldn't have lost my breakfast; to which I deemed myself as much accustomed, as to see myself alive. I'll go; even yet the hope of the scraps comforts my mind. But why do I see Menaechmus here? He's coming out of doors with a chaplet on? The banquet is removed; i' faith, I come just in time to meet him. I'll watch the fellow, what he's about, then I'll go and accost him. He steps aside.
1 Midst of the assembly: This "concio" was the sitting of the court for the trial of causes, to which we shall find further reference in the sequel, when it is explained how he happened to lose sight of Menaechmus.
2 Exact the fine: He suggests that Menaechmus has possibly been summoned, in his capacity as a citizen, to the "concio," for the purpose of being present at the trials going on. The Parasite curses this custom, and wishes that they would summon only the idle men, and not those engaged in the important business of feasting their friends. There is some doubt as to the meaning of "census capiant," but it probably signifies "let them exact the fine."
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