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Enter MESSENIO.

MESSENIO
to himself . This is the proof of a good servant, who takes care of his master's business, looks after it, arranges it, thinks about it, in the absence of his master diligently to attend to the affairs of his master, as much so as if he himself were present, or even better. It is proper that his back1 should be of more consequence than his appetite, his legs than his stomach, whose heart is rightly placed. Let him bear in mind, those who are good for nothing, what reward is given them by their masters--lazy, worthless fellows. Stripes, fetters, the mill, weariness, hunger, sharp cold; these are the rewards of idleness. This evil do I terribly stand in awe of. Wherefore 'tis sure that to be good is better than to be bad. Much more readily do I submit to words, stripes I do detest; and I eat what is ground much more readily than supply it ground by myself2. Therefore do I obey the command of my master, carefully and diligently do I observe it; and in such manner do I pay obedience, as I think is for the interest of my back. And that course does profit me. Let others be just as they take it to be their interest; I shall be just as I ought to be. If I adhere to that, I shall avoid faultiness; so that I am in readiness for my master on all occasions, I shall not be much afraid. The time is near, when, for these deeds of mine, my master will give his reward. After I had deposited the goods and the servants in the inn, as he ordered me, thus am I come to meet him. Going to the door of EROTIUM'S house. Now I'll knock at the door, that he may know that I'm here, and that out of this thick wood3 of peril I may get my master safe out of doors. But I'm afraid that I'm come too late, after the battle has been fought.

1 That his back: For the purpose of keeping his back intact from the whip, and his feet from the fetters.

2 Ground by myself: He alludes to the custom of sending refractory slaves to the "pistrinum," where the corn was ground by a handmill, which entailed extreme labour on those grinding. He says that he would rather that others should grind the corn for him, than that he should grind it for others.

3 This thick wood: He compares the house of the Courtesan to a forest or thicket. These latter places, as being frequently the lurking-places of thieves and robbers, would be especially dangerous to travellers.

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