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Enter ACANTHIO, at a distance, in haste.

ACANTHIO
to himself . With your utmost power and might always try and endeavour that your younger master1 may by your aid be preserved. Come then, Acanthio, away with weariness from you; take care and be on your guard against sloth. At the same time put an end to this panting; troth, I can hardly fetch my breath; at the same time, too, drive right full against all those persons who come in the way, shove them aside, and push them into the road. This custom here is a very bad one; no one thinks it proper for him to give way to one who is running and in haste; and thus three things must be done at the same moment, when you have commenced upon but one; you must both run and fight, and squabble as well, upon the road.

CHARINUS
apart . What's the reason of this, that he's requiring speed for himself at a rate so rapid? I have some anxiety, what the business is, or what news he brings.

ACANTHIO
to himself . I'm trifling about it. The more I stop, the greater the risk that's run.

CHARINUS
apart . He brings news of some misfortune, I know not what.

ACANTHIO
to himself . His knees are failing this runner. I'm undone, my spleen is in rebellion2, it's taking possession of my breast. I'm done up, I can't draw my breath. A very worthless piper should I be. I' faith, not all the baths will ever remove this lassitude from me. Am I to say that my master Charinus is at home or abroad?

CHARINUS
apart . I'm doubtful in my mind what the matter is; I'd like for myself to learn of him, that I may become acquainted with it.

ACANTHIO
to himself . But why still standing here? Why still hesitating to make splinters of this door? Knocks at the door of DEMIPHO'S house, and calls. Open the door, some one. Where's my master, Charinus? Is he at home or abroad? Does any one think fit to come to the door?

CHARINUS
presenting himself . Why, here am I, whom you're looking for, Acanthio.

ACANTHIO
not seeing him . There is nowhere a more lazy management than in his house.

CHARINUS
What matter is afflicting you so terribly?

ACANTHIO
turning round . Many, master, both yourself and me.

CHARINUS
What's the matter?

ACANTHIO
We are undone.

CHARINUS
That beginning do you present unto our foes.

ACANTHIO
But your own self it has befallen, as fate would have it.

CHARINUS
Tell me this matter, whatever it is.

ACANTHIO
Quietly--I want to take a rest. He pants.

CHARINUS
But, i' faith, do take the skirt of your coat3, and wipe the sweat from off you.

ACANTHIO
For your sake, I've burst the veins of my lungs; I'm spitting blood already. He spits.

CHARINUS
Swallow Ægyptian resin with honey; you'll make it all right.

ACANTHIO
Then, i' faith, do you drink hot pitch4; then your troubles will vanish.

CHARINUS
I know no one a more tetchy fellow than yourself.

ACANTHIO
And I know no one more abusive than yourself

CHARINUS
But what if I'm persuading you to that which I take to be for your benefit?

ACANTHIO
Away with benefit of that sort, that's accompanied with pain.

CHARINUS
Tell me, is there any good at all that any one can enjoy entirely without evil; or where you mustn't endure labour when you wish to enjoy it?

ACANTHIO
I don't understand these things; I never learnt to philosophize, and don't know how. I don't want any good to be given me, to which evil is an accompaniment.

CHARINUS
extending his hand . Come now, Acanthio, give me your right hand.

ACANTHIO
It shall be given; there then, take it. Gives his hand.

CHARINUS
Do you intend yourself to be obedient to me, or don't you intend it?

ACANTHIO
You may judge by experience, as I've ruptured myself with running for your sake, in order that what I knew, you might have the means of knowing directly.

CHARINUS
I'll make you a free man within a few months.

ACANTHIO
You are smoothing me down.

CHARINUS
What, should I presume ever to make mention of an untrue thing to you? On the contrary, before I said so, you knew already whether I intend to utter an untruth.

ACANTHIO
Ah! your words, upon my faith, are increasing my weakness. You are worrying me to death!

CHARINUS
What, is this the way you're obedient to me?

ACANTHIO
What do you want me to do?

CHARINUS
What, you? What I want is this----

ACANTHIO
What is it then that you do want?

CHARINUS
I'll tell you.

ACANTHIO
Tell me, then.

CHARINUS
But still, I'd like to do it in a quiet way.

ACANTHIO
Are you afraid lest you should wake the drowsy Spectators5 from their nap?

CHARINUS
Woe be to you!

ACANTHIO
For my part, that same am I bringing to you from the harbour.

CHARINUS
What are you bringing? Tell me.

ACANTHIO
Violence, alarm, torture, care, strife, and beggary.

CHARINUS
I'm undone! You really are bringing me hither a store of evils. I'm ruined outright.

ACANTHIO
Why, yes, you are----

CHARINUS
I know it already; you'll be saying I'm wretched.

ACANTHIO
'Tis you have said so; I'm mum.

CHARINUS
What mishap is this?

ACANTHIO
Don't enquire. It is a very great calamity.

CHARINUS
Prithee, do relieve me at once. Too long a time have I been in suspense.

ACANTHIO
Softly; I still wish to make many enquiries before I'm beaten.

CHARINUS
By my troth, you assuredly will be beaten, unless you say at once, or get away from here.

ACANTHIO
Do look at that, please, how he does coax me; there's no one more flattering when he sets about it.

CHARINUS
By heavens, I do entreat and beseech you to disclose to me at once what it is; inasmuch as I see that I must be the suppliant of my own servant.

ACANTHIO
And do I seem so unworthy of it?

CHARINUS
Oh no, quite worthy.

ACANTHIO
Well, so I thought.

CHARINUS
Prithee, is the ship lost?

ACANTHIO
The ship's all right; don't fear about that.

CHARINUS
Well then, the rest of the cargo?

ACANTHIO
That's right and tight.

CHARINUS
Why then don't you tell me what it is, for which, just now, running through the city, you were seeking me?

ACANTHIO
Really, you are taking the words out of my mouth.

CHARINUS
I'll hold my tongue.

ACANTHIO
Do hold your tongue. I doubt, if I brought you any good news, you'd be dreadfully pressing, who are now insisting upon my speaking out, when you must hear bad news.

CHARINUS
Troth then, prithee do you let me know what this misfortune is.

ACANTHIO
Since you beg of me, I'll tell you. Your father----

CHARINUS
My father did what?

ACANTHIO
Your mistress----

CHARINUS
What about her?

ACANTHIO
He has seen her.

CHARINUS
Seen her? Ah wretch that I am! What I ask you, answer me.

ACANTHIO
Nay, but do you ask me, if you want anything.

CHARINUS
How could he see her?

ACANTHIO
With his eyes.

CHARINUS
In what way?

ACANTHIO
Wide open.

CHARINUS
Away hence and be hanged. You are trifling, when my life's at stake.

ACANTHIO
How the plague am I trifling, if I answer you what you ask me?

CHARINUS
Did he see her for certain?

ACANTHIO
Aye, troth, as certainly as I see you and you see me.

CHARINUS
Where did he see her?

ACANTHIO
Down on board the ship, as he stood near the prow and chatted with her.

CHARINUS
Father, you have undone me. Come now, you, come now, you sir? Why, you whip-rascal, didn't you take care that he mightn't see her? Why, villain, didn't you stow her away, that my father mightn't perceive her?

ACANTHIO
Because we were busily employed about our business; we were engaged in packing up and arranging the cargo. While these things were being done, your father was brought alongside in a very small boat; and not an individual beheld the man until he was aboard the ship.

CHARINUS
In vain have I escaped the sea with its dreadful tempests! Just now I really did suppose that I was both ashore and in a place of safety; but I see that by the raging waves I am being hurried towards the rocks. Say on; what took place?

ACANTHIO
After he espied the woman, he began to ask her to whom she belonged.

CHARINUS
What did she answer?

ACANTHIO
That instant I ran up and interposed, saying that you had bought her as a maid-servant for your mother.

CHARINUS
Did he seem to believe you in that?

ACANTHIO
Do you e'en ask me that? Why the rogue began to take liberties with her.

CHARINUS
Prithee, what, with her?

ACANTHIO
'Twere a wonder if he had taken liberties with myself.

CHARINUS
By heavens, my heart is saddened, which, drop by drop is melting away, just as though you were to put salt in water. I'm undone.

ACANTHIO
Aye, aye, that one expression have you most truly uttered.

CHARINUS
This is mere folly. What shall I do? I do think. my father won't believe me if I say that I bought her for my mother; and then, besides, it seems to me a shame that I should tell a lie to my parent. He'll neither believe, nor indeed is it credible, that I bought this woman of surpassing beauty as a maid-servant for my mother.

ACANTHIO
Won't you be quiet, you most silly man? Troth, he will believe it, for he just now believed me.

CHARINUS
I'm dreadfully afraid that a suspicion will reach my father how the matter really stands. Prithee, answer me this that I ask you.

ACANTHIO
What do you ask?

CHARINUS
Did he seem to suspect that she was my mistress?

ACANTHIO
He did not seem. On the contrary, in everything, just as I said it, he believed me.

CHARINUS
As being true-as he seemed to yourself at least.

ACANTHIO
Not so; but he really did believe me.

CHARINUS
Ah! wretched man that I am! I'm ruined! But why do I kill myself here with repining, and don't be off to the ship? Follow me. Hastening along.

ACANTHIO
If you go that way, you'll conveniently come slap upon your father. As soon as he shall see you, dismayed and out of spirits, at once he'll be stopping you, and enquiring where you bought her, and for how much you bought her; he'll be trying you in your dismay.

CHARINUS
turning about . I'll go this way in preference. Do you think that by this my father has left the harbour?

ACANTHIO
Why, it was for that reason I ran before him hither, that he mightn't come upon you unawares and fish it out of you.

CHARINUS
Very properly done. (Exeunt.)

1 Your younger master: "Herus minor." One version renders these words, "your master when thrown down." That surely cannot be the meaning of the passage.

2 Spleen is in rebellion: He alludes to the expansion of the spleen by the act of running fast.

3 Skirt of your coat: "Laciniam." The "laciniæ" were the angular extremities of the "pallium," and the "toga," one of which was brought round over the left shoulder. It was generally tucked into the girdle, but was sometimes allowed to hang loose. From the present passage, we may conclude that it was sometimes devoted to the purposes of a pocket-handkerchief.

4 Drink hot pitch: Commentators have been at a loss to know why Acanthio should be so annoyed at the recommendation of Charinus, and why he should answer him in these terms. The ingenious Rost seems in a great measure to have hit upon the true meaning of the passage. Charinus tells him that a mixture of resin and honey is good for the lungs. Now, from what Pliny says, B. 24, ch. 6, we should have reason to suppose that some kinds of resin were used in diseases of the lungs. But, on the other hand, Aristotle, in his History of Animals, B. 8, ch. 24, mentions a certain resin called "sandonache," which was of a poisonous nature. Acanthio, then, may have been frightened from a previous knowledge of the doubtful nature of resins as a remedy; he may also have heard that the Egyptians preserved their mummies with honey and resin, and his stomach may have revolted at swallowing such a mixture; and, thinking that his master is trifling with him, he answers him in anger. The latter explanation will appear the more probable when we remember, that as honey and resin were used for the embalming of the higher classes, the bodies of the poorer persons in Egypt were preserved by being dipped in pitch; and though this did not suggest itself to Rost, it is not improbable that the servant intends by his answer to repay his master in the same coin. Perhaps he may have imagined that his master intended him to swallow the mixture in a hot, melted state, just as when it was injected into the mummies. Persons convicted of blasphemy were sometimes condemned to swallow melted pitch

5 The drowsy Spectators: No wonder if this most tiresome dialogue has sent them to sleep.

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