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to himself. I've just come back to see what Chaerea has been doing here. If he has managed the affair with dexterity, ye Gods, by our trust in you, how great and genuine applause will Parmeno obtain! For not to mention that a passion, full of difficulty and expense, with which he was smitten for a virgin, belonging to an extortionate courtesan, I've found means of satisfying for him, without molestation, without outlay, and without cost; then, this other point-that is really a thing that I consider my crowning merit, to have found out the way by which a young man may be enabled to learn the dispositions and manners of courtesans, so that by knowing them betimes, he may detest them ever after. PYTHIAS enters from the house unperceived. For while they are out of doors, nothing seems more cleanly, nothing more neat or more elegant; and when they dine with a gallant, they pick daintily about:1 to see the filth, the dirtiness, the neediness of these women; how sluttish they are when at home, and how greedy after victuals; in what a fashion they devour the black bread with yesterday's broth:--to know all this, is salvation to a young man.< Enter PYTHIAS from the house. PYTHIAS
apart, unseen by PARMENO. Upon my faith, you villain, I'll take vengeance upon you for these sayings and doings; so that you sha'n't make sport of us with impunity. Aloud, coming forward. O, by our trust in the Gods, what a disgraceful action! O hapless young man! O wicked Parmeno, to have brought him here! PARMENO
What's the matter? PYTHIAS
I do pity him; and so that I mightn't see it, wretched creature that I am, I hurried away out of doors. What a dreadful example they talk of making him! PARMENO
O Jupiter! What is this tumult? Am I then undone? I'll accost her. What's all this, Pythias? What are you saying? An example made of whom? PYTHIAS
Do you ask the question, you most audacious fellow? You've proved the ruin of the young man whom you brought hither for the Eunuch, while you were trying to put a trick upon us. PARMENO
How so, or what has happened? Tell me. PYTHIAS
I'll tell you: that young woman who was to-day made a present to Thais, are you aware that she is a citizen of this place, and that her brother is a person of very high rank? PARMENO
I didn't know that. PYTHIAS
But so she has been discovered to be; he, unfortunate youth, has ravished her. When the brother came to know of this being done, in a most towering rage, he---- PARMENO
Did what, pray? PYTHIAS
First, bound him in a shocking manner. PARMENO
Bound him? PYTHIAS
And even though Thais entreated him that he wouldn't do so---- PARMENO
What is it you tell me? PYTHIAS
Now he is threatening that he will also do that which is usually done to ravishers; a thing that I never saw done, nor wish to. PARMENO
With what assurance does he dare perpetrate a crime so heinous? PYTHIAS
How "so heinous?" PARMENO
Is it not most heinous? Who ever saw any one taken up as a ravisher in a courtesan's house? PYTHIAS
I don't know. PARMENO
But that you mayn't be ignorant of this, Pythias, I tell you, and give you notice that he is my master's son. PYTHIAS
How! Prithee, is it he? PARMENO
Don't let Thais suffer any violence to be done to him. But why don't I go in myself? PYTHIAS
Take care, Parmeno, what you are about, lest you both do him no good and come to harm yourself; for it is their notion, that whatever has happened, has originated in you. PARMENO
What then, wretch that I am, shall I do, or how resolve? But look, I see the old gentleman returning from the country; shall I tell him or shall I not? By my troth, I will tell him; although I am certain that a heavy punishment is in readiness for me; but it's a matter of necessity, in order that he may rescue him. PYTHIAS
You are wise. I'm going in-doors; do you relate to him every thing exactly as it happened. Goes into the house.
1 Pick daintily about: He seems here to reprehend the same practice against which Ovid warns his fair readers, in his Art of Love, B. iii. l. 75. He says, "Do not first take food at home," when about to go to an entertainment. Westerhovius seems to think that "ligurio" means, not to "pick daintily," but "to be fond of good eating;" and refers to the Bacchides of Plautus as portraying courtesans of the "ligurient" kind, and finds another specimen in Bacchis in: the Heautontimorumenos.
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