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Enter LEONIDA, counterfeiting SAUREA.
to himself . What's this to do here? Not a person bares a bit about my orders! How did I order Libanus to come to the barber's shop, and he didn't come at all. I' faith, for sure he hasn't consulted well for his back and his legs. THE ASS-DEALER.
to himself . This is a very overbearing fellow. LIBANUS
to the ASS-DEALER . Woe to me this day! LEONIDA
I bid welcome to Libanus, the freed-man! Are you set at liberty now? LIBANUS
I do implore you. LEONIDA
In good sooth, to your great misfortune surely have you fallen in my way. Why didn't you come to the barber's shop, as I ordered you? LIBANUS
pointing to the ASS-DEALER . This person detained me. LEONIDA
I' faith, if in fact you were now to say that supreme Jove had detained you, and he were present to sue for you, you shouldn't escape the evil consequences. Whip-knave, did you disobey my orders? Offers to strike him. LIBANUS
to the ASS-DEALER . Stranger, I'm done for. THE ASS-DEALER.
Prithee, Saurea, for my sake, don't beat him. LEONIDA
I wish, now, I had a whip in my hand---- THE ASS-DEALER.
Prithee, do be appeased. LEONIDA
--With which to lash your sides, which have grown callous with blows. To the ASS-DEALER, who interposes. Stand off this way; let me be the death of this fellow who is continually inflaming me with anger--a thief to whom I can never once enjoin a single thing, but that I must command the same things a hundred times, and din them in his ears1. For that reason, now, by my troth, what with bawling and passion, I cannot endure the labour. Have you, you rascal, pointing ordered this dirt to be removed hence from the door? Have you ordered the labours of the spiders to be swept down from the pillars? Have you ordered those bosses on our door2 to be brought to brightness? It's of no use; I must walk about with a stick, as though I were a lame man. Because only for these single three days I have been giving my constant attendance at the Forum, in order to find some one who requires money upon interest, here, in the meantime, are you sleeping at home, and my master is living in a pigstye, not in a house. He strikes LIBANUS. There now, take you that. LIBANUS
to the ASS-DEALER . Prithee, stranger, do take my part. THE ASS-DEALER.
Saurea, for my sake, I entreat you, do let him go. LEONIDA
Hark you! has any one paid for the carriage of that olive oil? LIBANUS
He has paid. LEONIDA
To whom was it given? LIBANUS
To Stichus himself, your deputy. LEONIDA
Tut! you're trying to mollify me3. I know that he is my deputy, and that there isn't a servant in the house who is more valuable to his master than he is. But the wines that I sold yesterday to Exærambus, the wine merchant, has he yet paid Stichus for them? LIBANUS
I think he has, in full; for I saw Exærambus himself bringing hither his banker. LEONIDA
On such terms would I always deal4; before, what I've trusted, I've hardly been paid within a year after. Now he's quite in a hurry; even of his own accord he brings him to the house, and writes a transfer of the money5. LEONIDA
Has Dromo paid down the wages agreed upon? LIBANUS
Less than half, I think. LEONIDA
What about the remainder? LIBANUS
He said that he would pay it directly it was paid6 to him; for it was retained until he had finished the work that was agreed on to be done by him. LEONIDA
The cups that I lent to Philodamus, has he brought them back? LIBANUS
Not yet. LEONIDA
What, not yet? If you wish to make a present7, lend to a person that is a friend---- THE ASS-DEALER.
aside . I' faith, I'm quite undone; he'll be just now driving me away with his ill-temper. LIBANUS
in a low voice to LEONIDA . Hallo! you, enough now. Do you hear what he's saying? LEONIDA
in the same way to LIBANUS . I hear, and I'll have done. THE ASS-DEALER.
aside . At last, I think, he has done: now it's best to accost him before he commences again to prate. To LEONIDA. How soon, sir, will you give me your attention? LEONIDA
Oh, by all means--have you been here any time? Troth, I didn't observe you; pray, don't lay it to my charge: anger has so blinded my eyesight. THE ASS-DEALER.
'Tisn't to be wondered at. But if he's at home, I was wanting Demænetus. LEONIDA
Libanus says that he isn't within. But still, if you like to pay that money over to me, I'll give you an acquittance that the account is discharged as to that item. THE ASS-DEALER.
This way rather, for me to pay you in the presence of your master, Demænetus. LIBANUS
My master knows him, and he my master. THE ASS-DEALER.
In his master's presence, I'll pay him. LIBANUS
At my peril, so you only pay him, I'll engage the matter's safe. For if our old gentleman were to know that confidence wasn't placed in him, to whom he himself always entrusts the management of all matters, he would be angry. LEONIDA
I don't much care; don't let him not pay it, if he don't like; so let him stand here. LIBANUS
Give it him, I say. Oh dear, I'm sadly afraid that he'll be thinking that I've persuaded you not to trust him; prithee, do give it and don't be afraid. Upon my word, it will be safe. THE ASS-DEALER.
I think it will be--so long, indeed, as I myself keep it in my hand. I'm a stranger; I don't know Saurea. LIBANUS
Well, know him now then. THE ASS-DEALER.
It may be he, it may not be he; i' faith, I know not; if it's he, why then it must be he. I know for sure that I shall give this up to no person that I don't know. LEONIDA
aside . Troth now, may all the Gods confound the fellow. Aloud to LIBANUS. Take care you don't entreat him with a word. He's arrogant, because he's fingering my twenty minæ. No one will take it. To the ASS-DEALER. Take yourself off home, be off from here, and don't be troublesome. THE ASS-DEALER.
You are in too angry mood: it isn't right for a person who is a slave to give himself airs. LIBANUS
By my faith, to your own great misfortune now are you talking uncivilly to him. Dirty, worthless fellow, don't you see he's angry? LEONIDA
to the ASS-DEALER . Be off then. LIBANUS
to the ASS-DEALER . Scoundrelly fellow. Aside to him. Prithee, do give him the money lest he should abuse you. THE ASS-DEALER.
On my word, you are seeking evil for yourselves. LEONIDA
to LIBANUS . By the powers, your legs shall be broken8, if you don't proclaim this shameless fellow. LIBANUS
Troth, I'm undone. Be off, you shameless fellow. LEONIDA
You rascal. LIBANUS
to the ASS-DEALER . Won't you venture to assist me, you rascal? LEONIDA
Do you persist in soliciting the scamp? THE ASS-DEALER.
How's this? To LEONIDA. Do you, rascal, who are a slave, speak abusively to a free man? LEONIDA
Give him a beating. ASS-D.
By my faith, that surely shall befall yourself to get a beating as soon as ever I shall see Demænetus this day. I summon you to judgments9. LEONIDA
I shan't go. ASS-D.
You won't go? Remember---- LEONIDA
I do remember. ASS-D.
I' faith, I'll have satisfaction out of your back. LEONIDA
Woe unto you? What, villain--satisfaction to be given by us to you indeed? THE ASS-DEALER.
Aye, and even this very day satisfaction shall be given me for your abusive language. LEONIDA
How now, whip-knave? How say you, hang-dog? Do you suppose that we shall run away from our master? Go this instant then to our master, where you were citing us just now, and where you were wishing to go. THE ASS-DEALER.
What, now at last? Still, you shall never get a coin of money away from me, unless Demænetus shall order me to give it. LEONIDA
Do so. Come, move on then. Are you to offer insults to another person, and are they not to be repeated to yourself? I'm a man as much as you are. THE ASS-DEALER.
No doubt such is the fact. LEONIDA
Follow me this way, then. With your good leave10 I would now say this: not a person has ever accused me by reason of my deserving it, nor is there in Athens one other individual, this day, whom they would think they could as safely trust. THE ASS-DEALER.
Perhaps so: but still, you shall never this day persuade me to entrust to you, whom I don't know, this money A man to a man is a wolf11, not a man, when the other doesn't know of what character he is. LEONIDA
Now at last you are appeasing me12: I was sure that this day you would give satisfaction to this poor head of mine; although I'm in mean garb, still, I'm well to do, nor can an estimate of my means be formed from it. THE ASS-DEALER.
Perhaps so. LEONIDA
Still more then I tell you: Periphanes, a merchant of Rhodes, a rich man, in the absence of my master, himself alone paid over to me, in private, a talent of silver, and trusted me, nor was he deceived in it. THE ASS-DEALER.
Perhaps so. LEONIDA
And you, too, yourself, as well, if you had enquired about me of other people, would, i' faith, I'm quite sure, have entrusted to me what you now have with you. THE ASS-DEALER.
I don't deny it. (Exeunt.)
1 Din them in his ear: "Obganniam." This word literally signifies "to bark like a fox."
2 Bosses on our door: The "bullæ," or "bosses," here mentioned, were large heads of brass or gilt nails with which the doors of the Romans were ornamented.
3 Trying to mollify me: Inasmuch as he pretends to be jealous of Stichus enjoying the favour of the pretended Saurea, and being appointed his "vicarius," or "deputy," in preference to himself.
4 Would I always deal: "Sic dedero." Camerarius and Lambinus give these words a rather far-fetched meaning, and think that they signify, "I had rather give away my commodities, than sell them and be so ill- paid."
5 Writes a transfer of the money: "Scribere nummos" seems here to have the usual meaning of "rescribere nummos," to "transfer" or "set down money to the account of another person in one's banker's books."
6 Directly it was paid: It was the custom with the owners of slaves to let out their services for a specified sum. He pretends that Dromo is a slave that has been let out by him for a job, and enquires whether the money is paid on which he is told, that he has only been paid half, inasmuch as the job is not yet finished, and that the other half is retained until he has completed it.
7 Wish to make a present: At the suggestion of Gronovius, "dare" is read, in this line, with a comma after it, instead of "da," the usual reading. In the latter case the passage would read, "---- if you choose, do a service for a friend," which certainly has not the point of the other version.
8 Your legs shall be broken: One of the most cruel punishments inflicted on refractory or runaway slaves was that of breaking their legs. To effect this, their legs were extended upon an anvil, and then struck with a bar of iron or a hammer.
9 Summon you to judgment: "In jus vocare," "to summon into court," was the term applied when one party lodged a criminal information against another.
10 With your good leave: " Præfiscini." It was a common notion among the ancients, that if a person spoke in commendation of himself, he stood in danger of fascination--the effect of envy or enchantment on the part of another person. For this reason, on such occasions they prefaced with the word "præmfiscini," understanding "dixerim," "I would say." This meant "without impeachment of malice," "be it spoken in a good hour," or, as we say, "by your leave."
11 Man to a man is a wolf: There was an ancient proverb, “Homo homini lupus”, "Man is to man a wolf." It probably implied much the same as the more celebrated words of a modern Poet: “Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn”.
12 You are appeasing me: This he seems to say in a spirit of irony Huic capitulo" is literally "to this little head" meaning, 'to this humble individual, myself."
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