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Enter DAVUS in haste.
not seeing PAMPHILUS and CHARINUS. Ye gracious Gods, what good news I bring! But where shall I find Pamphilus, that I may remove the apprehension in which he now is, and fill his mind with joy----? CHARINUS
apart to PAMPHILUS. He's rejoiced about something, I don't know what. PAMPHILUS
apart. It's of no consequence; he hasn't yet heard of these misfortunes. DAVUS
to himself. For I do believe now, if he has already heard that a marriage is prepared for him---- CHARINUS
apart. Don't you hear him? DAVUS
to himself. He is seeking me distractedly all the city over. But where shall I look for him ? Or in which direction now first to betake me---- CHARINUS
apart to PAMPHILUS. Do you hesitate to accost him ? DAVUS
to himself. I have it. Moving on. PAMPHILUS
Davus, come here! Stop! DAVUS
Who's the person that's----Turning round. O Pamphilus, you are the very man I'm looking for. Well done, Charinus ! both in the nick of time: I want you both. CHARINUS
Davus, I'm undone! DAVUS
Nay but, do hear this. PAMPHILUS
I'm utterly ruined! DAVUS
I know what you are afraid of. CHARINUS
I'faith, my life indeed is really in danger. DAVUS
to CHARINUS. And what you are afraid of, I know. PAMPHILUS
My marriage---- DAVUS
As if I did not know it? PAMPHILUS
This day---- DAVUS
Why keep dinning me with it, when I know it all? To PAMPHILUS. This are you afraid of, lest you should marry her; and you to CHARINUS, lest you should not marry her. CHARINUS
You understand the matter. PAMPHILUS
That's the very thing. DAVUS
And that very thing is in no danger; trust me for that. PAMPHILUS
I do entreat you, release wretched me as soon as possible from this apprehension. DAVUS
Well, then, I will release you; Chremes is not going to give you his daughter at present. PAMPHILUS
How do you know ? DAVUS
You shall know. Your father just now laid hold of me; he said that a wife was to be given you to-day, and many other things as well, which just now I haven't time to relate. Hastening to you immediately, I ran on to the Forum that I might tell you these things. When I didn't find you, I ascended there to a high place.1 I looked around; you were nowhere. There by chance I saw Byrrhia, his servant pointing to CHARINUS . I inquired of him; he said he hadn't seen you. This puzzled me. I considered what I was to do. As I was returning in the mean time, a surmise from the circumstances themselves occurred to me: " How now,--a very small amount of good cheer; lie out of spirits; a marriage all of a sudden; these things don't agree." PAMPHILUS
But to what purpose this ? DAVUS
I forthwith betook myself to the house of Chremes. When I arrived there--stillness before the door;2 then I was pleased at that. CHARINUS
You say well. PAMPHILUS
I stopped there. In the mean time I saw no one going in, no one going out; no matron at the house,3 no preparation, no bustle. I drew near; looked in---- PAMPHILUS
I understand; a considerable indication. DAVUS
Do these things seem to accord with a wedding ? PAMPHILUS
I think not, Davus. DAVUS
Think, do you say ? You don't view it rightly; the thing is certain. Besides, coming away from there I saw the servant-boy of Chremes carrying some vegetables and little fishes, an obol's worth,4 for the old man's dinner. CHARINUS
This day, Davus, have I been delivered by your means. DAVUS
And yet not at all. CHARINUS
Why so? Surely he will not give her to him, after all this. Pointing to PAMPHILUS. DAVUS
You silly fellow ! as though it were a necessary consequence that if he doesn't give her to him you should marry her: unless, indeed, you look about you; unless you entreat and make court to the old man's friends. CHARINUS
You advise well. I'll go; although, upon my faith, this hope has often eluded me already. Farewell! (Exit.)
2 Stillness before the door: Madame Dacier observes that this remark is very appropriately made by Davus, as showing that the marriage was clearly not intended by Chremes. The house of the bride on such an occasion would be thronged by her friends, and at the door would be the musicians and those who were to form part of the bridal procession.
3 No matron at the house: By the use of the word “"matrona,"” he probably alludes to the "pronubae" among the Romans, whose duties were somewhat similar to those of our bride's-maids. At the completion of the bridal repast, the bride was conducted to the bridal chamber by matrons who had not had more than one husband.
4 An obol's worth: The “"obolus"” was the smallest Greek silver coin, and was equal in value to about three halfpence of our money. "Pisciculi minuti," "little fish," were much used for food among the poorer classes; "mena," a fish resembling our pilchard, was a common article of food with the Romans. The larger kinds of fish went under the general name of "cetum."
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