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Enter EUCLIO, from his house.
to himself . Now, with my mind at ease, at length I go out of my house, after I've seen that everything is safe in-doors. Now do you return at once into the house to STAPHYLA , and keep watch in-doors. STAPHYLA
Keep watch in-doors upon nothing at all, forsooth! or is it, that no one may carry the house away. For here in our house there's nothing else for thieves to gain, so filled is it with emptiness1 and cobwebs. EUCLIO
'Tis a wonder that, for your sake, Jupiter doesn't now make me a King Philip, or a Darius2, you hag of hags. I choose those cobwebs to be watched for me. I am poor, I confess it--I put up with it. What the Gods send, I endure. Go in-doors, shut to the door, I shall be there directly. Take you care not to let any strange person into the house. STAPHYLA
What if any person asks for fire? EUCLIO
I wish it to be put out, that there may be no cause for any one asking it of you. But if the fire shall be kept in, you yourself shall be forthwith extinguished. Then do you say that the water has run out3, if any one asks for it. STAPHYLA
The knife, the hatchet, the pestle and mortar, utensils that neighbours are always asking the loan of---- EUCLIO
Say that thieves have come and carried them off. In fact, in my absence, I wish no one to be admitted into my house; and this, too, do I tell you beforehand, if Good Luck should come, don't you admit her. STAPHYLA
I' faith, she takes good care, I think, not to be admitted; for though close at hand4, she has never come to our house. EUCLIO
Hold your tongue, and go in-doors. STAPHYLA
I'll hold my tongue, and be off. EUCLIO
Shut the door, please, with both bolts. I shall be there directly. STAPHYLA goes into the house. I'm tormented in my mind, because I must go away from my house I' faith, I go but very unwillingly; but I know full well what I'm about; for the person that is our master of our ward5 has given notice that he will distribute a didrachm of silver to each man; if I relinquish that, and don't ask for it, at once I fancy that all will be suspecting that I've got gold at home; for it isn't very likely that a poor man would despise ever such a trifle, so as not to ask for his piece of money. For as it is, while I am carefully concealing it from all, lest they should know, all seem to know it, and all salute me more civilly than they formerly used to salute me; they come up to me, they stop, they shake hands6; they ask me how I am, what I'm doing, what business I'm about. Now I'll go there whither I had set out7; afterwards, I'll betake myself back again home as fast as ever I can.
1 Filled is it with emptiness: The expression, "full of emptiness," is intended as a piece of wit on the part of the old woman. Perhaps Euclio would not have the spiders molested, because they were considered to bring good luck.
2 Philip, or a Darius: The names of Philip, King of Macedon, and Darius, King of Persia, as powerful and wealthy monarchs, would be likely to be well known to the writers of the new Greek Comedy, from whom Plautus borrowed most, if not all, of his plays.
3 Has run out: It is not improbable that allusion is here made to the supply of water by pipes from the aqueducts.
4 Close at hand: She seems to allude to the fact of the temple of Bona Fortuna, or Good Luck, being in the vicinity of Euclio's house.
5 Master of our ward: The "curiæ" at Rome were sub-divisions of the tribes originally made by Romulus, who divided the Ramnes, Titienses, and Luceres into thirty "curiæ." Each "curia" had its place for meeting and worship, which was also called "curia;" and was presided over by the "Curio," who is here called the "Magister curiæ," or "master of the ward." At first the Patricians and Equites had the sole influence in the "curiæ," and alone electee the "Curiones;" but after the year A.U.C. 544, the "Curio" was elected from the Patricians, after which period the political importance of the "curiæ" gradually declined, until they became mere bodies meeting for the performance of religious observances. Plautus probably alludes, in the present instance, to a dole, or distribution of money, made by the Greek Trittuarch among the poorer brethren of his τριττὺϝ, or "tribus;" as in adapting a Greek play to the taste of a Roman audience, he very often mingles the customs of the one country with those of the other.
6 They shake hands: "Copulantur dextras." Literally, "they couple right hands."
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