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Enter OLYMPIO, a COOK, and his ASSISTANTS, with provisions.
to the COOK . See, you thief, that you lead on your briars beneath their banners1. A COOK.
But how are they briars? OLYMPIO
Because that which they have touched, they instantly seize hold of; if you go to snatch it from them, they instantly rend it; so, wherever they come, wherever they are, with a twofold loss2 do they mulct their masters. A COOK.
Heyday, indeed! OLYMPIO
Well, well! This way I'm delaying to go meet my master with a magnificent, patrician, and patronizing air. He struts along. STALINO
My good man, save you. OLYMPIO
I admit that so I am3. STALINO
How goes it? OLYMPIO
You are in love, but I'm hungering and thirsting. STALINO
You have come capitally provided. OLYMPIO
Pooh! pooh! Goes towards the door. STALINO
But stop you, although you do hold me in contempt---- OLYMPIO
O dear, O dear! your converse has a bad smell to me. Moving away. STALINO
What's the matter? OLYMPIO
pointing to the baskets of provisions . That's the matter. STALINO
Will you not stop there? OLYMPIO
Why, really, you are causing me ennui4. STALINO
I shall be giving you a grand coup5, I fancy, if you don't stand still forthwith. Catches hold of him. OLYMPIO
O mon Dieu6! Can't you get away from me, unless you would like me to be sick just now? STALINO
Do stop a bit. OLYMPIO
How's this? Staring at him. What person's this? STALINO
I'm your master. OLYMPIO
What master? STALINO
He whose slave you are. OLYMPIO
I, a slave? STALINO
Aye, and mine. OLYMPIO
Am I not a free man? Remember! remember! STALINO
Stop and stay you there! Catches hold of him. OLYMPIO
Let me alone. STALINO
I am your slave. OLYMPIO
That's very good. STALINO
My dear little Olympio, my father, my patron, I do beg of you---- OLYMPIO
Well, you certainly are in your senses. STALINO
Of course I am your slave. OLYMPIO
What need have I of so worthless a slave? STALINO
Well now, how soon are you going to provide me some amusement7? OLYMPIO
If the dinner were but drest. STALINO
Then let them be off this instant in-doors. To the COOK and his ASSISTANTS. Go you into the house and despatch with all haste. I'll come in just now. Have the dinner charmingly sauced up8 for me; I want to have a charming meal. I really don't care, now, to be eating in the style of your sumptuous foreigners9. Be off, will you; but for the present, however, I take up my abode here. The COOK and his ASSISTANTS go into the house. OLYMPIO
Is there anything that detains you here? STALINO
The servant-maid says that Casina has got a sword in-doors, to deprive you and me of life with it. OLYMPIO
I understand it. Just let her alone with it. They are imposing on you: I know these worthless baggages. However, do you now go into the house with me. STALINO
But, i' faith, I'm fearful of mischief: only do you go. Reconnoitre, first, what's going on within. OLYMPIO
My life's as dear to me as yours is to you. STALINO
But only do go now. OLYMPIO
If you'll go yourself, I'll go in with you. They go into the house.
1 Briars beneath their banners: This figure is derived partly from gardening, partly from military tactics. The assistants of the Cook are compared to briars, because they tear and carry off everything they meet; and their leader is requested to keep them "sub signis," "beneath the banners," lest, like soldiers on a march, leaving their ranks, they should stroll about to plunder and steal. The bad character of the hired cooks has been referred to in the Pseudolus. It will be also found enlarged upon in the Aulularia.
2 With a twofold loss: Probably, pilfering in all directions, and then getting paid for their services.
3 I admit that so I am: "Fateor." His conscience pricking him for his disgraceful conduct, he is glad to catch the opportunity of alleging that he really is a "bonus vir" vice thus paying homage to virtue.
4 Causing me ennui: This is in Greek in the original--πράνματα μοι παρέχεις. More literally, "You give me trouble." It was a phrase generally used by a superior when annoyed by an inferior, and aptly shows the degraded position to which Stalino has reduced himself by his base associations with his servant Olympio. An attempt has been made in the translation, perhaps not very successfully, to pourtray the impression intended to be conveyed by the passage by the use of the French word "ennui."
7 Provide me some amusement: He perhaps alludes to the gratification of his villanous intentions with regard to Casina. If not, his meaning is still more gross. He is, without exception, the most despicable character, with the exception of Dinarchus, in the Truculentus, depicted in any Play of Plautus.
8 Charmingly sauced up: By the use of the word "ebria," he either means that the hashes are to be swimming with sauces and gravies, or that plenty of wine is to be provided.
9 In the style of your sumptuous foreigners: Barbarico ritu. He perhaps alludes to the Eastern style of entertainments, which were probably accompanied with more magnificence, and, at the same time, greater sobriety, which doubtless would not agree with his Epicurean notions.
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