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Enter HALISCA, at a distance, from the house of the FATHER of ALCESIMARCHUS.
to herself . Unless the Gods give me some aid, I'm utterly undone; nor do I know whence I am to seek for aid. To such a degree does carelessness possess wretched me in mind, which I sadly fear may be lighting upon my own back, if my mistress knows that I'm so negligent as I really am. The casket which I took and held in my hands here before the door, where it is I know not; except, as I fancy, it was dropt by me about this spot. Looks about on the ground. My good sirs to the AUDIENCE , my kind Spectators, do give me information if any one has seen it, if any one has taken it away, or any one picked it up; and whether in this direction or that he has taken his departure? She pauses for a reply. I'm none the wiser for asking these persons, or for worrying them, who are always delighted at a woman's mishaps. Now I'll mark if there are any footsteps here; for if no one had passed this way since I went in-doors, the casket would be lying here. Why say "here?" It's lost, I guess; it's done for. It's all over with unhappy and unlucky me! It's nowhere, and nowhere am I. This, by its loss, has proved my loss. But still, as I've begun, I'll e'en go on; I'll make search; for both within do I fear, and without I am afraid; so much, on either side, does fear agitate me now. In this are mortals intensely wretched. He is now joyous, whoever he is, that has found it, which is of no use at all to any person else; to myself it may be. But I cause delay to myself, while I'm doing this with remissness. Halisca, attend to what you are about: look down upon the ground, and look round about; search with your eyes; guess with shrewdness. LAMPADISCUS
apart, at a distance . Mistress! PHANOSTRATA
apart . Well, what's the matter? LAMPADISCUS
apart . That's she. Pointing at HALISCA. PHANOSTRATA
apart . Who? LAMPADISCUS
apart. She who let fall the casket. Why surely she's tracing out that spot where it fell. PHANOSTRATA
apart. It seems so. HAL.
to herself, looking on the ground . But that person has gone this way; this way I perceive the imprint of his shoe1; this way I'll follow him. She moves along, still looking on the ground. In this spot now has he stopped, along with another person. Here now a circle2 presents itself to my sight, nor did he go straight forward this way; here he came to a pause. This way did he come out of that circle. Here was a conference with some one. It points to two persons now. Who are these? Heyday I see the footsteps of only one. But he has gone this way. I'll consider it: hither he went from thence; from hence he has never gone. I'm troubling myself to no purpose. What's lost is lost; my hide3 along with the casket. I'll go in-doors again. Going towards the house of the FATHER of ALCESIMARCHUS. PHANOSTRATA
calling out . Hallo, woman-stop; there are some persons who wish to meet with you. HAL.
Who's calling me back? LAMPADISCUS
A good female and a bad male want you. HAL.
Away with you, bad male; I want a good one. To herself. After all, he who calls knows better what he wants than I who am called; I'll return. Aloud. Prithee, have you seen any person hereabouts pick up a casket with some trinkets, which I, to my misfortune, have lost here? For when, just now, we were running into the house of Alcesimarchus, that he mightn't put an end to his life, at that moment I think that, through terror, the casket fell down from me here. LAMPADISCUS
aside to PHANOSTRATA . This woman's to our purpose; let's then give heed to her a little, mistress. HAL.
To my sorrow, I'm utterly undone. What shall I say to my mistress, who bade me with such earnestness take care of it, through which Silenium might the more readily recognize her parents--who, when little, was adopted by my mistress as her own, and whom a certain Courtesan gave to her? LAMPADISCUS
aside . She's talking about this matter of ours. According as she gives these indications by her talk, she must surely know where your daughter is. HAL.
Now is she desirous of her own accord to restore her to her father and mother, whose daughter she is; prithee, my good sir, you are attending to something else; I commend my matter to you. LAMPADISCUS
I'm giving my attention to this, and this is as good as food to me, that you are talking of; but amid my attending to this matter, I was answering this mistress of mine what she was enquiring; now I return to you. If you have need of anything, say you, and give your orders. What were you looking, for? HAL.
My good sir and my good madam, I greet you. PHANOSTRATA
And we you. But what are you looking for? HAL.
I'm tracing footsteps here, the way that something has escaped me here, I don't know how. PHANOSTRATA
What is it? LAMPADISCUS
What is it, pray? HAL.
Something to bring a loss to another, and a calamity on our family. LAMPADISCUS
aside to PHANOSTRATA . A worthless baggage is this, mistress, and a crafty one. PHANOSTRATA
aside . I' faith, and so she seems. LAMPADISCUS
aside . She imitates a worthless animal and a mischievous. PHANOSTRATA
aside . Which one, prithee? LAM. aside . A caterpillar, which twisting about winds itself in the leaf of the vine; just in the same way does she begin a story that twists about. To HALISCA. What are you looking for? HAL.
A casket, my good young man, has flown away from me here. LAMPADISCUS
You ought to have put it in a cage. HAL.
I' faith, the booty was no great one. LAMPADISCUS
It's a wonder, if a whole troop of slaves4 isn't there in the casket. PHANOSTRATA
Do let her speak. LAMPADISCUS
If indeed she would speak. PHANOSTRATA
to HALISCA . Come say you, what was in it? HAL.
Trinkets only. LAMPADISCUS
There's a certain man, who declares that he knows where it is. HAL.
But, by my faith, he'll confer an obligation on a certain woman if he'll discover it. LAMPADISCUS
But this certain man wishes a reward to be given to him. HAL.
But, by my faith, this certain woman, that has lost this casket, declares that she has nothing to give to this certain man. LAMPADISCUS
But still this certain man looks for some money. HAL.
But still he looks for it in vain. LAMPADISCUS
But, by my faith, good woman, in no matter does this certain man give his pains for nothing. PHANOSTRATA
Lend me your conversation: it will now be for your own advantage. We confess that we have got the casket. HAL.
Then may Salvation preserve you; where is it now? PHANOSTRATA
producing the casket . See, here it is, safe. But I wish to discourse with you upon a matter of importance to myself; I take you as a sharer with me in my own preservation. HAL.
What matter is this, or who are you? PHANOSTRATA
I am the mother of her who had these things with her, when exposed. HAL.
Do you live here then? Pointing to the house. PHANOSTRATA
You are a diviner. But, prithee, good woman, do lay aside all mystification, and to the point; tell me at once, whence did you get these trinkets? HAL.
This daughter of my mistress had them. LAMPADISCUS
You tell a falsehood; for my own mistress's daughter had them, not yours. PHANOSTRATA
Don't interrupt. LAMPADISCUS
I'll be mum. PHANOSTRATA
Good woman, go on speaking. Where is she who had them? HAL.
pointing to the house of ALCESIMARCHUS . Here, next door. PHANOSTRATA
By the powers, surely the son-in-law of my husband is living there. LAMPADISCUS
to LAMPADISCUS . Interrupting again? To HALISCA. Go on relating it. How many years old is she said to be? HAL.
She is my own daughter then! LAMPADISCUS
'Tis she, as the number of her years has proved. HAL.
What you are seeking, you have found; I now seek what's mine. LAMPADISCUS
Why, faith, they've found what's their own, I'll seek for number three5. PHANOSTRATA
My daughter, the object which I was seeking, I have discovered. HAL.
It's proper to keep in safety what has been entrusted in confidence, lest a kindness should turn out a detriment to the well-deserving. This fosterling of ours is assuredly your daughter, and my mistress is about to restore you your own, and for that purpose has she come from her house. But, prithee, enquire of her own self; I am but a servant. PHANOSTRATA
You ask what's just. HAL.
To her rather do I choose this obligation to belong. But I beg that you'll restore me that casket. PHANOSTRATA
What's to be done, Lampadio? LAMPADISCUS
What's your own, keep as your own. PHANOSTRATA
But I feel compassion for her. LAMPADISCUS
This I think ought to be done; give her the casket, and go in-doors together with her. PHANOSTRATA
I'll follow your advice. Giving it to HALISCA. Take you the casket. Let's go in-doors. But what's the name of your mistress? HAL.
Go first; I'll follow you at once. Exit LAMPADISCUS, and the others go into the house of the FATHER of ALCESIMARCHUS.
2 Here now a circle: "Turbo." Schmieder thinks that this means "a whirlwind," and that she intends to say that she has lost the track, in consequence of the wind blowing round the dust, and so obliterating the footmarks. Perhaps, however, she means, that just there the track is lost by its being all in confusion, without beginning or end, so far as she can see. Some would read "turba," a "multitude," as meaning that the throng in the street hinders her from clearly seeing the imprints of the feet.
3 My hide: She alludes to the flogging which she may expect for her carelessness, which will cause her to lose her skin, or literally, as Plautus says (quite in accordance with our vulgar parlance), her "leather."
4 Troop of slaves: This is said in allusion to the runaway propensities of slaves.
5 For number three: "Quæro tertiam." Literally, "I seek a third." This he says by way of joke; as one has been looking for her daughter another for the casket, he must look for something as well, a mistress, to wit.
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