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Enter, from the house of THEUROPIDES, GRUMIO, pushing out TRANIO.1

GRUMIO
Get out of the kitchen, will you; out of it, you whip-scoundrel, who are giving me your cavilling talk amid the platters; march out of the house, you ruin of your master. Upon my faith, if I only live, I'll be soundly revenged upon you in the country. Get out, I say, you steam of the kitchen. Why are you skulking thus?

TRANIO
Why the plague are you making this noise here before the house? Do you fancy yourself to be in the country2? Get out of the house; be off into the country. Go and hang yourself. Get away from the door. Striking him. There now, was it that you wanted?

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GRUMIO
running away . I'm undone! Why are you beating me? TRA. Because you want it.

GRUMIO
I must endure it. Only let the old gentleman return home; only let him come safe home, whom you are devouring in his absence.

TRANIO
You don't say what's either likely or true, you blockhead, as to any one devouring a person in his absence.

GRUMIO
Indeed, you town wit, you minion of the mob, do you throw the country in my teeth? Really, Tranio, I do believe that you feel sure that before long you'll be handed over to the mill. Within a short period, i' faith, Tranio, you'll full soon be adding to the iron-bound race3 in the country. While you choose to, and have the opportunity, drink on, squander his property, corrupt my master's son, a most worthy young man, drink night and day, live like Greeks4, make purchase of mistresses, give them their freedom, feed parasites, feast yourselves sumptuously. Was it thus that the old gentleman enjoined you when he went hence abroad? Is it after this fashion that he will find his property well husbanded? Do you suppose that this is the duty of a good servant, to be ruining both the estate and the son of his master? For I do consider him as ruined, when he devotes himself to these goings on. A person, with whom not one of all the young men of Attica was before deemed equally frugal or more steady, the same is now carrying off the palm in the opposite direction. Through your management and your tutoring has that been done.

TRANIO
What the plague business have you with me or with what I do? Prithee, haven't you got your cattle in the country for you to look to? I choose to drink, to intrigue, to keep my wenches; this I do at the peril of my own back, and not of yours

GRUMIO
Then with what assurance he does talk! Turning away in disgust. Faugh!

TRANIO
But may Jupiter and all the Deities confound you; you stink of garlick, you filth unmistakeable, you clod, you he-goat, you pig-sty, you mixture of dog and she-goat.

GRUMIO
What would you have to be done? It isn't all that can smell of foreign perfumes, if you smell of them; or that can take their places at table above their master, or live on such exquisite dainties as you live upon. Do you keep to yourself those turtle-doves, that fish, and poultry; let me enjoy my lot upon garlick diet. You are fortunate; I unlucky. It must be endured. Let my good fortune be awaiting me, your bad yourself.

TRANIO
You seem, Grumio, as though you envied me, because I enjoy myself and you are wretched. It is quite my due. It's proper for me to make love, and for you to feed the cattle; for me to fare handsomely, you in a miserable way.

GRUMIO
O riddle for the executioner5, as I guess it will turn out; they'll be so pinking you with goads, as you carry your gibbet6 along the streets one day, as soon as ever the old gentleman returns here.

TRANIO
How do you know whether that mayn't happen to yourself sooner than to me?

GRUMIO
Because I have never deserved it; you have deserved it, and you now deserve it.

TRANIO
Do cut short the trouble of your talking, unless you wish a heavy mischance to befall you.

GRUMIO
Are you going to give me the tares for me to take for the cattle? If you are not, give me the money. Go on, still persist in the way in which you've commenced! Drink, live like Greeks, eat, stuff yourselves, slaughter your fatlings!

TRANIO
Hold your tongue, and be off into the country; I intend to go to the Piræus to get me some fish for the evening. To-morrow I'll make some one bring you the tares to the farm. What's the matter? Why now are you staring at me, gallows-bird?

GRUMIO
I' faith, I've an idea that will be your own title before long.

TRANIO
So long as it is as it is, in the meantime I'll put up with that "before long."

GRUMIO
That's the way; and understand this one thing, that that which is disagreable comes much more speedily than that which you wish for.

TRANIO
Don't you be annoying; now then, away with you into the country, and betake yourself off. Don't you deceive yourself, henceforth you shan't be causing me any impediment. (Exit.)

GRUMIO
to himself . Is he really gone? Not to care one straw for what I've said! O immortal Gods, I do implore your aid, do cause this old gentleman of ours, who has now been three years absent from here, to return hither as soon as possible, before everything is gone, both house and land. Unless he does return here, remnants to last for a few months only are left. Now I'll be off to the country; but look! I see my master's son, one who has been corrupted from having been a most excellent young man. (Exit.)

1 Title Mostellaria: This is a word probably derived from "mostellum," the diminutive of "monstrum," a "spectre" or "prodigy." It was probably coined by Plautus to serve as the title of this Play, which is called by several of the ancient Commentators by the name of "Phasma," "the Apparition."

2 In the country: Grumio appears to have been cook and herdsman combined, and perhaps generally employed at the country farm of Theuropides. On this occasion he seems to have been summoned to town to cook for the entertainment which Philolaches is giving to his friends.

3 The iron-bound race: The gang of slaves, who, for their malpractices, are working in the country in chains.

4 Live like Greeks: "Pergræcamini." Though the Scene is at Athens, Plautus consults the taste of a Roman Audience, as on many other occasions, in making the Greeks the patterns of riotous livers. Asconius Pedianus says that at these entertainments the Greeks drank off a cup of wine every tune they named a Divinity or mentioned a friend.

5 Riddle for the executioner: Riddled with holes by the scourge of the executioner.

6 You carry your gibbet: Bearing his own cross; a refinement of torture which was too often employed upon malefactors.

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