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Enter PERIPLECOMENUS, with ACROTELEUTIUM and MILPHIDIPPA.

PERIPLECOMENUS
as he advances . I have explained the whole affair, Acroteleutium, to you, and, Milphidippa, to you as well. If you don't well understand this device and plan, I wish you to hear it all over again. If you comprehend it aright, there is something else that we may speak of in preference.

ACROTELEUTIUM
I' faith, it would be folly, and ignorance, and foolishness, for me to engage in the service of another, or to promise you my assistance, if, in its fabrication, I did not know how to be either mischievous or clever at deceiving.

PERIPLECOMENUS
But, 'tis better for you to be instructed.

ACROTELEUTIUM
Really I don't understand of what great use it is for a Courtesan to be instructed. How now! have I told you all in vain, after my ears had drunk in the draughts1 of your discourse, in what fashion it was possible for the Captain to be cajoled?

PERIPLECOMENUS
But no one, unaided, is sufficiently perfect; for full oft have I seen many a person lose the road to good advice before they had found it.

ACROTELEUTIUM
If a woman has anything to do mischievously and maliciously, in that case her memory is immortal at remembering it for everlasting; but if anything is to be done for a good purpose, or honestly, it will fall out that those same women will become oblivious that instant, and be unable to remember.

PERIPLECOMENUS
Therefore do I fear that same, because both those things happen to be about to be done by us; for that will be a benefit to me in which you both will be acting mischievously towards the Captain.

ACROTELEUTIUM
So long as we do anything that's good, not knowing it, don't you fear. No woman is awkward * * * * * * Have no apprehensions, they are ready for the worst.

PERIPLECOMENUS
So it befits you. Do you follow me.

PALAESTRIO
advancing . Why do I hesitate to go and accost them?

PERIPLECOMENUS
Well met, and opportunely, Palaestrio. See, here they are whom you commissioned me to bring, and in the very dress.

PALAESTRIO
Well done: accept my thanks. I am glad that you have come safe. I' faith, you bring them nicely dressed Palaestrio salutes Acroteleutium.

ACROTELEUTIUM
Prithee, who's this, that calls me so familiarly by name?

PERIPLECOMENUS
This is our master-plotter.

ACROTELEUTIUM
Health to you, master-plotter.

PALAESTRIO
And health to you. But, tell me, has he any way given you full instructions?

PERIPLECOMENUS
I bring them both thoroughly prepared.

PALAESTRIO
I'd like to hear how. I'm afraid lest you should be making some mistake.

PERIPLECOMENUS
I have added to your instructions nothing new of my own.

ACROTELEUTIUM
I suppose you wish the Captain, your master, to be gulled.

PALAESTRIO
You've said what's true.

ACROTELEUTIUM
Cleverly and skilfully, adroitly and pleasantly, the whole thing is planned.

PALAESTRIO
In fact, I wish you to pretend to be his wife. Points to PERIPLECOMENUS.

ACROTELEUTIUM
That shall be done.

PALAESTRIO
To pretend as though you had set your affection on the Captain.

ACROTELEUTIUM
And so it shall be.

PALAESTRIO
And as though this affair is managed through me, as the go-between, and your servant-maid.

ACROTELEUTIUM
You might have made a good prophet; for you tell what is to be.

PALAESTRIO
As though this maid of yours had conveyed from you this ring to me, which I was then to deliver to the Captain, in your name.

ACROTELEUTIUM
You say what's true.

PERIPLECOMENUS
What need is there to mention these things now, which they remember so well?

ACROTELEUTIUM
Still, it is better. For think of this, my patron; when the shipwright is skilful, if he has once laid down the keel exact to its lines, 'tis easy to build the ship, when * * * * Now this keel of ours has been skilfully laid and firmly placed; the workmen and the master-builders are not unskilled in this business. If he who furnishes the timber2 does not retard us in giving what is needed, I know the adroitness of our ingenuity--soon will the ship be got ready.

PALAESTRIO
You know the Captain, my master, then?

ACROTELEUTIUM
'Tis strange you should ask me. How could I not know that scorn of the public, that swaggering, frizzle-headed, perfumed debauchee?

PALAESTRIO
But does he know you?

ACROTELEUTIUM
He never saw me: how, then, should he know who I am?

PALAESTRIO
'Tis most excellent what you say. For that reason, i' faith, the thing will be able to be managed all the more cleverly.

ACROTELEUTIUM
Can you only find me the man, and then be easy as to the rest? If I don't make a fool of the fellow, do you lay all the blame on me.

PALAESTRIO
Well, go you in then; apply yourselves to this business with all your skill.

ACROTELEUTIUM
Trust me for that3.

PALAESTRIO
Come, Periplecomenus, do you conduct them at once in-doors. I'm off to the Forum; I'll meet him, and give him this ring, and will tell him that it has been delivered to me from your wife, and that she is dying for him. As soon as we shall have come from the Forum, do you send her (points to MILPHIDIPPA) to our house as though she were privately sent to him.

PERIPLECOMENUS
We'll do so; trust us for that.

PALAESTRIO
Do you only attend to the business; I'll now polish him off with a pretty burden on his back. (Exit.)

PERIPLECOMENUS
Go, with good luck to you, manage the matter cleverly. To ACROTELEUTIUM. But now, if I shall manage this adroitly, that my guest can this day gain the mistress of the Captain, and carry her off hence to Athens; if, I say, this day we shall succeed in this plan, what shall I give you for a present?

ACROTELEUTIUM
* * * * * If now the lady seconds our efforts on her part, I think it will be right cleverly and adroitly managed. When a comparison shall be made of our artifices, I have no fear that I shall not prove superior in the cleverness of my contrivances.

PERIPLECOMENUS
Let's go in-doors, then, that we may deeply weigh these plans, that carefully and cautiously we may carry out what is to be done, so that, when the Captain comes, there may be no tripping.

ACROTELEUTIUM
You are delaying us with your talk. They go into the house of PERIPLECOMENUS.

1 Drunk in the draughts: "Loream." The true meaning of this word seems to be "a leather bottle." If it is the correct reading, it is here used by Metonymy for the draught which it contains.

2 Who furnishes the timber: Lambinus has thus explained this metaphorical expression. The ship is the contrivance for deceiving the Captain; the keel is the main-plot and foundation of it; Periplecomenus, Acroteleutium, and her servant, are the workmen; Palaestrio is the master-shipwright; while the Captain himself is the "materiarius" or "person that supplies the timber."

3 Trust me for that: "Alia cura;" literally, "take care of something else; meaning, "trust us in the present instance," or, as Thornton expresses it, "never fear us."

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