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Enter THEUROPIDES, followed by ATTENDANTS.

THEUROPIDES
to himself . Neptune, I do return extreme thanks to thee that thou hast just dismissed me from thee, though scarce alive. But if, from this time forward, thou shalt only know that I have stirred a foot upon the main, there is no reason why, that instant, thou shouldst not do with me that which thou hast now wished to do. Away with you, away with you from me henceforth for ever after to-day; what I was to entrust to thee, all of it have I now entrusted. overhearing him.

TRANIO
apart . By my troth, Neptune, you've been much to blame, to have lost this opportunity so fair.

THEUROPIDES
After three years, I've arrived home from Ægypt. I shall come a welcome guest to my household, I suppose.

TRANIO
apart . Upon my faith, he might have come a much more welcome one, who had brought the tidings you were dead.

THEUROPIDES
looking at the door . But what means this? Is the door shut in the daytime? I'll knock. Knocks at the door. Hallo, there! is any one going to open this door for me?

TRANIO
coming forward, and speakcing aloud . What person is it that has come so near to our house?

THEUROPIDES
Surely this is my servant Tranio.

TRANIO
O Theuropides, my master, welcome; I'm glad that you've arrived in safety.

HAVE
you been well all along?

THEUROPIDES
All along, as you see.

TRANIO
That's very good.

THEUROPIDES
What about yourselves? Are you all mad?

TRANIO
Why so?

THEUROPIDES
For this reason; because you are walking about outside; not a born person is keeping watch in the house, either to open or to give an answer. With kicking with my feet I've almost broken in the pannels?

TRANIO
How now? Have you been touching this house?

THEUROPIDES
Why shouldn't I touch it? Why, with kicking it, I tell you, I've almost broken down the door.

TRANIO
What, you touched it?

THEUROPIDES
I touched it, I tell you, and knocked at it.

TRANIO
Out upon you!

THEUROPIDES
Why so?

TRANIO
By heavens! 'twas ill done.

THEUROPIDES
What is the matter?

TRANIO
It cannot be expressed, how shocking and dreadful a mischief you've been guilty of.

THEUROPIDES
How so?

TRANIO
Take to flight, I beseech you, and get away from the house. Fly in this direction, fly closer to me. He runs to wards TRANIO. What, did you touch the door?

THEUROPIDES
How could I knock, if I didn't touch it?

TRANIO
By all that's holy, you've been the death----

THEUROPIDES
Of what person?

TRANIO
Of all your family.

THEUROPIDES
May the Gods and Goddesses confound you with that omen.

TRANIO
I'm afraid that you can't make satisfaction for yourself and them.

THEUROPIDES
For what reason, or what new affair is this that you thus suddenly bring me news of?

TRANIO
And whispering hark you, prithee, do bid those people to move away from here. Pointing to the ATTENDANTS of THEUROPIDES.

THEUROPIDES
to the ATTENDANTS . Move away from here.

TRANIO
Don't you touch the house. Touch you the ground1 as well. (Exeunt the ATTENDANTS.)

THEUROPIDES
I' faith, prithee, do speak out now.

TRANIO
Because it is now seven months that not a person has set foot within this house, and since we once for all left it.

THEE.
Tell me, why so?

TRANIO
Just look around, whether there's any person to overhear our discourse.

THEUROPIDES
looking around . All's quite safe.

TRANIO
Look around once more.

THEUROPIDES
looking around . There's nobody; now then, speak out. TRA. in a loud whisper . The house has been guilty of a capital offence2.

THEUROPIDES
I don't understand you.

TRANIO
A crime, I tell you, has been committed there, a long while ago, one of olden time and ancient date.

THEUROPIDES
Of ancient date?

TRANIO
'Tis but recently, in fact, that we've discovered this deed.

THEUROPIDES
What is this crime, or who committed it? Tell me.

TRANIO
A host slew his guest, seized with his hand; he, I fancy, who sold you the house.

THEUROPIDES
Slew him?

TRANIO
And robbed this guest of his gold, and buried this guest there in the house, on the spot.

THEUROPIDES
For what reason do you suspect that this took place?

TRANIO
I'll tell you; listen. One day, when your son had dined away from home, after he returned home from dining; we all went to bed, and fell asleep. By accident, I had forgotten to put out my lamp; and he, all of a sudden, called out aloud----

THEUROPIDES
What person? My son?

TRANIO
Hist! hold your peace: just listen. He said that a dead man came to him in his sleep----

THEUROPIDES
In his dreams, then, you mean?

TRANIO
Just so. But only listen. He said that he had met with his death by these means----

THEUROPIDES
What, in his sleep?

TRANIO
It would have been surprising if he had told him awake, who had been murdered sixty years ago. On some occasions you are absurdly simple. But look, what he said: "I am the guest of Diapontius, from beyond the seas; here do I dwell; this has been assigned me as my abode; for Orcus would not receive me in Acheron, because prematurely I lost my life. Through confiding was I deceived: my entertainer slew me here, and that villain secretly laid me in the ground without funereal rites, in this house, on the spot, for the sake of gold. Now do you depart from here; this house is accursed, this dwelling is defiled." The wonders that here take place, hardly in a year could I recount them. Hush, hush! He starts.

THEUROPIDES
Troth now, what has happened, prithee?

TRANIO
The door made a noise. Was it he that was knocking?

THEUROPIDES
turning pale . I have not one drop of blood! Dead men are come to fetch me to Acheron, while alive!

TRANIO
aside . I'm undone! those people there will mar my plot. A noise is heard from within. How much I dread, lest he should catch me in the fact.

THEUROPIDES
What are you talking about to yourself? Goes near the door.

TRANIO
Do get away from the door. By heavens, fly, I do beseech you.

THEUROPIDES
Fly where? Fly yourself, as well.

TRANIO
I am not afraid: I am at peace with the dead.

A VOICE
from within . Hallo! Tranio3.

TRANIO
in a low voice, near the door . You won't be calling me, if you are wise. Aloud, as if speaking to the APPARITION. 'Tis not I that's guilty; I did not knock at the door.

THEUROPIDES
Pray, what is it that's wrong? What matter is agitating you, Tranio? To whom are you saying these things?

TRANIO
Prithee, was it you that called me? So may the Gods bless me, I fancied it was this dead man expostulating because you had knocked at the door. But are you still standing there, and not doing what I advise you?

THEUROPIDES
What am I to do?

TRANIO
Take care not to look back. Fly; cover up your head!

THEUROPIDES
Why don't you fly?

TRANIO
I am at peace with the dead.

THEUROPIDES
I recollect. Why then were you so dreadfully alarmed just now?

TRANIO
Have no care for me, I tell you; I'll see to myself. You, as you have begun to do, fly as quick as ever you can; Hercules, too4, you will invoke.

THEUROPIDES
Hercules, I do invoke thee! Runs off.

TRANIO
to himself. And I, as well, old fellow, that; this day he'll send some heavy mishap upon you. O ye immortal Gods, I do implore your aid. Plague on it! what a mess I have got into to-day. (Exit.)

1 Touch you the ground: The ancients were in the habit of reverentially touching the earth, when engaged in any affairs that related to the dead or the infernal Deities.

2 Guilty of a capital offence: 'Capitalis ædes facta eat;" meaning that a murder had been committed in it.

3 Hallo! Tranio: Weise's Edition gives these words to Theuropides, Rost, no doubt rightly, suggests that these words are spoken by Philolaches from inside (perhaps in a low voice, to ask Tranio how matters are going on). On this, Tranio turns it to good account, by pretending that the Ghost is calling out to him for his supposed impiety in daring to knock at the door.

4 Hercules, too: Hercules having slain so many monsters, was naturally regarded as a Deity likely to give aid in extreme danger.

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