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Enter a BANKER, at the end of the stage.

A BANKER.
to himself . I never knew any year worse for money upon interest, than this year has turned out to me. From morning even until night, I spend my time in the Forum; I cannot lend out a coin of silver to any one. Enter TRANIO.

TRANIO
apart . Now, faith, I am clearly undone in an everlasting way! The Banker's here who found the money with which his mistress was bought. The matter's all out, unless I meet him a bit beforehand, so that the old man may not at present come to know of this. I'll go meet him. But seeing THEUROPIDES I wonder why he has so soon betaken himself homeward again. I'm afraid that he has heard something about this affair. I'll meet him, and accost him. But how dreadfully frightened I am! Nothing is more wretched than the mind of a man with a guilty conscience, such as possesses myself. But however this matter turns out, I'll proceed to perplex it still further: so does this affair require. THEUROPIDES.

TRANIO
accosting him . Whence come you?

THEUROPIDES
I met that person from whom I bought this house.

TRANIO
Did you tell him anything about that which I was telling you?

THEUROPIDES
I' faith, I certainly told him everything.

TRANIO
aside . Woe to unfortunate me! I'm afraid that my schemes are everlastingly undone!

THEUROPIDES
What is it you are saying to yourself?

TRANIO
Why nothing. But tell me, prithee, did you really tell him?

THEUROPIDES
I told him everything in its order, I tell you.

TRANIO
Does he, then, confess about the guest?

THEUROPIDES
Why no; he utterly denies it.

TRANIO
Does he deny it?

THEUROPIDES
Do you ask me again? I should tell you if he had confessed it. What now are you of opinion ought to be done?

TRANIO
What is my opinion? By my troth, I beg of you, appoint an arbitrator together with him; but take you care that you appoint one who will believe me; you'll overcome him as easily as a fox eats a pear1.

A BANKER.
to himself . But see, here's Tranio, the servant of Philolaches, people who pay me neither interest nor principal on my money. Goes towards TRANIO, who steps forward to meet him.

THEUROPIDES
to TRANIO . Whither are you betaking yourself?

TRANIO
I'm going no whither. Aside. For sure, I am a wretch, a rascal, one born with all the Gods my foes! He'll now be accosting me in the old man's presence. Assuredly, I am a wretched man; in such a fashion both this way and that do they find business for me. But I'll make haste and accost him. Moves towards the BANKER.

A BANKER.
apart . He's coming towards me. I'm all right I've some hopes of my money; he's smiling.

TRANIO
to himself . The fellow's deceived. To the BANKER. I heartily bid you hail, my friend Saturides2.

A BANKER.
And hail to you. What about the money?

TRANIO
Be off with you, will you, you brute. Directly you come, you commence the attack3 against me.

A BANKER.
apart . This fellow's empty-handed.

TRANIO
overhearing him . This fellow's surely a conjurer.

A BANKER.
But why don't you put an end to this trifling?

TRANIO
Tell me, then, what it is you want.

A BANKER.
Where is Philolaches?

TRANIO
You never could have met me more opportunely than you have met me.

A BANKER.
How's that?

TRANIO
taking him aside . Step this way.

A BANKER.
aloud . Why isn't the money repaid me?

TRANIO
I know that you have a good voice; don't bawl out so loud.

A BANKER.
aloud . I' faith, I certainly shall bawl out.

TRANIO
O do humour me now.

A BANKER.
What do you want me to humour you in?

TRANIO
Prithee, be off hence home.

A BANKER.
Be off?

TRANIO
Return here about mid-day.

A BANKER.
Will the interest be paid then?

TRANIO
It will be paid. Be off.

A BANKER.
Why should I run to and fro here, or use or waste my pains? What if I remain here until mid-day in preference?

TRANIO
Why no; be off home. On my word, I'm telling the truth. Only do be off.

A BANKER.
aloud . Then do you pay me my interest. Why do you trifle with me this way?

TRANIO
Bravo! faith. Really now, do be off; do attend to me.

A BANKER.
aloud . I' faith, I'll call him now by name.

TRANIO
Bravo! stoutly done! Really you are quite rich now when you bawl out.

A BANKER.
aloud . I'm asking for my own. In this way you've been disappointing me for these many days past. If I'm troublesome, give me back the money; I'll go away then. That expression4 puts an end to all replies.

TRANIO
pretending to offer it him . Then, take the principal5.

A BANKER.
aloud . Why no, the interest; I want that first.

TRANIO
What? Have you, you fellow most foul of all fellows, come here to burst yourself? Do what lies in your power. He's not going to pay you; he doesn't owe it.

A BANKER.
Not owe it?

TRANIO
Not a tittle, indeed, can you get from here. Would you prefer for him to go abroad, and leave the city in exile, driven hence for your sake? Why then, in preference let him pay the6 principal.

A BANKER.
But I don't ask for it.

THEUROPIDES
calling out to TRANIO, from a distance . Hark you! you whip-knave, come back to me.

TRANIO
to THEUROPIDES . I'll be there just now. To the BANKER. Don't you be troublesome: no one's going to pay you; do what you please. You are the only person, I suppose, that lends money upon interest. Moves towards THEUROPIDES.

A BANKER.
bawling aloud . Give me my interest! pay me my interest! you pay my interest! Are you going to give me my interest this instant? Give me my interest!

TRANIO
Interest here, interest there! The old rogue knows how to talk about nothing but interest. I do not think that ever I saw any beast more vile than you.

A BANKER.
Upon my faith, you don't alarm me now with those expressions. This is of a hot nature; although it is at a distance off, it scorches badly7.

TRANIO
Don't you be troublesome; no one's going to pay you; do what you please. You are the only person, I suppose, that lends money upon interest.

THEUROPIDES
to TRANIO . Pray, what interest is this that he is asking for?

TRANIO
in a low voice, to the BANKER . Look now; his father has arrived from abroad, not long since; he'll pay you both interest and principal; don't you then attempt any further to make us your enemies. See whether he puts you off.

A BANKER.
Nay but, I'll take it, if anything's offered.

THEUROPIDES
to TRANIO, coming towards him . What do you say, then----?

TRANIO
What is it you mean?

THEUROPIDES
Who is this? What is he asking for? Why is he thus rudely speaking of my son Philolaches in this way, and giving you abuse to your face? What's owing him?

TRANIO
to THEUROPIDES . I beg of you, do order the money to be thrown in the face of this dirty brute.

THEUROPIDES
I, order it?

TRANIO
Order the fellow's face to be pelted with money.

A BANKER.
coming nearer . I could very well put up with a pelting with money.

THEUROPIDES
to TRANIO . What money's this?

TRANIO
Philolaches owes this person a little.

THEUROPIDES
How much?

TRANIO
About forty minæ.

A BANKER.
to THEUROPIDES . Really, don't think much of that; it's a trifle, in fact.

TRANIO
Don't you hear him? Troth now, prithee, doesn't he seem just suited to be a Banker--a generation that's most roguish?

THEUROPIDES
I don't care, just now, for that, who he is or whence he is; this I want to be told me, this I very much wish to know--I heard from him that there was interest owing on the money as well.

TRANIO
Forty-four minæ are due to him. Say that you'll pay it, that he may be off.

THEUROPIDES
I, say that I'll pay it?

TRANIO
Do say so.

THEUROPIDES
What, I?

TRANIO
You yourself. Do only say so. Do be guided by me. Do promise. Come now, I say; I beg of you.

THEUROPIDES
Answer me; what has been done with this money?

TRANIO
It's safe.

THEUROPIDES
Pay it yourselves then, if it's safe,

TRANIO
Your son has bought a house.

THEUROPIDES
A house?

TRANIO
A house.

THEUROPIDES
Bravo! Philolaches is taking after his father! The fellow now turns to merchandize. A house, say you?

TRANIO
A house, I tell you. But do you know of what sort?

THEUROPIDES
How can I know?

TRANIO
Out with you!

THEUROPIDES
What's the matter?

TRANIO
Don't ask me that.

THEUROPIDES
But why so?

TRANIO
Bright as a mirror, pure brilliancy itself.

THEUROPIDES
Excellently done, upon my faith! Well, how much did he agree to give for it?

TRANIO
As many great talents as you and I put together make; but these forty minæ he paid by way of earnest. Pointing to the BANKER. From him he received what we paid the other man. Do you quite understand8? For after this house was in such a state as I mentioned to you, he at once purchased another house for himself.

THEUROPIDES
Excellently done, upon my faith!

A BANKER.
touching TRANIO . Hark you. Mid-day is now close at hand.

TRANIO
Prithee, do dismiss this puking fellow, that he mayn't worry us to death. Forty-four minæ are due to him, both principal and interest.

A BANKER.
'Tis just that much; I ask for nothing more.

TRANIO
Upon my faith, I really could have wished that you had asked more, if only by a single coin.

THEUROPIDES
to the BANKER . Young man, transact the business with me.

A BANKER.
I'm to ask it of you, you mean?

THEUROPIDES
Come for it to-morrow.

A BANKER.
I'll be off, then; I'm quite satisfied if I get it tomorrow. (Exit.)

TRANIO
aside . A plague may all the Gods and Goddesses send upon him! so utterly has he disarranged my plans. On my word, no class of men is there more disgusting, or less acquainted with fair dealing than the banking race.

THEUROPIDES
In what neighbourhood did my son buy this house?

TRANIO
aside . Just see that, now! I'm undone!

THEUROPIDES
Are you going to tell me that which I ask you?

TRANIO
I'll tell you; but I'm thinking what was the name of the owner. Pretends to think.

THEUROPIDES
Well, call it to mind, then.

TRANIO
aside . What am I to do now, except put the lie upon this neighbour of ours next door? I'll say that his son has bought that house. I' faith, I've heard say that a lie piping-hot is the best lie; this is piping-hot; although it is at a distance off, it scorches badly. Whatever the Gods dictate, that am I determined to say.

THEUROPIDES
Well now? Have you recollected it by this?

TRANIO
aside . May the Gods confound that fellow!--no this other fellow, rather. To THEUROPIDES. Your son has bought the house of this next-door neighbour of yours.

THEUROPIDES
In real truth?

TRANIO
If, indeed, you are going to pay down the money, then in real truth; if you are not going to pay it, in real truth he has not bought it.

THEUROPIDES
He hasn't bought it in a very good situation.

TRANIO
Why yes, in a very good one.

THEUROPIDES
I' faith, I should like to look over this house; just knock at the door, and call some one to you from within, Tranio.

TRANIO
aside . Why just look now, again I don't know what I'm to say. Once more, now, are the surges bearing me upon the self-same rock. What now? I' faith, I can't discover what I am now to do; I'm caught in the fact.

THEUROPIDES
Just call some one out of doors; ask him to show us round.

TRANIO
going to the door of SIMO'S house . Hallo there, you! Turning round But there are ladies here; we must first see whether they are willing or unwilling.

THEUROPIDES
You say what's good and proper; just make enquiry, and ask. I'll wait here outside until you come out.

TRANIO
aside . May all the Gods and Goddesses utterly confound you, old gentleman! in such a fashion are you thwarting my artful plans in every way. Bravo! very good! Look, Simo himself, the owner of the house, is coming out of doors. I'll step aside here, until I have convened the senate of council in my mind. Then, when I've discovered what I am to do, I'll join him. THEUROPIDES and TRANIO stand at a distance from SIMO'S house, in opposite directions, THEUROPIDES being out of sight.

1 As a fox eats a pear: This may either mean, very easily indeed, or not at all. It is not clear that a fox will eat a pear; but if he does, his teeth will go through it with the greatest ease. Not improbably, Tranio uses the expression for its ambiguity.

2 Friend Saturides: A nickname coined by the author, from "satur," "brimful," of money, probably.

3 Commence the attack: "Pilum injecisti." Literally, "you have thrown the dart." " To throw the dart" was a common expression, signifying "to make the first attack;" as the darts were thrown before recourse was had

4 That expression: By "hoc verbum" he probably alludes to the expression, "reddite argentum, "down with the money."

5 Take the principal: He finds he must say something, so he says this, although he has no money with him. He knows, however, that the usurer will first insist on the interest being paid, because if he takes the principal, it will be a legal waver of his right to claim the interest.

6 Let him pay the: "Quin sortem potius dare licet?" is the reading here, in Weise's Edition; but the line seems hopelessly incorrect.

7 It scorches badly: This line is given by Gruter to Theuropides, by Acidalius to Tranio, and by Lambinus to the Banker. The latter seems the most appropriate owner of it; and he probably alludes, aside, to the effects of his pressing in a loud voice for the money. Tranio is introduced as using the same expression, in l. 650; but there can be no doubt that the line, as there inserted, is spurious.

8 Do you quite understand: Warner suggests, that by using this expression before the Banker, he intends to make a secret of the house being haunted, and that he keeps up the mystery in the succeeding line.

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