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Enter BALLIO from his house.

BALLIO
I do believe that this fellow is not so bad a cook as I thought he was; for he has clawed off nothing as yet except a cup and a tankard.

PSEUDOLUS
apart to SIMMIA . Hallo you! now's your opportunity and your time.

SIMO
I agree with you.

PSEUDOLUS
Step slily out into the street; I'll be here in ambush. SIMMIA steps forward, and then walks along the middle of the street to meet BALLIO.

SIMO
talking aloud to himself . I took the number carefully; this is the sixth lane from the city gate; down that lane he bade me turn; how many houses down he told me, that I don't quite know for certain.

BALLIO
eyeing SIMMIA . Who's this fellow in the scarf, or whence does he come, or whom is he looking for? The appearance of the fellow seems outlandish and shabby.

SIMO
But see, here's a person, who, from uncertainty, will make the thing more certain for me that I wish to know.

BALLIO
He's coming straight towards me. Where in the world am I to say this fellow comes from?

SIMO
Harkye! you who are standing there with a goat's beard, answer me this that I ask you.

BALLIO
How now! Don't you salute me first?

SIMO
with a surly voice . I have no salutations to give away.

BALLIO
Well, troth, you shall get just as much from here then.

PSEUDOLUS
from behind . Well done, at the very beginning.

SIMO
Do you know any person in this lane, I ask you?

BALLIO
I know myself.

SIMO
Few persons do that which you mention; for in the Forum there is hardly every tenth person that knows his own self.

PSEUDOLUS
from behind . I'm all right; he is philosophizing now.

SIMO
I'm looking for a fellow here, a bad one, a law breaker, an impious, perjured, and dishonest rogue.

BALLIO
aside . He's looking for me, for those are my titles If he would only mention the name. To SIMMIA. What's the name of this person?

SIMO
Ballio, the procurer.

BALLIO
Do I know him? I am the very person, young man, that you are looking for.

SIMO
What, are you Ballio?

BALLIO
I really am he.

SIMO
How you are clothed, a housebreaker * * * * * * * * * * He takes hold of BALLIO'S cloak.

BALLIO
I think if you were to see me in the dark, you'd be keeping your hand off.

SIMO
My master bade me present you many greetings. Receive this letter from me; he bade me give you it.

BALLIO
Who's the person that bade you?

PSEUDOLUS
from behind . I'm undone, now the fellow's in the middle of the mud. He doesn't know the name--this business is at a dead lock.

BALLIO
Who do you say sent me this?

SIMO
Observe the seal; do you yourself tell me his name, that I may know that you are Ballio himself.

BALLIO
Give me the letter.

SIMO
Take it, and look at the seal. Gives him the letter.

BALLIO
looking at it . Oho! 'Tis nothing more nor less than Polymachæroplagides1, his own very self; I recognize it. Hallo you, Polymachæroplagides is his name!

SIMO
I know now that I have rightly given you the letter, since you have mentioned the name of Polymachæroplagides,

BALLIO
How fares he?

SIMO
By my troth, just as a brave man and a good soldier should. But make haste, I beg, to read this letter through, for it is requisite to do so, and to take this money at once and send out the damsel. For it's necessary for me this day to be at Sicyon2, or else to suffer death to-morrow; so peremptory is my master.

BALLIO
I know it: you are telling those who know it already.

SIMO
Make haste then to read the letter through.

BALLIO
I'll do so, if you'll only hold your tongue. He reads the letter. "The Captain Polymachæroplagides sends this letter, written to the procurer Ballio, sealed with the impression which was formerly agreed upon between us two."

SIMO
The token's in the letter

BALLIO
I see the token and I recognize it. But is he in the habit of sending no greeting written in his letter?

SIMO
Such is the military etiquette, Ballio; with their hand they send health to their well-wishers, and with the same do they send destruction to their evil-wishers. But as you have commenced, go on to ascertain of yourself what this letter says.

BALLIO
Listen then. Reading on. "Harpax is my camp-servant, who has come to you." Are you this Harpax?

SIMO
I am, and the real Harpax too3.

BALLIO
reading on . "Who brings this letter; I wish the money to be received from him, and the woman to be sent together with him. 'Tis becoming to send greeting to the worthy; had I deemed you worthy, I should have sent it to you."

SIMO
What then?

BALLIO
Pay me the money, take away the woman.

SIMO
Which of us is delaying the matter?

BALLIO
Follow me in-doors then.

SIMO
I'm following. They go into BALLIO'S house.

1 Polymachæroplagides: This high-sounding name is compounded of three Greek words, and signifies "the son of many blows with the sword," or something akin to it.

2 To be at Sicyon: This was a very ancient city of the Peloponnesus on the Gulf of Corinth.

3 The real Harpax too: He lays a stress on the name, to catch a laugh from the audience by implying that he is a regular Harpax or "plunderer," both in name and reality.

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