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Enter SYRUS from the house of CHREMES.
aloud to himself. Run to and fro in every direction; still, money, you must be found: a trap must be laid for the old man. CHREMES
apart, overhearing him. Was I deceived in saying that they were planning this? That servant of Clinia's is somewhat dull; therefore that province has been assigned to this one of ours. SYRUS
in a low voice. Who's that speaking? Catches sight of CGREMES. I'm undone! Did he hear it, I wonder? CHREMES
What are you doing here ? SYRUS
All right. Really, I am quite surprised at you, Chremes, up so early, after drinking so much yesterday. CHREMES
Not too much. SYRUS
Not too much, say you? Really, you've seen the old age of an eagle,1 as the saying is. CHREMES
Pooh, pooh! SYRUS
A pleasant and agreeable woman this Courtesan. CHREMES
Why, so she seemed to me, in fact. SYRUS
And really of handsome appearance. CHREMES
Well enough. SYRUS
Not like those of former days,2 but as times are now, very passable: nor do I in the least wonder that Clinia doats upon her. But he has a father--a certain covetous, miserable, and niggardly person--this neighbor of ours pointing to the house . Do you know him ? Yet, as if he was not abounding in wealth, his son ran away through want. Are you aware that it is the fact, as I am saying ? CHREMES
How should I not be aware? A fellow that deserves the mill. SYRUS
That servant of the young gentleman, I mean. SYRUS
aside. Syrus! I was sadly afraid for you. CHREMES
To suffer it to come to this! SYRUS
What was he to do? CHREMES
Do you ask the question? He ought to have found some expedient, contrived some stratagem, by means of which there might have been something for the young man to give to his mistress, and thus have saved this crabbed old fellow in spite of himself. SYRUS
You are surely joking. CHREMES
This ought to have been done by him, Syrus. SYRUS
How now--pray, do you commend servants, who deceive their masters? CHREMES
Upon occasion--I certainly do commend them. SYRUS
Quite right. CHREMES
Inasmuch as it often is the remedy for great disturbances. Then would this man's only son have staid at home. SYRUS
aside. Whether he says this in jest or in earnest, I don't know; only, in fact, that he gives me additional zest for longing still more to trick him. CHREMES
And what is he now waiting for, Syrus? Is it until his father drives him away from here a second time, when he can no longer support her expenses?3 Has he no plot on foot against the old gentleman? SYRUS
He is a stupid fellow. CHREMES
Then you ought to assist him--for the sake of the young man. SYRUS
For my part, I can do so easily, if you command me; for I know well in what fashion it is usually done. CHREMES
So much the better, i' faith. SYRUS
'Tis not my way to tell an untruth. CHREMES
Do it then. SYRUS
But hark you! Just take care and remember this, in case any thing of this sort should perchance happen at a future time, such are human affairs!--your son might do the same. CHREMES
The necessity will not arise, I trust. SYRUS
I' faith, and I trust so too: nor do I say so now, because I have suspected him in any way; but in case, none the more4----You see what his age is; aside and truly, Chremes,5 if an occasion does happen, I may be able to handle you right handsomely. CHREMES
As to that, we'll consider what is requisite when the occasion does happen. At present do you set about this matter. Goes into his house. SYRUS
to himself. Never on any occasion did I hear my master talk more to the purpose; nor at any time could I believe that I was authorized to play the rogue with greater impunity. I wonder who it is coming out of our house? Stands aside.
1 Old age of an eagle: This was a proverbial expression, signifying a hale and vigorous old age. It has been suggested, too, that it alludes to the practice of some old men, who drink more than they eat. It was vulgarly said that eagles never die of old age, and that when, by reason of their beaks growing inward, they are unable to feed upon their prey, they live by sucking the blood.
2 Not like those of former days: Syrus, by showing himself an admirer of the good old times, a " laudator temporis acti," is wishful to flatter the vanity of Chremes, as it is a feeling common to old age, perhaps by no means an unamiable one, to think former times better than the present. Aged people feel grateful to those happy hours when their hopes were bright, and every thing was viewed from the sunny side of life.
3 Can no longer support her expenses: He refers to Menedemus and Bacchis.
4 But in case, none the more: " Sed si quid, ne quid." An instance of Aposiopesis, signifying "But if any thing does happen, don't you blame me."
5 And truly, Chremes: Some suppose that this is said in apparent candor by Syrus, in order the more readily to throw Chremes off his guard. Other Commentators, again, fancy these words to be said by Syrus in a low voice, aside, which seems not improbable; it being a just retribution on Chremes for his recommendation, however well intended: in that case, Chremes probably overhears it, if we may judge from his answer.
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