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Enter CHRYSALUS, at a distance.
to himself . It's right this man pointing to himself should be worth his weight1 in gold: it's fair that a statue of gold should be erected for him. For, this day, two exploits have I achieved; with twofold spoils have I been graced. So cleverly have I gulled my elder master this day, that he has been made a fool of. The crafty old blade, by my crafty tricks, have I compelled and constrained to believe me in everything. Then, for the son of the old gentleman, my master here in love, together with whom I drink, with whom I eat and go a-courting, I have procured regal and golden trea sures, that he may take from thence at home, and not go seeking abroad. Those Parmenos2 and those Syruses, please me not, who filch some two or three minae from their masters. There's nothing more worthless than a servant without skill--worthless, if he has not a breast mightily well-stocked, so that, whenever there is necessity, he may draw his supply from his own breast. No one can be a person well to do ... unless he understands both how to do good and how to do evil. With rogues he must be a rogue; with thieves let him filch whatever he can. It befits him who is truly wise, to be a person that can shift his very skin3. Good with the good let him be, bad with the bad: just as things are, so let him ever frame his humour. But I should like to know how much gold my master has taken for himself, and what he has given up to his father. If he is a prudent person, he has made a Hercules4 of his parent: he has given him the tenth part, and has kept back nine for himself. But, see! the person whom I was looking for; he meets me most opportunely. To MNESILOCHUS. Has any of your money fallen down, my master, that thus, in silence, you are looking down upon the ground? Why do I see you two sad and sorrowful? I like it not; and 'tis not without some reason. Are you going now to give me any answer? MNESILOCHUS
I'm undone, Chrysalus. CHRYSALUS
Perhaps you took too little of the gold. MNESILOCHUS
How, a plague, too little? Why, yes, indeed, a very great deal less than too little. CHRYSALUS
Why the mischief then, simpleton, since by my skill an opportunity was procured for that very purpose, that you might take as much as you pleased, did you thus take it up with the tips of two fingers5? Or, didn't you know how rarely an opportunity of that kind presents itself to a person? MNESILOCHUS
You are mistaken. CHRYSALUS
Why, surely, 'tis you yourself that were mistaken, when you dip't your fingers in not deep enough. MNESILOCHUS
I' faith, you'd upbraid me more than now you do, if you knew the matter better. I'm undone. CHRYSALUS
My mind is now foreboding further mischief from those words. MNESILOCHUS
I'm ruined. CHRYSALUS
How so? MNESILOCHUS
Because I've given all up to my father, with every particle6 of it. CHRYSALUS
Given it up? MNESILOCHUS
Given it up. CHRYSALUS
What, all? MNESILOCHUS
Every jot. CHRYSALUS
We are done for. How came it into your mind to do this deed so foul? MNESILOCHUS
I had a suspicion, Chrysalus, by reason of a charge, that Bacchis and he (pointing to PISTOCLERUS) had been playing me false; for that reason, in my anger, I gave up all the gold to my father. CHRYSALUS
What did you say to your father when you gave up the gold? MNESILOCHUS
That I had at once received this gold from his host, Archidemides. CHRYSALUS
Eh! by that speech you have this day consigned Chrysalus to the torture; for, when he shall set eyes on me, the old gentleman will carry me off that instant to the executioner. MNESILOCHUS
I've besought my father. CERYS.
I suppose, to do, in fact, the thing that I was speaking of? MNESILOCHUS
Nay, not to punish you, or to blame you at all on account of this business. And with some difficulty I've prevailed. Now, Chrysalus, this must be your care. CHRYSALUS
What do you wish should be my care? MNESILOCHUS
That once again you should make a second inroad upon the old gentleman. Contrive, devise, invent whatever you please; frame your plans7, so that this day you may cleverly deceive the old man unawares, and carry off the gold. CHRYSALUS
It scarcely seems possible to be done. MNESILOCHUS
Set about it, and you'll easily effect it. CHRYSALUS
How the plague "easily," for me, whom he has this moment caught out in a lie? Should I entreat him not to believe me at all, he would not venture even to believe me in that. MNESILOCHUS
Aye, and if you were to hear what things he said about you in my presence. CHRYSALUS
What did he say? MNESILOCHUS
That if you were to say that this sun was the sun, he would believe it was the moon, and that that is the night which is now the day. CHRYSALUS
By my troth, I'll bamboozle the old chap right well this very day, so that he shan't have said that for nothing. PISTOCLERUS
Now, what would you have us do? CHRYSALUS
Why, nothing, except that I beg you'll still love on. As for the rest, ask of me as much gold as you please; I'll find it you. Of what use is it for me to have the name of Chrysalus8, unless I give proofs by fact? But now, tell me, Mnesilochus, how much gold is requisite for you. MNESILOCHUS
There's occasion for two hundred pieces at once, to pay the Captain for Bacchis. CHRYSALUS
I'll find it you. MNESILOCHUS
Then we have need of some for current expenses. CHRYSALUS
Aye, aye, I wish us to do each thing deliberately; when I've accomplished the one, then I'll set about the other. First, for the two hundred pieces, I shall direct my engine of war against the old gentleman. If with that engine I batter down the tower and the outworks, straight at the gate that instant I'll attack the old town and the new one; if I take it, then carry to your friends the gold in baskets, just as your heart wishes. PISTOCLERUS
Our hearts are with you, Chrysalus. CHRYSALUS
Now, do you go in-doors to Bacchis, Pistoclerus, and quickly bring out-- PISTOCLERUS
A pen, some wax9, tablets, and some cord. PISTOCLERUS
I'll have them here this instant. Goes into the house. MNESILOCHUS
What now are you about to do? Do tell me that. CHRYSALUS
Let a breakfast be prepared; there will be you two, and your mistress will make a third with you. MNESILOCHUS
Just as you say. CHRYSALUS
Pistoclerus has no mistress? MNESILOCHUS
O yes, she's here; he's in love with the one sister, I with the other, both of the name of Bacchis. CHRYSALUS
What were you going to say? MNES. This; how we are to manage10. CHRYSALUS
Where are your couches11 laid out? MNESILOCHUS
Why o you ask that? CHRYSALUS
So the matter stands; I wish to be informed. You know not what I am about to do, nor what a great exploit I shall attempt. MINES.
Give me your hand, and follow me close, to the door. Peep in. CHRYSALUS looks in at the door of the house of BACCHIS. CHRYSALUS
Hurra! 'Tis a very pretty place, this, and exactly as I could wish it to be. Re-enter PISTOCLERUS, with pen and tablets. PISTOCLERUS
The things that you ordered--what's ordered for a good purpose is forthwith done by the obedient. CHRYSALUS
What have you brought? PISTOCLERUS
Everything that you bade me bring. CHRYSALUS
to MNESILOCHUS . Do you take the pen at once, and these tablets. MNESILOCHUS
taking them . What then? CHRYS. Write there what I shall bid you; for I wish you to write for this reason, that your father may know the hand when he reads it. Write now. MNESILOCHUS
What shall I write? CHRYSALUS
Health to your father, in your own language. MNESILOCHUS writes. PISTOCLERUS
Suppose he were to write "disease and death," in preference, that would be much better. CHRYSALUS
Don't you interrupt us. MNESILOCHUS
What you have ordered is now written on the wax. CHRYSALUS
Tell me in what terms. MNESILOCHUS
"Mnesilochus sends health to his father." CHRYSALUS
Write this, too, quickly: "My father, Chrysalus is always and everywhere talking at me, and in no measured terms, because I gave you up the gold, and because I did not cheat you of it." MNESILOCHUS writes. PISTOCLERUS
Stop till he has written it. CHRYSALUS
It befits the hand of a lover to be active. PISTOCLERUS
I' faith, that hand is more active by far at lavishing than at writing. MNESILOCHUS
Say on; that's written down. CHRYSALUS
"Now, my dear father, do you henceforth be on your guard against him, for he is forming knavish plans to deprive you of the gold, and has declared that he will have it beyond a doubt." Write legibly. MINE.
You only dictate. Writes. CHRYS. "And he promises that he will give this gold to me, for me to give away to naughty women, and to consume it and live like a Greek12 in dens of infamy. But, father, do you take care that he does not impose on you this day; I entreat you, do beware." MNESILOCHUS
Only say on. CHRYSALUS
Just write on, then. MNESILOCHUS
Only say what I am to write CHRYSALUS
MNESILOCHUS writing . "But, father, what you promised me I beg that you will remember, that you will not beat him, but keep him in chains at your house at home." Do you give me the wax and cord forthwith. Come, fasten it, and seal it in an instant. MNESILOCHUS
sealing the tablets . Prithee, what use is there in this writing after such a fashion, that he is to give no credence to you, and to keep you in chains at home? CHRYSALUS
Because it pleases me so. Can't you possibly take care of your own self, and have no thought about me? In confidence in myself I undertook the task, and at my own peril do I carry on the matter. MNESILOCHUS
You say what's true. CHRYSALUS
Give me the tablets. MNESILOCHUS
giving them . Take them. CHRYSALUS
Give attention now; Mnesilochus, and you, Pistoclerus, do you take care that each of you goes at once and reclines on his couch with his mistress; so 'tis requisite; and on that same spot where the couches are now laid, do you forthwith commence to carouse. PISTOCLERUS
Anything else? CHRYSALUS
This, and this especially: when you shall have once taken your places together, don't you arise anyhow, until the signal shall be given by me. PISTOCLERUS
O skilful commander! CHRYSALUS
You ought by this time to have taken your second draught. MNESILOCHUS
Capital; let's go. CHRYSALUS
Do you take care of your duty, and I'll do mine. MNESILOCHUS and PISTOCLERUS go into the house.
2 Those Parmenos: Syrus and Parmeno were the names of certain crafty intriguing slaves introduced in Comedy. The first occurs as the name of a slave in the Adelphi of Terence; the second in his Eunuchus.
4 Has made a Hercules: A tenth part of the spoil taken in warfare was devoted to Hercules; and it was believed to ensure prosperity, if persons devoted a tenth of their possessions to the same Divinity
5 Two fingers: He says that when he had the opportunity of gathering up the money by handfuls, he contented himself with taking it only with the tips of his fingers, that is, piece by piece; some would take "digiti duo primores" to mean "the two first fingers of the hand;" that is, the forefinger and thumb. The meaning, either way, will be just the same.
9 Some wax: This wax was to be used--not to be placed on the surface of the tablets, but in the manner of our sealing-wax, upon the strings with which the tablets were fastened.
10 Are to manage: Mnesilochus is probably going to ask how they are about to arrange, when he is interrupted by Chrysalus, who then asks him what he was going to say, on which he answers that he was going to observe how many there would be at the entertainment.
11 Your couches: "Biclinium" is supposed to mean either a snug room fitted up with only two "lecti," or couches for reclining at meals, or else, perhaps with more probability, a couch formed for holding two guests, instead of three, as the common "triclinium" did. It is not unlikely that the use of these was especially adopted in houses of the character of that kept by Bacchis.
12 Live like a Greek: It has been before remarked, that the Greek mode of free living had passed into a proverb with the Romans, among whom a person of a licentious mode of life was said "congraecare," "to live like a Greek." Plautus forgets that the scene is at Athens.
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