LYCO: I seem to be prospering. Ive done a bit of reckoning, figuring up my assets and liabilities. Its a plutocrat I amif I dont pay my creditors. (reflecting) Really though, by gad, on giving the question some pretty thought, if they press me too hard, Ill just let the court do the settling. The man thats made money quickly must economize quickly, or hell quickly go hungry. Im anxious to buy a slaveI mean to say, I must get one I can have the use of; Ive got use for my money.
ENTER Curculio AND A SLAVE INTO THE DOORWAY OF Phaedromuss HOUSE
CURCULIO: (to Phaedromus within) None of your advice for me when my stomach is full! I remember, I know. I am the man to do the job for you handsomely. Not a word! (coming forward) Oh Jupiter! the gorgeous way I did fill up in there! Yes, but I left one compartment of my belly empty as a storeroom for whats left of the leavings. (seeing Lyco) Whos this chap with his head covered doing homage to Aesculapius? ha! the very man I was looking for! (to slave) Come along. (aside) Ill act as if I didnt know him. (loudly to Lyco) Hullo, you! I want you!
LYCO: (leisurely) Greetings, One-Orb.
CURCULIO: (with hauteur) Sir, Sir, are you scoffing at me?
LYCO: I take it you come of the stock of the Coclites; theyre a one-orbed lot, you know.
CURCULIO: Twas struck by a shot from a catapult in Sicyon.
LYCO: Oh well, little I care whether it was shot out, or knocked out when a pot of cinders was cracked on your head.
CURCULIO: (aside) My word! The mans a clairvoyant! It happened just as he saysfor catapeltic shots of that variety are for ever coming my way (aloud, with dignity) Young man, I won the honourable wound beneath this bandage in defence of my country and, I beg you, do not outrage me in public.
LYCO: How about outraging you in private, if not in public?
CURCULIO: No sir, not me! No such privacy for me, or publicity, either, certainly not. But if you can show me where to find the man I am looking for, you shall get a good substantialthankye. I am looking for Lyco, the banker.
LYCO: (on his guard) Why dye look for him now, tell me that? Where are you from?
CURCULIO: I will inform you. I come from Captain Therapontigonus Smackahead.
LYCO: (aside) Gad! I know that name. I filled four whole pages of my ledger writing it down. (aloud) But why dye look for Lyco ?
CURCULIO: I have received instructions to carry this letter to him. (showing it)
LYCO: And who may you be ?
CURCULIO: The Captains freedmanI am generally called Summanus.
LYCO: (mockingly) Greetings, Summanus! Why thatname? Inform me.
CURCULIO: Well, when I have gone to bed drunk, accidents occur to my clothes; so they call me Summanus.
LYCO: You had better look for entertainment elsewhere; theres no place for Summanus at my house, thats sure. However, I am the man you-re looking for.
CURCULIO: You? Really? You are banker Lyco?
LYCO: I am.
CURCULIO: Therapontigonus told me to convey his cordial greetings to you and to give you this letter.
CURCULIO: Exactly. (hands over letter) Here! Look at the seal. You recognize it?
LYCO: (looking) Why shouldnt I? (chuckling over seal) A bucklered warrior cleaving an elephant in twain with his blade.
CURCULIO: He instructed me to beg you to do what is written there without fail, if you wished to oblige him.
LYCO: Step back. Ill see what is written here.
CURCULIO: (retiring) Very well, suit yourselfprovided I get from you what I am after.
LYCO: (reading) "Captain Therapontigonus Smackahead extends heartiest greetings to Lyco, his host in Epidaurus. "
CURCULIO: (aside) Ive got him! Hes swallowing the hook!
LYCO: "I beg you to be so kind as to see that the bearer of this letter is given the girl I purchased in Epidaurusan affair which I transacted in your presence there and through your agencytogether with the jewellery and clothes. You already know our arrangement: you are to give the money to the pimp, and he is to give the girl to my messenger. " Where is the Captain himself? Why doesnt he come?
CURCULIO: I will tell you whybecause four days ago we came from India to Caria, and now he wishes to have a solid gold statue of himself made there, good gold of Philip, seven feet high, as a memorial of his exploits.
LYCO: A memorial! What for?
CURCULIO: Ill tell you. Why, because the Persians, Paphlagonians, Sinopians, Arabs, Carians, Cretans, Syrians, Rhodes and Lycia, Gobbleollia and Guzzleania, Centaurbattaglia and Onenipplearmia, the whole coast of Libya and the whole of Grapejusqueezia, in fact, a good half of all the nations on earth, have been subdued by him single-handed inside of twenty days.
LYCO: (apparently awestruck) Whew!
CURCULIO: What are you surprised about?
LYCO: Why, because if those people were shut up in a coop like so many chickens, even then it would take a man more than a year to walk around em. Gad! I believe you do come from himyou talk such twaddle.
CURCULIO: Oh, but I will give you more facts still, if you like.
LYCO: No you wont (going) Come along; Ill settle the business that brought you here.
ENTER Cappadox FROM TEMPLE
Ah, theres our man! Good day, pimp.
CAPPADOX: (drearily) God bless you.
LYCO: What of the matter Im coming to you about?
CAPPADOX: Tell me what you want.
LYCO: Take your money, and send the girl off with that fellow. (indicating Curculio)
1 Philip of Macedon, on acquiring the gold-mines of Thrace, issued gold pieces worth about twenty drachmae (about fifteen shillings), which became widely current as a standard coinage.
CAPPADOX: How about the oath I took?
LYCO: Whats the odds to you so long as you get your money?
CAPPADOX: "He who counsels, aids. " Come. (leads way toward his house)
CURCULIO: (sternly) Mind, pimp! no delaying me!
[ EXEUNT INTO HOUSE ]