Musarium. Her Mother
Mother. Well, child, if we get another gallant like Chaereas, we must make some offerings; the earthly Aphrodite shall have a white kid, the heavenly one in the Gardens a heifer, and our lady of windfalls a garland. How well off we shall be, positively rolling in wealth! You see how much this boy brings in; not an obol, not a dress, not a pair of shoes, not a box of ointment, has he ever given you; it is all professions and promises and distant prospects; always, if my father should-------, and I should inherit, everything would be yours. And according to you, he swears you shall be his wife.
Mu. Oh yes, mother, he swore it, by the two Goddesses 1 and Polias.
Mother. And you believe it, no doubt. So much so that the other day, when he had a subscription to pay and nothing to pay with, you gave him your ring without asking me, and the price of it went in drink. Another time it was the pair of Ionian necklaces that Praxias the Chian captain got made in Ephesus and brought you; two darics apiece they weighed; a club-dinner with the men of his year it was that time. As for shirts and linen, those are trifles not worth mention. A mighty catch he has been, to be sure!
Mu. He is so handsome with his smooth chin; and he loves me, and cries as he tells me so; and he is the son of Laches the Areopagite and Dinomache; and we shall be his real wife and mother-in-law, you know; we have great expectations, if only the old man would go to bye-bye.
Mother. So when we want shoes, and the shoemaker expects to be paid, we are to tell him we have no money, 'but take a
few expectations.' And the baker the same. And on rent-day we shall ask the man to wait till Laches of Collytus is dead; he shall have it after the wedding. Well, I should be ashamed to be the only pretty girl that could not show an earring or a chain or a bit of lace.
Mu. Oh well, mother, are the rest of them happier or better-looking than I am?
Mother. No; but they have more sense; they know their business better than to pin their faith to the idle words of a boy with a mouthful of lover's oaths. But you go in for constancy and true love, and will have nothing to say to anybody but your Chaereas. There was that farmer from Acharnae the other day; his chin was smooth too; and he brought the two minae he had just got for his father's wine; but oh dear me no! you send him away with a sneer; none but your Adonis for you.
Mu. Mother, you could not expect me to desert Chaereas and let that nasty working-man (faugh!) come near me. Poor Chaereas! he is a pet and a duck.
Mother. Well, the Acharnian did smell rather of the farm. But there was Antiphon--son to Menecrates--and a whole mina; why not him? he is handsome, and a gentleman, and no older than Chaereas.
Mu. Ah, but Chaereas vowed he would cut both our throats if he caught me with him.
Mother. The first time such a thing was ever threatened, I suppose. So you will go without your lovers for this, and be as good a girl as if you were a priestess of Demeter instead of what you are. And if that were all!--but to-day is harvest festival; and where is his present?
Mu. Mammy dear, he has none to give.
Mother. They don't all find it so hard to get round their fathers; why can't he get a slave to wheedle him? why not
tell his mother he will go off for a soldier if she doesn't let him have some money? instead of which he haunts and tyrannizes over us, neither giving himself nor letting us take from those who would. Do you expect to be eighteen all your life, Musarium? or that Chaereas will be of the same mind when he has his fortune, and his mother finds a marriage that will bring ' him another? You don't suppose he will remember tears and kisses and vows, with five talents of dowry to distract him
Mu. Oh yes, he will. They have done everything to make him marry now; and he wouldn't! that shows.
Mother. I only hope it shows true. I shall remind you of all this when the time comes.
60:1 Demeter and Persephone.