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Zenophantus. Callidemides

Ze. Ah, Callidemides, and how did you come by your end? As for me, I was free of Dinias's table, and there died of a surfeit; but that is stale news; you were there, of course.

Cal. Yes, I was. Now there was an element of surprise about my fate. I suppose you know that old Ptoeodorus?

Ze. The rich man with no children, to whom you gave most of your company?

Cal. That is the man; he had promised to leave me his heir, and I used to show my appreciation. However, it went on such a time; Tithonus was a juvenile to him; so I found a short cut to my property. I bought a potion, and agreed with the butler that next time his master called for wine (he is a pretty stiff drinker) he should have this ready in a cup and present it; and I was pledged to reward the man with his freedom.

Ze. And what happened? this is interesting.

Cal. When we came from bath, the young fellow had two cups ready, one with the poison for Ptoeodorus, and the other for me; but by some blunder he handed me the poisoned cup,

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and Ptoeodorus the plain; and behold, before he had done drinking, there was I sprawling on the ground, a vicarious corpse! Why are you laughing so, Zenophantus? I am your friend; such mirth is unseemly.

Ze. Well, it was such a humorous exit. And how did the old man behave?

Cal. He was dreadfully distressed for the moment; then he saw, I suppose, and laughed as much as you over the butler's trick.

Ze. Ah, short cuts are no better for you than for other people, you see; the high road would have been safer, if not quite so quick.


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