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Melitta. Bacchis

Me. Bacchis, don't you know any of those old women--there are any number of them about, 'Thessalians,' they call them--they have incantations, you know, and they can make a man in love with you, no matter how much he hated you before? Do go and bring me one, there's a dear! I'd give the clothes off my back, jewellery and all, to see Charinus here again, and to have him hate Simiche as he hates me at this moment.

Ba. Melitta! You mean to tell me that Charinus has gone off after Simiche, and that after making his people so angry because he wouldn't marry the heiress, all for your sake? She was to have brought him five talents, so they said. I have not forgotten what you told me about that.

Me. Oh, that is all over now; I have not had a glimpse of him for the last five days. No; he and Simiche are with his friend Pammenes enjoying themselves.

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Ba. Poor darling! But it can't have been a trifle that drove him away: what was it all about?

Me. I don't know exactly. All I can say is, that he came back the other day from Piraeus (his father had sent him there to collect some money), and wouldn't even look at me! I ran to meet him, expecting him to take me in his arms, instead of which he pushed me away! 'Go to Hermotimus the shipowner,' he said; 'go and read what is written on the column in the Ceramicus; you will find your name there, and his.' Hermotimus? column? what do you mean?' said I. But he would tell me nothing more; he went to bed without any dinner, and never gave me so much as a look. I tried everything: I lavished all my endearments on him, and did all I could to make him look at me. Nothing would soften him: all he said was, 'If you keep on bothering, I shall go away this minute, I don't care what time it is.'

Ba. But you did know Hermotimus, I suppose?

Me. My dear, if I ever so much as heard of a Hermotimus who was a ship-owner, may I be more wretched than I am now!--Next morning, at cock-crow, Charinus got up, and went off. I remembered his saying something about my name being written up in the Ceramicus, so I sent Acis to have a look; and all she found was just this, chalked up close by the Dipylus, on the right as you come in: Melitta loves Hermotimus; and again a little lower down: Hermotimus the ship-owner loves Melitta.

Ba. Ah, mischievous boys! I see what it is! Some one must have written it up to tease Charinus, knowing how jealous he is. And he took it all in at once! I must speak to him if I see him anywhere. He is a mere child, quite unsophisticated.

Me. If you see him, yes: but you are not likely to. He has shut himself up with Simiche; his people have been asking for

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him, they think he is here still. No, Bacchis, I want one of those old women; she would put all to rights.

Ba. Well, love, I know a capital witch; she comes from Syria, such a brisk, vigorous old thing! Once when Phanias had quarrelled with me in the same way, all about nothing, she brought us together again, after four whole months; I had quite given hire up, but her spells drew him back.

Me. What was her fee? do you remember

Ba. Oh, she was most reasonable: one drachma, and a loaf of bread. Then you have to provide salt, of course, and sulphur, and a torch, and seven pennies. And besides this, you must mix her a bowl of wine, which she has to drink all by herself; and then there must be something belonging to the man, his coat, or his shoes, or a lock of hair, or something.

Me. I have got his shoes.

Ba. She hangs them up on a peg, and fumigates them with the sulphur, throwing a little salt into the fire, and muttering both your names. Then she brings out her magic wheel, and spins it, and rattles off an incantation, such horrid, outlandish words! Well, she had scarcely finished, when; sure enough, in came Phanias; Phoebis (that was the girl he was with) had begged and implored him not to go, and his friends declared it was a shame; but the spell was too strong for them. Oh yes, and she taught me a splendid charm against Phoebis. I was to mark her footsteps, and rub out the last of them, putting my right foot into her left footprint, and my left into her right; and then I was to say: My foot on thy foot; I trample thee down! I did it exactly as she told me.

Me. Oh, Bacchis, dear, do be quick and fetch the witch. Acis, you see to the bread and sulphur and things.


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