Now, will you know how to talk gravely with well-informed men of
What will you say to them?
Oh, lots of things. First of all I shall say, that Lamia, seeing
herself caught, let flee a fart; then, that Cardopion and his
Come, no fabulous tales, pray! talk of realities, of domestic
facts, as is usually done.
Ah! I know something that is indeed most domestic. Once upon a
time there was a rat and a cat....
"Oh, you ignorant fool," as Theagenes said to the dung-gatherer in
a rage. Are you going to talk of cats and rats among high-class
Then what should I talk about?
Tell some dignified story. Relate how you were sent on a solemn
mission with Androcles and Clisthenes.
On a mission! never in my life, except once to Paros, a job
which brought me in two obols a day.
At least say, that you have just seen Ephudion doing well in the
pancratium with Ascondas and, that despite his age and his white hair,
he is still robust in loin and arm and flank and that his chest is a
Stop! stop! what nonsense! Who ever contested at the pancratium
with a breast-plate on?
That is how well-behaved folk like to talk. But another thing.
When at wine, it would be fitting to relate some good story of your
youthful days. What is your most brilliant feat?
My best feat? Ah! when I stole Ergasion's vine-props.
You and your vine-props! you'll be the death of me! Tell of one of
your boar-hunts or of when you coursed the hare. Talk about some
torch-race you were in; tell of some deed of daring.
Ah! my most daring dee, was when, quite a young man still, I
prosecuted Phayllus, the runner, for defamation, and he was
condemded by majority of two votes.
Enough of that! Now recline there, and practise the bearing that
is fitting at table in society.
How must I recline? Tell me quick!
In an elegant style.
PHILOCLEON (lying on the ground)
Not at all.