A Greek Slave
Dialogue Following Song No. 3 Act I
Silius: Now, Heliodorus, all Rome says you can see into the future.
Heliodorus: Mum! (He makes some sort of acquiescent noise)
Silius: Now consult your oracle and tell me how I shall prosper.
Heliodorus: (Points to Salver) Mum.
Silius: Oh, I understand. Your oracle won't work without money.
Heliodorus: (Takes purse) No, it's like a human being in that respect, except that
Silius: Except that what?
Heliodorus: Well, the more money a man has the less work he does the more money my oracle gets, the more work he does. (Weighs purse in hand) This won't keep him too busy!
(Slave hands Heliodorus a bown of water)
Silius: Never mind, make your researches
(Melanopis Shows tablet to Heliodorus and points out place)
Heliodorus: (Peers into the water and shakes it round) The Fates are satisfied that Cornelia loves you.
Silius: By Jove! He knows her name.
Heliodorus: Yes, she loves you - almost as well as she has loved half a dozen others.
Silius: I'll not believe it.
Heliodorus: No more did any of the other half dozen. The Fates have spoken. Next, please.
Manlius: He seems to know Cornelia anyhow.
Lollius: Well, I undertake he won't be right about me. (Approaches Heliodorus) My turn! Necromancer, what does the bowl of water promise me?
(Melanopis approaches with salver)
Lollius: Oh! As much as you like. I don't mind paying a fool if he amuses me. (Drops purse on salver)
(Melanopis approaches Heliodorus with a dish. Heliodorus drops something into dish which sets something on fire and he gazes into the smoke or flames)
Heliodorus: You'll find plenty of amusement with Flavia.
Lollius: (Aside) Flavia! By Jupiter! He's hit on her at once
(Aloud) What do you mean?
Heliodorus: Flavia pays the training expenses of three gladiators. She bets on their fights. It will amuse you to find money for this sort of sport.
Manlius: Fighting is a noble pastime.
Heliodorus: Yes, but it's rather dear when you have to pay other people to do it. The Fates have spoken. Next, please.
Lollius: (Sullenly) And spoken rubbish, too! (Aside as he goes to join the others) The gossip of Rome says truly. They gods are in league with this mountebank. (Aloud) Your turn, Curius.
Curius: No, I'll have none of it!
(SLAVE approaches with salver)
Curius: Let us go!
Lollius & Silius: No, no shirking; take your turn with the rest.
Curius: Will, if I must try my luck, here goes! (Drops purse on salver) I say, Heliodorus, haven't you any benevolent Fates? I'll pay a little extra, you know. (Drops another purse)
Heliodorus: The Fates cannot be bribed with gold. (Takes both purses and weighs them with an evident satisfaction) But try them. They won't be offended by another purse or so that's right!
(Melanopis brings a bowl of meal, which Heliodorus mixes up with a wand)
Heliodorus: I see - I see
Curius: Well, what do you see?
Heliodorus: I see a wife
Silius: I congratulate you heartily.
Curius: Yes, yes.
Heliodorus: She's another man's wife. There are many wives you catch them their husbands catch you. I see you and husbands and wives all mixed up together. I can't tell you from the husbands; no more can the wives. Curius, you life is wives, your end is known. The Fates have spoken. Next, please!
Lollius: You are next, Manlius. Come, see if you will be as busy in love as you have been in the wars.
Manlius: NotI ! I wouldn't allow that soothsayer even to mention the name of a woman I loved!
Heliodorus: Ah, he's a soldier and has learnt to keep out of danger.
(A commotion without. The Slaves turn round to see. Slave enters hurriedly and talks to Melanopis. Heliodorus descends from the throne)
Heliodorus: Business is brisk! It's wonderful how you can take in the public when once you have made a reputation
Melanopis: (Aside to Heliodorus) Iris is here with important news for you alone.
Heliodorus: Iris, who brings me all the news and hossip of Rome. I must get rid of these people at once. They have all paid, haven't they?
Melanopis: Yes, there's not another sesterce to be got out of any of them.
Heliodorus: Right! You must all go. The gods wish to commune with me alone.
(Slaves fall back as Iris pushes her way in)
Iris: Hallo, Heliodorus! I've some news for you. (Looking at others) Oh, I beg your pardon. I didn't know you had a party.
Lollius: (To Manlius)
Sillius: (To Curius) Why it's the Lady Antonia's pretty Greek slave.
(They surround her)
Curius: Well, has your mistress fallen in love yet?
Iris: That can't be your business! She's not likely to fall in love with you.
All: (Laugh) That's good!
Manlius: You are right, Iris! Don't let them speak of your mistress before these people.
Silius: Have you come to have your fortune told, little Greek?
Iris: Not much! I leave such fooling to my betters.
Heliodorus: (Aside) What are you doing? Are you going to show me up?
Iris: (Aside) No, but Ihave some very important news for you alone. You must]get rid of these fools. Leave them to me. (crosses to S.R.C)
Heliodorus: (Goes off) All right! You clear them out (Iris goes up behind table) It's always safe to leave a business matter to a pretty woman!
(Exit Heliodorus L. thru arch followed by Nepia and Melan)
Iris: Now gentlemen, who wants to know the winner of the big chariot race?
Silius: Well, we all do, I suppose.
Iris: (Takes bown of meal and upsets it) There's an omen for you. The one you bet on will upset. (To Curius) Here, you do you want to know your fate?
Curius: Yes, if the Lady Antonia is mixed up in it.
Iris: (Takes a bown of water) Well, she's not, that's as clear as this water.
Lollius: (Advancing to Iris) But you can tell us whom she does love. (Iris and Lollius come down stage C) Here, now you're her maid, and know all about her..
Iris: Oh, yes, but I shan't tell you. What I know is strictly confidential
Page created 7 October 2001