A Greek Slave
Dialogue Following Song No. 17 Act II
( Enter Marcus with lictors, he goes over to Iris)
Marcus: (Chuckling) ) How's Antonia getting on with her marble man?
Iris: Oh, marble, is he? You wouldn't have thought there was such marble about him if you had seen them together on that seat.
(Enter Maia stealthily behind Marcus)
Iris: Well, if I hadn't known that they were going to be married at once, I'd have been quite shocked.
Maia: (Aside) Diomed could never be untrue to me!
Marcus: But I mean the marble status the Princess took from the soothsayer!
Iris: So do I. Only he wasn't marble and he wasn't a statue. He was a beautiful Greek slave Diomed, who sat as a model for statues. I never in my life saw a more devoted couple.
Maia: (Dramatically) Is this true?
Marcus: The necromancer's daughter!
Iris: (Aside to Maia) It's only half the couple that's devoted and it's not your half.
Maia: I'll soon put an end to Antonia's love-making.
(During this, Heliodorus has been making signs to Maiato keep quiet. In his endeavours he falls off the parapet on to the stage. The lictors pick him up and bring him, looking sheepish, to Marcus)
Marcus: (Looking from Maia to Heliodorus) Father and daughter all the inspired family! So you've played a pretty trick on me!
Heliodorus: No, Prefect we played a trick for you and it's succeeding splendidly Fancy a Princess of the house of Cæsar making public love to a Greek slave and thinking that he's a God! Hee, hee! (Laughs) She's making a most gorgeous fool of herself!
Marcus: It's no satisfaction to me that she's making a fool of herself by falling in love with another man!
Maia: (Ernestly) If the prefect doesn't approve my father will take the slave back with him at once.
Marcus: I have a better plan than that. I'll have this Greek slave put to death this afternoon.
Maia: (Defiantly) Oh no, you won't!
Marcus: (Sarcastically) Indeed, soothsayer's daughter! Andwith what magic do you propose to thwart the will of the Prefect?
Maia: I can do without magic to-day. You daren't hurt a hair of his head. (Snaps her fingers)
Marcus: She dares me! The miserable Persian cat snaps her fingers at the Prefect of Rome. I don't believe much in flogging girls as a rule but really
Iris: Maia is right. You forget, Prefect, that the festival of Saturn begins to-day.
Maia: Yes, to-day all the slaves are free to do as they please and say what they like. Pooh!
Heliodorus: Be careful, Maia. The Saturnalia doesn't last for ever.
Marcus: (Thoughtfully) I forget that the Saturnalia had commenced. Now the slaves are masters and the masters are the slaves. I can't have anyone flogged till the fest is over.
Maia: How dull you'll be! I am sorry for you, Prefect. (Laughs)
Marcus: (Turns to go) Bah! You'll all be sorry for yourselves by and bye! That girl carries her head very high to-day. When the Saturnalia's done, I'll have it carried higher still, on a pole of one of my executioners.
(Exit Marcus and Lictors)
Heliodorus: The Prefect has very lofty ideas!
Maia: (To Iris) We must get Diomed away from her.
Iris: But suppose Antonia won't part with him?
Maia: She must. He loves me, he doesn't care for her.
Iris: Yes, and she loves him and doesn't care for you!
Maia: Then my father must confess, no matter what happens to him.
Heliodorus: Thanks; I leave my funeral arrangements entirely in your hands.
Iris: Anyhow, come and see Antonia, she's waiting for you. (Turns to go, followed by Heliodorus) He shall see Diomed too and presuade him to run away.
Heliodorus: I wish I could run away!
(Exit Heliodorus and Iris into villa)
Maia: (Alone) Run away! how delightful! Diomed and I will run away together anywhere everywhere. He and I alone together for ever!
Page created 20 November 2001