Dubious Encounters in the Town
6 Through listening with close attention to Agamemnon, I
failed to notice that Ascyltus had made off from my side . . . As
I walked along, excited by this tide of words, a great crowd
of students entered the colonnade. It seemed that they were
emerging from a declamation delivered off the cuff by
someone who had followed after Agamemnon's set piece
of persuasion.* So while the youths were having fun with
his epigrams, and ridiculing the scheme of his entire speech,
I seized the chance to slip away and began to hare after
Ascyltus. But I had failed to take careful note of the route*,
and did not know the way to our lodging. So whichever
direction I took brought me back to the same place. Even-
tually, exhausted by the chase, and dripping with sweat, I
approached a little old lady selling farm produce.
7 'Tell me, mother,' I said, 'have you any idea where I hang
out?' She was tickled by such asinine wit, and replied: 'Yes;
no problem.' She then got up and began to lead the way.
I thought she had second sight, and followed after her.
Then, when we reached some hole-in-the-corner place, the
witty old creature drew back a patchwork curtain, and said:
'This must be where you stay.' I was just remarking that I
did not recognize the lodging when my eyes fell on some
men furtively pacing among the price-tags and naked pros-
titutes. It slowly dawned on me all too late that I'd been
brought to a brothel.* So cursing the old woman's duplicity,
I covered up my head, and began to belt through the mid-
dle of the brothel to the far end. Who should meet me at
the very entrance there but Ascyltus, just as clapped out and
half dead as myself! You'd have thought that the same old
woman had escorted him there. So I greeted him with a
grin, and asked him what he was doing in such a disreput-
able place.


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The Satyricon


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