3
Jealousy at the Lodging
9 Through misty eyes I caught sight of Giton* standing on the
kerb in an alleyway, and I darted to the spot . . . When I
asked my boyfriend whether he had cooked anything for
our lunch, the lad sat on the bed wiping away floods of tears
with his fingers. My friend's demeanour upset me, and I
asked what had happened. His response was slow and reluc-
tant, but when my pleading began to give way to irritation,
he said: 'That boyfriend or companion of yours came rush-
ing into the room a minute ago, and started trying to rape
me on the bed. When I cried in protest, he drew his sword,
and said: "If you are Lucretia,* you have met your Tarquin!"'
On hearing this, I brandished my fist in Ascyltus' face, and
said: 'So what's your excuse, you cheap tart, you easy lay?
Why, even your breath is rancid!' Ascyltus pretended to bridle,
but then he raised his fists more aggressively, and bawled
out much more loudly than I had: 'Shut your mouth, you
filthy gladiator, saved by the midday Circus crowd!* Pipe down,
you assassin by night! Even on your good days you never
found a decent woman to have a go at! Didn't I play partner
to you in the park, just as the boy here does in the lodging?'
10 'You sidled off', I said, 'while the professor was chatting
to us.'
'You crass idiot,' he replied, 'what did you expect me to
do when I was dying of hunger? Listen to his banalities, I
suppose, nothing but bits of broken glass and explanations
of dreams! For God's sake, you're a damned sight worse
than I am, praising that poet just to cadge an invitation to
dinner.' So our unedifying brawl dissolved into laughter,
and we resumed our unfinished business in a more com-
radely spirit . . .
But then the recollection of the insult came flooding back,

-7-

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