Leontichus. Chenidas. Hymnis
Le. And then that battle with the Galatians; tell her about that, Chenidas--how I rode out in front on the grey, and the Galatians (brave fellows, those Galatians, too)--but they ran away directly they saw me; not a man stood his ground. That time, you know, I used my lance for a javelin, and sent it through their captain and his horse as well; and then, as some of them
were left--the phalanx was broken up, you see, but a certain number had rallied--well, I pulled out my trusty blade, rode at them as hard as I could go, knocked over half a dozen of the front rank with the mere rush of my horse, brought down my sword on one of the officers, and clove his head in two halves, helmet and all. The rest of you came up shortly, you remember, when they were already running.
Che. Oh, but that duel of yours with the satrap in Paphlagonia! that was a fine display, too.
Le. Well remembered; yes, that was not so bad, either. A great big fellow that satrap was, supposed to be a champion fighter too--thought nothing of Greek science. Out he came, and challenged all corners to single combat. There was consternation among our officers, from the lowest to the general himself--though he was a pretty good man. Aristaechmus the Aetolian he was--very strong on the javelin; I was only a colonel then. However, I was not afraid. I shook off the friends who clung to me--they were anxious about me when they saw the barbarian resplendent in his gilded armour, towering high with his terrible plume and brandishing his lance--
Che. Yes, I was afraid that time; you remember how I clung to you and besought you not to sacrifice yourself; life would not have been worth living, if you had fallen.
Le. I ventured it, though. Out I went, as well armed as the Paphlagonian, all gold like him. What a shout there was on both sides! the barbarians recognized me too; they knew my buckler and medals and plume. Who was it they all compared me to, Chenidas?
Che. Why, who should it be? Achilles, of course; the son of Peleus and Thetis, of course. Your helmet was so magnificent, your purple so rich, your buckler so dazzling.
Le. We met. The barbarian drew first blood--just a scratch with his lance a little above the knee; but my great spear drove
through his shield and right into the breast-bone. Then I ran up, just sliced his head off with my sword, and came back carrying his arms, the head spiked on my spear dripping gore upon me.
Hym. How horrid, Leontichus! what disgusting frightful tales you tell about yourself! What girl would look at a man who likes such nastiness--let alone drink or sleep with him? I am going away.
Le. Pooh! I double your pay.
Hym. No, nothing shall induce me to sleep with a murderer.
Le. Don't be afraid, my dear. All that was in Paphlagonia. I am a man of peace now.
Hym. No, you are unclean; the blood of the barbarian's head on the spear has dripped over you! I embrace and kiss a man like that? the Graces forbid! he is no better than the executioner.
Le. I am certain you would be in love with me if you had seen me in my armour.
Hym. I tell you it makes me sick and frightened even to hear of such things; I see the shades and ghosts of the slain; that poor officer with his head cloven! what would it be if I saw the thing done, and the blood, and the bodies lying there? I am sure I should die; I never saw a chicken killed, even.
Le. Such a coward, girl? so poor of heart? I thought you would like to hear it.
Hym. Well, try the Lemnian women, or the daughters of Danaus, if you want to please with that sort of tale. I shall run home to my mother, while there is some daylight left. Come along, Grammis. Good-bye, mightiest of colonels, and murderer of however many it is!
Le. Stay, girl, stay.--Why, she is gone!
Che. Well, Leontichus, you frightened the simple little thing with your nodding plumes and your incredible exploits. I saw
her getting pale as far back as the officer story; her face was all puckered up and quivering when you split his head.
Le. I thought it would make me more attractive. Well, but it was your fault too; you started the duel.
Che. Well, I had to chime in when I saw what you were bragging for. But you laid it on so thick. Pass the cutting off the wretched Paphlagonian's head, what did you want to spike it on a spear for, and let the blood run down on you?
Le. That was a bit too strong, I admit; the rest was rather well put together. Well, go and persuade her to come back.
Che. Shall I tell her you lied to make her think you a fine fellow?
Le. Oh, plague upon it!
Che. It 's the only way. Choose--a mighty champion, and loathed, or a confessed liar, and--Hymnis?
Le. Bad is the best; but I say Hymnis. Go to her, then, Chenidas, and say I lied--in parts.