“In your house?”
“I don’t run after the youth, now he is grown up.”
“Neither shall we! You are giving yourself useless trouble, Jason, and I earnestly beg you not to disturb me any longer now, for a dark spot is already appearing on the roast. Quick, Chloris—lift the spit from the fire!”
“I should like to bid Lysander good-morning.”
“He is tired, and wants to see no one. The servants have vexed him.”
“Then I’ll stay awhile in the garden.”
“To try your luck with Xanthe? I tell you, it’s trouble wasted, for she’s dressing her hair to receive our guest from Messina; and, if she were standing where those cabbage-leaves be, she wouldn’t contradict me if I were to repeat what you heard from my lips this morning at sunrise. Our girl will never become Phaon’s wife until I myself offer a sacrifice to Aphrodite, that she may fill Xanthe’s heart with love for him.”
Jason shrugged his shoulders, and was preparing to turn his back on the old woman, when Dorippe entered and approached the hearth. Her eyes were red with weeping, and in her arms she carried a round, yellowish-white creature that, struggling and stretching it’s little legs in the air, squealed in a clear, shrill voice, even more loudly and piteously than a hungry babe.
It was a pretty, well-fattened sucking pig.
Jason looked at it significantly, but Semestre snatched it out of the girl’s arms, pressed it to her own bosom, turned her back upon the old man with resolute meaning, and said, just loud enough for him alone to hear:
“A roast for the banquet.”
As soon as Jason had left the room, she put the nicely-washed pig on a little wooden bench, ordered Chloris to see that it did not soil itself; drew from a small box, standing beside the loom, one blue ribbon and two red ones; tied the former carefully around the little creature’s curly tail, and the latter about its cars; lifted the pig again, looked at it as a mother gazes at her prettily-dressed darling, patted its fattest parts with her right-hand, and ordered Dorippe to carry it to Aphrodite’s temple immediately.
It’s a beautiful creature, absolutely faultless, and the priest must slay it at once in Honor of the gracious goddess. I will come myself, as soon as everything is ready here; and, after such a gift, foam-born Cypris will surely grant my petition. Hide the little treasure carefully under your robe, that no one may see it.”
“It struggles and squeals when I carry it,” replied the girl.
“Yes, it does squeal,” said the old woman. “Wait, I’ll look for a suitable basket.”
The house-keeper went out, and, when she returned, cried:
“Mopsus is standing outside with our donkey, to carry bag and baggage to his mother’s house, but he’s still in Lysander’s service to-day. Let him put the creature in a basket on the donkey’s back, and then he can quickly carry it to the temple—at once and without delay, for, if I don’t find it on the goddess’s altar in an hour, you shall answer for it! Tell him this, and then get some rosemary and myrtle to garland our hearth.”