CHARON. It's Mercury, the Messenger.
[Hipponax, himself, is shaking a little now. Charon takes from him his mask and his ragged philosopher's cloak, and, sure enough, as they hang where he places them they seem to cover a human shape.
ALICE. And that's the beginning of Harlequin's clothes.
HIPPONAX. Nonsense. These conjuring tricks. There are no gods. I've proved there are no...
[Mercury has lifted the mask and at sight of that radiance, as if lightning had struck him, Hipponax falls to the ground.
CHARON. Now you've blinded him.
MERCURY. No blinder a worm than he was before ... denying the sun. What are you?
HIPPONAX. [Without lifting his head.] I was once ... a sort of philosopher.
MERCURY. Really! Row him across, Charon; loose him among the shades of the poets and children, and in pity they may teach him to see.
CHARON. Come along.
[He handles him with about that sort of kindness--and no more than enough of it--which you spend on a mangy cur. But th