The guards let only one of them down the passage to Socrates’ room; it had been promptly decided that the merchant Crito would be that one. A stern warder left him outside the barred door of the sceptic’s cell.
Socrates sat huddled in the corner of the candle-lit room, but the old man jumped up when the door opened. “Crito!” he said. “I’m so glad to see you. But what are you doing here?”
Crito closed the door behind himself. “Hush,” he told his friend. “Gather your things, we need to go.”
“Go? I don’t understand —”
“I’m here — and Simmias and Cebes too — to buy your freedom. Come, the guards will let us pass if we go quickly.”
“No Crito, I’m not going. Not like this.”
“Come now, Socrates. We can’t let it be said that Crito was too cheap to buy his friend’s escape! We must hurry.” Crito reached to take Socrates by his tunic’s sleeve, but the sceptic pulled away from him.
“I can’t, Crito. I can’t.”
And so Crito went alone to the exit of that place; and he faced Simmias and Cebes and told them, “Socrates is too stubborn for his own good.”
“What did he say?” Cebes asked.
“That when he came to this City he agreed to abide by its rules, even benefited from them. Leaving now, he thinks he’ll damage the state and society. Injustice cannot be answered with injustice.”
Simmias sighed and shrugged and said, “His always been wiser and stupider than everyone else.”
“Let’s go,” said Crito. “I need to rest, then. I want to be with him at his execution.”