Now, as I am a Christian, answer me,
In what safe place you have bestow’d my money;
Or I shall break that merry sconce of yours
A bit of a muddle so far, this one. Ephesus and Syracuse have an agreement whereby anyone from the latter who is found in the former must pay a fine or forfeit their goods and their life. Or something like that. Which is the case, if I've got it right, with a merchant who finds himself trapped in Syracuse after a shipwreck. Followed by a seemingly pointless scene in which a man and his slave bicker about some missing money. Which will presumably have some significance as the play progresses.