Part 2 of 2
CHAPTER THE FIFTY-FOURTH
While our noble Gaius was still talking away, the boy slipped and fell, alighting upon Trimalchio's arm. The whole household cried out, as did also the guests, not that they bore such a coarse fellow any good will, as they would gladly have seen his neck broken, but because such an unlucky ending to the dinner might make it necessary for them to go into mourning over a total stranger. As for Trimalchio, he groaned heavily and bent over his arm as though it had been injured: doctors flocked around him, and Fortunata was among the very first, her hair was streaming and she held a cup in her hand and screamed out her grief and unhappiness. As for the boy who had fallen, he was crawling at our feet, imploring pardon. I was uneasy for fear his prayers would lead up to some ridiculous theatrical climax, for I had not yet been able to forget that cook who had forgotten to bowel that hog, and so, for this reason, I began to scan the whole dining-room very closely, to see if an automaton would come out through the wall; and all the more so as a slave was beaten for having bound up his master's bruised arm in white wool instead of purple. Nor was my suspicion unjustified, for in place of punishment, Trimalchio ordered that the boy be freed, so that no one could say that so exalted a personage had been injured by a slave.
CHAPTER THE FIFTY-FIFTH
We applauded his action and engaged in a discussion upon the instability of human affairs, which many took sides. "A good reason," declared Trimalchio, "why such an occasion shouldn't slip by without an epigram." He called for his tablets at once, and after racking his brains for a little while, he got off the following:
The unexpected will turn up;
Our whole lives Fortune bungles up.
Falernian, boy, hand round the cup.
This epigram led up to a discussion of the poets, and for a long time, the greatest praise was bestowed upon Mopsus the Thracian, until Trimalchio broke in with: "Professor, I wish you'd tell me how you'd compare Cicero and Publilius. I'm of the opinion that the first was the more eloquent, but that the last moralizes more beautifully, for what can excel these lines?
Insatiable luxury crumbles the walls of war;
To satiate gluttony, peacocks in coops are brought
Arrayed in gold plumage like Babylon tapestry rich.
Numidian guinea-fowls, capons, all perish for thee:
And even the wandering stork, welcome guest that he is,
The emblem of sacred maternity, slender of leg
And gloctoring exile from winter, herald of spring,
Still, finds his last nest in the - cauldron of gluttony base.
India surrenders her pearls; and what mean they to thee?
That thy wife decked with sea-spoils adorning her breast and her head
On the couch of a stranger lies lifting adulterous legs?
The emerald green, the glass bauble, what mean they to thee?
Or the fire of the ruby? Except that pure chastity shine
From the depth of the jewels: in garments of woven wind clad
Our brides might as well take their stand, their game naked to stalk,
As seek it in gossamer tissue transparent as air."
CHAPTER THE FIFTY-SIXTH
"What should we say was the hardest calling, after literature?" he asked. "That of the doctor or that of the money-changer, I would say: the doctor, because he has to know what poor devils have got in their insides, and when the fever's due: but I hate them like the devil, for my part, because they're always ordering me on a diet of duck soup: and the money-changer's, because he's got to be able to see the silver through the copper plating. When we come to the dumb beasts, the oxen and sheep are the hardest worked, the oxen, thanks to whose labor we have bread to chew on, the sheep, because their wool tricks us out so fine. It's the greatest outrage under the sun for people to eat mutton and then wear a tunic. Then there's the bee: in my opinion, they're divine insects because they puke honey, though there are folks that claim that they bring it from Jupiter, and that's the reason they sting, too, for wherever you find a sweet, you'll find a bitter too." He was just putting the philosophers out of business when lottery tickets were passed around in a cup. A slave boy assigned to that duty read aloud the names of the souvenirs: "Silver s--ham," a ham was brought in with some silver vinegar cruets on top of it; "cervical"--something soft for the neck--a piece of the cervix--neck--of a sheep was brought in; "serisapia"--after wit--"and contumelia"--insult--we were given must wafers and an apple-melon--and a phallus--contus--; "porri"--leeks--"and persica," he picked up a whip and a knife; "passeres"--sparrows" and a fly--trap," the answer was raisins--uva passa--and Attic honey; "cenatoria"--a dinner toga--"and forensia"--business dress--he handed out a piece of meat--suggestive of dinner--and a note-book--suggestive of business--; "canale"--chased by a dog--"and pedale"--pertaining to the foot--, a hare and a slipper were brought out; "lamphrey"--murena--"and a letter," he held up a mouse--mus--and a frog--rana--tied together, and a bundle of beet--beta--the Greek letter beta--. We laughed long and loud, there were a thousand of these jokes, more or less, which have now escaped my memory.
CHAPTER THE FIFTY-SEVENTH
But Ascyltos threw off all restraint and ridiculed everything; throwing up his hands, he laughed until the tears ran down his cheeks. At last, one of Trimalchio's fellow-freedmen, the one who had the place next to me, flew into a rage, "What's the joke, sheep's-head," he bawled, "Don't our host's swell entertainment suit you? You're richer than he is, I suppose, and used to dining better! As I hope the guardian spirit of this house will be on my side, I'd have stopped his bleating long ago if I'd been sitting next to him. He's a peach, he is, laughing at others; some vagabond or other from who-knows-where, some night-pad who's not worth his own piss: just let me piss a ring around him and he wouldn't know where to run to! I ain't easy riled, no, by Hercules, I ain't, but worms breed in tender flesh. Look at him laugh! What the hell's he got to laugh at? Is his family so damned fine-haired? So you're a Roman knight! Well, I'm a king's son! How's it come that you've been a slave, you'll ask because I put myself into service because I'd rather be a Roman citizen than a tax-paying provincial. And now I hope that my life will be such that no one can jeer at me. I'm a man among men! I take my stroll bareheaded and owe no man a copper cent. I never had a summons in my life and no one ever said to me, in the forum, pay me what you owe me. I've bought a few acres and saved up a few dollars and I feed twenty bellies and a dog. I ransomed my bedfellow so no one could wipe his hands on her bosom; a thousand dinars it cost me, too. I was chosen priest of Augustus without paying the fee, and I hope that I won't need to blush in my grave after I'm dead. But you're so busy that you can't look behind you; you can spot a louse on someone else, all right, but you can't see the tick on yourself. You're the only one that thinks we're so funny; look at your professor, he's older than you are, and we're good enough for him, but you're only a brat with the milk still in your nose and all you can prattle is 'ma' or 'mu,' you're only a clay pot, a piece of leather soaked in water, softer and slipperier, but none the better for that. You've got more coin than we have, have you? Then eat two breakfasts and two dinners a day. I'd rather have my reputation than riches, for my part, and before I make an end of this--who ever dunned me twice? In all the forty years I was in service, no one could tell whether I was free or a slave. I was only a long-haired boy when I came to this colony and the town house was not built then. I did my best to please my master and he was a digniferous and majestical gentleman whose nail-parings were worth more than your whole carcass. I had enemies in his house, too, who would have been glad to trip me up, but I swam the flood, thanks to his kindness. Those are the things that try your mettle, for it's as easy to be born a gentleman as to say, 'Come here.' Well, what are you gaping at now, like a billy-goat in a vetch-field?"
CHAPTER THE FIFTY-EIGHTH
Giton, who had been standing at my feet, and who had for some time been holding in his laughter, burst into an uproarious guffaw, at this last figure of speech, and when Ascyltos' adversary heard it, he turned his abuse upon the boy. "What's so funny, you curly-headed onion," he bellowed, "are the Saturnalia here, I'd like to know? Is it December now?
"When did you pay your twentieth? What's this to you, you gallows-bird, you crow's meat? I'll call the anger of Jupiter down on you and that master of yours, who don't keep you in better order. If I didn't respect my fellow-freedmen, I'd give you what is coming to you right here on the spot, as I hope to get my belly full of bread, I would. We'll get along well enough, but those that can't control you are fools; like master like man's a true saying. I can hardly hold myself in and I'm not hot-headed by nature, but once let me get a start and I don't care two cents for my own mother. All right, I'll catch you in the street, you rat, you toadstool. May I never grow an inch up or down if I don't push your master into a dunghill, and I'll give you the same medicine, I will, by Hercules, I will, no matter if you call down Olympian Jupiter himself! I'll take care of your eight inch ringlets and your two cent master into the bargain. I'll have my teeth into you, either you'll cut out the laughing, or I don't know myself. Yes, even if you had a golden beard. I'll bring the wrath of Minerva down on you and on the fellow that first made a come-here out of you. No, I never learned geometry or criticism or other foolishness like that, but I know my capital letters and I can divide any figure by a hundred, be it in asses, pounds or sesterces. Let's have a show-down, you and I will make a little bet, here's my coin; you'll soon find out that your father's money was wasted on your education, even if you do know a little rhetoric. How's this--what part of us am I? I come far, I come wide, now guess me! I'll give you another. What part of us runs but never moves from its place? What part of us grows but always grows less? But you scurry around and are as flustered and fidgeted as a mouse in a piss-pot. Shut up and don't annoy your betters, who don't even know that you've been born. Don't think that I'm impressed by those boxwood armlets that you did your mistress out of. Occupo will back me! Let's go into the forum and borrow money, then you'll see whether this iron ring means credit! Bah! A draggled fox is a fine sight, ain't it'? I hope I never get rich and die decently so that the people will swear by my death, if I don't hound you everywhere with my toga turned inside out. And the fellow that taught you such manners did a good job too, a chattering ape, all right, no schoolmaster. We were better taught. 'Is everything in its place?' the master would ask; go straight home and don't stop and stare at everything and don't be impudent to your elders. Don't loiter along looking in at the shops. No second raters came out of that school. I'm what you see me and I thank the gods it's all due to my own cleverness."
CHAPTER THE FIFTY-NINTH
Ascyltos was just starting in to answer this indictment when Trimalchio, who was delighted with his fellow-freedman's tirade, broke in, "Cut out the bickering and let's have things pleasant here. Let up on the young fellow, Hermeros, he's hot-blooded, so you ought to be more reasonable. The loser's always the winner in arguments of this kind. And as for you, even when you were a young punk you used to go 'Co-co co-co,' like a hen after a rooster, but you had no pep. Let's get to better business and start the fun all over again and watch the Homerists." A troupe filed in, immediately, and clashed spears against shields. Trimalchio sat himself up on his cushion and intoned in Latin, from a book, while the actors, in accordance with their conceited custom, recited their parts in the Greek language. There came a pause, presently, and "You don't any of you know the plot of the skit they're putting on, do you?" he asked, "Diomedes and Ganymede were two brothers, and Helen was their sister; Agamemnon ran away with her and palmed off a doe on Diana, in her place, so Homer tells how the Trojans and Parentines fought among themselves. Of course Agamemnon was victorious, and gave his daughter Iphigenia, to Achilles, for a wife: This caused Ajax to go mad, and he'll soon make the whole thing plain to you." The Homerists raised a shout, as soon as Trimalchio had done speaking, and, as the whole familia stepped back, a boiled calf with a helmet on its head was brought in on an enormous platter. Ajax followed and rushed upon it with drawn sword, as if he were insane, he made passes with the flat, and again with the edge, and then, collecting the slices, he skewered them, and, much to our astonishment, presented them to us on the point of his sword.
CHAPTER THE SIXTIETH
But we were not given long in which to admire the elegance of such service, for all of a sudden the ceiling commenced to creak and then the whole dining-room shook. I leaped to my feet in consternation, for fear some rope-walker would fall down, and the rest of the company raised their faces, wondering as much as I what new prodigy was to be announced from on high. Then to and behold! the ceiling panels parted and an enormous hoop, which appeared to have been knocked off a huge cask, was lowered from the dome above; its perimeter was hung with golden chaplets and jars of alabaster filled with perfume. We were asked to accept these articles as souvenirs. When my glance returned to the table, I noticed that a dish containing cakes had been placed upon it, and in the middle an image of Priapus, made by the baker, and he held apples of all varieties and bunches of grapes against his breast, in the conventional manner. We applied ourselves wholeheartedly to this dessert and our joviality was suddenly revived by a fresh diversion, for, at the slightest pressure, all the cakes and fruits would squirt a saffron sauce upon us, and even spurted unpleasantly into our faces. Being convinced that these perfumed dainties had some religious significance, we arose in a body and shouted, "Hurrah for the Emperor, the father of his country!" However, as we perceived that even after this act of veneration, the others continued helping themselves, we filled our napkins with the apples. I was especially keen on this, for I thought I could never put enough good things into Giton's lap. Three slaves entered, in the meantime, dressed in white tunics well tucked up, and two of them placed Lares with amulets hanging from their necks, upon the table, while the third carried round a bowl of wine and cried, "May the gods be propitious!" One was called Cerdo--business--, Trimalchio informed us, the other Lucrio--luck--and the third Felicio--profit--and, when all the rest had kissed a true likeness of Trimalchio, we were ashamed to pass it by.
CHAPTER THE SIXTY-FIRST
After they had all wished each other sound minds and good health, "Trimalchio turned to Niceros. "You used to be better company at dinner," he remarked, "and I don't know why you should be dumb today, with never a word to say. If you wish to make me happy, tell about that experience you had, I beg of you." Delighted at the affability of his friend, "I hope I lose all my luck if I'm not tickled to death at the humor I see you in," Niceros replied. "All right, let's go the limit for a good time, though I'm afraid these scholars'll laugh at me, but I'll tell my tale and they can go as far as they like. What t'hell do I care who laughs? It's better to be laughed at than laughed down." These words spake the hero, and began the following tale: "We lived in a narrow street in the house Gavilla now owns, when I was a slave. There, by the will of the gods, I fell in love with the wife of Terentius, the innkeeper; you knew Melissa of Tarentum, that pretty round-checked little wench. It was no carnal passion, so hear me, Hercules, it wasn't; I was not in love with her physical charms. No, it was because she was such a good sport. I never asked her for a thing and had her deny me; if she had an as, I had half. I trusted her with everything I had and never was done out of anything. Her husband up and died on the place, one day, so I tried every way I could to get to her, for you know friends ought to show up when anyone's in a pinch.
CHAPTER THE SIXTY-SECOND
"It so happened that our master had gone to Capua to attend to some odds and ends of business and I seized the opportunity, and persuaded a guest of the house to accompany me as far as the fifth mile-stone. He was a soldier, and as brave as the very devil. We set out about cock-crow, the moon was shining as bright as midday, and came to where the tombstones are. My man stepped aside amongst them, but I sat down, singing, and commenced to count them up. When I looked around for my companion, he had stripped himself and piled his clothes by the side of the road. My heart was in my mouth, and I sat there while he pissed a ring around them and was suddenly turned into a wolf! Now don't think I'm joking, I wouldn't lie for any amount of money, but as I was saying, he commenced to howl after he was turned into a wolf, and ran away into the forest. I didn't know where I was for a minute or two, then I went to his clothes, to pick them up, and damned if they hadn't turned to stone! Was ever anyone nearer dead from fright than me? Then I whipped out my sword and cut every shadow along the road to bits, till I came to the house of my mistress. I looked like a ghost when I went in, and I nearly slipped my wind. The sweat was pouring down my crotch, my eyes were staring, and I could hardly be brought around. My Melissa wondered why I was out so late. "Oh, if you'd only come sooner," she said, "you could have helped us: a wolf broke into the folds and attacked the sheep, bleeding them like a butcher. But he didn't get the laugh on me, even if he did get away, for one of the slaves ran his neck through with a spear!" I couldn't keep my eyes shut any longer when I heard that, and as soon as it grew light, I rushed back to our Gaius' house like an innkeeper beaten out of his bill, and when I came to the place where the clothes had been turned into stone, there was nothing but a pool of blood! And moreover, when I got home, my soldier was lying in bed, like an ox, and a doctor was dressing his neck! I knew then that he was a werewolf, and after that, I couldn't have eaten a crumb of bread with him, no, not if you had killed me. Others can think what they please about this, but as for me, I hope your geniuses will all get after me if I lie."
CHAPTER THE SIXTY-THIRD
We were all dumb with astonishment, when "I take your story for granted," said Trimalchio, "and if you'll believe me, my hair stood on end, and all the more, because I know that Niceros never talks nonsense: he's always level-headed, not a bit gossipy. And now I'll tell you a hair- raiser myself, though I'm like a jackass on a slippery pavement compared to him. When I was a long-haired boy, for I lived a Chian life from my youth up, my master's minion died. He was a jewel, so hear me Hercules, he was, perfect in every facet. While his sorrow-stricken mother was bewailing his loss, and the rest of us were lamenting with her, the witches suddenly commenced to screech so loud that you would have thought a hare was being run down by the hounds! At that time, we had a Cappadocian slave, tall, very bold, and he had muscle too; he could hold a mad bull in the air! He wrapped a mantle around his left arm, boldly rushed out of doors with drawn sword, and ran a woman through the middle about here, no harm to what I touch. We heard a scream, but as a matter of fact, for I won't lie to you, we didn't catch sight of the witches themselves. Our simpleton came back presently, and threw himself upon the bed. His whole body was black and blue, as if he had been flogged with whips, and of course the reason of that was she had touched him with her evil hand! We shut the door and returned to our business, but when the mother put her arms around the body of her son, it turned out that it was only a straw bolster, no heart, no guts, nothing! Of course the witches had swooped down upon the lad and put the straw changeling in his place! Believe me or not, suit yourselves, but I say that there are women that know too much, and night-hags, too, and they turn everything upside down! And as for the long-haired booby, he never got back his own natural color and he died, raving mad, a few days later."
CHAPTER THE SIXTY-FOURTH
Though we wondered greatly, we believed none the less implicitly and, kissing the table, we besought the night-hags to attend to their own affairs while we were returning home from dinner. As far as I was concerned, the lamps already seemed to burn double and the whole dining-room was going round, when "See here, Plocamus," Trimalchio spoke up, "haven't you anything to tell us? You haven't entertained us at all, have you? And you used to be fine company, always ready to oblige with a recitation or a song. The gods bless us, how the green figs have fallen!" "True for you," the fellow answered, "since I've got the gout my sporting days are over; but in the good old times when I was a young spark, I nearly sang myself into a consumption. How I used to dance! And take my part in a farce, or hold up my end in the barber shops! Who could hold a candle to me except, of course, the one and only Apelles?" He then put his hand to his mouth and hissed out some foul gibberish or other, and said afterwards that it was Greek. Trimalchio himself then favored us with an impersonation of a man blowing a trumpet, and when he had finished, he looked around for his minion, whom he called Croesus, a blear-eyed slave whose teeth were very disagreeably discolored. He was playing with a little black bitch, disgustingly fat, wrapping her up in a leek-green scarf and teasing her with a half-loaf of bread which he had put on the couch; and when from sheer nausea, she refused it, he crammed it down her throat. This sight put Trimalchio in mind of his own dog and he ordered Scylax, "the guardian of his house and home," to be brought in. An enormous dog was immediately led in upon a chain and, obeying a kick from the porter, it lay down beside the table. Thereupon Trimalchio remarked, as he threw it a piece of white bread, "No one in all my house loves me better than Scylax." Enraged at Trimalchio's praising Scylax so warmly, the slave put the bitch down upon the floor and sicked her on to fight. Scylax, as might have been expected from such a dog, made the whole room ring with his hideous barking and nearly shook the life out of the little bitch which the slave called Pearl. Nor did the uproar end in a dog fight, a candelabrum was upset upon the table, breaking the glasses and spattering some of the guests with hot oil. As Trimalchio did not wish to seem concerned at the loss, he kissed the boy and ordered him to climb upon his own back. The slave did not hesitate but, mounting his rocking-horse, he beat Trimalchio's shoulders with his open palms, yelling with laughter, "Buck! Buck! How many fingers do I hold up!" When Trimalchio had, in a measure, regained his composure, which took but a little while, he ordered that a huge vessel be filled with mixed wine, and that drinks be served to all the slaves sitting around our feet, adding as an afterthought, "If anyone refuses to drink, pour it on his head: business is business, but now's the time for fun."
CHAPTER THE SIXTY-FIFTH
The dainties that followed this display of affability were of such a nature that, if any reliance is to be placed in my word, the very mention of them makes me sick at the stomach. Instead of thrushes, fattened chickens were served, one to each of us, and goose eggs with pastry caps on them, which same Trimalchio earnestly entreated us to eat, informing us that the chickens had all been boned. Just at that instant, however, a lictor knocked at the dining-room door, and a reveler, clad in white vestments, entered, followed by a large retinue. Startled at such pomp, I thought that the Praetor had arrived, so I put my bare feet upon the floor and started to get up, but Agamemnon laughed at my anxiety and said, "Keep your seat, you idiot, it's only Habinnas the sevir; he's a stone mason, and if report speaks true, he makes the finest tombstones imaginable." Reassured by this information, I lay back upon my couch and watched Habinnas' entrance with great curiosity. Already drunk and wearing several wreaths, his forehead smeared with perfume which ran down into his eyes, he advanced with his hands upon his wife's shoulders, and, seating himself in the Praetor's place, he called for wine and hot water. Delighted with his good humor, Trimalchio called for a larger goblet for himself, and asked him, at the same time, how he had been entertained. "We had everything except yourself, for my heart and soul were here, but it was fine, it was, by Hercules. Scissa was giving a Novendial feast for her slave, whom she freed on his death-bed, and it's my opinion she'll have a large sum to split with the tax gatherers, for the dead man was rated at 50,000, but everything went off well, even if we did have to pour half our wine on the bones of the late lamented."
CHAPTER THE SIXTY-SIXTH
"But," demanded Trimalchio, "what did you have for dinner'?" "I'll tell you if I can," answered he, "for my memory's so good that I often forget my own name. Let's see, for the first course, we had a hog, crowned with a wine cup and garnished with cheese cakes and chicken livers cooked well done, beets, of course, and whole-wheat bread, which I'd rather have than white, because it puts strength into you, and when I take a crap afterwards, I don't have to yell. Following this, came a course of tarts, served cold, with excellent Spanish wine poured over warm honey; I ate several of the tarts and got the honey all over myself. Then there were chick-peas and lupines, all the smooth-shelled nuts you wanted, and an apple apiece, but I got away with two, and here they are, tied up in my napkin; for I'll have a row on my hands if I don't bring some kind of a present home to my favorite slave. Oh yes, my wife has just reminded me, there was a haunch of bear-meat as a side dish, Scintilla ate some of it without knowing what it was, and she nearly puked up her guts when she found out. But as for me, I ate more than a pound of it, for it tasted exactly like wild boar and, says I, if a bear eats a man, shouldn't that be all the more reason for a man to eat a bear? The last course was soft cheese, new wine boiled thick, a snail apiece, a helping of tripe, liver pate, capped eggs, turnips and mustard. But that's enough. Pickled olives were handed around in a wooden bowl, and some of the party greedily snatched three handfuls, we had ham, too, but we sent it back."
CHAPTER THE SIXTY-SEVENTH
"But why isn't Fortunata at the table, Gaius? Tell me." "What's that," Trimalchio replied; "don't you know her better than that? She wouldn't touch even a drop of water till after the silver was put away and the leftovers divided among the slaves." "I'm going to beat it if she don't take her place," Habinnas threatened, and started to get up; and then, at a signal, the slaves all called out together "Fortunata," four times or more.
She appeared, girded round with a sash of greenish yellow, below which a cherry-colored tunic could be seen, and she had on twisted anklets and sandals worked in gold. Then, wiping her hands upon a handkerchief which she wore around her neck, she seated herself upon the couch, beside Scintilla, Habinnas' wife, and clapping her hands and kissing her, "My dear," she gushed, "is it really you?" Fortunata then removed the bracelets from her pudgy arms and held them out to the admiring Scintilla, and by and by she took off her anklets and even her yellow hair-net, which was twenty-four carats fine, she would have us know! Trimalchio, who was on the watch, ordered every trinket to be brought to him. "You see these things, don't you?" he demanded; "they're what women fetter us with. That's the way us poor suckers are done! These ought to weigh six pounds and a half. I have an arm-band myself, that don't weigh a grain under ten pounds; I bought it out of Mercury's thousandths, too." Finally, for fear he would seem to be lying, he ordered the scales to be brought in and carried around to prove the weights. And Scintilla was no better. She took off a small golden vanity case which she wore around her neck, and which she called her Lucky Box, and took from it two eardrops, which, in her turn, she handed to Fortunata to be inspected. "Thanks to the generosity of my husband," she smirked, "no woman has better." "What's that?" Habinnas demanded. "You kept on my trail to buy that glass bean for you; if I had a daughter, I'll be damned if I wouldn't cut off her little ears. We'd have everything as cheap as dirt if there were no women, but we have to piss hot and drink cold, the way things are now." The women, angry though they were, were laughing together, in the meantime, and exchanging drunken kisses, the one running on about her diligence as a housekeeper, and the other about the infidelities and neglect of her husband. Habinnas got up stealthily, while they were clinging together in this fashion and, seizing Fortunata by the feet, he tipped her over backwards upon the couch. "Let go!" she screeched, as her tunic slipped above her knees; then, after pulling down her clothing, she threw herself into Scintilla's lap, and hid, with her handkerchief, a face which was none the more beautiful for its blushes.
CHAPTER THE SIXTY-EIGHTH
After a short interval, Trimalchio gave orders for the dessert to be served, whereupon the slaves took away all the tables and brought in others, and sprinkled the floor with sawdust mixed with saffron and vermilion, and also with powdered mica, a thing I had never seen done before. When all this was done Trimalchio remarked, "I could rest content with this course, for you have your second tables, but, if you've something especially nice, why bring it on." Meanwhile an Alexandrian slave boy, who had been serving hot water, commenced to imitate a nightingale, and when Trimalchio presently called out, "Change your tune," we had another surprise, for a slave, sitting at Habinnas' feet, egged on, I have no doubt, by his own master, bawled suddenly in a singsong voice, "Meanwhile AEneas and all of his fleet held his course on the billowy deep"; never before had my ears been assailed by a sound so discordant, for in addition to his barbarous pronunciation, and the raising and lowering of his voice, he interpolated Atellane verses, and, for the first time in my life, Virgil grated on my nerves. When he had to quit, finally, from sheer want of breath, "Did he ever have any training," Habinnas exclaimed, "no, not he! I educated him by sending him among the grafters at the fair, so when it comes to taking off a barker or a mule driver, there's not his equal, and the rogue's clever, too, he's a shoemaker, or a cook, or a baker a regular jack of all trades. But he has two faults, and if he didn't have them, he'd be beyond all price: he snores and he's been circumcised. And that's the reason he never can keep his mouth shut and always has an eye open. I paid three hundred dinars for him."
CHAPTER THE SIXTY-NINTH
"Yes," Scintilla broke in, "and you've not mentioned all of his accomplishments either; he's a pimp too, and I'm going to see that he's branded," she snapped. Trimalchio laughed. "There's where the Cappadocian comes out," he said; "never cheats himself out of anything and I admire him for it, so help me Hercules, I do. No one can show a dead man a good time. Don't be jealous, Scintilla; we're next to you women, too, believe me. As sure as you see me here safe and sound, I used to play at thrust and parry with Mamma, my mistress, and finally even my master got suspicious and sent me back to a stewardship; but keep quiet, tongue, and I'll give you a cake." Taking all this as praise, the wretched slave pulled a small earthen lamp from a fold in his garment, and impersonated a trumpeter for half an hour or more, while Habinnas hummed with him, holding his finger pressed to his lips. Finally, the slave stepped out into the middle of the floor and waved his pipes in imitation of a flute-player; then, with a whip and a smock, he enacted the part of a mule-driver. At last Habinnas called him over and kissed him and said, as he poured a drink for him, "You get better all the time, Massa. I'm going to give you a pair of shoes." Had not the dessert been brought in, we would never have gotten to the end of these stupidities. Thrushes made of pastry and stuffed with nuts and raisins, quinces with spines sticking out so that they looked like sea-urchins. All this would have been endurable enough had it not been for the last dish that was served; so revolting was this, that we would rather have died of starvation than to have even touched it. We thought that a fat goose, flanked with fish and all kinds of birds, had been served, until Trimalchio spoke up. "Everything you see here, my friends," said he, "was made from the same stuff." With my usual keen insight, I jumped to the conclusion that I knew what that stuff was and, turning to Agamemnon, I said, "I shall be greatly surprised, if all those things are not made out of excrement, or out of mud, at the very least: I saw a like artifice practiced at Rome during the Saturnalia."
CHAPTER THE SEVENTIETH
I had not done speaking, when Trimalchio chinned in, "As I hope to grow fatter in fortune but not in figure, my cook has made all this out of a hog! It would be simply impossible to meet up with a more valuable fellow: he'd make you a fish out of a sow's coynte, if that's what you wanted, a pigeon out of her lard, a turtle-dove out of her ham, and a hen out of a knuckle of pork: that's why I named him Daedalus, in a happy moment. I brought him a present of knives, from Rome, because he's so smart; they're made of Noric steel, too." He ordered them brought in immediately, and looked them over, with admiration, even giving us the chance to try their edges upon our cheeks. Then all of a sudden two slaves came in, carrying on as if they had been fighting at the fountain, at least; each one had a water-jar hanging from a yoke around his neck. Trimalchio arbitrated their difference, but neither would abide by his decision, and each one smashed the other's jar with a club. Perturbed at the insolence of these drunken ruffians, we watched both of them narrowly, while they were fighting, and then, what should come pouring out of the broken jars but oysters and scallops, which a slave picked up and passed around in a dish. The resourceful cook would not permit himself to be outdone by such refinements, but served us with snails on a silver gridiron, and sang continually in a tremulous and very discordant voice. I am ashamed to have to relate what followed, for, contrary to all convention, some long-haired boys brought in unguents in a silver basin and anointed the feet of the reclining guests; but before doing this, however, they bound our thighs and ankles with garlands of flowers. They then perfumed the wine-mixing vessel with the same unguent and poured some of the melted liquid into the lamps. Fortunata had, by this time, taken a notion that she wanted to dance, and Scintilla was doing more hand-clapping than talking, when Trimalchio called out, "Philargyrus, and you too, Carrio, you can both come to the table; even if you are green faction fans, and tell your bedfellow, Menophila, to come too." What would you think happened then? We were nearly crowded off the couches by the mob of slaves that crowded into the dining-room and almost filled it full. As a matter of fact, I noticed that our friend the cook, who had made a goose out of a hog, was placed next to me, and he stunk from sauces and pickle. Not satisfied with a place at the table, he immediately staged an impersonation of Ephesus the tragedian, and then he suddenly offered to bet his master that the greens would take first place in the next circus games.
CHAPTER THE SEVENTY-FIRST
Trimalchio was hugely tickled at this challenge. "Slaves are men, my friends," he observed, "but that's not all, they sucked the same milk that we did, even if hard luck has kept them down; and they'll drink the water of freedom if I live: to make a long story short, I'm freeing all of them in my will. To Philargyrus, I'm leaving a farm, and his bedfellow, too. Carrio will get a tenement house and his twentieth, and a bed and bedclothes to boot. I'm making Fortunata my heir and I commend her to all my friends. I announce all this in public so that my household will love me as well now as they will when I'm dead." They all commenced to pay tribute to the generosity of their master, when he, putting aside his trifling, ordered a copy of his will brought in, which same he read aloud from beginning to end, to the groaning accompaniment of the whole household. Then, looking at Habinnas, "What say you, my dearest friend," he entreated; "you'll construct my monument in keeping with the plans I've given you, won't you? I earnestly beg that you carve a little bitch at the feet of my statue, some wreaths and some jars of perfume, and all of the fights of Petraites. Then I'll be able to live even after I'm dead, thanks to your kindness. See to it that it has a frontage of one hundred feet and a depth of two hundred. I want fruit trees of every kind planted around my ashes; and plenty of vines, too, for it's all wrong for a man to deck out his house when he's alive, and then have no pains taken with the one he must stay in for a longer time, and that's the reason I particularly desire that this notice be added:
--THIS MONUMENT DOES NOT--
--DESCEND TO AN HEIR--
"In any case, I'll see to it through a clause in my will, that I'm not insulted when I'm dead. And for fear the rabble comes running up into my monument, to crap, I'll appoint one of my freedmen custodian of my tomb. I want you to carve ships under full sail on my monument, and me, in my robes of office, sitting on my tribunal, five gold rings on my fingers, pouring out coin from a sack for the people, for I gave a dinner and two dinars for each guest, as you know. Show a banquet-hall, too, if you can, and the people in it having a good time. On my right, you can place a statue of Fortunata holding a dove and leading a little bitch on a leash, and my favorite boy, and large jars sealed with gypsum, so the wine won't run out; show one broken and a boy crying over it. Put a sun- dial in the middle, so that whoever looks to see what time it is must read my name whether he wants to or not. As for the inscription, think this over carefully, and see if you think it's appropriate:
HERE RESTS G POMPEIUS TRIMALCHIO
FREEDMAN OF MAECENAS DECREED
AUGUSTAL, SEVIR IN HIS ABSENCE
HE COULD HAVE BEEN A MEMBER OF
EVERY DECURIA OF ROME BUT WOULD
NOT CONSCIENTIOUS BRAVE LOYAL
HE GREW RICH FROM LITTLE AND LEFT
THIRTY MILLION SESTERCES BEHIND
HE NEVER HEARD A PHILOSOPHER
CHAPTER THE SEVENTY-SECOND
When he had repeated these words, Trimalchio began to weep copiously, Fortunata was crying already, and so was Habinnas, and at last, the whole household filled the dining-room with their lamentations, just as if they were taking part in a funeral. Even I was beginning to sniffle, when Trimalchio said, "Let's live while we can, since we know we've all got to die. I'd rather see you all happy, anyhow, so let's take a plunge in the bath. You'll never regret it. I'll bet my life on that, it's as hot as a furnace!" "Fine business," seconded Habinnas, "there's nothing suits me better than making two days out of one," and he got up in his bare feet to follow Trimalchio, who was clapping his hands. I looked at Ascyltos. "What do you think about this?" I asked. "The very sight of a bath will be the death of me." "Let's fall in with his suggestion," he replied, "and while they are hunting for the bath we will escape in the crowd." Giton led us out through the porch, when we had reached this understanding, and we came to a door, where a dog on a chain startled us so with his barking that Ascyltos immediately fell into the fish-pond. As for myself, I was tipsy and had been badly frightened by a dog that was only a painting, and when I tried to haul the swimmer out, I was dragged into the pool myself. The porter finally came to our rescue, quieted the dog by his appearance, and pulled us, shivering, to dry land. Giton had ransomed himself by a very cunning scheme, for what we had saved for him, from dinner, he threw to the barking brute, which then calmed its fury and became engrossed with the food. But when, with chattering teeth, we besought the porter to let us out at the door, "If you think you can leave by the same door you came in at," he replied, "you're mistaken: no guest is ever allowed to go out through the same door he came in at; some are for entrance, others for exit."
CHAPTER THE SEVENTY-THIRD
What were we miserable wretches to do, shut up in this newfangled labyrinth. The idea of taking a hot bath had commenced to grow in favor, so we finally asked the porter to lead us to the place and, throwing off our clothing, which Giton spread out in the hall to dry, we went in. It was very small, like a cold water cistern; Trimalchio was standing upright in it, and one could not escape his disgusting bragging even here. He declared that there was nothing nicer than bathing without a mob around, and that a bakery had formerly occupied this very spot. Tired out at last, he sat down, but when the echoes of the place tempted him, he lifted his drunken mouth to the ceiling, and commenced murdering the songs of Menacrates, at least that is what we were told by those who understood his language. Some of the guests joined hands and ran around the edge of the pool, making the place ring with their boisterous peals of laughter; others tried to pick rings up from the floor, with their hands tied behind them, or else, going down upon their knees, tried to touch the ends of their toes by bending backwards. We went down into the pool while the rest were taking part in such amusements. It was being heated for Trimalchio. When the fumes of the wine had been dissipated, we were conducted into another dining-room where Fortunata had laid out her own treasures; I noticed, for instance, that there were little bronze fishermen upon the lamps, the tables were of solid silver, the cups were porcelain inlaid with gold; before our eyes wine was being strained through a straining cloth. "One of my slaves shaves his first beard today," Trimalchio remarked, at length, "a promising, honest, thrifty lad; may he have no bad luck, so let's get our skins full and stick around till morning."
CHAPTER THE SEVENTY-FOURTH
He had not ceased speaking when a cock crowed! Alarmed at this omen, Trimalchio ordered wine thrown under the table and told them to sprinkle the lamps with it; and he even went so far as to change his ring from his left hand to his right. "That trumpeter did not sound off without a reason," he remarked; "there's either a fire in the neighborhood, or else someone's going to give up the ghost. I hope it's none of us! Whoever brings that Jonah in shall have a present." He had no sooner made this promise, than a cock was brought in from somewhere in the neighborhood and Trimalchio ordered the cook to prepare it for the pot. That same versatile genius who had but a short time before made birds and fish out of a hog, cut it up; it was then consigned to the kettle, and while Daedalus was taking a long hot drink, Fortunata ground pepper in a boxwood mill. When these delicacies had been consumed, Trimalchio looked the slaves over. "You haven't had anything to eat yet, have you?" he asked. "Get out and let another relay come on duty." Thereupon a second relay came in. "Farewell, Gaius," cried those going off duty, and "Hail, Gaius," cried those coming on. Our hilarity was somewhat dampened soon after, for a boy, who was by no means bad looking, came in among the fresh slaves. Trimalchio seized him and kissed him lingeringly, whereupon Fortunata, asserting her rights in the house, began to rail at Trimalchio, styling him an abomination who set no limits to his lechery, finally ending by calling him a dog. Trimalchio flew into a rage at her abuse and threw a wine cup at her head, whereupon she screeched, as if she had had an eye knocked out and covered her face with her trembling hands. Scintilla was frightened, too, and shielded the shuddering woman with her garment. An officious slave presently held a cold water pitcher to her cheek and Fortunata bent over it, sobbing and moaning. But as for Trimalchio, "What the hell's next?" he gritted out, "this Syrian dancing-whore don't remember anything! I took her off the auction block and made her a woman among her equals, didn't I? And here she puffs herself up like a frog and pukes in her own nest; she's a blockhead, all right, not a woman. But that's the way it is, if you're born in an attic you can't sleep in a palace I'll see that this booted Cassandra's tamed, so help me my Genius, I will! And I could have married ten million, even if I did only have two cents: you know I'm not lying! 'Let me give you a tip,' said Agatho, the perfumer to the lady next door, when he pulled me aside: 'don't let your line die out!' And here I've stuck the ax into my own leg because I was a damned fool and didn't want to seem fickle. I'll see to it that you're more careful how you claw me up, sure as you're born, I will! That you may realize how seriously I take what you've done to me-- Habinnas, I don't want you to put her statue on my tomb for fear I'll be nagged even after I'm dead! And furthermore, that she may know I can repay a bad turn, I won't have her kissing me when I'm laid out!"
CHAPTER THE SEVENTY-FIFTH
When Trimalchio had launched this thunderbolt, Habinnas commenced to beg him to control his anger. "There's not one of us but goes wrong sometimes," argued he; "we're not gods, we're men." Scintilla also cried out through her tears, calling him "Gaius," and entreating him by his guardian angel to be mollified. Trimalchio could restrain the tears no longer. "Habinnas," he blubbered, "as you hope to enjoy your money, spit in my face if I've done anything wrong. I kissed him because he's very thrifty, not because he's a pretty boy. He can recite his division table and read a book at sight: he bought himself a Thracian uniform from his savings from his rations, and a stool and two dippers, with his own money, too. He's worth my attention, ain't he? But Fortunata won't see it! Ain't that the truth, you high-stepping hussy'? Let me beg you to make the best of what you've got, you shekite, and don't make me show my teeth, my little darling, or you'll find out what my temper's like! Believe me, when once I've made up my mind, I'm as fixed as a spike in a beam! But let's think of the living. I hope you'll all make yourselves at home, gentlemen: I was in your fix myself once; but rose to what I am now by my own merit. It's the brains that makes the man, all the rest's bunk. I buy well, I sell well, someone else will tell you a different story, but as for myself, I'm fairly busting with prosperity. What, grunting-sow, still bawling? I'll see to it that you've something to bawl for, but as I started to say, it was my thrift that brought me to my fortune. I was just as tall as that candlestick when I came over from Asia; every day I used to measure myself by it, and I would smear my lips with oil so my beard would sprout all the sooner. I was my master's 'mistress' for fourteen years, for there's nothing wrong in doing what your master orders, and I satisfied my mistress, too, during that time, you know what I mean, but I'll say no more, for I'm not one of your braggarts!"
CHAPTER THE SEVENTY-SIXTH
"At last it came about by the will of the gods that I was master in the house, and I had the real master under my thumb then. What is there left to tell? I was made co-heir with Caesar and came into a Senator's fortune. But nobody's ever satisfied with what he's got, so I embarked in business. I won't keep you long in suspense; I built five ships and loaded them with wine--worth its weight in gold, it was then--and sent them to Rome. You'd think I'd ordered it so, for every last one of them foundered; it's a fact, no fairy tale about it, and Neptune swallowed thirty million sesterces in one day! You don't think I lost my pep, do you? By Hercules, no! That was only an appetizer for me, just as if nothing at all had happened. I built other and bigger ships, better found, too, so no one could say I wasn't game. A big ship's a big venture, you know. I loaded them up with wine again, bacon, beans, Capuan perfumes, and slaves: Fortunata did the right thing in this affair, too, for she sold every piece of jewelry and all her clothes into the bargain, and put a hundred gold pieces in my hand. They were the nest-egg of my fortune. A thing's soon done when the gods will it; I cleared ten million sesterces by that voyage, all velvet, and bought in all the estates that had belonged to my patron, right away. I built myself a house and bought cattle to resell, and whatever I touched grew just like a honeycomb. I chucked the game when I got to have an income greater than all the revenues of my own country, retired from business, and commenced to back freedmen. I never liked business anyhow, as far as that goes, and was just about ready to quit when an astrologer, a Greek fellow he was, and his name was Serapa, happened to light in our colony, and he slipped me some information and advised me to quit. He was hep to all the secrets of the gods: told me things about myself that I'd forgotten, and explained everything to me from needle and thread up; knew me inside out, he did, and only stopped short of telling me what I'd had for dinner the day before. You'd have thought he'd lived with me always!"
CHAPTER THE SEVENTY-SEVENTH
"Habinnas, you were there, I think, I'll leave it to you; didn't he say-- 'You took your wife out of a whore-house'? you're as lucky in your friends, too, no one ever repays your favor with another, you own broad estates, you nourish a viper under your wing, and--why shouldn't I tell it--I still have thirty years, four months, and two days to live! I'll also come into another bequest shortly. That's what my horoscope tells me. If I can extend my boundaries so as to join Apulia, I'll think I've amounted to something in this life! I built this house with Mercury on the job, anyhow; it was a hovel, as you know, it's a palace now! Four dining-rooms, twenty bed-rooms, two marble colonnades, a store-room upstairs, a bed-room where I sleep myself, a sitting-room for this viper, a very good room for the porter, a guest-chamber for visitors. As a matter of fact, Scaurus, when he was here, would stay nowhere else, although he has a family place on the seashore. I'll show you many other things, too, in a jiffy; believe me, if you have an as, you'll be rated at what you have. So your humble servant, who was a frog, is now a king. Stychus, bring out my funereal vestments while we wait, the ones I'll be carried out in, some perfume, too, and a draught of the wine in that jar, I mean the kind I intend to have my bones washed in."
CHAPTER THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH
It was not long before Stychus brought a white shroud and a purple-bordered toga into the dining-room, and Trimalchio requested us to feel them and see if they were pure wool. Then, with a smile, "Take care, Stychus, that the mice don't get at these things and gnaw them, or the moths either. I'll burn you alive if they do. I want to be carried out in all my glory so all the people will wish me well." Then, opening a jar of nard, he had us all anointed. "I hope I'll enjoy this as well when I'm dead," he remarked, "as I do while I'm alive." He then ordered wine to be poured into the punch-bowl. "Pretend," said he, "that you're invited to my funeral feast." The thing had grown positively nauseating, when Trimalchio, beastly drunk by now, bethought himself of a new and singular diversion and ordered some horn- blowers brought into the dining-room. Then, propped up by many cushions, he stretched himself out upon the couch. "Let on that I'm dead," said he, "and say something nice about me." The horn-blowers sounded off a loud funeral march together, and one in particular, a slave belonging to an undertaker, made such a fanfare that he roused the whole neighborhood, and the watch, which was patrolling the vicinity, thinking Trimalchio's house was afire, suddenly smashed in the door and rushed in with their water and axes, as is their right, raising a rumpus all their own. We availed ourselves of this happy circumstance and, leaving Agamemnon in the lurch, we took to our heels, as though we were running away from a real conflagration.