Ascyltos was heavy-eyed with all his troubles, and
was falling asleep, when the maid who had been driven away so rudely rubbed his face
over with soot, and coloured his lips and his neck with vermilion while he drowsed.
By this time I was tired out with adventures too, and had just taken the tiniest
taste of sleep. All the servants, indoors and out, had done the same. Some lay
anyhow by the feet of the guests, some leaned against the walls, some even stayed in
the doorway with their heads together. The oil in the lamps had run out, and they
gave a thin dying light. All at once two Syrians came in to rob the dining-room, and
in quarrelling greedily over the plate pulled a large jug in two and broke it. The
table fell over with the plate, and a cup which happened to fly[p. 33]
distance hit the head of the maid, who was lolling over a seat. The knock made her
scream, and this showed up the thieves and woke some of the drunken party. The
Syrians who had come to steal dropped side by side on a sofa, when they realized
that they were being noticed, with the most convincing naturalness, and began to
snore like old-established sleepers.
By this time the butler had got up and refilled the flickering lamps. The boys rubbed
their eyes for a few minutes, and then came back to wait. Then a girl with cymbals
came in, and the crash of the brass aroused everybody.