I was gazing at all this, when I
nearly fell backwards and broke my leg. For on the left hand as you went in, not far
from the porter's office, a great dog on a chain was painted on the wall, and over
him was written in large letters“BEWARE OF THE DOG.” My friends laughed
at me, but I plucked up courage and went on to examine the whole wall. It had a
picture of a slave-market[p. 43]
on it, with the persons' names. Trimalchio
was there with long hair, holding a Mercury's staff.1
Minerva had him by the hand and was leading him into Rome.
Then the painstaking artist had given a faithful picture of his whole career with
explanations: how he had learned to keep accounts, and how at last he had been made
steward. At the point where the wall-space gave out, Mercury had taken him by the
chin, and was whirling him up to his high official throne. Fortune stood by with her
flowing horn of plenty, and the three Fates spinning their golden threads. I also
observed a company of runners practising in the gallery under a trainer, and in a
corner I saw a large cupboard containing a tiny shrine, wherein were silver
house-gods, and a marble image of Venus, and a large golden box, where they told me
Trimalchio's first beard was laid up.
I began to ask the porter what pictures they had in the hall. “The Iliad and
the Odyssey,” he said,“and the gladiator's show given by
Laenas.” I could not take them all in at once. . . . .