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[34] Trimalchio had now stopped his game, and asked for all the same dishes, and in a loud voice invited any of us, who wished, to take a second glass of mead. Suddenly the music gave the sign, and the light dishes were swept away by a troop of singing servants. An entrée-dish happened to fall in the rush, and a boy picked it up from the ground. Trimalchio saw him, and directed that he should be punished by a box on the ear, and made to throw down the dish again. A chairman followed and began to sweep out the silver with a broom among the other rubbish. Then two long-haired Ethiopians with little wineskins, just like the men who scatter sand in an amphitheatre, came in and gave us wine to wash our hands in, for no one offered us water.

We complimented our host on his arrangements.“Mars loves a fair field,” said he, “and so I gave orders that every one should have a separate table. In that way these filthy slaves will not make us so hot by crowding past us.”

Just then some glass jars carefully fastened with gypsum were brought on, with labels tied to their necks, inscribed, “Falernian of Opimius's vintage, 100 years in bottle.”1 As we were poring over the labels Trimalchio clapped his hands and cried, “Ah me, so wine lives longer than miserable man. So let us be merry.2 Wine is life. I put on real wine of[p. 53] Opimius's year. I produced some inferior stuff yesterday, and there was a much finer set of people to dinner.” As we drank and admired each luxury in detail, a slave brought in a silver skeleton, made so that its limbs and spine could be moved and bent in every direction. He put it down once or twice on the table so that the supple joints showed several attitudes, and Trimalchio said appropriately: “Alas for us poor mortals, all that poor man is is nothing. So we shall all be, after the world below takes us away. Let us live then while it goes well with us.”

1 Opimius was consul in 121 B. C.

2 The meaning of the word tengomenas is uncertain. Attempts have been made to connect it with the Greekτέγγειν “to wet,” because Alcaeus says τέγγε πνεύμονας οἴνῳ, “wet the lungs with wine.”

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