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[43] He was a bore, and Phileros shouted out: “Oh, let us remember the living. He has got his deserts; he lived decently and died decently. What has he got to grumble at? He started with twopence, and he was always ready to pick a halfpenny out of the dirt with his teeth. So he grew and grew like a honeycomb. Upon my word, I believe he left a clear hundred[p. 71] thousand, and all in hard cash. Still, I have eaten the dog's tongue, I must speak the truth. He had a rough mouth, and talked continually, and was more of a discord than a man. His brother was a fine fellow, stood by his friends, open-handed and kept a good table. To begin with, he caught a Tartar:1 but his first vintage set him on his feet: he used to get any price he asked for his wine. And what made him hold up his head was that he came into an estate out of which he got more than had been left to him. And that blockhead, in a fit of passion with his brother, left the family property away to some nobody or other. He that flies from his own family has far to travel. But he had some eaves-dropping slaves who did for him. A man who is always ready to believe what is told him will never do well, especially a business man. Still no doubt he enjoyed himself every day of his life. Blessed is he who gets the gift, not he for whom it is meant. He was a real Fortune's darling, lead turned gold in his hands. Yes, it is easy when everything goes fair and square. And how many years do you think he had on his shoulders? Seventy and more. But he was a tough old thing, carried his age well, as black as a crow. I had known him world without end, and he was still merry. I really do not think he spared a single creature in his house. No, he was still a gay one, ready for anything. Well, I do not blame him: it is only his past pleasures he can take with him.”

1 Literally “he plucked a bad magpie.” The magpie was Considered a bird of ill omen; Horace, Odes iii, 27.

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