I own about a hundred four-gallon cups engraved with
Cassandra killing her children, and they lying there dead in the most lifelike
way. I have a thousand jugs which Mummius1
left to my patron, and on them you see Daedalus
shutting Niobe into the Trojan horse. And I have got the fights between Hereros
cups, and every cup is a heavy one; for I do not sell my connoisseurship for any
As he was speaking, a boy dropped a cup. Trimalchio looked at him and said,
“Quick, off with your own head, since you are so stupid.” The boy's
lip fell and he began to petition. “Why do you ask me?” said
Trimalchio, “as if I should be hard on you! I advise you to prevail upon
yourself not to be stupid.” In the end we induced him to let the boy off.
As soon as he was forgiven the boy ran round the table . . . .
Then Trimalchio shouted, “Out with water! In with wine!” . . . We took
up the joke, especially Agamemnon, who knew how to earn a second invitation[p. 93]
to dinner. Trimalchio warmed to his drinking under our flattery, and
was almost drunk when he said:“None of you ask dear Fortunata to dance. I tell
you no one can dance the cancan better.” He then lifted his hands above
his head and gave us the actor Syrus, while all the slaves sang in chorus:
And Trimalchio would have come out into the middle of the room if Fortunata
had not whispered in his ear. I suppose she told him that such low fooling was
beneath his dignity. But never was anything so variable; at one moment he was afraid
of Fortunata, and then he would return to his natural self.