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[68] After an interval, Trimalchio ordered fresh relays of food to be brought in. The slaves took away all the tables, brought in others, and sprinkled about sawdust coloured with saffron and vermilion, and, what I had[p. 131] never seen before, powdered talc. Trimalchio at once said, “I might really be satisfied with this course; for you have got your fresh relays. But if there is anything nice, put it on.”

Meanwhile a boy from Alexandria, who was handing hot water, began to imitate a nightingale, and made Trimalchio shout, “Oh! change the tune.” Then there was another joke. A slave, who was sitting at the feet of Habinnas, began, by his master's orders I suppose, suddenly to cry in a loud voice:

“Now with his fleet Aeneas held the main.” 1
No sharper sound ever pierced my ears; for besides his making barbarous mistakes in raising or lowering his voice, he mixed up Atellane verses2 with it, so that Virgil jarred on me for the first time in my life. All the same, Habinnas supplied applause when he had at last left off, and said, “He never went to school, but I educated him by sending him round the hawkers in the market. So he has no equal when he wants to imitate mule-drivers or hawkers. He is terribly clever; he is a cobbler too, a cook, a confectioner, a slave of all the talents. He has only two faults, and if he were rid of them he would be simply perfect. He is a Jew and he snores. For I do not mind his being cross-eyed; he has a look like Venus. So that is why he cannot keep silent, and scarcely ever shuts his eyes. I bought him for three hundred denarii.” Scintilla interrupted his story by saying,

1 See Virgil, Æneid V, 1.

2 Comic verse; probably improper. See note, p. 95.

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