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[78] In a moment Stichus had fetched a white windingsheet and dress into the dining-room and . . . [Trimalchio] asked us to feel whether they were made of good wool. Then he gave a little laugh and said, “Mind neither mouse nor moth corrupts them, Stichus; otherwise I will burn you alive. I want to be carried out in splendour, so that the whole crowd calls down blessings on me.” He immediately opened a flask and anointed us all and said, “I hope I shall like this as well in the grave as I do on earth.” Besides this he ordered wine to be poured into a bowl, and said,“Now you must imagine you have been asked to my funeral.”

The thing was becoming perfectly sickening, when Trimalchio, now deep in the most vile drunkenness, had a new set of performers, some trumpeters, brought into the dining-room, propped himself on a heap of cushions, and stretched himself on his death-bed, saying, “Imagine that I am dead. Play something pretty.” The trumpeters broke into a loud funeral march. One man especially, a slave of the undertaker who was the most decent man in the party, blew such a mighty blast that the whole neighbourhood was[p. 157] roused. The watch,1 who were patrolling the streets close by, thought Trimalchio's house was alight, and suddenly burst in the door and began with water and axes to do their duty in creating a disturbance. My friends and I seized this most welcome opportunity, outwitted Agamemnon, and took to our heels as quickly as if there were a real fire.

1 Either a municipal or a private brigade of firemen or watchmen.

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