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In discourses of this kind we spent our time by the way, and were now come to the house. Here Thales would not be washed, for he had but a while before anointed himself; wherefore he took a round to view the horse-race and the wrestling-place, and the grove upon the water-side, which was neatly trimmed and beautified by Periander; this he did, not so much to satisfy his own curiosity (for he seldom or never admired any thing he saw), but that he might not disoblige Periander or seem to overlook or despise the glory and magnificence of our host. [p. 8] Of the rest every one, after he had anointed and washed himself, the servants introduced into a particular room, purposely fitted and prepared for the men; they were guided thither through a porch, in which Anacharsis sat, and there was a certain young lady with him arranging his hair. This lady stepping forward to welcome Thales, he saluted her most courteously, and smiling said: Madam, make the stranger fair and pleasant, so that, being (as he is) the mildest. man in the world, he may not be fearful and hideous for us to look on. When I was curious to enquire who this lady was whom Thales thus complimented, he said, Do you not yet know the wise and famous Eumetis? —for so her father calls her, though others call her after her father's name Cleobulina. Doubtless, saith Niloxenus, they call her by this name to commend her judgment and wit, and her reach into the more abstruse and recondite part of learning; for I have myself in Egypt seen and read some problems first started and discussed by her. Not so, saith Thales, for she plays with these as men do with cockal-bones, and encounters boldly all she meets, without study or premeditation; she is a person of an admirable understanding, of a politic capacious mind, of a very obliging conversation, and one that by her rhetoric and the sweetness of her temper prevails upon her father to govern his subjects with the greatest mildness in the world. How popular she is appears, saith Niloxenus, plainly to any that observes her pleasant innocent garb. But pray, continues he, wherefore is it that she shows such tenderness and affection to Anacharsis ? Because, replied Thales, he is a temperate and learned man, who fully and freely makes known to her those mysterious ways of dieting and physicing the sick which are now in use among the Scythians; and I doubt not she now coaxes and courts the old gentleman at the rate you see, taking this opportunity to discourse with him and learn something of him.

[p. 9] As we were come near the dining-room, Alexidemus the Milesian, a bastard son of Thrasybulus the Tyrant, met us. He seemed to be disturbed, and in an angry tone muttered to himself some words which we could not distinctly hear; but espying Thales, and recovering himself out of his disorder, he complained how Periander had put an insufferable affront upon him. He would not permit me, saith he, to go to sea, though I earnestly importuned him, but he would press me to dine with him. And when I came as invited, he assigned me a seat unbecoming my person and character, Aeolians and islanders and others of inferior rank being placed above me; whence it is easy to infer how meanly he thinks of my father, and it is undeniable how this affront put upon me rebounds disgracefully in my parent's face. Say you so? quoth Thales, are you afraid lest the place lessen or diminish your honor and worth, as the Egyptians commonly hold the stars are magnified or lessened according to their higher or lower place and position? And are you more foolish than that Spartan who, when the prefect of the music had appointed him to sit in the lowest seat in the choir, replied, This is prudently done, for this is the ready way to bring this seat into repute and esteem ? It is a frivolous consideration, where or below whom we sit; and it is a wiser part to adapt ourselves to the judgment and humor of our right and left hand man and the rest of the company, that we may approve ourselves worthy of their friendship, when they find we take no pet at our host, but are rather pleased to be placed near such good company. And whosoever is disturbed upon the account of his place seems to be more angry with his neighbor than with his host, but certainly is very troublesome and nauseous to both.

These are fine words, and no more, quoth Alexidemus, for I observe you, the wisest of men, as ambitious as other men; and having said thus, he passed by us doggedly and [p. 10] trooped off. Thales, seeing us admiring the innocence of the man, declared he was a fellow naturally of a blockish, stupid disposition; for when he was a boy, he took a parcel of rich perfume that was presented to Thrasybulus and poured it into a large bowl, and mixing it with a quantity of wine, he drank it off and was ever hated for it. As Thales was talking after this fashion, in comes a servant and tells us it was Periander's pleasure we would come in and inform him what we thought of a certain creature brought into his presence that instant, whether it were so born by chance or were a prodigy and omen;— himself seeming mightily affected and concerned, for he judged his sacrifice polluted by it. At the same time he walked before us into a certain house adjoining to his garden-wall, where we found a young beardless shepherd, tolerably handsome, who having opened a leathern bag produced and showed us a child born (as he averred) of a mare. His upper part, as far as his neck and his hands, was of human shape, and the rest of his body resembled a perfect horse; his cry was like that of a child newly born. As soon as Niloxenus saw it, he cried out, The Gods deliver us; and away he fled as one sadly affrighted. But Thales eyed the shepherd a considerable while, and then smiling (for it was his way to jeer me perpetually about my art) says he, I doubt not, Diocles, but you have been all this time seeking for some expiatory offering, and intending to call to your aid those Gods whose province and work it is to avert evils from men, as if some great and grievous thing had happened. Why not? quoth I, for undoubtedly this prodigy portends sedition and war, and I fear the dire portents thereof may extend to myself, my wife, and my children, and prove all our ruin; since, before I have atoned for my former fault, the Goddess gives us this second evidence and proof of her displeasure. Thales replied never a word, but laughing went [p. 11] out of the house. Periander, meeting him at the door, enquired what we thought of that creature; he dismissed me, and taking Periander by the hand, said, Whatsoever Diodes shall persuade you to do, do it at your best leisure; but I advise you either not to have such young men to keep your mares, or to give them leave to marry. When Periander heard him out, he seemed infinitely pleased, for he laughed outright, and hugging Thales in his arms he kissed him; then saith he, O Diocles, I am apt to think the worst is over, and what this prodigy portended is now at an end; for do you not apprehend what a loss we have sustained in the want of Alexidemus's good company at supper?

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