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AFTER this it was presently asked, why the room which at the beginning of supper seems too narrow for the guests is afterwards wide enough; when the contrary is most likely, after they are filled with the supper. Some said, the posture of our sitting was the cause; for they sit, when they eat, with their full breadth to the table, that they may command it with their right hand; but after they leave supped, they sit more sideways, and make an acute figure with their bodies, and do not touch the place according to the superficies, if I may so say, but the line Now as cockal bones do not take up as much room when [p. 327] they fall upon one end as when they fall flat, so every one of us at the beginning sitting broadwise, and with a full face to the table, afterwards changes the figure. and turns his depth, not his breadth, to the board. Some attribute it to the beds whereon we sat, for those when pressed stretch; as strait shoes after a little wearing have their pores widened, and grow fit for—sometimes too big for— the foot. An old man in the company merrily said, that the same feast had two very different presidents and directors; in the beginning, Hunger, that is not the least skilled in ordering and disposing, but afterward Bacchus, whom all acknowledge to be the best orderer of an army in the world. As therefore Epaminondas, when the unskilful captains had led their forces into narrow disadvantageous straits, relieved the phalanx that was fallen foul on itself and all in disorder, and brought it into good rank and file again; thus we in the beginning being like greedy hounds confused and disordered by hunger, the God (hence named the looser and the dance-arranger) settles us in a friendly and agreeable order.
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