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[37] I was now unable to eat any more, so I turned to my neighbour to get as much news as possible. I began to seek for far-fetched stories, and to inquire who the woman was who kept running about everywhere. “She is Trimalchio's wife Fortunata,” he said,[p. 57] "and she counts her money by the bushel. And what was she a little while ago? You will pardon me if I say that you would not have taken a piece of bread from her hand. Now without why or wherefore she is queen of Heaven, and Trimalchio's all in all. In fact, if she tells him that it is dark at high noon, he will believe it. He is so enormously rich that he does not know himself what he has; but this lynx-eyed woman has a plan for everything, even where you would not think it. She is temperate, sober, and prudent, but she has a nasty tongue, and henpecks him on his own sofa.1 Whom she likes, she likes; whom she dislikes, she dislikes. Trimalchio has estates wherever a kite can fly in a day, is millionaire of millionaires. There is more plate lying in his steward's room than other people have in their whole fortunes. And his slaves! My word! I really don't believe that one out of ten of them knows his master by sight. Why, he can knock any of these young louts into a nettle-bed2 if he chooses.

1 The phrase means literally “a magpie belonging to a sofa,” and clearly refers to domestic tyranny.

2 In rutae folium coniciet. Literally “will throw into a rueleaf.”Rutae folium is said by Friedländer to be a proverbial expression for a small space. He refers to Martial XI, 31. The phrase occurs again in c. 58.

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