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[42] Seleucus took up the tale and said: I do not wash every day; the bathman pulls you to pieces like a fuller, the water bites, and the heart of man melts away daily. But when I have put down some draughts of mead I let the cold go to the devil.1 Besides, I could not wash; I was at a funeral to-day A fine fellow, the excellent Chrysanthus, has breathed his last. It was but the other day he greeted me. I feel as if I were speaking with him now. Dear, dear, how we bladders of wind strut about. We are meaner than flies; flies have their virtues, we are nothing but bubbles. And what would have happened if he had not tried the fasting cure? No water touched his lips for five days, not a morsel of bread. Yet he went over to the majority. The doctors killed him—no, it was his unhappy destiny; a doctor is nothing but a sop to conscience. Still, he was carried out in fine style on a bier covered with a good pall. The mourning was very good too—he had freed a number of slaves—even though his own wife was very grudging over her tears. I daresay he did not treat her particularly kindly. But women one and all are a set of vultures. It is no use doing anyone a kindness; it is all the same as if you put your kindness in a well. But an old love pinches like a crab."

1 Laecasin is from the Greek λειχάζειν, Latin fellare, sensu obsceno.

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