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“ [77] You would have thought he had always lived with me. You remember, Habinnas?—I believe you were there?— 'You fetched your wife from you know where. You are not lucky in your friends. No one is ever as grateful to you as you deserve. You are a man of property. You are nourishing a viper in your bosom,' and, though I must not tell you this, that even now I had thirty years four months and two days left to live. Moreover I shall soon come into an estate. My oracle tells me so. If I could only extend my boundaries to Apulia I should have gone far enough for my lifetime. Meanwhile I built this house while Mercury watched over me.1 As you know, it was a tiny place; now it is a palace. It has four dining-rooms, twenty bedrooms, two marble colonnades, an upstairs diningroom, a bedroom where I sleep myself, this viper's boudoir, an excellent room for the porter; there is[p. 155] plenty of spare room for guests. In fact when Scaurus came he preferred staying here to anywhere else, and he has a family place by the sea. There are plenty of other things which I will show you in a minute. Take my word for it; if you have a penny, that is what you are worth; by what a man hath shall he be reckoned. So your friend who was once a worm is now a king. Meanwhile, Stichus, bring me the graveclothes in which I mean to be carried out. And some ointment, and a mouthful out of that jar which has to be poured over my bones.”

1 Mercury was Trimalchio's patron. See note, p. 43. Also he was the god of gain and good luck.

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