Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

2. Chapter II (continued)

Across the small kitchen flitted many forms which the quick eye of the master did not recognize.

'Oh! oh!' grumbled he to himself, 'that cursed Congrio hath invited a whole legion of cooks to assist him. They won't serve for nothing, and this is another item in the total of my day's expenses. By Bacchus! thrice lucky shall I be if the slaves do not help themselves to some of the drinking vessels: ready, alas, are their hands, capacious are their tunics. Me miserum!'

The cooks, however, worked on, seemingly heedless of the apparition of Diomed.

'Ho, Euclio, your egg-pan! What, is this the largest? it only holds thirty-three eggs: in the houses I usually serve, the smallest egg-pan holds fifty, if need be!'

'The unconscionable rogue!' thought Diomed; 'he talks of eggs as if they were a sesterce a hundred!'

'By Mercury!' cried a pert little culinary disciple, scarce in his novitiate; 'whoever saw such antique sweetmeat shapes as these?--It is impossible to do credit to one's art with such rude materials. Why, Sallust's commonest sweetmeat shape represents the whole siege of Troy; Hector and Paris, and Helen... with little Astyanax and the Wooden Horse into the bargain!'

'Silence, fool!' said Congrio, the cook of the house, who seemed to leave the chief part of the battle to his allies. 'My master, Diomed, is not one of those expensive good-for-noughts, who must have the last fashion, cost what it will!'

'Thou liest, base slave!' cried Diomed, in a great passion--and thou costest me already enough to have ruined Lucullus himself! Come out of thy den, I want to talk to thee.'

The slave, with a sly wink at his confederates, obeyed the command.

'Man of three letters,' said Diomed, with his face of solemn anger, 'how didst thou dare to invite all those rascals into my house?--I see thief written in every line of their faces.'

This is page 250 of 436. [Mark this Page]
Mark any page to add this title to Your Bookshelf. (0 / 10 books on shelf)
Customize text appearance:
Color: A A A A A   Font: Aa Aa   Size: 1 2 3 4 5   Defaults
(c) 2003-2012 LiteraturePage.com and Michael Moncur. All rights reserved.
For information about public domain texts appearing here, read the copyright information and disclaimer.