BOOK THE FOURTH
3. Chapter III
'My dear Glaucus, a Roman noble has his dignity to keep up--dignity is very
expensive--Clodius must cheat like a scoundrel, in order to live like a
'Ha ha!--well, of late I have renounced the dice. Ah! Sallust, when I am
wedded to Ione, I trust I may yet redeem a youth of follies. We are both
born for better things than those in which we sympathize now--born to render
our worship in nobler temples than the stye of Epicurus.'
'Alas!' returned Sallust, in rather a melancholy tone, 'what do we know more
than this--life is short--beyond the grave all is dark? There is no wisdom
like that which says "enjoy".'
'By Bacchus! I doubt sometimes if we do enjoy the utmost of which life is
'I am a moderate man,' returned Sallust, 'and do not ask "the utmost". We
are like malefactors, and intoxicate ourselves with wine and myrrh, as we
stand on the brink of death; but, if we did not do so, the abyss would look
very disagreeable. I own that I was inclined to be gloomy until I took so
heartily to drinking--that is a new life, my Glaucus.'
'Yes! but it brings us next morning to a new death.'
'Why, the next morning is unpleasant, I own; but, then, if it were not so,
one would never be inclined to read. I study betimes--because, by the gods!
I am generally unfit for anything else till noon.'
'Pshaw! the fate of Pentheus to him who denies Bacchus.'
'Well, Sallust, with all your faults, you are the best profligate I ever
met: and verily, if I were in danger of life, you are the only man in all
Italy who would stretch out a finger to save me.'
'Perhaps I should not, if it were in the middle of supper. But, in truth,
we Italians are fearfully selfish.'