BOOK THE FIRST
7. Chapter VII
Sauntering through the crowd, Glaucus soon found himself amidst a group of
his merry and dissipated friends.
'Ah!' said Sallust, 'it is a lustrum since I saw you.'
'And how have you spent the lustrum? What new dishes have you discovered?'
'I have been scientific,' returned Sallust, 'and have made some experiments
in the feeding of lampreys: I confess I despair of bringing them to the
perfection which our Roman ancestors attained.'
'Miserable man! and why?'
'Because,' returned Sallust, with a sigh, 'it is no longer lawful to give
them a slave to eat. I am very often tempted to make away with a very fat
carptor (butler) whom I possess, and pop him slily into the reservoir. He
would give the fish a most oleaginous flavor! But slaves are not slaves
nowadays, and have no sympathy with their masters' interest--or Davus would
destroy himself to oblige me!'
'What news from Rome?' said Lepidus, as he languidly joined the group.
'The emperor has been giving a splendid supper to the senators,' answered
'He is a good creature,' quoth Lepidus; 'they say he never sends a man away
without granting his request.'
'Perhaps he would let me kill a slave for my reservoir?' returned Sallust,
'Not unlikely,' said Glaucus; 'for he who grants a favor to one Roman, must
always do it at the expense of another. Be sure, that for every smile Titus
has caused, a hundred eyes have wept.'
'Long live Titus!' cried Pansa, overhearing the emperor's name, as he swept
patronizingly through the crowd; 'he has promised my brother a quaestorship,
because he had run through his fortune.'
'And wishes now to enrich himself among the people, my Pansa,' said Glaucus.
'Exactly so,' said Pansa.