The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter - The Dinner of Trimalchio
The second volume of The Satyricon, by Petronius, featuring the Dinner of Trimalchio.
Volume 2. -- The Dinner of Trimalchio.
Chapter the Twenty-Seventh.
Having put on our clothes, in the meantime, we commenced to stroll around and soon, the better to amuse ourselves, approached the circle of players; all of a sudden we caught sight of a bald-headed old fellow, rigged out in a russet colored tunic, playing ball with some long haired boys. It was not so much the boys who attracted our attention, although they might well have merited it, as it was the spectacle afforded by this beslippered paterfamilias playing with a green ball. If one but touched the ground, he never stooped for it to put it back in play; for a slave stood by with a bagful from which the players were supplied. We noted other innovations as well, for two eunuchs were stationed at opposite sides of the ring, one of whom held a silver chamber-pot, the other counted the balls; not those which bounced back and forth from hand to hand, in play, but those which fell to the ground. While we were marveling at this display of refinement, Menelaus rushed up, "He is the one with whom you will rest upon your elbow," he panted, "what you see now, is only a prelude to the dinner." Menelaus had scarcely ceased speaking when Trimalchio snapped his fingers; the eunuch, hearing the signal, held the chamber-pot for him while he still continued playing. After relieving his bladder, he called for water to wash his hands, barely moistened his fingers, and dried them upon a boy's head.
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