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The Big Stupid Review


American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
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Volume II

Complete and unexpurgated translation by W. C. Firebaugh, in which are incorporated the forgeries of Nodot and Marchena, and the readings introduced into the text by De Salas.

(Forgeries of Nodot)
[Forgeries of Marchena]
{Additions of De Salas}


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.

the procession

Chapter the Twenty-Eigth

To go into details would take too long. We entered the bath, finally, and after sweating for a minute or two in the warm room, we passed through into the cold water. But short as was the time, Trimalchio had already been sprinkled with perfume and was being rubbed down, not with linen towels, however, but with cloths made from the finest wool. Meanwhile, three masseurs were guzzling Falernian under his eyes, and when they spilled a great deal of it in their brawling, Trimalchio declared they were pouring a libation to his Genius. He was then wrapped in a coarse scarlet wrap-rascal, and placed in a litter. Four runners, whose liveries were decorated with metal plates, preceded him, as also did a wheel-chair in which rode his favorite, a withered, blear eyed slave, even more repulsive looking than his master. A singing boy approached the head of his litter, as he was being carried along, and played upon small pipes the whole way, just as if he were communicating some secret to his master's ear. Marveling greatly, we followed, and met Agamemnon at the outer door, to the post of which was fastened a small tablet bearing this inscription:



In the vestibule stood the porter, clad in green and girded with a cherry-colored belt, shelling peas into a silver dish. Above the threshold was suspended a golden cage, from which a black and white magpie greeted the visitors.

Chapter the Twenty-Ninth

I almost fell backwards and broke my legs while staring at all this, for to the left, as we entered, not far from the porter's alcove, an enormous dog upon a chain was painted upon the wall, and above him this inscription, in capitals:


My companions laughed, but I plucked up my courage and did not hesitate, but went on and examined the entire wall. There was a scene in a slave market, the tablets hanging from the slaves' necks, and Trimalchio himself, wearing his hair long, holding a caduceus in his hand, entering Rome, led by the hand of Minerva. Then again the painstaking artist had depicted him casting up accounts, and still again, being appointed steward; everything being explained by inscriptions. Where the walls gave way to the portico, Mercury was shown lifting him up by the chin, to a tribunal placed on high. Near by stood Fortune with her horn of plenty, and the three Fates, spinning golden flax. I also took note of a group of runners, in the portico, taking their exercise under the eye of an instructor, and in one corner was a large cabinet, in which was a very small shrine containing silver Lares, a marble Venus, and a golden casket by no means small, which held, so they told us, the first shavings of Trimalchio's beard. I asked the hall-porter what pictures were in the middle hall. "The Iliad and the Odyssey," he replied, "and the gladiatorial games given under Laenas." There was no time in which to examine them all.

Chapter the Thirtieth

We had now come to the dining-room, at the entrance to which sat a factor, receiving accounts, and, what gave me cause for astonishment, rods and axes were fixed to the door-posts, superimposed, as it were, upon the bronze beak of a ship, whereon was inscribed:


A double lamp, suspended from the ceiling, hung beneath the inscription, and a tablet was fixed to each door-post; one, if my memory serves me, was inscribed,


the other bore a painting of the moon in her phases, and the seven planets, and the days which were lucky and those which were unlucky, distinguished by distinctive studs. We had had enough of these novelties and started to enter the dining-room when a slave, detailed to this duty, cried out, "Right foot first." Naturally, we were afraid that some of us might break some rule of conduct and cross the threshold the wrong way; nevertheless, we started out, stepping off together with the right foot, when all of a sudden, a slave who had been stripped, threw himself at our feet, and commenced begging us to save him from punishment, as it was no serious offense for which he was in jeopardy; the steward's clothing had been stolen from him in the baths, and the whole value could scarcely amount to ten sesterces. So we drew back our right feet and intervened with the steward, who was counting gold pieces in the hall, begging him to remit the slave's punishment. Putting a haughty face on the matter, "It's not the loss I mind so much," he said, "as it is the carelessness of this worthless rascal. He lost my dinner clothes, given me on my birthday they were, by a certain client, Tyrian purple too, but it had been washed once already. But what does it amount to? I make you a present of the scoundrel!"

the guilty slave

Chapter the Thirty-first

We felt deeply obligated by his great condescension, and the same slave for whom we had interceded, rushed up to us as we entered the dining-room, and to our astonishment, kissed us thick and fast, voicing his thanks for our kindness. "You'll know in a minute whom you did a favor for," he confided, "the master's wine is the thanks of a grateful butler!" At length we reclined, and slave boys from Alexandria poured water cooled with snow upon our hands, while others following, attended to our feet and removed the hangnails with wonderful dexterity, nor were they silent even during this disagreeable operation, but they all kept singing at their work. I was desirous of finding out whether the whole household could sing, so I ordered a drink; a boy near at hand instantly repeated my order in a singsong voice fully as shrill, and whichever one you accosted did the same. You would not imagine that this was the dining-room of a private gentleman, but rather that it was an exhibition of pantomimes. A very inviting relish was brought on, for by now all the couches were occupied save only that of Trimalchio, for whom, after a new custom, the chief place was reserved.

On the tray stood a donkey made of Corinthian bronze, bearing panniers containing olives, white in one and black in the other. Two platters flanked the figure, on the margins of which were engraved Trimalchio's name and the weight of the silver in each. Dormice sprinkled with poppy-seed and honey were served on little bridges soldered fast to the platter, and hot sausages on a silver gridiron, underneath which were damson plums and pomegranate seeds.

Chapter the Thirty-second

We Were in the midst of these delicacies when, to the sound of music, Trimalchio himself was carried in and bolstered up in a nest of small cushions, which forced a snicker from the less wary. A shaven poll protruded from a scarlet mantle, and around his neck, already muffled with heavy clothing, he had tucked a napkin having a broad purple stripe and a fringe that hung down all around. On the little finger of his left hand he wore a massive gilt ring, and on the first joint of the next finger, a smaller one which seemed to me to be of pure gold, but as a matter of fact it had iron stars soldered on all around it. And then, for fear all of his finery would not be displayed, he bared his right arm, adorned with a golden arm-band and an ivory circlet clasped with a plate of shining metal.

Chapter the Thirty-third

Picking his teeth with a silver quill, "Friends," said he, "it was not convenient for me to come into the dining-room just yet, but for fear my absence should cause you any inconvenience, I gave over my own pleasure: permit me, however, to finish my game." A slave followed with a terebinth table and crystal dice, and I noted one piece of luxury that was superlative; for instead of black and white pieces, he used gold and silver coins. He kept up a continual flow of various coarse expressions. We were still dallying with the relishes when a tray was brought in, on which was a basket containing a wooden hen with her wings rounded and spread out as if she were brooding. Two slaves instantly approached, and to the accompaniment of music, commenced to feel around in the straw. They pulled out some pea-hen's eggs, which they distributed among the diners. Turning his head, Trimalchio saw what was going on. "Friends," he remarked. "I ordered pea-hen's eggs set under the hen, but I'm afraid they're addled, by Hercules I am let's try them anyhow, and see if they're still fit to suck." We picked up our spoons, each of which weighed not less than half a pound, and punctured the shells, which were made of flour and dough, and as a matter of fact, I very nearly threw mine away for it seemed to me that a chick had formed already, but upon hearing an old experienced guest vow, "There must be something good here," I broke open the shell with my hand and discovered a fine fat fig-pecker, imbedded in a yolk seasoned with pepper.

Chapter the Thirty-fourth

Having finished his game, Trimalchio was served with a helping of everything and was announcing in a loud voice his willingness to join anyone in a second cup of honied wine, when, to a flourish of music, the relishes were suddenly whisked away by a singing chorus, but a small dish happened to fall to the floor, in the scurry, and a slave picked it up. Seeing this, Trimalchio ordered that the boy be punished by a box on the ear, and made him throw it down again; a janitor followed with his broom and swept the silver dish away among the litter. Next followed two long-haired Ethiopians, carrying small leather bottles, such as are commonly seen in the hands of those who sprinkle sand in the arena, and poured wine upon our hands, for no one offered us water. When complimented upon these elegant extras, the host cried out, "Mars loves a fair fight: and so I ordered each one a separate table: that way these stinking slaves won't make us so hot with their crowding." Some glass bottles carefully sealed with gypsum were brought in at that instant; a label bearing this inscription was fastened to the neck of each one:


While we were studying the labels, Trimalchio clapped his hands and cried, "Ah me! To think that wine lives longer than poor little man. Let's fill 'em up! There's life in wine and this is the real Opimian, you can take my word for that. I offered no such vintage yesterday, though my guests were far more respectable." We were tippling away and extolling all these elegant devices, when a slave brought in a silver skeleton, so contrived that the joints and movable vertebra could be turned in any direction. He threw it down upon the table a time or two, and its mobile articulation caused it to assume grotesque attitudes, whereupon Trimalchio chimed in:

"Poor man is nothing in the scheme of things
And Orcus grips us and to Hades flings
Our bones! This skeleton before us here
Is as important as we ever were!
Let's live then while we may and life is dear."

Chapter the Thirty-fifth

The applause was followed by a course which, by its oddity, drew every eye, but it did not come up to our expectations. There was a circular tray around which were displayed the signs of the zodiac, and upon each sign the caterer had placed the food best in keeping with it. Ram's vetches on Aries, a piece of beef on Taurus, kidneys and lamb's fry on Gemini, a crown on Cancer, the womb of an unfarrowed sow on Virgo, an African fig on Leo, on Libra a balance, one pan of which held a tart and the other a cake, a small seafish on Scorpio, a bull's eye on Sagittarius, a sea lobster on Capricornus, a goose on Aquarius and two mullets on Pisces. In the middle lay a piece of cut sod upon which rested a honeycomb with the grass arranged around it. An Egyptian slave passed bread around from a silver oven and in a most discordant voice twisted out a song in the manner of the mime in the musical farce called Laserpitium. Seeing that we were rather depressed at the prospect of busying ourselves with such vile fare, Trimalchio urged us to fall to: "Let us fall to, gentlemen, I beg of you, this is only the sauce!"

Chapter the Thirty-sixth

While he was speaking, four dancers ran in to the time of the music, and removed the upper part of the tray. Beneath, on what seemed to be another tray, we caught sight of stuffed capons and sows' bellies, and in the middle, a hare equipped with wings to resemble Pegasus. At the corners of the tray we also noted four figures of Marsyas and from their bladders spouted a highly spiced sauce upon fish which were swimming about as if in a tide-race. All of us echoed the applause which was started by the servants, and fell to upon these exquisite delicacies, with a laugh. "Carver," cried Trimalchio, no less delighted with the artifice practised upon us, and the carver appeared immediately. Timing his strokes to the beat of the music he cut up the meat in such a fashion as to lead you to think that a gladiator was fighting from a chariot to the accompaniment of a water-organ. Every now and then Trimalchio would repeat "Carver, Carver," in a low voice, until I finally came to the conclusion that some joke was meant in repeating a word so frequently, so I did not scruple to question him who reclined above me. As he had often experienced byplay of this sort he explained, "You see that fellow who is carving the meat, don't you? Well, his name is Carver. Whenever Trimalchio says Carver, carve her, by the same word, he both calls and commands!"

Chapter the Thirty-seventh

I could eat no more, so I turned to my whilom informant to learn as much as I could and sought to draw him out with far-fetched gossip. I inquired who that woman could be who was scurrying about hither and yon in such a fashion. "She's called Fortunata," he replied. "She's the wife of Trimalchio, and she measures her money by the peck. And only a little while ago, what was she! May your genius pardon me, but you would not have been willing to take a crust of bread from her hand. Now, without rhyme or reason, she's in the seventh heaven and is Trimalchio's factotum, so much so that he would believe her if she told him it was dark when it was broad daylight! As for him, he don't know how rich he is, but this harlot keeps an eye on everything and where you least expect to find her, you're sure to run into her. She's temperate, sober, full of good advice, and has many good qualities, but she has a scolding tongue, a very magpie on a sofa, those she likes, she likes, but those she dislikes, she dislikes! Trimalchio himself has estates as broad as the flight of a kite is long, and piles of money. There's more silver plate lying in his steward's office than other men have in their whole fortunes! And as for slaves, damn me if I believe a tenth of them knows the master by sight. The truth is, that these stand-a-gapes are so much in awe of him that any one of them would step into a fresh dunghill without ever knowing it, at a mere nod from him!"


Chapter the Thirty-eighth

"And don't you get the idea that he buys anything; everything is produced at home, wool, pitch, pepper, if you asked for hen's milk you would get it. Because he wanted his wool to rival other things in quality, he bought rams at Tarentum and sent 'em into his flocks with a slap on the arse. He had bees brought from Attica, so he could produce Attic honey at home, and, as a side issue, so he could improve the native bees by crossing with the Greek. He even wrote to India for mushroom seed one day, and he hasn't a single mule that wasn't sired by a wild ass. Do you see all those cushions? Not a single one but what is stuffed with either purple or scarlet wool! He hasn't anything to worry about! Look out how you criticise those other fellow-freedmen-friends of his, they're all well heeled. See the fellow reclining at the bottom of the end couch? He's worth his 800,000 any day, and he rose from nothing. Only a short while ago he had to carry faggots on his own back. I don't know how true it is, but they say that he snatched off an Incubo's hat and found a treasure! For my part, I don't envy any man anything that was given him by a god. He still carries the marks of his box on the ear, and he isn't wishing himself any bad luck! He posted this notice, only the other day:


"What do you think of the fellow in the freedman's place? He has a good front, too, hasn't he? And he has a right to. He saw his fortune multiplied tenfold, but he lost heavily through speculation at the last. I don't think he can call his very hair his own, and it is no fault of his either, by Hercules, it isn't. There's no better fellow anywhere his rascally freedmen cheated him out of everything. You know very well how it is; everybody's business is nobody's business, and once let business affairs start to go wrong, your friends will stand from under! Look at the fix he's in, and think what a fine trade he had! He used to be an undertaker. He dined like a king, boars roasted whole in their shaggy Bides, bakers' pastries, birds, cooks and bakers! More wine was spilled under his table than another has in his wine cellar. His life was like a pipe dream, not like an ordinary mortal's. When his affairs commenced to go wrong, and he was afraid his creditors would guess that he was bankrupt, he advertised an auction and this was his placard:


Chapter the Thirty-ninth

Trimalchio broke in upon this entertaining gossip, for the course had been removed and the guests, happy with wine, had started a general conversation: lying back upon his couch, "You ought to make this wine go down pleasantly," he said, "the fish must have something to swim in. But I say, you didn't think I'd be satisfied with any such dinner as you saw on the top of that tray? 'Is Ulysses no better known?' Well, well, we shouldn't forget our culture, even at dinner. May the bones of my patron rest in peace, he wanted me to become a man among men. No one can show me anything new, and that little tray has proved it. This heaven where the gods live, turns into as many different signs, and sometimes into the Ram: therefore, whoever is born under that sign will own many flocks and much wool, a hard head, a shameless brow, and a sharp horn. A great many school-teachers and rambunctious butters-in are born under that sign." We applauded the wonderful penetration of our astrologer and he ran on, "Then the whole heaven turns into a bull-calf and the kickers and herdsmen and those who see to it that their own bellies are full, come into the world. Teams of horses and oxen are born under the Twins, and well-hung wenchers and those who bedung both sides of the wall. I was born under the Crab and therefore stand on many legs and own much property on land and sea, for the crab is as much at home on one as he is in the other. For that reason, I put nothing on that sign for fear of weighing down my own destiny. Bulldozers and gluttons are born under the Lion, and women and fugitives and chain-gangs are born under the Virgin. Butchers and perfumers are born under the Balance, and all who think that it is their business to straighten things out. Poisoners and assassins are born under the Scorpion. Cross-eyed people who look at the vegetables and sneak away with the bacon, are born under the Archer. Horny-handed sons of toil are born under Capricorn. Bartenders and pumpkin-heads are born under the Water-Carrier. Caterers and rhetoricians are born under the Fishes: and so the world turns round, just like a mill, and something bad always comes to the top, and men are either being born or else they're dying. As to the sod and the honeycomb in the middle, for I never do anything without a reason, Mother Earth is in the centre, round as an egg, and all that is good is found in her, just like it is in a honeycomb."

Chapter the Fortieth

"Bravo!" we yelled, and, with hands uplifted to the ceiling, we swore that such fellows as Hipparchus and Aratus were not to be compared with him. At length some slaves came in who spread upon the couches some coverlets upon which were embroidered nets and hunters stalking their game with boar-spears, and all the paraphernalia of the chase. We knew not what to look for next, until a hideous uproar commenced, just outside the dining-room door, and some Spartan hounds commenced to run around the table all of a sudden. A tray followed them, upon which was served a wild boar of immense size, wearing a liberty cap upon its head, and from its tusks hung two little baskets of woven palm fibre, one of which contained Syrian dates, the other, Theban. Around it hung little suckling pigs made from pastry, signifying that this was a brood-sow with her pigs at suck. It turned out that these were souvenirs intended to be taken home. When it came to carving the boar, our old friend Carver, who had carved the capons, did not appear, but in his place a great bearded giant, with bands around his legs, and wearing a short hunting cape in which a design was woven. Drawing his hunting-knife, he plunged it fiercely into the boar's side, and some thrushes flew out of the gash. fowlers, ready with their rods, caught them in a moment, as they fluttered around the room and Trimalchio ordered one to each guest, remarking, "Notice what fine acorns this forest-bred boar fed on," and as he spoke, some slaves removed the little baskets from the tusks and divided the Syrian and Theban dates equally among the diners.


Chapter Notes

CHAPTER 34. Silver Skeleton, et seq.

Philosophic dogmas concerning the brevity and uncertainty of life were ancient even in the time of Herodotus. They have left their mark upon our language in the form of more than one proverb, but in none is this so patent as "the skeleton at the feast." In chapter lxxviii of Euterpe, we have an admirable citation. In speaking of the Egyptians, he says: "At their convivial banquets, among the wealthy classes, when they have finished supper, a man carries round in a coffin the image of a dead body carved in wood, made as life-like as possible in color and workmanship, and in size generally about one or two cubits in length; and showing this to each of the company, he says: 'Look upon this, then drink and enjoy yourself; for when dead you will be like this.' This is the practice they have at their drinking parties." According to Plutarch, (Isis and Osiris, chapter 17.) the Greeks adopted this Egyptian custom, and there is, of course, little doubt that the Romans took it from the Greeks. The aim of this custom was, according to Scaliger, to bring the diners to enjoy the sweets of life while they were able to feel enjoyment, and thus to abandon themselves to pleasure before death deprived them of everything. The verses which follow bring this out beautifully. In the Copa of Virgil we find the following:

"Wine there! Wine and dice! Tomorrow's fears shall fools alone benumb!
By the ear Death pulls me. 'Live!' he whispers softly, 'Live! I come.'"

The practical philosophy of the indefatigable roues sums itself up in this sentence uttered by Trimalchio. The verb "vivere" has taken a meaning very much broader and less special, than that which it had at the time when it signified only the material fact of existence. The voluptuaries of old Rome were by no means convinced that life without license was life. The women of easy virtue, living within the circle of their friendships, after the fashion best suited to their desires, understood that verb only after their own interpretation, and the philologists soon reconciled themselves to the change. In this sense it was that Varro employed "vivere," when he said: "Young women, make haste to live, you whom adolescence permits to enjoy, to eat, to love, and to occupy the chariot of Venus (Veneris tenere bigas)."

But a still better example of the extension in the meaning of this word is to be found in an inscription on the tomb of a lady of pleasure. This inscription was composed by a voluptuary of the school of Petronius.


In this inscription, it is almost impossible to translate the last three words. "While we live, let us live," is inadequate, to say the least. So far did this doctrine go that latterly it was deemed necessary to have a special goddess as a patron. That goddess, if we may rely upon the authority of Festus, took her name "Vitula" from the word "Vita" or from the joyous life over which she was to preside.

CHAPTER 36. "At the corners of the tray we also noted four figures of Marsyas and from their bladders spouted a highly seasoned sauce upon fish which were swimming about as if in a tide-race."

German scholars have adopted the doctrine that Marsyas belonged to that mythological group which they designate as "Schlauch-silen" or, as we would say in English, "Wineskin-bearing Silenuses." Their hypothesis seems to be based upon the discovery of two beautiful bas-reliefs of the age of Vespasian, which were excavated near the Rostra Vetera in the Forum. Sir Theodore Martin has a note on these bas-reliefs which I quote in extenso:

"In the Forum stood a statue of Marsyas, Apollo's ill-starred rival. It probably bore an expression of pain, which Horace humorously ascribes to dislike of the looks of the Younger Novius, who is conjectured to have been of the profession and nature of Shylock. A naked figure carrying a wineskin, which appears upon each of two fine bas-reliefs of the time of Vespasian found near the Rostra Vetera in the Forum during the excavations conducted within the last few years by Signor Pietro Rosa, and which now stand in the Forum, is said, by archaeologists, to represent Marsyas. Why they arrive at this conclusion, except as arguing, from the spot where these bas-reliefs were found, that they were meant to perpetuate the remembrance of the old statue of Marsyas, is certainly not very apparent from anything in the figure itself." Martin's Horace, vol. 2, pp 145-6.

Hence German philologists render "utriculis" by the German equivalent for "Wineskins."

"The Romans," says Weitzius, "had two sources of water-supply, through underground channels, and through channels supported by arches. As adjuncts to these channels there were cisterns (or castella, as they were called). From these reservoirs the water was distributed to the public through routes more or less circuitous and left the cisterns through pipes, the diameter of which was reckoned in either twelfths or sixteenths of a Roman foot. At the exits of the pipes were placed stones or stone figures, the water taking exit from these figures either by the mouth, private parts or elsewhere, and falling either to the ground or into some stone receptacle such as a basket. Various names were given these statuettes: Marsyae, Satyri, Atlantes, Hermae, Chirones, Silani, Tulii."

No one who has been through the Secret Museum at Naples will find much difficulty in recalling a few of these heavily endowed examples to mind, and our author, in choosing Marsyae, adds a touch of sarcastic realism, for statues of Marysas were often set up in free cities, symbolical, as it were, of freedom. In such a setting as the present, they would be the very acme of propriety.

"The figures," says Gonzala de Salas, "formerly placed at fountains, and from which water took exit either from the mouth or from some other part, took their forms from the several species of Satyrs. The learned Wouweren has commented long and learnedly upon this passage, and his emendation 'veretriculis' caused me to laugh heartily. And as a matter of fact, I affirm that such a meaning is easily possible." Professor E. P. Crowell, the first American scholar to edit Petronius, gravely states in his preface that "the object of this edition is to provide for class-room use an expurgated text," and I note that he has tactfully omitted the "wineskins" from his edition.

In this connection the last sentence in the remarks of Wouweren, alluded to above, is strangely to the point. After stating his emendation of "veretriculis or veretellis" for "utriculis," he says: "Unless someone proves that images of Marsyas were fashioned in the likeness of bag-pipers," a fine instance of clarity of vision for so dark an age.

CHAPTER 40. "Drawing his hunting-knife, he plunged it fiercely into the boar's side, and some thrushes flew out of the gash."

In the winter of 1895 a dinner was given in a New York studio. This dinner, locally known as the "Girl in the Pie Dinner," was based upon Petronius, Martial, and the thirteenth book of Athenaeus. In the summer of 1919, I had the questionable pleasure of interviewing the chef-caterer who got it up, and he was, at the time, engaged in trying to work out another masterpiece to be given in California. The studio, one of the most luxurious in the world, was transformed for the occasion into a veritable rose grotto, the statuary was Pompeian, and here and there artistic posters were seen which were nothing if not reminiscent of Boulevard Clichy and Montmartre in the palmiest days. Four negro banjo players and as many jubilee singers titillated the jaded senses of the guests in a manner achieved by the infamous saxophone syncopating jazz of the Barbary Coast of our times. The dinner was over. The four and one half bottles of champagne allotted to each Silenus had been consumed, and a well-defined atmosphere of bored satiety had begun to settle down when suddenly the old-fashioned lullaby "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" broke forth from the banjoists and singers. Four waiters came in bearing a surprisingly monstrous object, something that resembled an impossibly large pie. They, placed it carefully in the center of the table. The negro chorus swelled louder and louder—"Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie."

The diners, startled into curiosity and then into interest, began to poke their noses against this gigantic creation of the baker. In it they detected a movement not unlike a chick's feeble pecking against the shell of an egg. A quicker movement and the crust ruptured at the top.

A flash of black gauze and delicate flesh showed within. A cloud of frightened yellow canaries flew out and perched on the picture frames and even on the heads and shoulders of the guests.

But the lodestone which drew and held the eyes of all the revellers was an exquisitely slender, girlish figure amid the broken crust of the pie. The figure was draped with spangled black gauze, through which the girl's marble white limbs gleamed like ivory seen through gauze of gossamer transparency. She rose from her crouching posture like a wood nymph startled by a satyr, glanced from one side to the other, and stepped timidly forth to the table.

Illustrations by Norman Lindsay