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he surveys from the pavement his morning's arrangement of the window of the
shop. All things, however, have their limits, even a man's approval of an effort of
his own skill. Accordingly, after a prolonged review of the proclamation, some
faint ideas of the necessity of immediately obeying his master's commands
revived in the mind of the judicious Carrio, and counselled him to turn his steps at
once in the direction of the palace sleeping apartments.
Greatly wondering what new caprice had induced the senator to contemplate
leaving Rome at the dawn of day--for Vetranio had divulged to no one the object
of his departure--the freedman cautiously entered his master's bed-chamber. He
drew aside the ample silken curtains suspended around and over the sleeping
couch, from the hands of Graces and Cupids sculptured in marble; but the statues
surrounded an empty bed. Vetranio was not there. Carrio next entered the
bathroom; the perfumed water was steaming in its long marble basin, and the soft
wrapping-cloths lay ready for use; the attendant slave, with his instruments of
ablution, waited, half asleep, in his accustomed place; but here also no signs of
the master's presence appeared. Somewhat perplexed, the freedman examined
several other apartments. He found guests, dancing girls, parasites, poets,
painters--a motley crew-- occupying every kind of dormitory, and all peacefully
engaged in sleeping off the effects of the wine they had drunk at the banquet; but
the great object of his search still eluded him as before. At last it occurred to him
that the senator, in an excess of convivial enthusiasm and jovial hospitality, might
yet be detaining some favoured guest at the table of the feast.
Pausing, therefore, at some carved doors which stood ajar at one extremity of a
spacious hall, he pushed them open, and hurriedly entered the banqueting-room
A soft, dim, luxurious light reigned over this apartment, which now presented, as
far as the eye could discern, an aspect of confusion that was at once graceful and
picturesque. Of the various lamps, of every variety of pattern, hanging from the
ceiling, but few remained alight. From those, however, which were still
unextinguished there shone a mild brightness, admirably adapted to display the
objects immediately around them. The golden garlands and the alabaster pots of
sweet ointment which had been suspended before the guests during the banquet,
still hung from the painted ceiling. On the massive table, composed partly of
ebony and partly of silver, yet lay, in the wildest confusion, fragments of
gastronomic delicacies, grotesque dinner services, vases of flowers, musical
instruments, and crystal dice; while towering over all rose the glittering dish
which had contained the nightingales consumed by the feasters, with the four
golden Cupids which had spouted over them that illustrious invention--the
Nightingale Sauce. Around the couches, of violet and rose colour, ranged along
the table, the perfumed and gaily- tinted powders that had been strewn in patterns
over the marble floor were perceptible for a few yards; but beyond this point
nothing more was plainly distinguishable. The eye roved down the sides of the
glorious chamber, catching dim glimpses of gorgeous draperies, crowded statues,
and marble columns, but discerning nothing accurately, until it reached the half-
opened windows, and rested upon the fresh dewy verdure now faintly visible in
the shady gardens without. There--waving in the morning breezes, charged on