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  1. Now that the guests were all in their places, the hors d'oeurves were served, and very sumptious they were. But I was speaking of hors d'oeurves. On a large tray stood a donkey made of rare Corinthian bronze; on the donkeys back were two panniers, one holding green olives, the other, black. Flanking the donkey were two side dishes, both engraved with Trimalchio's name and the weight of the silver, while in dishes shaped to resemble little bridges there were dormice, all dipped in honey and rolled in poppyseed. Nearby, on a silver grill, piping hot, lay small sausages, while beneath the grill black damsons and red pomegranates had been sliced up and arranged so as give the effect of flames playing over charcoal. meanwhile, were still occupied with the hors d'ouevres when a tray was carried in and set down before us. On it lay a basket and in it a hen, carved from wood, with wings outspread as though sitting on her eggs. Then two slaves came forward and, to a loud flourish from the orchestra, began rummaging in the straw and pulling out peahen's eggs which they divided among the guests. Trimalchio gave the whole performance his closest attention. "Friends, " he said, "I ordered peahen eggs to be set under that hen, but I'm half afraid they may have hatched already. Still, lets see if we can suck them. " We were handed spoons--weighing at least half a pound apiece-- and cracked open the eggs, which turned out to be baked from rich pastry. To tell the truth, I had almost tossed my share away, thinking the eggs were already addled. But I heard one of the guests, obviously a veteran of these dinners, say, "I wonder what little surprise we've got in here. " So I cracked the shell with my hand and found inside a fine fat oriole, nicely seasoned with pepper. Two curly haired Ethopian slaves followed him as he swept, both carrying little skin bottles like the circus attendants who sprinkle the arema with perfume, and poured wine over our hands. No one was offered water. Glass jars carefully sealed and coated were now brought in. Each bore this lable: GENUINE FALERNIAN WINE : GUARANTEED ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD BOTTLED IN THE CONSULSHIP OF OPTIMIUS Petronius Abiter Consul during the reign of Nero From: The Satyricon MM Format by John Hartman Indianapolis, IN 19 March 1997


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