"Men of the Tiber," he said, in a clear voice, "let us turn this waiting for our chief into a feast of Bacchus. Whom choose ye for master?"
"Who shall be master but the giver of the feast?" he said. "Answer, Romans."
They gave their reply in a shout.
Messala took the chaplet from his head, gave it to Drusus, who climbed upon the table, and, in the view of all, solemnly replaced it, making Messala master of the night.
"There came with me into the room," he said, "some friends just risen from table. That our feast may have the approval of sacred custom, bring hither that one of them most overcome by wine."
A din of voices answered, "Here he is, here he is!"
And from the floor where he had fallen, a youth was brought forward, so effeminately beautiful he might have passed for the drinking-god himself--only the crown would have dropped from his head, and the thyrsus from his hand.
"Lift him upon the table," the master said.