"Nay, by Castor! and his brother too! I meant not offence. It is a rule among men, in matters other than dice, to keep the record closest when the deal is least. I have need of a clerk. Wilt thou serve me?"
The young fellow drew his tablets ready to keep the score: the manner was irresistible.
"Hold, Messala, hold!" cried Drusus. "I know not if it be ominous to stay the poised dice with a question; but one occurs to me, and I must ask it though Venus slap me with her girdle."
"Nay, my Drusus, Venus with her girdle off is Venus in love. To thy question--I will make the throw and hold it against mischance. Thus--"
He turned the box upon the table and held it firmly over the dice.
And Drusus asked, "Did you ever see one Quintus Arrius?"
"Well, it is nothing," Drusus added, indifferently; "only, my Messala, Pollux was not more like Castor than Arrius is like thee."
The remark had the effect of a signal: twenty voices took it up.