Then each drew his tablets and stilus and made a memorandum; and, while they were resetting the pieces, Flavius returned to his friend's remark.
"A man who knows everything! Hercle! the oracles would die. What wouldst thou with such a monster?"
"Answer to one question, my Flavius; then, perpol! I would cut his throat."
"I would have him tell me the hour-- Hour, said I?--nay, the minute --Maxentius will arrive to-morrow."
"Good play, good play! I have you! And why the minute?"
"Hast thou ever stood uncovered in the Syrian sun on the quay at which he will land? The fires of the Vesta are not so hot; and, by the Stator of our father Romulus, I would die, if die I must, in Rome. Avernus is here; there, in the square before the Forum, I could stand, and, with my hand raised thus, touch the floor of the gods. Ha, by Venus, my Flavius, thou didst beguile me! I have lost. O Fortune!"
"I must have back my sestertium."
And they played again and again; and when day, stealing through the skylights, began to dim the lamps, it found the two in the same places at the same table, still at the game. Like most of the company, they were military attaches of the consul, awaiting his arrival and amusing themselves meantime.