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How Byrrhena sent victuals unto Apuleius, and how hee talked with Milo of Diophanes, and how he lay with Fotis.

When noone was come, Byrrhena sent to me a fat Pigge, five hennes, and a flagon of old wine. Then I called Fotis and sayd, Behold how Bacchus the egger and stirrer of Venery, doth offer him self of his owne accord, let us therefore drink up this wine, that we may prepare our selves and get us courage against soone, for Venus wanteth no other provision than this, that the Lamp may be all the night replenished with oyle, and the cups with wine. The residue of the day I passed away at the Bains and in banquetting, and towards evening I went to supper, for I was bid by Milo, and so I sate downe at the table, out of Pamphiles sight as much as I could, being mindfull of the commandement of Byrrhena, and sometimes I would cast myne eyes upon her as upon the furies of hell, but I eftsoones turning my face behinde me, and beholding my Fotis ministring at the table, was again refreshed and made merry. And behold when Pamphiles did see the candle standing on the table, she said, Verily wee shall have much raine to morrow. Which when her husband did heare, he demanded of her by what reason she knew it? Mary (quoth shee) the light on the table sheweth the same. Then Milo laughed and said, Verily we nourish a Sybel prophesier, which by the view of a candle doth divine of Celestiall things, and of the Sunne it selfe. Then I mused in my minde and said unto Milo, Of truth it is a good experience and proof of divination. Neither is it any marvell, for although this light is but a small light, and made by the hands of men, yet hath it a remembrance of that great and heavenly light, as of his parent, and doth shew unto us what will happen in the Skies above. For I knew at Corinth a certain man of Assyria, who would give answers in every part of the City, and for the gaine of money would tell every man his fortune, to some he would tel the dayes of their marriages, to others he would tell when they should build, that their edifices should continue. To others, when they should best go e about their affaires. To others, when they should goe by sea or land: to me, purposing to take my journey hither, he declared many things strange and variable. For sometimes hee sayd that I should win glory enough: sometimes he sayd I should write a great Historie: sometimes againe hee sayd that I should devise an incredible tale: and sometimes that I should make Bookes. Whereat Milo laughed againe, and enquired of me, of what stature this man of Assyria was, and what he was named. In faith (quoth I) he is a tall man and somewhat blacke, and hee is called Diophanes. Then sayd Milo, the same is he and no other, who semblably hath declared many things here unto us, whereby hee got and obtained great substance and Treasure.

But the poore miser fell at length into the hands of unpittifull and cruell fortune: For beeing on a day amongst a great assembly of people, to tell the simple sort their fortune, a certaine Cobler came unto him, and desired him to tel when it should be best for him to take his voyage, the which hee promised to do: the Cobler opened his purse and told a hundred pence to him for his paines. Whereupon came a certaine young gentleman and took Diophanes by the Garment. Then he turning himselfe, embraced and kissed him, and desired the Gentleman, who was one of his acquaintance, to sit downe by him: and Diophanes being astonied with this sudden change, forgot what he was doing, and sayd, O deare friend you are heartily welcome, I pray you when arrived you into these parts? Then answered he, I will tell you soone, but brother I pray you tell mee of your comming from the isle of Euboea, and how you sped by the way? Whereunto Diophanes this notable Assyrian (not yet come unto his minde, but halfe amased) soone answered and sayd, I would to god that all our enemies and evil willers might fall into the like dangerous peregrination and trouble. For the ship where we were in, after it was by the waves of the seas and by the great tempests tossed hither and thither, in great peril, and after that the mast and stern brake likewise in pieces, could in no wise be brought to shore, but sunk into the water, and so we did swim, and hardly escaped to land. And after that, whatsoever was given unto us in recompense of our losses, either by the pitty of strangers, or by the benevolence of our friends, was taken away from us by theeves, whose violence when my brother Arisuatus did assay to resist, hee was cruelly murthered by them before my face. These things when he had sadly declared, the Cobler tooke up his money againe which he had told out to pay for the telling of his fortune, and ran away. The Diophanes comming to himselfe perceived what he had done, and we all that stood by laughed greatly. But that (quoth Milo) which Diophanes did tell unto you Lucius, that you should be happy and have a prosperous journey, was only true. Thus Milo reasoned with me. But I was not a little sorry that I had traind him into such a vaine of talke, that I lost a good part of the night, and the sweete pleasure thereof: but at length I boldly said to Milo, Let Diophanes fare well with his evil fortune, and get againe that which he lost by sea and land, for I verily do yet feel the wearinesse of my travell, whereof I pray you pardon mee, and give me licence to depart to bed: wherewithall I rose up and went unto my chamber, where I found all things finely prepared and the childrens bed (because they should not heare what we did in the night) was removed far off without the chamber doore. The table was all covered with those meats that were left at supper, the cups were filled halfe full with water, to temper and delay the wines, the flagon stood ready prepared, and there lacked nothing that was necessary for the preparation of Venus. And when I was entring into the bed, behold my Fotis (who had brought her mistresse to bed) came in and gave me roses and floures which she had in her apron, and some she threw about the bed, and kissed mee sweetly, and tied a garland about my head, and bespred the chamber with the residue. Which when shee had done, shee tooke a cup of wine and delaied it with hot water, and profered it me to drinke; and before I had drunk it all off she pulled it from my mouth, and then gave it me againe, and in this manner we emptied the pot twice or thrice together. Thus when I had well replenished my self with wine, and was now ready unto Venery not onely in minde but also in body, I removed my cloathes, and shewing to Fotis my great impatiencie I sayd, O my sweet heart take pitty upon me and helpe me, for as you see I am now prepared unto the battell, which you your selfe did appoint: for after that I felt the first Arrow of cruell Cupid within my breast, I bent my bow very strong, and now feare, (because it is bended so hard) lest my string should breake: but that thou mayst the better please me, undresse thy haire and come and embrace me lovingly: whereupon shee made no long delay, but set aside all the meat and wine, and then she unapparelled her selfe, and unattyred her haire, presenting her amiable body unto me in manner of faire Venus, when shee goeth under the waves of the sea. Now (quoth shee) is come the houre of justing, now is come the time of warre, wherefore shew thy selfe like unto a man, for I will not retyre, I will not fly the field, see then thou bee valiant, see thou be couragious, since there is no time appointed when our skirmish shall cease. In saying these words shee came to me to bed, and embraced me sweetly, and so wee passed all the night in pastime and pleasure, and never slept until it was day: but we would eftsoones refresh our wearinesse, and provoke our pleasure, and renew our venery by drinking of wine. In which sort we pleasantly passed away many other nights following.

Next: The Eleventh Chapter