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The Vain

When ambition is the ruling passion of a vulgar mind, it shows itself in the eager pursuit of frivolous distinctions.

The vain and vulgar man strives always to gain a place at the table next to the master of the feast. When his son is of age, instead of a private festival among his friends, usually on such occasions, he makes a solemn journey with him to Delphos, there to consecrate to Apollo the honors of his shorn head. He takes vast pains to be provided with a black servant, who always attends him in public. If he has a considerable sum of money to pay, he provides himself with a new coin for the purpose. When he slays a sacrifice, he fastens the front of the victim adorned with chaplets at the entrance of his house, that all who visit him may know that he has sacrificed an ox. If he has joined in a cavalcade, he sends his servant home with his horse and its trappings; but he retains the robe of ceremony, with which he stalks about in the forum during the rest of the day. When his favorite dog dies, he deposits the remains in a tomb, and erects a monument over the grave, with an inscription, Offspring of the stock of Malta Having dedicated a brazen coronet to Esculapius, he occupies it with chaplets. He is exquisitely perfumed every day. He is fond of being associated with the officers whose business it is to regulate the celebration of the sacred rites, in order that he may have to announce the course of the solemnities to the people. On such occasions, being crowned, and clad in a white robe, he goes forth, proclaiming O, ye Athenians! receive the favors of Heaven; for we, whose office it is, have offered to the mother of the gods sacrifices worthy and fair!

So said, he goes home in great glee, and tells his wife that he has passed the day most felicitously.