The Consul Duilius was entertaining Rome in triumph after his celebrated defeat of the Carthaginian fleet at Mylæ. He had won a great naval victory for his country with the first fleet that it had ever possessed—which was naturally a gratifying reflection, and he would have been perfectly happy now if he had only been a little more comfortable.
But he was standing in an extremely rickety chariot, which was crammed with his nearer relations, and a few old friends, to whom he had been obliged to send tickets. At his back stood a slave, who held a heavy Etruscan crown on the Consul's head, and whenever he thought his master was growing conceited, threw in the reminder that he was only a man after all—a liberty which at any other time he might have had good reason to regret.
Then the large Delphic wreath, which Duilius wore as well as the crown, had slipped down over one eye, and was tickling his nose, while (as both his hands were occupied, one with a sceptre the other with a laurel bough, and he had to hold on tightly to the rail of the chariot whenever it jolted) there was nothing to do but suffer in silence.