Therefore he made himself all things to all men, and by re-arranging matters as far as possible, according to circumstances, he applied himself to the most pressing need, just as a good physician who follows the rules of his art. In the morning, as soon as the sun had leapt above the eastern horizon, he sat on the imperial throne and gave orders that all the Franks should come in freely every day, partly because he wished them to state their requests, and partly too because he was manoeuvring by arguments of various kinds to bring them to accede to his own wishes.
Now the Frankish Counts are naturally shameless and violent, naturally greedy of money too, and immoderate in everything they wish, and possess a flow of language greater than any other human race ; and they did not make their visits to the Emperor in any order, but each Count as he came brought in as many men as he liked with him ; and one came after another, and another in turn after him.
Regulate their conversation by a waterglass
And when they came in, they did not regulate their conversation by a waterglass, as the rule was for orators formerly, but for as long as each wished to talk to the Emperor, be he even a mere nobody, for so long he was allowed to talk. Now, as this was their character, and their speech very long-winded, and as they had no reverence for the Emperor, nor took heed of the lapse of time nor suspected the indignation of the onlookers, not one of them gave place to those who came after them, but kept on unceasingly with their talk and requests. Their talkativeness and hunting instinct and their finicking speech axe known to all who are interested in studying the manners of mankind, but we who were then present learnt them more thoroughly from experience.
For even when evening came, the Emperor who had remained without food all through the day, rose from his throne to retire to his private bedroom; but not even then was he freed from the Franks’ importunity. For one came after the other and not only those who had not been heard during the day, but the same came over again, always preferring one excuse after another for further talk, whilst he stood unmoved in the midst of the Franks, quietly bearing their endless chatter. And you could see him all alone and with unchanging countenance ever giving a ready answer to all their questions.
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