b'30LISA E. BETZThe mans quality was never in question. His personality and expectations for a wife had yet to be determined. At least she had a chance of facing married life with a more suitable maid than Agnetaassuming she could convince Porcia into trading.Id best be getting back to the kitchen, Mintha said. Cook foundaniceseabreamatmarket.Howwouldyoulikeit prepared?Baked in coriander sauce. With some roasted eggs to start.Ill tell him. Lets see, what else? Ah, yes. What would you have me do with the flowers from last night?Remove the garlands but leave the vases.Very well, my lady.When Mintha was gone, Roxana said, So its you who con-trols the household, not your mother?Livia gave her a sharp look. Is that how a ladys maid speaks to her mistress?Roxana was instantly contrite. Sorry, my lady.Unfortunately, youre right, but you must never let on that Motherisntincharge.Shewillnotstandtobehumiliated. Understand?Yes, my lady.Livias mother had once been an excellent hostess who ran a smooth household. Then she became too fond of wine. These days she rarely arose before midday, which would give Livia time to make arrangements with Porcia, so long as she didnt dally.After a quick bite she and both maids headed for her uncles house.UncleGemelluswasFathersyoungerbrother,anun-pleasant,untrustworthymanwithavolatiletemperwhowas cruel to his slaves and disdainful of his wives. Porcia was his third wife. She was a vast improvement over the previous aunt, but not particularly bright. Livia would take advantage of that weakness today.'