“In such manner they showered him with congratulations. “I am glad with the rest,” said the bibulous friend, ” very glad; but I must be practical, O my duumvir; and not until I know if promotion will help thee to knowledge of the tessera will I have an opinion as to whether the gods mean thee ill or god in this –this business.” Ben-Hur, book three, chapter one, page 127
Bibulous: fond or addicted to drink; absorbent or spongy.
Tessera: one of the small pieces used in mosaic work; a small square of bone, wood or the like, used in ancient times as a token, tally, ticket, etc.
This part of the book introduces to us the Roman Quintus Arrius as he sets off to sea. Soon afterwards he encounters one of his rowers, Ben-Hur, who will eventually save him from drowning. Quintus will later adopt him as his son and heir.