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41. [119]

Now forsooth, since you have seen the good faith of the master, listen to the justice of the pupil. I have already said before, that two slaves have been continually begged of them to be put to the question. You have always refused it, O Titus Roscius. I ask of you whether they who asked it were unworthy to obtain it? or had he, on whose behalf they asked it, no influence with you? or did the matter itself appear unjust? The most noble and respectable men of our state, whom I have named before, made the request, who have lived in such a manner, and are so esteemed by the Roman people, that there is no one who would not think whatever they said reasonable. And they made the request on behalf of a most miserable and unfortunate man, who would wish even himself to be submitted to the torture, provided the inquiry into his father's death might go on. [120] Moreover, the thing demanded of you was such that it made no difference whether you refused it or confessed yourself guilty of the crime. And as this is the case, I ask of you why you refused it? When Sextus Roscius was murdered they were there. The slaves themselves, as far as I am concerned, I neither accuse nor acquit; but the point which I see you contending for, namely, that they be not submitted to the question, is full of suspicion. But the reason of their being held in such horror by you, must be that they know something, which, if they were to tell, will be pernicious to you. Oh, say you, it is unjust to put questions to slaves against their masters. Is any such question meant to be put? For Sextus Roscius is the defendant, and when inquiry is being made into his conduct, you do not say that you are their masters. Oh, they are with Chrysogonus. I suppose so; Chrysogonus is so taken with their learning and accomplishments, that be wishes these men—men little better than labourers from the training of a rustic master of a family at Ameria, to mingle with his elegant youths, masters of every art and every refinement—youths picked out of many of the politest households. [121] That cannot be the truth, O judges; it is not probable that Chrysogonus has taken a fancy to their learning or their politeness, or that he should be acquainted with their industry and fidelity in the business of a household. There is something which is hidden; and the more studiously it is bidden and kept back by them, so much the more is it visible and conspicuous.


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