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[13]

At last the tribunes of the people enter on their office. The assembly to be convened by Publius Rullus was anxiously looked for, both because he was the chief mover of the agrarian law, and because he behaved with more violence than his colleagues. From the moment that he was elected tribune, he put on another expression of countenance, another tone of voice, a different gait; he went about in an old-fashioned dress, without any regard to neatness in his person, with longer hair and a more abundant beard than before; so that he seemed by his eyes and by his whole aspect to be threatening every one with the power of the tribunes, and to be meditating evil to the republic. I was waiting in expectation of his law and of the assembly. At first no law at all is proposed. He orders an assembly to be summoned as his first measure. Men flock to it with the most eager expectation. He makes a long enough speech, expressed in very good language. There was one thing which seemed to me bad, and that was, that out of all the crowd there present, not one man could be found who was able to understand what he meant. Whether he did this with any insidious design, or whether that is the sort of eloquence in which he takes pleasure, I do not know. Still, if there was any one in the assembly cleverer than another, he suspected that he was intending to say something or other about an agrarian law. At last, after I had been elected consul, the law is proposed publicly. By my order several clerks meet at one time, and bring me an accurate copy of the law.


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