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20.

Does, then, that neighbourhood of his intimate nothing? nor the common report of men? Does not even Baiae itself speak pretty plainly? Indeed, they not only speak, but cry aloud; they proclaim that the lust of that one woman is so headlong, that she not only does not seek solitude, and darkness, and the usual concealments of wickedness, but even while behaving in the most shameless manner, exults in the presence of the most numerous crowd, and in the broadest daylight.

[48] But if there be any one who thinks that youth is to be wholly interdicted from amours with courtesans, he certainly is very strict indeed. I cannot deny what he says; but still he is at variance not only with the licence of the present age, but even with the habits of our ancestors, and with what they used to consider allowable. For when was the time that men were not used to act in this manner? when was such conduct found fault with? when was it not permitted? when, in short, was the time when that which is lawful was not lawful? Here, now, I will lay down what I consider a general rule: I will name no woman in particular; I will leave the matter open for each of you to apply what I say as he pleases.

[49] If any woman, not being married, has opened her house to the passions of everybody, and has openly established herself in the way of life of a harlot, and has been accustomed to frequent the banquets of men with whom she has no relationship; if she does so in the city in country houses and in that most frequented place, Baiae, if in short she behaves in such a manner, not only by her gait, but by her style of dress, and by the people who are seen attending her, and not only by the eager glances of her eyes and the freedom of her conversation, but also by embracing men, by kissing them at water parties and sailing parties and banquets so as not only to seem a harlot, but a very wanton and lascivious harlot, I ask you, O Lucius Herennius, if a young man should happen to have been with her, is he to be called an adulterer or a lover? does he seem to have been attacking chastity or merely to have aimed at satisfying his desires? [50] I forget for the present all the injuries which you have done me, O Clodia; I banish all recollection of my own distress; I put out of consideration your cruel conduct to my relations when I was absent. You are at liberty to suppose that what I have just said was not said about you. But I ask you yourself, since the accusers say that they derived the idea of this charge from you, and that they have you yourself as a witness of its truth; I ask you, I say, if there be any woman of the sort that I have just described, a woman unlike you, a woman of the habits and profession of a harlot, does it appear an act of extraordinary baseness, or extraordinary wickedness, for a young man to have had some connection with her? If you are not such a woman,—and I would much rather believe that you are not—then, what is it that they impute to Caelius? If they try to make you out to be such a woman, then why need we fear such an accusation for ourselves, if you confess that it applies to you, and despise it? Give us then a path to and a plan for our defence. For either your modesty will supply us with the defence, that nothing has been done by Marcus Caelius with any undue wantonness; or else your impudence will give both him and every one else very great facilities for defending themselves.


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