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23. [56]

There remains the charge respecting the poison for me to consider; a charge of which I can neither discover the origin nor guess the object. For what reason was there for Caelius desiring to give poison to that woman? Was it in order to save himself from being forced to repay the gold? Did she demand it back? Was it to save himself from being accused? Did any one impute anything to him? In short, would any one ever have mentioned him if he had not himself instituted a prosecution against somebody? Moreover you heard Lucius Herennius say that he would never have caused annoyance to Caelius by a single word, if he had not prosecuted his intimate friend a second time on the same charge, after he had been already acquitted once. Is it credible then, that so enormous a crime was committed without any object? And do you not see that an accusation of the most enormous wickedness is invented against him in order that it may appear to have been committed for the sake of facilitating the other wickedness? [57] To whom, then, did he entrust its execution? Whom did he employ as an assistant? Who was his companion? Who was his accomplice? To whom did he entrust so foul a crime; to whom did he entrust himself and his own safety? Was it to the slaves of that woman? For that is what is imputed to him. Was he, then; so insane,—he to whom at least you allow the credit of good abilities, even if you refuse him all other praise in that hostile speech of yours,—as to trust his whole safety to another man's slaves? And to what slaves? For even that makes a considerable difference? Was it to slaves whose slavery as he was aware was one of no ordinary condition, but who were in the habit of being treated with indulgence and freedom and every familiarity, by their mistress? For who is there, O judges, who does not see, who is there who does not know, that in such a house as that in which the mistress of the house lives after the fashion of a prostitute,—in which nothing is done which is fit to be mentioned out of doors,—in which debauchery, and lust, and luxury and, in short all sorts of unheard of vices and wickednesses are carried on, the slaves are not slaves at all? men to whom everything is confided by, whose agency everything is done; who are occupied in the same pleasures as their mistress; who have secrets entrusted to them, and who get even some, and that no inconsiderable, share of the daily extravagance and luxury. Was Caelius, then, not aware of this? [58] For if he was as intimate with the woman as you try to make him out, be certainly knew that those slaves also were intimate with her. But if no such intimacy existed between him and her as is alleged by you, then how could he have arrived at such familiarity with her slaves?


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