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26.

But all these circumstances, O judges, furnish me with a very easy method of refuting them. For why had she appointed the public baths, of all places in the world? where I cannot find any spot which may serve as an ambush for men in their gowns. For if they were in the vestibule of the baths, they would not be lying hid at all; if, they wished to enter into the inner parts of the baths, they could not conveniently do it with their shoes and garments on, and perhaps they would not be admitted; unless, perchance, by a species of barter,—instead of the proper piece of money paid for ad-mission into the baths,—that vigorous woman had made a friend of the bathing-man. [63] And, in truth, I was waiting eagerly to see who those virtuous men were, who would be stated to have been witnesses of this poison having been so clearly detected. For none have been named as yet. But I have no doubt that they are men of very high authority indeed, as, in the first place, they are the intimate friends of such a woman; and, in the second place, they took upon themselves that share of the business,—that, namely, of being thrust down into the baths; which she, even were she as powerful as she could possibly wish to be, could never have prevailed on any men to do, except such as were most honourable men, and men of the very greatest natural dignity. But why do I speak of the dignity of those witnesses? Learn yourselves how virtuous and how scrupulous they are. They lay in ambush in the baths. Splendid witnesses, indeed! Then they sprung out precipitately. O men entirely devoted to their dignity! For this is the story that they make up: that when Licinius had arrived, and was holding the box of poison in his hand, and was endeavouring to deliver it to them, but had not yet delivered it, then all on a sudden those splendid nameless witnesses sprung out; and that Licinius, when he had already put out his hand to give them over the box of poison, drew it back again, and, alarmed at that an expected onset of men, took to his heels. O how great is the power of truth! which of its own power can easily defend itself against all the ingenuity, and cunning, and wisdom of men, and against the treacherous plots of all the world.


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