27.  But how destitute of all proof is the whole of the story of this poetess and inventress of many fables! How totally without any conceivable object or result is it! For what does she say? Why did so numerous a body of men, (for it is clear enough it was not a small number, as it was requisite that Licinius should be arrested with ease, and that the transaction should be more completely proved by the eyewitness of many witnesses,) why, I say, did so numerous a body of men let Licinius escape from their hands? For why was Licinius less liable to be apprehended when he had drawn back in order not to deliver up the box than he would have been if he had delivered it up? For those men had been placed on purpose to arrest Licinius in order that Licinius might be caught in the very fact either of having just delivered up the poison, or of still having it in his possession. This was the whole plan of the woman. This was the part allotted to those men who were asked to undertake it but why it is that they sprung forth so precipitately and prematurely as you say, I do not find stated. They had been invited for this express purpose they had been placed with this especial object in order to effect the undeniable detection of the poison, of the plot, and of every particular of the crime.  Could they spring forward at a better time than when Licinius had arrived? when he was holding in his hand the box of poison? and if after that box had been delivered to the slaves the friends of the woman had on a sudden emerged from the baths and seized Licinius, he would have implored the protection of their good faith and have denied that that box had been delivered to them by him. And how would they have reproved him? Would they have said that they had seen it? First of all that would have been to bring the imputation of a most atrocious crime on themselves besides, they would be saying that they had seen what from the spot in which they had been placed they could not possibly have seen. Therefore they showed themselves at the very nick of time when Licinius had arrived and was getting out the box, and was stretching out his hand, and delivering the poison. This is rather the end of a farce than a regular comedy; in which, when a regular end cannot be invented for it some one escapes out of some one else's hands, the whistle1 sounds, and the curtain drops.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF MARCUS CAELIUS.
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