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4. [9]

But however, with respect to all that part of your speech, my reply in defence may be very brief. For, as far as the age of Marcus Caelius might give room for any such suspicion, in the first place it was fortified against it by his own modesty, and in the second place by his father's attentive care of him and rigid discipline; for, as soon as he had given him the robe of a man,—(I will say nothing here of myself; you yourselves are competent judges of what credit is due to me,—I only say that he was immediately brought by his father to me as a pupil,)—after that time no one ever saw Marcus Caelius in that the flower of his age, that he was not either with his father, or with me, or else in that most virtuous house of Marcus Crassus, and being instructed in the most honourable branches of learning. [10]

For as for the imputation which has been levelled against Caelius, of having been intimate with Catiline, he ought to be wholly exempt from any such suspicion. For you all know that he was a very young man when Catiline stood for the consulship the same year that I did; and if he ever joined his party, or ever departed from mine, (though many virtuous young men did espouse the cause of that worthless and abandoned man,) then, indeed, I will allow it to be thought that Caelius was too intimate with Catiline. But we know, and we ourselves saw after that, that he was one of his friends. Well, who denies it? But I am at this moment engaged in defending his conduct at that period of life, which is of itself unsteady and very liable to be at the mercy of the passions of others. He was continually with me while I was praetor; he knew nothing of Catiline. After that Catiline being praetor had Africa for his province. Another year ensued in which Catiline was prosecuted for extortions and peculation. Caelius was still with me and never went to him not even as an advocate of his cause. The next year was the one in which I was a candidate for the consulship; Catiline was also a candidate. He never went over to him; he never departed from me.


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