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[14] When—by giving full swing to this various and multiform natural disposition of his—he had collected together every wicked and audacious man from every country, so also he retained the friendship of many gallant and virtuous men, by a certain appearance of pretended virtue. Nor would that infamous attempt to destroy this empire have ever proceeded from him, if the ferocity of so many vices had not been based on the deep-rooted foundations of affability and patience.

Let that allegation then, O judges, be disregarded by you, and let not the charge of intimacy with Catiline make any impression upon you. For it is one which only applies to him in common with many other men, and even with some very good men. Even me myself—yes, even me, I say—he once almost deceived, as he seemed to me a virtuous citizen, and desirous of the regard of every good man, and a firm and trustworthy friend; so that in truth, I detected his wickedness with my eyes, before I did so by my opinion; I was aroused to the necessity of acting against him by force, before my suspicions were awakened. So that if Caelius also was one of the great number of friends whom he had to boast of, there is more reason for his being vexed at having fallen into such a mistake, just as sometimes I myself repent also of having been deceived by the same person, than for his having any reason to fear the accusation of having been a friend of his.

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