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CCCXCVIII (A X, 14)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
CUMAE, 8 MAY
WHAT a miserable state of existence! To be so long in fear is a greater evil than the very thing which is feared. Servius having arrived, as I told you before, on the 15th of May came to see me next day. Not to keep you in suspense, we arrived at no conclusion as to our policy. I never saw anybody so completely beside himself with fear; and yet, by Hercules, he feared nothing that was not a legitimate object of fear: "Pompey was angry with him, Caesar no friend to him: the victory of either one or the other was alarming, both because of the cruel nature of the one, the unscrupulousness of the other, and also because of the financial embarrassment of both, which could be relieved from no source except that of the property of private persons." And these remarks were accompanied with such floods of tears, that I wondered they had not run dry from such protracted misery. For my part, even the inflammation of the eyes, which prevents my writing to you with my own hand, is not accompanied with a single tear, but is very often troublesome from keeping me awake. Wherefore any consolations you can think of collect and write, not from philosophy and books—for of that I have a stock at home, though somehow or other the medicine is less potent than the disease: rather search for such news as that about Spain or Marseilles. Servius, indeed, brings a very satisfactory report about them, and also tells me that there is good authority for the story of the two legions. That is the sort of news, if you have any, and more like it. And, indeed, something must be heard before many days are over.

But I return to Servius. We in the end adjourned our conversation to the next day: but he is slow about leaving Italy. "He would much rather die in his own bed, whatever is to happen." He feels a painful hesitation as to his son's service at Brundisium. 1 There was one thing that he declared with the utmost determination: if the condemned men were restored, he would go into exile. To this I replied that "that would certainly take place; and what was already being done was no less offensive," and I mentioned a number of instances. However, these arguments did not increase his resolution, only his terror: so that I think he is rather to be kept in the dark about my plan, than invited to adopt the same. So there is not much to be got from him. In obedience to your hint I will turn my thoughts to Caelius.


1 See p. 356.

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