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DLXXXIX (A XII, 44, 45.1)

THAT Hirtius wrote to you in an agitated tone about me does not trouble me—for he meant it kindly—and that you did not forward me his letter troubles me much less. For that was even kinder of you. His book which he sent me about Cato I wish to be published by your copyists, to enhance Cato's reputation from the nature of their invectives.

So you are negotiating through Mustela: well, he is well suited for the purpose, and much attached to me since the affair of Pontianus. Therefore make some bargain or other. Why, what else is wanted except an opening for a purchaser? And that could be secured by means of any one of the heirs. But I think Mustela will accomplish that, if you ask him. For myself, you will have secured for me not only a site for the purpose I have at heart, but also a solace for my old age. For the properties of Silius and Drusus do not seem to me to be sufficiently suited to a paterfamilias. What! spend whole days in the country house! 1 My preference therefore is-first Otho's, second Clodia's. If neither of them comes off; we must try and outwit Drusus, or have recourse to the Tusculan site. You have acted prudently in shutting yourself in your house. But pray finish off your business and let me find you once more at leisure. I leave this place for Lanuvium, as I told you, on the 16th. Next day I shall be at Tusculum. For I have well disciplined my feelings, and perhaps conquered them, if only I keep to it. 2 You shall know, therefore, perhaps tomorrow, at the latest the day after.

But what does this mean, pray? Philotimus reports that Pompeius is not invested at Carteia, and that a serious war remains to be fought. Oppius and Balbus had sent me a copy of a letter written to Clodius of Patavium on this investment, saying that they thought it was so. It is just like Philotimus to act the second-rate Fulvinius. 3 Nevertheless, tell me anything you know. About the shipwreck of Caninius also I want to know the truth. 4

While here I have finished two long treatises. 5 It was the only way I had to give my unhappiness the slip, if I may use the expression. As for you, even if you have nothing to tell, as I foresee will be the case, still write to say that you have nothing to say—so long as you don't use these exact words.

1 That is, the property is too far from Rome, and would necessitate staying a night there. It could not be visited for a few hours.

2 From these and some similar expressions afterwards it has been inferred that Tullia died at Tusculum. From p. 181 it would seem to be more likely that it was at Rome.

3 We know nothing of Fulvinius: he must have been notorious for spreading false news. Philotimus was so also (see vol. ii., p. 384). Very characteristically the report was true in fact, though only half the truth. Gnaeus Pompeius was not invested at Carteia, for he escaped on board ship. But not long afterwards he was killed when landing to take in water. See p.240.

4 See p.240.

5 The Academica and the de Finibus. Or, as some think, the two books of the original edition of the Academica.

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