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DCXXXIX (A XIII, 25, §§ 2 AND 3)

About Andromenes, I thought what you say was the case. For you would have known and told me. Yet your letter is so full of Brutus, that you don't say a word about yourself. But when do you think he is coming? For I intend to arrive in Rome on the 14th. I meant in my letter to tell Brutus—but since you say that you have read it, I was not perhaps quite clear—that I understood from your letter that he did not wish me to come to Rome now out of compliment as it were to himself. But since my arrival in town is now approaching, pray take care that the Ides (the 15th) 1 don't prevent him from being at Tusculum if that suits his convenience. For I am not likely to want him at the auction. In a business of that kind why are you not sufficient by yourself? But I do want him at the making of my will. This, however, I wish to be on another day, that I may not appear to have come to Rome for that express purpose. I have written to Brutus, therefore, to say that there was not the occasion for his presence on the 15th, which I had contemplated. So I should like you to direct the whole of this business in such a way as to prevent our inconveniencing Brutus in any particular, however small.

But pray, why in the world are you in such a fright at my bidding you send the books to Varro at your own risk? Even at this eleventh hour, if you have any doubt, let me know. Nothing can be more finished than they are. I want Varro to take a part in them, especially as he desires it himself: but he is, as you know, “Keen-eyed for faults, to blame the blameless prone.” 2 The expression of his face often occurs to me as he perhaps complains, for instance, that in these books my side in the argument is defended at greater length than his own. That, on my honour, you will find not to be the case if you ever get your holiday in Epirus—for at present my works have to give place to Alexion's business letters. But after all I don't despair of the book securing Varro's approval, and I am not sorry that my plan should be persisted in, as I have gone to some expense in long paper; 3 but I say again and again—it shall be done at your risk. Wherefore, if you have any hesitation, let us change to Brutus, for he too is an adherent of Antiochus. What an excellent likeness of the Academy itself, with its instability, its shifting views, now this way and now that! But, please tell me, did you really like my letter to Varro? May I be hanged if I ever take so much trouble again about anything! Consequently I did not dictate it even to Tiro, 4 who usually takes down whole periods at a breath, but syllable by syllable to Spintharus. 5

1 The day of the auction of the horti Scapulani.

2 Homer, Il. 11.654.

3 Macrocolla, μακρόκολλα, was a particularly large and expensive kind either of paper or parchment. It was the size and shape, not the material, that gave the name. Cicero refers to it again in Att. 16.3.Pliny (N. H 13.80) says that it was a cubit broad. Cicero had had the "presentation copy" written on this expensive material.

4 Tiro's treatise on shorthand-notae Tironianae—survives.

5 The letter to Varro is that which precedes this one.

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