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As I was writing against the Epicureans before daybreak, I scratched a hasty note to you by the same lamp and in the same breath, and despatched it also before daybreak. Then, after going to sleep again and getting up at sunrise, a letter from your sister's son 1 is put into my hands, which I herewith send to you in the original copy. It begins with a gross insult. But perhaps he didn't stop to think. Well, this is how it begins: "Whatever can be said to your discredit I___" He will have it that much can be said to my discredit, but says that he does not endorse it. Could anything be in worse taste? Well, you shall read the rest—for I send it on to you—and judge for yourself. My belief is that it was because the fellow was disturbed by the daily and persistent compliments of our friend Brutus—the expression of which by him in regard to us has been reported to me by a very large number of people—that he has at length deigned to write to me and to you. Please let me know if that is so. For what he has written to his father about me I don't know. About his mother, how truly filial! "I had wished," he says, "to be with you as much as possible, and that a house should be taken for me; and I wrote to you to that effect. You have neglected to do it. Therefore we shall see much less of each other: for I cannot bear the sight of your house; you know why." The reason to which he alludes, his father tells me, is hatred of his mother. Now, my dear Atticus, assist me with your advice: “Scale the high-built wall shall I By justice pure and verity?” That is, shall I openly renounce and disown the fellow, or shall I proceed "by crooked wiles"? For as was the case with Pindar, "My mind divided cannot hit the truth." 2 On the whole the former is best suited to my character, the latter to the circumstances of the time. However, consider me as accepting whatever decision you have come to. What I am most afraid of is being caught at Tusculum. 3 In the crowd of the city these things would be less difficult. Shall I go to Astura then? What if Caesar suddenly arrives? 4 Help me with your advice, I beg. I will follow your decision, whatever it may be.

1 The younger Quintus Cicero.

2 A fragment of Pindar of four lines: “ po´τερον di´κᾳ τεῖχος ὕψιον
σκολιαῖς ἀπάtais ἀναβαίνει
ἐπιχθόνιον ge/nos ἀνδρῶν,
di´χα μοι νόos ἀτρέκειαν ei᾿πεῖν.
” “Whether it is by justice that the race of men upon the earth mount a lofty wall or by crooked wiles, my mind is divided in pronouncing the truth.”

3 "By Quintus (junior) coming to see me at Tusculum."

4 Cicero thinks he must meet Caesar at Rome or perhaps on his road to Rome. But at Astura he would be out of the way of doing so, if Caesar suddenly appeared by sea at Ostia or from the north.

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