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He 1 has been to see me and with a very dejected air. Said I to him: "Why so gloomy ?" "Can you ask," said he, "when I am about to start on a journey, and a journey to the seat of war—a journey, too, that is not only dangerous, but discreditable as well ? " 2 "What is the compulsion, then?" said I. "Debt," said he, "and yet I haven't even money enough for the journey." At this point I took a hint from your kind of eloquence. I held my tongue. He went on: "But what gives me most pain is my uncle. " 3 "Why is that?" said I. "Because he is angry with me," said he. "Why do you allow him to be so," said I-for I prefer using that word to "Why do you incur it ?" "I won't allow it," said he, "for I will remove the reason." "Excellent !" said I; "but if it won't be disagreeable to you, I should like to know what the reason is." "Because, while hesitating as to whom to marry, I vexed my mother, and consequently him too. However, nothing can make up for doing that in my eyes. I will do what they wish." "I wish you good luck," I said, "and I commend your resolution. But when is it to be?" "Oh, I don't care about the time," he said, "since I accept the thing." "Well, my opinion is," said I, "that you should do it before starting. You will thus oblige your father also." "I will do as you think right," said he. This was the end of our conversation.

But listen to me! You know the 3rd of January is my birthday. You must come to dinner therefore.

I had written thus far, when lo and behold comes a summons to Rome from Lepidus. I suppose the augurs want me for consecrating a temple-site. 4 Well, I must go. Don't let's have any rumpus. 5 I shall see you therefore. [The following letters of introduction cannot be dated. They probably were written early in the year.]

1 Cicero's nephew Quintus.

2 Quintus is going with Caesar to the wars against the Getae and the Parthians. He seems to call the journey dishonourable to himself, not on its own account, but because of his motive in undertaking the service, i.e., to avoid his creditors.

3 Atticus.

4 Probably that of Felicitas (Dio, 45, 5).

5 μὴ σκόρδου (Tyrrell and Purser's brilliant emendation of the unintelligible word in the MSS.), lit. "No garlic!" Garlic was supposed to make people pugnacious, and is often mentioned in Aristophanes as used for feeding fighting-cocks: Eq. 494, 946; Acharn. 166; Pax, 502; Lys. 690. So Lucian in his Vera Historia (i. 13) names one of his imaginary people σκοροδομάχοι, "garlic fighters."

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