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WELL, I have no reason after all to repent my formidable guest! For he made himself exceedingly pleasant. But on his arrival at the villa of Philippus on the evening of the second day of the Saturnalia, 1 the villa was so choke full of soldiers that there was scarcely a dining-room left for Caesar himself to dine in. Two thousand men, if you please! I was in a great taking as to what was to happen the next day; and so Cassius Barba came to my aid and gave me guards. A camp was pitched in the open, the villa was put in a state of defence. He stayed with Philippus on the third day of the Saturnalia till one o'clock, without admitting anyone. He was engaged on his accounts, I think, with Balbus. Then he took a walk on the beach. After two he went to the bath. Then he heard about Mamurra without changing countenance. 2 He was anointed: took his place at the table. He was under a course of emetics, 3 and so ate and drank without scruple and as suited his taste. It was a very good dinner, and well served, and not only so, but "Well cooked, well seasoned food, with rare discourse: A banquet in a word to cheer the heart." 4 Besides this, the staff were entertained in three rooms in a very liberal style. The freedmen of lower rank and the slaves had everything they could want. But the upper sort had a really recherché dinner. In fact, I shewed that I was somebody. However, he is not a guest to whom one would say, "Pray look me up again on your way back." Once is enough. We didn't say a word about politics. There was plenty of literary talk. In short, he was pleased and enjoyed himself. He said he should stay one day at Puteoli, another at Baiae. That's the story of the entertainment, or I might call it the billeting on me—trying to the temper, but not seriously inconvenient. I am staying on here for a short time and then go to Tusculum. When he was passing Dolabella's villa, the whole guard formed up on the right and left of his horse, and nowhere else. 5 This I was told by Nicias.

1 The Saturnalia began on the 17th of December.

2 We have no means of knowing what Caesar was told of Mamurra—his death, some think. Hardly the epigram of Catullus (57), as others have suggested (see Suet. Iul. 73). Mamurra was one of his agents whom Caesar had enriched (vol. ii., p.228).

3 This use of emetics—no doubt often abused-took at this time somewhat the place in medical treatment that bleeding did a hundred years ago. Caesar seems to have frequently submitted to it. See pro Deiot. § 21.

4 Verses of Lucilius.

5 This was apparently a sort of salute of honour to Dolabella, who was at this time irritated about the consulship for B.C. 44. Caesar had, it seems, promised it him, but now meant to take the first three months of it himself (Phil. 2.79). See the next letter.

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