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Don't put it down to idleness that I do not write with my own hand—and yet, by heaven, do put it down to idleness; for I have no other excuse to give: and, after all, I think I recognize the hand of Alexis in your letters. But to come to business. If Dolabella had not treated me in the most dishonourable manner, I should perhaps have considered whether to be somewhat easy with him or to press for my strict rights. As it is, however, I even rejoice that an opportunity has been presented me of making both him and everybody else perceive that I have become alienated from him. I will avow it openly, and shew indeed that it is not only for my own sake, but for that of the Republic also, that I detest him: because, after having undertaken under my advice to support it, he has not only deserted it for a money bribe, but has also, as far as in him lay, contributed to its ruin. Well, you ask what proceedings I wish to be taken. As soon as the day comes, I should like them to be of such a nature as to make it natural for me to be at Rome. But in regard to that, as in regard to everything else, I will yield to your opinion. On the main question, however, I wish the matter pressed with all vigour and severity. Though it does not look well to call upon sureties for payment, yet I would have you consider how far such a step is justifiable. For it is open to me, with a view to his sureties being eventually called upon, to bring his agents into the case. I am sure the latter will not defend the suit. Though, if they do, I am aware that the sureties are thereby relieved from obligation. But I think that it would be a stigma on him not to free his agents from a debt for which he gave security; and that my character requires me to enforce my right without inflicting signal disgrace upon him. Pray write and tell me what you think of this. I have no doubt that you will conduct the whole case with all proper mildness.

I return to public affairs. I have received-heaven knows—many a prudent word from you under the head of politics, but never anything wiser than your last letter: "Though that youth is powerful and has given Antony a fine check: yet, after all, we must wait to see the end." Why, what a speech! 1 It has been sent to me. He qualifies his oath by the words: "So may I attain to the honours of my father !" and at the same time he held out his right hand in the direction of his statue. Nec servatoribus istis! But, as you say in your letter, the most certain source of danger I see to be the tribuneship of this Caesar of ours. This is what I spoke about to Oppius. When he urged me to open my arms to the young man, the whole cause, and the levy of veterans, I replied that I could by no means do so unless I was completely satisfied that he would be not only not hostile to the tyrannicides, but actually their friend. When he remarked that it would be so, I said, "What is our hurry then? For Octavian does not require my services till the 1st of January: whereas we meanwhile shall learn his disposition before the 13th of December in the case of Casca." 2 He cordially assented. Wherefore, so far so good. For the rest you shall have a letter-carrier every day, and, as I think, you will have something to write to me every day. I inclose a copy of Lepta's letter, from which I gather that that braggart captain 3 has lost his footing. But you will judge when you read it.

P.S.—When I had already sealed this letter I got one from you and Sextus. 4 Nothing could be more delightful and loving than Sextus's letter. For yours was only a short note. Your previous one was fuller of matter. Your advice is as prudent as it is friendly—that I should remain in this neighbourhood by preference, until I hear how the present movements end. But for myself, my dear Atticus, it isn't the Republic that at this moment gives me great anxiety-not because there is anything dearer than it in my eyes or ought to be so, but Hippocrates himself forbids medical treatment in desperate cases. So good-bye to all that! It is my personal property that affects me. Property, do I say? Nay, rather my personal reputation. For great as my balances are, I have not yet realized enough even to pay Terentia. Terentia, do I say? You know that we some time ago settled to pay twenty-five sestertia for the debt to Montanus. My son, from a very keen sense of honour, asked us to pay this out of his allowance: and very liberal too it was of him, as you also thought. I promised him, and told Eros to earmark it. Not only did he not do so; but Aurelius 5 was forced to raise a fresh loan at a most oppressive rate of interest. For as to the debt to Terentia, Tiro wrote me word that you said that there would be cash from Dolabella. I believe that he misunderstood you—if ever a man did misunderstand—or rather that he did not understand anything about it. For you wrote and told me the answer made by Cocceius, and so did Eros in nearly the same words.

We must come therefore to Rome—however hot the conflagration. For personal insolvency is more discreditable than public disaster. Accordingly, on the other subjects, on which you wrote to me in a most charming style, I was too completely upset to be able to reply in my usual way. Give your mind to enabling me to extricate myself from the anxiety in which I now am. By what measures I am to do so, some ideas do occur to my mind, but I can settle nothing for certain until I have seen you. Why should I be less safe at Rome than Marcellus? But that is not now the question; nor is that the thing about which I am chiefly anxious. You see what is occupying my thoughts. I am with you directly therefore. 6

1 The contio delivered by Octavian on his first visit to Rome.

2 One of the assassins. He was tribune-elect, and would come into office 10th December.

3 Antony, some of whose men had been deserting to Octavian.

4 Sextus Peducaeus.

5 The agent of Montanus.

6 Cicero reached Rome on the 9th of December (p.162). Therefore the correspondence with Atticus was interrupted, as he was with him in

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