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CCCXX (A VII, 23)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
FORMIAE, 10 FEBRUARY
On the 9th of February, in the evening, I received a letter from Philotimus saying that "Domitius has a strong force; cohorts from Picenum, under Lentulus and Thermus, have effected a junction with Domitius's army; Caesar's advance can be stopped: he is himself afraid of that; the courage of the loyalists at Rome is raised; the disloyal are in dismay." For my part, I fear that these are dreams. However, Manius Lepidus, L. Torquatus, Gaius Cassius, who are staying with me at Formiae, are quite restored to life by Philotimus's letter. I, however, am afraid that the truer account is this: that we are all now practically captives; that Pompey is on the point of abandoning Italy, of whom, indeed (what a bitter pill to swallow'.), Caesar is said to be actually in pursuit. Caesar pursue Pompey? What, to kill him? Merciful heavens! and don't we rush as one man to throw our bodies in the way? You, too, must sigh at that! But what are we to do? We are utterly beaten, trapped and taken.

However, after reading Philotimus's letter, I changed my plan as to the ladies, whom, as I wrote you word, I intended sending back to Rome. It has occurred to my mind that it would give rise to much talk to the effect that I already shewed my opinion about the fortunes of the party, and that, regarding it as desperate, I had in this return of my ladies made a kind of first step towards my own return. As for myself, however, I agree with you that I should not commit myself to an indefinite and dangerous flight, by which I should do no good to the Republic or to Pompey, for whom I can die with as much cheerfulness as loyalty. I will remain, therefore. But to go on living——!

You ask what is going on here. The whole business of Capua, and the levy in this neighbourhood, are at a standstill. There is complete despair. Everybody is preparing to fly, unless some such incident occurs as Pompey effecting a junction of his forces with those of Domitius. But I think we shall know all about it in two or three days. I send you a copy of Caesar's letter to me; for you asked for it. Many have written to tell me that he is much pleased with me. I don't mind that, so long as I abstain—as I have as yet-from doing anything discreditable.


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