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I WILL first congratulate you—for that is what the order of events demands: and then I will speak of myself. I do warmly congratulate you on the result of the trial for bribery, and not on what nobody ever had any doubt about—your acquittal—but on the fact which, the better citizen, the more illustrious man, the more loyal friend you are, the greater the marks of virtue and industry distinguishing you, is the -more to be wondered at, namely, that no secret ill-will was found lurking even in the concealment of the ballot bold enough to attack you. It is a fact scarcely consistent with the circumstances, the men, and the morals of our day. I have not been so much struck by anything for a long time past.

Now as to myself—for a moment put yourself in my place, and imagine yourself to be just what I am. If you have no difficulty in finding something to say, don't excuse my hesitation. I, indeed, would hope for myself and my Tullia, as you most kindly and politely express your wishes, that what has been done by my family without my knowledge may turn out to our happiness. But that the marriage happened to take place at that particular time—I hope and desire that it may not be wholly without happiness, yet after all it is your wisdom and kindness which gives me more ground for that hope than the opportuneness of it. 1 Accordingly, I cannot think how to end what I have begun to say; for I ought not to make any gloomy remark on an event which you honour with your felicitations, and yet after all there is something in it which stings me. But in this matter there is one thing of which I am not afraid of your not being fully aware that what was done was done by others, to whom I have left a charge that during my absence they should not refer to me, but should act on their own judgment. Here I am met by the question, "What would you have done if you had been at home?" I should have approved of the match; as to the time, I should have done nothing without your consent, or without consulting you. You see how I have all this time been sweating under the hard task of finding how to maintain what I am bound to maintain, and yet not offend you. 2 Relieve me, then, of this burden: for I think I have never handled a more difficult cause. Be sure of this in any case: had I not at that very time already completed the whole business with the greatest zeal for the maintenance of your highest reputation—although I think my old affection for you admits of no addition—yet when this marriage was announced to me, I should have defended your honour, not indeed with greater zeal, but more keenly, openly, and markedly.

On my way from my province, after the conclusion of my year of command, as I was approaching Sida on board ship, accompanied by Q. Servilius, a letter from home was delivered to me on the 3rd of August. I at once told Servilius—for he seemed somewhat put out— that he might expect greater exertions on my part in all ways. In short: I have not become at all better disposed to you than I was, but I have become much more energetic in declaring my good disposition. For as our old difference made me more on my guard against giving any ground for thinking our reconciliation feigned, so this new marriage connexion gives me fresh anxiety to avoid the appearance of any diminution of my extreme affection for you.

1 Cicero is trying to excuse the fact that Dolabella's marriage to Tullia was just at the time that he was prosecuting Claudius.

2 Cicero feels that the case is an awkward one; and his style becomes laboured and involved in trying to put it pleasantly.

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