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CLXX (F VII, 13)

TO C. TREBATIUS TESTA (IN GAUL)
ROME; 4 MARCH
Did you suppose me to be so unjust as to be angry with you from the idea that you were not sufficiently persevering and were too eager to return, and do you think that that is the reason of my long silence? I was certainly annoyed by the uneasiness of your spirits, which your first letters conveyed to me; but there was absolutely no other reason for the interruption of my own, except my complete ignorance of your address. Are you still, at this time of day, finding fault with me, and do you refuse to accept my apology? Just listen to me, my dear Testa! Is it money that is making you prouder, or the fact that your commander-in-chief consults you? May I die if I don't believe that such is your vanity that you would rather be consulted by Caesar than gilded 1 by him! But if both reasons are true, who will be able to put up with you except myself, who can put up with anything? But to return to our subject—I am exceedingly glad that you are content to be where you are, and as your former state of mind was vexatious, so your present is gratifying, to me. I am only afraid that your special profession may be of little advantage to you: for, as I am told, in your present abode “ They lay no claim by joining lawful hands,
But Challenge right with steel.
2 But you are not wont 3 to be called in to assist at a "forcible entry." Nor have you any reason to be afraid of the usual proviso in the injunction, "into which you have not previously made entry by force and armed men," for I am well assured that you are not a man of violence. But to give you some hint as to what you lawyers call "securities," I opine that you should avoid the Treviri; I hear they are real tresviri capitales—deadly customers: I should; have preferred their being tresviri of the mint! 4 But a truce to jesting for the present. Pray write to me in the fullest detail of all that concerns you.

4 March.


1 “ I will make fast the doors and gild myself
With some more ducats.
”—SHAKESPEARE.

2 Ennius, Ann. 275. The phrase manum consertum in legal language meant to make a joint claim by the symbolical act of each claimant laying a hand on the property (or some representation of it) in court. But it also meant "to join hands in war." Hence its equivocal use in this passage. consertum is a supine, and some such word as eunt must be understood before it.

3 Reading at tu non soles. I cannot explain Prof. Tyrrell's reading et tu soles in connexion with what follows.

4 This elaborate joke is founded on a pun upon the name of the Gallic Treviri and the commissioners in Rome: (1) the III viri capitales, who had charge of prisons, executions, etc. (2) the III viri auro argento aeri flando feriundo, "the commissioners for coining gold, silver, and bronze." Also there is a reference to the meaning of capitalis, "deadly," "affecting the life or citizenship."

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