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What I you don't budge from your mischievous humour? You hint that Balbus was contented with very plain fare: your insinuation seems to be that when kings 1 are so abstemious, much more ought mere consulars to be so. You don't know that I fished everything out of him; for he came straight from the city gate to my house—and I am not surprised that he did not prefer going to his own house, but that he didn't go to his own belle amie! However, my first three words were "How's our Paetus?" In answer he swore that he had never had a pleasanter visit anywhere. If you earned that compliment by your conversation, I will bring you a pair of ears no less discriminating: but if by your dainty fare, I beg you not to think stutterers 2 worth more than men of eloquence. One thing after another stops me every day. But if I ever get myself sufficiently free to be able to come to your parts, I won't let you think that you haven't sufficient notice from me.

1 Caesarians, like Balbus, who are now in quasi-royal power. But rex often used for "patron" or "great man, as in Horace.

2 Punning on the meaning of Balbus.

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