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Afraid that you will interrupt me—you? In the first place, if I were as busy as you think, do you know what interruption means? Have you taken a lesson from Ateius ? 1 So help me heaven, in my eyes you give me a lesson in a kind of learning which I never enjoy unless you are with me. Why, that you should talk to me, interrupt me, argue against me, or converse with me, is just what I should like. Nothing could be more delightful! Never, by Hercules, did any crazy poet read with greater zest his last composition than I listen to you, no matter what business is in hand, public or private, rural or urban. But it was all owing to my foolish scrupulousness that I did not carry you off with me when I was leaving town. You confronted me the first time with an unanswerable excuse—the health of my son: I was silenced. The second time it was both boys, yours and mine: I acquiesced. 2 Now comes a delightful letter, but with this drop of gall in it—that you seem to have been afraid, and still to be afraid, that you might bore me. I would go to law with you if it were decent to do so; but, by heaven! if ever I have a suspicion of such a feeling on your part, I can only say that I shall begin to be afraid of boringyou at times, when in your company. [I perceive that you have sighed at this. 'Tis the way of the world: "But if you lived on earth" ... I will never finish the quotation and say, "Away with all care!" 3] Marius, 4 again, I should certainly have forced into my sedan—I don't mean that famous one of Ptolemy that Anicius got hold of : 5 for I remember when I was conveying him from Naples to Baiae in Anicius's eight-bearer sedan, with a hundred armed guards in our train, I had a real good laugh when Marius, knowing nothing of his escort, suddenly drew back the curtains of the sedan—he was almost dead with fright and I with laughing: well, this same friend, I say, I should at least have carried off; to secure, at any rate, the delicate charm of that old-fashioned courtesy, and of a conversation which is the essence of culture. But I did not like to invite a man of weak health to a villa practically without a roof, and which even now it would be a compliment to describe as unfinished. It would indeed be a special treat to me to have the enjoyment of him here also. For I assure you that the neighbourhood of Marius makes the sunshine of that other country residence of mine. 6 I will see about getting him put up in the house of Anicius. For I myself, though a student, can live with workpeople in the house. I get this philosophy, not from Hymettus, but from Arpinum. 7 Marius is feebler in health and constitution. As to interrupting my book 8—I shall take from you just so much time for writing as you may leave me I only hope you'll leave me none at all, that my want of progress may be set down to your encroachment rather than to my idleness! In regard to politics, I am sorry that you worry yourself too much, and are a better citizen than Philoctetes, who, on being wronged himself, was anxious for the very spectacle 9 that I perceive gives you pain. Pray hasten hither: I will console you and wipe all sorrow from your eyes: and, as you love me, bring Marius. But haste, haste, both of you! There is a garden at my house. 10

1 Some bore, unknown to us.

2 The two boys seem to be receiving their education together at this time in the house of Quintus.

3 It is all but impossible to explain these words. Some editors transfer them to the sentence after de Republica. But they are scarcely more in place there. The Greek quotation is not known.

4 M. Marius, to whom Letter CXXVI is addressed.

5 C. Anicius, a senator, seems to have obtained from Ptolemy Auletes, by gift or purchase, his state sedan and its attendants.

6 The Pompeianum.

7 An unintelligible word, meant apparently for Greek (perhaps arce ψυρίᾳ, see Att. 16.13), is in the text. The most probable conjecture refers it in some way to Arpinum, Cicero's hardy mountain birthplace.

8 The de Oratore.

9 The ruin of his country.

10 For us to walk and converse in. It hardly refers to a supply of vegetables, as some suggest.

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