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Meanwhile no mere rumour but messengers from all parts brought the news that everything was known to Claudius, and that he was coming, bent on vengeance. Messalina upon this went to the gardens of Lucullus; Silius, to conceal his fear, to his business in the forum. The other guests were flying in all directions when the centurions appeared and put every one in irons where they found them, either in the public streets or in hiding. Messalina, though her peril took away all power of thought, promptly resolved to meet and face her husband, a course in which she had often found safety; while she bade Britannicus and Octavia hasten to embrace their father. She besought Vibidia, the eldest of the Vestal Virgins, to demand audience of the supreme pontiff and to beg for mercy. Meanwhile, with only three companions, so lonely did she find herself in a moment, she traversed the whole length of the city, and, mounting on a cart used to remove garden refuse, proceeded along the road to Ostia; not pitied, so overpoweringly hideous were her crimes, by a single person.

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