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Towards the close of his life, he gave some manifest indications that he repented of his marriage with Agrippina, and his adoption of Nero. For some of his freedmen noticing with approbation his having condemned, the day before, a woman accused of adultery, he remarked, "It has been my misfortune to have wives who have been unfaithful to my bed; but they did not escape punishment." Often, when he happened to meet Britannicus, he would embrace him tenderly, and express a desire " that he might grow apace, and receive from him an account of all his actions:" using the Greek phrase, “ὁ τρώσας καὶ ἰάσεται”, "He who has wounded will also heal." And intending to give him the manly habit, while he was under age and a tender youth, because his stature would allow of it, he added, "I do so, that the Roman people may at last have a real Caesar."1
1 Caesar by birth, not by adoption, as the preceding emperors had been, and as Nero would be, if he succeeded.
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