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[77] Another method of making light of a statement is to suggest a reason. Cicero employed this method against Vatinius. The latter was lame and, wishing to make it seem that his health was improved, said that he could now walk as much as two miles. “Yes,” said Cicero, “for the days are longer.” Again Augustus, when the inhabitants of Tarraco reported that a palm had sprung up on the altar dedicated to him, replied, “That shows how often you kindle fire upon it.”

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