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[91] Here if the father pledges himself to pardon him, the dispute falls to the ground. If, on the other hand, he holds out no hope of pardon, though he will not necessarily be regarded as mad, he will certainly give the impression of cruelty and will prejudice the judge against him. Latro [p. 433] therefore showed admirable skill when he made the son say, “You will kill me then?” and the father reply, “Yes, if I can.”1 The elder Gallio treats the theme with greater tenderness, as was natural to a man of his disposition. He makes the father say, “Be firm, my heart, be firm. Yesterday you were made of sterner stuff.”

1 Si potero is ambiguous. It might mean “If I have the heart to do so.” Here lies the loophole for clemency to which Quintilian has referred.

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