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First of all, what dignity can there be in so limited a science? For they are but small matters, conversant chiefly about single letters and punctuation between words. Secondly, if in the time of our ancestors there was any inclination to marvel at that study of yours, now that all your mysteries are revealed, it is wholly despised and disregarded. At one time few men knew whether a thing might be lawfully done or not; for men ordinarily had no records; those were possessed of great power who were consulted, so that even days for consultation were begged of them beforehand, as from the Chaldean astrologers. A certain notary was found, by name Cnaeus Flavius, who could deceive 1 the most wary, and who set the people records to be learnt by heart each day, and who pilfered their own learning from the profoundest lawyers. So they, being angry because they were afraid, lest, when their daily course of action was divulged and understood, people would be able to proceed by law without their assistance, adopted a sort of cipher, in order to make their presence necessary in every cause.

1 The Latin strictly is, “pierce the eyes of ravens.” It was a proverbial expression.

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load focus Latin (Albert Clark, Albert Curtis Clark, 1908)
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