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7. [18]

In the first place he ventured to say that Caecina could not be the heir of Caesennia, because he had not the same rights as the rest of the citizens, on account of the disasters and civil calamities of the Volaterrans. Did he, therefore, like a timid and ignorant man, who had neither courage enough, nor wisdom enough, not think it worth while to enter on a doubtful contest about his rights as a citizen? did he yield to Aebutius, and allow him to retain as much as he pleased of the property of Caesennia? No; he, as became a brave and wise man, put down and crushed the folly and calumny of his adversary. [19] As he was in possession of the estate, and as Aebutius was exaggerating his seventy-second share unduly, Caecina, as heir, demanded an arbitrator, for the purpose of dividing the inheritance. And in a few days, when Aebutius saw that he could not pare anything off from Caecina's property by the terror of a law-suit, he gives him notice, in the forum at Rome, that that farm which I have already mentioned, and of which I have shown that he had become the purchaser on Caesennia's commission, was his own, and that he had bought it for himself What are you saying? you will say to me;—does that farm belong to Aebutius which Caesennia had possession of without the least dispute for four years, that is to say, ever since the farm was sold, as long as she lived? Yes, for the life-interest in that farm, and its produce, belonged to Caesennia, by the will of her husband. [20] As he was thus artfully planning this singular kind of action, Caecina determined, by the advice of his friends, to fix a day on which he would go to offer to take possession, and be formally driven off the farm. They confer on the subject; a day is agreed on to suit the convenience of both parties; Caecina, with his friends, comes on the appointed day to the castle of Axia, from which place the farm which is now in question is not far distant. There he is informed by many people that Aebutius has collected and armed a great number of men, both free-men and slaves. While some marvelled at this, and some did not believe it, lo! Aebutius himself comes to the castle. He gives notice to Caecina that he has armed men with him, and that, if he comes on the property, he shall never go away again. Caecina and his friends agreed that it was best to try how far they could proceed without personal danger. [21] Then they descend from the castle—they go to the farm. It seems to some to have been done rashly; but, as I think, this was the reason,—no one supposed that Aebutius would really behave as rashly as he had threatened.


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