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No hearing before the Senate was granted him. It was in the emperor's chamber, in the presence of Messalina, that he was heard. There Suilius accused him of corrupting the troops, of binding them by bribes and indulgences to share in every crime, of adultery with Poppæa, and finally of unmanly vice. It was at this last that the accused broke silence, and burst out with the words, "Question thy own sons, Suilius; they will own my manhood." Then he entered on his defence. Claudius he moved profoundly, and he even drew tears from Messalina. But as she left the chamber to
MESSALINA'S PROSECUTIONS
wipe them away, she warned Vitellius not to let the man escape. She hastened herself to effect Poppæa's destruction, and hired agents to drive her to suicide by the terrors of a prison. Cæsar meanwhile was so unconscious that a few days afterwards he asked her husband Scipio, who was dining with him, why he sat down to table without his wife, and was told in reply that she had paid the debt of nature.

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