By these charges the minds of all were exasperated against him more than that of the young man himself:
nay, on the contrary, being grieved that he was even the cause of [p. 452]
public odium and accusations to his father, that all the gods and men might know that he would rather afford aid to his father than to his enemies, he forms the design, characteristic of a rude and rustic mind no doubt, and though of a precedent not conformable to the rules of civil life, yet commendable for its filial piety.
Having furnished himself with a knife, without the knowledge of any one he proceeds early in the morning into the city, and from the gate straightway to the house of Marcus Pomponius the tribune: he tells the porter, that he wanted to see his master immediately, and bid him to announce that he was Titus Manlius, son of Lucius.
Being introduced immediately, (for he had hopes that the youth, incensed against his father, brought either some new charge, or some advice to accomplish the project,) after mutual greeting, he says that there were some matters which he wished to transact with him in private.
Then, all persons being ordered to withdraw to a distance, he draws his dagger; and standing over the couch with his dagger ready to strike, he threatens that he would immediately stab him, unless he would swear in the words which he would dictate, that “he never would hold a meeting of the commons for the purpose of prosecuting his father.”
The tribune alarmed, (for he saw the steel glittering before his eyes, himself alone and unarmed; the other a young man, and very powerful, and what was no less terrifying, savagely ferocious in his bodily strength,) swears in the terms in which he was obliged; and afterwards acknowledged that forced by this proceeding he gave up his undertaking.
Nor though the commons would have preferred that an opportunity was afforded them of passing sentence on so cruel and tyrannical a culprit, they were not much displeased that the son had dared to act so in behalf of his father; and that was the more commendable in this, that such great severity on the part of the father had not weaned his mind from his filial affection.
Wherefore the pleading of his cause was not only dispensed with for the father, but the matter even became a source of honour to the young man;
and when it had been determined on that year for the first time that tribunes of the soldiers for the legions should be appointed by suffrage, (for before that the commanders themselves used to appoint them, as they now do those whom they call Rufuli,) he obtained the second place among six, without [p. 453]
any merit of a civil or military nature to conciliate public favour; as he had spent his youth in the country and at a distance from all intercourse with the world.