Lepta jumps for joy at your letter. it is indeed prettily written, and has placed me in a very agreeable light in his eyes. I am much obliged to your little daughter for so earnestly bidding you send me her love. It is very kind of Pilia also; but your daughter's kindness is the greater, because she sends the message to one she has never seen. Therefore pray give my love to both in return. The day on which your letter was dated, the last day of December, reminded me pleasantly of that glorious oath of mine, which I have not forgotten. I was a civilian Magnus on that day.
There's your letter completely answered! Not as you were good enough to ask, with "gold for bronze," but tit for tat. Oh, but here is another little note, which I will not leave unanswered. Lucceius, on my word, could get a good price for his Tusculan property, unless, perchance, his flute-player is a fixture (for that's his way), and I should like to know in what condition it is. Our friend Lentulus, I hear, has advertised everything for sale except his Tusculan property. I should like to see these men cleared of their embarrassments, Cestius also, and you may add Caelius, to all of whom the line applies,
"Ashamed to shrink and yet afraid to take."
I suppose you have heard of Curio's plan for recalling Memmius. Of the debt due from Egnatius of Sidicinum I am not without some hope, though it is a feeble one. Pinarius, whom you recommended to me, is seriously ill, and is being very carefully looked after by Deiotarus. So there's the answer to your note also.
Pray talk to me on paper as frequently as possible while I am at Laodicea, where I shall be up to the 15th of May: and when you reach Athens at any rate send me letter-carriers, for by that time we shall know about the business in the city and the arrangements as to the provinces, the settlement of all which has been fixed for March.
But look here! Have you yet wrung out of Caesar by the agency of Herodes the fifty Attic talents? In that matter you have, I hear, roused great wrath on the part of Pompey. For he thinks that you have snapped up money rightly his, and that Caesar will be no less lavish in his building at the Nemus Diame.
I was told all this by P. Vedius, a hare-brained fellow enough, but yet an intimate friend of Pompey's. This Vedius came to meet me with two chariots, and a carriage and horses, and a sedan, and a large suite of servants, for which last, if Curio has carried his law, he will have to pay a toll of a hundred sestertii apiece. There was also in a chariot a dog-headed baboon, as well as some wild asses. I never saw a more extravagant fool. But the cream of the whole is this. He stayed at Laodicea with Pompeius Vindullus. There he deposited his properties when coming to see me. Meanwhile Vindullus dies, and his property is supposed to revert to Pompeius Magnus. Gaius Vennonius comes to Vindullus's house: when, while putting a seal on all goods, he conies across the baggage of Vedius. In this are found five small portrait busts of married ladies, among which is one of the wife of your friend--" brute," indeed, to be intimate with such a fellow! and of the wife of Lepidus-- as easy-going as his name to take this so calmly! I wanted you to know these historiettes by the way; for we have both a pretty taste in gossip. There is one other thing I should like you to turn over in your mind. I am told that Appius is building a propyheum at Eleusis. Should I be foolishly vain if I also built one at the Academy? "I think so," you will say. Well, then, write and tell me that that is your opinion. For myself, I am deeply attached to Athens itself. I would like some memorial of myself to exist. I loathe sham inscriptions on statues really representing other people. But settle it as you please, and be kind enough to inform me on what day the Roman mysteries fall, and how you have passed the winter. Take care of your health. Dated the 765th day since the battle of Leuctra!
M. PORCIUS CATO TO CICERO (IN CILICIA)