Letters to Atticus/5.1
To Atticus at Rome, from Minturnae, May 51 BC
Yes, I saw well enough what your feelings were as I parted from you; what mine were I am my own witness. This makes it all the more incumbent on you to prevent an additional decree being passed, so that this mutual regret of ours may not last more than a year. As to Annius Saturninus, your measures are excellent. As to the guarantee, pray, during your stay at Rome, give it yourself. You will find several guarantees on purchase, such as those of the estates of Memmius, or rather of Attilius. As to Oppius, that is exactly what I wished, and especially your having engaged to pay him the 800 sestertia, which I am determined shall be paid in any case, even if I have to borrow to do so, rather than wait for the last day of getting in my own debts.
I now come to that last line of your letter written crossways, in which you give me a word of caution about your sister. The facts of the matter are these. On arriving at my place at Arpinum, my brother came to see me, and our first subject of conversation was yourself, and we discussed it at great length. After this I brought the conversation round to what you and I had discussed at Tusculum, on the subject of your sister. I never saw anything so gentle and placable as my brother was on that occasion in regard to your sister: so much so, indeed, that if there had been any cause of quarrel on the score of expense, it was not apparent. So much for that day. Next day we started from Arpinum. A country festival caused Quintus to stop at Arcanum; I stopped at Aquinum; but we lunched at Arcanum. You know his property there. When we got there Quintus said, in the kindest manner, "Pomponia, you ask the ladies in; I will invite the men." Nothing, as I thought, could be more courteous, and that, too, not only in the actual words, but also in his intention and the expression of face. But she, in the hearing of us all, exclaimed, "I am a guest here myself!" The origin of that was, as I think, the fact that Statius had preceded us to look after the luncheon. Thereupon Quintus said to me, "There, that's what I have to put up with every day !" You will say, "Well, what does that amount to?" A great deal ; and, indeed, she had irritated even me : her answer had been given with such unnecessary acrimony, both of word and look. I concealed my annoyance. We all took our places at table except her. However, Quintus sent her dishes from the table, which she declined. In short, I thought I never saw anything better-tempered than my brother, or crosser than your sister : and there were many particulars which I omit that raised my bile more than they did that of Quintus himself. I then went on to Aquinum ; Quintus stopped at Arcanum, and joined me early the next day at Aquinum. He told me that she had refused to sleep with him, and when on the point of leaving, she behaved just as I had seen her. [Note] Need I say more? You may tell her herself that in my judgment she shewed a marked want of kindness on that day. I have told you this story at greater length, perhaps, than was necessary, to convince you that you, too, have something to do in the way of giving her instruction and advice.
There only remains for me to beg you to complete all my commissions before leaving town ; to give Pomptinus a push, and make him start ; to let me know as soon as you have left town, and to believe that, by heaven, there is nothing I love and find more pleasure in than yourself. I said a most affectionate good-bye to that best of men, A. Torquatus, at Minturnae, to whom I wish you would remark, in the course of conversation, that I have mentioned him in my letter.