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(Letter dated late November 74 AD)

 

Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dearest friend Longinus,
greetings .

As promised, brother, here is the list you desire. Most Almost all of the work is Valeria’s, but I took the liberty of summarising it lest you end up with two full scrolls for each lady.

 

Calpurnia Praetextata

Sister to our good friend Aulus of the same name and by all accounts a very beautiful woman, although I have never seen her up close. I don’t think it gets any more prestigious than marrying a former Vestal, although fertility is naturally an unknown quantity in her case.

 

Claudia Caesaris

Second only to a Vestal is the imperial household. Again, I am not closely acquainted with this lady, but she is young and said to be very good-looking. I can ask my sister-in-law Cornelia for more information if it pleases you.

 

Oriana Laecania

It saddens me to inform once more I have no first-hand account of the beauty of this lady, but according to Valeria she throws some very nice parties. My dear wife tells me she is Equite but looking to move up and comes across as rather smart. Young widow, no children, plenty of money of her own so she won’t go after yours.

 

Caecina Tusca

I know it has been your lifelong dream to settle in that mucky shithole we know as Britannia, and to accompany you in your misery who better than the proconsul’s daughter? Think about it, you could have dinner with your father-in-law every night! Too bad it’s not a hereditary magistracy… right?

 

Quinctilia Varia

Widow, on the older side, but not too old to have a third child. Comes from a good family, too. Do you like redheads, Longinus?

 

Sergia Auletia

If the mother doesn’t cut it, maybe the daughter will - but don't go thinking about threesomes now! Valeria says she hasn’t been married before.

 

Licinia Aureliana

My sister-in-law’s niece, daughter of her sister. I haven’t actually seen her in years but she’s said to be very pretty.

 

If you do not find anything to your liking on this list, Longinus, then I will once and for all be convinced that the Britons sacrificed the real you, cock and balls and all, and summoned your castrated lemur to take your place. I shall make sure the appropriate rites are observed and pray for your soul once a year or so.

 

Farewell, my dearest friend and brother.

 

@Sara

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Lucius Cassius Longinus to his dear friend Titus, 

Hades works quick, but you work quicker! 

Thank you for the letter, you've given me much amusement and much to ponder over. From those women I know, I've made a quick list of those that would probably be suitable, and left said list firmly out of site of my meddling, charming mother. For your own interest, see below: 

Calpurnia Praetextata - a yes, if only so Aulus doesn't run me through if he finds out I've struck his sister from my list.
Claudia Caesaris - a definite yes, but maybe a touch too young? Do you know how old she is? I've got an amusing story about her slave, however, which slightly makes me worry for my life if I were to pursue it...but that's for our next round of wines.
Caecina Tusca - an emphatic yes. Britannia here I come!
Sergia Auletia - I don't know much about the family, but if she's young and charming, what's the harm? 


Quinctilia Varia - no offence to the lady of course, but I've heard she's getting on in years.
Oriana Laecania - a no. I'm not that fussed about heritage, but a social climbing equite? Gods I can think of nothing worse...
Licinia Aureliana - being even a vague relation to you makes my skin crawl...unless you think her virtues outweigh any familial gatherings where I'd have to see you.

So that leaves Calpurnia, Claudia, Sergia and Caecina. I've not actually met any of them (if memory serves) so I'm going to have to ask another favour, that you furnish me with an introduction (or four). How on earth do I go about this again? It's been bloody years.

By the way, I've got some British ale with your name on it at my domus, when you're next free.

Longinus

 

The letter was delivered by Longinus' slave, Vitus, about a week after he received Titus'.

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Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dear friend Longinus,
greetings.

 

It makes me happy to know you found the list useful.
Why not make a new list with only the rejects and leave that for your mother to find? If she expects the worst, she'll have no choice but to be quiet when you introduce her to your new matron.

 Are you seriously asking a man who was away from Rome for four years to help you with introductions? When was the last time you saw a medicus?

For Calpurnia, you're better off asking Aulus - but I will gladly join you for reconnaissance purposes when you first meet her.

I'm not sure how old Claudia is. 16? 18? However, should you really be considering wooing her when you're apparently already frolicking about with her slave (and how did you even manage to meet the slave but not the mistress?)...? I look forward to that story of yours.

Caecina is, I believe, younger than Claudia, just so you know. Do  suck up to proconsul Tuscus, I'm certain he'll be baffled by your Briton tongue skills.

Isn't Sergia related to praetor Varus? That might be a relationship worth cultivating for more than one reason.

 

Whichever you go for, the first thing on your list should be employing the services of a barber, permanently. A GOOD one who will not fall for your bullshit excuses, and who will give you a proper haircut and shave.

Don't really know how I'd go about introducing you to these lovely ladies, particularly when you crossed out the one I had the best chance with (you have no clue what our familial gatherings are like and even less clue on what you're missing out on. One word: orgies). Parties might work. Maybe Valeria has some ideas, I shall consult with her.

 

If Bluey ale is what you serve to your friends, I shudder to imagine how you treat your enemies. You're a crueler man than I thought.
How's the next ides sound?

 

Farewell, my dearest friend and brother.

Titus

______

The letter was delivered to Longinus' domus some five days after their last correspondence.

 

@Sara

Edited by Liv
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The letter was delivered on Longinus' birthday, the 21st February 75AD by his secretary Vitus.

Lucius Cassius Longinus to his dear friend Titus, 

I'm appalled I've not yet received your hearty congratulations for reaching another year. Lest you forget, today is my birthday and I've been waiting by the slave's entrance all day for a note from you, which to my great sadness, hasn't come. 

Nonetheless, despite your coldness, consider this an invitation for you and Valeria (I believe I mentioned this...that night) for dinner to celebrate my birthday next ides. It will be you, Valeria, myself, my mother (I'm sorry), perhaps Aulus and Horatia if they aren't too busy and a recent reacquaintance Sestia Vaticana. I believe you've met her. We have much to discuss. 

Now I go off to console myself against your complete lack of friendship with lots and lots of wine. 

Farewell brother, 

Lucius Cassius Longinus

 

TAG: @Liv

Edited by Sara
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Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dear friend Longinus, birthday greetings.

 

As a birthday present allow me to impart some wisdom that you should have acquired many birthdays ago: the sun does not revolve around you, and neither do I.

It both gladdens and saddens me to read that the highlight of your day is this humble note. You are even more miserable than I realised, and I cannot fail to notice that the passage of another year deposits a new layer of grumpiness upon your very being - remind me to set up a contest between you and my father-in-law when he is in better health.

As of this moment I can only account for myself with certainty, but do save two tentative seats for us. It intrigues me to see how we shall go about this great discussion in the presence of your lady mother, but I will place my trust in your resourcefulness (or perhaps in your body slave's). Your segue leads me to believe Sestia Vaticana (who I have indeed met, how very well-informed you are) will be a topic in said discussion.

Await another birthday gift on the day of your party. I think it will go well with your decoration. In the meantime, I will toast to your continued good health with some fine Falernian while you drown your sorrows in that frightful ale.

Farewell, my dearest friend and brother.

_______

The letter was delivered a few hours later on the same day by an illiterate Dacian, who asked that his own greetings be passed on to his friend Celsus.

@Sara

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(Letter dated the day after Consequences)

Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dearest friend Longinus,
greetings.

It is now day 2 of your slave Attis' stay in my house. If it were not a waste of good pepper, I would have ordered him to eat some every time he opens his mouth. Are you aware he lies to your face with no remorse? He did it to me yesterday.

To be entirely frank, I think he's beyond redemption, but I won't let personal opinions deter me from the mission you gave me. He's now making himself at home in the kitchens and, if all goes well, will return to you with top-notch childminding skills under his belt or, at the very least, better acting prowess. 

Is there anything you absolutely do not want me to do to him?

Farewell, my dearest friend and brother.

@Sara

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The letter was returned the same day as he received Titus', by his secretary Vitus. 

Lucius Cassius Longinus to his dear friend Titus, greetings!

I'm so gladdened to learn that Attis has not given you the run around yet, and that he's not lost his will to live. You know my fondness for irreverence, I would hate to see him returned completely devoid of personality - I'd just rather he had less of a personality when in my presence, or the presence of citizens.

The fact you've put him to work in your kitchens warms my heart, as does the image of him trying to wrangle your children. He largely stays out the way of Cassia here, so that'll be a new skill to add to his others. Besides, I'm sure he'll hate both. 

In terms of limits, I have none save that you don't crush all of the spirit out of him, or completely disfigure him. I'm hoping a spell with you will teach him a thing or two about manners and realise just how good he has it here, not make him want to jump off the Tarp. I trust that's agreeable to you? 

Farewell brother, 

Longinus. 

Oh - and before I forget, don't let him speak to the slave that delivered this message. 

 

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Letter dated roughly a week after the earthquake

Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dearest friend Longinus,
greetings.

Hope all is well with your domus and familia after the recent event. I suppose it would be too impudent of me to ask if Attis has been too busy coughing from dust inhalation to open his gab in his usual manner, so let's pretend I didn't.

To take our minds off all that's happened and because it's the right season for it, my brother and sister-in-law are travelling down to Neapolis for a while and inviting friends and family to join them for their beach parties. And why am I telling you this, you wonder? Because we - and that includes you - are heading there to take them up on their generous offer as soon as repair works on the Via Appia are completed. Pack light, you won't need too many clothes. You may bring Cassia if you want, there will be no shortage of kids for her to play with during the day (at night it's the adults who play, if you hadn't surmised that yet). And please get a cut and shave before that, or you'll be the subject of many disappointed looks and make me look bad.

That said, I expect you at my gate on the 13th early in the morning and all ready for departure. If you fail to show up I will hunt you down to Britannia if need be. 

Farewell, my dearest friend and brother.

@Sara

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Letter dated 21st of February 76 AD

 

Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dearest friend Longinus, birthday greetings! 

No invitation for a celebratory party has arrived yet, but I'm sure that can be explained by a disoriented slave rather than forgetfulness on your part... although you have just grown a year older, so that's not outside the realm of possibility. Ageing takes a toll on mental faculties, I've heard.

I've heard a new search was afoot, and I do hope it comes to a fruitful end and that you rejoin the ranks of the happily dutifully married. I will be expecting a full report at your earliest convenience.

In the meantime, I hope your birthday present succeeds in lifting your spirits when good wine no longer can. Should you be displeased with it, do not return to sender as it makes my youngest cough and wheeze like she caught her grandfather's affliction and I don't care to witness that again.

Farewell, my dearest friend and brother.

------------

The letter was delivered by a bumbling Briton slave along with a small wooden crate that wiggled suspiciously at random intervals.

@Sara

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A letter was returned the next day by a brawny Dacian slave. 

Lucius Cassius Longinus to his dear friend Titus, greetings!

Alas I am refusing to celebrate this year, I still have a headache from my thirty-sixth and so I thought I would do the mature and sensible thing and have a quiet night in at home. Or that was the plan until your gift arrived. You already owe me a small fortune for the amount of furniture the little one has chewed through - including my mothers favourite chair. I shall invoice you shortly, when Vitus has the time. 

That being said, I do have to thank you heartily for the gift. He has indeed lifted my spirits and I've named him Rugamon account of his very sweet, but very smushed face. I shall endeavour to be a better dog-owner than a father, and will try my best to stop him chewing your sandals or clothes when you next come to visit. 

And the gossip mill never stops turning, does it? The search is indeed afoot and nearing a conclusion, I hope. Dust off your toga dear friend, there might well be another wedding for you to attend on the horizon but I am not going to jinx it and announce it to the world this time. Just in case. 

Do you want to go for a drink at the next ides? I'll bring Rugam, so you can see the chaotic, destructive power he possesses for yourself.

Farewell! 

 

1 Latin for 'wrinkle' 

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