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Early 76CE. Horatius Justinus is in Rome; Quinctilius Varus and his wife are in Tibur. @Járnviðr

Marcus Horatius Justinus warmly greets his son-in-law Secundus Quinctilius Varus

I hope your little stay away from the hustle and bustle of the Urbs is agreeing with you, mi Quinctili! - we all deserve a nice break every now and then! I hope you won't resent me feeling a little bitter you have my darling Livia all to yourself! I trust her good nature and sweetness is brightening your spirits just as much as the locale. And I must admit, if you'll allow me to say so, that your own presence here in Rome is also very much missed. You are perfectly justified in taking your little holiday now, as this is as close to a quiet period as we have had in the city for a long time, but I am working ever so hard to make sure our new Caesar (a promising boy, in my opinion) learns that he can trust in me and my friends and that it is essential to cooperate with the leading men of the Senate, and I can think of no advocate for our dear values sounder or more respectable than your good self. By no means do I want to foreshorten your leisure by excessive nagging; I do not wish to be the type of father-in-law who considers that his son-in-law should be at his every beck and call. My desire to see you back in the city is motivated merely by my high opinion of you, your position and your connections. I am, as I am sure you know, very glad to have you as part of my family.

If you cannot return to Rome, I would at least be very glad of an occasion to visit you and my dear daughter in your delightful residence in Tibur (though not for long - as I say, I am needed at Caesar's side). Every day I long to be in Livia's sparkling company again. If you'll permit me to say, every time I visit I secretly hope that I will find her a mother-to-be at last! But I'm sure you are just as keen for the family line to be extended as I am, and I trust that you will inform me of any news as soon as such a happy occasion is upon us.

Do write and let me know as soon as possible of your situation. My very best regards to you both. Vale.

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Mi. Horatius, honored father-in-law:

Of course, we miss Rome, and there is much happening in our absence. We need time to recuperate, you understand. Livia is a charming but delicate creature, and she needs her little moments of reprieve. There is little to occupy our time here, and we prefer it that way. Admittedly, part of our reason for taking this vacation is for the future of our family. We are both eager to extend the family line, as you say. Indeed, I hope that we soon have good news to share with you. Life is quieter here, and my wife’s company keeps me from succumbing to the torpor of idleness. She is a welcome distraction from the vagaries of age which encroach upon me.

I am glad to hear of your efforts in the public sphere. I do hope to join you in our political endeavors, yet I simply cannot rush back home on the account of anything but my family. The young Caesar may be as promising a prospect as you say, but I have the state of my own fate to consider- a man of my age needs a son to carry out his legacy. I will rejoin you as soon as we are able, but now is not that time, no matter how much Livia and I both wish it to be so.

Perhaps you should visit us, when you can find the time. Livia is somewhat disinterested in frequent visitation, as she requires a break from the din of Rome, but we would be glad to welcome you when she has recovered more from the stress plaguing her constitution. I would hope that when you visit us, I can offer you news of a grandchild. Perhaps in a few months, when we have such glad tidings to share? My dearest apologies that I cannot give you what we have all hoped for, and my fondest regards for the man who introduced me to a woman such as Livia. Vale.


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