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Chapter IV.—Argument:  Cæcilius, Somewhat Grieved at This Kind of Rebuke Which for His Sake Minucius Had Had to Bear from Octavius, Begs to Argue with Octavius on the Truth of His Religion.  Octavius with His Companion Consents, and Minucius Sits in the Middle Between Cæcilius and Octavius.

And thus, while we were all engaged in the enjoyment of this spectacle, Cæcilius was paying no attention, nor laughing at the contest; but silent, uneasy, standing apart, confessed by his countenance that he was grieving for I knew not what.  To whom I said:  “What is the matter?  Wherefore do I not recognise, Cæcilius, your usual liveliness? and why do I seek vainly for that joyousness which is characteristic of your glances even in serious matters?”  Then said he:  “For some time our friend Octavius’ speech has bitterly vexed and worried me, in which he, attacking you, reproached you with negligence, that he might under cover of that charge more seriously condemn me for ignorance.  Therefore I shall proceed further:  the matter is now wholly and entirely between me and Octavius.  If he is willing that I, a man of that form of opinion, should argue with him, he will now at once perceive that it is easier to hold an argument among his comrades, than to engage in close conflict after the manner of the philosophers.  Let us be seated on those rocky barriers that are cast there for the protection of the baths, and that run far out into the deep, that we may be able both to rest after our journey, and to argue with more attention.”  And at his word we sat down, so that, by covering me on either side, they sheltered me in the midst of the three.17181718    “Ita ut me ex tribus medium lateris ambitione protegerent."  Nor was this a matter of observance, or of rank, or of honour, because friendship always either receives or makes equals; but that, as an arbitrator, and being near to both, I might give my attention, and being in the middle, I might separate the two.  Then Cæcilius began thus:—

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