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Chapter XXIII.

What,” replied I, “is there not enough about my friend Martin in that book of mine which you know that I published respecting his life and virtues?”

“I own it,” said Postumianus, “and that book of yours is never far from my right hand. For if you recognize it, look here—(and so saying he displayed the book which was concealed in his dress)—here it is. This book,” added he, “is my companion both by land and sea: it has been my friend and comforter in all my wanderings. But I will relate to you to what places that book has penetrated, and how there is almost no spot upon earth in which the subject of so happy a history is not possessed as a well-known narrative. Paulinus, a man who has the strongest regard for you, was the first to bring it to the city of Rome; and then, as it was greedily laid hold of by the whole city, I saw the booksellers rejoicing over it, inasmuch as nothing was a source of greater gain to them, for nothing commanded a readier sale, or fetched a higher price. This same book, having got a long way before me in the course of my traveling, was already generally read through all Carthage, when I came into Africa. Only that presbyter of Cyrene whom I mentioned did not possess it; but he wrote down its contents from my description. And why should I speak about Alexandria? for there it is almost better known to all than it is to yourself. It has passed through Egypt, Nitria, the Thebaid, and the whole of the regions of Memphis. I found it being read by a certain old man in the desert; and, after I told him that I was your intimate friend, this commission was given me both by him and many other brethren, that, if I should ever again visit this country, and find you well, I should constrain you to supply those particulars which you stated in your book you had passed over respecting the virtues of the sainted man. Come then, as I do not desire you to repeat to me those things which are already sufficiently known from what you have written, let those other points, at my request and that of many others, be fully set forth, which at the time of your writing you passed over, to prevent, as I believe, any feeling of weariness on the part of your readers.”

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