I HAVE castigated you, at least with the silent reproach of my thoughts, because this is the second packet that has arrived without a letter from you. You cannot escape the penalty for this crime by your own advocacy: you will have to call Marcus to your aid, and dont be too sure that even he, though he should compose a speech after long study and a great expenditure of midnight oil, would be able to establish your innocence. In plain terms, I beg you to do as I remember my mother used to do. It was her custom to put a seal on wine-jars even when empty to prevent any being labelled empty that had been surreptitiously drained. In the same way, I beg you, even if you have nothing to write about, to write all the same, lest you be thought to have sought a cover for idleness: for I always find the news in your letters trustworthy and welcome. Love me, and good-bye.