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Marcus Brutus   


and the wife of Brutus, in which two titles though before I put less
confidence, yet now I have tried myself, and find that I can bid
defiance to pain." Which words having spoken, she showed him her
wound, and related to him the trial that she had made of her
constancy; at which he being astonished, lifted up his hands to
heaven, and begged the assistance of the gods in his enterprise,
that he might show himself a husband worthy of such a wife as
Porcia. So then he comforted his wife.
But a meeting of the senate being appointed, at which it was
believed that Caesar would be present, they agreed to make use of that
opportunity; for then they might appear all together without
suspicion; and, besides, they hoped that all the noblest and leading
men of the commonwealth, being then assembled as soon as the great
deed was done, would immediately stand forward and assert the common
liberty. The very place too where the senate was to meet seemed to
be by divine appointment favourable to their purpose. It was a
portico, one of those joining the theatre, with a large recess, in
which there stood a statue of Pompey, erected to him by the
commonwealth, when he adorned that part of the city with the
porticos and the theatre. To this place it was that the senate was
summoned for the middle of March (the Ides of March is the Roman
name for the day); as if some more than human power were leading the
man thither, there to meet his punishment for the death of Pompey.
As soon as it was day, Brutus, taking with him a dagger, which
none but his wife knew of, went out. The rest met together at
Cassius's house, and brought forth his son that was that day to put on
the manly gown, as it is called, into the forum; and from thence,
going all to Pompey's porch, stayed there, expecting Caesar to come
without delay to the senate. Here it was chiefly that any one who
had known what they had purposed, would have admired the unconcerned
temper and the steady resolution of these men in their most
dangerous undertaking; for many of them, being praetors, and called
upon by their office to judge and determine causes, did not only
hear calmly all that made application to them and pleaded against each
other before them, as if they were free from all other thoughts, but
decided causes with as much accuracy and judgment as they had heard
them with attention and patience. And when one person refused to stand
to the award of Brutus, and with great clamour and many attestations
appealed to Caesar, Brutus, looking round about him upon those that
were present, said, "Caesar does not hinder me, nor will he hinder me,
from doing according to the laws."
Yet there were many unusual accidents that disturbed them and by
mere chance were thrown in their way. The first and chiefest was the
long stay of Caesar, though the day was spent, and he being detained
at home by his wife, and forbidden by the soothsayers to go forth,
upon some defect that appeared in his sacrifice. Another was this:
There came a man up to Casca, one of the company, and, taking him by
the hand, "You concealed," said he, "the secret from us, but Brutus
has told me all." At which words when Casca was surprised, the other
said laughing, "How came you to be so rich of a sudden, that you
should stand to be chosen aedile?" So near was Casca to let out the
secret, upon the mere ambiguity of the other's expression. Then
Popilius Laenas, a senator, having saluted Brutus and Cassius more
earnestly than usual, whispered them softly in the ear, and said,
"My wishes are with you, that you may accomplish what you design,
and I advise you to make no delay, for the thing is now no secret."
This said, he departed, and left them in great suspicion that the
design had taken wind. In the meanwhile, there came one in haste
from Brutus's house and brought him news that his wife was dying.
For Porcia, being extremely disturbed with expectation of the event,
and not able to bear the greatness of her anxiety, could scarce keep
herself within doors; and at every little noise or voice she heard,
starting up suddenly, like those possessed with the bacchic frenzy,
she asked every one that came in from the forum what Brutus was doing,

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