UMMIDIA QUADRATILLA is dead, having lived almost to her eightieth year. She enjoyed till her last sickness an uninterrupted state of health, with a strength and firmness of body unusual even to matrons in their prime. She has left a will that does her great credit, having disposed of twothirds of her estate to her grandson, and the rest to her granddaughter.
The young lady I know little of, but the grandson is one of my most intimate friends. He is a young man of singular worth, for whom others than his own kin may well feel the affection due to a kinsman. Though he is extremely beautiful, he escaped every malicious imputation both whilst a boy and when a youth; he was a husband at four and twenty, and would have been a father if providence had not disappointed his hopes.
He lived in the family of his grandmother, who was exceedingly devoted to the pleasures of the town, with great severity of conduct, yet at the same time with the utmost compliance. She retained a set of pantomimes, whom she encouraged more than becomes a lady of quality. But Quadratus never witnessed their performances, either when she exhibited them in the theatre, or in her own house; nor did she exact his attendance. I once heard her say, when she was commending her grandson's oratorical studies to my care, that it was her habit, being a woman and as such debarred from active life, to amuse herself with playing at chess or backgammon, and to look on at the mimicry of her pantomimes; but that before engaging in either diversion, she constantly sent away her grandson to his studies: a custom, I imagine, which she observed as much out of a certain reverence, as affection, to the youth.
I was a good deal surprised, as I am persuaded you will be, at what he told me the last time the Sacerdotal Games were exhibited. As we were coming out of the theatre together, where we had been entertained with a contest of these pantomimes, "Do you know," said he, "this is the first time I ever saw one of my grandmother's freedmen dance?" Such was the conduct of the grandson; while a set of men of a far different stamp, in order to do honour to Quadratilla (I am ashamed to employ that word to what, in truth, was but the lowest and grossest flattery) used to flock to the theatre, where they would rise up and clap in an excess of admiration at the performances of those pantomimes, slavishly copying all the while, with shrieks of applause, every sign of approbation given by the lady patroness of this company. But now all that these claqueurs have got in pay is only a few trifling legacies, which they have the mortification to receive from an heir who was never so much as present at Quadratilla's shows.
I send you this account, as knowing it is not disagreeable to you to hear the news of the town, and because I love to renew a pleasure by relating it. And indeed this instance of family affection in Quadratilla, and the honour done therein to that excellent youth her grandson, has afforded me a very sensible satisfaction; I rejoice also that the house which once belonged to Cassius, the founder and chief of the Cassian school of jurists, is to have a master no wise inferior to him. For be assured, my friend, Quadratus will fill and adorn it with his presence, and revive its pristine dignity, fame, and glory, by making it the home of as eminent an advocate as Cassius was a jurisconsult. Farewell.