Things are going well here in the country,
though I wish you were here. It is too bad your father decided that
your family would stay in the city. Because father doesn't have as
much work in the country as in the city we get to see him more often.
He always asks us about our lessons and what we are learning. Sometimes
he talks to us about things that Augustus is doing in the city, but I don't
understand them very often. But I am trying to learn to make him
proud of me. I know he is trying to teach me as much as he can.
He is not serious all the time, just most of the time. He can be
very funny and says lots of things that make Marcus and Quintus, and I
laugh. I don't understand why I am laughing sometimes, but it is
Quintus, Marcus, and I are having lots of fun together, sometimes. Marcus says he is too big to play with us, that we are little kids. I guess he is fifteen and Quintus and I are ten and seven, so he is alot older, but that doesn't mean we aren't fun to be with. He teases us alot, but sometimes he will play games with us. He especially likes catch, I think because that is what he is beat at playing. But only when we are alone. Marcus won't play with the other children, I think he wants to be a grown up like my father and his friends. Sometimes I hear him and father talking about Augustus and all that political stuff.
Anyway, things are fun most of the time here. Quintus and I get up at dawn and the same tutor comes to the atrium and teaches us. Today we learned about Homer and the poems that he wrote. These are hard for me to read, but Quintus helps me so it makes it easier. Marcus is done with all his grammar now, so he goes with another tutor to learn other things. After some lessons we got back inside for some food. Mostly we eat bread and fruit. The country makes me very hungry for some reason, sometimes I eat more than my brothers!!! After we eat, Quintus and I go back to lessons for a short while. These lessons are not quite as long as the ones in the morning. When my afternoon lessons are over I get to go in the villa and help mother prepare for dinner or clean up the house. Quintus and Marcus go play some sort of games with the other boys around here. They say these games are very hard and they always come back sweaty and dirty. Mother says they are learning strategy and other things boys need to learn.
I am lucky. I get to stay inside and
help mother. Pretty much I follow her around and we make sure all
the slaves are doing the right things and that everything is prepared for
the evening. Mother often stops and explains what is wrong and how
she will tell the slaves to fix it. Sometimes, if it isn't something
to hard, she lets me explain what is wrong to the slave. Normally
this is not too much work because the slaves know how to prepare for the
everyday meal. But sometimes we have very large feasts and there is so
much to prepare. Mother runs around instructing the slaves and explaining
to me what she is doing. The slaves all hurry around the kitchen
cutting meat, bread, and vegetables. I don't think I could ever be
a kitchen slave. It smells awful until they cook the food, and the
cook and his helpers are sweaty and dirty. But somehow they get everything
done and clean up the kitchen and themselves before dinner. They
don't seem to mind being in the kitchen. Sometimes if I am good and
stay out of the way, the cook, his name is Lucius, will sneak me a bite
to eat when mother isn't looking. My favorite thing is cheese and
bread together or the meat made on the days there are feasts. I don't
know what kind it is, but tastes really good.
On a normal night, after all is prepared, my brothers and I eat with our parents. Father asks about our lessons and what we learned. Then he and Marcus discuss man things; that part gets boring. If there is a feast, Quintus and I must go to the slaves quarters and eat with our nurse. I like this better sometimes because I used to play here all day until I had to go to school. Quintus doesn't like it though. He is angry because Marcus gets to eat at the feasts since he is now wearing the toga virilis. Sometimes Marcus brags to Quintus about the food, wine, and the beautiful slaves, women and boys, that serve the meal. Quintus tries to not show he is angry, but I can tell he is mad he misses all the fun. I offered to try and sneak in and look at all that is going on, but Quintus doesn't want to sneak in. He is afraid to get in trouble, I think. He is a silly boy sometimes.
Oh, I almost forgot. Yesterday father said we would have our portraits done. He says now that I am old enough to sit still, and because he is a senatores, we will get to have our portrait done. I think sitting while they make it will be very boring, but I won't it be fun to see two of me everyday!
I miss you and wish you were here, but I will see you soon when my father's business in the country id finished. He says it won't be too long now.
You're dearest friend,
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