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The Roman papers in those days were all on one side. They did not dare to be fearless and outspoken, for fear that Nero would take out his ad. So they would confine themselves to the statement that: “The genial and urbane Afranius Burrhus had painted his new and recherche picket fence last week,” or “Our enterprising fellow townsman, Caesar Kersikes, will remove the tail of his favorite bulldog next week, if the weather should be auspicious,” or “Miss Agrippina Bangoline, eldest daughter of Romulus Bangoline, the great Roman rinkist, will teach the school at Eupatorium, Trifoliatum Holler, this summer. She is a highly accomplished young lady, and a good speller.”

Nero got more and more fatal as he grew older, and finally the Romans began to wonder whether he would not wipe out the Empire before he died. His back yard was full all the time of people who had dropped in to be killed, so that they could have it off their minds.

Finally, Nero himself yielded to the great strain that had been placed upon him and, in the midst of an insurrection in Gaul, Spain and Rome itself, he fled and killed himself.

The Romans were very grateful for Nero’s great crowning act in the killing line, but they were dissatisfied because he delayed it so long, and therefore they refused to erect a tall monument over his remains. While they admired the royal suicide and regarded it as a success, they censured Nero’s negligence and poor judgment in suiciding at the wrong end of his reign.

I have often wondered what Nero would have done if he had been Emperor of the United States for a few weeks and felt as sensitive to newspaper criticism as he seems to have been. Wouldn’t it be a picnic to see Nero cross the Jersey ferry to kill off a few journalists who had adversely criticised his course? The great violin virtuoso and light weight Roman tyrant would probably go home by return mail, wrapped in tinfoil, accompanied by a note of regret from each journalist in New York, closing with the remark, that “in the midst of life we are in death, therefore now is the time to subscribe.”