I have heard from Joseph. He says that the matter may be serious, and after gathering such information as is available in Jerusalem, he has gone off into the mountains to hear for himself what the preacher John is saying. I wish him joy of the expedition. It is about as disagreeable a region as there is in the whole of my dominion - bleak and barren mountains, seamed with deep ravines and watercourses, which lead down steeply to the valley of the Jordan and the Dead Sea. It is chiefly inhabited, so far as I can ascertain, by ill-omened birds, wild beasts, lepers and half-mad hermits such as this John seems to be. In Joseph's absence, I have been examining the reports of our spies in other parts of the country. It appears that John's fame is spreading and the common people are beginning to talk about him. Some of them are setting off in high expectation for the scene of the preaching. I shall be glad to have Joseph's report. This is my first experience of this sort of agitation and I shall deal firmly with it.
One more word about Pomponius. Spare no expense. What is important is not so much that my rights of light should be protected as that Pomponius should be shown to be a rascal.