“Lend me the letter,” said his father: “let me see what news.”

“There are no news, my lord,” said Proteus, greatly alarmed, “but that he writes how well beloved he is of the duke of Milan, who daily graces him with favors; and how he wishes me with him, the partner of his fortune.”

“And how stand you affected to his wish?” asked the father.

“As one relying on your lordship’s will, and not depending on his friendly wish,” said Proteus.

Now it had happened that Proteus’ father had just been talking with a friend on this very subject: his friend had said, he wondered his lordship suffered his son to spend his youth at home, while most men were sending their sons to seek preferment abroad; “some,” said he, “to the wars, to try their fortunes there, and some to discover islands far away, and some to study in foreign universities; and there is his companion Valentine, he is gone to the duke of Milan’s court. Your son is fit for any of these things, and it will be a great disadvantage to him in his riper age not to have travelled in his youth.”

Proteus’ father thought the advice of his friend was very good, and upon Proteus telling him that Valentine “wished him with him, the partner of his fortune,” he at once determined to send his son to Milan; and without giving Proteus any reason for this sudden resolution, it being the usual habit of this positive old gentleman to command his son, not reason with him, he said, “My will is the same as Valentine’s wish”; and seeing his son look astonished, he added, “Look not amazed, that I so suddenly resolve you shall spend some time in the duke of Milan’s court; for what I will I will, and there is an end. To-morrow be in readiness to go. Make no excuses for I am peremptory.”

Proteus knew it was of no use to make objections to his father, who never suffered him to dispute his will; and he blamed himself for telling his father an untruth about Julia’s letter, which had brought upon him the sad necessity of leaving her.

Now that Julia found she was going to lose Proteus for so long a time, she no longer pretended indifference; and they bade each other a mournful farewell, with many vows of love and constancy. Proteus and Julia exchanged rings, which they both promised to keep forever in remembrance of each other: and thus, taking a sorrowful leave, Proteus set out on his journey to Milan, the abode of his friend Valentine.

Valentine was in reality what Proteus had feigned to his father, in high favor with the duke of Milan; and another event had happened to him, of which Proteus did not even dream, for Valentine had given up the freedom of which he used so much to boast, and was become as passionate a lover as Proteus.

She who had wrought this wondrous change in Valentine was the lady Silvia, daughter of the duke of Milan, and she also loved him; but they concealed their love from the duke, because although he showed much kindness for Valentine, and invited him every day to his palace, yet he designed to marry his daughter to a young courtier whose name was Thurio. Silvia despised this Thurio, for he had none of the fine sense and excellent qualities of Valentine.

These two rivals, Thurio and Valentine, were one day on a visit to Silvia, and Valentine was entertaining Silvia with turning every thing Thurio said into ridicule, when the duke himself entered the room, and told Valentine the welcome news of his friend Proteus’ arrival. Valentine said, “If I had wished a thing, it would have been to have seen him here!” And then he highly praised Proteus to the duke, saying, “My lord, though I have been a truant of my time, yet hath my friend made use and fair advantage of his days, and is complete in person and in mind, in all good grace to grace a gentleman.”

“Welcome him then according to his worth,” said the duke. “Silvia, I speak to you, and you, Sir Thurio; for Valentine, I need not bid him do so.” They were here interrupted by the entrance of Proteus, and Valentine introduced him to Silvia, saying, “Sweet lady, entertain him to be my fellow-servant to your ladyship.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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