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Excited and, I say say, full of enthusiasm, Maternus had hardly finished when Vipstanus Messala entered his room, and, from the earnest expression on each face, he conjectured that their conversation was unusually serious. Have I, he asked, come among you unseasonably, while you are engaged in private deliberation, or the preparation of some case?

By no means, by no means, said Secundus. Indeed I could wish you had come sooner, for you would have been delighted with the very elaborate arguments of our friend Aper, in which he urged Maternus to apply all his ability and industry to the pleading of causes, and then too with Maternus's apology for his poems in a lively speech, which as suited a poet's defence, was uncommonly spirited, and more like poetry than oratory.

For my part, he replied, I should have been infinitely charmed by the discourse, and I am delighted to find that you excellent men, the orators of our age, instead of exercising your talents simply on law-business and rhetorical studies, also engage in discussions which not only strengthen the intellect but also draw from learning and from letters a pleasure most exquisite both to you who discuss such subjects and to those too whose ears your words may reach. Hence the world, I see, is as much pleased with you, Secundus, for having by your life of Julius Asiaticus given it the promise of more such books, as it is with Aper for having not yet retired from the disputes of the schools, and for choosing to employ his leisure after the fashion of modern rhetoricians rather than of the old orators.

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