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It was the day after Curiatius Maternus had given a reading of his Cato, by which it was said that he had irritated the feelings of certain great personages, because in the subject of his tragedy he had apparently forgotten himself and thought only of Cato. While all Rome was discussing the subject, he received a visit from Marcus Aper and Julius Secundus, then the most famous men of genius at our bar. Of both I was a studious hearer in court, and I also would follow them to their homes and when they appeared in public, from a singular zeal for my profession, and a youthful enthusiasm which urged me to listen diligently to their trivial talk, their more serious debates, and their private and esoteric descourse. Yet many ill-naturedly thought that Secundus had no readiness of speech, and that Aper had won his reputation for eloquence by his cleverness and natural powers, more than by training and culture. As a fact, Secundus had a pure, terse, and a sufficiently fluent style, while Aper, who was imbued with learning of all kinds, pretended to despise the culture which he really possessed. He would have, so he must have thought, a greater reputation for industry and application, if it should appear that his genius did not depend on any supports from pursuits alien to his profession.

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