The duke, who was a very brave man himself, said now in great anger, “The more base and degenerate in you to take such means for her as you have done, and leave her on such slight conditions.” Then turning to Valentine, he said, “I do applaud your spirit, Valentine, and think you worthy of an empress’s love. You shall have Silvia, for you have well deserved her.” Valentine then with great humility kissed the duke’s hand, and accepted the noble present which he had made him of his daughter with becoming thankfulness: taking occasion of this joyful minute to entreat the good-humoured duke to pardon the thieves with whom he had associated in the forest, assuring him, that when reformed and restored to society, there would be found among them many good, and fit for great employment; for the most of them had been banished, like Valentine, for state offences, rather than for any black crimes they had been guilty of. To this the duke readily consented: and now nothing remained but that Protheus, the false friend, was ordained, by way of penance for his love-prompted faults, to be present at the recital of the whole story of his loves and falsehoods before the duke; and the shame of the recital to his awakened conscience was judged sufficient punishment: which being done, the lovers, all four, returned back to Milan, and their nuptials were solemnised in presence of the duke, with high triumphs and feasting.
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
(By Mary Lamb)
Shylock, the Jew, lived at Venice: he was an usurer, who had amassed an immense fortune by lending money at great interest to Christian merchants. Shylock being a hard-hearted man, exacted the payment of the money he lent with such severity, that he was much disliked by all good men, and particularly by Anthonio, a young merchant of Venice; and Shylock as much hated Anthonio, because he used to lend money to people in distress, and would never take any interest for the money he lent; therefore there was great enmity between this covetous Jew and the generous merchant Anthonio. Whenever Anthonio met Shylock on the Rialto (or Exchange), he used to reproach him with his usuries and hard dealings; which the Jew would bear with seeming patience, while he secretly meditated revenge.
Anthonio was the kindest man that lived, the best conditioned, and had the most unwearied spirit in doing courtesies; indeed he was one in whom the ancient Roman honour more appeared than in any that drew breath in Italy. He was greatly beloved by all his fellow-citizens; but the friend who was nearest and dearest to his heart was Bassanio, a noble Venetian, who, having but a small patrimony, had nearly exhausted his little fortune by living in too expensive a manner for his slender means, as young men of high rank with small fortunes are too apt to do. Whenever Bassanio wanted money, Anthonio assisted him; and it seemed as if they had but one heart and one purse between them.