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Act I, Scene 2
Scene 2 is set in the garden of Julia's house, where she is alone with her waiting-woman Lucetta. Julia asks, "Wouldst thou then counsel me to fall in love?" Lucetta gives an appraisal of her mistress' many suitors. In her opinion, Sir Eglamour is a "a knight well spoken, neat, and fine", and Mercatio is wealthy "but of himself, so so". Lucetta admires Proteus above all her mistress' admirers, and it is obvious that Julia feels the same. Lucetta knows that her mistress is really in love with "gentle Proteus", even though she does not admit it. Julia says that she can only love Proteus when she knows him better; then when she does fall in love, she plans to clearly show her love.
When Lucetta offers Proteus' letter, Julia chides her for having accepted it. In a fit of feigned anger, Julia tears up the letter and orders Lucetta to leave. After Lucetta leaves, Julia laments over the torn fragments and vows to kiss each piece to make amends.
Julia believes herself to be a cautious and noble spirit, who believes a lady should fall in love slowly and then show her love openly and deeply. In this scene, Julia asks her waiting-woman Lucetta to give her advice about falling in love. Lucetta's response clearly indicates that she favors Proteus over all the others and believes that her mistress feels the same way.
When Lucetta hands Julia the love letter from Proteus, she is torn between her view of proper behavior and her desire to read Proteus' words. She decides she must not give in to temptation and sends Lucetta away with the letter. Wavering again, Julia calls for Lucetta on the pretext of wanting to know what time of day it is. Lucetta, knowing that her mistress would prefer the words of Proteus over the time of day, presents his letter once more. This time, trying to act honorably, Julia tears it up; however, when Lucetta leaves Julia alone, she begins to piece together all the torn fragments. She savors Proteus' words "to the sweet Julia," and resolves to make it up to "love wounded Proteus. . .poor, forlorn, passionate Proteus." On the surface, Julia may appear prim and proper, but her heart teems with emotion for Proteus.