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[229] could only learn to plan their visits on the basis of Sam Weller's love-letter, which was criticised by his father as rather short! “She'll wish there was more of it,” said Sam; “and that's the whole art oa letter-writing.” For want of this art the helpless invalid is hurt instead of helped; she cannot, like other people, assist the departure of the guest by pleading an engagement, or even by rising from the chair; she must wait until the inconsiderate visitor is gone. Under such circumstances she really needs to be saved from her friends. I remember a certain colonel in the army who was sometimes suspected of slamming, and of whom his sub-officers would say, sarcastically, some morning, “he is very ill-too ill to see his surgeon.” There are really many invalids who are too ill to see their friends and sympathizers and cousins, except with the aid of a three-minute glass, like that by which eggs are boiled.

But there is an error in respect to such visiting that is more serious than that of quantity. What is there in the outer world from which it is the hard lot of invalids to be excluded? Sunshine, fresh air, and the healthy life of mankind. These, then, are what the visitor should bring, figuratively at least, into the sick-room. Instead of these, how many bring the very opposite-clouds and shadows, and that which is unwholesome and unhealthy. They keep the invalid talking about the very things which

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