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[310] for a long time I have delayed, for reasons I will tell you later; but there is no reason, and no business, which shall delay me longer, when I know you are unhappy, and that in your grief you doubt those whom you have inspired with a real friendship for you. I know by experience what it is to lose the person most dear to us, and on whom rested our hope of love, of comfort, and companionship for the whole of life; and I know, moreover, that under such misfortunes we easily suspect all our friends of forgetting us. You have, assuredly, at home, many persons who will be comforters to you, and who will prove their friendship for you. But I should like to prove to you that, excepting the friends of your childhood, you have none on whom you ought to count more than on me. I except those, because you, in talking with me, have several times excepted them, and, as it were, placed them out of the range of comparison with any friendship formed by you in Europe; but it seemed to me, even then, that, among these, you made some account of mine. I, on my part, can assure you, with sincerity, that not only for many years, but for all the years which I distinctly remember, I have never known any man whom I love so much, or by whom I so much desire to be loved, as by you. Such declarations would be needless, were it not that I know myself to be guilty of a long silence with you; and that I should be truly unhappy if, in your present circumstances, you should interpret this silence as a proof of forgetfulness. Now I will tell you, not as apology, how I have been prevented so long from writing to you. . . . .

And now we are inevitably separated; and perhaps at this moment you are at sea, approaching another continent. And now, my friend, is the time to make firmer and closer the relations between us. And, if you are not unwilling, it seems to me these may be truly called friendship; for even without being able to gather from them the fruit that is commonly gathered, when one lives near the other, it yet appears to me that, whether near or far, if there is true esteem,—conformity, in a great degree, of opinion,—affection,—desire of being useful to one another, and to exchange mutual information of all that happens to each,--there is true friendship. All this exists on my side, and I assure you of it, fully and sincerely. In you I believe it did exist, and I hope that this my silence for some months past has not deprived me of the friendship you had for me, especially now when you know how it has come to pass that I have delayed writing to you as I wished to do, least of all when I add that I have just passed, in point of health, inward tranquillity, and satisfaction with myself, the worst six months which have fallen to my lot for many years. . . . .

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