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‘ [1063] Rivals.’1 Alas!! I must leave my heart in the book, and spend the livelong morning in reading to a sick lady from some amusing story-book. I tell you of this act of (in my professedly unamiable self) most unwonted charity, for three several reasons. Firstly, and foremostly, because I think that you, being a socialist by vocation, a sentimentalist by nature, and a Channingite from force of circumstances and fashion, will peculiarly admire this little self-sacrifice exploit. Secondly, because 't is neither conformable to the spirit of the nineteenth century, nor the march of mind, that those churlish reserves should be kept up between the right and left hands, which belonged to ages of barbarism and prejudice, and could only have been inculcated for their use. Thirdly, and lastly, the true lady-like reason,—because I would fain have my correspondent enter into and sympathize with my feelings of the moment.

As to the relationship; 't is, I find, on inquiry, by no means to be compared with that between myself and —; of course, the intimacy cannot be so great. But no matter; it will enable me to answer your notes, and you will interest my imagination much more than if I knew you better. But I am exceeding legitimate note-writing limits. With a hope that this epistle may be legible to your undiscerning eyes, I conclude,

Your cousin only thirty-seven degrees removed,

M.

The next note which I shall give was written not many days after, and is in quite a different vein. It is

1 ‘The Rivals’ was a novel I had lent her,— if I remember right, by the author of ‘The Collegians;’ a writer who in those days interested us not a little.

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