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[1084] me that path might lead. The lesson I have learned may make me a more useful friend, a more efficient aid to others than I could be to him; yet I hope I shall not be denied the consolation of knowing surely, one day, that all which appeared evil in the companion of happy years was but error.

I think, since you have seen so much of my character, that you must be sensible that any reserves with those whom I call my friends, do not arise from duplicity, but an instinctive feeling that I could not be understood. I can truly say that I wish no one to overrate me; undeserved regard could give me no pleasure; nor will I consent to practise charlatanism, either in friendship or anything else.

You ought not to think I show a want of generous confidence, if I sometimes try the ground on which I tread, to see if perchance it may return the echoes of hollowness.

Do not cease to respect me as formerly. It seems to me that I have reached the ‘parting of the ways’ in my life, and all the knowledge which I have toiled to gain only serves to show me the disadvantages of each. None of those who think themselves my friends can aid me; each, careless, takes the path to which present convenience impels; and all would smile or stare, could they know the aching and measureless wishes, the sad apprehensiveness, which make me pause and strain my almost hopeless gaze to the distance. What wonder if my present conduct should be mottled by selfishness and incertitude? Perhaps you, who can make

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