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[1210]

She was at this time, too, much drawn also to a man of poetic sensibility, and of much reading,—which he took the greatest pains to conceal,—studious of the art of poetry, but still more a poet in his conversation than in his poems,—who attracted Margaret by the flowing humor with which he filled the present hour, and the prodigality with which he forgot all the past.

Unequal and uncertain,

she says,
but in his good moods, of the best for a companion, absolutely abandoned to the revelations of the moment, without distrust or check of any kind, unlimited and delicate, abundant in thought, and free of motion, he enriches life, and fills the hour.

I wish I could retain—'s talk last night. It was wonderful; it was about all the past experiences frozen down in the soul, and the impossibility of being penetrated by anything. ‘Had I met you,’ said he, ‘when I was young!—but now nothing can penetrate.’ Absurd as was what he said, on one side, it was the finest poetic inspiration on the other, painting the cruel process of life, except where genius continually burns over the stubble fields.

‘Life,’ he said, ‘is continually eating us up.’ He said, ‘Mr. E. is quite wrong about books. He wants them all good; now I want many bad. Literature is not merely a collection of gems, but a great system of interpretation.’ He railed at me as artificial. ‘It don't strike me when you are alone with me,’ he says; ‘but it does when others are present. You don't follow out the fancy of the moment; you converse; you have treasured thoughts to tell; you are disciplined,—artificial.’ I pleaded guilty, and observed that I supposed

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