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Never was there any person of ever such well-trained habits of life, but that experience, age, and custom are always bringing him something new, or suggesting something; so much so, that what you believe you know you don't know, and what you have fancied of first importance to you, on making trial you reject; and this is my case at present: for the rigid life I have hitherto led, my race nearly run, I now renounce. Why so ?--I have found, by experience, that there is nothing better for a man than an easy temper and complacency. That this is the truth, it is easy for any one to understand on comparing me with my brother. He has always spent his life in ease and gayety; mild, gentle, offensive to no one, having a smile for all, he has lived for himself, and has spent his money for himself; all men speak well of him, all love him. I, again, a rustic, a rigid, cross, self-denying, morose and thrifty person, married a wife; what misery I entailed in consequence! Sons were born--a fresh care. And just look, while I have been studying to do as much as possible for them, I have worn out my life and years in saving; now, in the decline of my days, the return I get from them for my pains is their dislike. He, on the other hand, with out any trouble on his part, enjoys a father's comforts; they love him; me they shun; him they trust with all their secrets, are fond of him, are always with him. I am forsaken; they wish him to live; but my death, forsooth, they are longing for. Thus, after bringing them up with all possible pains, at a trifling cost he has made them his own; thus I bear all the misery, he enjoys the pleasure. Well, then, henceforward let us try, on the other hand, whether I can't speak kindly and act complaisantly, as he challenges me to it: I also want myself to be loved and highly valued by my friends. If that is to be effected by giving and indulging, I will not be behind him. If our means fail, that least concerns me, as I am the eldest.1
1 Am the eldest: And therefore likely to be the first to die, and to avoid seeing such a time come.
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