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and a little better clad.  But here my
superiority ceased. The beggar was far in
advance of me in all the outward and visible
signs of inward mental comfort which
combine to form the appearance of an essentially
substantial, healthily-constituted man; and,
making fair allowance for the different
directions taken by our aspirations in life, he
appeared to me to succeed more prosperously,
and more to his own satisfaction, in his
profession, than I succeed in mine. After
perplexing myself, for some time, in the attempt
to discover the reason for the enviably
prosperous, healthy, and contented aspect of this
man whichappeared palpably to any sharp
observer, through his assumed expression of
suffering and despairI came to the singular
conclusion that the secret of his personal
advantages over me lay in the very circumstance
on which he chiefly relied for awakening the
sympathies of the charitable publicthe
circumstance of his having no friends.

"No friends! " I repeated to myself, as I
walked away. " Happily-situated vagrant!
there is the true cause of your superiority
over meyou have no friends! But can the
marvellous assertion be true? Is there any
human being so favoured in his circumstances
within the pale of civilisation? Can
this enviable man really go home and touch
up his speech for to-morrow, with the
certainty of not being interrupted? I am going
home to finish an article, without knowing
whether I shall have a clear five minutes to
myself, all the time I am at work. Can he
take his money back to his drawer, in broad
daylight, and meet nobody by the way who
will say to him, 'Remember our old friendship,
and lend me a trifle '? I have money
waiting for me at my publisher's, and I dare
not go to fetch it, except under cover of the
night. Is that spoilt child of fortune, from
whom I have just separated myself, really
and truly never asked to parties and obliged
to go to them! He has a button on his coat
I am positively certain I saw itand is
there no human finger and thumb to lay hold
of it, and no human tongue to worry him, the
while, with the long story of a lamentable
grievance? He does not live in the times of
the pillory, and he has his earsthe lucky
wretch!—have those organs actually enjoyed
the indescribable blessedness of freedom from
the intrusion of 'well-meant advice ' ? Can
he writeand has he got no letters to
answer? Can he readand has he no dear
friend's book to get through, whether he likes
it or not? No wonder that he looks
prosperous and healthy, though he lives in a
dingy slum, and that I look peevish and pale,
though I reside on gravel, in an airy
neighbourhood. Good Heavens! does he dare to
speak of his misfortunes, when he has no calls
to make? Disgusting Sybarite! what does
he want next, I wonder?"

These are crabbed sentiments; but,
perhaps, as it is the fashion, now-a-days, to
take an inveterately genial view of society in
general, my present outbreak of misanthropy
may be pardoned, in consideration of its
involving a certain accidental originality of
expression in relation to social subjects.
How this may be I cannot presume to say;
but I must acknowledge, nevertheless, that I
have never yet been able to appreciate the
advantage of having a large circle of
acquaintance. It is a dreadful thing to say
(even anonymously); but it is the sad truth
that I could positively dispense with a great
many of my dearest friends.

There is my Boisterous Friend, for instance
an excellent creature, who has been intimate
with me from childhood, and who loves me as
his brother. I always know when he calls,
though my study is at the top of the house.
I hear him in the passage, the moment the
door is openedhe is so hearty; and, like
other hearty people, he has such a loud voice.
I have told my servant to say that I am
engaged, which means simply, that I am hard
at work. "Dear old boy! " I hear my
Boisterous Friend exclaim, with a genial roar,
"writing away, the jolly, hard-working,
clever old chap, just as usualeh, Susan?
Lord bless you! he knows mehe knows I
don't want to interrupt him. Up-stairs, of
course? I know my way. Just for a minute,
Susanjust for a minute." The voice stops,
and heavily-shod feet (all boisterous men
wear thick boots) ascend the stairs, two at a
time. My door is burst open, as if with a
battering-ram (no boisterous man ever
knocks), and my friend rushes in like a mad
bull. "Ha, ha, ha! I've caught you," says
the associate of my childhood. "Don't stop
for me, dear old boy; I'm not going to
interrupt you (Lord bless my soul, what a lot
of writing! )—and you're all right, eh?
That's all I wanted to know. By George, it's
quite refreshing to see you here forming the
public mind! No! I won't sit down; I
won't stop another instant. So glad to have
seen you, dear fellow-- good bye." By this
time, his affectionate voice has made the
room ring again; he has squeezed my hand,
in his brotherly way, till my fingers are too
sore to hold the pen; and he has put to
flight, for the rest of the day, every idea
that I had when I sat down to work. And
yet (as he would tell me himself) he has not
been in the room more than a minute
though he might well have stopped for hours,
without doing any additional harm. Could I
really dispense with him ? I don't deny that
he has known me from the time when I was
in short frocks, and that he loves me like a
brother. Nevertheless, I could dispense
yes, I could dispenseoh, yes, I could
dispensewith my Boisterous Friend.

Again, there is my Domestic Friend, whose
time for calling on me is late in the afternoon,
when I have wrought through my day's task;
and when a quiet restorative half hour