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IT has happened rather whimsically, and
not very fortunately for me, that my first
experience of living in furnished lodgings abroad,
as well as in England, has occurred at the
very time when an unexpected and tedious
illness has rendered me particularly
susceptible to the temporary loss of the comforts of
home. I have been ill, alone, in furnished
lodgings in Parisill, alone, on the journey
back to Englandill, alone, again, in
furnished lodgings in London. I am a single
man; but as I have already intimated, I
never knew what it was to enjoy the desolate
liberty of the bachelor until I became an
invalid. Some of my impressions of things and
persons about me, formed under these
anomalous circumstances may, perhaps, prove
not altogether unworthy of being written
down, while they are still fresh in my mind.
From my own observation of the chances
and changes of life, I am inclined to think
that every manprovided he can make up
his mind to speak the truth, simply and
plainlyhas it in his power to contribute
something out of his own experience which
may add, in a greater or less degree, to our
general knowledge of Human Nature in its
almost infinite varieties. In my own case,
my contribution may be the merest mite;
but, as anything is better than keeping even
my one poor farthing's worth of information
selfishly to myself, I will take a bold step, and
cast it forthwith, as modestly as may be, into
the general public store.

How I happen, for a temporary period, to
be away from the home in which I have
hitherto lived with my nearest relatives, and
to which I hope soon to return, it is of no
importance to the reader to know. Neither
is it at all worth while to occupy time and
space with any particular description of the
illness from which I have been and am still
suffering. It will be enough for preliminary
purposes, if I present myself at once in the
character of a convalescent visiting Paris,
with the double intention of passing
agreeably an interval of necessary absence from
home, and of promoting, by change of air and
scene, my recovery from a distressing and
tedious, though neither a prostrating nor a
dangerous, illness. When I add to this, that
although I lived alone in my French
bachelor apartment, I had the good fortune
at Paris, as afterwards in London, to be in
the near neighbourhood of the most kind,
attentive, and affectionate friends, I have said
as much as is needful by way of preface, and
may get on at once to my main purpose.

What my impressions of my apartment in
Paris might have been, if I had recovered
there according to my anticipations, I cannot
venture to say; for, before I had got fairly
settled in my new rooms, I suffered a sudden
and distressing relapse. My life, again,
became the life of an invalid, and my ways
of thought and observation turned back
disastrously to the old invalid channel.
Change of air and scenewhich had done
nothing for my bodydid nothing either for
my mind. At Paris, as before in London, I
looked at the world about megay and new,
and, surprising as it waspurely from the
sick man's point of view, or, in other words,
the events that passed, the sights that
appeared, and the persons who moved around
me, interested or repelled me only as they
referred more or less directly to myself and
my own invalid situation. This curious
narrowness of view, of which I am not yet
well enough entirely to rid myself, though as
conscious as another of the mental
weakness that it implies, has no connection that I
can discover with excessive selfishness or
vanity; it is simply the result of the inevitable
increase of a man's importance to
himself which the very fact of sickness produces.
My own sensations, as a sick man, fill up
the weary blank of my daily existence
when I am alone, and form the main topic
of inquiry and conversation when my doctor
and my friends enliven my solitude. The
concerns of my own poor body, which do not,
I thank heaven, occupy my attention for
much more than one hour out of the twenty-
four, when I am well, become the main
business and responsibility of all my waking
moments, now that I am ill. Pain to suffer,
and the swallowing of drugs and taking of
nourishment at regulated periods; daily
restraints that I must undergo, and hourly
precautions that I am forced to practice, all
contribute to keep my mind bound down to
the level of my body. A flight of thought
beyond myself and the weary present time