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While they have been behaving like patterns
of conjugal propriety, they have been
estranging men who would once have gone to
the world's end to serve each other. I, as a
single man, can say nothing of the dreadful
wrenchnot the less dreadful because it is
inevitablewhen a father and mother lose a
daughter, in order that a lover may gain a
wife. But I can speak feelingly of the shock
of losing a dear friend, in order that a bride
may gain a devoted husband. Nothing shall
ever persuade me (possibly because I am not
married) that there is not a flaw of some sort
in the love for a wife which is made
complete, in some people's eyes, by forced
contributions from the love which belongs to a
friend. I know that a man and woman who
make a happy marriage have gained the
summit of earthly felicity; but do they never
reach that enviable eminence without having
trampled underfoot something venerable, or
something tender by the way?

Bear with me, indignant wivesbear with
me, if I recal the long-past time when one of
the handsomest women I ever saw, took my
dearest friend away from me, and destroyed,
in one short day, the whole pleasant edifice
that we two had been building up together
since we were boys at school. I shall never
be as fond of any human being again, as I
was of that one friend, and, until the
beautiful woman came between us, I believe there
was nothing in this world that he would not
have sacrificed and have done for me. Even
while he was courting, I kept my hold on
him. Against opposition on the part of his
bride and her family, he stipulated bravely
that I should be his best man on the
wedding-day. The beautiful woman grudged
me my one small corner in his heart,
even at that time; but he was true to
mehe persisted—  and I was the first to
shake hands with him when he was a
married man. I had no suspicion then
that I was to lose him from that moment.
I only discovered the truth when I went
to pay my first visit to the bride and
bridegroom at their abode in the country. I
found a beautiful house, exquisitely kept
from top to bottom; I found a hearty
welcome; I found a good dinner and an airy
bedroom; I found a pattern husband and a
pattern wife: the one thing I did not find
was my old friend. Something stood up in
his clothes, shook hands with me, pressed
wine on me, called me by my Christian
name, and inquired what I was doing in my
profession. It was certainly something that
had a trick of looking like my former
comrade and brother; something that nobody in
my situation could have complained of with
the smallest reason; something with all the
brightness of the old metal about it, but
without the sterling old ring; something, in
short, which made me instinctively take my
chamber-candlestick early on the first night
of my arrival, and say good night while the
beautiful woman and pattern wife was
present to keep her eye on me. Can I ever
forget the language of that eye on that
occasion!—the volumes it spoke in one
glance of cruel triumph! "No more sacred
secrets between you two," it said, brightly.
"When you trust him now, you must trust
me. You may sacrifice yourself for your
love of him over and over again still, but he
shall make no sacrifices now for you, until he
has first found out how they affect my
convenience and my pleasure. Your place in his
heart now, is where I choose it to be. I have
stormed the citadel, and I will bring children
by-and-by to keep the ramparts; and you,
the faithful old soldier of former yearsyou
have got your discharge, and may sit and sun
yourself as well as you can at the outer gates.
You have been his truest friend, but he has
another now, and need trouble you no longer,
except in the capacity of witness of his
happiness. This, you will observe, is in the
order of nature, and in the recognised fitness
of things; and he hopes you will see itand so
do I. And he trusts you will sleep well under
his (and my) new roofand so do I. And
he wishes you good nightand so do I!"

Many, many years have passed since I
first learned these hard truths; but I can
never forget the pang that it cost me to get
them by heart at a moment's notice. My
old friend lives stillthat is to say, I have
an intimate acquaintance, who asks me to all
his dinners, and who made me godfather to
one of his children; but the brother of my
love, who died to me on the day when I paid
him the marriage visit, has never come back
to life since that time. On the altar at
which we two once sacrificed, the ashes lie
cold. A model husband and father has risen
from them, and that result is, I suppose, the
only one that any third person has a right
to expect. It may be so; but, to this day,
I cannot help thinking that the beautiful
woman would have done better if she could
have made a fond husband without at the
same time marring a good friend.

Readers will, I am afraid, not be wanting,
who will be inclined to tell me that the lady
to whom I have been referring, only asserted
the fair privilege that was hers by right of
marriage; and that my sense of injury springs
from the unjustifiable caprice and touchy
selfishness of an old bachelor. Without
attempting to defend myself, I may at least be
allowed to inquire into the lady's motive for
using her privilegeor, in plainer terms, for
altering the relations in which my friend and
I had stood towards one another since
boyhood. Her idea, I presume to have been,
that, if I preserved my old footing with her
husband, I should be taking away some part
of his affection that belonged to her.
According to my idea of it, she was taking away
something which had belonged to me, and
which no effort on her part could afterwards
convert to her own use. It is hard to make

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