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Gustav Fokin
Gustav Fokin

Tristam - My Friend

PERHAPS nothing more augments our felicity than self approbation. The approbation of those most dear to us, spreads over the heart the finest touches of delight. The parent in whose bosom we have been nurtured, and the country where we first beheld this pleasant light of heaven, are forever dear to us. It is because their idea, woven into the very texture of our existence, forms a part of ourselves; and we have it not in our power to rend them away from us, and not lacerate the fibres of that heart with which they are thus incorporated. Yet ourselves are more dear; and all the love which we feel for any part of sensitive creation, is but the offspring of that love which we feel for ourselves. God has wisely given each man to consider himself the centre of that moral hemisphere in which he has placed him. Things interest him less and less, as they recede from him; until, by distance, they fade into undistinguished indifference, and sink below the far-off horizon. If because our fellow men, our country [Page 10] and our friends are dear to us, we are delighted with their approbation, what must we feel when our bosoms warm with conscious integrity, and expand with the exhilirating smiles of our own souls?

Tristam - My Friend

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If a conviction that we can excel be the first step towards excellence, then, as friends to human improvement, we ought to exalt human nature. We may not depress even a child, in its own estimation; [Page 18] and he who does it, may remember that he quenches an immortal ardour, "and crushes in the birth a power etherial."

WHILE, therefore, we view the extent of nature and the difficulty of excelling; while we give vigour to our energies and animate our perseverance with the hope of self approbation, the prospect of applause, and the certain immortality of all our mental acquirements, let us exalt our conceptions of human nature, correct our taste for moral beauty, purify the public mind into approbation of none but elevated actions, and repel from credibility whatever might lessen a belief in our eternal existence and future retribution. As mere searchers after truth, we ought to do this; as friends of ourselves, of our nation, of humanity, we ought to do it. Deception and fanciful theory have assumed the robes of truth and philosophy. An all-transforming spirit of innovation has stalked forth among the nations. He lays hold of the massy basis of all philosophy, and is even now labouring to overthrow all civil, moral and religious institutions. Let [Page 22] us not fall whelmed beneath their ruins; let us rise up against this dreadful demon, and triumphantly defend whatever wisdom has devised, or experience improved, or time consecrated by long hallowed and unviolated veneration.

So now amidst the group wherever walked Orsini, Gennaro had a place.These two as they sauntered along with their friends, all eithercarrying their masks in their hands, or else tied to their belts, thesetwo were deploring, and being pitied, for they were to leave Venice onthe morrow.

Rich men fêted her and named her with honor over their wine, but sheknew how little their friendship was worth; and so, amidst all heradmirers and female companions, she was as lonely as a land bird on arock at sea, and she as often sighed as would the wind about that samebarren rock.

So when his nephew showed a disposition to speak in praise of his ladylove, the don grew so obstinate and ill-tempered, that his friend,Doctor Malatesta, no longer recognized him as the old bachelorcompanion: Doctor Malatesta had known the bachelor don for more yearsthan he would like to name, and known the nephew as long as the donhimself, so he was like one of the family. It may also be stated thatthe doctor was a practical joker.

Poor Ernesto. The doctor had always been his best friend, and when thecrashing announcement came, he thought Doctor Malatesta would be hisman-at-arms, and now it seemed he had gone over to the enemy. And helooked even more dismal than before, for now, not only had his old lovedrifted away from him, but his old friend too.

The marquise marched up in great state to her niece. But at that momentthere was a tremendous to-do on the174 drums, and the next moment a scoreor so of stout soldiers, Tony among them, came forward. By this timethey were quite friendly with Tony, and had somehow cause to perceivewhat an admirable arrangement his marrying their daughter, thevivandiere, would be.

But in a moment his natural rage swept over him and he was frantic. Witha threatening look at the knights about him, he wrested a battle-axefrom a soldier near at hand, and was flying madly at the victoriousgroup. Then indeed, Bertram showed himself a loving friend. He held theyouth back, he entreated the gentlemen to pardon his ungracious anger.He shielded him. And all the while he trembled like a woman. 041b061a72


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