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his ears, that the narrow miss gave her a shock, and reflection made her dubious of the absolute perfectness of her soul and spirit. She hastened for an explanation to the leader of the perfect people ; and he, consistently with the theory so dear to him and them, assured her that the ugly sensation she had been feeling, when prompted to cuff her good man, was “nothing but a little animal nature.” “ Animal nature ! No, it was animal devil !” exclaimed the disenchanted dame, who then and there renounced perfection as a thing attained, and was none the less likely to press on towards it as a thing to be pursued. It may be said of her that she did well to be angry with her leader, though not with her husband, honest indignation being surely, if a fault, yet, in Swift's language,
“... a fault we often find
Mixed in a noble, generous mind.” But to return to the question of sundered friendships. Landor compares friendship to a vase which, when it is flawed by heat, or violence, or accident, may as well be broken at once, for it can never be trusted after. “The more graceful and ornamental it was, the more clearly do we discern the hopelessness of restoring it to its former state. Coarse stones, if they are fractured, may be cemented again; precious ones, never.” This is said in the imaginary conversation between Lord Brooke and Sir Philip Sidney, and a parallel passage occurs in that between Vittoria Colonna and Michael Angelo, where the latter says that we may make a large hole in a brick wall and easily fill it up, while the slightest flaw in a ruby or a chrysolite is irreparable. “Thus it is in minds. The ordinary soon take offence, and (as they call it) make it up again ; the sensitive and delicate are long-suffering, but their wounds heal imperfectly, if at all.” As effectually lost, on this showing, is the reality of friendship as, to apply the imagery of Shakspeare's Passionate Pilgrim, as faded gloss no rubbing will refresh, as dead flowers withering on the ground, “as broken glass no cement can redress.”i St. Francis of Sales, on the other hand, in combating the purport of the adage, Never rely on a reconciled foe, declared his preference for a contrary maxim, and maintained that a quarrel between friends, when made up, added a new tie to friendship; “as experience shows that the callosity formed round a broken bone makes it stronger than before.” Those who are reconciled he accordingly describes as renewing their friendship with increased warmth; and the offender is on his guard against a relapse, and anxious to atone for past unkindness ; just as the offended glory in forgiving and forgetting the wrongs that have been done to them. Cowper makes use of the osteological simile when he asserts, in one of his minor poems, that
and anon fell out. “On one occasion I was the innocent cause of a dreadful quarrel, during which they used such language to each other as none could have expected from the lips of two men who had associated not only with the highest nobility, but with kings and queens.”- Life of Malone, p. 280.
“... friendship, like a severed bone,
When aptly reunited.” Southey holds it safe to affirm that generous minds, when they have once known each other, can never be wholly alienated as long as both retain the characteristics which brought them into union. “There are even some broken attachments in friendship as well as in love which nothing can destroy, and it sometimes happens that we are not conscious of their strength till after the disruption."
A paragraph of Hazlitt's essay, named, like an entire volumne of Emerson's, on the Conduct of Life, opens with the monition never to quarrel with tried friends, or those one wishes to continue such. “Wounds of this sort are sure to open again. When once the prejudice is removed that sheathes defects, familiarity only causes jealousy and distrust.” And then comes the sombre counsel : “Do not keep on with a mockery of friendship after the substance is gone; but part, while you can part friends. Bury the carcase of friendship ; it is not worth embalming.” Sombre indeed is the moral of Miriam's sundered friendships, in Hawthorne's Roman romance; as where she and Donatello part, so soon after the semblance of such mighty love, part, in all outward show, as coldly as people part whose whole mutual intercourse has been encircled within a single hour; or as where she and Hilda recognise a henceforth inevitable estrangement. And estrangements are truly said by Mr. Hayward? to be commonly durable in proportion to the closeness of the tie that has been severed or loosened. Vain is the wistful query of Guibert in Mr. Browning's play, 'Yet-if lost confidence might be renewed ?” “Never in noble natures,” is Gaucelme's prompt and peremptory reply. With the baser ones, he allows,
i This is the point of the broken cup, symbolising family jars, in one of the early chapters of Mr. Thackeray's Virginians. “George, after looking at the cup [a china cup, by which the widow set great store, as her father had always been accustomed to drink from it), raised it, opened his hand, and let it fall on the marble slab below him. Harry had tried in vain to catch it. It is too late, Hal!' George said ; ' you will never mend it again, never.'” George Warrington has a fever soon after the quarrel with his mother, “ during which illness his brain once or twice wandered, when he shrieked out, “Broken! broken! It never, never can be mended!” --chaps. V., vi.
“Twist off the crab's claw, wait a smarting-while,
And something grows and grows and gets to be
1 - Miriam at once felt a great chasm opening itself between them two. They might gaze at one another from the opposite side, but without the possibility of ever meeting more." I see too plain, she might say with Talfourd's Halbert, our paths diverge ;—but let us not forget that we have trod life's early way together, hand clasped in hand. In one of his sonnets again, the author of Ion makes touching mention of the way in which love will sometimes
"... perversely cleave to some old mate
Estranged by fortune." 2 In his life of Mrs. Piozzi-between whom and her eldest daughter (Miss Thrale) it was a moral impossibility, he asserts, that a perfect feeling of confidence and affection should ever be restored. Each may yearn for a reconciliation, but in ignorance that the feeling is reciprocated; and each therefore perseveres in casting upon the other the blame of the prolonged coldness. We find in Mrs. Piozzi's diary such entries as this : "Oh, little does she know how tenderly at this moment I could run into her arms, so often opened to receive me with a cordiality I believed inalienable." (Life and Writings of Mrs. Piozzi, i., 161, 166.) Few can doubt that the balance of warmth was in the mother's favour, however they may incline to distribute the blame of the severance.
A mimic of the lost joint, just so like
But lop the lion's foot—and” there an end.
Mr. Charles Reade speaks of the beginning of a quarrel, where the parties are bound by affection, though opposed in interest and sentiment, as comparatively innocent; both are perhaps in the right at first starting, and then it is that a calm judicious friend, capable of seeing both sides, is a gift from heaven. For, it is added, the longer the dissension endures, the wider and deeper it grows by the fallibility and irascibility of human nature : these are not confined to either side, and finally the invariable end is reached, both in the wrong. A thoughtful essayist on the subject of Quarrels holds it to be worth remembering, however, that a man who has never had one has probably never had a friend ; the only person who manages to get on without estrangements, lasting or temporary, being one who can be quite content without attachments. The fatal law, that the side on which we are most susceptible of pleasure is also that on which we may have inflicted on us the deepest pain, is shown to apply as well to friendship as to all other occasions of emotion. Commenting on the fact that quarrels and estrangements fill up unfortunately a not inconsiderable space in life, the author of Modern Characteristics holds the curious and mortifying thing about such quarrels to be, that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred they seem to rise out of mistakes, and to be, what they are sometimes euphemistically called, simple misunderstandings, which only require explanations to dissolve them into space. Why, he asks, do grown up people encourage even temporary estrangements ?1 they at least ought to have something better to do with their time; and with them the reconciliation is much more difficult to bring about than in the case of young folks, and much less complete when it is brought about. “It was ever my persuasion," Cicero affirms, “that all friendships should be maintained with a religious exactness, but especially those which are renewed after a quarrel ; for whenever, after a reconciliation, any new offence is given, it never passes for negligent, but wilful, and is not imputed to indiscretion, but to perfidy.” But even with a first estrangement, when reconciliation is brought about, “ the silver link may be reunited," in the words of the essayist on Quarrels, but the chain is irreparably weakened, except in the rare cases where natural sympathy between the two is so strong and irresistible as to overwhelm with a rush every lurking consciousness of a grievance. The most trifling thing is constantly proved to be enough to breed a grievance; the smallest of seeds, in Scripture diction the mustard seed, taking root downwards, becomes a root of bitterness, striking deep down, and spreading far around.
1“Of all the many ingenious devices to which men and women have resorted for the purpose of inflicting torment upon themselves, this is the most unfailing—to encourage an estrangement with somebody for whom at bottom they have a sincere affection or liking.”—Modern Characteristics, p. 25.
Goethe indeed says of the friendships of early life that, like relationships of blood, they have this important advantage, that mistakes and misunderstandings never produce irreparable injury, and that the old regard will always, after a time, re-establish itself. But there is too much of truth in the allegation that a friendship which has perished from a vaguely cherished grievance, fostered in its course on all manner of real or imaginary disgusts, and at length ending in thorough alienation, scarcely ever comes to life again. “A friend lost by excessive heat may easily be restored; but if you have lost him by an excessive coolness, of slow and seemingly inexplicable growth, the chances are strong against a renewal of the old liking.” This reflection is urged as serious enough of itself alone to make men more careful than they are about opening the tiniest hole to a feeling of aggrievedness ; for that is the letting out of waters which may probably never be gathered in again.
When a real and strong affection has come to an end, it is