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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 567 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb Volume 2.
as a spark kindles more sparks.  Was there one among them, who has not to you proved hollow, false, slippery as water?  Begin to think that the relation itself is inconsistent with mortality.  That the very idea of friendship, with its component parts, as honour, fidelity, steadiness, exists but in your single bosom.  Image yourself to yourself, as the only possible friend in a world incapable of that communion.  Now the gloom thickens.  The little star of self-love twinkles, that is to encourage you through deeper glooms than this.  You are not yet at the half point of your elevation.  You are not yet, believe me, half sulky enough.  Adverting to the world in general, (as these circles in the mind will spread to infinity) reflect with what strange injustice you have been treated in quarters where, (setting gratitude and the expectation of friendly returns aside as chimeras,) you pretended no claim beyond justice, the naked due of all men.  Think the very idea of right and fit fled from the earth, or your breast the solitary receptacle of it, till you have swelled yourself into at least one hemisphere; the other being the vast Arabia Stony of your friends and the world aforesaid.  To grow bigger every moment in your own conceit, and the world to lessen:  to deify yourself at the expense of your species; to judge the world—­this is the acme and supreme point of your mystery—­these the true PLEASURES of SULKINESS.  We profess no more of this grand secret than what ourself experimented on one rainy afternoon in the last week, sulking in our study.  We had proceeded to the penultimate point, at which the true adept seldom stops, where the consideration of benefit forgot is about to merge in the meditation of general injustice—­when a knock at the door was followed by the entrance of the very friend, whose not seeing of us in the morning, (for we will now confess the case our own), an accidental oversight, had given rise to so much agreeable generalization!  To mortify us still more, and take down the whole flattering superstructure which pride had piled upon neglect, he had brought in his hand the identical S——­, in whose favour we had suspected him of the contumacy.  Asseverations were needless, where the frank manner of them both was convictive of the injurious nature of the suspicion.  We fancied that they perceived our embarrassment; but were too proud, or something else, to confess to the secret of it.  We had been but too lately in the condition of the noble patient in Argos: 

  Qui se credebat miros audire tragoedos. 
  In vacuo laetus sessor plausorque theatro—­

and could have exclaimed with equal reason against the friendly hands that cured us—­

  Pol me occidistis, amici,
  Non servastis, ait; cui sic extorta voluptas,
  Et demptus per vim mentis gratissimus error.

APPENDIX

LAMB’S ESSAYS ON “THE OLD ACTORS” AS ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN THE LONDON MAGAZINE. (SEE NOTE ON PAGE 444.)

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