Is it now still incomprehensible if I quite go over to the other side? I renounce refined enjoyment and plunge into the wild battle of life. I hasten to Edward. Everything is agreed upon. We will not only live together, but we will work and act in fraternal unison. He is rough and uncouth, his virtue is strong rather than sensitive. But he has a great manly heart, and in better times than ours he would have been, I say it boldly, a hero.
It is no doubt well that we have at last talked with each other again. I am quite content, too, that you did not wish to write, and that you spoke slightingly of poor innocent letters because you really have more genius for talking. But I have in my heart one or two things more that I could not say to you, and will now endeavor to intimate with the pen.
But why in this way? Oh, my friend, if I only knew of a more refined and subtle mode of communicating my thoughts from afar in some exquisite form! To me conversation is too loud, too near, and also too disconnected. These separate words always present one side only, a part of the connected, coherent whole, which I should like to intimate in its complete harmony.
And can men who are going to live together be too tender toward each other in their intercourse? It is not as if I were afraid of saying something too strong, and for that reason avoided speaking of certain persons and certain affairs. So far as that is concerned, I think that the boundary line between us is forever destroyed.
What I still had to say to you is something very general, and yet I prefer to choose this roundabout way. I do not know whether it is false or true delicacy, but I should find it very hard to talk with you, face to face, about friendship. And yet it is thoughts on that subject that I wish to convey to you. The application—and it is about that I am most concerned—you will yourself easily be able to make.
To my mind there are two kinds of friendship. The first is entirely external. Insatiably it rushes from deed to deed, receives every worthy man into the great alliance of united heroes, ties the old knot tighter by means of every virtue, and ever aspires to win new brothers; the more it has, the more it wants. Call to mind the antique world and you will find this friendship, which wages honest war against all that is bad, even were it in ourselves or in the beloved friend—you will find this friendship everywhere, where noble strength exerts influence on great masses, and creates or governs worlds. Now times are different; but the ideal of this friendship will stay with me as long as I live.