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SUCCESSORS TO HENRY COLBURN,
249. X. 503
THE LIGHT OF OTHER DAYS.
“ Let me yet confess
THE DAY8. “ Redeem the wasted time
And to neglected studies Alee;
You have often requested me, my dear Tressel, to narrate to you some events of my past life. I have hitherto declined doing so, reminding you, withal, that it was the sole refusal I could make to the only friend I have on earth. Yet, while declining, I have felt
sensible that certain chasms must lie between us which could only be enlightened by such confessions; for the trusting friends who stand on the hill together, and look back through the pilgrimage they have passed, should have no mental reservations from each other, no hidden nooks or recesses of concealment known only to themselves. Confidence is friendship's soul. I must be the gainer, for you will better see into my character and extend toward me widening sympathies.
I shall take from that life its chief episode, with all its collateral dependencies, and place them before you, not with a disturbed spirit and a hasty hand, but with the minutest touches which I can give towards drawing a family picture.
It was on a bright, joyous morning—let the date of the year, that milestone of our journey, be untold—(why should we exult in our advance ?)—when I entered my breakfastparlour in the full mood to enjoy the day,
the time, and the autumnal season. The windows opened on a small grassy lawn of the richest velvet turf, such as England alone can produce, thanks to the rains and constant moisture to which our friend Tacitus bore testimony in his day. The lawn was encircled by a gravel walk, and a low wall, covered with ivy, and gay with occasional blossoms where the wall-flower rejoiced in its own peculiar station.
The cottage stood on the borders of the common, whose heights rose swelling upwards from behind it. Frontward the eye embraced a vast expanse of landscape, at the extremity of which, and along the horizon line, half veiled in mist and smoky vapour, the city of E- , on a calm day, was distinctly visible.
I had chosen the spot as my bachelor's retreat during the autumnal season. It was my wont, in those days, to choose the least frequented and the wildest parts of England that I could find for sojourning; the days and