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pense of faithfulness, the result of doing our Duty.
" For this was Arthur's custom in his hall :
TAKE this subject at the suggestion of a friend; otherwise I should hardly dare to
write upon a theme so familiar from the days of our youth. Some of the elders can remember working the word into book-marks on perforated cardboard, in a commingling of amusement and instruction. Like other terms in constant use the word has lost much of its value. It should have been reserved for special instances, inasmuch as there is no other which can take its place when a strong word is needed. It is not to be carelessly employed, laid upon anybody to whom we would speak courteously. A friend is more than an acquaintance, a neighbour, an associate; one simply esteemed and enjoyed. The masters of words have recognized the meaning and dignity of the term. Wordsworth visited Walter Scott, and, after his return to Grasmere, wrote to him a pleasant letter, which he closed with “Your sincere friend, for such I call myself, though slow to use a word of such solemn meaning to anyone." Another has described Friendship as "a serious and majestic affair, like a royal procession, or a religion.” If this is claiming too much, the error is upon the right side, and it should help to raise the friend to his rightful place. The highest employment of the term was when Our Lord, at the close of his life, passing beyond all lesser designation, called his disciples “Friends." As friends He made Himself known to them, and because they were friends He committed his cause to their keeping. Bacon remarks that "it was a sparing speech of the ancients, to say that a friend is another himself; for that a friend is far more than himself.” To this we readily consent, or self would be a larger word than friend, and the interests connected with self of more account than those which relate to the friend. Perhaps this would not be selfishness, in a bad sense; but it would not be friendship, in the rightful meaning of the term. The real otherness is essential, as a matter of sentiment and of action.
Friendship does not admit of close analysis. Very little which is of worth in life does allow it. We cannot divide the vital principle, and to seek it by taking to pieces the body which it inhabits is to lose it. There is in friendship an “ entireness” which must not be broken. It is, first of all, of nature. It stands with reason, it is of the mind and heart. We confine it to those who are aware of it, while imagination does not hesitate to extend it. It is necessary
that it should do this, if it would interpret forms of life other than its own. We are far from being offended when Mr. John Muir writes of our National Parks, One touch of nature makes the whole world kin; and it is truly wonderful how love-telling the small voices of these birds are, and how far they reach through the woods into one another's hearts, and into ours.” I have seen something very like friendship between a sailor and his ship. He had driven her upon the rocks, , and she had suffered badly; but she kept herself afloat, and carried him and all his passengers into port. When it was suggested that he could have another vessel, he said, almost with indignation: “Do you suppose I could take another ship when she had stood by me as she did?”
No rules for forming friendships can be laid down. They seem, rather, to form themselves. We do not go to work to create them. We choose companions, but friendships are born. There is much truth in the thought of the Bishop of Winchester, that “Friends who come to us through a process of gravitation are, of course, the friends who love the best and last the longest; because there is a moral suitableness in it, and the affinity is not superficial, but real.” But we are not helpless. Even gravitation can be in some measure directed. We can deserve to be a friend, and to have a friend, and can put ourselves in the way of finding and being found.
There is in friendship a community of life. There will be some agreement in opinions and tastes; but while they are similar they need not be the same. Friendship dispenses with identity, and is often the stronger for unlikeness. We do not care to have the friend the mirror in which we see ourselves; or to hear in his voice the echo of our own. It is in the difference we shall find the advantage. Personality, originality, diversity must attend friendship. It must be free, and independent of that which can be changed; if not, a change of opinion on either side may be fatal. There must be an agreement in character, because right and wrong are inherently at variance. The unity of lives is prevented, or destroyed, by an essential strife in the very motives and desires. Affection may exist while friendship is out of the question. When Othello had been disappointed in his lieutenant, he could still say, and only say:
Cassio, I love thee; but never
more be officer of
True friendship has it in its disposition to live. If it does not live, perhaps it was not friendship, but only the semblance. There was an error at the beginning. Something was hidden which afterwards came to light, and was in opposition to the unity of the two lives. This does not mean insincerity, but incompleteness. There