He knows it indeed, and, if need were, he could preach a homily on the fragility of life; but he brings it not home to himself, any more than in a hot June we can appropriate to our imagination the freezing days of December. In proportion as the years both lessen and shorten, I set more count upon their periods, and would fain lay my ineffectual finger upon the spoke of the great wheel.
I know him to be light, and vain, and humorsome; a notorious ***; addicted to ****: averse from counsel, neither taking it, nor offering it;--*** besides; a stammering buffoon; what you will; lay it on, and spare not; I subscribe to it all, and much more, than thou canst be willing to lay at his door--but for the child Elia--that "other me," there, in the back-ground--I must take leave to cherish the remembrance of that young master--with as little reference, I protest, to this stupid changeling of five-and-forty, as if it had been a child of some other house, and not of my parents.
I can cry over its patient small-pox at five, and rougher medicaments.
must I part with the intense delight of having you (huge armfuls) in my embraces?
Must knowledge come to me, if it come at all, by some awkward experiment of intuition, and no longer by this familiar process of reading?