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CHAP. IX.
FRIENDSHIP AND FLIRTATION.


How much of what is most lovely, and most valuable to us in the course of our earthly experience, arises out of the poverty and the feebleness of our nature. Friendship would never have existed, but for the absolute want of the human heart, from its utter inability to perform the functions of life without a participator in its joys, a recipient of its secrets, and a soother of its sorrows.

Youth is the season when we most feel this want; later in life, we learn as it were to stand alone. Interests and claims, which have little to do with the affections, press upon us on every hand, and hem us into a narrow and accustomed path, from which there is little temptation to deviate. But in youth we seem to walk at large, with no boundary to our horizon; and the fear and uncertainty which necessarily attend our movements, render a companion, with whom we may consult, deliberate, and sympathize, absolutely necessary to our cheerfulness and support.

It is a subject of surprise to many, that the young so seldom enter into close and intimate friendship with the members of their own family. Were this more frequently the case, how much more candour and simplicity of heart would mingle with the intercourse of friends! To the members of our own family, we must of necessity appear as we really are. No false or flattering aspect can deceive those whose eyes are constantly upon our conduct ; and we are consequently less tempted to put forward our best feelings before them, in the hope of concealing our worst. In such inti-