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logically to make him despise me. He has studied, thought, suffered, loved--loved those very plain sisters and nieces. Poor me! how should I be virtuous? I have no sisters, plain or pretty!--nothing to love, work for, live for. My dear Theodore, if you are going one of these days to despise me and drop me--in the name of comfort, come to the point at once, and make an end of our state of tension. He is troubled, too, about Mr. Sloane. His attitude toward the _bonhomme_ quite passes my comprehension. It's the queerest jumble of contraries. He penetrates him, disapproves of him--yet respects and admires him. It all comes of the poor boy's shrinking New England conscience. He's afraid to give his perceptions a fair chance, lest, forsooth, they should look over his neighbor's wall. He'll not understand that he may as well sacrifice the old reprobate for a lamb as for a sheep. His view of the gentleman, therefore, is a perfect tissue of cobwebs--a jumble of half-way sorrows, and wire-drawn charities, and hair-breadth 'scapes from utter damnation, and sudden platitudes of generosity--fit, all of it, to make an angel curse! "The man's a perfect egotist and fool," say I, "but I like him." Now Theodore likes him--or rather wants to like him; but he can't reconcile it to his self-respect--fastidious deity!--to like a fool. Why the deuce can't he leave it alone altogether? It's a purely practical matter. He ought to do the duties of his place all the better for having his head clear of officious sentiment. I don't believe in disinterested service; and Theodore is too desperately bent on preserving his disinterestedness. With me it's different. I am perfectly free to love the _bonhomme_--for a fool. I'm neither a scribe nor a Pharisee; I am simply a student of the art of life. And then, Theodore is troubled about his sisters. He's afraid he's not doing his duty by them. He thinks he ought to be with them--to be getting a larger salary--to be teaching his nieces. I am not versed in such questions. Perhaps he ought. May 3d.--This morning Theodore sent me word that he was ill and unable to get up; upon which I immediately went in to see him. He had caught cold, was sick and a little feverish. I urged him to make no attempt to leave his room, and assured him that I would do what I could to reconcile Mr. Sloane to his absence. This I found an easy matter. I read to him for a couple of hours, wrote four letters--one in French--a
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