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Friends I Have Made   By: (1831-1909)

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Friends I have made By George Manville Fenn Published by Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co, London, Paris, New York. This edition dated 1883.

Friends I have made, by George Manville Fenn.

This version was made from a set of scans that were actually defective. Two sets of sixteen pages were missing, resulting in the absence of chapters 10, 11 and 16. In addition some text is missing from chapters 15 and 18. Since the book consists of a collection of almost unrelated anecdotes it was felt worth our while to make available as much as we can, as it is certain that a better set of scans of this book may become available, for instance from the microfilmed set held by Cambridge University. There are 21 chapters, of which we present 16 in full, and two with a few paragraphs missing. FRIENDS I HAVE MADE, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.

CHAPTER ONE.

MY LIFE.

May I ask your patience while I introduce myself the writer of the following chapters? I am sitting before the looking glass at the end of my room as I write, I not from any vanity, you will readily perceive that as you read on but so that I may try and reflect with my ink the picture that I wish to present to you of a rather sad I only say rather , for, upon the whole, I am very cheerful, thin, pale, careworn looking woman, with hair that has long been scant and grey whiter, perhaps, than that of many people at eight and forty.

Eight and forty! What a great age that seems to the young; and yet how few the years, save in one period of my life, have appeared to me! At times I can hardly realise that I am decidedly elderly, so busy has been my life, so swiftly has it glided away, thinking so much as I have of other people and their lives as well as of my own.

I never knew how it was, but, somehow, those with whom I came in contact always seemed to look upon me, because I had had trouble, as one in whom they could confide. I never sought their confidence, but when some weary wayfarer in life's journey has held out a hand to me, asking help or advice, it has grown into my pleasure to try and aid or counsel as far as in me lay. And it is strange how relieved some have been, what a quiet solace it has seemed, to pour out into my sympathetic ear the salient passages of their troubled lives. "You have suffered, so you can feel," has always seemed to be the thought, expressed or unexpressed, of their hearts, and hence, without being inquisitive, I have been made the storehouse, so to speak, of that which I without any breach of confidence propose to tell.

I should first, though, tell you of myself, for why should I lay bare the sorrows of others without prefacing them with my own?

A strangely quiet, uneventful life mine has been; its incidents simple, its troubles many, and its pleasures I was about to say few, but that would be false, for its pleasures have been great. They have not been the boisterous joys that fall to the lot of some; but, feeling, as I do most thoroughly now, that the greatest delights, the purest and most unalloyed are those which are unselfish, I can think and believe that my pleasures have been many.

I will, then, tell you my own little history first, slight as it is, and you may, in reading, find that it is the key note to the simple chords that I afterwards strike in passing, and perhaps it will explain why others have come to me to tell me what they knew.

It is a tale of early sorrow, but you shall hear, and you will bear with me when I tell you that the wound has never healed, and if I put my hand above it, the place still throbs, even as it will beat and ache till kindly nature says to me, "Sleep, poor weary one, and rest." And then peacefully, trustingly, and with a simple hope of forgiveness, may I sleep that long sleep which they say so flippantly has no end; but which has a waking, as every lesson which we learn in life persists in teaching... Continue reading book >>




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