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The Love-Charm
by [?]


Emilius was sitting in deep thought at his table, awaiting his friend Roderick. The light was burning before him; the winter evening was cold; and to-day he wished for the presence of his fellow-traveller, though at other times wont rather to avoid his society: for on this evening he was about to disclose a secret to him, and beg for his advice. The timid, shy Emilius found in every business and accident of life so many difficulties, such insurmountable hindrances, that it might seem to have been an ironical whim of his destiny which brought him and Roderick together, Roderick being in everything the reverse of his friend. Inconstant, flighty, always determined by the first impression, and kindling in an instant, he engaged in everything, had a plan for every occasion; no undertaking was too arduous for him, no obstacle could deter him. But in the midst of the pursuit he slackened and wearied just as suddenly as at first he had caught fire and sprung forward. Whatever then opposed him, was for him not a spur to urge him onward, but only led him to abandon what he had so hotly rushed into; so that Roderick was every day thoughtlessly beginning something new, and with no better cause relinquishing and idly forgetting what he had begun the day before. Hence, never a day passed but the friends got into a quarrel, which seemed to threaten the death of their friendship; and yet what to all appearance thus severed them, was perhaps the very thing that most closely bound them together; each loved the other heartily; but each found passing satisfaction in being able to discharge the most justly deserved reproaches upon his friend.

Emilius, a rich young man, of a susceptible and melancholy temperament, on the death of his parents had become master of his fortune. He had set out on a journey in order thereby to complete his education, but had now already spent several months in a large town, for the sake of enjoying the pleasures of the carnival, about which he never gave himself the least trouble, and of making certain arrangements of importance about his fortune with some relations, to whom as yet he had scarcely paid a visit. On the road he had fallen in with the restless, ever-shifting and veering Roderick, who was living at variance with his guardians, and who, to free himself wholly from them and their burdensome admonitions, eagerly grasped at the opportunity held out to him by his new friend of becoming his companion on his travels. During their journey they had often been on the point of separating; but each after every dispute had only felt the more clearly that he could not live without the other. Scarce had they left their carriage in any town, when Roderick had already seen everything remarkable in it, to forget it all again on the morrow; while Emilius took a week to acquire a thorough knowledge of the place from his books, lest he should omit seeing anything that was to be seen; and after all, from indolence and indifference thought there was hardly anything worth his while to go and look at. Roderick had immediately made a thousand acquaintances, and visited every public place of entertainment; often too he brought his new-made friends to the lonely chamber of Emilius, and would then leave him alone with them, as soon as they began to tire him. At other times he would confound the modest Emilius by extravagantly praising his merits and his acquirements before intelligent and learned men, and by giving them to understand how much they might learn from his friend about languages, or antiquities, or the fine arts, although he himself could never find time for listening to him on such subjects, when the conversation happened to turn on them. But if Emilius ever chanced to be in a more active mood, he might almost make sure of his truant friend having caught cold the night before at a ball or a sledge-party, and being forced to keep his bed; so that, with the liveliest, most restless, and most communicative of men for his companion, Emilius lived in the greatest solitude.