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SPIRIT

OF

CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL.

MONSIEUR MOLLIN. ATTACHMENTS to persons and places are among the most familiar sentiments of the human heart; yet there are some very mistaken notions respecting them. The general idea is, that they are, or ought to be, as enduring as the heart itself; that no one who has ever cherished either friendship for man or love for woman, should change, or can change; and that, let our circumstances or our situation on the globe be altered as they may, we must never forget the people who formerly were around us, or the spot we once called our home. Thus, when we part from a friend, whom we are almost certain never to see again, we take as many vows of fidelity, and exchange as many promises of a close epistolary correspondence, as if our mutual welfare in future depended upon a continued attachment, or as if any thing else would be a kind of treason against one of the most sacred of human sentiments. We depart for the new scene and the new society, with desponding hearts, as if we believed it impossible ever again to form such attachments as those we are just breaking. It may be whispered to us that there is much pleasure in novelty, and that we may perhaps soon forget our old friends for the sake of the new, and lose the recollection of former scenes in the charm of the present. But we repel -these insinuations with a kind of indignation, and resolve,

a

VOL, II.

B

I
may almost

say,

to preserve a mournful retrospection of

the past.

Now, the truth is, we are not designed to live upon

the recollection of either past faces or past scenes. Friendship and love are not to be supported for any length of time without personal intercourse ; nor can any scene ever be so important to us in recollection as that in which we are immediately placed. Instead of affection being a tangible object, which we can pledge away for ever, as the heart is supposed to be in nonsensical poetry, it is a power residing inalienably within us, to be exerted on whatever successive objects we are pleased with, the new objects regularly attracting a certain quantity of affection away from the old, till in the end the old have little or none remaining. Some readers will exclaim against this doctrine as a most unnatural one ; but in order to convince our. selves that it is really correct, let us recollect the fate of any one of all the friendships and loves we ever cherished. Suppose, for instance, the case in which friendships are supposed to be most warm—a school intimacy. Who that ever entertained even the most enthusiastic attachment of this kind, and, on parting, vowed to write regularly every month, if not oftener, ever found that the correspondence was in the least degree interesting after the first year? A few fond letters are exchanged, breathing the very spirit of old friendship. But soon this becomes tiresome. One of the parties happens to delay answering a letter of the other, till he is almost ashamed to do it; the reply to this is more dilatory still; and at last the correspondence, from which so much was expected, ceases altogether. It is much the same with tenderer intimacies. Love, to be lasting, must be frequently fed with a sight of the loved object. At a distance, other objects are presented, and the affair is at length only maintained at the expense of a struggle of principle-in which case it is of course no longer love. Nor is it wrong that our affections should be thus transferable. If we could never love but one woman in the course of

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