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TO A FORMER SCHOOLFELLOW.
MY DEAR ----,
I will not write your name, for we have long been strangers; and I,
at any rate, have no desire to renew our friendship. It is now ten
years and more from the end of that summer term when we shook hands
at the railway-station and went east and west with swelling hearts;
and since then no report has come of you. In the meantime you may
have died, or grown rich and esteemed; but that you have remained the
boy I knew is clearly beyond hope.
You were a genius then, and wrote epic poetry. I assume that you
have found it worth while to discontinue that habit, for I never see
your name among the publishers' announcements. But your poetry used
to be magnificent when you recited it in the shadow of the deserted
fives-court; and I believe you spoke sincerely when you assured me
that my stories, too, were something above contempt.
To the boy that was you I would dedicate a small tale, crammed with
historical inaccuracy. To-day, no doubt, you would recognise the
story of Captain Seth Jermy and the Nightingale frigate, and point
out that I have put it seventeen years too early. But in those days
you would neither have known nor cared. And the rest of the book is
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