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13. Time never lapses, nor does it glide at leisure through
our sense perceptions. It does strange things in the mind.
Lo, time came and went from day to day, and by coming and
going it brought to my mind other ideas and remembrances,
and little by little they patched me up again with earlier
kinds of pleasure and my sorrow yielded a bit to them. But
yet there followed after this sorrow, not other sorrows
just like it, but the causes of other sorrows. For why had
that first sorrow so easily penetrated to the quick except
that I had poured out my soul onto the dust, by loving a
man as if he would never die who nevertheless had to die?
What revived and refreshed me, more than anything else,
was the consolation of other friends, with whom I went on
loving the things I loved instead of thee. This was a monstrous
fable and a tedious lie which was corrupting my soul with
its "itching ears"
by its adulterous rubbing. And that fable would not die
to me as often as one of my friends died. And there were
other things in our companionship that took strong hold
of my mind: to discourse and jest with him; to indulge in
courteous exchanges; to read pleasant books together; to
trifle together; to be earnest together; to differ at times
without ill-humor, as a man might do with himself, and even
through these infrequent dissensions to find zest in our
more frequent agreements; sometimes teaching, sometimes
being taught; longing for someone absent with impatience
and welcoming the homecomer with joy. These and similar
tokens of friendship, which spring spontaneously from the
hearts of those who love and are loved in return--in countenance,
tongue, eyes, and a thousand ingratiating gestures--were
all so much fuel to melt our souls together, and out of
the many made us one.