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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:00:58
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But, as I have said, I thought my godson had now seen as much of the under currents of life as was likely to be of use to him, and that it was time he began to live in a style more suitable to his prospects. His aunt had wished him to kiss the soil, and he had kissed it with a vengeance; but I did not like the notion of his coming suddenly from the position of a small shopkeeper to that of a man with an income of between three and four thousand a year. Too sudden a jump from bad fortune to good is just as dangerous as one from good to bad; besides, poverty is very wearing; it is a quasi-embryonic condition, through which a man had better pass if he is to hold his later developments securely, but like measles or scarlet fever he had better have it mildly and get it over early.

True, he had lost all his money, his reputation, and his position as a gentleman; he had, in fact, had to burn his house down in order to get his roast sucking pig; but if asked whether he would rather be as he was now or as he was on the day before his arrest, he would not have had a moment’s hesitation in preferring his present to his past. If his present could only have been purchased at the expense of all that he had gone through, it was still worth purchasing at the price, and he would go through it all again if necessary. The loss of the money was the worst, but Ellen said she was sure they would get on, and she knew all about it. As for the loss of reputation — considering that he had Ellen and me left, it did not come to much.

I made a contribution and a stipulation. Ernest wanted to sink the gentleman completely, until such time as he could work his way up again. If he had been left to himself he would have lived with Ellen in the shop back parlour and kitchen, and have let out both the upper floors according to his original programme. I did not want him, however, to cut himself adrift from music, letters, and polite life, and feared that unless he had some kind of den into which he could retire he would ere long become the tradesman and nothing else. I therefore insisted on taking the first floor front and back myself, and furnishing them with the things which had been left at Mrs. Jupp’s. I bought these things of him for a small sum and had them moved into his present abode.

He rang the bell for the butler.


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