Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (Scandinavian).djvu/134

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wondered that Alphonse could keep going so long.

They had as good as grown up together. Their mothers were cousins; the families had lived near each other in the same street; and in a city like Paris proximity is as important as relationship in promoting close intercourse. Moreover, the boys went to the same school.

Thenceforth, as they grew up to manhood, they were inseparable. Mutual adaptation overcame the great differences which originally marked their characters, until at last their idiosyncrasies fitted into each other like the artfully-carved pieces of wood which compose the picture-puzzles of our childhood.

The relation between them was really a beautiful one, such as does not often arise between two young men; for they did not understand friendship as binding the one to bear everything at the hands of the other, but seemed rather to vie with each other in mutual considerateness.

If, however, Alphonse in his relation to Charles showed any high degree of considerateness, he himself was ignorant of it; and if any one had told him of it he would doubtless have laughed loudly at such a mistaken compliment.

For as life on the whole appeared to him very simple and straightforward, the idea that his friendship should in any way fetter him was the last thing that could enter his head. That Charles