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Bachelor Reminiscences Post by :creedman Category :Essays Author :Robert Cortes Holliday Date :November 2011 Read :1895

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Bachelor Reminiscences

Sometimes my thoughts carry me away from my solitary strife with the world; back to my boyhood, when all men were not thieves and scoundrels, as they are now; back to my old home and my family, where we loved one another and did not, lynx-eyed, watch for a grip upon our neighbors' throats nor count our every friend as a possibility of our own advancement, and every favor we did another a business investment.

In one such mood as this, on an evening, I was pleased, upon answering the knock at my door, to usher in my neighboring lodger Harrison. In reminiscence we would renew our youth; and to that purpose I started him off upon the desired track.

Harrison poses as something of a philosopher, and he began with some of his customary rot.

"Well," said he, "I have never known a man that talked at all upon the subject who did not follow a calling which was the most trying of all those at which men labor in this world, who did not have a most remarkably hard time in early life, and who did not fondly imagine that he was a very bad boy in his youth. These, I take it, are the three most familiar hallucinations in life. I am a victim to them myself. But I shall not regale you with them to-night. I was thinking of my own boyhood, the wickedness of it, and the happiness. Ah! boyhood, that is the happy time; girlhood may be, too--but I doubt it.

"These many years have I been like poor Joe in 'Bleak House,' I must keep moving along; but when I was a boy I had a home. A strange word it is to me now. I am reminded of the old vaudeville 'stunt': Any old place I hang my hat is home, sweet home, to me. I follow a trunk about the world, and a devil of a globe-trotter of a trunk it is.

"But when I was a boy," continued Harrison, the lines in his face softened--and he somehow just now looked very like a boy--"I had a home; there the board was always paid." The lines came back in his face for an instant, then faded away again. "There in the winter it was always warm," he said, looking very hard at my small fire. "There we had great feasting and drinking." I could not but notice how spare he was now. "There were noise and romping," and the softness of his voice now emphasized the extreme desertedness of my chambers. "There were brothers and sisters. Did you ever have a brother?" he asked me rather suddenly.

I replied that I never did.

"Or a sister?" he inquired.

I said "No."

He looked at me with a sort of annoying pity.

"I hope," he said rather irritatedly, "that you had a mother?"

I replied that I had had, but I did not see why we should fight about it.

"Now, don't lose your temper, old man," said Harrison. "You're such an incorrigible old dope, you know, such a cynical, confirmed old bachelor of a bohemian, I mean; so contented with this lonesome, vagabond life, that I hardly think you ever had a real, happy, wholesome boyhood home. By the way, did you ever have a boyhood?" he asked with something very near to a sneer.

"Now, look here," I said, "if you had such an insufferable home, why didn't you stay there and make your own family miserable instead of wandering about the world bemoaning your fate, wishing yourself back there, and insulting people who are not moved by ties of relationship to be tolerant with your spleen? And who won't be," I added, rising.

"You're a fool," said Harrison, as he banged the door.

(The end)
Robert Cortes Holliday's essay: Bachelor Reminiscences

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