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The Caxtons — Volume 15 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
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PART XV.




CHAPTER I.


There would have been nothing in what had chanced to justify the
suspicions that tortured me, but for my impressions as to the character
of Vivian.

Reader, hast thou not, in the easy, careless sociability of youth,
formed acquaintance with some one in whose more engaging or brilliant
qualities thou hast,--not lost that dislike to defects or vices which is
natural to an age when, even while we err, we adore what is good, and
glow with enthusiasts for the ennobling sentiment and the virtuous
deed,--no, happily, not lost dislike to what is bad, nor thy quick sense
of it,--but conceived a keen interest in the struggle between the bad
that revolted, and the good that attracted thee, in thy companion?
Then, perhaps, thou hast lost sight of him for a time; suddenly thou
hearest that he has done something out of the way of ordinary good or
commonplace evil; and in either--the good or the evil--thy mind runs
rapidly back over its old reminiscences, and of either thou sayest, "How
natural! Only, So-and-so could have done this thing!"

Thus I felt respecting Vivian. The most remarkable qualities in his
character were his keen power of calculation and his unhesitating
audacity,--qualities that lead to fame or to infamy, according to the
cultivation of the moral sense and the direction of the passions. Had I