Samuel Butler: The Way of All Flesh

80. CHAPTER LXXX (continued)

Towneley was just as much Ernest's idol now as he had ever been, and Ernest, who was very easily touched, felt more gratefully and warmly than ever towards him, but there was an unconscious something which was stronger than Towneley, and made my hero determine to break with him more determinedly perhaps than with any other living person; he thanked him in a low hurried voice and pressed his hand, while tears came into his eyes in spite of all his efforts to repress them. "If we meet again," he said, "do not look at me, but if hereafter you hear of me writing things you do not like, think of me as charitably as you can," and so they parted.

"Towneley is a good fellow," said I, gravely, "and you should not have cut him."

"Towneley," he answered, "is not only a good fellow, but he is without exception the very best man I ever saw in my life--except," he paid me the compliment of saying, "yourself; Towneley is my notion of everything which I should most like to be--but there is no real solidarity between us. I should be in perpetual fear of losing his good opinion if I said things he did not like, and I mean to say a great many things," he continued more merrily, "which Towneley will not like."

A man, as I have said already, can give up father and mother for Christ's sake tolerably easily for the most part, but it is not so easy to give up people like Towneley.

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