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9. CHAPTER IX - "CASTLE RICHMOND;" "BROWN, JONES, AND ROBINSON;" "NORTH AMERICA;" "ORLEY FARM" (continued)
I think that I became popular among those with whom I associated. I have long been aware of a certain weakness in my own character, which I may call a craving for love. I have ever had a wish to be liked by those around me,--a wish that during the first half of my life was never gratified. In my school-days no small part of my misery came from the envy with which I regarded the popularity of popular boys. They seemed to me to live in a social paradise, while the desolation of my pandemonium was complete. And afterwards, when I was in London as a young man, I had but few friends. Among the clerks in the Post Office I held my own fairly for the first two or three years; but even then I regarded myself as something of a pariah. My Irish life had been much better. I had had my wife and children, and had been sustained by a feeling of general respect. But even in Ireland I had in truth lived but little in society. Our means had been sufficient for our wants, but insufficient for entertaining others. It was not till we had settled ourselves at Waltham that I really began to live much with others. The Garrick Club was the first assemblage of men at which I felt myself to be popular.
I soon became a member of other clubs. There was the Arts Club in Hanover Square, of which I saw the opening, but from which, after three or four years, I withdrew my name, having found that during these three or four years I had not once entered the building. Then I was one of the originators of the Civil Service Club--not from judgment, but instigated to do so by others. That also I left for the same reason. In 1864 I received the honour of being elected by the Committee at the Athenaeum. For this I was indebted to the kindness of Lord Stanhope; and I never was more surprised than when I was informed of the fact. About the same time I became a member of the Cosmopolitan, a little club that meets twice a week in Charles Street, Berkeley Square, and supplies to all its members, and its members' friends, tea and brandy and water without charge! The gatherings there I used to think very delightful. One met Jacob Omnium, Monckton Mimes, Tom Hughes, William Stirling, Henry Reeve, Arthur Russell, Tom Taylor, and such like; and generally a strong political element, thoroughly well mixed, gave a certain spirit to the place. Lord Ripon, Lord Stanley, William Forster, Lord Enfield, Lord Kimberley, George Bentinck, Vernon Harcourt, Bromley Davenport, Knatchbull Huguessen, with many others, used to whisper the secrets of Parliament with free tongues. Afterwards I became a member of the Turf, which I found to be serviceable--or the reverse--only for the playing of whist at high points.
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