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I have come legally to man's estate. I have attained the dignity
of twenty-one. But this is a sort of dignity that may be thrust
upon one. Let me think what I have achieved.

I have tamed that savage stenographic mystery. I make a
respectable income by it. I am in high repute for my
accomplishment in all pertaining to the art, and am joined with
eleven others in reporting the debates in Parliament for a Morning
Newspaper. Night after night, I record predictions that never come
to pass, professions that are never fulfilled, explanations that
are only meant to mystify. I wallow in words. Britannia, that
unfortunate female, is always before me, like a trussed fowl:
skewered through and through with office-pens, and bound hand and
foot with red tape. I am sufficiently behind the scenes to know
the worth of political life. I am quite an Infidel about it, and
shall never be converted.

My dear old Traddles has tried his hand at the same pursuit, but it
is not in Traddles's way. He is perfectly good-humoured respecting
his failure, and reminds me that he always did consider himself
slow. He has occasional employment on the same newspaper, in
getting up the facts of dry subjects, to be written about and
embellished by more fertile minds. He is called to the bar; and
with admirable industry and self-denial has scraped another hundred
pounds together, to fee a Conveyancer whose chambers he attends.
A great deal of very hot port wine was consumed at his call; and,
considering the figure, I should think the Inner Temple must have
made a profit by it.

I have come out in another way. I have taken with fear and
trembling to authorship. I wrote a little something, in secret,
and sent it to a magazine, and it was published in the magazine.
Since then, I have taken heart to write a good many trifling
pieces. Now, I am regularly paid for them. Altogether, I am well
off, when I tell my income on the fingers of my left hand, I pass
the third finger and take in the fourth to the middle joint.

We have removed, from Buckingham Street, to a pleasant little
cottage very near the one I looked at, when my enthusiasm first
came on. My aunt, however (who has sold the house at Dover, to
good advantage), is not going to remain here, but intends removing
herself to a still more tiny cottage close at hand. What does this
portend? My marriage? Yes!
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