Among friends, parting for a lengthy spell has its disadvantages. They age in character and physique, and after the reconnoitre there is a pathetic consciousness of the grudging confessions which time has inscribed on the monumental palimpsest. My meeting with Bentham after a severance of years was bleak with this pathos. But he was gay as ever, and better dressed than he used to be in the old art school days, with a self-respecting adjustment of hat and necktie that had been unknown in Bohemia; for he was no longer a boy, but a man, and a noted one, and fortune had stroked him into sleekness. The gender of success must be feminine: she is so capricious. Hitherto her smiles have been for veterans[Pg 8] grown hoary in doing; now she opens her arms for youngsters grown great merely by daring. Bentham, it must be owned, had dared uncommonly well, and success had pillowed his head in her lap while she twined the bay with her fingers. But lines round his mouth and fatigued cynicism on the eyelids betrayed the march of years, and, more, the thinker, who, like most thinkers, plumbs to exhaustion in a bottomless pit. For all that he was excellent company. On his walls hung innumerable trophies of foreign travel and unique specimens of his own art-bent and with these, by gesture or by anecdote, he gave an unconscious synopsis of the skipped pages in our friendship's volume.