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Chapter IX.—It Was a Pleasure to Him Also to Laugh When Seriously Deceiving Others.

17. By what feelings, then, was I animated? For it was in truth too shameful; and woe was me who had it. But still what was it? “Who can understand his errors?”216216    Ps. xix. 12. We laughed, because our hearts were tickled at the thought of deceiving those who little imagined what we were doing, and would have vehemently disapproved of it. Yet, again, why did I so rejoice in this, that I did it not alone? Is it that no one readily laughs alone? No one does so readily; but yet sometimes, when men are alone by themselves, nobody being by, a fit of laughter overcomes them when anything very droll presents itself to their senses or mind. Yet alone I would not have done it—alone I could not at all have done it. Behold, my God, the lively recollection of my soul is laid bare before Thee—alone I had not committed that theft, wherein what I stole pleased me not, but rather the act of stealing; nor to have done it alone would I have liked so well, neither would I have done it. O Friendship too unfriendly! thou mysterious seducer of the soul, thou greediness to do mischief out of mirth and wantonness, thou craving for others’ loss, without desire for my own profit or revenge; but when they say, “Let us go, let us do it,” we are ashamed not to be shameless.


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