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I am reading an account written by Charles Dickens in his American Notes for General Circulation which was published in 1842.

In the paragraph from an excerpt below, Dickens is describing American friends he had met during his travel.

They are, by nature, frank, brave, cordial, hospitable, and affectionate. Cultivation and refinement seem but to enhance their warmth of heart and ardent enthusiasm; and it is the possession of these latter qualities in a most remarkable degree, which renders an educated American one of the most endearing and most generous of friends. I never was so won upon, as by this class; never yielded up my full confidence and esteem so readily and pleasurably, as to them; never can make again, in half a year, so many friends for whom I seem to entertain the regard of half a life.

Do the boldfaced lines mean that Dickens was so fascinated by the Americans that he would wish to spend half of this life with them?

And what does the phrase the regard mean in the boldfaced lines?

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    He means he made American friends in half a year, who acted as if they had known him for half a life (that is, treated him as if he were a very old friend). Regard can be used to mean 'esteem' or 'liking'. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 19:02
  • I think the bold face was added by the questioner, not by Dickens, in order to make the Title Question make sense. If so, the question should be reworded to make this more obvious. And the Title Question really should be reworded to match what is actually being asked. The fact that the lines happen to be boldfaced in the text of the question really doesn't belong in the Title Question. When people search, they'll find this question when looking for "boldface", which will be irrelevant to what they actually want. Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 1:06

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Dickens means he made American friends in half a year, who he liked as much as if he had known them for half a life. Regard can be used to mean 'esteem' or 'liking'. A friend for whom I entertain a high regard is one I like a lot.

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Dickens was clearly emphasizing his respect for them. If you use bold type, you emphasize the words you're writing. We wouldn't do this anymore. Personally, I would italicize a word I want to stress in a text: "She's the best writer of the lot." I'm not knowledgeable about Dickens, but this seems to me the most reasonable explanation. Bold type is okay in article headings, but not in a text.

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    It's not at all obvious from the way it's asked, especially since it is in the Title Question itself, but I think the boldface was simply added by the questioner, not by Dickens. Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 1:07

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