Infomotions, Inc.Liber Amoris, or, the New Pygmalion / Hazlitt, William, 1778-1830



Author: Hazlitt, William, 1778-1830
Title: Liber Amoris, or, the New Pygmalion
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): pygmalion; hazlitt; william; love; liber; safford; mary; heart; amoris
Contributor(s): Safford, Mary J. [Translator]
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Liber Amoris, or, The New Pygmalion

by William Hazlitt

January, 2000  [Etext #2049]


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LIBER AMORIS, OR, THE NEW PYGMALION

by WILLIAM HAZLITT




ADVERTISEMENT





The circumstances, an outline of which is given in these pages, happened
a very short time ago to a native of North Britain, who left his own
country early in life, in consequence of political animosities and an
ill-advised connection in marriage.  It was some years after that he
formed the fatal attachment which is the subject of the following
narrative.  The whole was transcribed very carefully with his own hand,
a little before be set out for the Continent in hopes of benefiting by a
change of scene, but he died soon after in the Netherlands--it is
supposed, of disappointment preying on a sickly frame and morbid state
of mind.  It was his wish that what bad been his strongest feeling while
living, should be preserved in this shape when he was no more.--It has
been suggested to the friend, into whose hands the manuscript was
entrusted, that many things (particularly in the Conversations in the
First Part) either childish or redundant, might have been omitted; but a
promise was given that not a word should be altered, and the pledge was
held sacred.  The names and circumstances are so far disguised, it is
presumed, as to prevent any consequences resulting from the publication,
farther than the amusement or sympathy of the reader.




PART I




THE PICTURE




H.  Oh! is it you?  I had something to shew you--I have got a picture
here.  Do you know any one it's like?

S.  No, Sir.

H.  Don't you think it like yourself?

S.  No: it's much handsomer than I can pretend to be.

H.  That's because you don't see yourself with the same eyes that others
do.  I don't think it handsomer, and the expression is hardly so fine as
yours sometimes is.

S.  Now you flatter me.  Besides, the complexion is fair, and mine is
dark.

H.  Thine is pale and beautiful, my love, not dark!  But if your colour
were a little heightened, and you wore the same dress, and your hair
were let down over your shoulders, as it is here, it might be taken for
a picture of you.  Look here, only see how like it is.  The forehead is
like, with that little obstinate protrusion in the middle; the eyebrows
are like, and the eyes are just like yours, when you look up and
say--"No--never!"

S.  What then, do I always say--"No--never!" when I look up?

H.  I don't know about that--I never heard you say so but once; but that
was once too often for my peace.  It was when you told me, "you could
never be mine."  Ah! if you are never to be mine, I shall not long be
myself.  I cannot go on as I am.  My faculties leave me: I think of
nothing, I have no feeling about any thing but thee: thy sweet image has
taken possession of me, haunts me, and will drive me to distraction. 
Yet I could almost wish to go mad for thy sake: for then I might fancy
that I had thy love in return, which I cannot live without!

S.  Do not, I beg, talk in that manner, but tell me what this is a
picture of.

H.  I hardly know; but it is a very small and delicate copy (painted in
oil on a gold ground) of some fine old Italian picture, Guido's or
Raphael's, but I think Raphael's.  Some say it is a Madonna; others call
it a Magdalen, and say you may distinguish the tear upon the cheek,
though no tear is there.  But it seems to me more like Raphael's St.
Cecilia, "with looks commercing with the skies," than anything
else.--See, Sarah, how beautiful it is!  Ah! dear girl, these are the
ideas I have cherished in my heart, and in my brain; and I never found
any thing to realise them on earth till I met with thee, my love!  While
thou didst seem sensible of my kindness, I was but too happy: but now
thou hast cruelly cast me off.

S.  You have no reason to say so: you are the same to me as ever.

H.  That is, nothing.  You are to me everything, and I am nothing to
you.  Is it not too true?

S.  No.

H.  Then kiss me, my sweetest.  Oh! could you see your face now--your
mouth full of suppressed sensibility, your downcast eyes, the soft blush
upon that cheek, you would not say the picture is not like because it is
too handsome, or because you want complexion.  Thou art heavenly-fair,
my love--like her from whom the picture was taken--the idol of the
painter's heart, as thou art of mine!  Shall I make a drawing of it,
altering the dress a little, to shew you how like it is?

S.  As you please.--



THE INVITATION





H.  But I am afraid I tire you with this prosing description of the
French character and abuse of the English?  You know there is but one
subject on which I should ever wish to talk, if you would let me.

S.  I must say, you don't seem to have a very high opinion of this
country.

H.  Yes, it is the place that gave you birth.

S.  Do you like the French women better than the English?

H.  No: though they have finer eyes, talk better, and are better made. 
But they none of them look like you.  I like the Italian women I have
seen, much better than the French: they have darker eyes, darker hair,
and the accents of their native tongue are much richer and more
melodious.  But I will give you a better account of them when I come
back from Italy, if you would like to hear it.

S.  I should much.  It is for that I have sometimes had a wish for
travelling abroad, to understand something of the manners and characters
of different people.

H.  My sweet girl!  I will give you the best account I can--unless you
would rather go and judge for yourself.

S.  I cannot.

H.  Yes, you shall go with me, and you shall go WITH HONOUR--you know
what I mean

S.  You know it is not in your power to take me so.

H.  But it soon may: and if you would consent to bear me company, I
would swear never to think of an Italian woman while I am abroad, nor of
an English one after I return home.  Thou art to me more than thy whole
sex.

S.  I require no such sacrifices.

H.  Is that what you thought I meant by SACRIFICES last night?  But
sacrifices are no sacrifices when they are repaid a thousand fold.

S.  I have no way of doing it.

H.  You have not the will.--

S.  I must go now.

H.  Stay, and hear me a little.  I shall soon be where I can no more
hear thy voice, far distant from her I love, to see what change of
climate and bright skies will do for a sad heart.  I shall perhaps see
thee no more, but I shall still think of thee the same as ever--I shall
say to myself, "Where is she now?--what is she doing?"  But I shall
hardly wish you to think of me, unless you could do so more favourably
than I am afraid you will.  Ah! dearest creature, I shall be "far
distant from you," as you once said of another, but you will not think
of me as of him, "with the sincerest affection."  The smallest share of
thy tenderness would make me blest; but couldst thou ever love me as
thou didst him, I should feel like a God!  My face would change to a
different expression: my whole form would undergo alteration.  I was
getting well, I was growing young in the sweet proofs of your
friendship: you see how I droop and wither under your displeasure!  Thou
art divine, my love, and canst make me either more or less than mortal. 
Indeed I am thy creature, thy slave--I only wish to live for your
sake--I would gladly die for you--

S.  That would give me no pleasure.  But indeed you greatly overrate my
power.

H.  Your power over me is that of sovereign grace and beauty.  When I am
near thee, nothing can harm me.  Thou art an angel of light, shadowing
me with thy softness.  But when I let go thy hand, I stagger on a
precipice: out of thy sight the world is dark to me and comfortless. 
There is no breathing out of this house: the air of Italy will stifle
me.  Go with me and lighten it.  I can know no pleasure away from thee--

"But I will come again, my love, An' it were ten thousand mile!"



THE MESSAGE





S.  Mrs. E---- has called for the book, Sir.

H.  Oh! it is there.  Let her wait a minute or two.  I see this is a
busy-day with you.  How beautiful your arms look in those short sleeves!

S.  I do not like to wear them.

H.  Then that is because you are merciful, and would spare frail mortals
who might die with gazing.

S.  I have no power to kill.

H.  You have, you have--Your charms are irresistible as your will is
inexorable.  I wish I could see you always thus.  But I would have no
one else see you so.  I am jealous of all eyes but my own.  I should
almost like you to wear a veil, and to be muffled up from head to foot;
but even if you were, and not a glimpse of you could be seen, it would
be to no purpose--you would only have to move, and you would be admired
as the most graceful creature in the world.  You smile--Well, if you
were to be won by fine speeches--

S.  You could supply them!

H.  It is however no laughing matter with me; thy beauty kills me daily,
and I shall think of nothing but thy charms, till the last word trembles
on my tongue, and that will be thy name, my love--the name of my
Infelice!  You will live by that name, you rogue, fifty years after you
are dead.  Don't you thank me for that?

S.  I have no such ambition, Sir.  But Mrs. E---- is waiting.

H.  She is not in love, like me.  You look so handsome to-day, I cannot
let you go.  You have got a colour.

S.  But you say I look best when I am pale.

H.  When you are pale, I think so; but when you have a colour, I then
think you still more beautiful.  It is you that I admire; and whatever
you are, I like best.  I like you as Miss L----, I should like you still
more as Mrs. ----.  I once thought you were half inclined to be a prude,
and I admired you as a "pensive nun, devout and pure."  I now think you
are more than half a coquet, and I like you for your roguery.  The truth
is, I am in love with you, my angel; and whatever you are, is to me the
perfection of thy sex.  I care not what thou art, while thou art still
thyself.  Smile but so, and turn my heart to what shape you please!

S.  I am afraid, Sir, Mrs. E---- will think you have forgotten her.

H.  I had, my charmer.  But go, and make her a sweet apology, all
graceful as thou art.  One kiss!  Ah! ought I not to think myself the
happiest of men?



THE FLAGEOLET





H.  Where have you been, my love?

S.  I have been down to see my aunt, Sir.

H.  And I hope she has been giving you good advice.

S.  I did not go to ask her opinion about any thing.

H.  And yet you seem anxious and agitated.  You appear pale and
dejected, as if your refusal of me had touched your own breast with
pity.  Cruel girl! you look at this moment heavenly-soft, saint-like, or
resemble some graceful marble statue, in the moon's pale ray!  Sadness
only heightens the elegance of your features.  How can I escape from
you, when every new occasion, even your cruelty and scorn, brings out
some new charm.  Nay, your rejection of me, by the way in which you do
it, is only a new link added to my chain.  Raise those downcast eyes,
bend as if an angel stooped, and kiss me. . . . Ah! enchanting little
trembler! if such is thy sweetness where thou dost not love, what must
thy love have been?  I cannot think how any man, having the heart of
one, could go and leave it.

S.  No one did, that I know of.

H.  Yes, you told me yourself he left you (though he liked you, and
though he knew--Oh! gracious God! that you loved him) he left you
because "the pride of birth would not permit a union."--For myself, I
would leave a throne to ascend to the heaven of thy charms.  I live but
for thee, here--I only wish to live again to pass all eternity with
thee.  But even in another world, I suppose you would turn from me to
seek him out who scorned you here.

S.  If the proud scorn us here, in that place we shall all be equal.

H.  Do not look so--do not talk so--unless you would drive me mad.  I
could worship you at this moment.  Can I witness such perfection, and
bear to think I have lost you for ever?  Oh! let me hope!  You see you
can mould me as you like.  You can lead me by the hand, like a little
child; and with you my way would be like a little child's:--you could
strew flowers in my path, and pour new life and hope into me.  I should
then indeed hail the return of spring with joy, could I indulge the
faintest hope--would you but let me try to please you!

S.  Nothing can alter my resolution, Sir.

H.  Will you go and leave me so?

S.  It is late, and my father will be getting impatient at my stopping
so long.

H.  You know he has nothing to fear for you--it is poor I that am alone
in danger.  But I wanted to ask about buying you a flageolet.  Could I
see that which you have?  If it is a pretty one, it would hardly be
worth while; but if it isn't, I thought of bespeaking an ivory one for
you.  Can't you bring up your own to shew me?

S.  Not to-night, Sir.

H.  I wish you could.

S.  I cannot--but I will in the morning.

H.  Whatever you determine, I must submit to.  Good night, and bless
thee!

[The next morning, S. brought up the tea-kettle as usual; and looking
towards the tea-tray, she said, "Oh! I see my sister has forgot the
tea-pot."  It was not there, sure enough; and tripping down stairs, she
came up in a minute, with the tea-pot in one hand, and the flageolet in
the other, balanced so sweetly and gracefully.  It would have been
awkward to have brought up the flageolet in the tea-tray and she could
not have well gone down again on purpose to fetch it.  Something,
therefore, was to be omitted as an excuse.  Exquisite witch!  But do I
love her the less dearly for it?  I cannot.]



THE CONFESSION




H.  You say you cannot love.  Is there not a prior attachment in the
case?  Was there any one else that you did like?

S.  Yes, there was another.

H.  Ah! I thought as much.  Is it long ago then?

S.  It is two years, Sir.

H.  And has time made no alteration?  Or do you still see him sometimes?

S.  No, Sir!  But he is one to whom I feel the sincerest affection, and
ever shall, though he is far distant.

H.  And did he return your regard?

S.  I had every reason to think so.

H.  What then broke off your intimacy?

S.  It was the pride of birth, Sir, that would not permit him to think
of a union.

H.  Was he a young man of rank, then?

S.  His connections were high.

H.  And did he never attempt to persuade you to any other step?

S.  No--he had too great a regard for me.

H.  Tell me, my angel, how was it?  Was he so very handsome?  Or was it
the fineness of his manners?

S.  It was more his manner: but I can't tell how it was.  It was chiefly
my own fault.  I was foolish to suppose he could ever think seriously of
me.  But he used to make me read with him--and I used to be with him a
good deal, though not much neither--and I found my affections entangled
before I was aware of it.

H.  And did your mother and family know of it?

S.  No--I have never told any one but you; nor I should not have
mentioned it now, but I thought it might give you some satisfaction.

H.  Why did he go at last?

S.  We thought it better to part.

H.  And do you correspond?

S.  No, Sir.  But perhaps I may see him again some time or other, though
it will be only in the way of friendship.

H.  My God! what a heart is thine, to live for years upon that bare
hope!

S.  I did not wish to live always, Sir--I wished to die for a long time
after, till I thought it not right; and since then I have endeavoured to
be as resigned as I can.

H.  And do you think the impression will never wear out?

S.  Not if I can judge from my feelings hitherto.  It is now sometime
since,--and I find no difference.

H.  May God for ever bless you!  How can I thank you for your
condescension in letting me know your sweet sentiments?  You have
changed my esteem into adoration.--Never can I harbour a thought of ill
in thee again.

S.  Indeed, Sir, I wish for your good opinion and your friendship.

H.  And can you return them?

S.  Yes.

H.  And nothing more?

S.  No, Sir.

H.  You are an angel, and I will spend my life, if you will let me, in
paying you the homage that my heart feels towards you.



THE QUARREL





H.  You are angry with me?

S.  Have I not reason?

H.  I hope you have; for I would give the world to believe my suspicions
unjust.  But, oh! my God! after what I have thought of you and felt
towards you, as little less than an angel, to have but a doubt cross my
mind for an instant that you were what I dare not name--a common
lodging-house decoy, a kissing convenience, that your lips were as
common as the stairs--

S.  Let me go, Sir!

H.  Nay--prove to me that you are not so, and I will fall down and
worship you.  You were the only creature that ever seemed to love me;
and to have my hopes, and all my fondness for you, thus turned to a
mockery--it is too much!  Tell me why you have deceived me, and singled
me out as your victim?

S.  I never have, Sir.  I always said I could not love.

H.  There is a difference between love and making me a laughing-stock. 
Yet what else could be the meaning of your little sister's running out
to you, and saying "He thought I did not see him!" when I had followed
you into the other room?  Is it a joke upon me that I make free with
you?  Or is not the joke against HER sister, unless you make my
courtship of you a jest to the whole house?  Indeed I do not well see
how you can come and stay with me as you do, by the hour together, and
day after day, as openly as you do, unless you give it some such turn
with your family.  Or do you deceive them as well as me?

S.  I deceive no one, Sir.  But my sister Betsey was always watching and
listening when Mr. M---- was courting my eldest sister, till he was
obliged to complain of it.

H.  That I can understand, but not the other.  You may remember, when
your servant Maria looked in and found you sitting in my lap one day,
and I was afraid she might tell your mother, you said "You did not care,
for you had no secrets from your mother."  This seemed to me odd at the
time, but I thought no more of it, till other things brought it to my
mind.  Am I to suppose, then, that you are acting a part, a vile part,
all this time, and that you come up here, and stay as long as I like,
that you sit on my knee and put your arms round my neck, and feed me
with kisses, and let me take other liberties with you, and that for a
year together; and that you do all this not out of love, or liking, or
regard, but go through your regular task, like some young witch, without
one natural feeling, to shew your cleverness, and get a few presents out
of me, and go down into the kitchen to make a fine laugh of it?  There
is something monstrous in it, that I cannot believe of you.

S.  Sir, you have no right to harass my feelings in the manner you do. 
I have never made a jest of you to anyone, but always felt and expressed
the greatest esteem for you.  You have no ground for complaint in my
conduct; and I cannot help what Betsey or others do.  I have always been
consistent from the first.  I told you my regard could amount to no more
than friendship.

H.  Nay, Sarah, it was more than half a year before I knew that there
was an insurmountable obstacle in the way.  You say your regard is
merely friendship, and that you are sorry I have ever felt anything more
for you.  Yet the first time I ever asked you, you let me kiss you; the
first time I ever saw you, as you went out of the room, you turned full
round at the door, with that inimitable grace with which you do
everything, and fixed your eyes full upon me, as much as to say, "Is he
caught?"--that very week you sat upon my knee, twined your arms round
me, caressed me with every mark of tenderness consistent with modesty;
and I have not got much farther since.  Now if you did all this with me,
a perfect stranger to you, and without any particular liking to me, must
I not conclude you do so as a matter of course with everyone?--Or, if
you do not do so with others, it was because you took a liking to me for
some reason or other.

S.  It was gratitude, Sir, for different obligations.

H.  If you mean by obligations the presents I made you, I had given you
none the first day I came.  You do not consider yourself OBLIGED to
everyone who asks you for a kiss?

S.  No, Sir.

H.  I should not have thought anything of it in anyone but you.  But you
seemed so reserved and modest, so soft, so timid, you spoke so low, you
looked so innocent--I thought it impossible you could deceive me. 
Whatever favors you granted must proceed from pure regard.  No betrothed
virgin ever gave the object of her choice kisses, caresses more modest
or more bewitching than those you have given me a thousand and a
thousand times.  Could I have thought I should ever live to believe them
an inhuman mockery of one who had the sincerest regard for you?  Do you
think they will not now turn to rank poison in my veins, and kill me,
soul and body?  You say it is friendship--but if this is friendship,
I'll forswear love.  Ah! Sarah! it must be something more or less than
friendship.  If your caresses are sincere, they shew fondness--if they
are not, I must be more than indifferent to you.  Indeed you once let
some words drop, as if I were out of the question in such matters, and
you could trifle with me with impunity.  Yet you complain at other times
that no one ever took such liberties with you as I have done.  I
remember once in particular your saying, as you went out at the door in
anger--"I had an attachment before, but that person never attempted
anything of the kind."  Good God!  How did I dwell on that word
BEFORE, thinking it implied an attachment to me also; but you have
since disclaimed any such meaning.  You say you have never professed
more than esteem.  Yet once, when you were sitting in your old place, on
my knee, embracing and fondly embraced, and I asked you if you could not
love, you made answer, "I could easily say so, whether I did or not--YOU
SHOULD JUDGE BY MY ACTIONS!"  And another time, when you were in the
same posture, and I reproached you with indifference, you replied in
these words, "Do I SEEM INDIFFERENT?"  Was I to blame after this to
indulge my passion for the loveliest of her sex?  Or what can I think?

S.  I am no prude, Sir.

H.  Yet you might be taken for one.  So your mother said, "It was hard
if you might not indulge in a little levity."  She has strange notions
of levity.  But levity, my dear, is quite out of character in you.  Your
ordinary walk is as if you were performing some religious ceremony: you
come up to my table of a morning, when you merely bring in the
tea-things, as if you were advancing to the altar.  You move in
minuet-time: you measure every step, as if you were afraid of offending
in the smallest things.  I never hear your approach on the stairs, but
by a sort of hushed silence.  When you enter the room, the Graces wait
on you, and Love waves round your person in gentle undulations,
breathing balm into the soul!  By Heaven, you are an angel!  You look
like one at this instant!  Do I not adore you--and have I merited this
return?

S.  I have repeatedly answered that question.  You sit and fancy things
out of your own head, and then lay them to my charge.  There is not a
word of truth in your suspicions.

H.  Did I not overhear the conversation down-stairs last night, to which
you were a party?  Shall I repeat it?

S.  I had rather not hear it!

H.  Or what am I to think of this story of the footman?

S.  It is false, Sir, I never did anything of the sort.

H.  Nay, when I told your mother I wished she wouldn't * * * * * * * * *
(as I heard she did) she said "Oh, there's nothing in that, for Sarah
very often * * * * * *," and your doing so before company, is only a
trifling addition to the sport.

S.  I'll call my mother, Sir, and she shall contradict you.

H.  Then she'll contradict herself.  But did not you boast you were
"very persevering in your resistance to gay young men," and had been
"several times obliged to ring the bell?"  Did you always ring it?  Or
did you get into these dilemmas that made it necessary, merely by the
demureness of your looks and ways?  Or had nothing else passed?  Or have
you two characters, one that you palm off upon me, and another, your
natural one, that you resume when you get out of the room, like an
actress who throws aside her artificial part behind the scenes?  Did you
not, when I was courting you on the staircase the first night Mr. C----
came, beg me to desist, for if the new lodger heard us, he'd take you
for a light character?  Was that all?  Were you only afraid of being
TAKEN for a light character?  Oh! Sarah!

S.  I'll stay and hear this no longer.

H.  Yes, one word more.  Did you not love another?

S.  Yes, and ever shall most sincerely.

H.  Then, THAT is my only hope.  If you could feel this sentiment for
him, you cannot be what you seem to me of late.  But there is another
thing I had to say--be what you will, I love you to distraction!  You
are the only woman that ever made me think she loved me, and that
feeling was so new to me, and so delicious, that it "will never from my
heart."  Thou wert to me a little tender flower, blooming in the
wilderness of my life; and though thou should'st turn out a weed, I'll
not fling thee from me, while I can help it.  Wert thou all that I dread
to think--wert thou a wretched wanderer in the street, covered with
rags, disease, and infamy, I'd clasp thee to my bosom, and live and die
with thee, my love.  Kiss me, thou little sorceress!

S.  NEVER.

H.  Then go: but remember I cannot live without you--nor I will not.



THE RECONCILIATION





H.  I have then lost your friendship?

S.  Nothing tends more to alienate friendship than insult.

H.  The words I uttered hurt me more than they did you.

S.  It was not words merely, but actions as well.

H.  Nothing I can say or do can ever alter my fondness for you--Ah,
Sarah!  I am unworthy of your love: I hardly dare ask for your pity; but
oh! save me--save me from your scorn: I cannot bear it--it withers me
like lightning.

S.  I bear no malice, Sir; but my brother, who would scorn to tell a lie
for his sister, can bear witness for me that there was no truth in what
you were told.

H.  I believe it; or there is no truth in woman.  It is enough for me to
know that you do not return my regard; it would be too much for me to
think that you did not deserve it.  But cannot you forgive the agony of
the moment?

S.  I can forgive; but it is not easy to forget some things!

H.  Nay, my sweet Sarah (frown if you will, I can bear your resentment
for my ill behaviour, it is only your scorn and indifference that harrow
up my soul)--but I was going to ask, if you had been engaged to be
married to any one, and the day was fixed, and he had heard what I did,
whether he could have felt any true regard for the character of his
bride, his wife, if he had not been hurt and alarmed as I was?

S.  I believe, actual contracts of marriage have sometimes been broken
off by unjust suspicions.

H.  Or had it been your old friend, what do you think he would have said
in my case?

S.  He would never have listened to anything of the sort.

H.  He had greater reasons for confidence than I have.  But it is your
repeated cruel rejection of me that drives me almost to madness.  Tell
me, love, is there not, besides your attachment to him, a repugnance to
me?

S.  No, none whatever.

H.  I fear there is an original dislike, which no efforts of mine can
overcome.

S.  It is not you--it is my feelings with respect to another, which are
unalterable.

H.  And yet you have no hope of ever being his?  And yet you accuse me
of being romantic in my sentiments.

S.  I have indeed long ceased to hope; but yet I sometimes hope against
hope.

H.  My love! were it in my power, thy hopes should be fulfilled
to-morrow.  Next to my own, there is nothing that could give me so much
satisfaction as to see thine realized!  Do I not love thee, when I can
feel such an interest in thy love for another?  It was that which first
wedded my very soul to you.  I would give worlds for a share in a heart
so rich in pure affection!

S.  And yet I did not tell you of the circumstance to raise myself in
your opinion.

H.  You are a sublime little thing!  And yet, as you have no prospects
there, I cannot help thinking, the best thing would be to do as I have
said.

S.  I would never marry a man I did not love beyond all the world.

H.  I should be satisfied with less than that--with the love, or regard,
or whatever you call it, you have shown me before marriage, if that has
only been sincere.  You would hardly like me less afterwards.

S.  Endearments would, I should think, increase regard, where there was
love beforehand; but that is not exactly my case.

H.  But I think you would be happier than you are at present.  You take
pleasure in my conversation, and you say you have an esteem for me; and
it is upon this, after the honeymoon, that marriage chiefly turns.

S.  Do you think there is no pleasure in a single life?

H.  Do you mean on account of its liberty?

S.  No, but I feel that forced duty is no duty.  I have high ideas of
the married state!

H.  Higher than of the maiden state?

S.  I understand you, Sir.

H.  I meant nothing; but you have sometimes spoken of any serious
attachment as a tie upon you.  It is not that you prefer flirting with
"gay young men" to becoming a mere dull domestic wife?

S.  You have no right to throw out such insinuations: for though I am
but a tradesman's daughter, I have as nice a sense of honour as anyone
can have.

H.  Talk of a tradesman's daughter! you would ennoble any family, thou
glorious girl, by true nobility of mind.

S.  Oh! Sir, you flatter me.  I know my own inferiority to most.

H.  To none; there is no one above thee, man nor woman either.  You are
above your situation, which is not fit for you.

S.  I am contented with my lot, and do my duty as cheerfully as I can.

H.  Have you not told me your spirits grow worse every year?

S.  Not on that account: but some disappointments are hard to bear up
against.

H.  If you talk about that, you'll unman me.  But tell me, my love,--I
have thought of it as something that might account for some
circumstances; that is, as a mere possibility.  But tell me, there was
not a likeness between me and your old lover that struck you at first
sight?  Was there?

S.  No, Sir, none.

H.  Well, I didn't think it likely there should.

S.  But there was a likeness.

H.  To whom?

S.  To that little image! (looking intently on a small bronze figure of
Buonaparte on the mantelpiece).

H.  What, do you mean to Buonaparte?

S.  Yes, all but the nose was just like.

H.  And was his figure the same?

S.  He was taller!

[I got up and gave her the image, and told her it was hers by every
right that was sacred.  She refused at first to take so valuable a
curiosity, and said she would keep it for me.  But I pressed it eagerly,
and she look it.  She immediately came and sat down, and put her arm
round my neck, and kissed me, and I said, "Is it not plain we are the
best friends in the world, since we are always so glad to make it up?" 
And then I added "How odd it was that the God of my idolatry should turn
out to be like her Idol, and said it was no wonder that the same face
which awed the world should conquer the sweetest creature in it!"  How I
loved her at that moment!  Is it possible that the wretch who writes
this could ever have been so blest!  Heavenly delicious creature!  Can I
live without her?  Oh! no--never--never.

"What is this world?  What asken men to have, Now with his love, now in
the cold grave, Alone, withouten any compagnie!"

Let me but see her again!  She cannot hate the man who loves her as I
do.]



LETTERS TO THE SAME





Feb., I822.


--You will scold me for this, and ask me if this is keeping my promise
to mind my work.  One half of it was to think of Sarah: and besides, I
do not neglect my work either, I assure you.  I regularly do ten pages a
day, which mounts up to thirty guineas' worth a week, so that you see I
should grow rich at this rate, if I could keep on so; AND I COULD KEEP
ON SO, if I had you with me to encourage me with your sweet smiles, and
share my lot.  The Berwick smacks sail twice a week, and the wind sits
fair.  When I think of the thousand endearing caresses that have passed
between us, I do not wonder at the strong attachment that draws me to
you; but I am sorry for my own want of power to please.  I hear the wind
sigh through the lattice, and keep repeating over and over to myself two
lines of Lord Byron's Tragedy--

"So shalt thou find me ever at thy side Here and hereafter, if the last
may be."--

applying them to thee, my love, and thinking whether I shall ever see
thee again.  Perhaps not--for some years at least--till both thou and I
are old--and then, when all else have forsaken thee, I will creep to
thee, and die in thine arms.  You once made me believe I was not hated
by her I loved; and for that sensation, so delicious was it, though but
a mockery and a dream, I owe you more than I can ever pay.  I thought to
have dried up my tears for ever, the day I left you; but as I write
this, they stream again.  If they did not, I think my heart would burst.
 I walk out here of an afternoon, and hear the notes of the thrush, that
come up from a sheltered valley below, welcome in the spring; but they
do not melt my heart as they used: it is grown cold and dead.  As you
say, it will one day be colder.--Forgive what I have written above; I
did not intend it: but you were once my little all, and I cannot bear
the thought of having lost you for ever, I fear through my own fault. 
Has any one called?  Do not send any letters that come.  I should like
you and your mother (if agreeable) to go and see Mr. Kean in Othello,
and Miss Stephens in Love in a Village.  If you will, I will write to
Mr. T----, to send you tickets.  Has Mr. P---- called?  I think I must
send to him for the picture to kiss and talk to.  Kiss me, my best
beloved.  Ah! if you can never be mine, still let me be your proud and
happy slave.


H.



TO THE SAME





March, I822.


--You will be glad to learn I have done my work--a volume in less than a
month.  This is one reason why I am better than when I came, and another
is, I have had two letters from Sarah.  I am pleased I have got through
this job, as I was afraid I might lose reputation by it (which I can
little afford to lose)--and besides, I am more anxious to do well now,
as I wish you to hear me well spoken of.  I walk out of an afternoon,
and hear the birds sing as I told you, and think, if I had you hanging
on my arm, and that for life, how happy I should be--happier than I ever
hoped to be, or had any conception of till I knew you.  "But that can
never be"--I hear you answer in a soft, low murmur.  Well, let me dream
of it sometimes--I am not happy too often, except when that favourite
note, the harbinger of spring, recalling the hopes of my youth, whispers
thy name and peace together in my ear.  I was reading something about
Mr. Macready to-day, and this put me in mind of that delicious night,
when I went with your mother and you to see Romeo and Juliet.  Can I
forget it for a moment--your sweet modest looks, your infinite propriety
of behaviour, all your sweet winning ways--your hesitating about taking
my arm as we came out till your mother did--your laughing about nearly
losing your cloak--your stepping into the coach without my being able to
make the slightest discovery--and oh! my sitting down beside you there,
you whom I had loved so long, so well, and your assuring me I had not
lessened your pleasure at the play by being with you, and giving me your
dear hand to press in mine!  I thought I was in heaven--that slender
exquisitely-turned form contained my all of heaven upon earth; and as I
folded you--yes, you, my own best Sarah, to my bosom, there was, as you
say, A TIE BETWEEN US--you did seem to me, for those few short
moments, to be mine in all truth and honour and sacredness--Oh! that we
could be always so--Do not mock me, for I am a very child in love.  I
ought to beg pardon for behaving so ill afterwards, but I hope THE
LITTLE IMAGE made it up between us, &c.


[To this letter I have received no answer, not a line.  The rolling
years of eternity will never fill up that blank.  Where shall I be? 
What am I?  Or where have I been?]



WRITTEN IN A BLANK LEAF OF ENDYMION





I want a hand to guide me, an eye to cheer me, a bosom to repose on; all
which I shall never have, but shall stagger into my grave, old before my
time, unloved and unlovely, unless S. L. keeps her faith with me.


*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *


--But by her dove's eyes and serpent-shape, I think she does not hate
me; by her smooth forehead and her crested hair, I own I love her; by
her soft looks and queen-like grace (which men might fall down and
worship) I swear to live and die for her!



A PROPOSAL OF LOVE





(Given to her in our early acquaintance)

"Oh! if I thought it could be in a woman (As, if it can, I will presume
in you) To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love, To keep her
constancy in plight and youth, Outliving beauties outward with a mind
That doth renew swifter than blood decays: Or that persuasion could but
thus convince me, That my integrity and truth to you Might be confronted
with the match and weight Of such a winnowed purity in love-- How were I
then uplifted!  But, alas, I am as true as truth's simplicity, And
simpler than the infancy of truth."


TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.



PART II




LETTERS TO C. P----, ESQ.





Bees-Inn.


My good friend, Here I am in Scotland (and shall have been here three
weeks, next Monday) as I may say, ON MY PROBATION.  This is a lone
inn, but on a great scale, thirty miles from Edinburgh.  It is situated
on a rising ground (a mark for all the winds, which blow here
incessantly)--there is a woody hill opposite, with a winding valley
below, and the London road stretches out on either side.  You may guess
which way I oftenest walk.  I have written two letters to S. L. and got
one cold, prudish answer, beginning SIR, and ending FROM YOURS
TRULY, with BEST RESPECTS FROM HERSELF AND RELATIONS.  I was going to
give in, but have returned an answer, which I think is a touch-stone.  I
send it you on the other side to keep as a curiosity, in case she kills
me by her exquisite rejoinder.  I am convinced from the profound
contemplations I have had on the subject here and coming along, that I
am on a wrong scent.  We had a famous parting-scene, a complete quarrel
and then a reconciliation, in which she did beguile me of my tears, but
the deuce a one did she shed.  What do you think?  She cajoled me out of
my little Buonaparte as cleverly as possible, in manner and form
following.  She was shy the Saturday and Sunday (the day of my
departure) so I got in dudgeon, and began to rip up grievances.  I asked
her how she came to admit me to such extreme familiarities, the first
week I entered the house.  "If she had no particular regard for me, she
must do so (or more) with everyone: if she had a liking to me from the
first, why refuse me with scorn and wilfulness?"  If you had seen how
she flounced, and looked, and went to the door, saying "She was obliged
to me for letting her know the opinion I had always entertained of
her"--then I said, "Sarah!" and she came back and took my hand, and
fixed her eyes on the mantelpiece--(she must have been invoking her idol
then--if I thought so, I could devour her, the darling--but I doubt
her)--So I said "There is one thing that has occurred to me sometimes as
possible, to account for your conduct to me at first--there wasn't a
likeness, was there, to your old friend?" She answered "No, none--but
there was a likeness!"  I asked, to what?  She said "to that little
image!"  I said, "Do you mean Buonaparte?"--She said "Yes, all but the
nose."--"And the figure?"--"He was taller."--I could not stand this.  So
I got up and took it, and gave it her, and after some reluctance, she
consented to "keep it for me."  What will you bet me that it wasn't all
a trick?  I'll tell you why I suspect it, besides being fairly out of my
wits about her.  I had told her mother half an hour before, that I
should take this image and leave it at Mrs. B.'s, for that I didn't wish
to leave anything behind me that must bring me back again.  Then up she
comes and starts a likeness to her lover: she knew I should give it her
on the spot--"No, she would keep it for me!"  So I must come back for
it.  Whether art or nature, it is sublime.  I told her I should write
and tell you so, and that I parted from her, confiding, adoring!--She is
beyond me, that's certain.  Do go and see her, and desire her not to
give my present address to a single soul, and learn if the lodging is
let, and to whom.  My letter to her is as follows.  If she shews the
least remorse at it, I'll be hanged, though it might move a stone, I
modestly think.  (See before, Part I. first letter.)

N.B.--I have begun a book of our conversations (I mean mine and the
statue's) which I call LIBER AMORIS.  I was detained at Stamford and
found myself dull, and could hit upon no other way of employing my time
so agreeably.



LETTER II





Dear P----, Here, without loss of time, in order that I may have your
opinion upon it, is little Yes and No's answer to my last.


"Sir, I should not have disregarded your injunction not to send you any
more letters that might come to you, had I not promised the Gentleman
who left the enclosed to forward it the earliest opportunity, as he said
it was of consequence.  Mr. P---- called the day after you left town. 
My mother and myself are much obliged by your kind offer of tickets to
the play, but must decline accepting it.  My family send their best
respects, in which they are joined by

Yours, truly,

S. L.


The deuce a bit more is there of it.  If you can make anything out of it
(or any body else) I'll be hanged.  You are to understand, this comes in
a frank, the second I have received from her, with a name I can't make
out, and she won't tell me, though I asked her, where she got franks, as
also whether the lodgings were let, to neither of which a word of
answer.  * * * * is the name on the frank: see if you can decypher it by
a Red-book.  I suspect her grievously of being an arrant jilt, to say no
more--yet I love her dearly.  Do you know I'm going to write to that
sweet rogue presently, having a whole evening to myself in advance of my
work?  Now mark, before you set about your exposition of the new
Apocalypse of the new Calypso, the only thing to be endured in the above
letter is the date.  It was written the very day after she received
mine.  By this she seems willing to lose no time in receiving these
letters "of such sweet breath composed."  If I thought so--but I wait
for your reply.  After all, what is there in her but a pretty figure,
and that you can't get a word out of her?  Hers is the Fabian method of
making love and conquests.  What do you suppose she said the night
before I left her?

"H.  Could you not come and live with me as a friend?

"S.  I don't know: and yet it would be of no use if I did, you would
always be hankering after what could never be!"

I asked her if she would do so at once--the very next day?  And what do
you guess was her answer--"Do you think it would be prudent?"  As I
didn't proceed to extremities on the spot, she began to look grave, and
declare off.  "Would she live with me in her own house--to be with me
all day as dear friends, if nothing more, to sit and read and talk with
me?"--"She would make no promises, but I should find her the
same."--"Would she go to the play with me sometimes, and let it be
understood that I was paying my addresses to her?"--"She could not, as a
habit--her father was rather strict, and would object."--Now what am I
to think of all this?  Am I mad or a fool?  Answer me to that, Master
Brook!  You are a philosopher.



LETTER III





Dear Friend, I ought to have written to you before; but since I received
your letter, I have been in a sort of purgatory, and what is worse, I
see no prospect of getting out of it.  I would put an end to my torments
at once; but I am as great a coward as I have been a dupe.  Do you know
I have not had a word of answer from her since!  What can be the reason?
 Is she offended at my letting you know she wrote to me, or is it some
new affair?  I wrote to her in the tenderest, most respectful manner,
poured my soul at her feet, and this is the return she makes me!  Can
you account for it, except on the admission of my worst doubts
concerning her?  Oh God! can I bear after all to think of her so, or
that I am scorned and made a sport of by the creature to whom I had
given my whole heart?  Thus has it been with me all my life; and so will
it be to the end of it!--If you should learn anything, good or bad, tell
me, I conjure you: I can bear anything but this cruel suspense.  If I
knew she was a mere abandoned creature, I should try to forget her; but
till I do know this, nothing can tear me from her, I have drank in
poison from her lips too long--alas! mine do not poison again.  I sit
and indulge my grief by the hour together; my weakness grows upon me;
and I have no hope left, unless I could lose my senses quite.  Do you
know I think I should like this?  To forget, ah! to forget--there would
be something in that--to change to an idiot for some few years, and then
to wake up a poor wretched old man, to recollect my misery as past, and
die!  Yet, oh! with her, only a little while ago, I had different hopes,
forfeited for nothing that I know of! * * * * * * If you can give me any
consolation on the subject of my tormentor, pray do.  The pain I suffer
wears me out daily.  I write this on the supposition that Mrs. ----- may
still come here, and that I may be detained some weeks longer.  Direct
to me at the Post-office; and if I return to town directly as I fear, I
will leave word for them to forward the letter to me in London--not at
my old lodgings.  I will not go back there: yet how can I breathe away
from her?  Her hatred of me must be great, since my love of her could
not overcome it!  I have finished the book of my conversations with her,
which I told you of: if I am not mistaken, you will think it very nice
reading.

Yours ever.

Have you read Sardanapalus?  How like the little Greek slave, Myrrha, is
to HER!



LETTER IV





(Written in the Winter)

My good Friend, I received your letter this morning, and I kiss the rod
not only with submission, but gratitude.  Your reproofs of me and your
defences of her are the only things that save my soul from perdition. 
She is my heart's idol; and believe me those words of yours applied to
the dear saint--"To lip a chaste one and suppose her wanton"--were balm
and rapture to me.  I have LIPPED HER, God knows how often, and oh! is
it even possible that she is chaste, and that she has bestowed her loved
"endearments" on me (her own sweet word) out of true regard?  That
thought, out of the lowest depths of despair, would at any time make me
strike my forehead against the stars.  Could I but think the love
"honest," I am proof against all hazards.  She by her silence makes my
dark hour; and you by your encouragements dissipate it for twenty-four
hours.  Another thing has brought me to life.  Mrs. ----- is actually on
her way here about the divorce.  Should this unpleasant business (which
has been so long talked of) succeed, and I should become free, do you
think S. L. will agree to change her name to -----?  If she WILL, she
SHALL; and to call her so to you, or to hear her called so by others,
would be music to my ears, such as they never drank in.  Do you think if
she knew how I love her, my depressions and my altitudes, my wanderings
and my constancy, it would not move her?  She knows it all; and if she
is not an INCORRIGIBLE, she loves me, or regards me with a feeling
next to love.  I don't believe that any woman was ever courted more
passionately than she has been by me.  As Rousseau said of Madame
d'Houptot (forgive the allusion) my heart has found a tongue in speaking
to her, and I have talked to her the divine language of love.  Yet she
says, she is insensible to it.  Am I to believe her or you?  You--for I
wish it and wish it to madness, now that I am like to be free, and to
have it in my power to say to her without a possibility of suspicion,
"Sarah, will you be mine?"  When I sometimes think of the time I first
saw the sweet apparition, August 16, 1820, and that possibly she may be
my bride before that day two years, it makes me dizzy with incredible
joy and love of her.  Write soon.



LETTER V





My dear Friend, I read your answer this morning with gratitude.  I have
felt somewhat easier since.  It shewed your interest in my vexations,
and also that you know nothing worse than I do.  I cannot describe the
weakness of mind to which she has reduced me.  This state of suspense is
like hanging in the air by a single thread that exhausts all your
strength to keep hold of it; and yet if that fails you, you have nothing
in the world else left to trust to.  I am come back to Edinburgh about
this cursed business, and Mrs. ----- is coming from Montrose next week. 
How it will end, I can't say; and don't care, except as it regards the
other affair.  I should, I confess, like to have it in my power to make
her the offer direct and unequivocal, to see how she'd receive it.  It
would be worth something at any rate to see her superfine airs upon the
occasion; and if she should take it into her head to turn round her
sweet neck, drop her eye-lids, and say--"Yes, I will be yours!"--why
then, "treason domestic, foreign levy, nothing could touch me further." 
By Heaven! I doat on her.  The truth is, I never had any pleasure, like
love, with any one but her.  Then how can I bear to part with her?  Do
you know I like to think of her best in her morning-gown and mob-cap--it
is so she has oftenest come into my room and enchanted me!  She was once
ill, pale, and had lost all her freshness.  I only adored her the more
for it, and fell in love with the decay of her beauty.  I could devour
the little witch.  If she had a plague-spot on her, I could touch the
infection: if she was in a burning fever, I could kiss her, and drink
death as I have drank life from her lips.  When I press her hand, I
enjoy perfect happiness and contentment of soul.  It is not what she
says or what she does--it is herself that I love.  To be with her is to
be at peace.  I have no other wish or desire.  The air about her is
serene, blissful; and he who breathes it is like one of the Gods!  So
that I can but have her with me always, I care for nothing more.  I
never could tire of her sweetness; I feel that I could grow to her, body
and soul?  My heart, my heart is hers.



LETTER VI





(Written in May)

Dear P----, What have I suffered since I parted with you!  A raging fire
is in my heart and in my brain, that never quits me.  The steam-boat
(which I foolishly ventured on board) seems a prison-house, a sort of
spectre-ship, moving on through an infernal lake, without wind or tide,
by some necromantic power--the splashing of the waves, the noise of the
engine gives me no rest, night or day--no tree, no natural object varies
the scene--but the abyss is before me, and all my peace lies weltering
in it!  I feel the eternity of punishment in this life; for I see no end
of my woes.  The people about me are ill, uncomfortable, wretched
enough, many of them--but to-morrow or next day, they reach the place of
their destination, and all will be new and delightful.  To me it will be
the same.  I can neither escape from her, nor from myself.  All is
endurable where there is a limit: but I have nothing but the blackness
and the fiendishness of scorn around me--mocked by her (the false one)
in whom I placed my hope, and who hardens herself against me!--I believe
you thought me quite gay, vain, insolent, half mad, the night I left the
house--no tongue can tell the heaviness of heart I felt at that moment. 
No footsteps ever fell more slow, more sad than mine; for every step
bore me farther from her, with whom my soul and every thought lingered. 
I had parted with her in anger, and each had spoken words of high
disdain, not soon to be forgiven.  Should I ever behold her again? 
Where go to live and die far from her?  In her sight there was Elysium;
her smile was heaven; her voice was enchantment; the air of love waved
round her, breathing balm into my heart: for a little while I had sat
with the Gods at their golden tables, I had tasted of all earth's bliss,
"both living and loving!"  But now Paradise barred its doors against me;
I was driven from her presence, where rosy blushes and delicious sighs
and all soft wishes dwelt, the outcast of nature and the scoff of love! 
I thought of the time when I was a little happy careless child, of my
father's house, of my early lessons, of my brother's picture of me when
a boy, of all that had since happened to me, and of the waste of years
to come--I stopped, faultered, and was going to turn back once more to
make a longer truce with wretchedness and patch up a hollow league with
love, when the recollection of her words--"I always told you I had no
affection for you"--steeled my resolution, and I determined to proceed. 
You see by this she always hated me, and only played with my credulity
till she could find some one to supply the place of her unalterable
attachment to THE LITTLE IMAGE. * * * * * I am a little, a very little
better to-day.  Would it were quietly over; and that this misshapen form
(made to be mocked) were hid out of the sight of cold, sullen eyes!  The
people about me even take notice of my dumb despair, and pity me.  What
is to be done?  I cannot forget HER; and I can find no other like what
SHE SEEMED.  I should wish you to call, if you can make an excuse, and
see whether or no she is quite marble--whether I may go back again at my
return, and whether she will see me and talk to me sometimes as an old
friend.  Suppose you were to call on M---- from me, and ask him what his
impression is that I ought to do.  But do as you think best.  Pardon,
pardon.

P.S.--I send this from Scarborough, where the vessel stops for a few
minutes.  I scarcely know what I should have done, but for this relief
to my feelings.



LETTER VII





My dear Friend, The important step is taken, and I am virtually a free
man. * * * What had I better do in these circumstances?  I dare not
write to her, I dare not write to her father, or else I would.  She has
shot me through with poisoned arrows, and I think another "winged wound
" would finish me.  It is a pleasant sort of balm (as you express it)
she has left in my heart!  One thing I agree with you in, it will remain
there for ever; but yet not very long.  It festers, and consumes me.  If
it were not for my little boy, whose face I see struck blank at the
news, looking through the world for pity and meeting with contempt
instead, I should soon, I fear, settle the question by my death.  That
recollection is the only thought that brings my wandering reason to an
anchor; that stirs the smallest interest in me; or gives me fortitude to
bear up against what I am doomed to feel for the ungrateful.  Otherwise,
I am dead to every thing but the sense of what I have lost.  She was my
life--it is gone from me, and I am grown spectral!  If I find myself in
a place I am acquainted with, it reminds me of her, of the way in which
I thought of her,


--"and carved on every tree The soft, the fair, the inexpressive she!"


If it is a place that is new to me, it is desolate, barren of all
interest; for nothing touches me but what has a reference to her.  If
the clock strikes, the sound jars me; a million of hours will not bring
back peace to my breast.  The light startles me; the darkness terrifies
me.  I seem falling into a pit, without a hand to help me.  She has
deceived me, and the earth fails from under my feet; no object in nature
is substantial, real, but false and hollow, like her faith on which I
built my trust.  She came (I knew not how) and sat by my side and was
folded in my arms, a vision of love and joy, as if she had dropped from
the Heavens to bless me by some especial dispensation of a favouring
Providence, and make me amends for all; and now without any fault of
mine but too much fondness, she has vanished from me, and I am left to
perish.  My heart is torn out of me, with every feeling for which I
wished to live.  The whole is like a dream, an effect of enchantment; it
torments me, and it drives me mad.  I lie down with it; I rise up with
it; and see no chance of repose.  I grasp at a shadow, I try to undo the
past, and weep with rage and pity over my own weakness and misery.  I
spared her again and again (fool that I was) thinking what she allowed
from me was love, friendship, sweetness, not wantonness.  How could I
doubt it, looking in her face, and hearing her words, like sighs
breathed from the gentlest of all bosoms?  I had hopes, I had prospects
to come, the flattery of something like fame, a pleasure in writing,
health even would have come back with her smile--she has blighted all,
turned all to poison and childish tears.  Yet the barbed arrow is in my
heart--I can neither endure it, nor draw it out; for with it flows my
life's-blood.  I had conversed too long with abstracted truth to trust
myself with the immortal thoughts of love.  THAT S. L. MIGHT HAVE BEEN
MINE, AND NOW NEVER CAN--these are the two sole propositions that for
ever stare me in the face, and look ghastly in at my poor brain.  I am
in some sense proud that I can feel this dreadful passion--it gives me a
kind of rank in the kingdom of love--but I could have wished it had been
for an object that at least could have understood its value and pitied
its excess.  You say her not coming to the door when you went is a
proof--yes, that her complement is at present full!  That is the reason
she doesn't want me there, lest I should discover the new affair--wretch
that I am!  Another has possession of her, oh Hell!  I'm satisfied of it
from her manner, which had a wanton insolence in it.  Well might I run
wild when I received no letters from her.  I foresaw, I felt my fate. 
The gates of Paradise were once open to me too, and I blushed to enter
but with the golden keys of love!  I would die; but her lover--my love
of her--ought not to die.  When I am dead, who will love her as I have
done?  If she should be in misfortune, who will comfort her?  when she
is old, who will look in her face, and bless her?  Would there be any
harm in calling upon M----, to know confidentially if he thinks it worth
my while to make her an offer the instant it is in my power?  Let me
have an answer, and save me, if possible, FOR her and FROM myself.



LETTER VIII





My dear Friend, Your letter raised me for a moment from the depths of
despair; but not hearing from you yesterday or to-day (as I hoped) I
have had a relapse.  You say I want to get rid of her.  I hope you are
more right in your conjectures about her than in this about me.  Oh no!
believe it, I love her as I do my own soul; my very heart is wedded to
her (be she what she may) and I would not hesitate a moment between her
and "an angel from Heaven."  I grant all you say about my
self-tormenting folly: but has it been without cause?  Has she not
refused me again and again with a mixture of scorn and resentment, after
going the utmost lengths with a man for whom she now disclaims all
affection; and what security can I have for her reserve with others, who
will not be restrained by feelings of delicacy towards her, and whom she
has probably preferred to me for their want of it.  "SHE CAN MAKE NO
MORE CONFIDENCES"--these words ring for ever in my ears, and will be my
death-watch.  They can have but one meaning, be sure of it--she always
expressed herself with the exactest propriety.  That was one of the
things for which I loved her--shall I live to hate her for it?  My poor
fond heart, that brooded over her and the remains of her affections as
my only hope of comfort upon earth, cannot brook this new degradation. 
Who is there so low as me?  Who is there besides (I ask) after the
homage I have paid her and the caresses she has lavished on me, so vile,
so abhorrent to love, to whom such an indignity could have happened? 
When I think of this (and I think of nothing else) it stifles me.  I am
pent up in burning, fruitless desires, which can find no vent or object.
 Am I not hated, repulsed, derided by her whom alone I love or ever did
love?  I cannot stay in any place, and seek in vain for relief from the
sense of her contempt and her ingratitude.  I can settle to nothing:
what is the use of all I have done?  Is it not that very circumstance
(my thinking beyond my strength, my feeling more than I need about so
many things) that has withered me up, and made me a thing for Love to
shrink from and wonder at?  Who could ever feel that peace from the
touch of her dear hand that I have done; and is it not torn from me for
ever?  My state is this, that I shall never lie down again at night nor
rise up in the morning in peace, nor ever behold my little boy's face
with pleasure while I live--unless I am restored to her favour.  Instead
of that delicious feeling I had when she was heavenly-kind to me, and my
heart softened and melted in its own tenderness and her sweetness, I am
now inclosed in a dungeon of despair.  The sky is marble to my thoughts;
nature is dead around me, as hope is within me; no object can give me
one gleam of satisfaction now, nor the prospect of it in time to come. 
I wander by the sea-side; and the eternal ocean and lasting despair and
her face are before me.  Slighted by her, on whom my heart by its last
fibre hung, where shall I turn?  I wake with her by my side, not as my
sweet bedfellow, but as the corpse of my love, without a heart in her
bosom, cold, insensible, or struggling from me; and the worm gnaws me,
and the sting of unrequited love, and the canker of a hopeless, endless
sorrow.  I have lost the taste of my food by feverish anxiety; and my
favourite beverage, which used to refresh me when I got up, has no
moisture in it.  Oh! cold, solitary, sepulchral breakfasts, compared
with those which I promised myself with her; or which I made when she
had been standing an hour by my side, my guardian-angel, my wife, my
sister, my sweet friend, my Eve, my all; and had blest me with her
seraph kisses!  Ah! what I suffer at present only shews what I have
enjoyed.  But "the girl is a good girl, if there is goodness in human
nature."  I thank you for those words; and I will fall down and worship
you, if you can prove them true: and I would not do much less for him
that proves her a demon.  She is one or the other, that's certain; but I
fear the worst.  Do let me know if anything has passed: suspense is my
greatest punishment.  I am going into the country to see if I can work a
little in the three weeks I have yet to stay here.  Write on the receipt
of this, and believe me ever your unspeakably obliged friend.



TO EDINBURGH





--"Stony-hearted" Edinburgh!  What art thou to me?  The dust of thy
streets mingles with my tears and blinds me.  City of palaces, or of
tombs--a quarry, rather than the habitation of men!  Art thou like
London, that populous hive, with its sunburnt, well-baked, brick-built
houses--its public edifices, its theatres, its bridges, its squares, its
ladies, and its pomp, its throng of wealth, its outstretched magnitude,
and its mighty heart that never lies still?  Thy cold grey walls reflect
back the leaden melancholy of the soul.  The square, hard-edged,
unyielding faces of thy inhabitants have no sympathy to impart.  What is
it to me that I look along the level line of thy tenantless streets, and
meet perhaps a lawyer like a grasshopper chirping and skipping, or the
daughter of a Highland laird, haughty, fair, and freckled?  Or why
should I look down your boasted Prince's Street, with the beetle-browed
Castle on one side, and the Calton Hill with its proud monument at the
further end, and the ridgy steep of Salisbury Crag, cut off abruptly by
Nature's boldest hand, and Arthur's Seat overlooking all, like a lioness
watching her cubs?  Or shall I turn to the far-off Pentland Hills, with
Craig-Crook nestling beneath them, where lives the prince of critics and
the king of men?  Or cast my eye unsated over the Frith of Forth, that
from my window of an evening (as I read of AMY and her love) glitters
like a broad golden mirror in the sun, and kisses the winding shores of
kingly Fife?  Oh no!  But to thee, to thee I turn, North Berwick-Law,
with thy blue cone rising out of summer seas; for thou art the beacon of
my banished thoughts, and dost point my way to her, who is my heart's
true home.  The air is too thin for me, that has not the breath of Love
in it; that is not embalmed by her sighs!



A THOUGHT





I am not mad, but my heart is so; and raves within me, fierce and
untameable, like a panther in its den, and tries to get loose to its
lost mate, and fawn on her hand, and bend lowly at her feet.



ANOTHER





Oh! thou dumb heart, lonely, sad, shut up in the prison-house of this
rude form, that hast never found a fellow but for an instant, and in
very mockery of thy misery, speak, find bleeding words to express thy
thoughts, break thy dungeon-gloom, or die pronouncing thy Infelice's
name!



ANOTHER





Within my heart is lurking suspicion, and base fear, and shame and hate;
but above all, tyrannous love sits throned, crowned with her graces,
silent and in tears.



LETTER IX





My dear P----, You have been very kind to me in this business; but I
fear even your indulgence for my infirmities is beginning to fail.  To
what a state am I reduced, and for what?  For fancying a little artful
vixen to be an angel and a saint, because she affected to look like one,
to hide her rank thoughts and deadly purposes.  Has she not murdered me
under the mask of the tenderest friendship?  And why?  Because I have
loved her with unutterable love, and sought to make her my wife.  You
say it is my own "outrageous conduct" that has estranged her: nay, I
have been TOO GENTLE with her.  I ask you first in candour whether the
ambiguity of her behaviour with respect to me, sitting and fondling a
man (circumstanced as I was) sometimes for half a day together, and then
declaring she had no love for him beyond common regard, and professing
never to marry, was not enough to excite my suspicions, which the
different exposures from the conversations below-stairs were not
calculated to allay?  I ask you what you yourself would have felt or
done, if loving her as I did, you had heard what I did, time after time?
 Did not her mother own to one of the grossest charges (which I shall
not repeat)--and is such indelicacy to be reconciled with her pretended
character (that character with which I fell in love, and to which I
MADE LOVE) without supposing her to be the greatest hypocrite in the
world?  My unpardonable offence has been that I took her at her word,
and was willing to believe her the precise little puritanical person she
set up for.  After exciting her wayward desires by the fondest embraces
and the purest kisses, as if she had been "made my wedded wife
yestreen," or was to become so to-morrow (for that was always my feeling
with respect to her)--I did not proceed to gratify them, or to follow up
my advantage by any action which should declare, "I think you a common
adventurer, and will see whether you are so or not!"  Yet any one but a
credulous fool like me would have made the experiment, with whatever
violence to himself, as a matter of life and death; for I had every
reason to distrust appearances.  Her conduct has been of a piece from
the beginning.  In the midst of her closest and falsest endearments, she
has always (with one or two exceptions) disclaimed the natural inference
to be drawn from them, and made a verbal reservation, by which she might
lead me on in a Fool's Paradise, and make me the tool of her levity, her
avarice, and her love of intrigue as long as she liked, and dismiss me
whenever it suited her.  This, you see, she has done, because my
intentions grew serious, and if complied with, would deprive her of THE
PLEASURES OF A SINGLE LIFE!  Offer marriage to this "tradesman's
daughter, who has as nice a sense of honour as any one can have;" and
like Lady Bellaston in Tom Jones, she CUTS you immediately in a fit
of abhorrence and alarm.  Yet she seemed to be of a different mind
formerly, when struggling from me in the height of our first intimacy,
she exclaimed--"However I might agree to my own ruin, I never will
consent to bring disgrace upon my family!"  That I should have spared
the traitress after expressions like this, astonishes me when I look
back upon it.  Yet if it were all to do over again, I know I should act
just the same part.  Such is her power over me!  I cannot run the least
risk of offending her--I love her so.  When I look in her face, I cannot
doubt her truth!  Wretched being that I am!  I have thrown away my heart
and soul upon an unfeeling girl; and my life (that might have been so
happy, had she been what I thought her) will soon follow either
voluntarily, or by the force of grief, remorse, and disappointment.  I
cannot get rid of the reflection for an instant, nor even seek relief
from its galling pressure.  Ah! what a heart she has lost!  All the love
and affection of my whole life were centred in her, who alone, I
thought, of all women had found out my true character, and knew how to
value my tenderness.  Alas! alas! that this, the only hope, joy, or
comfort I ever had, should turn to a mockery, and hang like an ugly film
over the remainder of my days!--I was at Roslin Castle yesterday.  It
lies low in a rude, but sheltered valley, hid from the vulgar gaze, and
powerfully reminds one of the old song.  The straggling fragments of the
russet ruins, suspended smiling and graceful in the air as if they would
linger out another century to please the curious beholder, the green
larch-trees trembling between with the blue sky and white silver clouds,
the wild mountain plants starting out here and there, the date of the
year on an old low door-way, but still more, the beds of flowers in
orderly decay, that seem to have no hand to tend them, but keep up a
sort of traditional remembrance of civilization in former ages, present
altogether a delightful and amiable subject for contemplation.  The
exquisite beauty of the scene, with the thought of what I should feel,
should I ever be restored to her, and have to lead her through such
places as my adored, my angelwife, almost drove me beside myself.  For
this picture, this ecstatic vision, what have I of late instead as the
image of the reality?  Demoniacal possessions.  I see the young witch
seated in another's lap, twining her serpent arms round him, her eye
glancing and her cheeks on fire--why does not the hideous thought choke
me?  Or why do I not go and find out the truth at once?  The moonlight
streams over the silver waters: the bark is in the bay that might waft
me to her, almost with a wish.  The mountain-breeze sighs out her name:
old ocean with a world of tears murmurs back my woes!  Does not my heart
yearn to be with her; and shall I not follow its bidding?  No, I must
wait till I am free; and then I will take my Freedom (a glad prize) and
lay it at her feet and tell her my proud love of her that would not
brook a rival in her dishonour, and that would have her all or none, and
gain her or lose myself for ever!--

You see by this letter the way I am in, and I hope you will excuse it as
the picture of a half-disordered mind.  The least respite from my
uneasiness (such as I had yesterday) only brings the contrary reflection
back upon me, like a flood; and by letting me see the happiness I have
lost, makes me feel, by contrast, more acutely what I am doomed to bear.



LETTER X





Dear Friend, Here I am at St. Bees once more, amid the scenes which I
greeted in their barrenness in winter; but which have now put on their
full green attire that shews luxuriant to the eye, but speaks a tale of
sadness to this heart widowed of its last, its dearest, its only hope! 
Oh! lovely Bees-Inn! here I composed a volume of law-cases, here I wrote
my enamoured follies to her, thinking her human, and that "all below was
not the fiend's"--here I got two cold, sullen answers from the little
witch, and here I was ----- and I was damned.  I thought the revisiting
the old haunts would have soothed me for a time, but it only brings back
the sense of what I have suffered for her and of her unkindness the more
strongly, till I cannot endure the recollection.  I eye the Heavens in
dumb despair, or vent my sorrows in the desart air.  "To the winds, to
the waves, to the rocks I complain"--you may suppose with what effect! 
I fear I shall be obliged to return.  I am tossed about (backwards and
forwards) by my passion, so as to become ridiculous.  I can now
understand how it is that mad people never remain in the same
place--they are moving on for ever, FROM THEMSELVES!

Do you know, you would have been delighted with the effect of the
Northern twilight on this romantic country as I rode along last night? 
The hills and groves and herds of cattle were seen reposing in the grey
dawn of midnight, as in a moonlight without shadow.  The whole wide
canopy of Heaven shed its reflex light upon them, like a pure crystal
mirror.  No sharp points, no petty details, no hard contrasts--every
object was seen softened yet distinct, in its simple outline and natural
tones, transparent with an inward light, breathing its own mild lustre. 
The landscape altogether was like an airy piece of mosaic-work, or like
one of Poussin's broad massy landscapes or Titian's lovely pastoral
scenes.  Is it not so, that poets see nature, veiled to the sight, but
revealed to the soul in visionary grace and grandeur!  I confess the
sight touched me; and might have removed all sadness except mine.  So (I
thought) the light of her celestial face once shone into my soul, and
wrapt me in a heavenly trance.  The sense I have of beauty raises me for
a moment above myself, but depresses me the more afterwards, when I
recollect how it is thrown away in vain admiration, and that it only
makes me more susceptible of pain from the mortifications I meet with. 
Would I had never seen her!  I might then not indeed have been happy,
but at least I might have passed my life in peace, and have sunk into
forgetfulness without a pang.--The noble scenery in this country mixes
with my passion, and refines, but does not relieve it.  I was at
Stirling Castle not long ago.  It gave me no pleasure.  The declivity
seemed to me abrupt, not sublime; for in truth I did not shrink back
from it with terror.  The weather-beaten towers were stiff and formal:
the air was damp and chill: the river winded its dull, slimy way like a
snake along the marshy grounds: and the dim misty tops of Ben Leddi, and
the lovely Highlands (woven fantastically of thin air) mocked my
embraces and tempted my longing eyes like her, the sole queen and
mistress of my thoughts!  I never found my contemplations on this
subject so subtilised and at the same time so desponding as on that
occasion.  I wept myself almost blind, and I gazed at the broad golden
sunset through my tears that fell in showers.  As I trod the green
mountain turf, oh! how I wished to be laid beneath it--in one grave with
her--that I might sleep with her in that cold bed, my hand in hers, and
my heart for ever still--while worms should taste her sweet body, that I
had never tasted!  There was a time when I could bear solitude; but it
is too much for me at present.  Now I am no sooner left to myself than I
am lost in infinite space, and look round me in vain for suppose or
comfort.  She was my stay, my hope: without her hand to cling to, I
stagger like an infant on the edge of a precipice.  The universe without
her is one wide, hollow abyss, in which my harassed thoughts can find no
resting-place.  I must break off here; for the hysterica passio comes
upon me, and threatens to unhinge my reason.



LETTER XI





My dear and good Friend, I am afraid I trouble you with my querulous
epistles, but this is probably the last.  To-morrow or the next day
decides my fate with respect to the divorce, when I expect to be a free
man.  In vain!  Was it not for her and to lay my freedom at her feet,
that I consented to this step which has cost me infinite perplexity, and
now to be discarded for the first pretender that came in her way!  If
so, I hardly think I can survive it.  You who have been a favourite with
women, do not know what it is to be deprived of one's only hope, and to
have it turned to shame and disappointment.  There is nothing in the
world left that can afford me one drop of comfort--THIS I feel more
and more.  Everything is to me a mockery of pleasure, like her love. 
The breeze does not cool me: the blue sky does not cheer me.  I gaze
only on her face averted from me--alas! the only face that ever was
turned fondly to me!  And why am I thus treated?  Because I wanted her
to be mine for ever in love or friendship, and did not push my gross
familiarities as far as I might.  "Why can you not go on as we have
done, and say nothing about the word, FOREVER?"  Was it not plain from
this that she even then meditated an escape from me to some less
sentimental lover?  "Do you allow anyone else to do so?" I said to her
once, as I was toying with her.  "No, not now!" was her answer; that is,
because there was nobody else in the house to take freedoms with her.  I
was very well as a stopgap, but I was to be nothing more.  While the
coast was clear, I had it all my own way: but the instant C---- came,
she flung herself at his head in the most barefaced way, ran breathless
up stairs before him, blushed when his foot was heard, watched for him
in the passage, and was sure to be in close conference with him when he
went down again.  It was then my mad proceedings commenced.  No wonder. 
Had I not reason to be jealous of every appearance of familiarity with
others, knowing how easy she had been with me at first, and that she
only grew shy when I did not take farther liberties?  What has her
character to rest upon but her attachment to me, which she now denies,
not modestly, but impudently?  Will you yourself say that if she had all
along no particular regard for me, she will not do as much or more with
other more likely men?  "She has had," she says, "enough of my
conversation," so it could not be that!  Ah! my friend, it was not to be
supposed I should ever meet even with the outward demonstrations of
regard from any woman but a common trader in the endearments of love!  I
have tasted the sweets of the well practiced illusion, and now feel the
bitterness of knowing what a bliss I am deprived of, and must ever be
deprived of.  Intolerable conviction!  Yet I might, I believe, have won
her by other methods; but some demon held my hand.  How indeed could I
offer her the least insult when I worshipped her very footsteps; and
even now pay her divine honours from my inmost heart, whenever I think
of her, abased and brutalised as I have been by that Circean cup of
kisses, of enchantments, of which I have drunk!  I am choked, withered,
dried up with chagrin, remorse, despair, from which I have not a
moment's respite, day or night.  I have always some horrid dream about
her, and wake wondering what is the matter that "she is no longer the
same to me as ever?"  I thought at least we should always remain dear
friends, if nothing more--did she not talk of coming to live with me
only the day before I left her in the winter?  But "she's gone, I am
abused, and my revenge must be to LOVE her!"--Yet she knows that one
line, one word would save me, the cruel, heartless destroyer!  I see
nothing for it but madness, unless Friday brings a change, or unless she
is willing to let me go back.  You must know I wrote to her to that
purpose, but it was a very quiet, sober letter, begging pardon, and
professing reform for the future, and all that.  What effect it will
have, I know not.  I was forced to get out of the way of her answer,
till Friday came.

Ever yours.



TO S. L.





My dear Miss L----, EVIL TO THEM THAT EVIL THINK, is an old saying;
and I have found it a true one.  I have ruined myself by my unjust
suspicions of you.  Your sweet friendship was the balm of my life; and I
have lost it, I fear for ever, by one fault and folly after another. 
What would I give to be restored to the place in your esteem, which, you
assured me, I held only a few months ago!  Yet I was not contented, but
did all I could to torment myself and harass you by endless doubts and
jealousy.  Can you not forget and forgive the past, and judge of me by
my conduct in future?  Can you not take all my follies in the lump, and
say like a good, generous girl, "Well, I'll think no more of them?"  In
a word, may I come back, and try to behave better?  A line to say so
would be an additional favour to so many already received by

Your obliged friend,

And sincere well-wisher.



LETTER XII.  TO C. P----





I have no answer from her.  I'm mad.  I wish you to call on M---- in
confidence, to say I intend to make her an offer of my hand, and that I
will write to her father to that effect the instant I am free, and ask
him whether he thinks it will be to any purpose, and what he would
advise me to do.



UNALTERED LOVE





"Love is not love that alteration finds: Oh no! it is an ever-fixed
mark, That looks on tempests and is never shaken."


Shall I not love her for herself alone, in spite of fickleness and
folly?  To love her for her regard to me, is not to love her, but
myself.  She has robbed me of herself: shall she also rob me of my love
of her?  Did I not live on her smile?  Is it less sweet because it is
withdrawn from me?  Did I not adore her every grace?  Does she bend less
enchantingly, because she has turned from me to another?  Is my love
then in the power of fortune, or of her caprice?  No, I will have it
lasting as it is pure; and I will make a Goddess of her, and build a
temple to her in my heart, and worship her on indestructible altars, and
raise statues to her: and my homage shall be unblemished as her
unrivalled symmetry of form; and when that fails, the memory of it shall
survive; and my bosom shall be proof to scorn, as hers has been to pity;
and I will pursue her with an unrelenting love, and sue to be her slave,
and tend her steps without notice and without reward; and serve her
living, and mourn for her when dead.  And thus my love will have shewn
itself superior to her hate; and I shall triumph and then die.  This is
my idea of the only true and heroic love!  Such is mine for her.



PERFECT LOVE





Perfect love has this advantage in it, that it leaves the possessor of
it nothing farther to desire.  There is one object (at least) in which
the soul finds absolute content, for which it seeks to live, or dares to
die.  The heart has as it were filled up the moulds of the imagination. 
The truth of passion keeps pace with and outvies the extravagance of
mere language.  There are no words so fine, no flattery so soft, that
there is not a sentiment beyond them, that it is impossible to express,
at the bottom of the heart where true love is.  What idle sounds the
common phrases, adorable creature, angel, divinity, are?  What a proud
reflection it is to have a feeling answering to all these, rooted in the
breast, unalterable, unutterable, to which all other feelings are light
and vain!  Perfect love reposes on the object of its choice, like the
halcyon on the wave; and the air of heaven is around it.



FROM C. P., ESQ.





London, July 4th, I822.


I have seen M----!  Now, my dear H----, let me entreat and adjure you to
take what I have to tell you, FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH--neither for less,
nor more.  In the first place, I have learned nothing decisive from him.
 This, as you will at once see, is, as far as it goes, good.  I am
either to hear from him, or see him again in a day or two; but I thought
you would like to know what passed inconclusive as it was--so I write
without delay, and in great haste to save a post.  I found him frank,
and even friendly in his manner to me, and in his views respecting you. 
I think that he is sincerely sorry for your situation; and he feels that
the person who has placed you in that situation is not much less
awkwardly situated herself; and he professes that he would willingly do
what he can for the good of both.  But he sees great difficulties
attending the affair--which he frankly professes to consider as an
altogether unfortunate one.  With respect to the marriage, he seems to
see the most formidable objections to it, on both sides; but yet he by
no means decidedly says that it cannot, or that it ought not to take
place.  These, mind you, are his own feelings on the subject: but the
most important point I learn from him is this, that he is not prepared
to use his influence either way--that the rest of the family are of the
same way of feeling; and that, in fact, the thing must and does entirely
rest with herself.  To learn this was, as you see, gaining a great
point.--When I then endeavoured to ascertain whether he knew anything
decisive as to what are her views on the subject, I found that he did
not.  He has an opinion on the subject, and he didn't scruple to tell me
what it was; but he has no positive knowledge.  In short, he believes,
from what he learns from herself (and he had purposely seen her on the
subject, in consequence of my application to him) that she is at present
indisposed to the marriage; but he is not prepared to say positively
that she will not consent to it.  Now all this, coming from him in the
most frank and unaffected manner, and without any appearance of cant,
caution, or reserve, I take to be most important as it respects your
views, whatever they may be; and certainly much more favourable to them
(I confess it) than I was prepared to expect, supposing them to remain
as they were.  In fact as I said before, the affair rests entirely with
herself.  They are none of them disposed either to further the marriage,
or throw any insurmountable obstacles in the way of it; and what is more
important than all, they are evidently by no means CERTAIN that SHE
may not, at some future period, consent to it; or they would, for her
sake as well as their own, let you know as much flatly, and put an end
to the affair at once.

Seeing in how frank and straitforward a manner he received what I had to
say to him, and replied to it, I proceeded to ask him what were HIS
views, and what were likely to be HERS (in case she did not consent)
as to whether you should return to live in the house;--but I added,
without waiting for his answer, that if she intended to persist in
treating you as she had done for some time past, it would be worse than
madness for you to think of returning.  I added that, in case you did
return, all you would expect from her would be that she would treat you
with civility and kindness--that she would continue to evince that
friendly feeling towards you, that she had done for a great length of
time, &c.  To this, he said, he could really give no decisive reply, but
that he should be most happy if, by any intervention of his, he could
conduce to your comfort; but he seemed to think that for you to return
on any express understanding that she should behave to you in any
particular manner, would be to place her in a most awkward situation. 
He went somewhat at length into this point, and talked very reasonably
about it; the result, however, was that he would not throw any obstacles
in the way of your return, or of her treating you as a friend, &c., nor
did it appear that he believed she would refuse to do so.  And, finally,
we parted on the understanding that he would see them on the subject,
and ascertain what could be done for the comfort of all parties: though
he was of opinion that if you could make up your mind to break off the
acquaintance altogether, it would be the best plan of all.  I am to hear
from him again in a day or two.--Well, what do you say to all this?  Can
you turn it to any thing but good--comparative good?  If you would know
what _I_ say to it, it is this:--She is still to be won by wise and
prudent conduct on your part; she was always to have been won by
such;--and if she is lost, it has been (not, as you sometimes suppose,
because you have not carried that unwise, may I not say UNWORTHY?
conduct still farther, but because you gave way to it at all.  Of course
I use the terms "wise" and "prudent" with reference to your object. 
Whether the pursuit of that object is wise, only yourself can judge.  I
say she has all along been to be won, and she still is to be won; and
all that stands in the way of your views at this moment is your past
conduct.  They are all of them, every soul, frightened at you; they have
SEEN enough of you to make them so; and they have doubtless heard ten
times more than they have seen, or than anyone else has seen.  They are
all of them including M---- (and particularly she herself) frightened
out of their wits, as to what might be your treatment of her if she were
yours; and they dare not trust you--they will not trust you, at present.
 I do not say that they will trust you, or rather that SHE will, for
it all depends on her, when you have gone through a probation, but I am
sure that she will not trust you till you have.  You will, I hope, not
be angry with me when I say that she would be a fool if she did.  If she
were to accept you at present, and without knowing more of you, even I
should begin to suspect that she had an unworthy motive for doing it. 
Let me not forget to mention what is perhaps as important a point as
any, as it regards the marriage.  I of course stated to M---- that when
you are free, you are prepared to make her a formal offer of your hand;
but I begged him, if he was certain that such an offer would be refused,
to tell me so plainly at once, that I might endeavour, in that case, to
dissuade you from subjecting yourself to the pain of such a refusal. 
HE WOULD NOT TELL ME THAT HE WAS CERTAIN.  He said his opinion was
that she would not accept your offer, but still he seemed to think that
there would be no harm in making it!---One word more, and a very
important one.  He once, and without my referring in the slightest
manner to that part of the subject, spoke of her as a GOOD GIRL, and
LIKELY TO MAKE ANY MAN AN EXCELLENT WIFE!  Do you think if she were a
bad girl (and if she were, he must know her to be so) he would have
dared to do this, under these circumstances?--And once, in speaking of
HIS not being a fit person to set his face against "marrying for
love," he added "I did so myself, and out of that house; and I have had
reason to rejoice at it ever since."  And mind (for I anticipate your
cursed suspicions) I'm certain, at least, if manner can entitle one to
be certain of any thing, that he said all this spontaneously, and
without any understood motive; and I'm certain, too, that he knows you
to be a person that it would not do to play any tricks of this kind
with.  I believe--(and all this would never have entered my thoughts,
but that I know it will enter yours) I believe that even if they thought
(as you have sometimes supposed they do) that she needs whitewashing, or
making an honest woman of, YOU would be the last person they would
think of using for such a purpose, for they know (as well as I do) that
you couldn't fail to find out the trick in a month, and would turn her
into the street the next moment, though she were twenty times your
wife--and that, as to the consequences of doing so, you would laugh at
them, even if you couldn't escape from them.--I shall lose the post if I
say more.

Believe me,

Ever truly your friend,

C. P.



LETTER XIII





My dear P----, You have saved my life.  If I do not keep friends with
her now, I deserve to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.  She is an angel
from Heaven, and you cannot pretend I ever said a word to the contrary! 
The little rogue must have liked me from the first, or she never could
have stood all these hurricanes without slipping her cable.  What could
she find in me?  "I have mistook my person all this while," &c.  Do you
know I saw a picture, the very pattern of her, the other day, at
Dalkeith Palace (Hope finding Fortune in the Sea), just before this
blessed news came, and the resemblance drove me almost out of my senses.
 Such delicacy, such fulness, such perfect softness, such buoyancy, such
grace!  If it is not the very image of her, I am no judge.--You have the
face to doubt my making the best husband in the world; you might as well
doubt it if I was married to one of the Houris of Paradise.  She is a
saint, an angel, a love.  If she deceives me again, she kills me.  But I
will have such a kiss when I get back, as shall last me twenty years. 
May God bless her for not utterly disowning and destroying me!  What an
exquisite little creature it is, and how she holds out to the last in
her system of consistent contradictions!  Since I wrote to you about
making a formal proposal, I have had her face constantly before me,
looking so like some faultless marble statue, as cold, as fixed and
graceful as ever statue did; the expression (nothing was ever like
THAT!) seemed to say--"I wish I could love you better than I do, but
still I will be yours."  No, I'll never believe again that she will not
be mine; for I think she was made on purpose for me.  If there's anyone
else that understands that turn of her head as I do, I'll give her up
without scruple.  I have made up my mind to this, never to dream of
another woman, while she even thinks it worth her while to REFUSE TO
HAVE ME.  You see I am not hard to please, after all.  Did M---- know
of the intimacy that had subsisted between us?  Or did you hint at it? 
I think it would be a CLENCHER, if he did.  How ought I to behave when
I go back?  Advise a fool, who had nearly lost a Goddess by his folly. 
The thing was, I could not think it possible she would ever like ME. 
Her taste is singular, but not the worse for that.  I'd rather have her
love, or liking (call it what you will) than empires.  I deserve to call
her mine; for nothing else CAN atone for what I've gone through for
her.  I hope your next letter will not reverse all, and then I shall be
happy till I see her,--one of the blest when I do see her, if she looks
like my own beautiful love.  I may perhaps write a line when I come to
my right wits.--Farewel at present, and thank you a thousand times for
what you have done for your poor friend.

P. S.--I like what M---- said about her sister, much.  There are good
people in the world: I begin to see it, and believe it.



LETTER THE LAST





Dear P----, To-morrow is the decisive day that makes me or mars me.  I
will let you know the result by a line added to this.  Yet what
signifies it, since either way I have little hope there, "whence alone
my hope cometh!"  You must know I am strangely in the dumps at this
present writing.  My reception with her is doubtful, and my fate is then
certain.  The hearing of your happiness has, I own, made me thoughtful. 
It is just what I proposed to her to do--to have crossed the Alps with
me, to sail on sunny seas, to bask in Italian skies, to have visited
Vevai and the rocks of Meillerie, and to have repeated to her on the
spot the story of Julia and St. Preux, and to have shewn her all that my
heart had stored up for her--but on my forehead alone is
written--REJECTED!  Yet I too could have adored as fervently, and loved
as tenderly as others, had I been permitted.  You are going abroad, you
say, happy in making happy.  Where shall I be?  In the grave, I hope, or
else in her arms.  To me, alas! there is no sweetness out of her sight,
and that sweetness has turned to bitterness, I fear; that gentleness to
sullen scorn!  Still I hope for the best.  If she will but HAVE me,
I'll make her LOVE me: and I think her not giving a positive answer
looks like it, and also shews that there is no one else.  Her holding
out to the last also, I think, proves that she was never to have been
gained but with honour.  She's a strange, almost an inscrutable girl:
but if I once win her consent, I shall kill her with kindness.--Will you
let me have a sight of SOMEBODY before you go?  I should be most
proud.  I was in hopes to have got away by the Steam-boat to-morrow, but
owing to the business not coming on till then, I cannot; and may not be
in town for another week, unless I come by the Mail, which I am strongly
tempted to do.  In the latter case I shall be there, and visible on
Saturday evening.  Will you look in and see, about eight o'clock?  I
wish much to see you and her and J. H. and my little boy once more; and
then, if she is not what she once was to me, I care not if I die that
instant.  I will conclude here till to-morrow, as I am getting into my
old melancholy.--

It is all over, and I am my own man, and yours ever--



PART III




ADDRESSED TO J. S. K.----





My dear K----, It is all over, and I know my fate.  I told you I would
send you word, if anything decisive happened; but an impenetrable
mystery hung over the affair till lately.  It is at last (by the merest
accident in the world) dissipated; and I keep my promise, both for your
satisfaction, and for the ease of my own mind.

You remember the morning when I said "I will go and repose my sorrows at
the foot of Ben Lomond"--and when from Dumbarton Bridge its
giant-shadow, clad in air and sunshine, appeared in view.  We had a
pleasant day's walk.  We passed Smollett's monument on the road (somehow
these poets touch one in reflection more than most military
heroes)--talked of old times; you repeated Logan's beautiful verses to
the cuckoo,* which I wanted to compare with Wordsworth's, but my courage
failed me; you then told me some passages of an early attachment which
was suddenly broken off; we considered together which was the most to be
pitied, a disappointment in love where the attachment was mutual or one
where there has been no return, and we both agreed, I think, that the
former was best to be endured, and that to have the consciousness of it
a companion for life was the least evil of the two, as there was a
secret sweetness that took off the bitterness and the sting of regret,
and "the memory of what once had been" atoned, in some measure, and at
intervals, for what "never more could be."  In the other case, there was
nothing to look back to with tender satisfaction, no redeeming trait,
not even a possibility of turning it to good.  It left behind it not
cherished sighs, but stifled pangs.  The galling sense of it did not
bring moisture into the eyes, but dried up the heart ever after.  One
had been my fate, the other had been yours!


[*--"Sweet bird, thy bower is ever green, Thy sky is ever clear; Thou
hast no sorrow in thy song, No winter in thy year."

So they begin.  It was the month of May; the cuckoo sang shrouded in
some woody copse; the showers fell between whiles; my friend repeated
the lines with native enthusiasm in a clear manly voice, still resonant
of youth and hope.  Mr. Wordsworth will excuse me, if in these
circumstances I declined entering the field with his profounder
metaphysical strain, and kept my preference to myself.]


You startled me every now and then from my reverie by the robust voice,
in which you asked the country people (by no means prodigal of their
answers)--"If there was any trout fishing in those streams?"--and our
dinner at Luss set us up for the rest of our day's march.  The sky now
became overcast; but this, I think, added to the effect of the scene. 
The road to Tarbet is superb.  It is on the very verge of the
lake--hard, level, rocky, with low stone bridges constantly flung across
it, and fringed with birch trees, just then budding into spring, behind
which, as through a slight veil, you saw the huge shadowy form of Ben
Lomond.  It lifts its enormous but graceful bulk direct from the edge of
the water without any projecting lowlands, and has in this respect much
the advantage of Skiddaw.  Loch Lomond comes upon you by degrees as you
advance, unfolding and then withdrawing its conscious beauties like an
accomplished coquet.  You are struck with the point of a rock, the arch
of a bridge, the Highland huts (like the first rude habitations of men)
dug out of the soil, built of turf, and covered with brown heather, a
sheep-cote, some straggling cattle feeding half-way down a precipice;
but as you advance farther on, the view expands into the perfection of
lake scenery.  It is nothing (or your eye is caught by nothing) but
water, earth, and sky.  Ben Lomond waves to the right, in its simple
majesty, cloud-capt or bare, and descending to a point at the head of
the lake, shews the Trossacs beyond, tumbling about their blue ridges
like woods waving; to the left is the Cobler, whose top is like a castle
shattered in pieces and nodding to its ruin; and at your side rise the
shapes of round pastoral hills, green, fleeced with herds, and retiring
into mountainous bays and upland valleys, where solitude and peace might
make their lasting home, if peace were to be found in solitude!  That it
was not always so, I was a sufficient proof; for there was one image
that alone haunted me in the midst of all this sublimity and beauty, and
turned it to a mockery and a dream!

The snow on the mountain would not let us ascend; and being weary of
waiting and of being visited by the guide every two hours to let us know
that the weather would not do, we returned, you homewards, and I to
London--


"Italiam, Italiam!"


You know the anxious expectations with which I set out:--now hear the
result--

As the vessel sailed up the Thames, the air thickened with the
consciousness of being near her, and I "heaved her name pantingly
forth."  As I approached the house, I could not help thinking of the
lines--


"How near am I to a happiness, That earth exceeds not!  Not another like
it. The treasures of the deep are not so precious As are the conceal'd
comforts of a man Lock'd up in woman's love.  I scent the air Of
blessings when I come but near the house. What a delicious breath true
love sends forth! The violet-beds not sweeter.  Now for a welcome Able
to draw men's envies upon man: A kiss now that will hang upon my lip, As
sweet as morning dew upon a rose, And full as long!"


I saw her, but I saw at the first glance that there was something amiss.
 It was with much difficulty and after several pressing intreaties that
she was prevailed on to come up into the room; and when she did, she
stood at the door, cold, distant, averse; and when at length she was
persuaded by my repeated remonstrances to come and take my hand, and I
offered to touch her lips, she turned her head and shrunk from my
embraces, as if quite alienated or mortally offended.  I asked what it
could mean?  What had I done in her absence to have incurred her
displeasure?  Why had she not written to me?  I could get only short,
sullen, disconnected answers, as if there was something labouring in her
mind which she either could not or would not impart.  I hardly knew how
to bear this first reception after so long an absence, and so different
from the one my sentiments towards her merited; but I thought it
possible it might be prudery (as I had returned without having actually
accomplished what I went about) or that she had taken offence at
something in my letters.  She saw how much I was hurt.  I asked her, "If
she was altered since I went away?"--"No."  "If there was any one else
who had been so fortunate as to gain her favourable opinion?"--"No,
there was no one else."  "What was it then?  Was it any thing in my
letters?  Or had I displeased her by letting Mr. P---- know she wrote to
me?"--"No, not at all; but she did not apprehend my last letter required
any answer, or she would have replied to it."  All this appeared to me
very unsatisfactory and evasive; but I could get no more from her, and
was obliged to let her go with a heavy, foreboding heart.  I however
found that C---- was gone, and no one else had been there, of whom I had
cause to be jealous.--"Should I see her on the morrow?"--"She believed
so, but she could not promise."  The next morning she did not appear
with the breakfast as usual.  At this I grew somewhat uneasy.  The
little Buonaparte, however, was placed in its old position on the
mantelpiece, which I considered as a sort of recognition of old times. 
I saw her once or twice casually; nothing particular happened till the
next day, which was Sunday.  I took occasion to go into the parlour for
the newspaper, which she gave me with a gracious smile, and seemed
tolerably frank and cordial.  This of course acted as a spell upon me. 
I walked out with my little boy, intending to go and dine out at one or
two places, but I found that I still contrived to bend my steps towards
her, and I went back to take tea at home.  While we were out, I talked
to William about Sarah, saying that she too was unhappy, and asking him
to make it up with her.  He said, if she was unhappy, he would not bear
her malice any more.  When she came up with the tea-things, I said to
her, "William has something to say to you--I believe he wants to be
friends."  On which he said in his abrupt, hearty manner, "Sarah, I'm
sorry if I've ever said anything to vex you"--so they shook hands, and
she said, smiling affably--"THEN I'll think no more of it!"  I
added--"I see you've brought me back my little Buonaparte"--She answered
with tremulous softness--"I told you I'd keep it safe for you!"--as if
her pride and pleasure in doing so had been equal, and she had, as it
were, thought of nothing during my absence but how to greet me with this
proof of her fidelity on my return.  I cannot describe her manner.  Her
words are few and simple; but you can have no idea of the exquisite,
unstudied, irresistible graces with which she accompanies them, unless
you can suppose a Greek statue to smile, move, and speak.  Those lines
in Tibullus seem to have been written on purpose for her--


Quicquid agit quoquo vestigil vertit, Componit furtim, subsequiturque
decor.


Or what do you think of those in a modern play, which might actually
have been composed with an eye to this little trifler-


--"See with what a waving air she goes Along the corridor.  How like a
fawn! Yet statelier.  No sound (however soft) Nor gentlest echo telleth
when she treads, But every motion of her shape doth seem Hallowed by
silence.  So did Hebe grow Among the gods a paragon! Away, I'm grown The
very fool of Love!"


The truth is, I never saw anything like her, nor I never shall again. 
How then do I console myself for the loss of her?  Shall I tell you, but
you will not mention it again?  I am foolish enough to believe that she
and I, in spite of every thing, shall be sitting together over a
sea-coal fire, a comfortable good old couple, twenty years hence!  But
to my narrative.--

I was delighted with the alteration in her manner, and said, referring
to the bust--"You know it is not mine, but yours; I gave it you; nay, I
have given you all--my heart, and whatever I possess, is yours!  She
seemed good-humouredly to decline this carte blanche offer, and waved,
like a thing of enchantment, out of the room.  False calm!--Deceitful
smiles!--Short interval of peace, followed by lasting woe! I sought an
interview with her that same evening.  I could not get her to come any
farther than the door.  "She was busy--she could hear what I had to say
there."  Why do you seem to avoid me as you do?  Not one five minutes'
conversation, for the sake of old acquaintance?  Well, then, for the
sake of THE LITTLE IMAGE!"  The appeal seemed to have lost its
efficacy; the charm was broken; she remained immoveable.  "Well, then I
must come to you, if you will not run away."  I went and sat down in a
chair near the door, and took her hand, and talked to her for three
quarters of an hour; and she listened patiently, thoughtfully, and
seemed a good deal affected by what I said.  I told her how much I had
felt, how much I had suffered for her in my absence, and how much I had
been hurt by her sudden silence, for which I knew not how to account.  I
could have done nothing to offend her while I was away; and my letters
were, I hoped, tender and respectful.  I had had but one thought ever
present with me; her image never quitted my side, alone or in company,
to delight or distract me.  Without her I could have no peace, nor ever
should again, unless she would behave to me as she had done formerly. 
There was no abatement of my regard to her; why was she so changed?  I
said to her, "Ah! Sarah, when I think that it is only a year ago that
you were everything to me I could wish, and that now you seem lost to me
for ever, the month of May (the name of which ought to be a signal for
joy and hope) strikes chill to my heart.--How different is this meeting
from that delicious parting, when you seemed never weary of repeating
the proofs of your regard and tenderness, and it was with difficulty we
tore ourselves asunder at last!  I am ten thousand times fonder of you
than I was then, and ten thousand times more unhappy!"  "You have no
reason to be so; my feelings towards you are the same as they ever
were."  I told her "She was my all of hope or comfort: my passion for
her grew stronger every time I saw her."  She answered, "She was sorry
for it; for THAT she never could return."  I said something about
looking ill: she said in her pretty, mincing, emphatic way, "I despise
looks!"  So, thought I, it is not that; and she says there's no one
else: it must be some strange air she gives herself, in consequence of
the approaching change in my circumstances.  She has been probably
advised not to give up till all is fairly over, and then she will be my
own sweet girl again.  All this time she was standing just outside the
door, my hand in hers (would that they could have grown together!) she
was dressed in a loose morning-gown, her hair curled beautifully; she
stood with her profile to me, and looked down the whole time.  No
expression was ever more soft or perfect.  Her whole attitude, her whole
form, was dignity and bewitching grace.  I said to her, "You look like a
queen, my love, adorned with your own graces!"  I grew idolatrous, and
would have kneeled to her.  She made a movement, as if she was
displeased.  I tried to draw her towards me.  She wouldn't.  I then got
up, and offered to kiss her at parting.  I found she obstinately
refused.  This stung me to the quick.  It was the first time in her life
she had ever done so.  There must be some new bar between us to produce
these continued denials; and she had not even esteem enough left to tell
me so.  I followed her half-way down-stairs, but to no purpose, and
returned into my room, confirmed in my most dreadful surmises.  I could
bear it no longer.  I gave way to all the fury of disappointed hope and
jealous passion.  I was made the dupe of trick and cunning, killed with
cold, sullen scorn; and, after all the agony I had suffered, could
obtain no explanation why I was subjected to it.  I was still to be
tantalized, tortured, made the cruel sport of one, for whom I would have
sacrificed all.  I tore the locket which contained her hair (and which I
used to wear continually in my bosom, as the precious token of her dear
regard) from my neck, and trampled it in pieces.  I then dashed the
little Buonaparte on the ground, and stamped upon it, as one of her
instruments of mockery.  I could not stay in the room; I could not leave
it; my rage, my despair were uncontroulable.  I shrieked curses on her
name, and on her false love; and the scream I uttered (so pitiful and so
piercing was it, that the sound of it terrified me) instantly brought
the whole house, father, mother, lodgers and all, into the room.  They
thought I was destroying her and myself.  I had gone into the bedroom,
merely to hide away from myself, and as I came out of it, raging-mad
with the new sense of present shame and lasting misery, Mrs.  F----
said, "She's in there!  He has got her in there!" thinking the cries had
proceeded from her, and that I had been offering her violence.  "Oh!
no," I said, "She's in no danger from me; I am not the person;" and
tried to burst from this scene of degradation.  The mother endeavoured
to stop me, and said, "For God's sake, don't go out, Mr. -----! for
God's sake, don't!"  Her father, who was not, I believe, in the secret,
and was therefore justly scandalised at such outrageous conduct, said
angrily, "Let him go!  Why should he stay?" I however sprang down
stairs, and as they called out to me, "What is it?--What has she done to
you?" I answered, "She has murdered me!--She has destroyed me for
ever!--She has doomed my soul to perdition!"  I rushed out of the house,
thinking to quit it forever; but I was no sooner in the street, than the
desolation and the darkness became greater, more intolerable; and the
eddying violence of my passion drove me back to the source, from whence
it sprung.  This unexpected explosion, with the conjectures to which it
would give rise, could not be very agreeable to the precieuse or her
family; and when I went back, the father was waiting at the door, as if
anticipating this sudden turn of my feelings, with no friendly aspect. 
I said, "I have to beg pardon, Sir; but my mad fit is over, and I wish
to say a few words to you in private."  He seemed to hesitate, but some
uneasy forebodings on his own account, probably, prevailed over his
resentment; or, perhaps (as philosophers have a desire to know the cause
of thunder) it was a natural curiosity to know what circumstances of
provocation had given rise to such an extraordinary scene of confusion. 
When we reached my room, I requested him to be seated.  I said, "It is
true, Sir, I have lost my peace of mind for ever, but at present I am
quite calm and collected, and I wish to explain to you why I have
behaved in so extravagant a way, and to ask for your advice and
intercession."  He appeared satisfied, and I went on.  I had no chance
either of exculpating myself, or of probing the question to the bottom,
but by stating the naked truth, and therefore I said at once, "Sarah
told me, Sir (and I never shall forget the way in which she told me,
fixing her dove's eyes upon me, and looking a thousand tender reproaches
for the loss of that good opinion, which she held dearer than all the
world) she told me, Sir, that as you one day passed the door, which
stood a-jar, you saw her in an attitude which a good deal startled you;
I mean sitting in my lap, with her arms round my neck, and mine twined
round her in the fondest manner.  What I wished to ask was, whether this
was actually the case, or whether it was a mere invention of her own, to
enhance the sense of my obligations to her; for I begin to doubt
everything?"--"Indeed, it was so; and very much surprised and hurt I was
to see it."  "Well then, Sir, I can only say, that as you saw her
sitting then, so she had been sitting for the last year and a half,
almost every day of her life, by the hour together; and you may judge
yourself, knowing what a nice modest-looking girl she is, whether, after
having been admitted to such intimacy with so sweet a creature, and for
so long a time, it is not enough to make any one frantic to be received
by her as I have been since my return, without any provocation given or
cause assigned for it."  The old man answered very seriously, and, as I
think, sincerely, "What you now tell me, Sir, mortifies and shocks me as
much as it can do yourself.  I had no idea such a thing was possible.  I
was much pained at what I saw; but I thought it an accident, and that it
would never happen again."--"It was a constant habit; it has happened a
hundred times since, and a thousand before.  I lived on her caresses as
my daily food, nor can I live without them."  So I told him the whole
story, "what conjurations, and what mighty magic I won his daughter
with," to be anything but MINE FOR LIFE.  Nothing could well exceed
his astonishment and apparent mortification.  "What I had said," he
owned, "had left a weight upon his mind that he should not easily get
rid of."  I told him, "For myself, I never could recover the blow I had
received.  I thought, however, for her own sake, she ought to alter her
present behaviour.  Her marked neglect and dislike, so far from
justifying, left her former intimacies without excuse; for nothing could
reconcile them to propriety, or even a pretence to common decency, but
either love, or friendship so strong and pure that it could put on the
guise of love.  She was certainly a singular girl.  Did she think it
right and becoming to be free with strangers, and strange to old
friends?"  I frankly declared, "I did not see how it was in human nature
for any one who was not rendered callous to such familiarities by
bestowing them indiscriminately on every one, to grant the extreme and
continued indulgences she had done to me, without either liking the man
at first, or coming to like him in the end, in spite of herself.  When
my addresses had nothing, and could have nothing honourable in them, she
gave them every encouragement; when I wished to make them honourable,
she treated them with the utmost contempt.  The terms we had been all
along on were such as if she had been to be my bride next day.  It was
only when I wished her actually to become so, to ensure her own
character and my happiness, that she shrunk back with precipitation and
panic-fear.  There seemed to me something wrong in all this; a want both
of common propriety, and I might say, of natural feeling; yet, with all
her faults, I loved her, and ever should, beyond any other human being. 
I had drank in the poison of her sweetness too long ever to be cured of
it; and though I might find it to be poison in the end, it was still in
my veins.  My only ambition was to be permitted to live with her, and to
die in her arms.  Be she what she would, treat me how she would, I felt
that my soul was wedded to hers; and were she a mere lost creature, I
would try to snatch her from perdition, and marry her to-morrow if she
would have me.  That was the question--"Would she have me, or would she
not?"  He said he could not tell; but should not attempt to put any
constraint upon her inclinations, one way or other.  I acquiesced, and
added, that "I had brought all this upon myself, by acting contrary to
the suggestions of my friend, Mr. -----, who had desired me to take no
notice whether she came near me or kept away, whether she smiled or
frowned, was kind or contemptuous--all you have to do, is to wait
patiently for a month till you are your own man, as you will be in all
probability; then make her an offer of your hand, and if she refuses,
there's an end of the matter."  Mr. L. said, "Well, Sir, and I don't
think you can follow a better advice!"  I took this as at least a sort
of negative encouragement, and so we parted.



TO THE SAME





(In continuation)


My dear Friend, The next day I felt almost as sailors must do after a
violent storm over-night, that has subsided towards daybreak.  The
morning was a dull and stupid calm, and I found she was unwell, in
consequence of what had happened.  In the evening I grew more uneasy,
and determined on going into the country for a week or two.  I gathered
up the fragments of the locket of her hair, and the little bronze
statue, which were strewed about the floor, kissed them, folded them up
in a sheet of paper, and sent them to her, with these lines written in
pencil on the outside--"Pieces of a broken heart, to be kept in
remembrance of the unhappy.  Farewell."  No notice was taken; nor did I
expect any.  The following morning I requested Betsey to pack up my box
for me, as I should go out of town the next day, and at the same time
wrote a note to her sister to say, I should take it as a favour if she
would please to accept of the enclosed copies of the Vicar of
Wakefield, The Man of Feeling and Nature and Art, in lieu of three
volumes of my own writings, which I had given her on different
occasions, in the course of our acquaintance.  I was piqued, in fact,
that she should have these to shew as proofs of my weakness, and as if I
thought the way to win her was by plaguing her with my own performances.

She sent me word back that the books I had sent were of no use to her,
and that I should have those I wished for in the afternoon; but that she
could not before, as she had lent them to her sister, Mrs. M-----.  I
said, "very well;" but observed (laughing) to Betsey, "It's a bad rule
to give and take; so, if Sarah won't have these books, you must; they
are very pretty ones, I assure you."  She curtsied and took them,
according to the family custom.  In the afternoon, when I came back to
tea, I found the little girl on her knees, busy in packing up my things,
and a large paper parcel on the table, which I could not at first tell
what to make of.  On opening it, however, I soon found what it was.  It
contained a number of volumes which I had given her at different times
(among others, a little Prayer-Book, bound in crimson velvet, with green
silk linings; she kissed it twenty times when she received it, and said
it was the prettiest present in the world, and that she would shew it to
her aunt, who would be proud of it)--and all these she had returned
together.  Her name in the title-page was cut out of them all.  I
doubted at the instant whether she had done this before or after I had
sent for them back, and I have doubted of it since; but there is no
occasion to suppose her UGLY ALL OVER WITH HYPOCRISY.  Poor little
thing!  She has enough to answer for, as it is.  I asked Betsey if she
could carry a message for me, and she said "YES."  "Will you tell your
sister, then, that I did not want all these books; and give my love to
her, and say that I shall be obliged if she will still keep these that I
have sent back, and tell her that it is only those of my own writing
that I think unworthy of her."  What do you think the little imp made
answer?  She raised herself on the other side of the table where she
stood, as if inspired by the genius of the place, and said--"AND THOSE
ARE THE ONES THAT SHE PRIZES THE MOST!"  If there were ever words spoken
that could revive the dead, those were the words.  Let me kiss them, and
forget that my ears have heard aught else!  I said, "Are you sure of
that?" and she said, "Yes, quite sure."  I told her, "If I could be, I
should be very different from what I was."  And I became so that
instant, for these casual words carried assurance to my heart of her
esteem--that once implied, I had proofs enough of her fondness.  Oh! how
I felt at that moment!  Restored to love, hope, and joy, by a breath
which I had caught by the merest accident, and which I might have pined
in absence and mute despair for want of hearing!  I did not know how to
contain myself; I was childish, wanton, drunk with pleasure.  I gave
Betsey a twenty-shilling note which I happened to have in my hand, and
on her asking "What's this for, Sir?" I said, "It's for you.  Don't you
think it worth that to be made happy?  You once made me very wretched by
some words I heard you drop, and now you have made me as happy; and all
I wish you is, when you grow up, that you may find some one to love you
as well as I do your sister, and that you may love better than she does
me!"  I continued in this state of delirium or dotage all that day and
the next, talked incessantly, laughed at every thing, and was so
extravagant, nobody could tell what was the matter with me.  I murmured
her name; I blest her; I folded her to my heart in delicious fondness; I
called her by my own name; I worshipped her: I was mad for her.  I told
P---- I should laugh in her face, if ever she pretended not to like me
again.  Her mother came in and said, she hoped I should excuse Sarah's
coming up.  "Oh, Ma'am," I said, "I have no wish to see her; I feel her
at my heart; she does not hate me after all, and I wish for nothing. 
Let her come when she will, she is to me welcomer than light, than life;
but let it be in her own sweet time, and at her own dear pleasure." 
Betsey also told me she was "so glad to get the books back."  I,
however, sobered and wavered (by degrees) from seeing nothing of her,
day after day; and in less than a week I was devoted to the Infernal
Gods.  I could hold out no longer than the Monday evening following.  I
sent a message to her; she returned an ambiguous answer; but she came
up.  Pity me, my friend, for the shame of this recital.  Pity me for the
pain of having ever had to make it!  If the spirits of mortal creatures,
purified by faith and hope, can (according to the highest assurances)
ever, during thousands of years of smooth-rolling eternity and balmy,
sainted repose, forget the pain, the toil, the anguish, the
helplessness, and the despair they have suffered here, in this frail
being, then may I forget that withering hour, and her, that fair, pale
form that entered, my inhuman betrayer, and my only earthly love!  She
said, "Did you wish to speak to me, Sir?"  I said, "Yes, may I not speak
to you?  I wanted to see you and be friends."  I rose up, offered her an
arm-chair which stood facing, bowed on it, and knelt to her adoring. 
She said (going) "If that's all, I have nothing to say."  I replied,
"Why do you treat me thus?  What have I done to become thus hateful to
you?"  ANSWER, "I always told you I had no affection for you."  You
may suppose this was a blow, after the imaginary honey-moon in which I
had passed the preceding week.  I was stunned by it; my heart sunk
within me.  I contrived to say, "Nay, my dear girl, not always neither;
for did you not once (if I might presume to look back to those happy,
happy times), when you were sitting on my knee as usual, embracing and
embraced, and I asked if you could not love me at last, did you not make
answer, in the softest tones that ever man heard, 'I COULD EASILY SAY
SO, WHETHER I DID OR NOT; YOU SHOULD JUDGE BY MY ACTIONS!'  Was I to
blame in taking you at your word, when every hope I had depended on your
sincerity?  And did you not say since I came back, 'YOUR FEELINGS TO ME
WERE THE SAME AS EVER?'  Why then is your behaviour so different?"  S. 
"Is it nothing, your exposing me to the whole house in the way you did
the other evening?"  H.  "Nay, that was the consequence of your cruel
reception of me, not the cause of it.  I had better have gone away last
year, as I proposed to do, unless you would give some pledge of your
fidelity; but it was your own offer that I should remain.  'Why should I
go?' you said, 'Why could we not go on the same as we had done, and say
nothing about the word FOREVER?'"  S.  "And how did you behave when
you returned?"  H.  "That was all forgiven when we last parted, and your
last words were, 'I should find you the same as ever' when I came home? 
Did you not that very day enchant and madden me over again by the purest
kisses and embraces, and did I not go from you (as I said) adoring,
confiding, with every assurance of mutual esteem and friendship?"  S. 
"Yes, and in your absence I found that you had told my aunt what had
passed between us."  H.  "It was to induce her to extort your real
sentiments from you, that you might no longer make a secret of your true
regard for me, which your actions (but not your words) confessed."  S. 
"I own I have been guilty of improprieties, which you have gone and
repeated, not only in the house, but out of it; so that it has come to
my ears from various quarters, as if I was a light character.  And I am
determined in future to be guided by the advice of my relations, and
particularly of my aunt, whom I consider as my best friend, and keep
every lodger at a proper distance."  You will find hereafter that her
favourite lodger, whom she visits daily, had left the house; so that she
might easily make and keep this vow of extraordinary self-denial. 
Precious little dissembler!  Yet her aunt, her best friend, says, "No,
Sir, no; Sarah's no hypocrite!" which I was fool enough to believe; and
yet my great and unpardonable offence is to have entertained passing
doubts on this delicate point.  I said, Whatever errors I had committed,
arose from my anxiety to have everything explained to her honour: my
conduct shewed that I had that at heart, and that I built on the purity
of her character as on a rock.  My esteem for her amounted to adoration.
 "She did not want adoration."  It was only when any thing happened to
imply that I had been mistaken, that I committed any extravagance,
because I could not bear to think her short of perfection.  "She was far
from perfection," she replied, with an air and manner (oh, my God!) as
near it as possible.  "How could she accuse me of a want of regard to
her?  It was but the other day, Sarah," I said to her, "when that little
circumstance of the books happened, and I fancied the expressions your
sister dropped proved the sincerity of all your kindness to me--you
don't know how my heart melted within me at the thought, that after all,
I might be dear to you.  New hopes sprung up in my heart, and I felt as
Adam must have done when his Eve was created for him!"  "She had heard
enough of that sort of conversation," (moving towards the door).  This,
I own, was the unkindest cut of all.  I had, in that case, no hopes
whatever.  I felt that I had expended words in vain, and that the
conversation below stairs (which I told you of when I saw you) had
spoiled her taste for mine.  If the allusion had been classical I should
have been to blame; but it was scriptural, it was a sort of religious
courtship, and Miss L. is religious!


At once he took his Muse and dipt her Right in the middle of the
Scripture.


It would not do--the lady could make neither head nor tail of it.  This
is a poor attempt at levity.  Alas! I am sad enough.  "Would she go and
leave me so?  If it was only my own behaviour, I still did not doubt of
success.  I knew the sincerity of my love, and she would be convinced of
it in time.  If that was all, I did not care: but tell me true, is there
not a new attachment that is the real cause of your estrangement?  Tell
me, my sweet friend, and before you tell me, give me your hand (nay,
both hands) that I may have something to support me under the dreadful
conviction."  She let me take her hands in mine, saying, "She supposed
there could be no objection to that,"--as if she acted on the
suggestions of others, instead of following her own will--but still
avoided giving me any answer.  I conjured her to tell me the worst, and
kill me on the spot.  Any thing was better than my present state.  I
said, "Is it Mr. C-----?"  She smiled, and said with gay indifference,
"Mr. C----- was here a very short time."  "Well, then, was it Mr.
-----?"  She hesitated, and then replied faintly, "No."  This was a mere
trick to mislead; one of the profoundnesses of Satan, in which she is an
adept.  "But," she added hastily, "she could make no more confidences." 
"Then," said I, "you have something to communicate."  "No; but she had
once mentioned a thing of the sort, which I had hinted to her mother,
though it signified little."  All this while I was in tortures.  Every
word, every half-denial, stabbed me.  "Had she any tie?"  "No, I have no
tie!"  "You are not going to be married soon?"  "I don't intend ever to
marry at all!"  "Can't you be friends with me as of old?"  "She could
give no promises."  "Would she make her own terms?"  "She would make
none."--"I was sadly afraid the LITTLE IMAGE was dethroned from her
heart, as I had dashed it to the ground the other night."--"She was
neither desperate nor violent."  I did not answer--"But deliberate and
deadly,"--though I might; and so she vanished in this running fight of
question and answer, in spite of my vain efforts to detain her.  The
cockatrice, I said, mocks me: so she has always done.  The thought was a
dagger to me.  My head reeled, my heart recoiled within me.  I was stung
with scorpions; my flesh crawled; I was choked with rage; her scorn
scorched me like flames; her air (her heavenly air) withdrawn from me,
stifled me, and left me gasping for breath and being.  It was a fable. 
She started up in her own likeness, a serpent in place of a woman.  She
had fascinated, she had stung me, and had returned to her proper shape,
gliding from me after inflicting the mortal wound, and instilling deadly
poison into every pore; but her form lost none of its original
brightness by the change of character, but was all glittering,
beauteous, voluptuous grace.  Seed of the serpent or of the woman, she
was divine!  I felt that she was a witch, and had bewitched me.  Fate
had enclosed me round about.  _I_ was transformed too, no longer human
(any more than she, to whom I had knit myself) my feelings were marble;
my blood was of molten lead; my thoughts on fire.  I was taken out of
myself, wrapt into another sphere, far from the light of day, of hope,
of love.  I had no natural affection left; she had slain me, but no
other thing had power over me.  Her arms embraced another; but her
mock-embrace, the phantom of her love, still bound me, and I had not a
wish to escape.  So I felt then, and so perhaps shall feel till I grow
old and die, nor have any desire that my years should last longer than
they are linked in the chain of those amorous folds, or than her
enchantments steep my soul in oblivion of all other things!  I started
to find myself alone--for ever alone, without a creature to love me.  I
looked round the room for help; I saw the tables, the chairs, the places
where she stood or sat, empty, deserted, dead.  I could not stay where I
was; I had no one to go to but to the parent-mischief, the preternatural
hag, that had "drugged this posset" of her daughter's charms and
falsehood for me, and I went down and (such was my weakness and
helplessness) sat with her for an hour, and talked with her of her
daughter, and the sweet days we had passed together, and said I thought
her a good girl, and believed that if there was no rival, she still had
a regard for me at the bottom of her heart; and how I liked her all the
better for her coy, maiden airs: and I received the assurance over and
over that there was no one else; and that Sarah (they all knew) never
staid five minutes with any other lodger, while with me she would stay
by the hour together, in spite of all her father could say to her (what
were her motives, was best known to herself!) and while we were talking
of her, she came bounding into the room, smiling with smothered delight
at the consummation of my folly and her own art; and I asked her mother
whether she thought she looked as if she hated me, and I took her
wrinkled, withered, cadaverous, clammy hand at parting, and kissed it. 
Faugh!--

I will make an end of this story; there is something in it discordant to
honest ears.  I left the house the next day, and returned to Scotland in
a state so near to phrenzy, that I take it the shades sometimes ran into
one another.  R---- met me the day after I arrived, and will tell you
the way I was in.  I was like a person in a high fever; only mine was in
the mind instead of the body.  It had the same irritating, uncomfortable
effect on the bye-standers.  I was incapable of any application, and
don't know what I should have done, had it not been for the kindness of
-----.  I came to see you, to "bestow some of my tediousness upon you,"
but you were gone from home.  Everything went on well as to the law
business; and as it approached to a conclusion, I wrote to my good
friend P---- to go to M----, who had married her sister, and ask him if
it would be worth my while to make her a formal offer, as soon as I was
free, as, with the least encouragement, I was ready to throw myself at
her feet; and to know, in case of refusal, whether I might go back there
and be treated as an old friend.  Not a word of answer could be got from
her on either point, notwithstanding every importunity and intreaty; but
it was the opinion of M---- that I might go and try my fortune.  I did
so with joy, with something like confidence.  I thought her giving no
positive answer implied a chance, at least, of the reversion of her
favour, in case I behaved well.  All was false, hollow, insidious.  The
first night after I got home, I slept on down.  In Scotland, the flint
had been my pillow.  But now I slept under the same roof with her.  What
softness, what balmy repose in the very thought!  I saw her that same
day and shook hands with her, and told her how glad I was to see her;
and she was kind and comfortable, though still cold and distant.  Her
manner was altered from what it was the last time.  She still absented
herself from the room, but was mild and affable when she did come.  She
was pale, dejected, evidently uneasy about something, and had been ill. 
I thought it was perhaps her reluctance to yield to my wishes, her pity
for what I suffered; and that in the struggle between both, she did not
know what to do.  How I worshipped her at these moments!  We had a long
interview the third day, and I thought all was doing well.  I found her
sitting at work in the window-seat of the front parlour; and on my
asking if I might come in, she made no objection.  I sat down by her;
she let me take her hand; I talked to her of indifferent things, and of
old times.  I asked her if she would put some new frills on my
shirts?---"With the greatest pleasure."  If she could get THE LITTLE
IMAGE mended?  "It was broken in three pieces, and the sword was gone,
but she would try."  I then asked her to make up a plaid silk which I
had given her in the winter, and which she said would make a pretty
summer gown.  I so longed to see her in it!--"She had little time to
spare, but perhaps might!"  Think what I felt, talking peaceably,
kindly, tenderly with my love,--not passionately, not violently.  I
tried to take pattern by her patient meekness, as I thought it, and to
subdue my desires to her will.  I then sued to her, but respectfully, to
be admitted to her friendship--she must know I was as true a friend as
ever woman had--or if there was a bar to our intimacy from a dearer
attachment, to let me know it frankly, as I shewed her all my heart. 
She drew out her handkerchief and wiped her eyes "of tears which sacred
pity had engendered there."  Was it so or not?  I cannot tell.  But so
she stood (while I pleaded my cause to her with all the earnestness, and
fondness in the world) with the tears trickling from her eye-lashes, her
head stooping, her attitude fixed, with the finest expression that ever
was seen of mixed regret, pity, and stubborn resolution; but without
speaking a word, without altering a feature.  It was like a petrifaction
of a human face in the softest moment of passion.  "Ah!" I said, "how
you look!  I have prayed again and again while I was away from you, in
the agony of my spirit, that I might but live to see you look so again,
and then breathe my last!"  I intreated her to give me some explanation.
 In vain!  At length she said she must go, and disappeared like a
spirit.  That week she did all the little trifling favours I had asked
of her.  The frills were put on, and she sent up to know if I wanted any
more done.  She got the Buonaparte mended.  This was like healing old
wounds indeed!  How?  As follows, for thereby hangs the conclusion of my
tale.  Listen.

I had sent a message one evening to speak to her about some special
affairs of the house, and received no answer.  I waited an hour
expecting her, and then went out in great vexation at my disappointment.
 I complained to her mother a day or two after, saying I thought it so
unlike Sarah's usual propriety of behaviour, that she must mean it as a
mark of disrespect.  Mrs. L---- said, "La! Sir, you're always fancying
things.  Why, she was dressing to go out, and she was only going to get
the little image you're both so fond of mended; and it's to be done this
evening.  She has been to two or three places to see about it, before
she could get anyone to undertake it."  My heart, my poor fond heart,
almost melted within me at this news.  I answered, "Ah! Madam, that's
always the way with the dear creature.  I am finding fault with her and
thinking the hardest things of her; and at that very time she's doing
something to shew the most delicate attention, and that she has no
greater satisfaction than in gratifying my wishes!"  On this we had some
farther talk, and I took nearly the whole of the lodgings at a hundred
guineas a year, that (as I said) she might have a little leisure to sit
at her needle of an evening, or to read if she chose, or to walk out
when it was fine.  She was not in good health, and it would do her good
to be less confined.  I would be the drudge and she should no longer be
the slave.  I asked nothing in return.  To see her happy, to make her
so, was to be so myself.--This was agreed to.  I went over to Blackheath
that evening, delighted as I could be after all I had suffered, and lay
the whole of the next morning on the heath under the open sky, dreaming
of my earthly Goddess.  This was Sunday.  That evening I returned, for I
could hardly bear to be for a moment out of the house where she was, and
the next morning she tapped at the door--it was opened--it was she--she
hesitated and then came forward: she had got the little image in her
hand, I took it, and blest her from my heart.  She said "They had been
obliged to put some new pieces to it."  I said "I didn't care how it was
done, so that I had it restored to me safe, and by her."  I thanked her
and begged to shake hands with her.  She did so, and as I held the only
hand in the world that I never wished to let go, I looked up in her
face, and said "Have pity on me, have pity on me, and save me if you
can!"  Not a word of answer, but she looked full in my eyes, as much as
to say, "Well, I'll think of it; and if I can, I will save you!"  We
talked about the expense of repairing the figure.  "Was the man
waiting?"--"No, she had fetched it on Saturday evening."  I said I'd
give her the money in the course of the day, and then shook hands with
her again in token of reconciliation; and she went waving out of the
room, but at the door turned round and looked full at me, as she did the
first time she beguiled me of my heart.  This was the last.--

All that day I longed to go down stairs to ask her and her mother to set
out with me for Scotland on Wednesday, and on Saturday I would make her
my wife.  Something withheld me.  In the evening, however, I could not
rest without seeing her, and I said to her younger sister, "Betsey, if
Sarah will come up now, I'll pay her what she laid out for me the other
day."--"My sister's gone out, Sir," was the answer.  What again! thought
I, That's somewhat sudden.  I told P---- her sitting in the window-seat
of the front parlour boded me no good.  It was not in her old character.
 She did not use to know there were doors or windows in the house--and
now she goes out three times in a week.  It is to meet some one, I'll
lay my life on't.  "Where is she gone?"--"To my grandmother's, Sir." 
"Where does your grandmother live now?"--"At Somers' Town."  I
immediately set out to Somers' Town.  I passed one or two streets, and
at last turned up King Street, thinking it most likely she would return
that way home.  I passed a house in King Street where I had once lived,
and had not proceeded many paces, ruminating on chance and change and
old times, when I saw her coming towards me.  I felt a strange pang at
the sight, but I thought her alone.  Some people before me moved on, and
I saw another person with her.  THE MURDER WAS OUT.  It was a tall,
rather well-looking young man, but I did not at first recollect him.  We
passed at the crossing of the street without speaking.  Will you believe
it, after all that had past between us for two years, after what had
passed in the last half-year, after what had passed that very morning,
she went by me without even changing countenance, without expressing the
slightest emotion, without betraying either shame or pity or remorse or
any other feeling that any other human being but herself must have shewn
in the same situation.  She had no time to prepare for acting a part, to
suppress her feelings--the truth is, she has not one natural feeling in
her bosom to suppress.  I turned and looked--they also turned and looked
and as if by mutual consent, we both retrod our steps and passed again,
in the same way.  I went home.  I was stifled.  I could not stay in the
house, walked into the street and met them coming towards home.  As soon
as he had left her at the door (I fancy she had prevailed with him to
accompany her, dreading some violence) I returned, went up stairs, and
requested an interview.  Tell her, I said, I'm in excellent temper and
good spirits, but I must see her!  She came smiling, and I said, "Come
in, my dear girl, and sit down, and tell me all about it, how it is and
who it is."--" What," she said, "do you mean Mr. C----?"  "Oh," said I,
"Then it is he!  Ah! you rogue, I always suspected there was something
between you, but you know you denied it lustily: why did you not tell me
all about it at the time, instead of letting me suffer as I have done? 
But, however, no reproaches.  I only wish it may all end happily and
honourably for you, and I am satisfied.  But," I said, "you know you
used to tell me, you despised looks."--"She didn't think Mr. C---- was
so particularly handsome."  "No, but he's very well to pass, and a
well-grown youth into the bargain."  Pshaw! let me put an end to the
fulsome detail.  I found he had lived over the way, that he had been
lured thence, no doubt, almost a year before, that they had first spoken
in the street, and that he had never once hinted at marriage, and had
gone away, because (as he said) they were too much together, and that it
was better for her to meet him occasionally out of doors.  "There could
be no harm in them walking together."  "No, but you may go some where
afterwards."--" One must trust to one's principle for that."  Consummate
hypocrite!  * * * * * *  I told her Mr. M----, who had married her
sister, did not wish to leave the house.  I, who would have married her,
did not wish to leave it.  I told her I hoped I should not live to see
her come to shame, after all my love of her; but put her on her guard as
well as I could, and said, after the lengths she had permitted herself
with me, I could not help being alarmed at the influence of one over
her, whom she could hardly herself suppose to have a tenth part of my
esteem for her!!  She made no answer to this, but thanked me coldly for
my good advice, and rose to go.  I begged her to sit a few minutes, that
I might try to recollect if there was anything else I wished to say to
her, perhaps for the last time; and then, not finding anything, I bade
her good night, and asked for a farewell kiss.  Do you know she refused;
so little does she understand what is due to friendship, or love, or
honour!  We parted friends, however, and I felt deep grief, but no
enmity against her.  I thought C---- had pressed his suit after I went,
and had prevailed.  There was no harm in that--a little fickleness or
so, a little over-pretension to unalterable attachment--but that was
all.  She liked him better than me--it was my hard hap, but I must bear
it.  I went out to roam the desert streets, when, turning a corner, whom
should I meet but her very lover?  I went up to him and asked for a few
minutes' conversation on a subject that was highly interesting to me and
I believed not indifferent to him: and in the course of four hours'
talk, it came out that for three months previous to my quitting London
for Scotland, she had been playing the same game with him as with
me--that he breakfasted first, and enjoyed an hour of her society, and
then I took my turn, so that we never jostled; and this explained why,
when he came back sometimes and passed my door, as she was sitting in my
lap, she coloured violently, thinking if her lover looked in, what a
denouement there would be.  He could not help again and again
expressing his astonishment at finding that our intimacy had continued
unimpaired up to so late a period after he came, and when they were on
the most intimate footing.  She used to deny positively to him that
there was anything between us, just as she used to assure me with
impenetrable effrontery that "Mr. C---- was nothing to her, but merely a
lodger."  All this while she kept up the farce of her romantic
attachment to her old lover, vowed that she never could alter in that
respect, let me go to Scotland on the solemn and repeated assurance that
there was no new flame, that there was no bar between us but this
shadowy love--I leave her on this understanding, she becomes more fond
or more intimate with her new lover; he quitting the house (whether
tired out or not, I can't say)--in revenge she ceases to write to me,
keeps me in wretched suspense, treats me like something loathsome to her
when I return to enquire the cause, denies it with scorn and impudence,
destroys me and shews no pity, no desire to soothe or shorten the pangs
she has occasioned by her wantonness and hypocrisy, and wishes to linger
the affair on to the last moment, going out to keep an appointment with
another while she pretends to be obliging me in the tenderest point
(which C---- himself said was too much). . . .What do you think of all
this?  Shall I tell you my opinion?  But I must try to do it in another
letter.



TO THE SAME




(In conclusion)


I did not sleep a wink all that night; nor did I know till the next day
the full meaning of what had happened to me.  With the morning's light,
conviction glared in upon me that I had not only lost her for ever--but
every feeling I had ever had towards her--respect, tenderness, pity--all
but my fatal passion, was gone.  The whole was a mockery, a frightful
illusion.  I had embraced the false Florimel instead of the true; or was
like the man in the Arabian Nights who had married a GOUL.  How
different was the idea I once had of her?  Was this she,


--"Who had been beguiled--she who was made
Within a gentle bosom to be laid--
To bless and to be blessed--to be heart-bare
To one who found his bettered likeness there--
To think for ever with him, like a bride--
To haunt his eye, like taste personified--
To double his delight, to share his sorrow,
And like a morning beam, wake to him every morrow?


I saw her pale, cold form glide silent by me, dead to shame as to pity. 
Still I seemed to clasp this piece of witchcraft to my bosom; this
lifeless image, which was all that was left of my love, was the only
thing to which my sad heart clung.  Were she dead, should I not wish to
gaze once more upon her pallid features?  She is dead to me; but what
she once was to me, can never die!  The agony, the conflict of hope and
fear, of adoration and jealousy is over; or it would, ere long, have
ended with my life.  I am no more lifted now to Heaven, and then plunged
in the abyss; but I seem to have been thrown from the top of a
precipice, and to lie groveling, stunned, and stupefied.  I am
melancholy, lonesome, and weaker than a child.  The worst is, I have no
prospect of any alteration for the better: she has cut off all
possibility of a reconcilement at any future period.  Were she even to
return to her former pretended fondness and endearments, I could have no
pleasure, no confidence in them.  I can scarce make out the
contradiction to myself.  I strive to think she always was what I now
know she is; but I have great difficulty in it, and can hardly believe
but she still IS what she so long SEEMED.  Poor thing!  I am afraid
she is little better off herself; nor do I see what is to become of her,
unless she throws off the mask at once, and RUNS A-MUCK at infamy. 
She is exposed and laid bare to all those whose opinion she set a value
upon.  Yet she held her head very high, and must feel (if she feels any
thing) proportionably mortified.--A more complete experiment on
character was never made.  If I had not met her lover immediately after
I parted with her, it would have been nothing.  I might have supposed
she had changed her mind in my absence, and had given him the preference
as soon as she felt it, and even shewn her delicacy in declining any
farther intimacy with me.  But it comes out that she had gone on in the
most forward and familiar way with both at once--(she could not change
her mind in passing from one room to another)--told both the same
barefaced and unblushing falsehoods, like the commonest creature;
received presents from me to the very last, and wished to keep up the
game still longer, either to gratify her humour, her avarice, or her
vanity in playing with my passion, or to have me as a dernier resort,
in case of accidents.  Again, it would have been nothing, if she had not
come up with her demure, well-composed, wheedling looks that morning,
and then met me in the evening in a situation, which (she believed)
might kill me on the spot, with no more feeling than a common courtesan
shews, who BILKS a customer, and passes him, leering up at her bully,
the moment after.  If there had been the frailty of passion, it would
have been excusable; but it is evident she is a practised, callous jilt,
a regular lodging-house decoy, played off by her mother upon the
lodgers, one after another, applying them to her different purposes,
laughing at them in turns, and herself the probable dupe and victim of
some favourite gallant in the end.  I know all this; but what do I gain
by it, unless I could find some one with her shape and air, to supply
the place of the lovely apparition?  That a professed wanton should come
and sit on a man's knee, and put her arms round his neck, and caress
him, and seem fond of him, means nothing, proves nothing, no one
concludes anything from it; but that a pretty, reserved, modest,
delicate-looking girl should do this, from the first hour to the last of
your being in the house, without intending anything by it, is new, and,
I think, worth explaining.  It was, I confess, out of my calculation,
and may be out of that of others.  Her unmoved indifference and
self-possession all the while, shew that it is her constant practice. 
Her look even, if closely examined, bears this interpretation.  It is
that of studied hypocrisy or startled guilt, rather than of refined
sensibility or conscious innocence.  "She defied anyone to read her
thoughts?" she once told me.  "Do they then require concealing?" I
imprudently asked her.  The command over herself is surprising.  She
never once betrays herself by any momentary forgetfulness, by any
appearance of triumph or superiority to the person who is her dupe, by
any levity of manner in the plenitude of her success; it is one
faultless, undeviating, consistent, consummate piece of acting.  Were
she a saint on earth, she could not seem more like one.  Her
hypocritical high-flown pretensions, indeed, make her the worse: but
still the ascendancy of her will, her determined perseverance in what
she undertakes to do, has something admirable in it, approaching to the
heroic.  She is certainly an extraordinary girl!  Her retired manner,
and invariable propriety of behaviour made me think it next to
impossible she could grant the same favours indiscriminately to every
one that she did to me.  Yet this now appears to be the fact.  She must
have done the very same with C----, invited him into the house to carry
on a closer intrigue with her, and then commenced the double game with
both together.  She always "despised looks."  This was a favourite
phrase with her, and one of the hooks which she baited for me.  Nothing
could win her but a man's behaviour and sentiments.  Besides, she could
never like another--she was a martyr to disappointed affection--and
friendship was all she could even extend to any other man.  All the
time, she was making signals, playing off her pretty person, and having
occasional interviews in the street with this very man, whom she could
only have taken so sudden and violent a liking to him from his looks,
his personal appearance, and what she probably conjectured of his
circumstances.  Her sister had married a counsellor--the Miss F----'s,
who kept the house before, had done so too--and so would she.  "There
was a precedent for it."  Yet if she was so desperately enamoured of
this new acquaintance, if he had displaced THE LITTLE IMAGE from her
breast, if he was become her SECOND "unalterable attachment" (which I
would have given my life to have been) why continue the same
unwarrantable familiarities with me to the last, and promise that they
should be renewed on my return (if I had not unfortunately stumbled upon
the truth to her aunt) and yet keep up the same refined cant about her
old attachment all the time, as if it was that which stood in the way of
my pretensions, and not her faithlessness to it?  "If one swerves from
one, one shall swerve from another"--was her excuse for not returning my
regard.  Yet that which I thought a prophecy, was I suspect a history. 
She had swerved twice from her avowed engagements, first to me, and then
from me to another.  If she made a fool of me, what did she make of her
lover?  I fancy he has put that question to himself.  I said nothing to
him about the amount of the presents; which is another damning
circumstance, that might have opened my eyes long before; but they were
shut by my fond affection, which "turned all to favour and to
prettiness."  She cannot be supposed to have kept up an appearance of
old regard to me, from a fear of hurting my feelings by her desertion;
for she not only shewed herself indifferent to, but evidently triumphed
in my sufferings, and heaped every kind of insult and indignity upon
them.  I must have incurred her contempt and resentment by my mistaken
delicacy at different times; and her manner, when I have hinted at
becoming a reformed man in this respect, convinces me of it.  "She hated
it!" She always hated whatever she liked most.  She "hated Mr. C----'s
red slippers," when he first came!  One more count finishes the
indictment.  She not only discovered the most hardened indifference to
the feelings of others; she has not shewn the least regard to her own
character, or shame when she was detected.  When found out, she seemed
to say, "Well, what if I am?  I have played the game as long as I could;
and if I could keep it up no longer, it was not for want of good will!" 
Her colouring once or twice is the only sign of grace she has exhibited.
 Such is the creature on whom I had thrown away my heart and soul-one
who was incapable of feeling the commonest emotions of human nature, as
they regarded herself or any one else.  "She had no feelings with
respect to herself," she often said.  She in fact knows what she is, and
recoils from the good opinion or sympathy of others, which she feels to
be founded on a deception; so that my overweening opinion of her must
have appeared like irony, or direct insult.  My seeing her in the street
has gone a good way to satisfy me.  Her manner there explains her manner
in-doors to be conscious and overdone; and besides, she looks but
indifferently.  She is diminutive in stature, and her measured step and
timid air do not suit these public airings.  I am afraid she will soon
grow common to my imagination, as well as worthless in herself.  Her
image seems fast "going into the wastes of time," like a weed that the
wave bears farther and farther from me.  Alas! thou poor hapless weed,
when I entirely lose sight of thee, and for ever, no flower will ever
bloom on earth to glad my heart again!





End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of Liber Amoris or The New Pygmalion


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