Letter X.

From: Love-Letters of Margaret Fuller, 1845-1846
Published: 1903 New York


  Yesterday was, perhaps, a sadder day than I had in all my life. It did not seem. to me an act of “Providence,” but of some ill demon, that had exposed me to what was to every worthy and womanly feeling so humiliating. Neither could I reconcile myself to your having such thoughts, and just when you had induced me to trust you so absolutely. I know you could not help it, but why had fate drawn me so near you! As I walked the streets, “the piercing drops of grief would start into mine eyes” as the hymn-book promises they shall not in heaven, and it pained me to see the human beings. I felt removed from them all, since all was not right between me and one I had chosen, and knew not where to turn my thoughts, for nature was stripped of her charms, and God had not taken care of me as a father. But, in the evening, while present at the “Antigone,” my heart was lightened by the presence of this darling sister, even in such disguise. The straightforward nobleness of the maiden led her to Death; we–in modern times–have not such great occasions offered us, we can only act out our feelings truly in the lesser ones, and die, if needs be, by inches; but it is the only way, for one grain of distrust or fear is poison to a good nature, felt at once through every vein. I hoped to wake this morning blessing all mankind, but it was not so; I woke with my head aching, and my heart cold and still, just as on the day before. But a little while after on my way through the town, there came to me the breath I needed. I felt submiss to heaven, which permits such jars in the sweetest strains of earth. I saw a gleam of hope that the earth stain might be washed quite away. I thought of you with deep affection, with that sense of affinity, of which you speak to me, and felt as I said this morning, that it was suicide to do otherwise. I felt the force of kindred draw me, and that things could not be other than they were and are. Since they could be so, leave them! I cannot do other than love and most deeply trust you, and will drink the bitter part of the cup with patience.

  Since then, I have your note. Not one moment have I sinned against you; to “disdain” you would be to disdain myself.

  Yet forgive, if I say one part of your note and some particulars of your past conduct seem not severely true. Your own mind, strictly scanned, will let you know whether this is so. You have said there is in yourself both a lower and a higher than I was aware of. Since you said this, I suppose I have seen that lower! It is-is it not? the man of the world, as you said you see “the dame” in me. Yet shall we not both rise above it? I feel as if I could now, and in that faith, say to you, dear friend-kill me with truth, if it be needed, but never give me less. I will never wish to draw any hidden thing from your breast, unless you begin it, as you did the other day, but if you cannot tell me all the truth, always, at least, tell me absolute truth.

  The child, even when its nurse has herself given it a blow, comes to throw itself into her arms for consolation, for it only the more feels the nearness of the relation. And so, I come to thee. Wilt thou not come with me before God and promise me severe truth, and patient tenderness, that will never, if it can be avoided, misinterpret the impulses of my soul. I am willing you should see them just as they are, but I am not willing for the reaction from the angelic view to that of the man of the world. Yet the time is past when I could protect myself by reserve. I must now seem just as I feel, and you must protect me. Are you equal to this? Will an unfailing reverent love shelter the “sister of your soul?” If so, we may yet be happy together some few hours, and our parting be sad but not bitter. I feel to-day as if we might bury this ugly dwarf-changeling of the past, and hide its grave with flowers. I feel as if the joyous sweetness I did feel in the sense of your life might revive again. It lies with you-but if you take up the lute, oh do it with religious care. On it have been played hymns to the gods, and songs of love for men, and strains of heroic courage, too, but never one verse that could grieve a living heart, and should it not itself be treated delicately?

  With sorrow, but with hope, farewell.

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