Letter XL.

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

New York, 22d July, 1845.


  With pleasure inexpressible, I have at last received your letters. At last! I hope there may not be cause for so long an interval of silence again. And yet it cannot again be so hard to bear. Seven weeks was so cruelly long after the habit of almost daily intercourse had been formed. It was an inevitable pain and so I have tried to bear it well, but all this month, since I began to look forward to hearing, it has been very hard.

  This morning I wrote to Mr. Bancroft, but hardly expect to get an answer so as to let you know by the 1st, for I do not know that he is in Washington; he has lately been absent. I did not think before of the probability of being refused, as I never was any trilling favour by Mr. Bancroft. But it may be, that “honours will change manners” as the proverb threatens, the rather as I can be of no use to him, am connected with a paper of the hostile party and in which, unfortunately, was published a ludicrous anecdote about him three or four days since, and one which, if he chances to see it, will make him very angry. But, if he refuses, it will affect me no other way than with regret because you cannot have what might be useful to you. I have been a frequent guest at Mr. Bancroft’s house, and treated by him with a marked courtesy that gives me a right to feel I do not intrude in making the application. This being the case, refusal will not mortify me, though it would prevent my ever asking him for any other favour. On the other hand, I should have no right to resent a refusal. He owes me nothing; all the favours hitherto have been from him to me; if he does not see fit to add this to the list, it will not, as I said before, affect me anyhow, except that I have it not to send to you. So, however it ends, have no trouble on my account. If’ I write nothing further by this steamer, leave orders to have the letter sent after you, in case I get it to send the 15th.

  I mentioned last winter another friend of influence in the party, but as he has not taken office, and I know not where he is, shall not attempt to do anything by his means, as it would be too long a process to be of use. I wish I had acted before, but supposed the Sun editors far more likely than I to get it done to advantage, and supposed it, besides, too trilling a favour to be refused.

  Most sweetly breathes your spirit to me through your words; it is indeed what I felt, and felt as if you were feeling, but it is a great satisfaction to see it written down, to hold it in my hand and to my heart. The moss-roses bear transplanting well, they will grow in either climate. It is true, as you say, that the precious certainty of spiritual connection, which will bear the test of absence and various influences, is worth great sacrifices, but—our sacrifice was premature. We needed the suns and moons of this summer to ripen our knowledge of one another (to say nothing of the loss of happiness). I always felt and feel, that at the end of a few months more, separation would have been more natural, and that, though circumstances on your side seemed to command it now, yet their doing so seemed sad and of evil omen.

  Yet oh! May we at least ever keep pure and sweet the joys that have been given, and the tender and elevated strain of your letters makes me trust we may. Me too, it moved tearfully, to read what you say of lying down to die, that you might not even by your presence abet falsehoods.

  When this heart-sickness comes again, may I not draw nigh, and lay my arms about your neck and my cheek to yours, and will you not then feel that, in a world where such true affection still finds a home, there must be salt enough to keep the whole from corruption, and that we must live to be as good as we can, a comfort and earnest of better things to one another and to other vexed and clouded spirits, born for love and light, still walking and working in the dark?

  You are, indeed, continually present with me. When other voices are silent, yours is soon heard. I only need to be alone and undisturbed. But sometimes the sense of communion is more deep and sweet, and things are told that I much admire, indeed hardly understand as yet. I do not know whether it is that seeds planted in the spring-time are growing up now in the green solitude of summer, or whether there is a rush of our souls to meet at the same moment in time, as used to be the case, and I want you to date the times when this happens with you, and I will do the same, that we may know.

  I am very sorry that I did not write the 16th, but you, I thought, told me to write up to the 1st of July and not again till I heard from you. You will be disappointed, I know, since you had forgotten this. But I shall be faithful, when I understand about writing. The only difficulty is the same as yours-where to begin. I might as well write all day long as any one hour. Of outward events little has occurred of late; in the city the great fire of which you will read in the papers, by which you, I trust, are no loser, for even where there is so much suffering, selfishness impels to think first and most of dear friends.

  The still smoking ruins looked really sublime last night by the setting sun. Many chimneys and balconies are left standing in picturesque blackness upon this large area. A gazing crowd animated the foreground; it gave some notion of the miseries of war.

  A man lost his young wife, to whom he had been married only four months, in the fire; he is seeking her remains, half distracted, among the ruins. A girl was found in convulsions in the Fulton ferry-house. Having been burned out and lost everything, she wandered a while homeless and then took laudanum to kill herself. A corpse has been disinterred grasping in one hand charred ledgers, in the other some gold, a clerk they suppose, the Chevalier of the counting-room, vowed to Duty to the last moment of his life.

  Our friend, Mrs. Greeley, is more dejected than ever; indeed she has much cause, but I cannot now speak of this. I gave her all from your letters I could, and all your messages, except what related to going abroad. It only unsettles her to think of that, and I fear Mr. Greeley would never consent, now they have the child.


The letter from Mr. Bancroft is received and accompanies this in an envelope from me. I hope, it will not fail to reach you; if it should by any chance, Fate must have determined to leave you entirely to the impression made by your personal presence.

Sunday, 27th.

  I am anxious you should take pencil-notes as you used to sometimes, of things as they rise in your mind and then write them out for me. I want the little thoughts and little feelings as well as the great results. Now, dear Friend, farewell! May we be tender and true, it was the motto of the noblest house of a noble race, and one that would do honour to any one and any related. Farewell.

  I will now begin upon another letter rather than spoil this by crossing.

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