From: Love-Letters of Margaret Fuller, 1845-1846
Published: 1903 New York
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,
It is trust that I have been indulging myself day by day in writing to you, but “that letter” has swollen to such a bulk that it really seems wrong to send it, when it may have to travel after you from station to station till it comes to cost its weight in gold. Yet this circumstance seems but an outward obstacle expressive of the will of the spirit, that it will rather be trusted to communicate in full between us what is there stammered out with childish prolixity.
I will not however destroy the letter, perhaps on some future occasion I may send or show it you.
The Cambria brought yours with wonderful speed, full four days before I hoped. But now I fear, I must wait a long time, to pay for this favour of Fate. The Great Britain brought in all its mighty bulk not one little seed for my garden. I did not expect it, yet was disappointed; so unreasonable is affection.
The letters to the Tribune appeared on 8th August. By a mistake which I did not foresee, they mistook your J for an A. and the signature stands A. N. This shall be amended in future. They are under the head “Wayside Notes Abroad.” I have kept six copies for you. They did not need copying, and needed but little retouching, which I easily gave to your manuscript.
Pan is literally the All; it is the Universal Spirit best known in the Solitudes of Nature. As this did not correspond with what you wished to express I substituted the Oreads and Dryads. These are nymphs, representing, the first, the lights and shadows that play upon hills and open fields-the second the secret recesses of the woods, the trees and fountains. There is no god who stands both for free nature and agriculture, and those nymphs represent the aspect of a cultivated country interspersed with woods.
These first letters are written with freedom and sweetness, the facts selected are of a leading character, the second a beautiful poem. Truth to tell, I rather grudged it to the Public. Mrs. Greeley was charmed with the letters. Foster, one of our editors, asked if I had read them! expressed admiration of them and said, the image of the moon passing the pillars of her palace was entirely original yet reminded him of Shelley!
I hope you will follow it up by letters from London and Paris. Dr. Lardner writes us quite good business accounts of matters in Paris, but different things would strike you. I have been much interested by the letter of the Carpenters and the homage paid to the mother of the Carpenters by them!
My loved friend, I am deeply sorry that the affair that has troubled you so long finds not a definite and peaceful issue. There is somewhat, also, in the course of the maiden that strikes one painfully, but, perhaps, imperfect knowledge of the circumstances makes me unjust. Is it not possible I might aid you? My friend, Mrs. Farrar, is English; her mother, a benevolent old lady, widely acquainted with good people, lives in London. My pupil, Maria, who has been two years on the continent, will be there this autumn, in the house of this, her grandmother. She loves me much and would, I think, act energetically for me, if without acquainting her with the extra circumstances. I told her that a fair girl who had been in this country, and in whom I was interested, needed friends and employment. (So would Miss Martineau, if in London.) But perhaps they could not do better than the friend under whose care you have left her. But if you think they could, give me her name and address, and tell me just what to say about her. She may need female protection and the old lady, a Quaker, would be a refuge to her.
Whatever else this affair brings, believe that it has brought you a portion of immortal love. It is not only your noble frankness towards me, though you avowed to me the thoughts and possibilities, which prevented your first action in this case from being wholly disinterested and though the falsehood and other circumstances of your position were painful to me, yet I know, that your main impulse was always noble, and that the latter part of the time you acted solely from fidelity to the duty you had undertaken, and disinterested regard to its subject. The sense of this is immortal with me.
Yet I do ardently hope that you will now be able to find a clear path. Now is the crisis. You have great experience, great ideas, a religious heart and unbroken manhood. You ought to have a place, where you can act freely, and, so far as is given to men, bless and be blessed. We all ascend the mountain; some after conquering the obstacles near the base find a path amid lofty trees, and though they may have to climb over terrible rocks and be beset by wild beasts or fretted by thorns or hunger, still they have a distinct path, and are often comforted and animated by wide outlooks, or bright sunlight visiting them through the branches. But others have to cut wearily their course day by day through the thicket and never know their way nor their journey’s aim, till they see the stars from the top. May my brother be of the first! He would know how to use and enjoy a free life for himself and others.
You will laugh perhaps, but whenever I meet one of those wagons, labelled Rockland Lake Ice, I think it will all be well, that you will be the bearer of something as clear and refreshing in a more suitable vehicle, and I myself shall drink it in with the water and milk which every-day earth affords.
Much did I write of these and other matters in the big letter; especially was a deep mood, while staying last week in New Jersey, noted down. That was the 6th and 7th August. I made a request to you in the end. We shall see if you will not comply without being asked in words.
Your pictures are all correct, except that I do not go to the little wood. I have never, even with mother. I have been to the wall, but you always used to take me over, and now to get over by myself and walk there alone is too sad. I could not go. I pray for you sometimes on the rocks, but they are little fluttering prayers that may not rise very high. Yourself will be your own prayer, but I, if indeed your Muse, may help inspire you to make it earnest. I wear my prettiest dresses at those times that I go to think of you, as if you were here, but when I take Josey, he gets salt water all over them. I have not the heart, however, to be angry-he looks up with such loving eyes. When he is in the water, ever so far oW, if I make the least sound, he turns them right upon me. I am much troubled about him; his eyes looked so bad two or three weeks ago, that I begun to take all the charge of him, but he seems as yet little better, and a gentleman who was here yesterday, said they had an expression as if he would not live long. Would it not be a great grief to you to come back and find him not? Can you tell me what to do? The people round here say he should take sulphur, but Mrs. Greeley is not willing.
She has been quite ill and I now think it was nervous irritation that occasioned some appearances of which I wrote you. She is better. The baby is beautiful now. In each letter you have spoken’ as if you might remain in Europe; is anything now influencing you? You always said to me, you felt yourself permanently a citizen of the United States.
You expressed some care about me in addition to your other perplexities, but do not feel it; nothing threatens. near; there are causes that might break the domestic relations, but do not seem likely to the business ones. I feel fixed here for the present.
I passed some days last week in New Jersey of which was also some notice in the big letter. During my absence Mrs. P. stayed here. This lady does not improve upon me. Her conversation and temper of mind bear traces of much low converse.
I have had some congenial hours, for Mr. Emerson has been here two days, full of free talk and in serene beauty as ever; he went yesterday.
I am going to-morrow evening with Mr. Benson, to hear The Huguenots-since you did. It seems whimsical or like the influence of a star to go thus with your townsman. He is the bodily, you the spiritual presence of that Hamburg influence. I am inclined to scold Fate who has given him all the money and the broad place to stand on, and you chiefly the cares and scruples that haunt the life of trade, and certainly I see no propriety in her keeping him here and sending you there!
Yet are you with me more than ever, especially when I wake, so that I do not like to rise and break it all up. Always we were nearest at early morning and are so still. Is it that we have met in dreams or only that the mind has been refreshed by sleep?
I told you in the big letter of the next scene in the life of Mrs. Barnett and how she was befriended by one who had been her schoolboy lover. But I shall have occasion yet to tell you all these little things, for surely we shall yet sit together in the greenwood shade and reveal those finer facts or signs of life, that others do not appreciate.
Another thing I must quote from the bygone letter. Now you are in the region of artists will you not have your picture taken? If a good miniature on ivory is too great an extravagance, I have seen excellent likenesses in coloured crayons of large miniature size. But do not have it taken at all, unless it can be excellently well done.
Mrs. Greeley has just come in and sends her love, but I in vain suggest a kiss in return for the one she received by steamer last.
Keep by me and Josey—let me not go till the whole mystery be known. And now, at least with this pen, farewell, could but the words become instinct with the soul, how sweetly would they beam and breathe upon thee, liebster Freund.
By last steamer I sent two large letters from me and a circular from Mr. Bancroft, not all you need, I fear, yet hope it arrives safe.
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