From: Love-Letters of Margaret Fuller, 1845-1846
Published: 1903 New York
We said farewell the first day of summer and now it is the last. It is again Sunday, the same hour in the evening. I am by the window in the little study recess with the tree looking in, and the stars looking through it, “but where art thou!”
It is gone forever, the beautiful summer, when we might have been so happy together, and happy in a way, that neither of us ever will be with any other person. Oh, it is very sad! My friend, shed some tears with me.
Why, why must you leave me? If you had stayed, I should have been well and strong by this time, and had so much natural joy and so many thoughts of childhood! And you? have you gained much thus far?
I will write no more to-night. I am heartsick about it all. I am wishing so much for a letter, yet when it comes, how little it will be; letters are so little and you do not love writing; that makes it worse yet. O the summer! “the green and bowery summer! “ gone, irrecoverably gone!
Yet, all through it, have I been growing in the knowledge of you. You would be surprised to find how much better I know you than when we parted. But I should have been so much more happy in real than in the ideal intercourse! Why! Why? Yes I must fret, must, must grieve.
Last night came the wished for letter, dated Paris, 12th August. But dearest, it seemed cold and scanty. It was five weeks since I had had one; that is a long revolution for an earthly moon. She needs then to come into full light. You say “be embraced” but this letter is not an embrace, and that· was what I needed, to feel the warmth of your heart and soul; it would have enlivened me at once. Yet I do feel as if I lived in your thoughts constantly, as you do in mine, but the need of some outward sign is only the same as that you express about having with you no letters, “nothing to kiss”—it would be such a relief, and “cast a light upon the day, a light that would not go away, a sweet forewarning.” I acquiesce in what you say of the dissipating influence of travel, and that you will ever with me be truthful, nor profane the pen by writing from any but the mood you are in. This truthfulness, which has made us to one another all that we are, shall ever be welcome to me, however bitter the truths it may bring; but is it not true that you were chilled by not receiving a letter from me when you expected? Now this was in consequence of your own directions that I “should write by the two next steamers and not again till I heard from you.” I pray thee, if any disappointment of this kind occur in future, attribute it to misunderstanding or accident; I must change indeed, more than seems now possible, if I can voluntarily omit writing. On the contrary, it is a painful repression, that I cannot write far oftener. I feel peculiarly anxious on this point, because Mr. Greeley has twice now mislaid my letters when they were of importance and in both instances I have only discovered his having done so by accident. There is no help for this, as he is far more careful of my affairs than his own, and only at times, when he has some piece of writing in his head is so incurably careless. Promise me, then, that if any gap of silence should occur, you will attribute it to some such cause. I, on my side, have deep confidence in your honourable and tender care of me. I know, if you give yourself to other influences, it is not likely to be lightly or suddenly, for your nature is not light or shallow, and you are now a mature man, so I shall not lightly believe in your silence. I feel more apprehension on this subject, because once in my life, two consecutive letters, intercepted on their passage to me, occasioned great unhappiness to another, and in my mind would have left wonder and sadness always but for an accident that cleared all up. So, my loved brother, believe ever I hold thy hand, though the veil of darkness may have fallen so that thou canst not see where I am. And then, remember, that only a day or two before you went away, you talked of “whether a man of honour ought to seek Kingsbury” unless sure of being able to feel as much. And sometimes, when sadness oppresses me, and I might like to give way to all the impulses of my soul, I cannot but remember, that if sometimes you have called on me to do so at others there have been on your part careful limitations as to yourself, doubting the extent or permanence of your feelings for me.
Dearest, Heaven grant that all this may be tempered betwixt us to a permanent music; we have reason to hope it may be so, for Heaven alone has brought us near; no earthly circumstance favoured it at all. Yet again we may only be lent to one another for a season and then withdrawn for other duties and relations. The sense of this sometimes checks my feelings on their sweetest flight. All the flowers are worth cultivating; those which have on them the doom of mortality are even more touchingly beautiful that we must prize them to-day, since they have no to-morrow, but only the amaranth is worthy to be watered, the purple with our life-blood, the white with our holiest tears. Yet let not chance snatch anything from us, she is a wicked goddess and would not be especially kind to us, who have never been willing to trust her. For in this we are alike, looking forward, planning life. Enough! You will love me as much, as long, and as carefully as you can, will you not? For though the essence be indestructible, the crystal that incloses it may be broken, and the perfume escape–far into another life perhaps. I on my side will be equally careful, for though you are a strong man, I do not think you, in this sense, less delicate than I.
I wish, that I had written, if only that the letter might go with you into Switzerland. I think of you now beside those torrents or looking up to those sublime peaks, for which I have so longed in vain. You will have these holy places much to yourself, at least I see that a great proportion of the professed tourists and sketchers, who usually infest these beautiful scenes, have been kept away by the agitations of the country. And Rome—greet the Sistine and the halls of the Vatican for me, and say that I am no longer fevered to see them, for Rome has grown up in my soul in default of the bodily presence, nor could the interval of space hinder my communion with Domenichino, Raphael and Michelangelo. I am glad you begin to love pictures; that is a world by itself, and the true comfort from the strifes of this world to see human nature represented as it ought to be, as, yet, in some serene world, it must and will be. In Michelangelo you would find an echo to the deepest tones of Jewish inspiration, men and women sublimed to children of God and masters of Eternity.
In my letters of 1st and 15th August (three in all, long and—pardon me—too heavy, at least in a material sense) you will find what I say of your letters to the Tribune; the same applies to these. They are very good. I shall however remodel those I have now, a little, leaving out some particulars, that are better known than you suppose. Already you write well, and a year or two of composition for such purposes would correct trifling faults and give you full command of English. I hope you will continue as often and as earnestly as you can. Give next, letters from Paris (in full), from Switzerland, beautiful as that on the moon at sea. Rome in an all-hackneyed theme and by the most accomplished pens, but you will find somewhat of your own, no doubt. Do not describe outward objects there in detail: we know every nook of St. Peter’s, every statue, every villa by heart almost. But what you see characteristic and your own thoughts will interest.
Now if you want the particulars from the “Crescent and the Crown” I will inclose them with my letter.
After finishing the copy I lay down and fell asleep for a while, when that happened which has several times while you were here, when I had seemed to be put from you during an interview.
The next time I fell asleep, my spirit would seem to be drawn to yours and there soothed and cherished like a pet dove, till it came back in its native buoyancy and peace. I feel quite happy now, and I have you with me—as a river that has passed through another, rushes joyous and enriched on its course. Yet the time of words and discussions must come again, but do thou, oh Father, lead us through. Bless thy children!
You do not speak to me of the deep things of the Spirit, but you will in due time, and of the promises. But I will write no more, for there is neither time nor· word as yet. But sometime, surely, I shall have beautiful things to tell and to hear. How rejoiced was I to hear that the maiden is like to do so well. I had cumbered myself much since hearing that she could not go to her home. But I had not urged to see her and persuaded her to stay here, for I felt sure I could have had her well placed in Massachusetts. But now it is well and thy deed of love will yet, I trust, bear worthy fruits.
I live here still in extreme seclusion, too much—I believe—for my spirits. I have only been to Rockaway a few days; these I enjoyed much; it was transcendent moonlight all the time and then by day I was in the surf or riding fleetly on the noble beach.
At home the baby is my chief company, he grows more and more lovely and begins to talk; it is enchanting to see the faculties developed one after the other and learn yourself in the clear eyes of a child. His mother is well again. I am going to Massachusetts soon for a month and I need it, for there I shall be obliged or induced to keep in bodily motion all the time and not use my eyes for reading or writing. Josey is pretty well; I have given him up to the man again after taking care myself for some weeks. I had too much trouble, not with, but about him.
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