Letter XLVII.

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

New York, 31st Dec., 1845.

  I have waited till the last moment, dear friend, hoping to hear from you again before writing. I have received only one letter in the course of more than three months. That was dated Florence 27th September but did not reach me till 1st December, nor till I had felt much troubled by so long a pause. You had not then had any letters from me since leaving England, but as I knew by a letter from Mr. Delf, that they would reach you in Rome by the middle of October, I have been expecting ever since to hear from you in answer to them. But not a word! I feel entirely unlike writing without hearing, nor would I, but that you express a strong wish to find letters in Hamburg on your arrival, and now the semi-monthly steamers have stopped for the winter, I shall not have a chance to send quick again before 1st February if I do not write by this one.

  You said in the letter from Florence that you told me you “would not be able to keep up a real correspondence with me while absent.” But, on the contrary, while here, you used always to be telling me that you could not write, because people interrupted you at the office, or because you had a person with you at home, whom you did not wish to see you writing the letters. I often felt as if you sacrificed both writing to me and seeing me to trifles, and wished it had been otherwise, for I thought the greater was sacrificed to the lesser, even according to your own view of our relation. Still I did not listen to these feelings, as they were superficial, compared with that of the inevitableness and deep root in the character of both, of the bond between us. But when urging me to write at our last meeting you said expressly “I have not been able to write as I would, but I shall now and shall answer in full, if you will write.”

  You are your own master, at present; you have no companions, unless from choice, nothing to interrupt you. You are amid the scenes and impressions, it seems to me, most congenial with the thought of me, and if you cannot write now, when, my friend, could you?

  I am deeply touched by what you say of not finding help as to repose of mind or religion. Many considerations have occurred to me as to the burning pain which the wrongs and woes of men cause you. But I will not write them yet, hoping we shall meet again, when they can in full be expressed and you see whether you find any worth in them.

  I feel much disappointed to find that you cannot, after all, go to the East this winter. It was all useless then for you to hurry away. You might have stayed longer and last summer not have been lost. And how will it be now? Shall you not return here in the spring? Shall you go to the East another autumn? Shall you give it up altogether? Write me of this as soon as possible.

  I am glad but not surprised that the great works of art have become familiar to you. But you will find deeper and deeper senses as you look more. I am glad and a little surprised that the Medicean Venus did not please you. I want much to know what you saw in Rome. And Naples? you are going there surely? There and in Switzerland it was my place to have been with you.

  We have lately had published here books ot travel very minute about Switzerland by Mr. Cheever who saw a great deal, but mixed it all up with sectarianism and books, and by Mr. Headley who has a real love of natural beauty and picturesque power in describing it. Mr. Headley is one of the few entertaining persons I know here; he is full of vivacity and feeling, quick it not deep, and sparkles along in talk very pleasantly.

  I am boarding in town for the winter in an excellent house in Warren Street for the present. I find it a most agreeable change in point of order and com tort. The people in the house are such, as you, I suppose, have seen constantly, I scarce ever at all-men of business who seem like perfect machines. No wonder they wearied you to death! I see but little of them however, only at the table.

  I devote myself a great deal to the paper, as I am more and more interested by the generous course of Mr. Greeley and am desirous to make my own position important and useful. As I shall find no longer a home in the house of Mr. Greeley except for a brief space in the spring, I must therefore live at much greater expense, if I remain. They are to make me a new offer, as soon as they have settled up their affairs this new year. Mr. Greeley said, they should do all they possibly could for me. I shall remain till September at any rate, as he wishes much to be at liberty during the summer.

  As to other things, now I am in town, I make many acquaintance and see many amusing people and some who are very friendly to me, but none of deep interest. I feel very lonely, sometimes very sad, and I still pine for you, my friend, and that home of soul, where you used to receive me and strengthen me and all the flowers that grew from frequent meeting.

  I do not, indeed, feel separated from you; your silences or the want of personal intercourse does not seem to have that effect at all. When I am alone, your image rises before me, or indeed in the presence of others I sometimes am suddenly lost to them, and seem absorbed by this communion. But I do not feel refreshed or invigorated enough by this-there is a void, and I can only commend myself to the care of Heaven.

  I want to think that you feel the need of me in the same way and surely you must, yet I do not know how to understand some things in your letter; it was as if you said “do not think it is you I want” and then you say “do not misunderstand;” so I will not misunderstand, and therefore must let it all go, but that is difficult.

  I feel inclined to write no more “unless we can have a real correspondence.” What is the use of any other? I feel sick and my head aches at this moment. Do try to have things better. I beg you by that time when I left off taking care of myself and put it all into your care in holy keeping. You then gave me the veil, and whenever I look at it, it seems like peace and that thou must bring it to me.

  I suffer writing this letter; when it is gone, I may receive one that may make me feel so differently. I cannot help feeling jealous of you, knowing your nature, knowing you went away on your wanderings seeking new impressions. I never did, and never shall feel happy any way but in answering you. When you draw me, I like to come. I do not like to come of my own accord.

  You are now to be among your kindred. I do hope you will find joy in it, and that it may be possible to take up the ties, as if all these years had not passed between. May you be happy with mother and brethren; your sisters by blood I cannot permit to take the place of your sister of your soul.

  I want you to write me how they all strike you, but do not, loved friend, speak to them of me, except outwardly, as you have to Mr. Delf and others. I want the mysterious tie that binds us to remain unprofaned forever and that if in this cruel fatal sphere we are in, we have to bury the sweet form of the Past, that we should do it quite alone, we the only ones that could appreciate its budding charms, how lovely it was, and of capacity how glorious. Then we would weep together and part, and go our several ways alone; but we would tell no man. Promise me this.

  This is the last day of the year in which I have known you. It is just a year since we met. May our Father bless you and give to your other years joys, hopes and sorrows no less pure than these have been. Oh may he add tranquility and fruition. Do you bless me when you receive this and bend your mind to have me feel it.

  Mrs. Greeley has been in a sad state of mind and body, but seems a little better now. Her boy is beautiful, the picture of health and gaiety. Shall I send you at Hamburg the copies of the Tribune, containing your letters? how many? and how? Did you know my book on Woman, etc., had been republished in England?

All Sub-Works of Love-Letters of Margaret Fuller, 1845-1846:
PDF Sub-Works open in a new tab. Close the tab when done viewing to return here.