Letter XV.

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

Waverly Place,
Sunday afternoon, 6th April, 1845.

  Can my friend have a doubt as to the nature of my answer? Could the heart of woman refuse its sympathy to this earnestness in behalf of an injured woman? Could a human heart refuse its faith to such sincerity, even if it had accompanied the avowal of error?

  Heaven be praised that it does not! Some of your expressions, especially the use of the word “atonement” had troubled me. I knew not what to think. Now I know all and surely all is well.

  The first day we passed together, as you told me of your first being here, when you came to the telling the landlord so ingenuously, that you had no money, and said” the tears ran down my boyish cheeks” my heart sprang toward you and across the interval of years and I stood beside you and wiped away those tears and told you they were pearls consecrated to Truth. You said you “would not do so now” but I believe you would act now with the same truthfulness, though in a different manner as becomes the man, according to the degree, in which circumstances should call on you. And so it is—There are no tears nor cause to shed any; I need not approach so tenderly as I might have to the boy, but if it be of avail to bless you, to express a fervent hope that your great and tender soul may harmonize all your nature more and more, and create to itself a life, in which it may expand all its powers, this hope, this blessing take from the one in whom you have confided, and never again fear that such an experiment may fail.

  Indeed I have suffered much since receiving the letter. I came into town yesterday with that winged feeling, that often comes with the early sunshine. When the letter came, I could not wait, and though there was only time for a glance upon it, a cold faintness came upon me. I took off the flowers I had put on, expressive of my feelings a little hour before, and gave them to the blind girl, for I almost envied her for being in her shut up state less subject to the sudden shocks of feeling. For there I read at once the exact confirmation of what had been told me of your position, and could not read the whole, to be soothed by its sense and spirit. For this day had been given to others, and the evening to a circle of new acquaintance. Not till I went to my room for the night was there any peace or stillness and all things swam before me, so I felt the falsity of the position in which you had placed yourself, that you had acted a fiction, and though from honourable, nay, from heroic, motives, had endured the part of a rogue. I felt, too, that you had probably been tempted by the romance of the position and with a firmer, clearer determination to acknowledge with simplicity, might have found some other way. . . .

  I had placed the letter next my heart and all day it seemed to comfort me and assure me, that when I would be once alone, peace would come: and it has come. . . .

  As to our relations, I wish these circumstances to make no difference in them in private nor as to being together in public. Now that I know all, and have made up my own mind, I have no fear nor care. I am myself exposed to misconstruction constantly from what I write. Blame cannot hurt me, for I have not done wrong, and have too much real weight of character to be sunk, unless by real stones of offence being attached to me. As I feel for myself, so do I for a friend. You are noble. I have elected to abide by you. We will act, as if these clouds were not in the sky.

  My feeling with you was so delightful. It was a feeling of childhood. I was pervaded by the ardour, upborne by the strength of your nature, gently drawn near to the realities of life. I should have been happy to be thus led by the hand through green and sunny paths, or like a child to creep close to the side of my companion, listening long to his stories of things, unfamiliar to my thoughts. Now this deeper strain has been awakened; it proves indeed an unison, but will the strings ever vibrate to the lighter airs again?

  And now farewell. Come to see me so soon as you will and may. Farewell and love ever your friend.

  P. S. I stay here to-day but go back to the Farm to-morrow morning. As to your letter, I cannot yet part with it; at present it is safe as myself and before you go, shall be disposed of, as you desire. I feel as if I had not expressed enough my deep interest in what you have done, but it was because of beginning with a sense that you must know that-and the wish to satisfy you as to myself. You will read, I believe, what was left unwrit.

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