From: Love-Letters of Margaret Fuller, 1845-1846
Published: 1903 New York
I will no longer delay my letter of regrets, for one such, I feel, must be written before the mind can shake off its weight of sadness, and turn to brighter things. To be sure, before you can receive it, these hours will be past with you, yet come back with me, and sit down here by my window, and share the feelings of this hour.
Ever since you went, it has been the most beautiful weather, such as we never had at all. I do not think, my friend, fate smiled upon us; how much cold and storm there was, how little warm soft air when we could keep still out of doors in peace, how much interruption throughout from other affairs and relations, and the cloud of separation threatening from the distance from the very first. One good month, containing unbroken days of intercourse, and with no thought of the future, would have been worth, in happiness, these five that we have known each other in such a way. But then, as we have met in common life, and amid all its cares and interruptions, all we do possess from one another is a more precious possession, for it is tested gold.
Yet I do wish we might have had together these glowing hours of the season’s pride; everything is so rich, so full and fragrant, with the warm breeze sighing all the time in excess of happiness. The roses are all out now, and the enchanting magnolia too, and oriental locust. All the fruit is turned red in the sunlight; that on my tree, to which you so sweetly likened yourself, glances like carnelians and corals among the leaves. All is full and lustrous, as it has not been and will not be again, for these first days of June are the bridal days of the year; but through all breathes to me a tone of sorrow, over all droops a veil. For I have lost my dear companion, the first I ever had who could feel every little shade of life and beauty as exquisitely as myself, whose strength gladdened and whose gentleness soothed me, and, wanting this finishing note, Nature herself pleases no more. It will not be so long, I trust, but it is so now.
When I had written the last words, I could write no more; all seemed too sad and heavy, and I went to take counsel of my pillow. Here I never fail to find comfort. Night seems to me the gentlest mother. We are taught in our childhood verses, to which I know not if you have anything corresponding in German:
Dear pillow, thou receive my head.
And this feeling of trust in the confidential, gentle night, that she will drive away dusky thoughts and needless cares, and bring sweet counsel and hope for the morrow, deepens in me year by year. It pleased me much when you told of your father taking the flowers to bed with him; he must have had the same feeling. And I was not disappointed, but awoke brightly this morning. But it is daily a sadness to me, again to go to the town and know I shall not find the little messenger with your letter. Out here I want you to enjoy the beauty of the solitude, in the city I feel alone among the multitude of men, because you are gone. Strange that there should be just one with whom I could hold deep sympathy, and just that one of all the thousands must go as I came. Ah well! I will fret as little as I can, but this sighing is of some use just to exhale one’s sorrow.
The day you went, I was interrupted by visits all the time. At night I had promised to accompany Mrs. Child and Mr. Benson to the Park theatre. There an actress, once beautiful and celebrated, whom Mrs. Child had raised from the most degrading fall, was to reappear before a New York audience. Mrs. Child, after attending her as a sister till she learned to love her as one, had secured her engagements in the other cities, and from the gutter (as one may say) she had come into the enjoyment of an honourable independence and respectable relations. But she had never revisited New York, which was the scene of her former degradation, till now, and was very nervous in the fear of being hissed. Mrs. Child had engaged me and the other friends to be present, to sustain her by our sympathy. But we were there only to heighten her disgrace; the poor woman, unable to sustain her anxiety, took some stimulant, and it set her quite beside herself. It was the saddest sight, to see her robed in satin and crowned with roses, ruining with ever word all her hopes of future ease or peace, till no resource seemed left her but suicide (for she is unfit for anything but her profession to which she was educated) and dealing such blows on hearts which had shown her real disinterested love. Although I had felt averse to going, because it was the day of your parting, and it would have been best to be alone and still, I became painfully interested. But in the very midst my heart beat suddenly; your image rose before me. I could think of nothing else for a long time; you must, I think, have called me that evening, as you looked out on the blue waters. Afterward, as I witnessed Mrs. Child’s trouble, I thought of you, and that your labour of love, to which you have sacrificed so much, and me and this summer among others, was at least likely to end well. That is a rare blessing in this tangled world, to bring a good to fulfilment, even by great sacrifices. Write me all you can about this, for I feel deeply interested.
After all I forgot to say to you, what I meant about Mrs. Child’s marriage, and it comes à propos to this event. It was this, that with great affectionateness and love of disinterested action, she had not the surest instincts as to selecting objects or occasions, so that much which she has done has been of no good, except to her own heart. I know not, however, that in either of these cases she had much choice; she married very young, before she knew much of herself, and in the case of the actress she could not choose but do all she could for one, whom none else would help, and so she did it nobly, with the whole heart!
Since you went, I have been looking over “The Crescent and the Cross” a book of Eastern travels. There are in the Appendix “Hints to travellers in the East”—you may possibly not know all he mentions. Mr. Dell will easily get you the book, and it is worth your looking at.
Mrs. Greeley thinks a great deal about you; she was left with a perfectly sweet feeling, in which I rejoice. She has been in these days very tranquil.
I take Josey out with me. He is very gay, but does not mind me well. I cannot get him to go into the water at all; last night I had to ask some boys to throw him in. I shall not cross my letters much, though you did ask it, because I know, you will enjoy reading them more if I do not. I have arranged all yours in company with the white veil and the memorandum-book and some dead flowers that once bloomed sweetly in hours of sweet life, but have not had courage to read them yet. To our Father’s care commending you, lebewohl.
Please mention the receipt of each of my letters, that I may be sure none of them are lost.
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