It need hardly be said that the woman by whom these letter were written

had no thought that they would be read by anyone but the person to whom

they were addressed. But a request, conveyed under circumstances which

the writer herself would have regarded as all-commanding, urges that

they should now be given to the world; and, so far as is possible with a

due regard to the claims of privacy, what is here printed presents the

letters as they were first written in their complete form and sequence.

Very little has been omitted which in any way bears upon the devotion of

which they are a record. A few names of persons and localities have been

changed; and several short notes (not above twenty in all), together

with some passages bearing too intimately upon events which might be

recognized, have been left out without indication of their omission.

It was a necessary condition to the present publication that the

authorship of these letters should remain unstated. Those who know will

keep silence; those who do not, will not find here any data likely to

guide them to the truth.

The story which darkens these pages cannot be more fully indicated while

the feelings of some who are still living have to be consulted; nor will

the reader find the root of the tragedy explained in the letters

themselves. But one thing at least may be said as regards the principal

actors--that to the memory of neither of them does any blame belong.

They were equally the victims of circumstances, which came whole out of

the hands of fate and remained, so far as one of the two was concerned,

a mystery to the day of her death.


Beloved: This is your first letter from me: yet it is not the first I have

written to you. There are letters to you lying at love's dead-letter

office in this same writing--so many, my memory has lost count of them!

This is my confession: I told you I had one to make, and you laughed:--you

did not know how serious it was--for to be in love with you long before

you were in love with me--nothing can be more serious than that!

You deny that I was: yet I know when you first really loved me. All at

once, one day something about me came upon you as a surprise: and how,

except on the road to love, can there be surprises? And in the surprise

came love. You did not _know_ me before. Before then, it was only the

other nine entanglements which take hold of the male heart and occupy it

till the tenth is ready to make one knot of them all.

In the letter written that day, I said, "You love me." I could never

have said it before; though I had written twelve letters to my love for

you, I had not once been able to write of your love for me. Was not

_that_ serious?

Now I have confessed! I thought to discover myself all blushes, but my

face is cool: you have kissed all my blushes away! Can I ever be ashamed

in your eyes now, or grow rosy because of anything _you_ or _I_ think?

So!--you have robbed me of one of my charms: I am brazen. Can you love

me still?

You love me, you love me; you are wonderful! we are both wonderful, you

and I.

Well, it is good for you to know I have waited and wished, long before

the thing came true. But to see _you_ waiting and wishing, when the

thing _was_ true all the time:--oh! that was the trial! How not suddenly

to throw my arms round you and cry, "Look, see! O blind mouth, why are

you famished?"

And you never knew? Dearest, I love you for it, you never knew! I believe

a man, when he finds he has won, thinks he has taken the city by assault:

he does not guess how to the insiders it has been a weary siege, with

flags of surrender fluttering themselves to rags from every wall and

window! No: in love it is the women who are the strategists: and they have

at last to fall into the ambush they know of with a good grace.

You must let me praise myself a little for the past, since I can never

praise myself again. You must do that for me now! There is not a battle

left for me to win. You and peace hold me so much a prisoner, have so

caught me from my own way of living, that I seem to hear a pin drop

twenty years ahead of me: it seems an event! Dearest, a thousand times,

I would not have it be otherwise: I am only too willing to drop out of

existence altogether and find myself in your arms instead. Giving you my

love, I can so easily give you my life. Ah, my dear, I am yours so

utterly, so gladly! Will you ever find it out, you who took so long to

discover anything?


Dearest: Your name woke me this morning: I found my lips piping their song

before I was well back into my body out of dreams. I wonder if the rogues

babble when my spirit is nesting? Last night you were a high tree and I

was in it, the wind blowing us both; but I forget the rest,--whatever, it

was enough to make me wake happy.

There are dreams that go out like candle-light directly one opens the

shutters: they illumine the walls no longer; the daylight is too strong

for them. So, now, I can hardly remember anything of my dreams:

daylight, with you in it, floods them out.

Oh, how are you? Awake? Up? Have you breakfasted? I ask you a thousand

things. You are thinking of me, I know: but what are you thinking? I am

devoured by curiosity about myself--none at all about you, whom I have all

by heart! If I might only know how happy I make you, and just _which_

thing I said yesterday is making you laugh to-day--I could cry with joy

over being the person I am.

It is you who make me think so much about myself, trying to find myself

out. I used to be most self-possessed, and regarded it as the crowning

virtue: and now--your possession of me sweeps it away, and I stand crying

to be let into a secret that is no longer mine. Shall I ever know _why_

you love me? It is my religious difficulty; but it never rises into a

doubt. You _do_ love me, I know. _Why_, I don't think I ever can know.

You ask me the same question about yourself, and it becomes absurd,

because I altogether belong to you. If I hold my breath for a moment

wickedly (for I can't do it breathing), and try to look at the world

with you out of it, I seem to have fallen over a precipice; or rather,

the solid earth has slipped from under my feet, and I am off into

vacuum. Then, as I take breath again for fear, my star swims up and

clasps me, and shows me your face. O happy star this that I was born

under, that moved with me and winked quiet prophecies at me all through

my childhood, I not knowing what it meant:--the dear radiant thing

naming to me my lover!

As a child, now and then, and for no reason, I used to be sublimely

happy: real wings took hold of me. Sometimes a field became fairyland

as I walked through it; or a tree poured out a scent that its blossoms

never had before or after. I think now that those must have been moments

when you too were in like contact with earth,--had your feet in grass

which felt a faint ripple of wind, or stood under a lilac in a drench of

fragrance that had grown double after rain.

When I asked you about the places of your youth, I had some fear of

finding that we might once have met, and that I had not remembered it as

the summing up of my happiness in being young. Far off I see something

undiscovered waiting us, something I could not have guessed at

before--the happiness of being old. Will it not be something like the

evening before last when we were sitting together, your hand in mine,

and one by one, as the twilight drew about us, the stars came and took

up their stations overhead? They seemed to me then to be following out

some quiet train of thought in the universal mind: the heavens were

remembering the stars back into their places:--the Ancient of Days

drawing upon the infinite treasures of memory in his great lifetime.

Will not Love's old age be the same to us both--a starry place of


Your dear letter is with me while I write: how shortly you are able to

say everything! To-morrow you will come. What more do I want--except

to-morrow itself, with more promises of the same thing?

You are at my heart, dearest: nothing in the world can be nearer to me

than you!


Dearest and rightly Beloved: You cannot tell how your gift has pleased me;

or rather you _can_, for it shows you have a long memory back to our first

meeting: though at the time I was the one who thought most of it.

It is quite true; you have the most beautifully shaped memory in

Christendom: these are the very books in the very edition I have long

wanted, and have been too humble to afford myself. And now I cannot stop

to read one, for joy of looking at them all in a row. I will kiss you

for them all, and for more besides: indeed it is the "besides" which

brings you my kisses at all.

Now that you have chosen so perfectly to my mind, I may proffer a

request which, before, I was shy of making. It seems now beneficently

anticipated. It is that you will not ever let your gifts take the form

of jewelry, not after the ring which you are bringing me: _that_, you

know, I both welcome and wish for. But, as to the rest, the world has

supplied me with a feeling against jewelry as a love-symbol. Look

abroad and you will see: it is too possessive, too much like "chains of

office"--the fair one is to wear her radiantharness before the world,

that other women may be envious and the desire of her master's eye be

satisfied! Ah, no!

I am yours, dear, utterly; and nothing you give me would have that sense:

I know you too well to think it. But in the face of the present fashion

(and to flout it), which expects the lover to give in this sort, and the

beloved to show herself a dazzling captive, let me cherish my ritual of

opposition which would have no meaning if we were in a world of our own,

and no place in my thoughts, dearest;--as it has not now, so far as you

are concerned. But I am conscious I shall be looked at as your chosen; and

I would choose my own way of how to look back most proudly.

And so for the books more thanks and more,--that they are what I would

most wish, and not anything else: which, had they been, they would still

have given me pleasure, since from you they could come only with a good

meaning: and--diamonds even--I could have put up with them!

To-morrow you come for your ring, and bring me my own? Yours is here

waiting. I have it on my finger, very loose, with another standing

sentry over it to keep it from running away.

A mouse came out of my wainscot last night, and plunged me in horrible

dilemma: for I am equally idiotic over the idea of the creature trapped

or free, and I saw sleepless nights ahead of me till I had secured a

change of locality for him.

To startle him back into hiding would have only deferred my getting

truly rid of him, so I was most tiptoe and diplomatic in my doings.

Finally, a paper bag, put into a likely nook with some sentimentally

preserved wedding-cake crumbled into it, crackled to me of his arrival.

In a brave moment I noosed the little beast, bag and all, and lowered

him from the window by string, till the shrubs took from me the burden

of responsibility.

I visited the bag this morning: he had eaten his way out, crumbs and

all: and has, I suppose, become a fieldmouse, for the hay smells

invitingly, and it is only a short run over the lawn and a jump over the

ha-ha to be in it. Poor morsels, I prefer them so much undomesticated!

Now this mouse is no allegory, and the paper bag is _not_ a diamond

necklace, in spite of the wedding-cake sprinkled over it! So don't say

that this letter is too hard for your understanding, or you will

frighten me from telling you anything foolish again. Brains are like

jewels in this, difference of surface has nothing to do with the size

and value of them. Yours is a beautiful smooth round, like a pearl, and

mine all facets and flashes like cut glass. And yours so much the

bigger, and I love it so much the best! The trap which caught me was

baited with one great pearl. So the mouse comes in with a meaning tied

to its tail after all!


In all the world, dearest, what is more unequal than love between a man

and a woman? I have been spending an amorous morning and want to share it

with you: but lo, the task of bringing that bit of my life into your

vision is altogether beyond me.

What have I been doing? Dear man, I have been dressmaking! and dress,

when one is in the toils, is but a love-letter writ large. You will see

and admire the finished thing, but you will take no interest in the

composition. Therefore I say your love is unequal to mine.

For think how ravished I would be if you brought me a coat and told me

it was all your own making! One day you had thrown down a mere

tailor-made thing in the hall, and yet I kissed it as I went by. And

that was at a time when we were only at the handshaking stage, the

palsied beginnings of love:--_you_, I mean!

But oh, to get you interested in the dress I was making to you

to-day!--the beautiful flowing opening,--not too flowing: the elaborate

central composition where the heart of me has to come, and the wind-up

of the skirt, a long reluctant tailing-off, full of commas and colons of

ribbon to make it seem longer, and insertions everywhere. I dreamed

myself in it, retiring through the door after having bidden you

good-night, and you watching the long disappearing eloquence of that

tail, still saying to you as it vanished, "Good-by, good-by. I love you

so! see me, how slowly I am going!"

Well, that is a bit of my dress-making, a very corporate part of my

affection for you; and you are not a bit interested, for I have shown

you none of the seamy side; it is that which interests you male

creatures, Zolaites, every one of you.

And what have you to show similar, of the thought of me entering into

all your masculine pursuits? Do you go out rabbit-shooting for the love

of me? If so, I trust you make a miss of it every time! That you are a

sportsman is one of the very hardest things in life that I have to bear.

Last night Peterkins came up with me to keep guard against any further

intrusion of mice. I put her to sleep on the couch: but she discarded

the red shawl I had prepared for her at the bottom, and lay at the top

most uncomfortably in a parcel of millinery into which from one end I

had already made excavations, so that it formed a large bag. Into the

further end of this bag Turks crept and snuggled down: but every time

she turned in the night (and it seemed very often) the brown paper

crackled and woke me up. So at last I took it up and shook out its

contents; and Pippins slept soundly on red flannel till Nan-nan brought

the tea.

You will notice that in this small narrative Peterkins gets three names:

it is a fashion that runs through the household, beginning with the

Mother-Aunt, who on some days speaks of Nan-nan as "the old lady," and

sometimes as "that girl," all according to the two tempers she has about

Nan-nan's privileged position in regard to me.

You were only here yesterday, and already I want you again so much, so


Your never satisfied but always loving.


Most Beloved: I have been thinking, staring at this blank piece of paper,

and wondering how _there_ am I ever to say what I have in me here--not

wishing to say anything at all, but just to be! I feel that I am living

now only because you love me: and that my life will have run out, like

this penful of ink, when that use in me is past. Not yet, Beloved, oh, not

  • writer [´raitə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.作者;作家   (初中英语单词)
  • devotion [di´vəuʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.献身;忠诚;热爱   (初中英语单词)
  • indication [,indi´keiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.指示;征兆,迹象   (初中英语单词)
  • tragedy [´trædʒidi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.悲剧;惨案;灾难   (初中英语单词)
  • equally [´i:kwəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.相等地;平等地   (初中英语单词)
  • mystery [´mistəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.神秘;秘密;故弄玄虚   (初中英语单词)
  • waiting [´weitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.等候;伺候   (初中英语单词)
  • surrender [sə´rendə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.&n.交出;引渡;放弃   (初中英语单词)
  • otherwise [´ʌðəwaiz] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.另外 conj.否则   (初中英语单词)
  • willing [´wiliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.情愿的,乐意的   (初中英语单词)
  • altogether [,ɔ:ltə´geðə] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.完全;总而言之   (初中英语单词)
  • daylight [´deilait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.日光;黎明   (初中英语单词)
  • curiosity [,kjuəri´ɔsiti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.好奇;奇事;珍品   (初中英语单词)
  • yesterday [´jestədi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&ad.昨天;前不久   (初中英语单词)
  • breath [breθ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.呼吸;气息   (初中英语单词)
  • childhood [´tʃaildhud] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.幼年(时代);早期   (初中英语单词)
  • knowing [´nəuiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.会意的,心照不宣的   (初中英语单词)
  • contact [´kɔntækt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.接触;联系 v.联络   (初中英语单词)
  • twilight [´twailait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.黎明;黄昏   (初中英语单词)
  • overhead [´əuvə,hed] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.当头 a.在头上的   (初中英语单词)
  • universal [,ju:ni´və:səl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.宇宙的;普遍的   (初中英语单词)
  • shortly [´ʃɔ:tli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.立刻,马上;不久   (初中英语单词)
  • beloved [bi´lʌvd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.为….所爱的 n.爱人   (初中英语单词)
  • humble [´hʌmbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.谦卑的 vt.贬抑   (初中英语单词)
  • welcome [´welkəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.受欢迎的;可喜的   (初中英语单词)
  • harness [´hɑ:nis] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.上马具 n.马具   (初中英语单词)
  • captive [´kæptiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.俘虏;捕获物   (初中英语单词)
  • conscious [´kɔnʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.意识的;自觉的   (初中英语单词)
  • running [´rʌniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.奔跑的;流动的   (初中英语单词)
  • startle [´stɑ:tl] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.使吃惊,使惊跳   (初中英语单词)
  • therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&conj.因此;所以   (初中英语单词)
  • parcel [´pɑ:sl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.包裹;一批 vt.区分   (初中英语单词)
  • beginning [bi´giniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开始,开端;起源   (初中英语单词)
  • bearing [´beəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.举止;忍耐;关系   (高中英语单词)
  • publication [,pʌbli´keiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.发表;公布;发行   (高中英语单词)
  • confession [kən´feʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.招供;认错;交待   (高中英语单词)
  • radiant [´reidiənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.发光的 n.光源(体)   (高中英语单词)
  • ripple [´ripəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.涟漪 v.(使)起涟漪   (高中英语单词)
  • infinite [´infinit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无限的,无穷的   (高中英语单词)
  • edition [i´diʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.版本;很相似的   (高中英语单词)
  • perfectly [´pə:fiktli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.理想地;完美地   (高中英语单词)
  • jewelry [´dʒu:əlri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.珠宝(饰物)   (高中英语单词)
  • cherish [´tʃeriʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.珍爱;怀有(感情)   (高中英语单词)
  • concerned [kən´sə:nd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有关的;担心的   (高中英语单词)
  • locality [ləu´kæliti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.位置,地区,发生地   (高中英语单词)
  • composition [,kɔmpə´ziʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.写作;作曲;作品   (高中英语单词)
  • saying [´seiŋ, ´sei-iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.言语;言论;格言   (高中英语单词)
  • narrative [´nærətiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.叙述的 n.记事   (高中英语单词)
  • privacy [´praivəsi, -pri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.隐退;独处;秘密   (英语四级单词)
  • brazen [´breizən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.黄铜制的;无耻的   (英语四级单词)
  • ambush [´æmbuʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.埋伏(地点);伏兵   (英语四级单词)
  • trying [´traiiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.难堪的;费劲的   (英语四级单词)
  • precipice [´presipis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.悬崖;危急的处境   (英语四级单词)
  • drench [drentʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.湿透,浸透   (英语四级单词)
  • starry [´stɑ:ri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.星光照耀的,闪亮的   (英语四级单词)
  • rightly [´raitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.正义地;正确地   (英语四级单词)
  • beautifully [´bju:tifəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.美丽地;优美地   (英语四级单词)
  • proffer [´prɔfə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.&n.提供;贡献   (英语四级单词)
  • envious [´enviəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.妒忌的,羡慕的   (英语四级单词)
  • tiptoe [´tiptəu] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.脚尖 vi.踮着脚走   (英语四级单词)
  • diplomatic [,diplə´mætik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.外交的   (英语四级单词)
  • unequal [ʌn´i:kwəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不平等的;不同的   (英语四级单词)
  • reluctant [ri´lʌktənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.勉强的;难得到的   (英语四级单词)
  • eloquence [´eləkwəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.雄辩;口才   (英语四级单词)
  • masculine [´mæ:skjulin] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.男性的 n.男子   (英语四级单词)
  • flannel [´flænl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.法兰绒   (英语四级单词)
  • intimately [´intimitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.密切地;熟悉地   (英语六级单词)
  • ritual [´ritʃuəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.典礼;礼节 a.典礼的   (英语六级单词)
  • sleepless [´sli:pləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.失眠的;寂静的   (英语六级单词)
  • privileged [´privilidʒd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有特权的;特许的   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:55:59
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