Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

That she was cruel to me; she was born
Mid your contentment; if you see her soon
Give her some message from me that may be,
Perchance, the herald of new intercourse.
The light is failing, ere I have said half
I wished to say, and I am weary, too.
But in a few days I will write again;

0 would it not (I dare not think it so)
Be possible for you to come to me?

1 could so comfort you.

I overlook

One portion of your letter. What, you say,
Would be my feelings if I saw my child
Followed through life by ignominious names?
What! Shall I for myself put trust in God,
And not commit my children unto Him?
It may be, by the time that they are grown,
The love we have believed in will be held
A thing to honour; if not, let it be;
If they have no name, God will give them one.

[ocr errors]

LETTER X.

LEONARD TO STEPHEN.

San Remo: Dec. 31, 18-2. I Write in great perplexity; my wife Has partly lost her reason; you are one Who knows our circumstances, also one Who knows where best to look for help in this Or similar cases; to the facts you know Add what I send you now; lay them before The most approved authority; I care not If you consult the College of Physicians From one end to the other; only spare No effort, no expense, to send me back Some sound advice. There is a doctor here, An Englishman, and not by any means

An ordinary man; but you will see
What makes it quite impossible to ask
His counsel here; indeed, his own advice
Turns in this same direction.

In three months
Myjwife will be a mother; this it is
That forms the groundwork of anxiety,—
Enough, God knows, just simply in itself.
Three weeks ago I had a letter from
Her mother, asking me to ponder well
My wife's position, and her coming child's
Before the world; this in itself was nothing;
Both she and I know well what we have done,
And would not, if we had to choose again,
Do otherwise; but with this letter came
One from a friend, sent just that I might know
How others looked upon me; (she herself,
As might be looked for in a mother who
Is loved by such a woman as my wife,
Gives me full credit, more than I deserve,

It may be, for good motives;) this sweet friend

Was one of those who think a bishop's hat

The emblem of salvation; she had taken

The counsel of another friend, a priest,—

A sort of' House-that-Jack-built' passing on

From one mouth to another ; for the priest

Has got a wife, and she, no doubt, again

Has other wives and other priests, and so

Ad infinitum; much am I surprised

That we have not been favoured with the thoughts

Of the fourteenth in order;—well, this friend

Had been so kind as not to hurl us both,—

Or rather, not my wife, for I was damned,—

Into perdition for our primal fault;

But held out little hope of anything

Except perdition, did we persevere

To mock ' God's ordinance,' and hide our sin

Beneath the shelter of those holy names

'Which are the Church's special right to give.'

(This passage I remember). Would you think

That dolts like these existed? If they read,

Without Church spectacles, the book they swear by,

They could not talk such nonsense for an hour.

I showed my wife these letters ; they were not

Intended for her eyes; perhaps I erred.

Of course the doctrine they were meant to teach

Was nothing to her; (let me press on you

The fact that, howsoe'er impossible

The world may think it, I have cause to know

That so far from a loss of self-respect,

Or purity, resulting to my wife

Through her departure from accustomed forms,

She gains in both; I never saw a woman

So self-respectful, or so feminine,

Or half so pure, not even Eucharis

Before she was my wife.) The doctrine, then,

This letter thought to teach concerned her not,

But there was poison in it for her peace.

She read it through, and then she turned to me

With eyes all streaming; 'It is tr"\' he said,

« AnteriorContinuar »