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not make myself understood : and I confess, when I think of the pain those feelings have cost me, and still more of that which is to come, I am sometimes inclined to attribute them to a false and overstrained refinement. But they have procured me happiness, too; and I would not part with the remembrance of a single hour of that, to get rid of all the pain : and the pain itself I would not exchange for what others call pleasure. I feel that I am wandering from the subject on which I sat down to write; but I dread to approach it; and, besides, I cannot help recollecting that I am addressing you for the last time in my life. For three years I have been silent;—for a whole life to come I shall be silent ;it is perhaps excusable, then, if I indulge myself in, for once, saying more than is absolutely necessary. When I am about to close my eyes voluntarily, at once, and for ever, on that light which has been the guiding star of all the better part of my life—which has led me to all the little good I have been able to reach, and turned aside my footsteps from so much of evil which they would have otherwise fallen into, it is surely pardonable if I gaze upon it for a moment, more fixedly than ever-and even if I turn back now and then to look upon it once again—that at least the remembrance of it may dwell with me after the reality is shut out for ever.
“ In what I have farther to say to you, I hope you will not think I use language which you ought not to hear. I know that there is only one occasion on which the laws of society allow a man to use such language, or a woman to listen to it; and this is precisely the opposite of that occasion. But I have lately learned, as it respects myself, to disregard those laws; for the penalties attendant on breaking them have already, in your case, been undeservedly inflicted on me; and I am now beyond their reach. And if this were not so, no one could be injured by those penalties but myself—least of all, you. All that the strictest advocates for the observance of those laws could say to you, if they knew you had listened to such language from me, would be, · You are about to become the wife of another. If the person who has used this language to you had chosen to keep his own counsel, he might still have been received by you as an acquaintance; but now he must of course be considered as a stranger.'
My chief object in writing to you is, first, to account to you for my choosing voluntarily to incur this penalty; and then, to take leave of you for ever -you, to whom my life, that part of my existence which deserves the name of life, has been silently, but not the less fervently devoted-you, to whom, indirectly, I owe every thing I have acquired of good, every thing I have escaped of evil; to deserve and to possess whose esteem and society has been my one undivided hope—to lose them, my one single fear. I know what you will say to all this : · But why should you become a stranger to me? Why should you willingly give up that which you profess to value? Why should you not still continue what I have always considered you—a friend ? But it must not be. We do not understand each other in the use of the terın : we never have-we never can. If I still continue to see you, it must be with real or apparent indifference. I must either change all my feelings to you, or disguise them. I cannot do the one, and I scorn to do the other: I never have done it. The confession I have now been making cannot be new to you. If I had thought it would be so, I should not have
made it: and yet, if it is not new to you, what am I to think of some of your past conduct towards me? I have for seven years of my life done little else but study the female character. I have had more and better opportunities of doing so than most ; and I think I am intimately acquainted with it: I cannot for a moment suspect you of having trifled with me—and yet—but I do not dare even to think of this part of the past now: when I do, it mingles itself with the present, and confuses together remembrances, and fancies, and hopes, till I know not which is truth, which illusion. Over and over again I entreat you to pardon me if I say any thing that is unpleasant to you to hear, or if I wander from the subject on which I profess to be writing. But I feel myself almost as unable to write to you with
collectedness, as I am to speak to you. In one word, the chief that I have to say is this : I cannot see you with feelings at all approaching to indifference, and therefore I must not see you at all. Nothing, then, remains for me to do, but to take leave of you—and in what terms am I to do this? I repeat, the confession I have been making must have been known to you before, and you must at the same time have con-) templated the state of things which I have told you I understand to exist at present, and which induces me to make this confession in plain words; and yet, when I said, the other day, that I should probably not see you again, you seemed quite surprised. What appeared to me to be a matter of course when I heard of what I have alluded to, appeared to come upon you as a thing you had never thought of or expected. I am totally at a loss to account for this; when I attempt to think of it, I forget the present, and hopes and wishes (idle and senseless oncs, I confess, and for which, perhaps, I deserve to suffer) come crowding upon me, and blend themselves with recollections of the
past and anticipations of the future, and for a moment cover every thing with sunshine : but the next moment, the present returns, and all becomes confused and dark. I dare not say more.
I now take my But do not suppose I have made any senseless and romantic vows and resolutions never to see you again, and so forth. I am too sensible of my own weakness ever to make a resolution on any subject, however trifling ; much less on important ones. I shall abstain from seeking to see you ; simply because it is the conviction of my reason that this will be the properest plan for me, and the most convenient one for you. If it were in my power, I would immediately leave England ; because then, and then only, I could be sure of myself. But I do not live for myself alone; and besides, I have not any present means of living away from here. If, then, while I am compelled to remain here, chance should throw me in your way, I cannot anticipate how I shall act. There are points on which I am the weakest of human beings. You know this : do not, then, judge harshly of me, if I should not act as you may expect, or think I ought to do. It is difficult enough to know what ought to be done; but always to do it, is not in human nature. Once for all, adieu.
“ One word more, and I have done. When I asked if I might write to you, you said, if I did, I must not expect you to answer me. I confess this determining beforehand that you could have nothing to answer to any thing that I could have to say, was what I did not expect. However, I told you that what I had to say did not require any
leave of you.
answer. So far as I know, it does not : if you should think so too, THAT will be the fullest answer you can give me; it will speak volumes. Among other things, it will, perhaps, make me look upon the future with indifference. But even that will never make me cease to look with delight upon the past. It will never make me forget the
I once knew. It will even render still more pure and sacred my feelings towards her, by teaching me to fancy that she has ceased to exist.”
Alas! when she ceased to love me, she did cease to exist-for mefor all the world--and, most of all, for herself! And when I ceased to love her, (which, contrary to the anticipation with which the above letter closes, I did the moment she had made herself the property of another), love itself ceased to exist for me: it became a name, a belief, an imagination-worst of all, a theory.
But there is one hope that still keeps my heart alive, in the midst of its desolation. If the soul is immortal, its affections are immortal too, and may be re-created, and raised even from the tomb where they have long lain buried. There is one person still in the world capable of bringing about this resurrection; and I have at least faith to believe in the possibility of it, and patience to wait for its consummation. A little while will determine
fate. In the mean time I abandon my intention of continuing these Confessions, and finally close them here.
SOCIAL GRIEVANCES. I am not going to write about any of those grievances which we encounter in the streets of London, the authors of which are menaced with “the utmost rigour of the law," and which the laws do sometimes visit with very extraordinary rigour ; but about some of those moral grievances that infest society, and for the authors of which no adequate punishment has yet been invented. In this age of legislation and improvement, when every one has a nostrum and a panacea, and every boysenator tries his “ 'prentice hand” on the constitution of the state and the institutions of the country, it is quite surprising that no philanthropist has drawn up a code criminel, by which some of the trespassers on social rights and the disturbers of social enjoyment may be brought to condign punishment. If any one, like myself, have the misfortune, for a misfortune sad experience shews it to be, to have a decent library and habits of retirement and study, he will know what it is to see some “ damned good-natured friend” calling in upon him in the midst of his pursuits, pestering him with unmeaning chatter, pulling down one book after another, with some insipid remark on each ; putting a question about one thing, and without waiting for a reply starting off to another subject; inquiring kindly after your health and your studies, and with a knowing leer hinting that he knows you are the author of an article in the last New Monthly; and "how was your tiff with Miss — settled ?" and a deal of this “skimble skamble stuff,” which is not valuable for its matter, and yet you cannot quarrel with him, because he has no intention to offend, and no notion that he is a bore. This sort of person is a grievance; and you cannot turn him out of the room, as it would be impolite; nor is there any method that I am aware of by which such an evil may be avoided.
The famous Mr. Boyle, who was “the father of chemistry and brother to the Earl of Cork,” used to insert an advertisement in the newspapers, stating, that on such and such days he could not receive visitors, as he should be engaged in his studies. This is an effectual preventive with such as read the newspapers, but with no others. Besides, it would hardly do for a Temple student, or “one of us,” to afiche himself in this way. As to your servant's denying you, it would obtain no more credit than Peter's did ; “Oh, no! my dear friend W. will certainly see me;" and in he comes. Now, as my servant is but“ a little peevish boy,” it is idle to expect he can oppose the entrance of some half a dozen acquaintance of this class whom it is my misery to be afAlicted with. These people are not essentially grievances, but are rather accidentally so: they have commonly some redeeming qualities about them, or they would not be tolerated for a moment; goodnatured, friendly, and obliging, but not aware that there
be times when their room is better than their company. This may
be called a private grievance.
There are also public grievances, such as you meet with in society, at assemblies, dinners, routs, &c. These, perhaps, are more endurable, because you share the annoyance with a great number; the ennui which is divided among numbers being less oppressive than when it falls on a single head. Each man lightens his neighbour's load; but the general mass of affliction is incalculable. Think of being placed opposite a young gentleman "just off his travels," a young Rapid, who has passed from Berlin to Naples in three months, and seen every thing worth seeing. Unless the fortunate youth is skilled in the art of being silent, he is sure to be the bore of the whole evening. Your “ picked man of countries” is pretty certain to engross a grea part of the conversation, and deluge the table with the narration of his “ hair-breadth escapes" from Neapolitan banditti, or his critiques on Italian art and German literature. Every thing is converted into matter for illustration; and “ when I was in Vienna, &c.” “my friend the Baron von
,” or “Il Principe di -, &c." His ideal is Young Wilding. He has an excessive familiarity with the various courts of Europe; tells how he
“ Saw every court, heard every king declare
Judicious drank, and greatly daring dined.” If you talk of St. Paul's, he informs you it is not so large as St. Peter's ; if you have been at the exhibition, Sir T. Lawrence is not equal to Raphael, or Fuseli to Titian, especially in colouring. He tells you that the Bay of Naples is finer than that of Dublin. If you say your health suffers from town, he admits the insalubrity of smoke, but doubts if the mal-aria of Rome be not more perilous.
The utility of foreign travel, in polishing the manners and liberalizing the mind, no one can dispute. But travel, like dancing, should be seen in the general grace it Aings over the carriage; no one should be always “prating of his whereabouts.” In this respect one might as well remain at home, if all that is derived from going abroad is the
privilege of saying, “I was there and there.”—“Can't you say so ?" said an old friend to some youth who was wishing he could say he had been at Rome. This sort of bore is less sound at heart than the other. He is generally empty-headed and vain ; is inflated with wild conceits of his own superiority, and utterly careless of the common rights of conversation and the bienséance of good company. It may be doubted, whether there is not a right, a kind of common-law right, in all society, to abate a nuisance of this kind, by forthwith expelling it. At any rate, after fair means have been tried, forcible ejectment seems very permissible.
There is a sort of equality in society which no man is permitted to violate. No one may arrogate to himself what is the common right of all. Conversation is a property of which all are tenants in common. No one has the right to eject his neighbour. Its value is in the reverse of the old man's bundle of sticks—it should be separate, not joined. All are entitled to their tithe of talk. But if subjects which are of general interest become tiresome when engrossed by an individual, and blurted without respect to persons or times, what shall we say of those who introduce others of partial importance and confined knowledge ? The university men are noted for this ; more particularly the Cantabs. I dread to meet a man of that university in statu pupillari, or any where under the degree of M. A. The very sight of him destroys my appetite. I am sure to have the whole calendar rehearsed. The jokes of St. John's, and the rerbiage of Trinity, float before my prophetic sight. The talent of this man, and the degree of that, the examinations, the rows, all stand in dread array before me. There is a strange tendency to the shop amongst the Cambridge men. It arises, no doubt, from their imperfect acquaintance with society, and the esprit de corps, which is so exclusively cherished at that university. They seem to think that what is going on there, in a few brick courts, on the banks of a muddy brook in the fens of Cambridgeshire, is of importance to the world. I recollect once, when the proctors were putting down a debating-club, one of the young Cicero's cried out “Let us preserve our dignity in this last hour of our political existence–let us remember that the eyes of Europe are upon us.” The same notions of importance, the same spirit of corporation, and oneness of topic, is brought with them to town. To meet with two of them at a dinner-table is an awful thing. No one understands their cant phrases, or their domestic allusions, and yet every one is compelled to listen to their interlocution and the respective merits of antiquities and geometry-"Does Simpson read with Professor Wigsby this vacation ?” “ Will Jenkins be senior wrangler?” or, “ Hopkins must get the medal.”—If the name of any public man is mentioned, “He must be a great man; he was third wrangler in Tompkins' year." Every man's capacity is tried by the scale of college honours. The calendar is his Bible, it is the gauge in which he takes measure of a man's mind, the horoscope in which he reads future fortunes. Every man is great or little, as he was or was not of Cambridge. The Cantab criticises your expressions, and objects to your opinions. He thinks in a diagram-he is analytic in his eating. If twenty years ago you were of that university, he immediately pours out his budget, and travels over the history of your own times. If you were not there, he will condescend to tell
you have lost. If he be of Trinity, he is lordly and scornful; if of St. John's,