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I

Tuesday Morn. Aug. 7.

I am never so happy as when employed in writing to my friend; and I am
willing to perswade myself that he recieves no less pleasure from answering
than I from the composition of my letters. What a scribbler have I suddenly
become! and how many of those hours do I now devote to the pen which
were formerly engrossed by the needle, and the book. It is true that your
performances have be made me more attached to my Music, than I have
formerly been. I pay more attention to it than is, perhaps, consistent with
a prudent distribution of my time, but that is of small importance
when compared to the time which I dedicate to our correspondence
I protest I think, that, if we proced, for a considerable period, in this manner
I shall begin to imagine myself your rival in composition. I know you
value yourself extreemly, and with justice, on the ease and vigour and
correctness of your Style. Be assured my friend I never shall be able to contend
with [gap] you in those quallifications, but in the facility of composition, a not
inaccurate and ungramatical facility, I really flatter myself that I shall
at no great distance of time, be equall to you. However, to whatever excellenc
I attain, it is to you only that I shall own myself indebted for it.

But is not this preeminence dangerous? Female vivacity and timidity spright
are agreable, to men of particular dispositions, in conversation, but it is it
possible to display these quallities with equal advantage, in writing?
Or in what species of compossition can wit and levity be seasonably and
judiciously exerted?

To me, however, the solution of these questions is of small importance
My disposition is naturally Serious. I too much resemble my beloved friend
in this respect, and as love, no less than friendship is founded on a conformity of
disposition, to this cause among others I attribute my affection for him. How
much more ear is my ear delighted in listening to thy amiable Enthusiasm
to those tender and pathetical effusions, that speaspeak the candour and Sincerity
of thy love, than to all the volubilities and prettinesses that compose a
fashonable Circle. Write to me as frequently as possible. I begin to be more
and more uneasy in your absence. Supply your absence with your letters,
but when it is possible to come to me in person I shall expect to see you
who in sleep or wakefulness are always present to the mind of
This devot



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P.S. Rachel will put this int your ‸ hand. A little gratuity would not be
amiss. Gratitude will render her more faithful and exact in
delivering my messages, than any orders or injunctions from me.
Such is her disposition, and it is surely laudable to profit by the
Knowledge of it. Farewell.


Answer:
II

Tuesday Afternoon. Aug. 7.

What obligations do you continually heap ‸ upon me! How shall I discharge
them? 0 loveliest of women! How inferior are the beauties of your person to those
of your mind! Surely nature formed ‸ has enabled thee, as thou art to arrive at at excellent without the
aid of education: With what emotion did I read your letter. How shall
I express my gratitude, my admiration? Surely you are jesting when
you compliment me on my Skill in composition. My dearest Harriet,
what excellences do I display or what opportunitis have ‸ are offered you to judge of
my proficiency in the art of writing. You have seen only those performanc
which were dictated by my passio love, which were produced at the
luminous, and impassioned moment in which all my faculties were
suspended in the contemplation of your charms. When my soul was
elevated far above its usual pitch, and endeavoured to pour itself fourth
at your feet. Is it to be wondered at that at such a moment officious
and unbidden ‸eloquences awaited at ‸ on my tongue ‸ lips? My conceptions are often too
big for words, they struggle in vain for utterance, and in the hurry and
confusion which their multitude, in ‸ thronging to my pen produces, I cannot
hesitate in the choice of words. Whichsoever first offer themselves,
are ‸ instantly adopted. I have no liesure to reflect and wayy ‸ weigh to and ‸ to chuse. I
am unsolicitous of elegance or accuracy, and I am satissfied with the
power of expressing myself intelligibly, regardless of that perspicuity
which results from the use of words consciously and deliberately selected
and arranged, and ‸ of that elegance which is the [gap] effect of painful
and laborious attention



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Why should I review and correct what I have written? And no otherwise
than by incessant revision and correction, can exactness be acquired.
Preposterous! I might with the same propriety, repeat what I say
to you personally, in order to discover and correct improprieties of Senti=
=ment or inaccuratecies in the expression. I am not that despicable
thing that mopes away my ‸ his hour in the dusk of a library, that
scrutinizes, with superfluous labour, the dress of borrowed or artificial
Sentiments. I deliver the Suggestions of my heart. I speak in my
native character. So rapid is generally the torrent of ideas, in writing
to my angel, that I cannot mark their relation connection and dependance,
and am sometimes fearful that the abruptness of my transitions
has occasioned some degree of obscurity. But art thou not animated
by a kindred Spirrit. Dost thou not honour me with thy regard
and avow a passion for me, not less sincere, though perhaps, less violent
and ungovernable than that ‸ which reigns over in my heart? Thou needest
not the aid of an Interpreter; Where to the vulgar Eye, or disinteres=
=ted eye, all is darkness impenetrable, to thine, whom love has
endowed with Sagacity.

A Christaline transparency prevails.

How was I affected by the conclusion of your letter. And am I, least of
creatures! condescending Angel! "always present to thy mind." How
does this goodness overwhelm me. You will make me mad. Heaven
be witness for me that your image is ingraven in my soul, that
death only can obliterate the impression. Death, did I say. Alas! I
should be miserable if I thought that, by death we should be separated ‸ disunited
forever, that the union of our minds would not continue to
eternity. You know I formerly doubted about the reality of a future
state. that doubt was always sufficiently terrible. But how hideous
would thit doubt now appear, when it would necessarily involve


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the possibility of separation from you. I have long since discounsted this
tormenting doubt in obedience to the command of my sovereign
Mistress. How can I believe that that thou wast unable to have
produced any arguments in defence of thy opinion. With what rapture
would I have listened to my beautious reasoner! Why should you refer
me to the learned lucubrations of rugged philosophers: you who are so
much better quallified to be my Instructress: but formal argument
was indeed wholly unnecessary: I should have derived pleasure rather
than instruction from it. For, my conversion to your doctrines was effected
by a single world. The simple declaration of your opinion was always
equivalent to demonstration.

Shall I ever forget the time and place in which that declaration
was made? Every circumstance is indelibly impressed upon my memory
The garden—The mild and tranquil evening—The cloudless sky—
The moon walking in her brightness. The deep the sacred silence
that prevailed around—when all the noises of a great metropolis
were hushed. When every thing conspired to fix my attention and
to sublime my spirrit into rapture. I saw thee before me thou
blooming Angel. I heard thy voice. What a revolution in my
sentiments produc did a few words produce.

My friend—my only friend. There exists a deity. He is wise
his benevolence is equal to his wisdom. Thou wast formed for happiness
but canst enjoy it only in eternity. Cans’t thou overcome thy
abhorrence of Non-existance? Canst thou derive pleasure but from
the prospect of immortality? Dost thou need a stronger proof that
thy being will never end? Unbelief is Misery. Why then wilt thou not
believe?

If the soul be matter, if our being be finite. The period of our
eternal separation will arrive. Do not you shudder at the thought?
Let me take thee to my arms, for this embrace may be the last:
I may never see thee more. When thou dyest I shall never see the more unless


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thy soul be immaterial and immortal.

Ah! thou heavenly preacher! Was it possible for me to withstand
such Rhetoric as this. Belief instantaneously shot into my mind. Luminous
as a beam of Revelation. That evening you appeared a thousand times
more amiable than before. Sublimest of creatures women! My love was
mingled with a sacred Awe. Your purity was heightened into Sancity.
The tenderness with which I before beheld was now in some degree converted int
veneration. I approached you with a kind of fear, such as may be supposed
to be nispired by the presence of a superior being, but Ah! I was alarmed
at these emotions. A Secret dread begin to take possession, of me. My
eye beheld a new object. I no longer saw the Harriot with whom I
had been just conversing. I saw a different personage. Whom my unworthiness
rendered it Sacriledge to touch, presumptuous to behold. “What (said I to
myself) is reverence to take the place of love Have I lost the Mistress
in the Angel? Then I am miserable.” But Ah! As soon as you touched
my hand, and pressed me to your bosom, how quickly did my terrors
vanish, and the the tide of all my former sensations return. What Miracls
cannot the inchantments of your touch produce. My reverence was not
diminished. You appeared equally sublime, exalted and adorable. And
yet, I perceived that you were still a woman, that to think of you with
melting fondness, was not criminal. To love you appeared not only
laudable ‸ innocent but, laudable. To be a duty indispensably incumbent upon
me.

Never did I leave you with more invincible reluctance. As soon as
you retired I sunk into despondency which I cannot describe. I lingered
involuntarily I could not force myself from your door. Gloomy and
dispirited, I walked homeward. Every step that carried me from you
seemed to carry me to a greater distance from happiness. I left the
highway and traversed the fields, in order to avoid the Sight of a human
creature, thought at that late hour it was not likely that I should,


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meet a single passenger in a road so unfrequented. I strayed I knew
not whither in the tall and thick grass. My knees were wet with
the dews, which appeared [gap] to be extreemly heavy. My hair was soaked
with moisture. Autumnal dews are fatal to my constitution, but I was
incensible of wet and cold. Never did the face of nature, appear more
desolate and gloomy. The moon seemed to struggle for a passage among
the clouds which now flew by from the south, and began to overspread
the Hemisphere. The landscape, as her glympses made it occasionally
visible, was absolutely hideous. Melancholy, in spite of all my efforts,
came over me. I wept and Sobbed I scarcely knew why. I was agitated by
conflicting passions. My Imagination accompanied you to your chamber
She is alone (said I.) Her coutch receives her. She sleeps. Why am I excluded
Would my presence profane the chamber! I yet feel the warmth of her
embraces. They have made me miserable. To what a precipice have they=
conducted me? I dare not—dare not, even in imagination contaminate
her angellic purity. Encircled by those arms and leaning on that bosom
Felicity unspeakable! And whych is it forbidden! She indeed gives me
much but how much does she withhold. Ah ! Wretch! —a wretch, indeed
a very wretch”—

I at length reached my chamber. I turned to the passage in
Comus, which you had, an [gap] hour before recited with a grace and
energy peculiar to yourself. I thought it would be effectually to allay
the tempest of my mind, but it availed nothing, and, according to
my usual custom, I had recourse to my pen, and wrote you that letter
for which you so often and severely chided me........

But surely pity was mingled with your anger—But death
shall overtake me ere I again offend. But why have I recalled these circumstan
to your memory? They are recent. And it is my interest that you should forget
them? I know not why. I will not be answerable for the deviations
and incertitudes of my pen. Thou enjoyest the peace of virtue. Thou art
Mistress of thy passions. Thy pen utters nothing but the dictates of truth.


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0! Impart to me a portion of thy magnanimity. Lead me to the
shrine of devotion and let thy idea be mingled with that of my
Creator and Preserver. Be my guide, my genius and my spouse


From Henrietta.
III

Wednes-day Morn.

I had not forgotten the affecting circumstances which you
mention. But the letter—Oh! My capricious and unaccountable friend! As
thou valuest the continuance of my regard, let me not again be affronted at
the mention of it. How would you be induced be to write in that inexcusably
licentious manner? —I read it with indignation and regret, but let this
be the last time, that you recall to my remembrance that epistle or the
circumstances which produced it. I shall ponder not forgive an second and equally
flagrant violation of decorum. I blush for you.

I could not forbear weeping over some parts of your letter. Why
will you continue to contend and ‸ write & cavil in such a manner as gives me
perpetual occasion to upbraid myself? Why will you so often give me
reason to ‸exclaim, “Lo! the ruins of the Noblest youth, that ever ‸ in the tide of
times” For surely he whose deportiment is regulated not by reason or
prudence, but by violent and dominering passion; whose being is perverted
from its original end, and ‸ whose mind is made the slave of phantoms and chimeras
may justly be considered as in ruins. Your Attachment is to me a source
of pure and exalted pleasure: pleasure interrupted ‸ or diminished only by the consciousness
that its effects upon yourself are very different. How far are you from
tasting that felicity which I enjoy. That stillness and repose, that mental
calm which only is worthy of the name of happiness. You pretend that
my inclination is your law, that my will will always be complied
with as soon as it is known. I can easily concieve a just idea of love
It appears to me to a simple intelligible and consistent. But thy love I
must confess to be wholly mysterious and absolutely inexplicable. For notwith-


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the absoluteness of my most reasonable commands, you obstinately refuse
obedience to them. It it not possible to subdue this contumacious dispositi
What think you ‸ my friend of an expedient which has just occurred to me?
Give me in your next letter your opinion of it. I think its success
will be infallable. It is this. I will immediately leave this City
and return to Connecticut. I will send you a letter, to be delivered to
you after my departure, in which I will solemnly renounce all
affection for you, declare, with all the virulence of female
indignation, that some parts of your conduct has mortally and
inexpiably offended me, and that hereafter no correspondence or
connection shall subsist between us. What sayest thou? I hope
thou wilt applaud the ingenuity of this contrivance. It will doubtly
be successful but another more important question with regard
to it remains to be considered, and that is whether it be practicable

Allas! I am apprehensive that its execution is impossible. I find, O
my beloved youth, that my soul is linked to thine by ties which
will not easily be broken. That nothing but part us necessity can
part us. Some other Scheme must ‸ therefore be discovered which may more
conveniently be carried into effect

But the disorder must be cured known before it can be cured.
What is thy disease my friend? The source of this perpetual inquietude?
Thou talkest very obscurely. —What! Dost thou regret the transformation
the fancied transformation of thy mistress into an angel; but her ‸ chamber, ‸ her coutch, ‸her he
Arms! Her Bosom! —Hah! I see—I see—How long has my Sagacity
slipt! Was it possible to be so blind? A precipice indeed! —Thou indeed
art rushing to a precipice, from which thou wilt fall, but not alon
Thy Henrietta will fall with thee. Call thy courage to thee ere it be
too late. Resume thy manhood. Shake off this drowsiness. Do not oblige
me to look upon thee with terror instead of tenderness, to shun
instead of soliciting thy company, to regard as thee as the foe of
virtue, the bane of my peace, the destroyer of my honour.


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Ah My friend! My much deluded and unhappy friend! The distress which this
discovery has given me will not suffer me to proceed—


Answer
IV

Wednesday Noon.

Distress! What have I written that has given you so much distress? And
have I been the cause of your distress ‸ grief. Wretch that I am! I was born to be
unhappy; and to make thou miserable, whose felicity I most desire to
promote. My life is ebbing—but a transitorey moment shall expire and
the Scene will vanish I cannot bear the weight of your resentment
but the consciousness of having afflicted as well as angered you, drives
me to despair

How? Was I capable of harbouring such atrocious guilt? Surely My
beloved Creature, you have erred. You have misinterpreted my meaning. Am
I capable of intending the disturbance of your tranquillity; the violation of
your purity? Exalted and unblemished fair one ‸ excellence! Maid fair one . The mind of him
who adores thee is not less ‸ pure and sinless, than thy own. Thou, whose name is
virtue, deem less injustly of me I beseach thee. Know me for the
lover of thy mind ‸ soul. The graces of thy person, however unrivalled and transcende
are abundantly eclipse by the beauties of the Animating mind. It is that
to which I seek to be united—But am I not a man? And would you
punish me for faults, which are inseparable from my nature? Is it
not enough that my errors are always followed by bitter and, I hope,
effectual repentance? Permit me to remind you that—But I cannot
write. I will throw myself at your feet as soon as possible, and intreat
your favour and forgiveness there, devout creature! May thy soul be ever
a stranger to the tumults, which I am harm and harassed my Soul. But your
presence is a cure for all my sorrows, ‸ when I hear your voice, ‸ when I press your hand, I shall be happy
supremely happy.



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V
From Harriot

Thursday Morn.

Come to me, my friend, as soon as possible. I have already told you that ‸ though your
letters are pleasing, they are less delightful than your conversation. I have recovered
from the disorder into which I was thrown by the perusal of your last letter, a disor
der to the removal of which the one which I have just received, has greatly contribu-
-ted. It is impossible to doubt the rectitude of your heart, and though you may
sometimes be hurried away by uncontroulable passions, I am confident that
their dominion is transitory, and the principles of ‸ honour & integrity, will at length
obtain the superiority, and teach you to conduct aright

I clearly percieve that there is a mode of speaking which is dictated
by nature, and which it is impossible to conterfeit. Thou, my friend speakest
the language of Sincerity, and amidst the utmost simplicity of Sentiment &
language art truly and sublimely eloquent. And why? For no other reason
than because thou art sincere. Beware of me my friend. Be cautious of deserving ‸ careful to deserve
this exalted panagerick. ‸ Trust me I am a woman of uncommon penetration. As soon
as thy sincerity forsakes thee, I shall instantly discover it, and thou wilt
no longer be accounted eloquent. This among other formidable consequences will
result from thy apostacy

You see how I labour to be gay and sportive. But I cannot intirely
shake off the gloomy and foreboding melancholy with which some expressions
in your letter has inspired me. “Life is ebbing.” horrid intimation! What
do you mean by this? Thou dear Capricious! I shall at length obtain some
knowledge of your character. And shall learn to lay less stress upon the most
emphatical of your assertions, without any impeachment of your veracity.
Life is ebbing sayest, thou. Thou speakest falsely, that is thou really
believest what thou sayest, but what thou sayest is by no means true.
When Will you venture Expressions like these in my imperial presence.
If thou wert dead, I would strech forth my scepter to thee, and in touching
it, thou wouldst Survive. When have I heard from thy lips a phrase of such
solemnity?



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Ah! My friend. This second effort has availed me nothing. I am still
the prey of a gloomy and unconquerable solicitude. “Life is ebbing!” In speaking
thus I am certain that you spoke as you thought. What then must
I conclude? Horrible conclusion! Vanish! Or felicity is fled forever.

Why should the passions of my friend be so impetuous and ungoverna=
=ble. Is his youthfulness the cause. I am no more than three years older
than himself, and the Sincerity of my love is doubtless equall to that
of his, and yet my serenity unless when ruffled by the gust of his
passions, is perpetual. I will exact an explication from you of this
mystery when I see you. Provide yourself with a plausible solution.
I have already forgiven ‸ you. You will find me all mildness and placablility
I will indeed, be extraordinarily kind, and if you are very good, will perhaps
permit you to seal this forgiveness on the lips of
Henrietta. G.


VI

To Harriot. Thursday Noon.

That indeed will be a blissful sanction ‸ testimony of its truth. Imagination already
bears me to your arms. My lips already feel the animating pressure. Sighs
and transports are the only eloquence to which thou shalt then listen. But do
you not dread the intoxication of the moment. That bosom which it is criminal
to name, thinkest thou that I shall not be irrisistibly tempted—to touch
to gaze with too much greediness, at its enchanting undulations. What—has
your discretion forsaken you? Do not you percieve that I shall stand on
the very brink of the frightful precipice. That reason will be powerless.
That her throne will be usurped by passion.? What then will become of you
Will Angels shield thee from the contagion, and breathe around thee
uninfected airs

Ah! No. My apprehensions are vain! Caution would be superfluous
For thou art all excellence and purity and I all reverence and adoration.
Thou canst easily check the carreer of my impetuosity; I shall shrink from the


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rigours of a look. I shall not clasp thee without shuddering. Thou art too
austerely ‸ unvoluptiously beautiful

Am I indeed eloquent? It is to love that the wand of Hermes is indebte
for t its magic power. But how far am I surpassed by you whose silence
produces all the effects of moving oratory. but if my eloquence shall always
keep pace with my sincerity I am confident that I shall always merit your
encomiums.— but the hour of our meeting hastens. I wait impatintly
to salute you. I shall not forget the additional ceremony. No, by heaven I shall not
omit it. Why have you not always treated with the same inchanting
familiarity, and suffered ‸ permit me to touch as well as gaze. The constraint which
you have imposed upon me was intolerablle. It is now removed, removed forever.
You will not hinder me from tasting the delicious fragrance of these lips
You will not sternly interdict my kisses. You will not banish me from
that heaving bosom. What sweet ‸ what nourishing repose shall I ‸ not taste in your arms.


VI

Friday Morn.

It is well, my friend! I was fearful that my indiscretion would produce
its natural consequences But be more caution for the future. Or I shall be
obliged to be more reserved. Thou art a wonderful youth. Where didst thou
get thy Knowledge? Didst thou draw it from the fountain of inspiration.
What was your preceptor in poetry? in Sciences and in history? Are you a
Grecian and Latinist? But I know you art. And how do you think I made
the discovery? I will not tell you you will laugh at my pretentions to
Knowledge and Sagacity. Will you teach me the Greek and Latin Languages?
Methinks I should be proud to be placed by the side of Mrs. Carter. Was she not
a Linguist and Philologist? The deepest of female Scholars? Such, I have
read was the character of this illustrious lady. And amidst all her erudition
she was, if I am rightly informed still a woman, and carried into the recesses
of the library, all the delicacies of her sex. What an extraordinary spectacle!
The fingers of a lady soiled with the dust of the Manuscripts of Epictetus.



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Can you furnish me with her translation of that moralist. I should like to read
it merely f on account of the Sex of the translator, and yet my friend is so frequent
ly the Subject of my thought that I have scarcely any leisure for indifferent
avocations. And it is somewhat unreasonable to require your assistance to banish
the idea by which ‸ I am thus incessantly haunted. Epictetus is also a Man. Of what
kind and species is that Animal? I never heard him accurately described, and am
doubtful whether he be ‸ most the object of contempt or veneration. But Brutus
was a Stoic. The amiable and exalted Brutus, and the tender and heroic Portia
Arte not these sufficient to vindicate the the name of Stoic from Reproach and
obloquy I, a poor wo unlearned unphilosophical creature, shall never become a Stoic
Never emulate the herioism or admire the exploits of Lucrece or Portia. I am a
disciple of that religion and philosophy, of which the effects are to be seen
in the conduct of Clarissa. 0 best of men! Most elloquent of Writers! It is from
thy immortal production, that I have imbibed the love of virtue; of moral
harmony and beauty. From thee also have I gathered critical instruction and
learned to speak and to write. How great then are my obligations to thee.
But if thy spirrit be a witness to the deeds of human kind, this confession
will sufficiently reward thee!

Whither has my pen conducted me? I follow without scruple or examination
its guidance. The incidents of the last evenings have restored all my happiness
and tranquillity. It is sufficient that I am writing to my friend, and find
no difficulty in expatiating on indifferent topics. Why cannot I ingage you
you in a literary correpondence. You suffer your imagination to dwell upon
a single subject so long that at length no efforts can elude or banish it
and you write with a sort of phrenzy, that saddens and alarms me.
I beseach you be more cool ‸ collected and dispassionate, and let be gratified with the
sight of one letter written in nothin in the Capacity rather of a tutor than a
lover. And why should you not be a teacher my preceptor? It will furnish
you with a pretence to be more frequently my visitant. Let us be mutualy
communicative of our literary Stores. If you will teach me the Greek & Latin
I will initiate you into the French & Italian.



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Why should Women be outstripped by men in literary pursuits? For is not
female curiosity insatiable, and what other passion is requisate, to render learned
labour successfull? I am, in this respect, a mere woman. Would you believe
that I have sometimes been ambitious of being versed in the Jargon of the Mohocks
and Japanese, and of bearing ‸ away the palm of classic erudition from Kirch learned
people. What are your names? Yes I remember them. Kircher Scaliger &
Vossius. I cannot concieve ‸ that a more ridiculous propensity in a woman, hav ever inhabited
the female bosom, and should view, not with veneration but with laughter,
the Statue of Domina Dacier. Domina? Is that right? Thou seest that I am
already infected with the contagion of Latinity. Tell me whether the
latin language be, to one in my circumstances, worth the labour of acquiring,
and what period of time and what degree of application the acquisition would
necessarily demand. And Greek—methinks I have a strong desire to read
Euripides and Sophocles in their originals: to talk, in their native diallect,
with Xenophon and Plato.

And what my tutor shall I teach you in return? Thou wilt
be a very docile and submissive Scholar, wilt thou not? I am excessively delighted
with the prospect, but what shall be my system of reward or punishment
What method of reproof, when thou art negligent and inattentive, or of encouragement
when thou learnest thy lesson with alacrity and readiness, shall I adopt?
I can smile upon him it is true, and that perhaps, unless he is very
unreasonable, My pupil he will esteem a sufficient recompence, but to froun upon
thee? Ah, that, dearest youth is impossible. How can I scoul, with eyes
of unaffected indignation on my beloved, disciple, whose presence ever
pleasing and acceptable, constitutes my felicity. But, when he is very
culpable, shall I bananish him for a certain time, prohibit his visits,
Refuse, ‸ to see him or to read his ‸ letters whether expostulatory, exculpatory, or precatory
No, that would be a greater punishment to myself than to him.
But I hope he will not need Chastisement. This aptitude and inclination
to learn, under the auspices of his sovereign mistress, will render punish=
ment unnecessary. And what shall I teach him.

I will teach thee—What canst thou teach him, vain presumptuous
girl. What knowest thou thyself: I what pursuit or accomplishment can


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thou justly be accounted a proficient. Yes. I am, at least in my own opinion
a woman of vast learning. I care not who knows. Wilt thou venture to contest
my claim?—

I am conscious of my inferiority to you, but am I not best acquainted
with those branches of literature of which you know the least? You are ignorant
of French and Italian. I may reasonably claim some acquaintance with
them. But I had forgotten. Of the French you are already Master. And are not
only well acquainted with its grammatical property, are able not only to
read it with facility and precision, but ‸ if I am rightly informed to prattle, in this diallect with
the volubility and correctness of a Parisian, and the purity and propriety of
an Inhabitant of Blois. You canno at any time ‸ without my assistance be personally acquainted
with the Authour of Eloisa and the social Compact, and traverse every region
of animated nature, in company in company with Buffon or of organized
and inanimate with Bonnet De Saussure and the De Luc's

But you are not so well acquainted with Italian. Indeed you tell
me, but I believe you not, that you are totally a Stranger to it, but have
you ambition to become an adept in this delightful language. I shall be
able to be your instructress with respect in it. I will tell you the reasons on
which I found my pretentions. My Uncle was my tutor. He resided several
years in Italy ‸ & Switzerland. He is violently enamoured both of the country and its language
and studied both in the bosom of Tuscany. He constantly frequented
the literary and polished circles of Rome and Florence. He is a zealous
Cruscante; has often been present at the meetings of the Accademia
della Crusca, and has, in his possession, an elegant copy of their
Vocabulario, together with an excellent collection of french and
Italian Authours. he tells me that they ‸ his library shall be mine at his decease
You will allow that this man must have been an accomplished
preceptor, and was fitted to instruct me in all the elegancies of the
Tuscan style and accent. What think you. Am I not quallified to be your
Mistress? To be the Mistress of your ‸ taste & Understanding as well as of your heart.
If you have no dictionary, I will stand in the place of one. The only books
in this language which I brought with me, are Metastasio and Guarini


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but these are sufficient for all the purposes of instruction. You shall read
to me. I will correct your pronunciation, and explain to you the meaning
of words, and the propriety or beauty of construction, as far as I am able.
You often oblige me to sing the the odes of Metastasio. But how can you
be pleased with unintelligible sounds, if it be true that you art utterly
a stranger to the language of the Imperial Laureate. At least, would not
your pleasure be much higher and more rational if, to the music of the
flute and Harpsichord, were added the lustre of expression and the harmony
of Sentiment. You already listen to the with so rapturous an Attention
and perform your part in our little concerts with so much spirrit and
sensibility, as delights and astonishes me. How delightment will be our
employment. How rapidly and easefully will fly the hours. 0 why is
it decreed that they should end!—

Henretta G.

VIII

Friday Noon

My fair declaimer! Yes. Thou shalt be my conductor in the tracts of Knowledge
My Mistress My instructress and my friend! Who under such a teacher ‸ guide, would
fail of arriving at excellence? What impediment can hinder his m or retard his
progress, for whose sake, Love is willing to espouse philosophy. When Knowledge is
encompassed by a Million of Attractions, and the fondness of the mistress is united
with the Austerity of the teacher?

Be not deceived. I know no more of the Italian than of the Sclavonish.
It is the melody of your voice, the fascinations of your presence, and this ‸ its own intrinsic
softness, that give to the sounds of this language all the charms which it possesses
and which I at present discover in it. Is not the pleasure which music afford
distinct from that which results from the Sentiment, and who, Angellic Creature
could listen to your midnight songs, however incomprehencible their meaning
without the rapture of unfettered and harmonious spirrits? I am indeed incapable
of concieving an higher degree of pleasure, and the knowledge of the Tuscan, would
not possibly increase the delight, with which my ear is ravished in listening to
your performances whether vocal or instrumental.



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But the Italian is undoubtedly superior to any other modern language in
harmony and copiousness, and, among those of Antiquity is exceeded only by the Greek
Though it may perhaps be affirm, to be inferior to in copiousness to the English.
It is the diallect of poets and Musicians, and therefore he to whom Music and
poetry afford pleasure, cannot but be eagerly desirous of being in some degree
acquainted with it. In this class you will not question that I rank myself
and therefore will not be surprised when I tell you that your proposal to become
my teacher is in the highest degree acceptable. My beautious and amiable
Harriot! with what delight shall I hang upon your lips while you explain
the rules of construction, and point out to me the particulars in which the
diallect of Florence differs from the ruder speech of Rome or Venice or Naples
Are you not fearful that my attention will frequently be found in the graces
of the fair Instructress rather than on her lessons, and that my ardour will
sometimes prompt me to infold my teacher in my arms, banish all grammatical
austerity from her tongue, and teach her lips another office? Shall I not be
tempted to forget the decncies of my Character, to lay aside the humble and timid
deportment of the scholer, and act a part far more congenial to my disposition?
I will not promise to exert any extraordinary degree of Self denial, and will not
scruple to interrupt the most useful disquisition by a tale of love or by passionate
caresses. Of these circumstances I have thought it proper to apprise you that you
may not form vain expectations, and place too much confidence in the docility
of your pupils. But I shall nevertheless cultivate with uncommon assiduity
the acquaintance of the illustrious Metastasio, and shall con the lessons which
you shall prescribe, with indefatigable care and attention in the your absence

If the knowledge of french be desirable, that knowledge, notwithstanding the
favourable verdict of rumour, is yet to be attained. How could you have been so
egregiously decieved? I will tell you to in what excellence in what respects I deserve
to be ranked with an Inhabitant of Paris and of Blois. Eighteen Months ago
accident threw me into company with several frenchmen, whose knowledge was
equall to their politeness. I had, at a very early, acquired some acquaintance with
the rudiments of French, and this knowledge, one of my foreign friends with


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suddenly and unaccountably became a favourite undertook to improve, and by continual
opportunities for hearing others speak, and incitement, to be myself a talker, I gained
a considerable degree of _______ fluency in conversation, but never had the slightest
pretentions to correctness and propriety. They gave me permission to read all my
their book, and I, in some degree profited by this priviledge, and have traversed
with my usual rapidity, some thousands of pages of the immence compilations
of Diderot and Dalembert.

You now see, My lovely friend, what credit is due to report. Half a
years disuse, of this language, occasioned by the departure of my Parisian
Acquaintances for Europe, has nearly obliterated the impressions of their lessons
I find it easy to comprehend and difficult, or rather impossible, otherwise than by
continual recollection or incessant practice to retain. I know not what cause
it is to be imputed but certain it is that not only the Sentiments but language
of those parts of the Encyclopedia, with which I have formerly been most
conversant, would now be new to be, and I should be scarcly be able to
make my way through a single page without the powerful assistance
of a Dictionary.

I was formerly actuated by a boundless ardour for knowledges. My Eyes
were so constantly and intently fixed upon my book, that when I chanced
at any time to look at the objects around me, they wore an aspect of Novelty
and I felt the same sensations, of which a man may be supposed to be susceptable
on his rousing from a long and profound Sleep, and whose opening eyes
are saluted by a rural prospect and an evening Sun. But the passion for
study was quikly supplanted by the delight which I began to take in
composition, and my hand was less frequently furnished with a book
than with a pen. But it is useless as well as impossible to recount all my
literary propensities, the duration of their influence, the order in which they
succeeded each other, and or the effects which they produced in the enlargement
of my heart and the improvement of my understanding. It is sufficient to
observe that they all vanished at the sight of a fair and amiable creature
and that love and poetry, beautious and inseparable Sisters, rushed at once
upon my soul with a torrent that was not to be resisted and by which


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all other passions were excluded

Are you really desirous of wading through the crudities obscurities
and discords of the Grammatical Chaos. Of Conning old Lillie's rule, and talking
with colloquial Cordery and Erasmus? It is obvious however that the task would,
by no means, be difficult to one that was already versed in the Italian
from which the Roman tongue differs so little, that it is, as I have heard,
on some occasions scarcely perceptible, distinguishable from it. But what
is there, ambitious, fair one, in the Latin language that can reasonably excite
your curiosity? The ancient poetry is base and despicable. You will perhaps be
astonished at this assertion, but it is nevertheless true. There is scarcely any that
can be read with patience by a Man whose morals are yet untainted.
What exquisite and tender pictures of conjugal and filial affection has Virgil,
who appears to me to be the most enlightened and exalted of the Romans, has given
us. ‸ & yet how few pages of his works are there, which would not shock the Eye
of female delicacy? the Eye of Harriot or Clarissa? The pastorals so celebrated
for their musical cadences and polished Rusticity, are stuffed with the
grossest impurities. And I am perswaded that after having read the Georgic
once, you could never prevail upon yourself to read it again. What constitutes
the excellence of poetry? Not beautiful expression, splendid imagery or artful,
and surprising Machinery, but that powerful charm by which the heart is
attracted and improved: It consists in moral Sublimity. How odious and
disgusting are the licenses of Juvenal and of Horace, both in his Lyric and
Satyrical performances. And with regard to the applauded productions of
Ovid Tibullus and Propertius, I shall only observe that I think those amorous
and elegiac bards in the last degree poisonous and detestable, and that
they prove, in the most forcible manner the justice of that observation which
I have somewhere read, that the Cupid of the ancients was a sensual
deity, and deserves therefore to be banished to the mountainous and woody
haunts of Savages. But is it not certain that they who have themselves
felt the dominions of the passions, find allmost all descriptions of them
insipid. They are occupied with their own emotions, and have not liesure


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to contemplate their appearances or effects or appearances in others. Hence with
whatever purity or justness the passions should be described by a ‸ Greek or Roman
poet, their picture would to us be either insipid or superfluous. O my beloved
creature, what pleasure can be derived from learned volumes, equall to the
rapture of mental Converse, to the union of kindred souls, speachless lips
and throbbing bosoms The are stranger to Avarice and Ambition. And what do almo=
most all the poets of Antiquity, but furnish fuel to these direful and ferocious
passions. Can the harmony and Energy of Homer shroud from our view the
horrid forms of Revenge and cruelty, that stalk with rapid and gigantic steps
through every page of the line Illiad. Who does not turn with anguish and
aversion from the spectacle of Slaughter and destruction, which is ‸ continually presented
to him? You could not possibly receive pleasure from the brutalities of
Anacreon and Aristophanes, the obscure flights of Pindar, whose progress is discernible
only through the glosses, with which you can only be furnished only by Scholiasts
and Antiquarians, the Mysticism of Plato or the Subtleties of Aristotle. There is nothing
however valuable, for which too great a price may not be paid. Before you
ingage in any study it is to be considered whether the labour of pursuit and the
pleasure of acquisition be proportionate to each other, & whether the time which ais
thus consumed might not be more profitably employed.

It is of more importance to you to become an adept in your native
language than in any other. It is sometimes said that this knowledge cannot be
obtained without a previous acquaintance, with the classic tongues, but of this
objection I shall always consider the example of my Harriot as an unanswera=
=ble Confutation. That the knowledge of Greek and Roman Literature may be, in
some degree, conducive to the attainment of Skill in English It is needless to denye
but for this motive ‸ only is not sufficient to justify our application to those studies. for ‸ Since
it is indisputable that the improvement would be ‸ still greater if the time which
is thus spent were devoted to British Authours.

I cannot admit that the knowledge of Ancient languages ‸ are otherwise to be esteemed than as they
humanise the heart and polish the Understanding, and though I am sincerely of
opinion that it does not merit even this encomium, which indeed I must confess
to be extreemly high, and such yet I am willing to bestow, it but must ask whether the influence study
of British French and ‸ or Italian literature is not equally conducive to the same end


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But why should we uselessly and pompously enlarge the circle of our pleasure
A true poet, for example, can never be exausted. The delight which his compositions
afford, will only increase by repetition. How lmean and limited l must be the
capacity, of that Man, who can be instructed or delighted only in contemplating
and revolving the ideas of others. When you read, your books ought to be
considered as a text to which your imagination must furnish a supplement
and commentary. The idea of others are to you of no importance and utilitity, but
as you render them by meditation your own, a ‸ and make them the soil or stock, which, with proper
culture, may become productive of numberless others, the products of your own
labour, or the ofspring of your own Imagination. Is it possible for true taste ever to
be weary of a single Authour who is really excellent. I know ‸ not any thing more
dreadful than to be ‸ hopelessly immured in bookless solitude, but though Germany abound with
sublime and pathetic ‸ poets, yet I should be contented to linger for an age, in the wild
and sequestered Recesses of the Alps, accompanied only the works of Gesner. In the
solitudes of Wales or Cumberland I should find an exaustless source of Consolation,
in the ‸ affecting and romantic tals of Spenser, and Virgil and Tasso would furnish pleasure and employment
to a life spent on a promontory or island of Calabria

But whatever motive may excite you to the study of the Ancient Languages
how will you procure a suitable preceptor. I received some Knowledge of the Greek & Latin
at a Grammar School, but this knowledge will by no means quallify me to instruct
others. It scarcely enables me to read these ancient authours. And I am determined, that
should my beautious Harriott put herself under my tuition, I should All my
instructions should be, oral. I will not suffer those eyes to be fixed on any other
object than myself while I am present. And yet without the assistance of a book
nothing can be learned. But shall I not be near you? oftener? than heretofore?
Shall I not more frequently gaze at the fluttering lawn, so do whose whiteness
dazzles the beholder, ‸ & through which, the whiter bosom which it covers is discernible? 0 heaven!
What celestial charms lurk beneath its folds, and wait to be drunk by the
eye and discerned by the touch. Ah! when will the blissful moment arrive when
thou, Angelic Creature, shalt be wholly mine, and when, to whatsoever my
impetuosity shall carry me, I shall ‸ not transgress the limits of decorum, nor rouse
your Anger and Resentment, when your mind and person shall be greatly [gap] my own.
Peace, malignant and foul ill-boding spirit! I know already what thou intimatest


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I know it is decreed that we shall never be united, otherwise than mentally.
My hope is dead, eternally extinct. But as long as I am permitted to be near
her, despair is at a distance. To see her To converse with her. To bathe her
hands, with kisses. Her bosom with my tears! This is happiness which, without
illumining the drearness of futurity, diverts my attention from it. I feel my
heart raptur, overwhelmed with joy. My Intellects are momentarily disordered
All the powers of my understanding are absented ‸ suspended in the rapturous idea of the
present, but as soon as this delusion vanishes with her presence, As soon as her
absence shall sober my intoxicated senses. Whither shall I fly, from the refugee
from the pangs by which my soul shall be rent assunder. Ah! then will
the benevolence and justice of the deity be put to proof. Then will my soul
hurry, with ‸ dismay & trepidation, from her untenable mansion, and rush unsummoned
into the region allotted for the residence of disembodied spirrits. My God, in
rendering my burthen insupportable, will justify me in escaping from it
or at least, when called to his presence, to hear the sentence of retributive Justice
I shall plead, in excuse for the deed, the immunities of phrenzy.

But why infatuated youth, dost thou paint, with such malicious, ‸ Skill thy
agonising apprehensions? How unhappy dost thou render her, by th whom
thou so fervently adorest, by these gloomy and disastrous portraitures of thy
Anticipating pencil? I know it. I indeavour to check it. To still my turbulent
emotions. To ingage my mind in pursuits that are indifferent. To fill my Imaginat
with ludicrous and or pleasing images. But my struggles are ineffectual. My hand
involuntaryly strays from volumes of mirth to those of Melancholy. I open, at
the rape of the Lock, but the pages are, by a sort of mechanical and spontaneous
impulse, turned over till I reach the melodious complaints of cloistered Eloisa.
I hurry with impatience and rapidity through the Comic Scenes of Moliere
To view them is a task, which I congratulate myself on having finished, and I
hasten to indulge the mode of sorrow at the feet of Melpomene. The tragic
spectacles has charms congenial to my soul, and ‸ I dwell with mingled Sadness
and delight, on the Scenes of Sophocls, Racine and Rome. I listen, to the
Electra and Andromaque, and pour my tributary tears discern the source of , and pour my tributary
tears, at the self-told narrative of their distresses.



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But to ponder ‸ on thy ever present image and to write ‸to thee are my chief employments. Books whatever
be the theme, I cannot read without an effort of painful Recolection.
To write to thee my charming Harriot. To tell thee all my wishes, all ‸ my feelings.
This is the occupation which in thy absence delights me most. And yet ‸ how impossible
is it to describe my feelings. How unequal to the force of my conceptions is the
energy of words? How often do I throw aside my pen, and cry out in a rant of
phrenzy, "Why should I thus fruitlessly labour? Are not my ideas fettered and
degraded by the poverty of language?” Is she not actually present? It is true
she is not visible, but yet ‸ but her image is within me. Her soul mingles with
mine. Our intercourse is intellectual. Are not the chords of harmonious Sympathy
continually vocal? Ye votaries of babbling Eloquence! Where have you learned
that passion is loquacious? Did yeu, ever, in your noblest moments, [gap] reach the
sublimity of Silence? Trouble not, by senseless and unseasonable clamours,
the stillness of my soul. While I think of her she is no longer absent. The tongue,
weak interpreter, is motionless. Minds where Union is so perfect want no outward
instrument of communication, require not the ‸ impertinent assistance of corporeal organs.
But Ah! how frail, how inconsistent is humanity. 0 my beloved, whither are now
thy thoughts straying? What object ingages thy attention? Thy image is indeed
before me, but art thou also conscious of my presence? Is this consciousness irksome
or delightful? Thou canst not answer me. Thou hearest me not. Thou art absent
I discern with Astonishment and horror, that thou art absent.

How charming are our interviews? How do I delight in recalling the circumstanc
of them to my memory! In remenicing, with you! In spending the Night as I
spent the evening. In thinking over all the thoughts that arose in my mind
and in repeating all the words that flowed from my lips while in company with
you. When I left you, on the last evening, I did not immediately return home
Midnight is a season that has grown familiar to me. I am never apprehensive
of danger or annoyance, in my nocturnal rovings. I am indeed careless of
health and Safety, in a degree that, to many persons, would be incredible
And am as little concerned at the baying of a Mastiff, as on approaching, in
desolate and gloomy solitude, at the hour when when Robbery and Murder
walk abroad, persons of a suspicious and ruffian-like appearance, as little at in listing

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to the clamours of the Owl or Bullfrog



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When I arrived at the end of lane which leads to our habitation, I went in
the opposite direction. The banks of Schyulkill are in some places considerably hight
and Steep, and are surrounded by Scenes, which to one, that, like me, has never in
a mountainous ‸ country, are highly beautiful and picturesque. I seated myself, beneath the
pines, by which the descent is overshadowed. The moon was declining in the West
and her beams glittered with surprising lustre on the water. The Murmer of the tide on the
sandy shore, and of a gentle breeze, gale, among the leaves of the trees that shaded
me, diffused a languor and tranquility over my soul, that was inexpressibly
pleasing. Tranquil water and the midnight air are peculiarly favourable to
pensive music, and, till the fall of the Moon below the horizon, I played my most
melancholy and pathetic tunes upon my the flute. How powerful is the influence of
music on the most brutal and illiterate minds! two persons were whispering together
among the trees, who, as I approached, rose up apparently startled and alarmed,
and were preparing to go, but as soon as I began to play they stopped, and
resuming their seats upon the grass, listened, all the time of my performance
with the profoundest silence and attention, and, when they found I had finished
and saw me rising from my seat, they showed evident of regret, and, as I saw
we going to ask me to continue, but I hastened away before they had time to make
the request, because I could not but have complyed with it, and my
compliance, at so late or rather at so early an hour, for it was three OClock
would have been ‸ very inconvenient. I went home and enjoyed the peaceful sleep of
Innocence, and dreamt of my Mistress and my friend. May prudence preserve
our union unimpaired, and may all my days resemble yesterday.

C. B. B.

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IX

Saturday Morn. 6. OClock

What a motley and variegated performance is your last letter. My friend you were
formerly the Votary of Science, but are now, according to your own belief, the faithful
disciple. ‸ of Love What a sudden and intire transformation, hast thou undergone, and yet,
were it excusable for a Woman to philosophize, I could easily evince that your
native disposition has always been the same, and that in the midst of Chronological
tables and Geographical computations, of which I have been told you have ever been
singularly fond, it was easy to have discerned a Mind susceptible of Amorous
Impressions. I am inclined to imagine that love is an ‸ generous & enobling passion, and that is a
proof not of the weakness or depravity, but of the purity of the heart, and loft
iness of the understanding of him, who is influenced by it. But this perhaps is an
interested conclusion, and the opinion of a lover with regard to the dignity of this
passion, may be considered in the same light with the decision of a Man in his own
Cause. For how often have I told you that I feel a reciprocal affection for my
youthful friend, and that I will not allow myself to be exceeded by him in the
ardour and Sincerity of my Attachment. And this Attachment instead of diminishing
by time, is, I find hourly growing stronger. Whether love be a consequence regularly
arising from opinions previously formed, I will not pretend to determine, but whatever
be its cause ‸ or original of love, It is certain that, in of it increases in proportion as we discover
by the aid of reason, greater excellences in the object. That reason if it cannot withstand
or does not produce, at least, by sanctioning, with its approbation the dictates of the
heart, corroborates the bonds of love, and therefore it will not be wondered at that
my friend becomes dayly more passionately beloved, because, because his talents
and his virtues become dayly more conspicuous. In every letter I discover new motives
to love and admiration, and shall begin to doubt whether it possible, after the longest
and most intimate acquaintance Connection, to be thoroughly acquainted with your
character. Be as copious as possible, my dear friend, in your epistolary communication
and let this assurance, that every letter will contribute more firmly to establish you in
‸ the possession of my heart, be an additional incitement to your industry. I am sure that a more
powerful one, cannot be proposed

   I know not whether to lament or rejoice at the pathetic manner
in which you have concluded your letter. I wish to sooth the passions of my friend,
to tranquillize the agitations of his bosom, and make his affection for me as much as
possible subservient to his own advantages. For this reason I wish to render his Attachment
more calm and agreeable, without making it less strong or less permanent, to banish those


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tormenting apprehensions and that frantic enthusiasm, which incapacition him for
all useful pursuits; and which equally infeebles his body and his mind, and for these
purposes to ingage him in the discussion of literary topics, to make our frequent
conversations the vehicles of mutual Instruction, and to pass the hours, in which we
are together, not in each others arms, dissolved in tenderness and mingling tears of
raptures, and murmuring vows of constancy, but in more laudable and profitable
Avocations, in the improvement of each others understanding and of the virtues of the
heart.

These are the dictates of reason, but alas! how stern and rigid and impracticable
do they appear, at those softer moments, when the object of my affection is before me
when he offers himself to my embraces ‸ caresses, ‸ & when every word and attitude is expressive of his
joy. How is it possible to relinquish those topics which are naturally suggested by the
occasion and which are adapted to the eloquence of love. How is it possible not to receive
pleasure from these letters which are fraught with tender and pathetic sentiments
and to prefer them to those in which the writer expatiates on cold and barren topics
and which might, without impropriety be addressed to any other person; and how
my friend, shall I appollogise for my weakness in confessing that ‸ of the letter
which I have just received, the former part is less acceptable and pleasing than
the latter, and yet there are passages in it which greatly disturb and shock me.
How could you permit your fertile pencil to depict, in so vivid colour so direful
futurity. Cannot you gather Satisfaction from the contemplation of the present, and is
it not imprudents to portray the task of learning the duty of acquiescence in the
dictates of Necessity or of resignation to the will of providence? till the time arrives
in which it will be requisate, not only to know but to practice it? At least is it not
preposterous, to torment ourselves with empty suppositions. To abandon the enjoyment
of the happy and auspicious present, for the sake of suffering a future and contin=
gent evil? which from the predominence of a gloomy and foreboding fancy ‸ produces all
the effects of ‸ absolute realilaties? Lay aside my friend those idle and unreasonable terrors
If you cannot be induced to be happy for your own sake, let thy consideration of my
felicity prevail upon you, and be happy if no other reason than because you will
thereby contribute to the happiness of
Your faithful and devoted,
Henrietta.

P. I intended to have set you an example in this letter of copiousness, but I am
unseasonably interrupted by a visitant, and obliged to finish it more quickly than I
intended. But I shall considerd Your letter as not having yet recieved an Answer
and shall take the earliest opportunity of resuming my pen. I shall probably talk


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to you at my second sitting, in a strain of greater sprightliness and levity, at which
I hope my grave and solemn friend will not dare to be offended. I indulged him, at our
last interview, in giving me such evident demonstrations, of his passion and in pressing
so frequently and fervently those lips, which had hitherto been sacred and inviolable
that I shall expect from him, in gratitude for this signal Condescension, the most
unlimited submission, and invincible forbearance. Thou saucy and impetuous creature
Dost thou think thou hast a property in my lips or that I will suffer such
perplexing and and incessant interruption from thy kisses. In good Sooth I will act
with more discretion for the future. I will banish thee, whenever thou offendest
to the distance of a yard beyond the reach of my arm, and my kisses shall be the
pledges only of forgiveness and Reconciliation. Thy sovereign lady will permit thee
on solemn and particular occasions, to kiss the hem of her imperial Garment or
to touch with thy lips the end of her little finger, but greater favor will be
sparilily dispenced, and shall be granted only to secure thy allegiance and preserve
thee from despair. But my visitant is waiting for me. She wonders I suppose
how I am employed, and being told that I was employed in writing will imagine
that my correspondent is a personage of vast importance or that the emergency is
of very critical that can render me thus neglectful of politeness. And, in truth,
she will not much err in her conjecture, , for who is of more importance in the eyes
of a woman than her lover, and what subject more peculiarly interesting than
the barbarities of his pretended priviledges and his future exclusion from ‸ the kisses and
embraces of his Mistress? But I must attend her: excuse my absence for an hour
Will You? I am sure you will. Why cannot forsake my pen? I wish my visitant
had gone to Peking before she conceived the design of honouring me with her
Company. I have just arisen, and I was determined not to leave my chamber till
I had composed a long Epistle to my friend. That Moment Your letter was presented
to me, and I cannot tell you the pleasure which the pleasure of it afforded
me, and O My friend what an exquisite conclusion! This single Sentence affected
me in a more forcible and pleasing manner, than all the other parts of your
letter. When are you absent from my mind? You are never absent, and, would you
believe it, are most intimately present when in sleep. The Soul appears to be
divested of her moral fetters, and to enjoy, the interval of freedom, in realizing
the wishes of our waking hours. Beloved Youth! Not a moment, during the Night
‸ after your visit was my spirrit separate from thine, and Methought the conversation of the
Evening had not suffered interruption. That our interview continued, but that the


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Repetition of the "additional Ceremony" as you chuse to phrase it, was absolutely prohibited
and that our intercourse was that of friendship rather than of love. There is certainly
my friend, a powerful and insuparable sympathy between us, nor should have I
enjoyed such happy slumbers, had not the footsteps of my friend, had borne
him to the bank of Schuylkill, and his lips given melodious utterance to his flute
And I must not forget to relate one remarkable incident. My dream ended &
I awoke just at three OClocks, for on drawing my curtains I beheld the western Sky
faintly illumined by the rays of the orb that had just disappeared. O My friend
what felicity is ours and does not its continuance depend principally upon
ourselves! Let us not complain of our destiny, nor murmur impiously at heaven
who ‸ ich has showered all its bounties on us and has hitherto regarded us only with
indulgent Smiles. It is impossible for us to penetrate into the future desgns of providence
or to discover whether the Catastrophe of the drama shall be built on consolation or
despair. And let us not us exert an useless foresight or torment ourselves with
vain conjectures, which can tend only to imbitter our present joys, without
diminishing or obviating future evils— But how forgetful am I! I am
absolutely uncivil. I must hasten to my gentle guest below, and intreat her
pardon for my stay. She will doubtless readily forgive me, but if she first
arbitrarily demand the reason of it, what answer shall I make? Shall I tell
him her that I was recounting to an amiable youth, the dreams of the past
night and listening to a similar relation, from him? I will invent a more
convenient Answer as I go down. Stay thee, friend, in my closet till I return.
As soon at I am disengaged I will devote another hour to this most pleasing
occupation. Farewell.



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X

Saturday Morn.

She is gone. I will open the closet and release You. Did I stay longer than I
promised or than you expected? I could not avoid it. An innocent and blooming creature,
whose mind pure ingenuous and uncontaminated, was ‸ is susceptable of every tender impression,
and might easily be ledd a captive in the chains of love, but her destiny has perhaps otherwise
decreed. Her understanding, may be perverted and her heart corrupted by a vicious education,
by the levities of fashion and the glitter of wealth, and she may experience the fortune
of the greater number of her Sex, in being wedded to Avarice or insensibility, and in
feeling ‸ ing no repugnance to the union, nor sorrow at her lot.

She has just parted from her me, and if you will not be offended, I will
tell you that I parted from her with reluctance. Women, are, in general, most happy
in the Company of each other. There is less necessity of a reserve ‸ & caution and constraint
in their conversation, but on the other hand a Man is a being whom a woman
cannot but regard with a certain degree of timidity and apprehension, and, if she be
his lover there is still a greater necessity for vigilance and Circumspection. My own
experience has taught me this divination, at least such, till very lately, did I imagine
to be true, but I must confess that my sentiments are now somewhat altered, and
I believe that if a woman be conscious of innocent intentions, and has reason to confide
implicitly in the honour of her lover, she will find her excessive caution willingly excessive caution superfluous
What is there in the bottom of my heart which I would not consent to ‸ willingly unfold to you
Am I conscious of any Sentiments that either shame or prudence should induce me
to conceal; and is there ‸ wanting any additinal proof or assurance of the Sincerity and Rectitude
of my friend. In his presence I am equally sure in his absence. I feel no embarrassment
or uneasiness at his caresses. They are the natural expressions of a passion, not less
pure than ardent, and to discouraged or forbid them would be senseless and
ungenerous. Or rather they would be promiscuous, since they would occasion a
belief that these liberties are criminal. Whereas, they are, in themselves indisputably
harmless, and are to be dreaded only as they pave the way for greater and more
flagrant licenses. But what have I to fear? Precautions are useful only to those
who, have reason to suspect themselves, who find that appea to be guilty opportunities
‸ to commit it are only wanting. But this is far from being my condition, nor have I need to
check the laudab innocent expressions of a laudable Attachment. I do not start


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as if terrified by the sight of an Asp, when my friend clasps me to his bosom and
presses his lips with mine, because I place equall confidence on my own and
on his uprightness. Suspicion and distrust! Avaunt ye horrid spectres! Your aid is
unnecessary, is pernicious. It is in reality impossible that I should have occasion for them
for their appearance would instantly annihilate my love, and against the
blandishments of one that is indifferent or detested, what woman can require
an Auxiliary?

Will thou, my love, ever abuse this confidence? No, I shall as soon suspect a
Mountain of an inclination to move from his seat, as thou to overstep the limits
of decorum. And am I not supported in this implicit reliance on your honour by
the unquestionable verdict of experience. Have you not been exposed to all the
fascinations of opportunity? Have you not reposed for guiltess hours, for hours guiltless
even in Imagination, in the arms of unsuspecting and unguarded beauty. When
all your senses were alive and active. When sleep, the friend of innocence, was banished
to a distance. When you heard nothing but the voice of tenderness, and saw nothing
but the smiles ‸ glances of benignity and ‸ the Smiles of condescention? And is not yet my
purity, and thy fidelity inviolate? What then have to fear? Surely nothing.
What motive can there be to reserve or constraint? None can I discover.

But have I not caught you in the snare which I laid for you? Have
I not accomplised my wishes, in ingaging you in a critical disquisition? But
what supineness! I do not endeavour to profit by the Advantage which I
have obtained, but ‸ I am affraid that you have already escaped, through my
egregious negligences, from the toils, in which, I had, with such expence of
time and pains, intangled you. I know that what I have just written
will afford you an opportunity, to exert your powers of pathetic eloquence, of
which you will not fail to take advantage. You will again give the reign to
passion and the Sceptre to depondencey. You will again plunge me into tears
and oppress, with unsupportable affliction by your horrid pictures of futurity.
But why will my friend thus causeless afflict himself and me? How often must
I charge you to forbear? To speak the language of reason, and content and Magnani=
mity. O that you were now a Witness to the serene gayety, the sprightly composure of
your Harriet, at this ‸ happy moment. [gap] See her sitting at the Writing table
Satisfaction depicted in her countenance, and betokened ever by the motions of her


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quill, that meanders through the page with such dexterity, that, it reaches the
bottom, almost as soon as it begins it progress at the top. Its carreer appears to be
finished almost as soon as it is begun, and fin my fingers perform their part
with ease dexterity and steadiness to which it is plain, by visible and undeniable
tokens, that yours are too often strangers. How must you be agitated, when
even your fingers, so long habituated to the use of the pen, are almost disabled
from performing their accustomed office. Let my example serve your emulation
and endeavour to display, the same evenness in your characters and Sentiments,
and [gap] a to amuse your Harriet by your wit, as well as astonish and confound
her by your eloquence. Too frequently my friend, have you appeared before me
in the solemn pall of tragedy, and spread infectious melancholy round you
It is time to throw aside the buskin and assume the Sock, and dissipate, by
chaste and pleasing Levities, the dictates of Thalia, the gloom which has hitherto
overspread your letters, and which have testifyed the inspiration of Melpomene.
Do not so hastily desert the volumes of Moliere, or glance, with such contemptuous
rapidity, over the pages of Belinda's part. Withdraw your attention from the
plaintive and voluptuous Eloisa, by whom no virtuous sentiment was ever inspired,
and watch, with all imaginable anxiety, the momentous vicissitudes of a game at
Ombre. Meditate no longer on the sorrows of Electra and Orestes, nor mingle tears
with those of the wife of Hector and the Mother of Astyanax, but let gayety
mingled with tenderness flow from your pen. And when you call forth the tears
be careful also to awaken the Smiles of your Harriet. By these means may your
letters be rendered still more acceptable to me, and your own inquietude be stifled or
diminished, and therefore I intreat you to pay some regard to my injunction. If you
will continually disobey me, shall I not begin, at length, to question your fidelity, and
in consequence, renounce your allegiance? and this I suppose will be a terrible
disaster, will convert the visionary into a Maniac, and croud his fancy with
horrid images of self-inflicted vengeance, and destruction.

And so you will not consent to become my preceptor in the learned
languages? And you think that the time which which would necessarily, be spent in
learning them, would be uselessly employed. I doubtless must be of the same opinion
since I have no opportunity to appeal from this tribunal to another, and I cannot
form a judgment for myself, without a previous acquaintance with the literature of
as an opinion, with regard to the beauty or deformity of an object, can be formed by only by
looking at it, but you will not furnish me with the means of obtaining this knowledge.
My friend, it seems, will not suffer my eyes to be fixed on any other object than himself
while he is present; and no language can be orally taught communicated, but yet he has not forgotten


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that, in quallity of tutor, his visits will necessarily be more frequent than heretofore,
and that he shall enjoy more frequent opportunities, of penetrating, with audacious eye,
the folds by which the bosom of his Mistress is attempted to be hidden. How do
thy letters abound in contradictions and absurdity. Thou, in whose Adoration there is no
impurity, whose love is purely intellectual, who is affected only by the graces of the
Mind, is it in the bosom of thy Mistress, or in the folds of her handkerchief that
thou reachest, with so much eagerness, for the object of thy passion. Is the Soul
to which only you seek to be united, susceptible of Sight and touch? Be a little
more cautious for the future. Consider before you before write, whether the language
which you are about to use be reconciliable with the diallect of former letters,
and congratulate yourself in her knowing that I do not ‸ account inconsistency in a lover
any proof of insincerity. But yet I suppose you will not denye that it is somewhat
‸ embarrassing to be detected in a manifest and glaring contradiction, and that it may be useful
to exhibit in your letters as exact a conformity of Sentiment as possible, and though
I shall expect that the divine Enthusiast, who clothes his Mistress with the
attributes of divinity, and fixes his affections only on the Animating mind
will forbear to expatiate with so much ardor, on external beauties, and the Symme
=try and whiteness which furnishes so ravishing a banquet to licentious eyes

But art thou serious when thou prohibitest my eyes from wandering from
thy person? I should be glad to know in what manner thou intendest to enforce thy
prohibition, and whether it would be criminal to fix them for a moment
on the starry firmament, or lift them in gratitude or devotion to the father of the
father of the Universe, though my impatient friend should happen to be present,
and can you vow, that the ‸ white veil of decency, will not elude your penetration, and that
the whiter bosom, notwithstanding all your efforts ‸ would not [gap] be invisible, but I am affraid that
your curiosity cannot be eluded but by a thicker texture than ordinary. I therefore
propose to procure a woollen habit, and wrap myself ‸ up in it like a Nun, as soon as you
appear. To show according to the turkish fashion, a Veil over my face, and leave you
to search in this intellectual and interior habitation for that soul of which you are
so violently enamoured. I suppose my plan will receive your concurrence, and doubtless
you will readily procure the stuff for me, and if I make the request, will you
you not yourself be the workman, who will make it up in the Manner which
I shall direct: I will not however be exorbitant in my demand, or require so severe a
proof of your obedience, and will only tell you that you will please me more in
proportion as you talk less of Handkerchiefs and bosoms.



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XI

Saturday Aft. 3. OClock
Saturday Aft. 3 OClock

Ye powers! Whither has my lawless Imagination transported me? O shameful
and pernicious letter! How suddenly did the sight of thee awaken the most furious passions!
Incomparable Woman! why art thou so fatally exalted? Are you not affected by the
picture which your fancy draws? What a base and despicable wretch am I! What name
of ignominy, is unworthy of me? Why am I not fearfull of approaching you? Does not my
presence stain the purity and cloud the radiance of your beauty? Banish me forever from
your presence from your presence, if you wish to preserve your angelic innocence unsmirched
by profane, by sacrilegious hands.. Religion hides herself from me. Virtue is an empty and
inefficacious name. I am driven by an irresistible impulse to the verge of the precipice. I throw
myself ‸ headlong without without remorse or reluctance. I perish forever and thou, O best of women!
art involved in my destruction.

Into what fatal reveries did your letter plunge my imagination! A momentary
phrenzy, deadened my Intellects, and beguiled my Senses. Yes. You opened shut me in your closet. With
what impatience did I listen to hear your return! How was I tortured by your delay.
But I hear a step tripping, ‸ lightly as an Angel. I hear your voice ‸ humming some melodious air. Token of
Serenity, ‸ and then The chamber door is opened. You enter. Your closet is unlocked, and you suddenly
burst upon my Sight in a blaze of Charms. Far more beautiful in the careless and
voluptuous elegances of a Night dress, than in the studied decencys, the splendid Neatness
of the ‸ noon or evening garb. How does the lawn flow in wanton luxuriance about you!
How dazzlingly white; How exquisitely fine its texture! How suitably adapted to the purposes
of love! to shroud without obscuring your resplendent beauties, to shade without concealing
that exstatic bosom. Could my eyes be otherwise than intoxicated with the Sight. The dusk
which the light excluding shutters diffused throughout the chamber. The chairs in ‸ each of which
I thought I saw the forms of sedentary ease and Amorous pleasure. The Couch, from which
you had just arisen, on which my Harriot had slumbered, and of which the folds were
still ruffled and unsmoothed. On which the Night had beheld your Angelic form
supinely displayed, conscious that no human eye beheld, enjoying the Security of
Secrecy and loneliness, and careless of concealment or disguise. What effect, O my Harriet!
must all these circumstances have unavoidably produced on a rambling and unsanctified
Imagination like mine? Was it possible for my glances to have been less passionate and
eager? You turned from me in confusion. You endeavoured to cover your flutter and apprehen
sive bosom with your hand, and adjusted your bewitching dress with becoming ‸ haste and trepidation
as if you thought it were too negligence, but amidst those unavailing precautions you
found yourself suddenly encircled by my arms and almost stiffled by my kisses. Your


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Your blushes but heightened the disorder of my Senses, And your struggle only augmented my
impetuosity. And—O heavenly creature! when so little was wanting to compleat my
phrenzy, and render me the most happy and most miserable of mankind. a word a look
from you, extinguished my ardour and, ‸ in a moment & dissolved me in tears of shame ‸ and regret. With eyes that pitied
and upbraided me at the same time, you cryed out, in a firm and commanding tone:
"My friend ! forbear." It was impossible not to obey you. I instantly unloosed you from
my arms, and falling on my knee, bathed your hand with my tears, of Sorrow and
remorse and supplicated your forgiveness

See my fair the triumph of virtue over the most imperious and despotic
passions, and the the consequences of your letter. Why will you write thus seductively
Alas! the slightest spark will set my combustable imagination on flame,
and leave me no longer master of myself. . . Why cannot emulate your purity, your
perfection? My wishes are fruitless. My resolutions ineffectual. It is in vain that I
endeavour to become worthy of my Harriet, and to tread in her shining footsteps.
O commiserate my weakness. Believe my Intentions to be virtuous, and that I shall
never forfeit the confidence which you repose in me. These paroxisms of disbelief
are ‸ transitory temporary. The affect me only in your absence; and at moments when my
vigilance and circumspection are by sudden and unforeseen Accidents diverted from
the proper object.

But O, ‸ rash, Indiscrete beauty! to show me your chamber and your closet was
not sufficient. To reveal yourself to my Sight, arrayed in all the alluring negligences
of the Morning. You have made me witness of a still more ravishing spectacle,
and absolutely robbed of my fortitude. What inauspicous power presided over your
pencil, and induced you to describe, with such pernicious ‸ exactness, the Curtain drawn
aside at Midnight, the Chamber illl yet illumined with the rays of the
sinking moon, the beauteous sleeper awakening from a vision, in which her
active imagination was filled with the idea of her friend, and rising from her
Couth. The receptacle of beauty, the assylum of love, her delicate arms and luxuriant
bosom defenceless and uncovered, her dishevelled locks flowing with voluptuous profusion
over her snowy shoulders, and leaning over the Side to view the gleaming west,
and marks the progress of the peaceful hours. Where was I, her friend, her spouse,
her faithful votary, her passionate adorer, at the happy moment. Where ought I
to have been. Whither should the star of Morning, the bridal planet of have conducted me.
But where am I now? Are not all the enchantments of the Scene and hour
present? Are not all the images of night and solitude, of yielding beauty, of melting
love, of meeting bosoms and unutterable ecstasy, before me? Do I not see the sensuous


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pillow and participated coutch!—Benignant Angel forgive me. I do not recollect
with more ‸ less horror than yourself, these lawless Imaginations. I strive in vain to subdue them,
to recall my wandering thoughts, and pin them on a less seducing image. To
view you in the decencies of dress. I make continued efforts to escape from this delirium,
but the current of ideas is with difficulty checked, and directed into another channel.
I am still pursued by these fatal and delightful phantoms. I still riot unrestrained in
in this delicious banquet of the Senses, and am plunging deeper into guilt, in proportion
as I endeavour to disengage myself. But is it criminal to think of my charmer thus?
Will an awfull Ceremony sanctify these thoughts, and give me a religious claim
to slumber on your bosom, and to taste unspeakable felicity in your arms. When it will
cease to be criminal to avow, & ‸ when it will be laudable [gap] to gratify my ardent boundless & impetuous wishes. Will that desirable period
ever arrive? How distant is it from the passing hour? Is it not in her own choice to hasten
its arrival, or defer it? Why then is the gratification of those eager and tormenting
wishes postponed?

I am convinced, thoroughly convinced, by your reasoning. I know that
our union is impossible, but and that, if it were possible to take place, it would be an
instance of the most inexcusable impudence and temerity, that ages of repentance
would be bought by moments of pleasure, and yet my why, my Angel, should
you wonder if I sometimes murmur at the hard decree which makes me miserable
If I sometimes, in an agony of impatience, venture to doubt whether any success or
disaster which might arise from our immediate union, can could equall the pangs
which are produced by postponing it, and how is it possible for me to feel very
forcibly that conviction, which your persuasive eloquence, ‸ has expressed when I reflect, that this
very evening, your chamber might be mine. That supreme felicity is within
my grasp, that it is placed beyond my reach ‸ only by cold motives of dubious discretion
for, on second thoughts, I cannot esteem th our union impossible, for what is required
but that a Minister should recite a few words from his own ecclesiastical formulary
in our presence and with our concurrences. Your apartment would serve instead of
a more sacred place. Witnesses if necessary could be easily procured, and then—let
me think upon the rapturous result. No. The illusion is vanished. The end of my being
is to contribute to your happiness. I will never ‸ be that Selfish and contracted wretch that
gratifies his wishes at the expence of your felicity. Do with me what you please.
It is sufficient that in acting thus or thus I conform to the desires of my Harriet.
What! is it possible to disunite us? Is not my existance annihilated or rather absorbed
in yours. Can I harbour sentiments different from yours? Your wish is mine, your


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happiness is mine; In enjoy nothing distinct from you, and I exist for you only.
Alas! How am I I agitated by opposite and irreconcilable emotions? My reason is
a fluctuating sea, on which my shattered vessel is in continual danger of
foundering. It is the sport of a thousand hostile and variable winds, and nither
shore nor bottom are discoverable. At one moment the Storm is hushed. The waves
are calm. I begin to collect my thoughts, reflect upon my situation, and beg
prepare to regulate my course at leisure, but, on a sudden, my bark is overtaken
by another tempest, the ocean is again in tumult, the motions of the helm are
no longer obeyed, and terror and dismay beset me

It is only when listening to the melodious precepts of wisdom that flow from
your lips. It is only in your presence that I am happy, and serene. You have deprived
me of my reason, but I feel a temporary restoration of it in your presence. Your
eyes, are far more powerful preceptors than your letters. The pressure of your hand
produces a greater and more instantaneous effect than a thousand disertations. Sweet
Excellence! Thou indeed hast reason to be fearless and cautious in the presence in the
arms of thy lover: For it is only in your absence that my thoughts will not be controuled
Your presence— how can I describe its influence? It produces an entire revolution in my
feelings. It is not the sight, of you merely that can gratify the ardent wishes which I
form in solitude, and yet as soon as I behold you, where have my desires flown?
They cease any longer to torment me. I experience all the felicity which I had previously
imagined, could be derived only from the gratification of these wishes. And I am
certain that were I to find you other than you now are; I should turn from you
with horror and disgust. All your charms would fade as your purity and delicacy
vanished. O Virtue! Am I not actuated by a double evil? By two principles,
nether of which is more powerful than the other! I am miserable without possessing
her whom I adore, and yet to possess her would be misery! How is this strife of passion
to be appeased, Not by giving conferring superiority to ‸ on one but by reconciling them
By giving me the sacred Name of Husband: by superadding the Nuptial ties to
those of Love.

O Virtue! Chastity! Æthereal power! Effluence of deity! Incomprehensible
Attribute! ‸ Sum & Source ‸ of excellence! of beauty! Muse of Love! How shall I describe thy influence? With
what rites will thou be worship? Where art thou visible? In the person of my beauteous Har?
In adorning her bosom does she not decorate thy shrine? Is not the lustre of her eyes
attempered by thee? And is not the empire of her charms the result of thy energy?
Yes, Angelic woman! My love is without limits, & above controul, but by what inevitable


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inconceivable charm my passion was excited, it would be fruitless to inquire. But have
I not found thee without a blemish. Is not thy purity immaculate? And with what
rage and detestation should I view thee, were I conscious that thy purity were lost
That the spottedHow would thy charms be blasted, by the spotted and malignant fever of licentiousness
What unbearable disorder would seize my Intellect ! What opiate but death could
lull my despair?

_______________________________________________


From Henrietta
XII.

Saturday Night 10 OClock

I have just left you and am now retired to my chamber, but finding
myself not much inclined to repose, I shall spend all the hours in which I shall
continue wakeful till in writing to you. But I will a second time, peruse your letter. Yet
there can be no necessity for reading it again, and the impression which your
eloquent incoherences have already p[gap] made upon me, do not require a
Repetition. I shall not easily forget your letter, but as it has, for the most part
been the ‸ subject of the conversation which I just finished, I should perhaps, in attempting
to answer it particularly, I should only repeat what has already been, with so much vehemence and copiousness, discussed. I shall therefore abstract my
attention from and confine myself to other topics, and yet my friend how is
that possible? By what efforts can I extricate myself from the maze in which
your letter has bewildered me? By one passage I am thrown into a fit of indignatio
and resentment, by another my heart is overwhelmed by tenderness and pity: by
by tenderness love and Admiration. One part of it I can scarcely forbear tearing into
pieces, and I am ready to disclaim all connection with the Authour, while anothe
softens all my soul into fondness and compassion, and fills me with a vehement
longing, to furnish him, consistently with virtue, ‸ with the most unquestionable
proofs of the strength and sincerity of my Attachment, that can be given
consistently with virtue. The conclusion justifies or rather excuses the Introduction
and I confess to you that, notwithstanding some parts are so obnoxious that
I cannot prevail upon myself to read them a second time, yet I cannot
prevail upon myself to wish that those parts had been omitted, or that
your letter had, in any respect, ‸ been otherwise than it is. Inexplicable Unintelligible
Creature! When shall I know the perfectly? When I shall I become acquainted
with all thy faults and all thy excellences? Each hour I discover somewhat
that I had not before known; and which I did not expect to find,?


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and the discoveries of the last hours, are equally unexpected and surprising
with those of the first. My acquaintance with you has at least been
productive of one Advantage. It has taught me hereafter to place no
confidence in external appearances, and to judge only in consequence of
knowledge, and yet, at this early period of our intimacy, and when
I am conscious that I am far from knowing you thoroughly, I cannot help
forming a very favourable opinion of you. This you will readily believe
for can you imagine that I should otherwise have consented to recieve
and answer your letters, or have so frequently permitted your personal visits
But have I hitherto acted indiscreetely? It is true that I do not know you
thoroughly, but do I not know enough of you to justify my confidence

How perfectly do I recollect all the circumstances of the origin
of our friendship? Nine months ago how should I foresee that the youth
whom I observed frequently observed passing my window and whose
habit and demeanour gave no tokens of his real character, would at
this time have acquired all my confidence, and bound ‸ me to him in the
bonds of indissoluble affection? I saw you often but I saw you only
with indifference, untill, one morning, as you passed the window I
I observed you looking into it with a timid but eager curiosity.
When you saw nobody you appeared disappointed, and slakened your pace
to examine more attentively. But you suddenly met my eyes. You were
startled, were covered with blushes and confusion. You tremblingly hasted
away and left me in a situation not very different from your own
Your behavior considered superficially, and unaccompanied with certain
minute but uncommon circumstances, would only have excited
indignation or scorn. ‸ I should have esteemed you contemptible, foolish, or unpardonably audacious
but the anxiety which was depicted in your countenance
A certain reluctance and fear of offending, mingled with invincible
curiosity sufficiently shewed that you were not a transient nor accidental
nor impudent ‸ nor or silly gazer, and this favorable opinion could not but
recieve the strongest confirmation on observing the manner in which you
acted when you saw that I was looking at you.

All that day your idea your idea haunted me incessantly. I endeavoured
to amuse myself at the Harpsichord, but it was impossible to pin my attention
on it. In the midst of a tune my fingers sank into a kind of involuntary


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inaction. My eyes wandered on from the notes. I mistook the keys, confounded the
time, and blundered in the execution. I thought of nothing but the modest
confusion, the ingenuous aspect of the gazer. I turned over several pages of a
book without knowing what it was that I held in my hand, and being
visited by some young ladies in the evening, was still as musing and thought
full as ever, and all their sprightliness and vivacity were in vain exerted
to recall me to myself, to rouse me from my reverie. I spent the greater
part of the Night unable to close my eyes. I continually saw you before me
Your blushes your embarrassment, were still visible. I began to be alarmed
at myself. Why (said I to myself) cannot I get rid of this object. Let me
think on indifferent matters Miss Thomson n she is an amiable girl &, accompli
polite. Why did he look in? Was he not searching for me? The poor youth
is certainly in love. Alas! I am affraid that I also am infected by the
same contagion. By love? for whom? An absolute stranger. Perhaps mean
unworthy and ‸ immoral & illiterate. And yet why should ‸ I form so severe a judgement of him
There is nothing in ‸ his appearance inconsistent with genius and integrity. Has
he not intelligent features? A penetrating eye? his modesty is unquestionab
How was he embarrassed when he saw me! Perhaps he wanted to address me
to excuse his presumption. To solicit my forgiveness. But I frowned upon him.
My air of severity intimidated him. Why did I display this unseasonable
haughtiness? He did not merit disdain. His deportment was all gentleness
But poor youth! methinks I pity him. I wish he had spoken to me, and
been his own introducer. But if he be really in love he will find a way
to make it known. And who knows what excellences may be concealed under
that homely exterior? But why should I think of him? He is he can be nothing
to me. Am I not becoming a victim to love? What new emotions are these?
Did I ever feel similar ones before? This youth. I cannot thrust ‸ exclude his Image
from my mind. I fear it will make me unhappy.

In this manner manner did I muse and thus interrogate myself
for a considerable time; at length overtook me, but you still haunted my
Imagination. I saw you under a thousand different shapes. At one time
methought, you came to visit me in a magnificant Equipage, with a splen


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did Retinue. At another time that you put on a mean disguise and became
a servant of the gardener, and that you threw down your spade, and discovered
yourself to me, as I happened, one morning, to be walking alone in the Garden
Afterwards I thought you overleapt the garden wall, by moonlight and
suddenly appeared before me while I was sitting in the Summer house
reflecting on the circumstances of your first appearance to me.

I will not recount all ‸ the phantastic incidents which happened during
the course of that night. I rightly conjectured that if love were your [gap]
dissease, you would speedily contrive a method of disclosing it. It was
happy for you that you found a condescending mistress, and fortunate
for me that I had not laid myself under any obligation to another
before I saw you, for whatever my previous obligations, ‸ had been unless they had
originated in love, I could not have resisted the emotions with which
the Sight of you inspired me, and should therefore have been condemned
to waste my days in an unhappy contest between love and duty, and
what effects would not my inexorable dislike or ‸ invincible indifference have produced
on the wild impetuous and ungovernable passions of my friend? I tremble
to think of what would probably have been the consequence, but still
notwithstanding all my condescention and indulgence, you are still unsatissfied
Have I not told you that my resolutions are taken. That the grave shall
recieve me, before I give myself to the arms of another, and do you think that
this resolution can possibly be shaken! Let me assure you my friend that
my fortitude is equall to the severest trial, which can encounter it,
and that there is no obstacle to our final union, which cannot be
surmounted by female intrepidity and perseverance. Why is not this
assurance satisfactory? Will nothing content you but that of which
the acquisition is impossible? Awake, my friend: Be no longer the slave of
Shadows and chimeras. Why will you be still a child? Enjoy the felicity
which is allotted to you. Our union is already begun. Our minds are wedded to
each other. We shall be One to all eternity.

Forbear to make your letters the vehicls of ‸ such outrageous passions. Moderate
your transports I beseach you, and endeavour to transfuse into your letters some
what of that purity and delicacy which distinguishes your conversation.



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You undoubtedly intertain a meaner opinion of my capacity than my vanity
can patiently bear, or why in the letters, which you write to me are not the
same topics discussed, as in those which you communicate to your friend.
I am far from supposing that I should be able to extend the knowledge or
rectify the opinions of my friend, but I am certain that I should be greatly
benefited by his instructions. Let this consideration induce you to give to your
future letters a more literary or speculative cast, than is visible in those
which you have heretofore written. I have heard you say that you have had
better opportunities of knowing mankind, been acquainted with a greater
variety of Characters and of scenes than any other person. This is my friend is ‸ doubtless
a very modest assertion, and nothing, could with less propriety, be mentioned as
proof of vanity, but if this ‸ be true why will you not communicate a few
particulars to me, and make me the same wonderful proficient as yourself
in this most useful species of Knowledge? Do you think I should not be
highly interested in the relations narratives which relate to yourself, and I am too
well acquainted with the talents of my friend, to imagine that he would
be ‸ un able to give to the most common and familiar incidents, the graces of
novelty and the aspect of importance.

I will not prolong this letter though I yet feel no inclination to
sleep. It is not likely that I should every weary or slumberous in writing to
my dearest friend, and therefore it must be some other motive sleepiness
that can induce me to lay aside the pen, and the reason why I leave it
now is because I think I have written sufficiently.



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Sunday Morn. 7 O'Clock

XIII

I rose this morning as before the day began to glimmer in the east this is my
customary hour, ‸ of rising and the Incidents of thet last evening were ‸ such as scarcely suffered me to sleep
at all. My slumbers were short and continually broken by vague and confused
dreeams, of which however, the general aspect was agreable, and ‸ which have greatly
contributed to the peace and Serenity with which I begin this letter.
Your piety will not suffer you thus to employ yourself on this day, and
you have also thought it proper strictly to prohibit me from writing,
but my dearest Harriot is it less criminal to think of you than to write
to you on Sunday? and since it is impossible to exclude you from my
thought, what ever be the Sanctity of the time and or place, I know not
why I should be forbidden to converse with you. I endeavoured indeed to
fix my attention on the scenery before me, as I wandered over the fields
and to watch the progress of day in the east, standing on a verdant,
eminence within some hundred paces from Schuylkill, but the charms of ‸ nature
are less attractive than formerly. My attention is forcibly and irresistably
born away to objects that are distance and to occurrences, that have already
happened. How different are the Emotions with with I now view the rising
Sun from those ‸ with which I have formerly beheld it, and I long for the approach of
day, and the reanimation of drooping nature, for no other ‸ reason than because it
shortens the intervals of absence ofrom you, or enables me to exercise my
pen, and enjoy in some degree, sort, your company.

The house at which I reside, is distant about half a league from
Schyulkill. We are conducted thither by a road, the Skirts of which neither
art or nature has very lavishly embellished, but the sight of dewey
verdure is ever pleasing, and the fields, though for the most part, flat
and level, are ‸ at this season rendered delightful covered to the view by being covered luxuriantly with
rising corn. Is not some of the pleasure which a cultivated Landscape
affords properly to be attributed to the consideration which naturally
suggest itself of the condition or happiness of those who cultivate it.
How much is the beauty of the Scene heightened by the appearance
of beautiful Intelligent or contented countenances? Nature seems to derive
additional Charms from the manners of the Inhabitants, and the rudest
dwelling, on the forlorn bleakest and forlornest promontory, could scarcely fail


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of pleasing the Spectator when he should know that it was the residence
of beauty and simplicity. And how ‸ quickly would the greenest copse or the most
sequestered dell, lose its charms, when it should be found to contain a nest of
adders or a den of Outlaws? If any pleasure can be gathered from the prospect
of any part of this country peninsula, we must be indebted ‸ for it totaly to Nature,
for the manners of the people are to the last degree, gross and brutal. The
light neither of letters nor religion ever illumined this dusky spot, and the
Inhabitants appear to imagine that the end of their being is to carry radishes
and potatoes, or what goes to Market, under the denomination of truck to Market, and
to hoard up the produce “for a rainy day.’ Avarice is their predominant passion
on which every other principle of action is absorbed, and they are universally
sunk in ignorance and brutality. ‸ Though Their speech be distinguished by few national
peculiarities of pronunciation, and their idiom be far more truly English
than any of the provincial diallects, of G. Britain, yet it is So perfectly the
reverse of purity and elegance, that my ears are shocked and disgusted at it
It also enormously abounds with blasphemies and obscurities impurities, and almost all
their phrazes are expressive of so strange a mixture of folly and wickedness
that I am sometimes doubtful whither they excite more contempt or abhorrence

I am affraid that the face of nature is little less disgusting. I live near
the confluence of two small streems, which fall, when united fall into
Delaware, a little above its conflux with Schulkill. These streems are
enclosed within artificial banks, in order to secure the adjacent grounds from
inundation, and roll through muddy channels, which, at the falling of
the tide, afford a striking spectacle of desolation and deformity. The land which
belongs to this farm is nearly encircled by these Rivulets, and is one uni foul
uniform unsightly level. It chiefly consists of Marsh, from which the rays
of the Sun exhale the most noisome and unholesome vapours. The garden
of which the cost has been great, is tended the only place from which the eye can
derive pleasure, and in a small building, erected in one corner of it, and in which which
by placing a chair and desk in it, and furnishing it with books and paper, I
have converted into a sort of study, I am now sitting.

The nether Bank of Schylkill is steep and lofty with a sandy shore and is the
and is the only place within ten or fifteen miles of my residence, with place


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a solitary wanderer like myself can be much delighted, and here I am frequently
to be found at morning or & evening twilight, and am sometimes conducted hither
by the genius of contemplation, at the dead of night. The descent is overhung
by pines, which diffuse over the scenes a peculiar solemnity, which greatly
heightens the pleasure which one of a pensive and melancholy disposition
may derive from it.

This morning I repaired thither, before the east had exhibited any
tokens of approaching light, with Miltons Comus Licdas and Il Penseroso in
my Pocket, intending to devote the hours to those performances, and to investigate
the principles of that divine philosophy which they teach, but alas! My thoughts
continually wandered from the page before me, and the Image of my beautious
Harriot incessantly interposed between the poet and the critic, and intirely diverted
my attention from the book. You know it is my constant practice to think aloud,
and I could not but smile at the strange incoherent and unintelligible Soliloques
of which I was guilty in consequence of ‸ thus dividing my attention between two objects
and of forcing myself to repeat the poems, and to weigh the propriety, of
each line and phrase, when it was impossible to be absent from you for a moment
I at length forbore my unavailing struggles, and hastily returned determined
no longer to withstand my inclination, and, as you were personally inaccessible,
to spend the day in writing to you.

Judge with what satisfaction I perused your letter, which I unexpec
-tedly recieved at on my return. How infinitely condescending is my lovely Henriette
in bereaving herself of repose for my sake and yet how cruel are you in recounting
the circumstances in which you write, in telling me that, on retiring to your
chamber, you felt and no inclination to sleep, and therefore thought proper to
employ the wakeful hours at your pen: How shall I banish from my Imagination
the fatal Images that croud into it; which the mention of your chamber like the
wafture of a Magicians rod have called into being? How can I innocently foster
them? but, in compliance with your injunction I will exert the utmost Magnanimi
-ty of which I am capable, and though I am unable to hinder the lawless
excursions of my fancy, I will at least forbear to describe its rovings in this
letter, and to speak in a manner in the least offensive to your delicacy. I will
speak if possible on general topics, and keep the peaceful tenor which you
prescribe.



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How shall I amuse my lovely correspondent? How shall I agreably and usefully employ
my pen. For O pen! I warn thee that thou art doomed to labour without intermission
for ten or fifteen hours, or at least without any intervals of rest except those
in which thy master shall employ himself in sharing the wholesome and temperate
repast. Be therefore prepared to show thy Skill and perseverance, and be sure to suffer
nothing to escape thee, which is likely to offend my mistress. I know thou art willing
to perform all that is demanded of thee, but thou desirest to be told on what subjects
thou canst expatiate in order to afford her pleasure. Listen to her. She herself informs the
that thou shouldst utter in her presence, Sentiments like those which thy lord
dictates to thee, when in company with his friend. But I know thy obtinacy. Thou
refusest to comply with her requests Thou thinkest it impossible it impossible to
speak any otherwise than as the organ of love and tenderness, and art skilful only in
embellishing with thy eloquence, the ardent and or desponding conceptions of thy enthralled
and infatuated Master

It is not possible my dearest creature that you should imagine me impressed with a
a mean opinion of your understanding. I must indeed confess that before I knew you I deemed
too contemptuously of the greater part of your sex, and supposed that the actual arguments
of women are in general few and inconsiderable, and, as a general position, I see no reasoning
for relinquishing it even at present; but I never concieved that the minds of women were
naturally inferior to those of Men. I have always indeed strenuously maintained that you are
originally foremost in the scale of being, and it is easy to produce examples which shew
that you are capable of outgoing us ‸ both in vice and virtue; and then, my fairest, who is there
where there whose superiority I am less inclined to call in question? Whose maxims I should
more implicitly adopt, whatever subjects they regarded, and whose guidance, in whatever
tract, I should less scrupulously follow? I am sencible that if our intercourse were
merely literary, I should reap infinitely greater advantage from it than yourself, and
that even the Sagacity and erudition of my friend, does not so justly intitle her to become
what he is at present, my guide and teacher, than ‸ as the exquisite penetration of refined
taste, and various knowledge of my Henriette. Have I not reposed in your hands the
direction of my conduct and opinions? Am I not your vassal? Than I have given up the
priviledge of acting and thinking for myself, and, await, with all the madness of
impatience, for that period, when I shall add to those which you already possess
all the exterior Symbols of Sovereignty. When you shall see, in the person of your
— (Ah! Name of rapture! when shall I be worthy of thee?) — the same awestruck


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votary, the same prostrate adorer, that now trembles before you, taken ‸ when the sacrifice
of Masculine priviledges, [gap] hateful, arrogant, pernicious priviledges! shall claim the
merit of being voluntary and constraintless.

But do not ‸ you see the impossibility of devoting his correspondence to
indifferent topics? In writing to my Harriot shall the phantoms of Ambition be suffered
to intrude? Shall I delineate those splendid objects at which I was wont formerly to
gaze, and assume, amidst the brightest visions of accepted love, amidst the rays of
benignant beauty, amidst the ravishments of tenderness and overflowing ecstasy,
the rug stern and rugged aspect of the critic and Grammarian? Exalt myself into
a judge of Rhetorical performances, and act as Arbiter of the claims of rival orators.
No! My Harriot would justly despise and resent such unreasonable pedantry.
A lover has other avocations than to write critical disertations, and dispute about the
the merits of Tully and Hortensius.

But however acceptable my criticisms might be, to my charming Hariett
and whatever delight she might take in the correspondence of a second Atticus,
I am not accustomed to counterfeit opinions and mimic enthusiasms. My hours of
political Ambition are past. I no longer muse in the ‸ a portico of Athens, or the
grove of Academe. I no longer listen to the diallogists of Tusculum, nor frequent the
schools of Isocrates Quintilian or Dyonysius. What I formerly beheld with rapture
is now disgustful or indifferent, and I have at length acquired a relish for true
felicity, and all that I now desire is to pass a [gap] life of rural and noiseless obscurity
in the arms of love and Friendship.

My Correspondence with my friend is far from being such as you imagine
and though not less regular and copious than formerly, is dedicated to very different
purposes. You will not be at a loss to discover them; for how should it be supposed
that one in my situation can reason, with any degree of coherence or propriety, [gap]
meditate or reason on a speculative topic? I have no licencse to examine whether this
phrase be classical or that Sentiment be just, Whether the orator has well or ill-
arranged his arguments on a particular occasion, no inclination to imagine myself
his oponent, and compose an answer to his declamation. No, my dearest, Henriette
I formerly thought that ambition was the attribute of the noblest minds, that the
Science of Rhetorick was the sublimest of studies, and regarded perfection in eloquence
as the pinacle of human glory and felicity, but my creed is now intirely changed
The sacred influence of two bright eyes has softened my heart and illumined my understanding
and taught me to estimate the perishable praise of men, at its real value, and to court


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the shade of philosophical retirements, domestic peace and nuptial transports, with as much
Ardour as I formerly aspired to to the splendid reward of forensi Judicial and deliberative
oratory.

Of the utility of that eloquence which is exhibited in conversation, I have always been
convinced, and ‸ I shall not scruple to expatiate, even in my letters to you, on that interesting
and important Subject, because as a woman, you may reasonable aspire to the knowledge
and attainment of it; because it is not less momentous with regard to you than to myself
and because the discussion, of it, so far from excluding your image from ‸ my mind, and diverting
my attention to other objection, will furnish additional motives for contemplating it. Since
all my rules must be drawn from you and all my precepts be illustrated by your example
for, of that Eloquence, where shall I search for a more perfect model than yourself! O
my better angel, to what unlimited gratitude are you intitled! How numberless are my
obligations to you? By acquiring and displaying so many excellences, you have raised me
above myself. In contemplating perfection do we not not ourselves become more perfect
Do we not acquire some resemblance to the deity, by constantly meditating on his
Attributes? To gaze at your image by which I am constantly attended, is my sole employ=
=ment, and from continually gazing at purity and excellence, I necessarily derive Advantages
I become, in some degree, akin to yourself. I feel a gradual elevation of Sentiments, and am
actuated by a boundless desire of rising to the same extraordinary pitch of mental and
moral excellence. How potent and how beneficial is the influence of true love. It chastens
the most wanton Imagination, it converts arrogance into humility, and softens the
rudest and most boisterous demeanour into affability and gentleness; it teaches us
diffidence of our own powers, and deference to the opinions of others, and produces a
general Conformity, in thoughts and actions, to the beloved object. These are the effects
of this sublime and exalted passions, and of which I do not scruple to quote my own
behaviour as an example? what changes has it produced in the appearance and deportment
of the awkward rustic, whose speech might have been quoted as a model of uncouthness
and inelegance, who could talk only on paper; whose pen only was audible, and
the streem of whose turbid and muddy elocution, only served to perplex or baffle
Curiosity, and to hide from the view of the Understanding those ideas which it was
employed to render visible and obvious. I now involuntarily and mechanically
imitate, as far as natural defects will suffer me, the captivating grace and
musical distinctness of your Utterance, and the splendid simplicity and unstudied
elegances of your style. Since my connection with you I begin to entertain a better
opinion of my own Abilities, and know not, but that, in time, my Harriot may
discover in me some resemblance to herself, and may deem me worthy of the Panageric
which my vanity has already pronounced.



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When religious rites shall have completed our union, and fortune shall ‸ have conducted us
to some romantic and peaceful assylum, decorated with the beauty and magnificence of
nature, shall I not search out some sacred and sequestered spot "embosomed high in
tufted trees? Shall I not call the from her attic shrines, the genius of Architecture,
to erect and dedicate a temple to the Deity of love? O thou precious fane faculty!
Creative and propitious power of poetical Imagination! At thy command an
eden opens in the wilderness. How ravishing and picturesque is the landscape
which is momentaneously depicted by thy pencil! Ye Rushing torrents and gigantic
Mountains! Whose sides, verdant with luxuriant shrubbs, or gloomy with impentrable
forrests are contrasted with your summits naked bleak and inaccessible, columns of
ice on rocky pyramids. ‸ Ye Springs bursting from the mossy stone, and hiding, in
the depth of ‸ echoing caverns your collected streems. Ye Vales whose fertilizing streems and
Shadowy recesses, where Silence, with footsteps noiseless and inaudible, is wont
to stray.. are nighty witnesses of heavenly conferences, and are thronged with spirrits
vassals of the poets invocation on the word of Magic. Ye Images of rural Magnificence
and tranquility, how rapidly do you glide before me, and tantalize with the
prospect of felicity which I never shall enjoy. Lo! the mansion of peace the dome of
elegance and hospitality. The residence of love and beauty! Rising in the midst
of the wild, decorating the bosom of a swelling dale, that terminate on the
low and flowery margin of a winding and transpar [gap] ent streem of which the
opposite bank, ascends, in steep and rugged magnificence, into the clouds. That Mansion
O my Harriot have my hopes selected for our future residence, and I will not
cease to believe the accomplishment of those hopes at least within the verge of possibility

The Scenes by which I am encompassed are in general so little suited to
afford me pleasure, that the embellishments of fancy are absolutely necessary to make
them be viewed by ‸ with patience, and of these embellishment, I am therefore by no
no means inspiring, and it would not be easy for an indifferent to concieve
in how many additional char and adventitious charms, the most gloomy and insipid
prospects are arrayed when they present themselves to my eye.

But the Sun has traversed ‸ performed one third of his diurnal Journey,
and the Morning meal awaits my participation. How then must I finish this
Epistle, but, as soon as my repast is taken, I will return and resume my pen.
___________________________________
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Sunday Morn. 9. OClock.

XIV.

Here Am I again, my Henriette, I dispatched my meal with the utmost
expedition, and retired with inconceivable Satisfaction to this studious recess. A description of
it would I believe amuse you. Surely never had philosopher so forlorn and comfortless a naked an
assylum ‸ Mansion. Time has worn the plaster from the walls. In most, places, the bricks, unevenly
and irregularly disposed are visible. It is in this building, as in all other productions of
Architecture, on that which the form of the structure requires to be concealed, less pains and
skill are employed, than those which are necessarily exposed to examination. The width a
breadth of it does not exceed ten feet and yet it has two doors and six windows.
One of the doors ‸ Entrances is shut up by boards which the plaine never touched, and which are
nailed across it without the least regard to neatness or regularity. The other which
may be supposed to stand in the front of the edifice, and leads into the garden, in the
northwestern corner of which the building is placed, is open and without a door. Though
though, as I perceive, part of the hinges, almost devoured with rust, still remain
In the windows there is no appearance of glass or shutters, and in one only, before ‸ which I have
placed a desk tottering on three legs, lockless and almost coverless, are there any remains
of a Sash. My door and window are adorned with a profusion of Lilacks and
Honey suckles, and [gap] ‸ in the holes and Crevices with which the wooden parts of the edifice
abound, Aunts and bumble bees without number have taken shelter, but seldom
molest me by their near approach. The flooring is gone, except in that part whi
supports my chair.

During this season, this retirement is by no means disagreable or
uncommodious, and I have often remained here, in defiance of the chilling blasts
of September, and the chearless cloudinesses of March. It serves all the purposes
to which I have dedicated it, and I have obstinately refused either to forsake this
assylum, ruinous and naked as it is, or to suffer any reparation of it. Were my
desk Mahogany, my floor covered with a persian carpet, and my walls
impannelled with plates, of polished silver, and adorned with the treasure
of farnese Medici and Belvedere, I should recieve infinitely less Satisfaction from
it than from the humility and rustic of its present appearance, and I am not less
delighted or benefited in gazing at the loosened cement and stragling bricks than
in Contemplating the broken shafts and shattered intablatures of Tedmor and
and Persepolis.



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I am ‸ far from thinking myself intitled to the praises which you have so liberally
conferred upon me. Indeed I know no rarer or more valuable quallification, than that of
describing common objects and relating familiar occurrences in such a manner as to render
them pleasing and instructive, but when this talent is acquired materials on which it
may usefully and properly be exercised can never be deficient. I cannot concieve that the
character of any man is unworthy to be known, and believe that there is no person, the
incidents, of whose life, if skilfully relation, would not furnish as much entertainment
by their variety and novelty as any fictitious narrative that ever was written. Fiction
however polished and elaborate, could never yet surpass reality. The life of most men
is a continual Comedy, which nature has furnished with characters events and
Scenes, which cannot be imagined by the strongest power of invention, and which
if faithfully related or described, would render the aid of fancy superfluous

No man can reasonably boast of greater experience than another. He that has
traveled over a greater extent, of country, associated & with a greater number of persons
than another, is not to be necessarily deemed more thoroughly acquainted either with
Man or nature. There is no sphere however limited, in which human nature may
not successfully ‸ be studied, and in which sufficient opportunities are not afforded
for the exercise of the deepest penetration, and as a philosopher will ‸ is able derive amusement
instruction from contemplating a post or a stone, so he whose descriptive powers are
vigorous, can always make the delineation of them a source of pleasure and improvm
The book of nature like every other volume is useful to the reader exactly in proportion
to his sagacity, and to the attention with which he peruses it, but what Advantage
can he derive from it, whose rapid and unsteady glances, can produce none but
general and indeterminate ideas? Who dwells not on a single object long enough
to know its properties. Nothing is more common than this inattentive and ‸ unobserving
disposition, and those circumstances, which though continually passing in his our
sight, he we wanted either power time or inclination to remark, will, when depicted
in words, and set before him us in a light so clear and forcible that it they cannot fail
of arresting his our attention, be viewed with singular satisfaction and advantage.

I have long been powerfully impressed with the Justness of these opinions
and have sometimes concieved the design of relating every domestic incident, and
accounting, every diallogue, and describing every scene that shall occur within
a certain & assynable period with the most excessive and elaborate minuteness.
Relations in which no circumstance, however frivolous and inconsiderable, should be
omitted, and pictures in which should be comprised every appendage. It may be questioned


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whether the force and accuray of words can be exceeded by the power of the pencil
though to the perfection of verbal portraitures, it is obvious that a greater veratility &
copiousness of Style, or greater command of language is indispencably required than
many persons have acquired attained. For my part I shall not scruple to pronounce in
in favour of the writer, but the circumstances in which the representations of the
poets and the painter differ, have been so frequently explained and are, in
themselves so manifest to the most negligent observer, that I shall not
weary my lovely friend with a trite and tedious disquisition, or with
attempting regularly to demonstrate my opinion

My design, to which I have just alluded, I have carried into execution
and find that my knowledge of the manners characters and mode of speaking
of those with whom I live is far more accurate and extensive than before, or
than could possibly have been derived from casual observation. I cannot denye
that had I listened with equal attention, or examined with equall vigilance
though without any design of recording what I saw or heard, I should have
experienced a new and astonishing increase of Knowledge, and therefore am convince
that exact and useful observation is practicable without the intervention or
assistance of the pen, but the resolution to describe, induced a kind of necessity
for procuring the Materials of description, and was a cogent and irresistable
incitement to attention, and the permanence of written records furnishes opportunity
for reviewing the Scene, and attending to the diallogue at liesure.

Such, My Harriot, are the opportunities and advantages of silent, indefatiga
=ble observation, and though what I have asserted with regard to the number &
variety of Scenes and characters with which I have been conversant, were not
strictly true, yet might I not still claim the merit of experience & sagacity
To visit Europe is it necessary to cross the ocean? Cannot I traverse Connecticut or
Carolina while sitting in my closet? And admire the dignity and Affability
of Frederick or Joseph though I never dined or walked in company with either
though I never traversed the Ramparts of Berlin and or Vienna. And cannot I
converse with Gellert, Haller or Gesner, though I never set my foot within the
precincts of Zurich or Gottingen, or Leipsic



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I hope I do not deserve the Imputation of vanity, and yet if to praise oneself
whether praise be merited or not, be a sufficient proof of vanity I cannot hope to
elude the charge. Among the quallifications of my Harriot I very quickly
perceived that uncommon penetration was to be ranked, and I was conscious that
she would not fail to exert, her utmost sagacity, in scrutinizing the character
of her friend. I have therefore always acted and spoken with sincerity from the
strongest and invincible motives, from motives of [gap] immediate and apparent Interest.
Duplicity and affectation will scarcely be employed by one who sees that, instead
of producing the end for which they should be used, they would only counteract
and obviate it. Faults are only l[gap] agravated by hipocritical pretences and ostentatious
disguises, and sincerity can never be otherwise than meritorious. I assure you
that I am flattered by a consciousness of my own integrity in this ‸ respect, and cannot
accuse myself of a single act of craft or dissimulation, with disguising any of
my sentiments, with asserting what I know to be false, with professing to
believe without actual conviction, or with substituting on any occasion appearances
for realities, during my intercourse with you. I am willing that my candour
and disinterestedness should be imputed to a noble motive, but it is certain that
a conviction of the uselessness of disimulation, is a cause of itself sufficient to
induce me to avoid, it, the inefficacy of an expedient is certainly the strongest
motive for rejecting it

If I have really admitted an elevated opinion of my own talents
or attainments, is not the concealment of it a proof of insincerity, and therefore
culpable? And by what artifices could I hope to hide the self-applause from
you? In confessing my vanity I ‸ only disclose what is already known to you. But what is
the consequence of this Confession? It is surely not without some degree of merit. If it
be in consequence of a determination not to to deceive, your, nor to wear appearances which do
not really belong it me, it may justly be regarded as a proof of candour, or if I forbear
to disemble only because I percieve that to disemble would be useless, cannot I found on
this confession some claim to Sagacity, for by what other power was I inabled to
discover the inutility of false pretenses.

See, my lovely friend, with what laborious ingenuity I contrive to derive
applause even from the acknowledgement of a weakness. I am affraid that you
ill not much approve my skill, and that you will be inclined to suspect that my


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openness and frankness is only a new refinement upon vanity. I own I do not thoroughly
comprehend my own motives, and will repeat, without attempting to explain or
palliate my behaviour, that I believe myself to have enjoyed opportunities of
observation, and of acquiring a knowledge of the world, which few others, equally yound
have possessed. But I can discover no vanity in this acknowledgment. That I have
been a witness of various scenes, and experienced many vicissitudes of fortune, is not
proof of my superiority to others, but though to have enjoyed opportunities of Knowledge
is no subject of panagerick, ‸ yet not to have profited by these opportunity will
furnish just occasion for censure. He whose grievance is inevitable is less to be despised
than he in whom it is voluntary.

Excellence is either absolute or comparative; on comparing myself with those
with ‸ whom it is my fortune to associate, I am seldom inclined to question my own
superiority, but on examining what I ought to be, by and measuring my own
attainments, by the standard of character, remote or ancient, the phantom of superiority
quickly vanishes and leaves me to regret my measureless distance from absolute excellence.

But you require me to give you some account of past transactions, and to communi
=cate some part of that knowledge in which I am ‸ so boastfully declared myself a
proficient. Ah! my amiable friend, your requisition can never be complied with,
nor can I ever be prevailed upon to reveal domestic incidents, not because, in acting
in such a manner, I should imprudently be guilty of any breach of confidence or any
violation of propriety but because, the pain would overflweigh the pleasure of
attending to the narrative, and no instructions could be derived from the melancholy
tale equal to the severity of those wounds, which your sencibilility would inevitably
suffer. If I cannot preserve the reputation of experience but by such communications
I must however reluctantly, relinquish it; and be contented to be stigmatized as
ignorant and unexperienced, like those above whom I am so far exalted by the powers
of a vain Imagination

Do you know with whom, in moments of imaginary elevation, I am
sometimes tempted to compare myself? Ah! my Henriette, you know not
half the weaknesses of your unworthy friend, and in the progress of these
discoveries which you are dayly making with regard to my character, I am affraid
that at length you will find abundant reason to withhold your approbation and
forbear your panagerick, but whatever may be your ‸ future opinion with regard to me, I am
shall never scruple to claim the merit of Sincerity, and doubt not but that, on the


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most exact and diligent examination, your confidence in me will, be, in no degree abated
You will find me, amidst all my weaknesses, fully sencible of the charms of virtue
and of the deformities of vice, and always endeavouring to resist temptations, and never
yielding to them without remorse and repentance

I think it may safely be asserted that of all the virtues, mankind is most
universally deficient in sincerity, and the innumerable casuistical distinctions, which
which the ingenuity of every man furnishes him, renders extenuates the neglect guilt of severity, in the
eye of him who commits it. He ventures not only to commit ‸ it without scruple but to acknowledge and
vindicate the commission. How many motives are there for concealing our real Sentiments
& for counterfeiting conviction, and approbation? and conviction? and how many occasions
are there, on which, if its immediate and temporary effects only be considered, Sincerity
is criminal, and when a strict adherence to it would be, not only, an infraction of politeness
but a deviation from rectitude? He who exhibits in his deportment, appearances inconsist
with his real Character, is undoubtedly an hypocrite, but Routine though it appears to
have rendered the disguise of our real Sentiments, in may circumstances, indispensably, yet
cannot alter the nature of things; cannot convert vice into virtue or beauty into
ugliness, cannot change sincerity into a crime or render hypocrisy laudable. If two
persons be openly and equally applauded, and both are qually convinced of the
penetration and sincerity ‸ veracity of him who applauds, ‸ he who freely intimates this conviction
and scruples not to own himself conscious of his merit, would perhaps be ridiculed as
vain and arrogant, while the other who studiously diclaims all pretentions to the good
qualilities which are ascribed to him, will procure the reputation of modesty, though it
be clearly seen that his diffidence extends no farther than his words and that the
sentiments of both are the same though their professions differ. Cuss Custom commands
that in our intercourse with others we should wear all the exterior Symbols of Modesty,
and always voluntarily shrink from the praises conferred upon us, whatever be our real or
real and internal Sentiment: but I cannot conceive any occasion on which it is justifiable
to dispence with the observance of Sincerity; on which it is not our invariable duty, to
utter our genuine Sentiments and act in a natural Character.

Will you permit me to leave you for a moment? and conclude my letter?
Forgive the abruptness of this conclusion, and to continue to esteem, in spite of his demerits
C. B. B.



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Sunday Noon.

XV

The air is perfectly still. I have a double motive for retreating into this
Recess; and come hither not only to converse with my Harriot, but to avoid the
scorching and oppressive heat. Silence is as much the communicant of noon as
the associate of Midnight, and the stillness of the air as naturally invites to contempla-
=tion at one season as at the other. With what pleasure do I strech myself beneath
the shade of an Hazel or a lilach branch in this agreable assylum, and deliver myself
up to the power of excursive imagination, or sink, by degrees, into Slumber? My
slumbers however are remarkable havens of Amusement or instruction, and its only in my
waking hours that I see "such sights as youthful poets dream." Fairy land is
always interdicted to my sleeping fancy, though, formerly, watchfulness never failed
to conduct my footsteps thither.

The vicissitudes to which the human character and opinions are liable
cannot be considered without surprise ‸ astonishment. No one more widely differers in his Sentime
Sentiments ‸ and disposition from others, than at different periods from himself, and those intellectual
revolutions, always correspondent with external circumstances. We vary, according to
the variations of the Scene and hour, and it is not less difficult to tell what will
our views and opinions will be twelve months hence, than to foresee the particular
circumstances in which we shall then be placed. Man is a progressive being and
He is never stationary, but is always either returning from a certain point or leaving it ‸ behind him
It is therefore incumbent on us that our motions be tending towards perfection
rather than receding from it.

But what awkward and uncouth morality is this. How dare these
cold and rugged speculations, intrude into a correspondence like this, sacred to more
tender and more amiable purposes. Are you not displeased with the asperity of those
reflexions, and accustomed to a strain more congenial to my present temper; yet
you will not suffer me to obey the impulse of ‸ my heart: to rave to supplicate to
exult to deplore, but have harshly limited me to the discussion of uninteresting
topics. I assure you I find it almost impracticable to submit to your
injunctions, but my fortitude I hope will triumph over every obstacle. I am
sensible that the only alternatives are cold philosophy or dreadful Silence and
this and what would I not chearfully undertake, rather relinquish this
employment, than forfeit the inestimable priviledge of writing to you



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Yes. Impose upon me, if you think proper, tasks the most difficult and
disagreable. Command me to exert my faculties in the soulution of a
mathematical problem, or in the explication of some ‸ incomprehensible
subtlety in Metaphysics, and you shall admire with what alacrity I will
ingage in the arduous enterprise. With what intrepidity ‸ and perseverance I will encounter
opposition and trample difficulties. The conviction that I act in compliance
with your wishes will be sufficient compensation for my toils, and render
pleasing what would otherwise have proved insupportably disgustful.
But are th not the two Sciences which I have mentioned the exclusive
property of men. Instances may indeed be produced ‸ of women who possessed every masculine
property. Examples are not wanting of female warriors Lawyers and
professions, but is it not generally true that women are by nature unfitted
for the pursuit of Mathematical as well as military Science. Is not
the gayer region of morality and poetry their province. In calm sedentary
and domestic avocations ye shine with speculiar and serenest lustre.
Divine and amiable Objects! The pen as well as the needle may
safely be intrusted to your beautious hands, and ye are equally quallified
for excelling in ‸ the use of both. Your eyes ‸ and fingers may with not less propriety be employed
on the poem or romance than ‸ on the decorated Screen and variegated Lawn
and you are destined by your maker not only to rival, but outstrip your
masculine competitors in ‸ all the excellences of the heart and understanding.

My Henri‸etta! when shall I reach the elevation to which the [gap] ‸ you have soared
When shall I become as wise as amiable; as sagacious in discerning truth &
rectitude; as eloquent in enforcing it; as magnanimous in adhering to it. But
though an equallity with you in every admirable and attractive quallification
should be unattainable, yet I am already infinily exalted above my
former polih, and though I should continue forever stationary at the point
at the point, at which I have arrived, my obligations to you will be
unspeakable, and the dues of gratitude I shall never be able to discharge.
I indeed survey the past with the utmost astonishment. In comparing
my former with my present situation, the revolution which has taken
place in my sentiments and situation is almost incredible. I am sometimes
almost in doubt whether he that was last year a visionary has not now


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become a Lunatic. Whether the objects around me be phantoms or realities
Whether, my reason be not overpowered by Imagination, and these are moments
in which I almost call in question the existance of my Henriette. Had
any one ‸ formerly predicted that my I should at this time ingage the affections and
enjoy, almost incessantly the conversation of a lovely and accomplished woman,
the most exalted of her Sex, with what invincible incredulity should I
listened to this such his intelligence. I should have deemed it absolutely impossible
as well from the conviction of my own unworthiness, as from the Knowledge
of my situation. Women were objects with whom I conversed only at a
distance, I regarded them with the profoundest veneration. I felt myself
capable of all the romantic enthusiasm of love, but imagined myself
eternally excluded from their presence by the want of exterior accomplishments
I saw myself ‸ obscure and mean; enrolled by adversity in the lowest rank of
mankind: distinguished from the rabble only by the love of literature, by
propensities which without altering the duresses of of fortune, could ‸ only render me
more sencible of its ‸ rigour injustice. I had never practiced in the School of Justinian.
Though versed in the laws of politeness I was wholly unacquainted with the ruls
of accuracy. In the presence of any of your sex, whose rank, virtue and ‸ or capacity
intitled them to respect, the power of utterance was lost in confusion and
embarrassment. My faculties were bewildered, and my pain and distress when
under the necessity of meeting their eyes, amounted to agony. I approached them
terror and reluctance, and fled from them with the utmost precipitation.
I loved to indulge in visionary transports, to paint the forms of Imaginary
Excellence and beauty, and put speedily together the materials of many a
surprising and pathetic tale. I, for a time, withdrew my attention of many ‸ from all other subjects
and endeavoured to attain from those writers, who are ‸ most celebrated for their Skill
an accurate though speculative knowledge of human nature, in the present
state of polished and refined manners. I ingenuously confess my attachment
to fictitious history, and read, at the period to which I allude, all the
Romances, whether french or English, which I though deserving of perusal
of which the sum the number is extreemely small. I know little of any
performances of this kind but those of Mademoiselle Scuderi, Marivaux
& Richardson, and I have no ambition to know more of the human heart,
from books, than these are able may be derived from these performances.


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But the want of opportunities, of experience and the consciousness of my the
obscurity, and ‸ of the meanness of my situation, confined me to the region of fiction,
and the only source of entertainment of in my powers, [gap] consisted in my
own reflexion, but in a short time I discovered with rapture and astonish-
=ment, that those emotions which I had hitherto delighted to feign, had
now suddenly become real. That I was actually enamoured of an
-object, that visibly and indisputably existed. How lavishly did my Imagination
decorated your mind and person, and yet how far was her feeble pencil from
painting with the energy of truth? How many excellences were disclosed on
a more intimate acquaintance, of which I had not previously formed the
least conception? I am conscious that the lover frequently discovers beauties in his
Mistress which, in reality, have no existance, and whether I am decieved
with regard to character of Harriot G — - - I shall venture not to
determine, but I am at least certain that I am not conscious of deception
and that my error if it be one is involuntary.

Have I not reason to exult in my destiny? How far beyond my hopes
beyond my merits is the blessing which I have recieved? When I have so much
reason to rejoice would it not be impious to complain? And yet to forbear complaint
is impossible. My felicity though ‸ truly great, is far from being perfect. To know you
to converse with you. To find my vows acceptable, to excite in your bosom the same
emotions which actuated my own, I hate regarded as the summit of my wishes
the completion of my happiness; but now what I possess is little when compared
with that to which I audaciously aspire. Wedlock! sacred and blissful State!
All the joys which formerly incircled me, have now retired within thy hallowed
limits. From me they are fled forever unless thy portals are unfolded to
recieve me. O my Henrietta! To be allyed to so much excellence!—but I must
restrain myself. I would not for the world Universe, offend you Forgive me
for disregarding your commands. I shall ‸ very quickly solicit your forgiveness in
person. Meanwhile honour I beseach you, with your written notice these
vague and hasty effusions of
C. B. B.~



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XVI.
From Henrietta —

Monday Morning. 6. OClock.

My friend. You have indeed been unexpectedly liberal. I requested you to
write copiously, and in this instance at least you have not scrupled to obey
Why will you not submit with equally readiness to commands far more
reasonable? How happy would your obedience render you, for my commands fare
inspired for no other reason than because I value your happiness in preferance
to my own. It is your own interest only that I consult, and am ardently
desirous of making your attachment to me the means of consolation to yourself

If that event should hereafter take place which is equally desirable by [gap]
both of us do not you see what exaustless sccenes of entertainment this
correspondence will afford us? I shall preserve all the letters which I have
received from you with the utmost ‸ care. They are indeed highly valuable on
various accounts—but I will not wound your modesty, and yet it is somewhat
ungenerous wholly to forbear applauding you. You have lately been so
lavish of encomium on me, that it would be but equitable to discharge the
obligation, and in return, to give you a little praise. Would you implicitly
credit all that I should say of you. If you would not, I must of necessity be
silent. However your uncommon your attainments may be, I cannot praise you
if I have any reason to imagine that my veracity would be question. I cannot
bear to be suspected of a falsehood, and to be guilty of a falsehood with
you, to you would be a proof of peculiar malignity. And yet he that
wholly disclaims praise, is not perhaps less willing to recieve it than he
who openly accepts it as a tribute unquestionably due to him, and the forms
of politeness though they render indispensable the appearances of modesty
and professions of unworthiness do not demand that our words and
sentiments should correspond. But, notwithstanding those remarks I will not
insult you with my panagerick, and if you knew how difficult it is to suppress
my admiration yof your intellectual quallities, I think you would applaud
my fortitude.

I will never part with these precious manuscripts. Many an instructive
Session will I pass in reading them, and as Alexander is said to have always
slept with the Iliad under his pillow, I will imitate his illustrious
example, and nightly deposit your letters in the same place



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XVII

To J. D. ______ _____n     Sunday Evening.

I spent the last evening with my Harriot. I know you will forgive me for making
this angelic creature the subject of our correspondence and the only Subject. It is
utterly impossible for me to write on any others, and you tell me, with your usual
condescention that it is a subject on which I cannot too copiously or minutely
expatiate. I cannot banish her from my thoughts. Every topic but her virtue is insipid
any other form but hers, is disgustfull. The whole world is nothing to me,
and every circumstance derives its importance from its relation to her, but I
am not so totally infatuated as not easily to perceive, that others may reasonably
entertain a different opinion and that to one not immediately interested, nothing
is as tedious and unpleasing as the Rhapsodies of a Lover, but unhappily the
only alternatives submitted to my choice at present is to talk of her or not to talk
at all, as even as you are weary of the theme, or as even as its unpleasantness
begins to overweigh the pleasure of thus conversing with your friend, let me
know it, and I will thenceforward forbear to write to you; for I must again
repeat that my passions overpower my discretion and will not suffer
me to think or write but in one invariable Strain.

As soon as I was admitted to her presence she streched out her hand
to me, with a tender and though reproachful air, & said “Why have you staid so
long? I have been impatiently expecting you this hour.

I seized her hand and kissed it with the utmost ardour. “Forgive me. An
accident unavoiadable prevented me from coming sooner. Your impatience &
vexation (ah! how highly do you honour me?) did not exceed my own,
at this unseasonable prevention. I hope I find you well, but when I look
at you I cannot doubt it. O health! mother of roseate hues! Mayest thou
ever smile as now upon my Harriot!

Indeed (answered she, smiling) your supplication is quite poetical. But
why did you ask the question, when a single glance of the eye was, it
seems, sufficient to have precluded it. But do not you think this mode of
salutation frivolous.

Why my dearest creature should I think so? What is of greater importanc
than health, and what can be of more natural and proper than to enquire
of those we love whether they be well or ill?

Nothing can be more proper if inquiry be the only method of discovering
the condition of another, but the tokens of health and sickness are for the most


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visible, any verbal information therefore is superfluous.

Shall I question whether the symptoms of disease be always visible

I will not dispute with you, but I did not say that they always we
but that they generally are visible, and am I not right in that assertion

I believe you are, but that they are not always perceptible is sufficient
for my purpose, since whether ‸ we be really free from the disorder is known only to
ourselves, and those there who are anxious for our safety, may properly desire
verbal information with respect to it.

But you were just now contented with the evidence of Sight alone and
thought ‸ that because I appeared to be well any enquiry was unnecessary.

And are you not well? Your air and countenance bespeak the serenity of
health. I therefore conclude that you are we enjoy it, if not it is incumbent on
you to explain your situation, and rectify my error. Do you think I can ever be
insencible to your welfare; and fail to question you respecting it? How this question
is proposed ‸ or its solution obtained is of no importance.

An ingenious reasoner! I intirely agree with you that, that how this
solution is obtained is of no importance whether from my lips or from your
own examination, but this, I presume, implies that the latter method is
not less effectual than the former, and thus you have shewn that, notwith=
standing your objections, you are of the same opinion with myself.

Ah! ‸ my beautious Rhetorician! whatever be your sentiments, I inivitably
become a convert to them. My inclination is your vassal; my reason is your captive,
but whether impertinent or not, I shall always, either by ‸ my lips or eyes ask this
question, and be unsatisfied without an answer.

And are you satisfied at present? You are rushing into danger my
friend, look around you, on the very brink of contradiction, another step and
retreat will be impossible. I must loose myself from you (continued she
with gayety and [gap] withdrawing her hand from mine) or I shall fall with you

No, your skill will always enable you to elude that disaster. I see you are
determined to intangle me if possible, but I shall escape your toils by
confessing that I am will not be satisfied untill the testimony of your looks be
confirmed by that of speech. I hope my Harriot is well. (taking again
her hand and pressing it between mine.) If she be sick how quickly shall I
feel the same calamity? But my sufferings will be far greater than hers
The sickness which destroys her bloom and molests her for a moment will prey


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will prey upon my heart and blast me forever

Say not so, (said replied She.) I am well, and hope to continue so as long as
you are interested in my welfare but (casting her eyes downward, and sighing)
Not longer.

Not longer! (cried I, ‸ with passionate energy & clasping her in my arms.) O may your wish be granted
for then eternal health will be your portion.

Eternal health! (replied she resuming her accustomed ease) there cannot
surely be a more deplorable disaster. But I forgive you for I know you would
not have wished me the enjoyment of eternal health unless you had esteemed
it the highest blessing.

I am far from deeming it the highest, but I, nevertheless, think it very
precious. It may, for aught I know be a terrible disaster and yet I have not
the least objection to be cursed with everlasting health.

Experience I believe would teach you a different lesson. I am not
desirous of living forever. Existance is precious, but to be happy I must enjoy a very
different a mode of existance than very different from the present

Daniel was celebrated for his wisdom, but on approaching the Monarch of Assyria
he scrupled not to exclaim “O king live forever,” but thou my Harriot are wiser
than Daniel!

Daniel however wise, was liable to err, but you know thus in adopting
this mode of address he only complied with the custom of the times.

Will the fashion be a sufficient excuse for wishing evil to another? perpetual
health is in your opinion an extraordinary and insupportable evil

Certainly not.

Daniel then you think acted ‸ not with his usual wisdom in this instance.

That is my opinion. I know not indeed whether a rational being should be
desirous of enjoying uninterrupted health, even while life is granted.

My dear creature I percieve you are fully conscious of your powers
Do you not love to display them in the defence of daring paradoxes?

My dear friend, you are pleased to jest upon the vain pretentions of your
mistress, but do you really account what I have asserted to be a paradox.
Are not sickness and adversity the best teachers of wisdom. To desire an exemption
from them therefore is a proof of folly.

He that enjoys uninterrupted health is not of consequence, a fool.
He that wishes an exemption from sickness may at the same time pant after
that wisdom which is derived from a sleepless or uneasy coutch.



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But those wishes would be absurd and contradictory, ‸ & are therefore unworthy
of a rational being. For what ‸ ought a prudent and enlightened man to supplicate
Heaven. Unmingled happiness is inconsistent with humanity. Let good and
evil be my portion, for such A Good is already thy decree, but let the good and
evil be accompanied with patience and humility Let thy gifts be recieved with
gratitude and Used with moderation: From adversity enable me to reap instruction
and be taught benevolence and fortitude. Do you think that to pray in this manner
would be absurd or unreasonable?

Far from it. I cannot express how much I admire your philosophy. I wish
I could imitate you, in the sublimity of your conception and the rectitude of your
wishes.

Peace flatterer. Nothing so easy as imitation. I am already outstripped by you
as you cannot but be well convinced

I place too much confidence in your Sagacity and am too dubious of my
own not to recieve pleasure from your assurance. It is on this that I build the
conviction which you think so necessary and inevitable

Is it possible for a man any one to be absolutely unconscious of his own attainments
To be superior to others without percieving his superiority.

Not only possible but universally true. It is at least reasonable my highest interest to think
so though I should be glad to find myself deceived, otherwise I shall otherwise
be obliged to reject your encomiums.

Let not your modesty interfere with your opinion. I think that though our
defects may be concealed from us, we are, unless absolutely devoid of common sence
allways sencible of our excellences. Are we not to admit the contrary because
there are person who obstinately persist in thinking meanly of themselves
n the midst of general approbation, or highly in the midst of general
ntempt, since every man is but acquainted with himself. A perfect knowledge
of another, a ‸ degree of knowledge knowledge that may quallify us for determining with absolute
ertainty on theis merits ‸ of another, is indeed unattainable. This perswasion must,
I think, be the result of every ones experience

True and you will therefore permit me to disclaim your panagiricks
From what a pleasing dream have you awakened me. You have taught
me to resume my usual diffidence, and to place question either your sincerity
penetration.

By no means. I do not contrive to pronounce on your general character
to say whether, on an impartial comparison of your faults and virtues, the
first or the last predominates, but with regard to particular defects or


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excellences I may safely form an opinion: may not proofs of Knowledge or
genius be exhibited, which leave me not at liberty to doubt your
claim to them , but of those quallities which you do not possess I can only
speak positively when they are incompatable with those which you undena
=ibly possess. If I find you ingenious I cannot hesitate in asserting that you are
not stupid, but whatever may be your intellectual elevation, I shall not then
infer any exemption from of moral defects. For nothing is more common than
genius and talent perverted to the worst of purposes.

--//--

Whence My love, did you derive this moralizing disposition. I have often heard
you philosophize thus profoundly on human nature.

It is strange that you should so pervert the meaning of words as to
call me a philosophizer

Believe me I think you are deserving of the title in its truest acceptation
To the pursuit and practice of that philosophy whose dictates flow from your
lips may I ever be devoted, and so firm is my relyance on your judgement
that as soon as your opinions are known I shall instantly adopt them, not
from any ignoble view of securing your f[gap] by pretended compliances, a
purpose which these means would be insufficient to accomplish, but
from a conviction of their rectude, a conviction inspired by experience,
for I have always found, that the propriety of your tenets is only more strongly
manifested by the light of invetgation.

Indeed I am greatly indebted to you for your good opinion. I wish You
were able to convince me that I merit it.

That I know not how to perform, unless the simple declaration I have
made will be sufficient, added to the suffrage of your own understanding.

Forgive me. I am not skilful in coining compliments. Your elegant adulation
therefore must reward itself. I have nothing to return.

Your smiles my angel is ‸ are a sufficient recompenses. There is no care or toil
for Which they are not an adequate compensation. Give me your smiles and I
am happy.

Felicity then is very cheaply purchased. If my Smiles can rescue
you from misery you never shall be miserable

Ah my Harriott you know not their magic influence on a lovers
peace. You know not the inchantment which a smile diffuses. I want no
other emblem of heaven than the smile of benignant beauty.

And of what may we suppose the frown of indignant beauty to be be
emblamatical


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of all that is horrible to sight or feeling, of a place too dreadful to be named,
the reverse of heaven, at least in the conception of a lover.

A lover! why is he excepted? Is a lover different from other people?

Do not you think so? If not remember ‸ that the verdict of the poet is against
you, and that the lover resembles only the poet and the Lunatic. I have a
thousand proofs to shew that I am one of this gentle tribe, and among other
am able to produce the testimony of Shakespear, since “I see Hellens beauty on
a brow of—Connecticut.

What! is Connecticut a proper substitute for Egypt. You know not what
a Patriot I am. Beware of amusing my country.

Far be such unjustifiable abuse from me. I revere your country. It is
the Attic Region of the western world, equally fertile in heroes sages and beauties
Is it not your native country? I promise never to think of it but with reverence.

I find you are conversant with every branch of the art of pleasing. When will
you exaust all the topics of approbation?

Never for not only all the topics are numberless, but each particular one
is, in itself, exaustless. What powers of eloquence are equal to the description ‸ of the charms of your person
and what degree of Sagacity will enable me to discover all the excellences ‸ beauties of your
mind.—

Forbear (interrupted she, with of so an air of mingled gayety and solemnity, and
tapping my cheek with her fingers.) or I shall be obliged to procure an order for your
removal to a madhouse. You are absolutely moonstruck. Descend from your heroics &
chain your fancy to the earth or I shall believe your phrenzy incurable.

I hope so. The phrenzy of love and of poetry. I hope such phrenzy is without an
ntidote. Ah! my phrensy Henriette! such phrenzy is the priviledge of elevated beings
the truest test of intellectual superiority. What is reason when it severs the yoke of these
divine emotions: when it is invulnerable by the shafts of love, [gap]cible of proof, against the magic
f poetry. What ‸ is it that thou or I should deem it of the slightest value: should, for a moment,
gret the want of it?

The warmth and energy with and energy with which which I uttered those expressions
had a visible effected upon my fair auditor. As soon as I had spoken she put one arm
ound my neck and leaning her lovely cheek on mine, and in a tone of melting
oftness. O My best friend! Why should I disemble: why should I scruple to embrace thee
Why should I be backward and reserved; and withhold that confidence to Which thou art
[gap] well intitled. Accept my vows and give me thine. From this moment we are
[gap]dissolubly one. I will know thee by no other name than husband. My person indeed
[gap]l an union be sanctioned by religious rites, be cannot be thine, but of my soul
[gap]u shalt be absolute master, nor shalt thou ever (continued she folding both her
[gap]ms around me) be denied access to that bosom, which swells at this moment with


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unutterable fondness for my friend the most amiable and exalted of his Sex.

O my friend, Canst thou not easily conceive the transports which overwhelmed us
in that happy hour. In the extasy of those caresses the hideous phantom of futurity
dared not to intrude. The felicity of the present moment equally anihilated foresight
and recollection. Blissful moments! how quickly did ye pass! Ye are fled I hope
only to return, but fled ye ar[gap] [gap]

Love my friend is a stranger ‸ alien to your breast. You are utterly a stranger to its
sacered and divine transports. How faint,‸ then in your sight, must be all the classs of
‸ pathetic languages. How ineffectual ‸ all the eloquence of Sensibility. To rugged Science and the
austerity of analyzing reason, all thy ‸ sublimer soul is dedicated. This only the naked and
unfurnished hath the dusky fanes of morose morose philosophy, which thy soaring
spirrit is accustomed to frequent. Go on my friend — perseverance shall level every
obstacle before theee, and genius and Industry shall ‸ unite to place thee by the side of Borehaave
and of Haller. Go on: encouraged, by the weak and dubious voice of contemporary
approbation and the preassurance of the louder applauses of posterity, go on without
a competitor, at least without a competitor in me. By me never shall the tranquility
of thy elevation be molested, never thy career impided by the waves of envy or the
asperities of emulation. Never shall I tear from thy brow that illustrious recompence,
for which thou hast robbed society and sleep of so many hours. Never will I claim to
share with thee the throne of Science and the homage of the world: For there is the
purpose of my being and the source of my felicity, and while love admits me into
her asylum, and gives me access to the arms and to the h‸eart of Henriette, I look with
equal contempt on the treasures of Solomon and renown of Socrates.

From this oblivion you may easily suppose that neither of us very speedily
recovered. At length however she withdrew her cheek from mine, and resumed her
accustomed reserve.

Ah (said I) my Harrit. How quickly have you forgotten the resolution whi
you have expressed. I thought you intended to lay aside your coldness, your austerity.
Why should you change that heavenly attitude. Why should not those lips forever distill
their celestial sweetness on mine. What danger can be dreaded in a servan ‸ husband arms: O
holy and precious name! never shalt thou rob me of it. Destiny! Fortune! I defy
your power! My dearest creature! I hope you do not repent your condescention.

Repent (said she) impossible! But my dearest friend, we I must not indeed
be quite so liberal. Impose some constraint upon yourself. Heaven be witness for me
when I solemnly avow that my heart is yours. I also call that heaven to Witness
to the purity of my affection, to the rectitude of my thoughts. Let my friend make
the same appeal with the same serenity, and I shall no longer be uneasy at his
caresses, but why ‸ continued she, looking fond only upon me should I doubt thy faith or demand this proof of thy Integrity
No: my sweet youth, I am determined to confide in thee, without the sanction of oathes


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and imprecations. I will refuse thee nothing but but that which virtue, which decency command to be
witholden.

A rational and uninterupted conversation can never be supported in circumstances
like these. The debates of the heart, are ineffable, and between lovers sighs and glances
and gestures that outspeak the most voluble tongue
are the principle instruments of intercourse. we conversed, during the remainder of this
visit on topics, congenial to that enchanting Sentiment by which we are mutually
actuation, and which, though they are ingraven on the my memory, in indelible characters
would perhaps be improper for thear even of my friend ~

C.B.B.

P.S. I have read your dissertation with as much intuition as I could possibly bestow ‸ upon it,
but considered merely as a series of arguments, in support of a ‸ controvertion controverted proposition you must be
convinced that I am far from being a suitable judge of its merits, That I am utterly
incapable of analyzing it proofs and weighing the propriety of every conclusion. The diallect
f medicine is peculiarly unintelligible, but there is nothing in this performance which
I do not ‸ fully understand, but as the basis of your reasoning are facts, which have been
discovered on experiment,‸ or which are the result of actual inspection into the human
economy, they only who enjoy opportunities of examining their validity by the same
method can presume either to adopt or reject your opinions

You are not ambitious of excellence with regard to composition, and aspire
ly to correctness and perspicuity, and in these quallities your essay is certainly not
deficient. I know no one whose thoughts are more solid and judicious than those of
my friend, or whose expressions are better suited to the subject and occasion which
demand them. To write with classical elegance is the lot of few, but though this be
doubtless a desirable acknowledgment it is far from being necessary. Skill in compositio
is the result of long and incessant labour and attention, but there is somewhat that disposes
us to endeavour after its attainment, and which renders our efforts successful
which can only be derived from nature. May it not be disputed whether
the means are united to the end, whether more time and pains are not required
than than a reasonable being ought to bestow it. Whether these hours we
devoted to Rhetorical exercises would not be far more usefully employed
in storing the imagination with images and the understanding with ideas?
in enriching our minds with just and valuable Sentiments? In collecting and
arranging the elements of Knowledge. Those whose conceptions are ardent and
vigorous cannot fail of expressing themselves with sufficient energy, and all
the defects of composition may perhaps be outweighed by just arguments
useful relations, and humble perspecuity. May not your performances be
highly celebrated, your own doctrines be incontestably established, and the positions


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of your opponents be unanswerably confuted though you should be deficient
in propriety of terms or harmony of periods or elegance of phrazeology, unless
it can be known only by experiment whether nature has been propitious to
us. Untill the end of labours are be actually accomplished are not uncertain whether it be, in itself,
attainable? As it doubtful whether the importance of the end will justify thy
labour of pursuit, tis’ also dubious whether our purpose, such as tis be possib[gap]
to be accomplished. Elegance of composition Style is of no value when put in
competition with Solidity of thought. The power itself of thinking accurately
and reasoning justly, and the means by which this power is acquired or
improved, will necessarily induce such a degree of excellence in composition as
will sufficiently secure us from contempt and not only exempt us from the
inconvenience of writing or speaking unintelligibly in support of our opinions, but
‸ enable us to adorn our style with many valuable though simple quallities.

I confess that were I to consult only my own tastes I should willingly
espouse a different opinion. I am seldom profited by instruction unless it be
conveyed in elegant and pleasing language, but I know that the bulk of
mankind are very differently affected, and that in performances which are
designed to be generally useful, uncommon solicitude with regard to Style would
be not only useless but improper. That our language and ideas are to be reduced
to the standard of common mind and familiar diction.

I know that you will alledge in opposition to these remarks, that all
literary performances are not destined for the amusement or instruction of the
vulgar that genuine elegance is so far from being incompatible with perspicuity
that perspicuity is, in reality, one of its most indispensible ingredients, and that
its other quallities, though they tend to heighten the impression of our sentiments on
polish and cultivated minds, are at least without any injurious effect on
a coarse and vulgar comprehension, that while they intitle us to the praise of
men of taste and genius, they will at least not diminish the approbation of
common readers. You will probably observe also that to improve our style, it
is necessary to converse with men and books; that to limit our attention, merely
to Science, is impossible, or at least in this pursuit, by no means necessary that
means which any every one should must use to make himself master of the Style
of Addison or Johnson, will also unavoidably put him in possession of their
Sentiments; that the [gap] [gap] Reputation of a writer will be more permanent and
universal in proportion as he adds, to the force of sentiment, the embellish=
=ments of Composition. That it is our duty to not merely to offer but enforce the
truth, and to make use of every method to arrest attention and facilitate
conviction. You have often reasoned in this manner, and I know not whether
it be possible to confute you. At least the present is is not a suitable
opportunity for attempting it.


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