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2-363 (Text)

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author,male,Blair, David,30 addressee,female
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Webby, 1989
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2-363-plain.txt — 8 KB

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June 17th 1850
My Dearest Annie
There are many things which I wish to say to you and which I ought to say to you which nevertheless are better put upon paper than spoken directly. Grave long speeches are not the kind of intercourse that I like any more than (I am sure) you would Besides it is not easy to be very sedate while sitting beside you with your beautiful sunshiny countenance and most pleasant smile and the delightful feeling of quiet happiness I have while talking to you. I am altogether too light hearted when beside you to put on a grave face and talk like - what I am - a philosopher. So I have been meditating about you (as usual) here in my attic for the last couple of hours and so I shove away the tiresome books and begin the agreeable task of talking to you on paper
That I do most truly and most entirely love you - as I never before loved a woman as I never again can love a woman - I know you believe.However surprised you may have been at first you fully believe this now You have accepted all the love I had to bestow - valueless as I feel the gift to have been - and I know you have given me the priceless treasure of your true love in return.If we were less formal and less dilatory inettling this most delightful business than others are at least we were fully as cordial and sincere as any others could be. Next to the happiness which I feel in possessing your affections is the happiness springing from the feeling that you bestowed them upon me spontaneously and most willingly. I am perfectly satisfied and happy.  The love of one such pure-souled and affectionate girl as you are, was all I asked. I have found it, and I am content and more than content. You are satisfied with me, I know. You know me, short as our acquaintance has been, very thoroughly. You have seen all my character. There is nothing more to let you know, and nothing concealed from you. I am simply the book-loving, intellectual, earnest man, with fluent (sometimes eloquent) speech, and high thoughts, which you see me to be. I have no money, no friends, no "prospects", no hopes of a "situation under government". But I have a strong belief that a man's life consists in quite other things than fine house, splendid dinner parties, carriage, and all that. I carry this idea so far that I don't care much about these things - nor about the people who have them. I have a soul, and a Bible, and a splendid sky above my head, and a magnificent vision forever floating before my mind of a glorious Heaven where all is light, and love, and joy. I actually do believe in God, and the Bible, and in the immortal destinies of the human Soul. And I intend living - whether I am single or married - in the clear belief of all these things. I intend not merely to say I believe them, and preach about them, but I do really and actually mean to live every day in the fullest realisation of them.
Withal, I believe that man, being human and not angelic, must live as a man, and fight the Battle of Life bravely, taking joyfully the blessings God sends him, and bearing meekly the trials God sends him. In a word - and in all seriousness - I am a Christian, and mean to live as a Christian, with the help of God.
Now, Annie Grant, what do you say to that portrait of an actual Lover, and possible Husband? Think over the whole affair, seriously.
Look at both sides of the picture. And say whether you would choose to link your fortunes and your happiness with such a man, than take the probable chance of a Life Companion much handsomer, much younger, much richer, and much more what the world calls "respectable". For, a thousand to one you will get that if you "wait a little longer". But, I beg a thousand pardons for the bare supposition. I do most entirely trust in your faithful love for me. Only I write in a wild kind of way to awaken in you deeper thoughts and feelings than you might be disposed to cherish, under the excitement of feeling produced by a fervent attachment (as I believe yours to be).
I have drawn a picture of my "inner man" which - upon looking it over again - is too flattering. I have faults - lots of faults. I know it well. But I do honestly say that I have no fault of a kind to mar the happiness of a lovely girl who trusts her all of earthly good to my keeping. I know that I am not capable of any meanness or pettiness of feeling - any paltry jealousy - any miserable personal vanity. I have no fault which would be the means of giving pain to a gentle and affectionate Wife. Where I loved, I should be trustful, tender and constant. I am sure I should be generous and tender even to the little failings - for we are all human - of the One I loved.  I never could be vindictive, nor irritable about trifles, nor morose or sullen, to Her. O no! I would aspire to make the pure passion by which I was bound in heart and soul to Her, a worthy and exalted passion, as free as might be from all gross and sordid taint. I should try to live a noble and dignified life; happy myself, and making others happy; and thus tasting in all its exquisite sweetness, The joy of loving and of being loved.
To me, all that life can give of peace and happiness, and perennial comfort and consolation, would be summed up in the one sweet word Wife. I should have Home, however humble it might be, the sanctified abode of Love and Peace and Purity, so that (like the Patriarchs of old) I might be able to entertain angels if a stray one ever visited our quarter of the world again. This is my Ideal. O Annie Grant! how far could we go in making it the Real?
There is one point which I am somewhat dubious about, after all. I don't think I ever told you - or you ever asked me - the important question which relates to my age. My conscience gives me a fillip about this. I ought to have told you: for I think you think I'm younger than I am. Don't be startled still less shocked - least of all awfully frightened - if I tell you honestly that I have reason to believe I am - guess! - no, not 26, nor 27, nor 28, nor 29, but - actually 30!!! That's - too bad, isn't it? But really I'm not to blame. In the first place, I can't help my age In the second place I thought - forgive this very ungallant avowal - I really did think you were more than 18 3/4. I thought - from your beautiful feminine grace - your thoroughly developed womanly beauty - that you were about 21. And I thought (thinks I), "well 9 years are not so frightful"; but eleven is too bad. However, I can only say - as I said before - that that's your business, If you take me, you must just take me as I am, "with all my imperfections on my head" (as somebody says somewhere.) You can't reasonably expect an angel complete, can you now? In fact, you have all of the angelic kind that there is in both put together: there's none left for me to have: you have your own share and mine (or what should be mine) also.
Well, but you will say, if I am so old a soldier, why didn't I pitch my tent before now? There's the very point. Well, you see, Annie Grant, I found it so difficult to carry the Ideal into actual everyday practice that I had to wait until the Beau Ideal - the beautiful Realised Ideal - should come. To say truth - what with my lecturings and verse scribblings, I have more than once had meaningful glances from bright eyes in the heads of pleasant countenanced young ladies cast upon me. Nay, I have even sat at tea, or at supper, or gone to picnic parties, with decidedly very loveable young ladies - who were so very condescending as to smile when I spoke to them, and to talk of my "talents", and all that, and to wonder why I was so very self-absorbed, a bachelor, and so forth.  But somehow there was sure to be something or other that whispered me that here I could not give my heart safely, and there it would not be altogether wise to plunge lip-deep (by the bye, that's just the depth people do go) in love. (Note: if people went deeper than lip-deep in love, how could they manage to speak to each other, never to speak of kissing each other?) So I have escaped Scotfree from England. And here in Surry Hills, I find the true living Ideal-Real at least. All that I ever dreamt of loveliness, and all I ever sighed for in pure affection, and innocent-heartedness, I find summed-up, concentrated, embodied, personified, realised, in the pleasant, attractive, agreeable, delightful, lovely, fascinating, bewitching, enchanting Annie Grant!! And so good night, my sweet love! I kiss you a thousand times. God for ever bless you!
Ever your faithful and devoted,