I threw myself at her feet, and, seizing her hand, bedewed it witha thousand tears. "Charlotte!" I exclaimed, "God's blessing andyour mother's spirit are upon you." "Oh! that you had known her,"she said, with a warm pressure of the hand. "She was worthy ofbeing known to you." I thought I should have fainted: never hadI received praise so flattering. She continued, "And yet she wasdoomed to die in the flower of her youth, when her youngest childwas scarcely six months old. Her illness was but short, but shewas calm and resigned; and it was only for her children, especiallythe youngest, that she felt unhappy. When her end drew nigh, shebade me bring them to her. I obeyed. The younger ones knew nothingof their approaching loss, while the elder ones were quite overcomewith grief. They stood around the bed; and she raised her feeblehands to heaven, and prayed over them; then, kissing them in turn,she dismissed them, and said to me, 'Be you a mother to them.' Igave her my hand. 'You are promising much, my child,' she said:'a mother's fondness and a mother's care! I have often witnessed,by your tears of gratitude, that you know what is a mother'stenderness: show it to your brothers and sisters, and be dutifuland faithful to your father as a wife; you will be his comfort.'She inquired for him. He had retired to conceal his intolerableanguish, -- he was heartbroken, "Albert, you were in the room.She heard some one moving: she inquired who it was, and desiredyou to approach. She surveyed us both with a look of composureand satisfaction, expressive of her conviction that we should behappy, -- happy with one another." Albert fell upon her neck, andkissed her, and exclaimed, "We are so, and we shall be so!" EvenAlbert, generally so tranquil, had quite lost his composure; andI was excited beyond expression.。，
Let that man die unconsoled who can deride the invalid for undertakinga journey to distant, healthful springs, where he often finds onlya heavier disease and a more painful death, or who can exult overthe despairing mind of a sinner, who, to obtain peace of conscienceand an alleviation of misery, makes a pilgrimage to the HolySepulchre. Each laborious step which galls his wounded feet inrough and untrodden paths pours a drop of balm into his troubledsoul, and the journey of many a weary day brings a nightly reliefto his anguished heart. Will you dare call this enthusiasm, yecrowd of pompous declaimers? Enthusiasm! 0 God! thou seest mytears. Thou hast allotted us our portion of misery: must we alsohave brethren to persecute us, to deprive us of our consolation,of our trust in thee, and in thy love and mercy? For our trust inthe virtue of the healing root, or in the strength of the vine,what is it else than a belief in thee from whom all that surroundsus derives its healing and restoring powers? Father, whom I knownot, -- who wert once wont to fill my soul, but who now hidest thyface from me, -- call me back to thee; be silent no longer; thysilence shall not delay a soul which thirsts after thee. What man,what father, could be angry with a son for returning to him suddenly,for falling on his neck, and exclaiming, "I am here again, myfather! forgive me if I have anticipated my journey, and returnedbefore the appointed time! The world is everywhere the same, --a scene of labour and pain, of pleasure and reward; but what doesit all avail? I am happy only where thou art, and in thy presenceam I content to suffer or enjoy." And wouldst thou, heavenly Father,banish such a child from thy presence?。， Charlotte rose. It aroused me; but I continued sitting, and heldher hand. "Let us go," she said: "it grows late." She attemptedto withdraw her hand: I held it still. "We shall see each otheragain," I exclaimed: "we shall recognise each other under everypossible change! I am going," I continued, "going willingly; but,should I say for ever, perhaps I may not keep my word. Adieu,Charlotte; adieu, Albert. We shall meet again." "Yes: tomorrow,I think," she answered with a smile. Tomorrow! how I felt the word!Ah! she little thought, when she drew her hand away from mine.They walked down the avenue. I stood gazing after them in themoonlight. I threw myself upon the ground, and wept: I then sprangup, and ran out upon the terrace, and saw, under the shade of thelinden-trees, her white dress disappearing near the garden-gate.I stretched out my arms, and she vanished.
A few days ago I met a certain young V--, a frank, open fellow,with a most pleasing countenance. He has just left the university,does not deem himself overwise, but believes he knows more thanother people. He has worked hard, as I can perceive from manycircumstances, and, in short, possesses a large stock of information.When he heard that I am drawing a good deal, and that I know Greek(two wonderful things for this part of the country), he came tosee me, and displayed his whole store of learning, from Batteauxto Wood, from De Piles to Winkelmann: he assured me he had readthrough the first part of Sultzer's theory, and also possessed amanuscript of Heyne's work on the study of the antique. I allowedit all to pass.。， My diary, which I have for some time neglected, came before metoday; and I am amazed to see how deliberately I have entangledmyself step by step. To have seen my position so clearly, andyet to have acted so like a child! Even still I behold theresult plainly, and yet have no thought of acting with greaterprudence.
。， It is so strange how, when I came here first, and gazed upon thatlovely valley from the hillside, I felt charmed with the entirescene surrounding me. The little wood opposite -- how delightfulto sit under its shade! How fine the view from that point ofrock! Then, that delightful chain of hills, and the exquisitevalleys at their feet! Could I but wander and lose myself amongstthem! I went, and returned without finding what I wished. Distance,my friend, is like futurity. A dim vastness is spread before oursouls: the perceptions of our mind are as obscure as those of ourvision; and we desire earnestly to surrender up our whole being,that it may be filled with the complete and perfect bliss of oneglorious emotion. But alas! when we have attained our object,when the distant there becomes the present here, all is changed:we are as poor and circumscribed as ever, and our souls stilllanguish for unattainable happiness.
I am not alone unfortunate. All men are disappointed in theirhopes, and deceived in their expectations. I have paid a visitto my good old woman under the lime-trees. The eldest boy ranout to meet me: his exclamation of joy brought out his mother,but she had a very melancholy look. Her first word was, "Alas!dear sir, my little John is dead." He was the youngest of herchildren. I was silent. "And my husband has returned fromSwitzerland without any money; and, if some kind people had notassisted him, he must have begged his way home. He was taken illwith fever on his journey." I could answer nothing, but made thelittle one a present. She invited me to take some fruit: I complied,and left the place with a sorrowful heart.。，
"Your profile, which was so dear to me, I return to you; and Ipray you to preserve it. Thousands of kisses have I imprintedupon it, and a thousand times has it gladdened my heart on departingfrom and returning to my home.。， We were hardly seated, and the ladies had scarcely exchangedcompliments, making the usual remarks upon each other's dress, andupon the company they expected to meet, when Charlotte stopped thecarriage, and made her brothers get down. They insisted uponkissing her hands once more; which the eldest did with all thetenderness of a youth of fifteen, but the other in a lighter andmore careless manner. She desired them again to give her love tothe children, and we drove off.
My sensations are constantly changing. Sometimes a happy prospectopens before me; but alas! it is only for a moment; and then, whenI am lost in reverie, I cannot help saying to myself, "If Albertwere to die? -- Yes, she would become -- and I should be" -- andso I pursue a chimera, till it leads me to the edge of a precipiceat which I shudder.。， Several hours passed in this manner, and Charlotte's feelingsbecame more and more melancholy. She felt the extreme difficultyof explaining to her husband, under any circumstances, the weightthat lay upon her heart; and her depression became every momentgreater, in proportion as she endeavoured to hide her grief, andto conceal her tears.
He returned home about five o'clock, ordered his servant to keepup his fire, desired him to pack his books and linen at the bottomof the trunk, and to place his coats at the top. He then appearsto have made the following addition to the letter addressed toCharlotte:。， His appearance at length became quite altered by the effect ofhis melancholy thoughts; and his resolution was now finally andirrevocably taken, of which the following ambiguous letter, whichhe addressed to his friend, may appear to afford some proof.
The excess of his grief at this assurance may be inferred from anote we have found amongst his papers, and which was doubtlesswritten upon this very occasion.。， Believe me, dear Wilhelm, I did not allude to you when I spoke soseverely of those who advise resignation to inevitable fate. Idid not think it possible for you to indulge such a sentiment.But in fact you are right. I only suggest one objection. In thisworld one is seldom reduced to make a selection between twoalternatives. There are as many varieties of conduct and opinionas there are turns of feature between an aquiline nose and a flatone.
，。， Dear Wilhelm, I am reduced to the condition of those unfortunatewretches who believe they are pursued by an evil spirit. SometimesI am oppressed, not by apprehension or fear, but by an inexpressibleinternal sensation, which weighs upon my heart, and impedes mybreath! Then I wander forth at night, even in this tempestuousseason, and feel pleasure in surveying the dreadful scenes aroundme.