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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 102 / 106





102 / 106

The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

a secret impulse prompted her to follow him; she took her work and went to his study, as was often her custom. He was busily employed opening and reading his letters. It seemed as if the contents of some were disagreeable. She asked some questions: he gave short answers, and sat down to write.

Several hours passed in this manner, and Charlotte’s feel- ings became more and more melancholy. She felt the extreme difficulty of explaining to her husband, under any circum- stances, the weight that lay upon her heart; and her depres- sion became every moment greater, in proportion as she en- deavoured to hide her grief, and to conceal her tears.

The arrival of Werther’s servant occasioned her the greatest embarrassment. He gave Albert a note, which the latter coldly handed to his wife, saying, at the same time, “Give him the pistols. I wish him a pleasant journey,” he added, turning to

the servant. These words fell upon Charlotte like a thunderstroke: she rose from her seat half-fainting, and un- conscious of what she did. She walked mechanically toward the wall, took down the pistols with a trembling hand, slowly wiped the dust from them, and would have delayed longer, had not Albert hastened her movements by an impatient look.

She then delivered the fatal weapons to the servant, without being able to utter a word. As soon as he had departed, she folded up her work, and retired at once to her room, her heart overcome with the most fearful forebodings. She an- ticipated some dreadful calamity. She was at one moment on the point of going to her husband, throwing herself at his feet, and acquainting him with all that had happened on the previous evening, that she might acknowledge her fault, and explain her apprehensions; then she saw that such a step would be useless, as she would certainly be unable to induce Albert to visit Werther. Dinner was served; and a kind friend whom she had persuaded to remain assisted to sustain the conversa- tion, which was carried on by a sort of compulsion, till the events of the morning were forgotten.

When the servant brought the pistols to Werther, the latter received them with transports of delight upon hearing that Charlotte had given them to him with her own hand. He ate some bread, drank some wine, sent his servant to dinner, and then sat down to write as follows:

“They have been in your hands you wiped the dust from them. I kiss them a thousand times—you have touched them.


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