Goethe known people who believed, without any visible astonish-
ment, that their house possessed the prophet’s never-failing cruse of oil.
NO, I am not deceived. In her dark eyes I read a genuine inter- est in me and in my fortunes. Yes, I feel it; and I may believe my own heart which tells me—dare I say it? —dare I pro- nounce the divine words? —that she loves me!
That she loves me! How the idea exalts me in my own eyes! And, as you can understand my feelings, I may say to you,
HOW MY HEART beats when by accident I touch her finger, or my feet meet hers under the table! I draw back as if from a furnace; but a secret force impels me forward again, and my senses become disordered. Her innocent, unconscious heart never knows what agony these little familiarities inflict upon me. Sometimes when we are talking she Iays her hand upon mine, and in the eagerness of conversation comes closer to me, and her balmy breath reaches my lips, —when I feel as if lightning had struck me, and that I could sink into the earth. And yet, Wilhelm, with all this heavenly confidence, —if I
how I honour myself since she loves me!
Is this presumption, or is it a consciousness of the truth? I do not know a man able to supplant me in the heart of Char- lotte; and yet when she speaks of her betrothed with so much warmth and affection, I feel like the soldier who has been stripped of his honours and titles, and deprived of his sword.
know myself, and should ever dare—you understand me. No, no! my heart is not so corrupt, it is weak, weak enough but is
not that a degree of corruption?
She is to me a sacred being. All passion is still in her pres- ence: I cannot express my sensations when I am near her. I feel as if my soul beat in every nerve of my body.There is a melody which she plays on the piano with angelic skill, —so simple is it, and yet so spiritual! It is her favourite air; and, when she plays the first note, all pain, care, and sorrow disappear from