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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 35 / 106





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speaks for itself. Before Albert came, I knew all that I know now. I knew I could make no pretensions to her, nor did I offer any, that is, as far as it was possible, in the presence of so much loveliness, not to pant for its enjoyment. And now, behold me like a silly fellow, staring with astonishment when another comes in, and deprives me of my love.

table fate. I did not think it possible for you to indulge such a sentiment. But in fact you are right. I only suggest one ob- jection. In this world one is seldom reduced to make a selec- tion between two alternatives. There are as many varieties of conduct and opinion as there are turns of feature between an aquiline nose and a flat one.

I bite my lips, and feel infinite scorn for those who tell me to be resigned, because there is no help for it. Let me escape from the yoke of such silly subterfuges! I ramble through the woods; and when I return to Charlotte, and find Albert sitting by her side in the summer-house in the garden, I am unable to bear it, behave like a fool, and commit a thousand extravagances. “For Heaven’s sake,” said Charlotte today, “let us have no more scenes like those of last night! You terrify me when you are so vio- lent.” Between ourselves, I am always away now when he visits her: and I feel delighted when I find her alone.

You will, therefore, permit me to concede your entire argu- ment, and yet contrive means to escape your dilemma.

Your position is this, I hear you say: “Either you have hopes of obtaining Charlotte, or you have none. Well, in the first case, pursue your course, and press on to the fulfilment of your wishes. In the second, be a man, and shake off a miser- able passion, which will enervate and destroy you.” My dear friend, this is well and easily said.

But would you require a wretched being, whose life is slowly wasting under a lingering disease, to despatch himself at once


by the stroke of a dagger? Does not the very disorder which consumes his strength deprive him of the courage to effect his deliverance?

BELIEVE ME, dear Wilhelm, I did not allude to you when I spoke so severely of those who advise resignation to inevi-

You may answer me, if you please, with a similar analogy, “Who would not prefer the amputation of an arm to the


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