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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 47 / 106

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Goethe

and down the very avenue which was so dear to me. A secret sympathy had frequently drawn me thither before I knew Charlotte; and we were delighted when, in our early acquain- tance, we discovered that we each loved the same spot, which is indeed as romantic as any that ever captivated the fancy of an artist.

From beneath the chestnut trees, there is an extensive view. But I remember that I have mentioned all this in a former letter, and have described the tall mass of beech trees at the end, and how the avenue grows darker and darker as it winds its way among them, till it ends in a gloomy recess, which has all the charm of a mysterious solitude. I still remember the strange feeling of melancholy which came over me the first time I entered that dark retreat, at bright midday. I felt some secret foreboding that it would, one day, be to me the scene of some happiness or misery.

I had spent half an hour struggling between the contending thoughts of going and returning, when I heard them coming up the terrace. I ran to meet them. I trembled as I took her hand, and kissed it. As we reached the top of the terrace, the moon rose from behind the wooded hill. We conversed on

many subjects, and, without perceiving it, approached the gloomy recess. Charlotte entered, and sat down. Albert seated himself beside her. I did the same, but my agitation did not suffer me to remain long seated. I got up, and stood before her, then walked backward and forward, and sat down again. I was restless and miserable. Charlotte drew our attention to the beautiful effect of the moonlight, which threw a silver hue over the terrace in front of us, beyond the beech trees. It was a glorious sight, and was rendered more striking by the darkness which surrounded the spot where we were. We re- mained for some time silent, when Charlotte observed, “Whenever I walk by moonlight, it brings to my remem- brance all my beloved and departed friends, and I am filled with thoughts of death and futurity. We shall live again, Werther!” she continued, with a firm but feeling voice; “but shall we know one another again what do you think? what do you say?”

“Charlotte,” I said, as I took her hand in mine, and my eyes filled with tears, “we shall see each other again —here and hereafter we shall meet again.” I could say no more. Why, Wilhelm, should she put this question to me, just at the mo-

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