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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 49 / 106

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Goethe

them to her. I obeyed. The younger ones knew nothing of their approaching loss, while the elder ones were quite over- come with grief. They stood around the bed; and she raised her feeble hands to heaven, and prayed over them; then, kiss- ing them in turn, she dismissed them, and said to me, ‘Be you a mother to them.’ I gave her my hand. ‘You are promis- ing much, my child,’ she said: ‘a mother’s fondness and a mother’s care! I have often witnessed, by your tears of grati- tude, that you know what is a mother’s tenderness: show it to your brothers and sisters, and be dutiful and faithful to your father as a wife; you will be his comfort.’ She inquired for him. He had retired to conceal his intolerable anguish, —he was heartbroken, “Albert, you were in the room. She heard some one moving: she inquired who it was, and desired you to approach. She surveyed us both with a look of composure and satisfaction, expressive of her conviction that we should be happy, —happy with one another.” Albert fell upon her neck, and kissed her, and exclaimed, “We are so, and we shall be so!” Even Albert, generally so tranquil, had quite lost his

Great God, must we thus part with everything we hold dear

in this world? Nobody felt this more acutely than the chil- dren: they cried and lamented for a long time afterward, com- plaining that men had carried away their dear mamma.”

Charlotte rose. It aroused me; but I continued sitting, and held her hand. “Let us go,” she said: “it grows late.” She at- tempted to withdraw her hand: I held it still. “We shall see each other again,” I exclaimed: “we shall recognise each other under every possible 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 the moonlight. I threw myself upon the ground, and wept: I then sprang up, and ran out upon the terrace, and saw, under the shade of the linden- trees, her white dress disappearing near the garden-gate. I stretched out my arms, and she vanished.

composure; and I was excited beyond expression. “And such a being,” She continued, “was to leave us, Werther!

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