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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 66 / 106





66 / 106

The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

voluntarily; he seemed as if pursued by an evil spirit, till one day, knowing that his mistress had gone to an upper cham- ber, he had followed, or, rather, been drawn after her. As she proved deaf to his entreaties, he had recourse to violence. He knows not what happened; but he called God to witness that his intentions to her were honourable, and that he desired nothing more sincerely than that they should marry, and pass their lives together. When he had come to this point, he be-

gan to hesitate, as if there was something which he had not courage to utter, till at length he acknowledged with some con- fusion certain little confidences she had encouraged, and liber- ties she had allowed. He broke off two or three times in his narration, and assured me most earnestly that he had no wish to make her bad, as he termed it, for he loved her still as sin- cerely as ever; that the tale had never before escaped his lips, and was only now told to convince me that he was not utterly lost and abandoned. And here, my dear friend, I must commence the old song which you know I utter eternally. If I could only represent the man as he stood, and stands now before me, could I only give his true expressions, you would feel compelled to sympathise in his fate. But enough: you, who know my mis-

fortune and my disposition, can easily comprehend the attrac- tion which draws me toward every unfortunate being, but par- ticularly toward him whose story I have recounted.

On perusing this letter a second time, I find I have omitted the conclusion of my tale; but it is easily supplied. She be- came reserved toward him, at the instigation of her brother who had long hated him, and desired his expulsion from the house, fearing that his sister’s second marriage might deprive his children of the handsome fortune they expected from her; as she is childless. He was dismissed at length; and the whole affair occasioned so much scandal, that the mistress dared not take him back, even if she had wished it. She has since hired another servant, with whom, they say, her brother is equally displeased, and whom she is likely to marry; but my infor- mant assures me that he himself is determined not to survive such a catastrophe.

This story is neither exaggerated nor embellished: indeed, I have weakened and impaired it in the narration, by the neces- sity of using the more refined expressions of society.

This love, then, this constancy, this passion, is no poetical fiction. It is actual, and dwells in its greatest purity amongst


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