visit you again till Christmas Eve. O Charlotte, today or never! On Christmas Eve you will hold this paper in your hand; you will tremble, and moisten it with your tears. I will —I must! Oh, how happy I feel to be determined!”
In the meantime, Charlotte was in a pitiable state of mind. After her last conversation with Werther, she found how pain- ful to herself it would be to decline his visits, and knew how severely he would suffer from their separation.
their long association and repeated interviews had made an in- delible impression upon her heart. She had been accustomed to communicate to him every thought and feeling which inter- ested her, and his absence threatened to open a void in her exist- ence which it might be impossible to fill. How heartily she wished that she might change him into her brother, —that she could induce him to marry one of her own friends, or could reestablish his intimacy with Albert.
She had, in conversation with Albert, mentioned casually that Werther would not return before Christmas Eve; and soon afterward Albert went on horseback to see a person in the neighbourhood, with whom he had to transact some busi- ness which would detain him all night.
Charlotte was sitting alone. None of her family were near, and she gave herself up to the reflections that silently took pos- session of her mind. She was for ever united to a husband whose love and fidelity she had proved, to whom she was heartily devoted, and who seemed to be a special gift from Heaven to ensure her happiness. On the other hand,Werther had become dear to her. There was a cordial unanimity of sentiment be- tween them from the very first hour of their acquaintance, and
She passed all her intimate friends in review before her mind, but found something objectionable in each, and could decide upon none to whom she would consent to give him.
Amid all these considerations she felt deeply but indistinctly that her own real but unexpressed wish was to retain him for herself, and her pure and amiable heart felt from this thought
a sense of oppression which seemed to forbid a prospect of happiness. She was wretched: a dark cloud obscured her men- tal vision.
It was now half-past six o’clock, and she heard Werther’s step on the stairs. She at once recognised his voice, as he in- quired if she were at home. Her heart beat audibly—we could almost say for the first time—at his arrival. It was too late to