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An Englishwoman's Love-Letters by Laurence Housman

AN ENGLISHWOMAN'S LOVE-LETTERS

NEW YORK THE MERSHON COMPANY PUBLISHERS

AN ENGLISHWOMAN'S LOVE-LETTERS.

EXPLANATION.

It need hardly be said that the woman by whom these letter were written had no thought that they would be read by anyone but the person to whom they were addressed. But a request, conveyed under circumstances which the writer herself would have regarded as all-commanding, urges that they should now be given to the world; and, so far as is possible with a due regard to the claims of privacy, what is here printed presents the letters as they were first written in their complete form and sequence.

Very little has been omitted which in any way bears upon the devotion of which they are a record. A few names of persons and localities have been changed; and several short notes (not above twenty in all), together with some passages bearing too intimately upon events which might be recognized, have been left out without indication of their omission.

It was a necessary condition to the present publication that the authorship of these letters should remain unstated. Those who know will keep silence; those who do not, will not find here any data likely to guide them to the truth.

The story which darkens these pages cannot be more fully indicated while the feelings of some who are still living have to be consulted; nor will the reader find the root of the tragedy explained in the letters themselves. But one thing at least may be said as regards the principal actors--that to the memory of neither of them does any blame belong. They were equally the victims of circumstances, which came whole out of the hands of fate and remained, so far as one of the two was concerned, a mystery to the day of her death.

LETTER I.

Beloved: This is your first letter from me: yet it is not the first I have written to you. There are letters to you lying at love's dead-letter office in this same writing--so many, my memory has lost count of them!

This is my confession: I told you I had one to make, and you laughed:--you did not know how serious it was--for to be in love with you long before you were in love with me--nothing can be more serious than that!

You deny that I was: yet I know when you first really loved me. All at once, one day something about me came upon you as a surprise: and how, except on the road to love, can there be surprises? And in the surprise came love. You did not _know_ me before. Before then, it was only the other nine entanglements which take hold of the male heart and occupy it till the tenth is ready to make one knot of them all.

In the letter written that day, I said, "You love me." I could never have said it before; though I had written twelve letters to my love for you, I had not once been able to write of your love for me. Was not _that_ serious?


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