Category: Love Letters
Beloved: I have been trusting to fate, while keeping silence, that
something from you was to come to-day and make me specially happy. And it
has: bless you abundantly! You have undone and got round all I said about
"jewelry," though this is nothing of the sort, but a shrine: so my word
remains. I have it with me now, safe hidden, only now and then it comes
out to have a look at me,--smiles and goes back again. Dearest, you must
_feel_ how I thank you, for I cannot say it: body and soul I grow too much
blessed with all that you have given me, both visibly and invisibly, and
always perfectly.

And as for the day: I have been thinking you the most uncurious of men,
because you had not asked: and supposed it was too early days yet for
you to remember that I had ever been born. To-day is my birthday! you
said nothing, so I said nothing; and yet this has come: I trusted my
star to show its sweet influences in its own way. Or, after all, did you
know, and had you asked anyone but me? Yet had you known, you would
have wished me the "happy returns" which among all your dear words to me
you do not. So I take it that the motion comes straight to you from
heaven; and, in the event, you will pardon me for having been still
secretive and shy in not telling what you did not inquire after.
_Yours_, I knew, dear, quite long ago, so had no need to ask you for it.
And it is six months before you will be in the same year with me again,
and give to twenty-two all the companionable sweetness that twenty-one
has been having.

Many happy returns of _my_ birthday to you, dearest! That is all that my
birthdays are for. Have you been happy to-day, I wonder? and am
wondering also whether this evening we shall see you walking quietly in
and making everything into perfection that has been trembling just on
the verge of it all day long.

One drawback of my feast is that I have to write short to you; for there
are other correspondents who on this occasion look for quick answers,
and not all of them to be answered in an offhand way. Except you, it is
the coziest whom I keep waiting; but elders have a way with them--even
kind ones: and when they condescend to write upon an anniversary, we
have to skip to attention or be in their bad books at once.

So with the sun still a long way out of bed, I have to tuck up these
sheets for you, as if the good of the day had already been sufficient
unto itself and its full tale had been told. Good-night. It is so hard
to take my hands off writing to you, and worry on at the same exercise
in another direction. I kiss you more times than I can count: it is
almost really you that I kiss now! My very dearest, my own sweetheart,
whom I so worship. Good-night! "Good-afternoon" sounds too funny: is
outside our vocabulary altogether. While I live, I must love you more
than I know!

Category: Love Letters
Dearest and rightly Beloved: You cannot tell how your gift has pleased me;
or rather you _can_, for it shows you have a long memory back to our first
meeting: though at the time I was the one who thought most of it.

It is quite true; you have the most beautifully shaped memory in
Christendom: these are the very books in the very edition I have long
wanted, and have been too humble to afford myself. And now I cannot stop
to read one, for joy of looking at them all in a row. I will kiss you
for them all, and for more besides: indeed it is the "besides" which
brings you my kisses at all.

Now that you have chosen so perfectly to my mind, I may proffer a
request which, before, I was shy of making. It seems now beneficently
anticipated. It is that you will not ever let your gifts take the form
of jewelry, not after the ring which you are bringing me: _that_, you
know, I both welcome and wish for. But, as to the rest, the world has
supplied me with a feeling against jewelry as a love-symbol. Look
abroad and you will see: it is too possessive, too much like "chains of
office"--the fair one is to wear her radiant harness before the world,
that other women may be envious and the desire of her master's eye be
satisfied! Ah, no!

I am yours, dear, utterly; and nothing you give me would have that sense:
I know you too well to think it. But in the face of the present fashion
(and to flout it), which expects the lover to give in this sort, and the
beloved to show herself a dazzling captive, let me cherish my ritual of
opposition which would have no meaning if we were in a world of our own,
and no place in my thoughts, dearest;--as it has not now, so far as you
are concerned. But I am conscious I shall be looked at as your chosen; and
I would choose my own way of how to look back most proudly.

And so for the books more thanks and more,--that they are what I would
most wish, and not anything else: which, had they been, they would still
have given me pleasure, since from you they could come only with a good
meaning: and--diamonds even--I could have put up with them!

To-morrow you come for your ring, and bring me my own? Yours is here
waiting. I have it on my finger, very loose, with another standing
sentry over it to keep it from running away.

A mouse came out of my wainscot last night, and plunged me in horrible
dilemma: for I am equally idiotic over the idea of the creature trapped
or free, and I saw sleepless nights ahead of me till I had secured a
change of locality for him.

To startle him back into hiding would have only deferred my getting
truly rid of him, so I was most tiptoe and diplomatic in my doings.
Finally, a paper bag, put into a likely nook with some sentimentally
preserved wedding-cake crumbled into it, crackled to me of his arrival.
In a brave moment I noosed the little beast, bag and all, and lowered
him from the window by string, till the shrubs took from me the burden
of responsibility.

I visited the bag this morning: he had eaten his way out, crumbs and
all: and has, I suppose, become a fieldmouse, for the hay smells
invitingly, and it is only a short run over the lawn and a jump over the
ha-ha to be in it. Poor morsels, I prefer them so much undomesticated!

Now this mouse is no allegory, and the paper bag is _not_ a diamond
necklace, in spite of the wedding-cake sprinkled over it! So don't say
that this letter is too hard for your understanding, or you will
frighten me from telling you anything foolish again. Brains are like
jewels in this, difference of surface has nothing to do with the size
and value of them. Yours is a beautiful smooth round, like a pearl, and
mine all facets and flashes like cut glass. And yours so much the
bigger, and I love it so much the best! The trap which caught me was
baited with one great pearl. So the mouse comes in with a meaning tied
to its tail after all!
Dearest: Your name woke me this morning: I found my lips piping their song
before I was well back into my body out of dreams. I wonder if the rogues
babble when my spirit is nesting? Last night you were a high tree and I
was in it, the wind blowing us both; but I forget the rest,--whatever, it
was enough to make me wake happy.

There are dreams that go out like candle-light directly one opens the
shutters: they illumine the walls no longer; the daylight is too strong
for them. So, now, I can hardly remember anything of my dreams:
daylight, with you in it, floods them out.

Oh, how are you? Awake? Up? Have you breakfasted? I ask you a thousand
things. You are thinking of me, I know: but what are you thinking? I am
devoured by curiosity about myself--none at all about you, whom I have all
by heart! If I might only know how happy I make you, and just _which_
thing I said yesterday is making you laugh to-day--I could cry with joy
over being the person I am.

It is you who make me think so much about myself, trying to find myself
out. I used to be most self-possessed, and regarded it as the crowning
virtue: and now--your possession of me sweeps it away, and I stand crying
to be let into a secret that is no longer mine. Shall I ever know _why_
you love me? It is my religious difficulty; but it never rises into a
doubt. You _do_ love me, I know. _Why_, I don't think I ever can know.

You ask me the same question about yourself, and it becomes absurd,
because I altogether belong to you. If I hold my breath for a moment
wickedly (for I can't do it breathing), and try to look at the world
with you out of it, I seem to have fallen over a precipice; or rather,
the solid earth has slipped from under my feet, and I am off into
vacuum. Then, as I take breath again for fear, my star swims up and
clasps me, and shows me your face. O happy star this that I was born
under, that moved with me and winked quiet prophecies at me all through
my childhood, I not knowing what it meant:--the dear radiant thing
naming to me my lover!

As a child, now and then, and for no reason, I used to be sublimely
happy: real wings took hold of me. Sometimes a field became fairyland
as I walked through it; or a tree poured out a scent that its blossoms
never had before or after. I think now that those must have been moments
when you too were in like contact with earth,--had your feet in grass
which felt a faint ripple of wind, or stood under a lilac in a drench of
fragrance that had grown double after rain.

When I asked you about the places of your youth, I had some fear of
finding that we might once have met, and that I had not remembered it as
the summing up of my happiness in being young. Far off I see something
undiscovered waiting us, something I could not have guessed at
before--the happiness of being old. Will it not be something like the
evening before last when we were sitting together, your hand in mine,
and one by one, as the twilight drew about us, the stars came and took
up their stations overhead? They seemed to me then to be following out
some quiet train of thought in the universal mind: the heavens were
remembering the stars back into their places:--the Ancient of Days
drawing upon the infinite treasures of memory in his great lifetime.
Will not Love's old age be the same to us both--a starry place of

Your dear letter is with me while I write: how shortly you are able to
say everything! To-morrow you will come. What more do I want--except
to-morrow itself, with more promises of the same thing?

You are at my heart, dearest: nothing in the world can be nearer to me
than you!

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