[91] my torpid State & forces me to run wildly about on the Shore, Sometimes I lie down in an open meadow and observe the Clouds rolling along the Sky and casting their Shadows on the Mountains. ’Tis then innumerable fancies rush upon me. Strange hopes and as strange fears! during these moments I dream of Wm & of Fonthill whilst the confused murmur of Leaves and water lulls me to sounder rest. – Lady M. walks about gathering flowers from the Shrubs which almost dip their boughs in the Lake. Why am I not happy? – Is it not my own fault that I am miserable? –

Geneva July 28th 1783

I know not how it happens that I have not received any of your Letters, for I make no doubt that you have written to me. Let me hear as soon as possible or I shall be anxious and uneasy. –
I am just returned from the Region of Ice and Cristal, from the source of the [?] & the silent, retired Valleys at the base of the Mont blanc. The image of my dearest W.m pursued me even into these deep solitudes. I passed three Evenings in a thick forest of Larch whose intermingled branches are fringed with heavy moss, totally abandoned to my reveries. Would to God you could share them! would to God I might converse with you once more upon the subject nearest my heart! Tomorrow we go to Evian, that romantic Village amongst forests of [92] Chesnut on the banks of the Lake which I have so often described & where I have enjoyed many a peaceful hour; but where I shall now wander like a melancholy Ghost too full of the remembrance of the World it has left to taste the pleasures of that into which it is entering.

Cologne October 21st
5 o’clock eve: – 1783

I seem to walk in light and tread in air. my happiness is inexpressible. I have just received a Letter in answer to the one you conveyed, so tender and affectionate, so perfectly all my warmest wishes could desire that my heart leaps with joy and I run wild on the slope of a hill overlooking the Lake unable to contain myself. The Weather in harmony with my feelings is mild and genial as the Month of May. I have been inhaling the soft perfume of roses which are newly blown and giving up my soul to delightful reveries in which I fancy I behold you emerging with W.m from the ligth Clouds which hover about yonder Hill. The tinckling sound of sheep bells is caught by my ear & I see the herds winding slowly between beds of fern. Why are you not enjoying with me this calm evening hour? How anxiously do I wish to behold once more the light of the setting Sun glow on your friendly countenance. – Take care of the inclosed I intreat you and send it immediately. –

[93] Cologne Nov: 18 1783

– Of all pleasures that of feeling oneself obliged to our best and most affectionate friend is the greatest. I enjoy this sensation at present and thank you with a transport of gratitude my pen can never convey. The Letter you inclosed, is more delightful to me than the return of health after a painful ilness. Good God, my dear Friend, how fortunate I am to have inspired the Object of all my tenderness with so warm and so constant an Affection. Neither menaces nor sufferings have had any effect; she calls me her own dear W.m the sovereign of her heart, and swears whilst life remains, never to withdraw her allegiance. You will be surprized, and delighted to hear, that L.y M. has not the least jealousy & in the Letter I inclose and which I intreat you to take care of, she answers ....... with her own hand of her affection! — — — — — Before you receive this you will have received your Son, who when I saw him last was well in health; but ill in Spirits. – The rivulets are frozen, the wind boisterous, the Lake in a fury and the Mountains lost in clouds of Snow, but my fire vurns chearfully & the Letter from ....... lies in my bosom so I am warm and happy. If you were but here, I should approach contentment so nearly as Mortals may. I hear from Fonthill that they are working with all their might; but that I must not expect to enjoy the fruits of their Labours till this time twelvemonths. Be that be as it will, I must return in the Spring. I hear a voice whose tone pierces my very soul and throws me into a delirium against the influence of which I cannot steel myself. The [94] attraction is too powerful, it is in vain for me to think of resistance.

Geneva Decem.r 28th 1783

I write in all the hurry of packing up and setting out for Paris. Not having heard from W.m makes me melancholy and the North wind roaring over the Lake helps little to cheer my spirits. The Sky is heavy with snow, and the frozen aspect of the mountains strikes me with terror. To night I am warm and secure in a long range of appartments, half visible by the glow of embers, for all the lights are extinguished. Tomorrow I shall shiver on the banks of the little illnatured Lake of Nantua continually exhaling noxious vapours. Eagerly do I wish myself restored to Fonthill and to you. I am quite impatient for you to see how much I love Lady M. and how totally she is free from prejudice and wifeishism. Many thanks for conveying my Le.r to –

Mrs B.
Rome June 30th 1782

Take care of yourself, Louisa, and remember your sickness is only an exterior veil, policy obliged you to put on were it in earnest to fasten on your lovely limbs there would be an end of my happiness. I c.d not live and see your lips pale, your eyes sunk and the bloom of your cheeks annihilated. Keep up your spirits my Love. Heaven knows you have restored mine [95] by the dear lines you sent from ....... Till they arrived a corroding melancholy preyed upon my vitals and darkened the bright sky of Italy. My Steps were never bent to Casinos or Theaters, no they were guided to desert hills that lift themselves up above vast wastes with here and there a shepherds hut or neglected Sepulchre. In such scenes I have mused away whole hours by the evening light, and the moss has often drank my Tears. – I never saw any human being in these wildernesses except one day a poor Boy whose master had beaten him cruelly and who sat down amongst the broom to cry and call upon his Mother; but she it seems was at work, far off in some distant country; that he pointed to beyond the hills. – W.m thought I, to myself is beyond those hills and so is Louisa I must not approach the one, I cannot the other. My heart seemed ready to swell out of my bosom. I rose up from the moss, on which I had cast myself down, and followed a narrow path that wound between bushes of broom in full blossom. The wind strewed the ground with their sweet–scented yellow flowers. I wished it had lain me low. Returned to Rome, your Letter of the fourth June was the first object my eyes fixed upon. How did my heart throb when I opened it! How did it leap with exultation when I read the assurances of my ....... affection! And does she really love me? Are the delightful days of F: not yet elabsed from her memory? Does she still dwell with pleasure on the recollection of what passed in our subterraneous Appartment, where we used to recline, like voluptuous Orientals on silken beds in the glow [96] of transparent curtains. Dont you remember Louisa the soft perfume of roses that seemed to float in the air and the affecting sound of the musick in the hall.... But above all does she yet love to talk of the hour, when seizing her delicate hand, I led her bounding like a Kid to my chamber .... Did she never mention the strange tales I invented for her amusement? Is she sensible that I would sacrifise my soul to procure her a moment’s enjoyment. Tell her she may search the Universe in vain, for a Being so attached to her as your William. Encourage her little elegant fancies, feed her like a phœnix with perfumes. Bathe her neck with jessamine and make her observe and glory in observing its whiteness and the blue veins that steal across it. Kiss that swelling bud I am so fond of, and ask her if I may do the same when I return. – What do you think Louisa? – will she be faithful shall I ever again be happy? Can her cursed relations separate us for ever? Is she not mine? – did she not swear she belonged to me? – I faint Louisa – support me. Tell her what I endure for her sake. – Tell her my eyes are closed & opened upon her image – that she haunts my dreams, and that I still fancy I hear her calling to me as she was wont, at day break. O Louisa you said all my fondness all my folly would return. Had I not received those few lines she wrote to me I could not much longer have born my existance. – The Country round Rome is dismally parched, the winds [97] suffocating, the exhalations deadly. Be assured there is more enjoyment in the beachen groves of Fonthill, than in all the stiff pines and tiresome vineyards of Italy. Louisa what happiness would be our portion in those tranquil Scenes, could some fat Succubus waddle away with Peter.

WC Rome July 1st 1782

I read your Letter with a beating heart, my dearest Willy, and kissed it a thousand times. It is needless for me to repeat, that I am miserable without you. You know I can scarcely be said to live in your absence. No words can express my feelings when I saw the aff.t lines you wrote in our dear Louisa’s letter. At this moment I am ready to cry with joy. Do not forget me my own William. Do not forget the happy hours we have passed together. Your poor Mother loved you not better than I do. At any time I would sacrifise every drop of blood in my veins to do you good, or spare you a moment’s misery. I shall never enjoy peace again till I know whether I am to be with you when I return. I am certain your Father is set against us, and will do all in his power as well as your cruel Aunt to keep us assunder; but it will be your fault, if you intirely abandon me. What have we done W.m to be treated with such severity! I often dream, after a solitary ramble on the dreary plains near Rome, that I am sitting with you in a meadow at Ford on a summer’s evening, my arm thrown around your neck. – I seem to see the wilds beyond [98] the House and the Cattle winding slowly along them. I even fancy, I hear your voice singing one of the tunes I composed when I was in Devonshire. – Whilst thus engaged and giving way to a languid melancholy tenderness two snakes start from the hedge and twine around us. I see your face turn pale and your limbs tremble. I seem to press you closely in my arms. We both feel the cold writhing of the Snakes in our bosoms, both join our lips for the last time and both expire. – Louisa can tell you that this is not the first time such horrid dreams have haunted me. If I might interpret my vision — and — are the Snakes, who under the appearance of prudence and affection would creep into our bosoms and sting our vitals. Why cannot we be friends in peace? Is there any crime in loving each other as we do? You will hardly be able to read this Letter it is blotted with my tears. My William, my own dear Friend, write to me for Gods sake: put all your confidence in Louisa, who loves us both. –

Naples July 20th 1782

What is become of you Louisa? Since the fourth of June you have not sent me a line. I am quite alarmed at this unusual silence, and begin to think you are still preyed upon by ilness. A fever occasioned by the fatal vapours of this unwholesome country has reduced me very low. Like a sick Child I cry after you and W.m Italy is become quite loathsome in my sight. I would gladly give up all its Pines and ruins for one dose of the fresh downs round Fonthill. My Love I am too weak to write more. Adieu.

[99] Mrs B. Portici Augst 27th 1782

Why as upon Gideons fleece are the dews of heaven to descend on me alone? Why cannot I communicate to you the comfortable Calm I enjoy. I lead a peaceful retired life at Sir W.m Hamilton’s Casino at Portici and get up at Sun rise to breathe the fresh morning air in a shrubbery of myrtles. In the midst of the thickets a little straw hut is erected and further on you meet with some pines. Vineyards lie extended all around quite to the Sea–shore which is covered with villas and their gardens of Cypress. Vesuvius crowns the scene with its crags and conical summit continually breathing forth a thin vapour. But I shall quit this lovely scene the twentieth of next Month, and hope to reach England, our temperate England, in november. At Christmas may not I hope to possess you at Fonthill and tell you again and again that you have never been absent from my thoughts. – Convey the inclosed to ....... she has written me a Letter that leaves me not the smallest doubt of her affection. The flame spreads I perceive – you told me it would.

Mr Henley Portici Augst 27 1782

Your Letter found me peacefully seated in a straw hut, surrounded by myrtles, a pine rising just before the door the Sun setting in a Sea of gold and Vesuvius flushed with purple. It is not to be told with what pleasure I saw your hand writing, for your long silence made me tremble least you should be ill. Thank God I may now venture to tell you I am perfectly recovered. The pure air of Sir W. Hamilton’s casino, which I have inhabited these three weeks, has restored my spirits and given them the most [100] delightful flow. Arabian Tales spring up like mushrooms on the fresh green downs of Fonthill. Don’t forget Fonthill. How happy I shall feel if you spend your X.mas with me. – Adieu, my dear Sir, I write in haste poor Lady Hamilton being much indisposed.

Paris Oc.r 28 1782

My dear Louisa, I am hastening home as fast as possible and in spite of every dæmon we will enjoy a few delightful days next X.mas in our glowing, sunny Appartments. ....... is constancy itself. I long to shew you her Letters. She has caught fire and burns with such rapidity that I tremble least she should be discovered & the most violent means employed to extinguish the conflagration. – Thank God I am calm and happy, tho’ pale as a Spectre & languid as a flower severed from its stalk. I shall revive upon seeing you & put forth new blossoms. The H: are to come to us at X.mas ——————Lucca Ocr. 1st 1780
I continue rambling all day about the Hills I have mentioned. Of an Evening I walk on the ramparts, with Pacchiarotti, which are the only ornaments Lucca has to boast. A fresh herbage shaded by well grown trees covers the whole circuit, and commands the most agreeably varied prospect of woody slopes and mountains, I ever beheld. We distinguish the lofty peaks in the state of Genoa,


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