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
 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
5 oclock 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
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  attraction
is too powerful, it is in vain for me to think of resistance.
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
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  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 sweetscented
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  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 moments
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 phnix 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  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.
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 Louisas 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 moments 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 summers evening, my arm thrown around
your neck. I seem to see the wilds beyond  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.
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.
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 Hamiltons 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 Seashore 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.
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. Hamiltons
casino, which I have inhabited these three weeks, has restored my
spirits and given them the most  delightful flow. Arabian Tales
spring up like mushrooms on the fresh green downs of Fonthill. Dont
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.
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,