last there were three or four closing lines half-gay, half-tender, "by feeling touched, but not subdued". Time, dear reader, mellowed them to a beverage of this mild quality, but when I first tasted their elixir, fresh from the fount so honored, it seemed juice of a divine vintage: a drought which Hebe might fill, and the very gods approve.
Does the reader, remembering what was said some pages back, care to ask how I answered these letters: whether, under the dry, stinting check of Reason, or according to the full, liberal impulse of Feeling?
To speak truth, I compromised matters; I served two masters; I bowed down in the houses of Rimmon, and lifted the heart at another shrine. I wrote to these letters two answers—one for my own relief, the other for Graham's perusal.
To begin with, Feeling and I turned Reason out of doors, drew against her bar and bolt, then we sat down, spread our paper, dipped in the ink an eager pen, and, with deep enjoyment, poured out our sincere heart. When we had done—when two sheets were covered with the language of a strongly-adherent affection, a rooted and active gratitude (once, for all, in this parenthesis, I disclaim, with the utmost scorn, every sneaking suspicion of what are called "warmer feelings"; women do not entertain these "warmer feelings", where, from the commencement, through the whole progress of an acquaintance, they have never once been cheated of the conviction that to do so would be to commit a mortal absurdity: nobody ever launches into Love unless he has seen or dreamed the rising of Hope's star over Love's troubled waters)—when, then, I had given expression to a closely-clinging and deeply-honoring attachment—an attachment that wanted to attract to itself and take to its own lot all that was painful in the destiny of its object; that would, if it could, have absorbed and conducted away all storms and lightnings from an existence viewed with a passion of solicitude—then, just at that moment, the doors of my heart would shake, bolt and bar would yield, Reason would leap in, vigorous and revengeful, snatch the full sheets, read, sneer, erase, tear up, re-write, fold, seal, direct, and send a terse, curt missive of a page. She did right.
I did not live on letters only: I was visited, I was looked after; once a week I was taken out to La Terrasse, always I