Englishwoman's Love Letters (Chapter 3, page 1 of 3)


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Chapter 3

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.

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