|Transcript or Index||July 12 1823|
Your letter, My Dear Sir, is in every way so gratifying to me that I know not how sufficiently to thank you for it. But what do you mean by a spirit of “conciliation” having been manifested by us. I had so little idea of any feeling of coldness or anger having existed on either side that I confess I do not see the application of the term. If you mean that my tongue was loosed a little the other day, I will own the fact, for I was determined not to deserve your raillery any longer on that score; and with regard to the graver matter under discussion, I believe we may both thank Lady Lucy Barry’s letters for having absolutely frightened me into courage. I own I am shocked at your misapprehension with regard to me, and am at a loss to comprehend it. Surely the assertion of
“A heart in every pulse to England true
True to her equal Laws, her Altar, & her King”,
repeated in my letters to you, and backed with the assurance that to me “Christianity needed no Evidence but the Scriptures “ should have rendered it impossible; and if by any strange chance I have said or written any thing which could make you doubt my belief either in the absolute Divinity of Christ, or the necessity of his intercession, why did you not at once put the question directly to me. I think I could not have existed four and twenty hours under such a doubt with regard to you. What you have said however explains some passages in your letters, where you occasionally appeared to me to be fighting a shadow; and also one or two remarks which came in very oddly in conversation.
July 16th 1823
I have begun this letter to you two or three times over, and got as you may perceive so far on Saturday Night. I had much to say to you, and wished to have been able to say it calmly and considerately, but my head is in such a whirl that I feel that cannot be at present, and entreat you to excuse me. You ought to have heard from me earlier, and I prefer sending these few lines to a longer delay. That there is no essential difference between us I am indeed convinced, and indeed your letter makes me feel assured that there will soon be none. I cannot however entirely agree with you respecting Sunday, and when I feel more calm I will explain to you my view of the subject in answer to yours. I have some idea that from your Profession and habits of life you have not regarded it from the same point of view, and you certainly present it in one which is almost new to me. I think that when I can bring the matter fairly before you, you will partly adopt my opinion, and you have on the other hand there are some things in which I feel much inclined to make your opinions mine. [Several crossings out in this last sentence] In the meantime I shall claim a little of indulgence. That you will not ascribe the variations arising from habit, education, or constitution, to levity of feeling on my part, even should we ultimately not coincide in every point, or at least that you will take a little time before you condemn me.
I am sorry to perceive that what I said about my friends has given you pain. I did not mean that it should have done so, but were I to recall to your memory many of your observations, you would not wonder at my having received such an impression. I entreat you to forget it altogether. I must however repeat, and with still stronger emphasis, that there is no nourishment in pepper. But you have misunderstood me, which indeed I almost expected you would, from my having no room to explain, and I will therefore add a few words. Your feelings in every way had been most highly wrought. The necessity of summoning your strongest mental energies to combat with pain and weakness and despondency, had placed you for some time in that state of intellectual existence, which whether it be of pleasure or of pain has always a strange charm about it; I believe because our souls, with an innate sense of their immortality and their future destiny, exult in shaking off, if but for a moment, the dull earthly clog to which they are at present tyed, and when you returned to the sober routine of common life, you missed the excitement to which you had become habituated and seemed to fall, literally like Icarus when his wings were thawed by the Sun. I could not hear you complaining that you had no longer an interest in what surrounded you, in anything you saw or heard, and even in the society of your friends, without recalling a similar period in my own feelings. After having been for some time under the necessity of the strongest exertion, both mental and bodily, the power seemed suddenly to cease with the occasion & everything became dull & tasteless to me. If I may again quote from myself I would say
“My frozen heart nor love nor hate could warm,
Grief had no sting, & pleasure lost its charm”.
I cared not whether it were joy or sorrow, but I would have given any thing to be able to feel again. I therefore say to you, do not regret that your present life offers to you no sensations equally absorbing with those that are past. They were like the excitement of opium and must be followed by a corresponding state of exhaustion. You will perhaps not be able to agree with me at this moment, but I know that you will hereafter.
There is yet one question to which you require an answer, and if you have not received it sooner, I can assure you it has been from no wish to trifle with you. You may indeed wonder that I cannot shew on this point the same firmness and readiness of decision which I am told marks my character in general. In situations of difficulty, danger or suffering, I believe my nerves would be as firm as your own, but in other points no woman was ever more timid, and my resolutions “to behave better next time’ all proved of no avail when the time came. However, the matter is now I believe settled, and Mr Kay has, as I expect acquainted you with the result of our last night’s conversation. I own I scarcely feel that every thing necessary can be in readiness by the 6th of August, but if it can, I will make no opposition where I am so strongly urged, and hope that the time fixed will suit your convenience, and that we neither of us <shall> ever look back upon that day with regret.
Your note interrupts me. I congratulate you on your Brother’s safe arrival – and your improved hours of rising – For the present farewell –
ever your affectionate
Eleanor Anne Porden.