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Dearest,—You will be pleased to hear that I feel gayer to-night, so that I cannot, after all, be sickening for anything horrid. It is an ungrateful practice, letting oneself go to vague fears of the future when there is nothing wrong with the present. All these days during which I have been steeped in gloom and have been taking pains to put some of it into envelopes and send it to you were good days in themselves. Life went on here quite placidly. The weather was sweet with that touching, forlorn sweetness of beautiful worn-out things, of late autumn when winter is waiting round the corner, of leaves dropping slowly down through clear light, of the smell of oozy earth sending up faint whiffs of corruption. From my window I saw the hills every day at sunset, how wonderfully they dressed themselves in pink; and in the afternoons, in the free hour when dinner was done and coffee not yet thought of, I went down into the Paradies valley and sat on the coarse gray grass by the river, and watched the water slipping by beneath the osiers, the one hurried thing in an infinite tranquillity. I ought to have had a volume of Goethe under my arm and been happy. I ought to have read nice bits out of Faust, or about those extraordinary people in the Elective Affinities, and rejoiced in Goethe, and in the fine days, and in my good fortune in being alive, and in having you to love. Well, it is over now, I hope,—I mean the gloom. These things must take their course, I suppose, and while they are doing it one must grope about as best one can by the flickering lantern-light of one's own affrighted spirit. My step-mother looked at me at least once on each of these miserable days, and said: 'Rose-Marie, you look very odd. I hope you are not going to have anything expensive. Measles are in Jena, and also the whooping-cough.'
'Which of them is the cheapest?' I inquired.
'Both are beyond our means,' said my step-mother severely.
And today at dinner she was quite relieved because I ate some dicker Reis after having turned from it with abhorrence for at least a week. Good-by, dearest.
Your almost cured
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