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Jena, Nov. 13th.
No letter from you today. I am afraid you are being worried, and because of me. Here am I, quiet and cheerful, nobody bothering me, and your dear image in my heart to warm every minute of life; there are you, being forced to think things out, to make plans for the future, decide on courses of action, besides having to pass exams, and circumvent a parent whom I gather you regard as refractory. How lucky I am in my dear father. If I could have chosen, I would have chosen him. Never has he been any trouble. Never does he bore me. Never am I forced to criticisms. He knows that I have no brains, and has forgiven me. I know he hasn't much common-sense, and have forgiven him. We spend our time spoiling and petting and loving each other—do you remember how you sometimes laughed?
But I wish you were not worried. It is all because I'm so ineligible. If I could come to you with a pot of money in each hand, turned by an appreciative ruler into Baroness von Schmidt, with a Papa in my train weighed down by Orders, and the road behind me black with carts containing clothes, your father would be merciful unto us and bless us. As things are, you are already being punished, you have already begun to pay the penalty for that one little hour's happiness; and it won't be quite paid ever, not so long as we both shall live. Do you, who think so much, ever think of the almost indecent haste with which punishments hurry in the wake of joys? They really seem to tumble over one another in their eagerness each to get there first. You took me to your heart, told me you loved me, asked me to be your wife. Was it so wrong? So wrong to let oneself go to happiness for those few moments that one should immediately be punished? My father will not let me believe anything. He says—when my step-mother is not listening; when she is he doesn't—that belief is not faith, and you can't believe if you do not know. But he cannot stop my silently believing that the Power in whose clutches we are is an amazing disciplinarian, a relentless grudger of joys. And what pitiful small joys they are, after all. Pitiful little attempts of souls doomed to eternal solitude to put out feelers in the dark, to get close to each other, to touch each other, to try to make each other warm. Now I am growing lugubrious; I who thought never to be lugubrious again. And at ten o'clock on a fine November morning, of all times in the world.
Papa comes back from Weimar today. There has been a prolonged meeting there of local lights about the damage done by some Goth to the Shakespeare statue in the park; and though Papa is not a light, still he did burn with indignation over that, and has been making impassioned speeches, and suggesting punishments for the Goth when they shall have caught him. I think I shall go over by the two o'clock train and meet him and bring him home, and look in at Goethe's sponge on the way. You know how the little black thing lies in his bedroom there, next to a basin not much bigger than a breakfast-cup. With this he washed and was satisfied. And whenever I feel depressed, out of countenance with myself and life, I go and look at it and come home cheered and strengthened. I wonder if you'll be able to make out why? Bless you my dearest.
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