TO MISS WORDSWORTH.
June 14, 1805.
My Dear Miss Wordsworth,—I have every reason to suppose that this illness, like all Mary’s former ones, will be but temporary. But I cannot always feel so. Meantime she is dead to me, and I miss a prop. All my strength Is gone, and I am like a fool, bereft of her co-operation. I dare not think, iest I should think wrong; so used am I to look up to her in the least and the biggest perplexity. To say all that I know of her, would be more than I think anybody could believe or ever understand; and when I hope to have her well again with me, it would be sinning against her feelings to go about to praise her; for I can conceal nothing that I do from her. She is older and wiser and better than I, and all my wretched imperfections I cover to myself by resolutely thinking on her goodness. She would share life and death, heaven and hell, with me. She lives but for me; and I know I have been wasting and teasing her life for five years past incessantly with my cursed ways of going on. But even in this upbraiding of myself I am offending against her, for I know that she has cleaved to me for better, for worse; and if the balance has been against her hitherto, it was a noble trade. I am stupid, and lose myself in what I write. I write rather what answers to my feelings (which are sometimes sharp enough) than express my present ones, for I am only flat and stupid. I am sure you will excuse my writing any more, I am so very poorly.
I cannot resist transcribing three or four lines which poor Mary made upon a picture (a Holy Family) which we saw at an auction only one week before she left home. They are sweet lines, and upon a sweet picture. But I send them only as the last memorial of her.
VIRGIN AND CHILD, L. DA VINCI.