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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesJane Talbot - Letter 46 - To James Montford
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Jane Talbot - Letter 46 - To James Montford Post by :cjv01 Category :Long Stories Author :Charles Brockden Brown Date :May 2012 Read :1411

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Jane Talbot - Letter 46 - To James Montford

Letter XLVI - To James Montford

To James Montford

December 9.

Once more, after a night of painful musing or troubled repose, I am at the pen. I am plunged into greater difficulties and embarrassments than ever.

It was scarcely daylight, when a slumber into which I had just fallen was interrupted by a servant of the inn. A girl was below, who wanted to see me. The description quickly proved it to be Molly. I rose and directed her to be admitted.

She brought two letters from her mistress, and was told to wait for an answer. Jane traversed her room, half distracted and sleepless during most of the night. Towards morning she sat down to her desk, and finished a letter, which, together with one written a couple of days before, was despatched to me.

My heart throbbed--I was going to say with transport; but I am at a loss to say whether anguish or delight was uppermost on reading these letters. She recalls every promise of eternal separation; she consents to immediate marriage as the only wise expedient; proposes ten o'clock _this night to join our hands; will conceal her purpose from her mother, and resigns to me the providing of suitable means.

I was overwhelmed with surprise and--shall I not say?--delight at this unexpected concession. An immediate and _consenting answer was required. I hurried to give this answer, but my tumultuous feelings would not let me write coherently. I was obliged to lay down the pen, and take a turn across the room to calm my tremors. This gave me time to reflect.

"What," thought I, "am I going to do? To take advantage of a momentary impulse in my favour. To violate my promises to Mrs. Fielder: my letter to her may be construed into promises not to seek another interview with Jane, and to leave the country forever. And shall I betray this impetuous woman into an irrevocable act, which her whole future life may be unavailingly consumed in repenting? Some delay, some deliberation, cannot be injurious.

"And yet this has always been my advice. Shall I reject the hand that is now offered me? How will she regard these new-born scruples, this drawing back when the door spontaneously opens and solicits my entrance?

"Is it in my power to make Jane Talbot _mine_? my wife? And shall I hesitate? Ah! would to Heaven it were a destiny as fortunate for her as for me!--that no tears, no repinings, no compunctions, would follow! Should I not curse the hour of our union when I heard her sighs? and, instead of affording consolation under the distress produced by her mother's displeasure, should I not need that consolation as much as she?"

These reflections had no other effect than to make me irresolute. I could not return my assent to her scheme, I could not reject so bewitching an offer. This offer was the child of a passionate, a desperate moment. Whither, indeed, should she fly for refuge from a scene like that which she describes?

Molly urged me to come to some determination, as her mistress would impatiently wait her return. Finding it indispensable to say something, I at length wrote:--

"I have detected the author of the forgery which has given us so much disquiet. I propose to visit your mother this morning, when I shall claim admission to you. In that interview may our future destiny be discussed and settled. Meanwhile, still regard me as ever ready to purchase your true happiness by every sacrifice."

With this billet Molly hastened away. What cold, repulsive terms were these! My conscience smote me as she shut the door. But what could I do?

I had but half determined to seek an interview with Mrs. Fielder. What purpose would it answer while the truth respecting the counterfeit letter still remained imperfectly discovered? And why should I seek an interview with Jane? Would her mother permit it? and should I employ my influence to win her from her mother's side or rivet her more closely to it?

What, my friend, shall I do? You are too far off to answer me, and you leave me to my own destiny. You hear not, and will not seasonably hear what I say. Today will surely settle all difficulties, one way or another. This night, if I will, I may be the husband of this angel, or I may raise obstacles insuperable between us. Our interests and persons may be united forever, or we may start out into separate paths and never meet again.

Another messenger! with a letter for me! Miss Jessup's servant it is, perhaps. But let me read it.

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Letter XLVII - To Henry ColdenTo Henry Colden December 8. Sir:-- Enclosed is a letter, which you may, if you think proper, deliver to Mrs. Fielder. I am very ill. Don't attempt to see me again. I cannot be seen. Let the enclosed satisfy you. It is enough. Never should I have said so much, if I thought I were long for this world. Let me not have a useless enemy in you. I hope the fatal effects of my rashness have not gone further than Mrs. Talbot's family. Let the mischief be repaired as far as it can be; but
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Letter XLV - To Henry ColdenTo Henry Colden December 4. Ah, my friend! in what school have you acquired such fatal skill in tearing the heart of an offender? Why, under an appearance of self- reproach, do you convey the bitterest maledictions? Why, with looks of idolatry and accents of compassion, do you aim the deadliest contempts and hurl the keenest censures against me? "You acquit me of all shadow of blame." What! in proving me fickle, inconsistent, insensible to all your merit, ungrateful for your generosity, your love? How have I rewarded your reluctance to give me pain, your readiness
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