Continuing the narrative that began here.
Letter the Thirty-Third: Miss Honoria Wells to Miss Amelia Purvis.
My dearest Sister,——
When I spoke of walking the League remaining to Grimthorne Abbey, I spoke, so I believed, hyperbolically;—that is, in an exaggerated Fashion: For I did not suppose that Circumstance would be so unkind to a young Lady of Breeding. Circumstance, however, cares naught for Breeding; and I have indeed been compelled to walk that Distance. To such an Extremity have I been driven by Love: For my love for George is as the great Loves of History, and not your pale and wan modern Love, which scarce deserves the Name. I have stumbled over Rocks, my Stockings torn by a thousand Briers, my Ankles bloody from the Abuse, and my Skirts so much torn and muddy’d that I am certain they can never be mended. ’Tis true, I faced no Indian Tygers; but I have suffered, as much (perhaps) as any Heroine ought to suffer for Love; I have earned my Right to the Name of Heroine; I have bought it with my own Blood.
But O! with what Transports of Delight I inform you, That our beloved George is well, and moreover expresses great Surprize that we have heard nothing from him: For he wrote to us frequently and faithfully. I lay the Blame upon the miserable and mercenary Inhabitants of the Village nearby, who might well have taken his Money for posting his Letters, and then tossed them in the Mud by the Wayside. A great Loss:—For to be robbed of so many of my dearest George’s written Endearments, is like to missing as many Friends, who would have been my inseparable Companions in my lonely Hours at Home.
Grimthorne Abbey is a dark and chilly House; but the Warmth of the Welcome I received from the charming Doctor Albertus has entirely dispelled the Gloom. For I must tell you, my dearest Amelia, that Doctor Albertus has been most hospitable, tho’ the House itself offers but few Encouragements to Hospitality. The Conversation of this eminent Philosopher has a Kind of Charm that makes the Hours pass quickly, and I find myself surprised to relate that I have hardly spoke two Words to George since my Arrival. Doubtless the Morrow will furnish me with ample Opportunities to converse with my Beloved, and to probe further the strange Mystery of these missing Letters, tho’ ’tis likely that the Answer is to be sought in the Sloth and Mendacity of the Villagers.
Here I sit, therefore, in an antient Chamber not unlike that in which the illustrious Rozamunda was imprisoned, but under far happier Circumstances; and I promise to see to it that this letter is placed in the Hands of Doctor Albertus personally. For having once met the Man, and conversed with him on such exalted Matters of Philosophy as the notable Zeldina was wont to discuss with her Antonillo, I feel certain that I may trust him with my very Soul. I prepare to take my Rest with a Sense of perfect Security, and in that State I declare myself, as you shall ever find me,
Your faithful Friend and Sister,