Letter from Hank to Martha

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Dear Mrs. Levinson,

With this piece of paper you would receive a piece of conquered self-denial. I might have sent this letter a long time ago, but perhaps the hardest pride to conquer is our own.

Of course I read all the letters you sent me, long before you put aside Connington to become Levinson, when everybody would refer to you as the fair and lovely Martha, queen of hearts. No matter how many young gentlemen would lay on the floor for you to walk over and avoid the dust to even contact your soles, you had eyes for nobody else. I knew your heart was my possession. We delighted the hours reciting poems and reading stories. I recall you wanted to be as brave and bold as Rebecca from Ivanhoe, though in my eyes you were as fair as Lady Rowena. Then you would reply that then I would be no other than Wilfred, though my character could fit the Templar's better.

But as the proud templar, quoting Scott, "there were noble things crossing my mind then, but it was like the garden of the sluggard, where the weeds have rushed up, choking the wholesome blossom. Proud, inflexible and unchanging." Though your beauty was astonishing and remarkable, your fortune was not. My future was to be based upon my choice of a bride: and I could not fail my family and the pride of my inherited name. I was then, as the Willoughby who would renounce to Marianne to look for a better choice. So I did. Mind you do not judge me: those are the ways of this world we live in, and foolish are those who pretend they are not.

I knew then, since I told myself so, that you would be granted something better, a man who would not care as I did or at least his inheritance was good enough not to care about. And I was right as I have heard. Since we parted ways, though not living in the same place news find their way to be known, and even more when deep in one's heart there is a denied longing to know them. You did pleasantly well, married a better prospect, such a good one that one of your children made herself a great marriage across the pond to become part of the nobility. No need to even care about what it was not meant to be, if life has taken us through paths of merriment and lavishness.

You might then wonder why I am taking even the apparent inconvenience of wasting paper and ink to write you what is not even a long waited apology. You might find solace in knowing that my days are counted, and my physician recommended as a palliative to dedicate my remaining time writing letters. I am running out of recipients and suddenly in my mind your face appeared, and for an instant I could hear your sweet voice calling me "Hank". A name nobody else calls me anymore.

Yours (but not at all),


Created: Mar 12, 2014


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