The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 200

before
Talbot came back--and might she not be thus lost to me forever? The
thought was too terrible to bear. Since my future happiness was at
issue, I resolved to act with a manly decision. In a word, upon the
breaking up of the play, I traced the lady to her residence, noted the
address, and the next morning sent her a full and elaborate letter, in
which I poured out my whole heart.

I spoke boldly, freely--in a word, I spoke with passion. I concealed
nothing--nothing even of my weakness. I alluded to the romantic
circumstances of our first meeting--even to the glances which had passed
between us. I went so far as to say that I felt assured of her love;
while I offered this assurance, and my own intensity of devotion, as two
excuses for my otherwise unpardonable conduct. As a third, I spoke of my
fear that she might quit the city before I could have the opportunity of
a formal introduction. I concluded the most wildly enthusiastic epistle
ever penned, with a frank declaration of my worldly circumstances--of my
affluence--and with an offer of my heart and of my hand.

In an agony of expectation I awaited the reply. After what seemed the
lapse of a century it came.

Yes, actually came. Romantic as all this may appear, I really received
a letter from Madame Lalande--the beautiful, the wealthy, the idolized
Madame Lalande. Her eyes--her magnificent eyes, had not belied her
noble heart. Like a true Frenchwoman as she was she had obeyed the frank
dictates of her reason--the generous impulses of her nature--despising
the conventional pruderies of the world. She had not scorned my
proposals. She had not sheltered herself in silence. She had not
returned my letter unopened. She had even sent me, in reply, one penned
by her own exquisite fingers. It ran thus:

“Monsieur Simpson vill pardonne me for not compose de butefulle tong of
his contree so vell as might. It is only de late dat I am arrive, and
not yet ave do opportunite for to--l’etudier.

“Vid dis apologie for the maniere, I vill now say dat, helas!--Monsieur
Simpson ave guess but de too true. Need I say de more? Helas! am I not
ready speak de too moshe?

“EUGENIE LALAND.”

This noble--spirited note I kissed a million times, and committed, no
doubt, on its account, a thousand other extravagances that have now
escaped my memory. Still Talbot would not return. Alas! could he have
formed even the vaguest idea of the suffering his absence had occasioned
his friend, would not his sympathizing nature have flown immediately
to my

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