Index > The Post Office > A Confession and a Goodbye to Miss. Eliza Elmsworth from Mr. Allan Gale

A Confession and a Goodbye to Miss. Eliza Elmsworth from Mr. Allan Gale

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LadyD My darling Elizabeth,

I do not know where to start this letter, as it will be an end to our correspondence. I suppose I shall start with apologizing. A thousand times over, but I do not have that much paper. I have already made a mess of things--this small room is littered with the crumpled remains of the war between my sense of duty and propriety and my feelings for you. How fitting that I should soon leave one battlefield for another.
I have deceived you, Eliza. I am no young woman, with whom--though improper--your correspondence might have been excusable when looked at as a whole. My name--I nearly broke my pen just now with frustration at how my hand trembles in writing this. ((The writing is indeed shaky for the next few lines )) My name is Allan Gale. I am a dragoon (( “in the” is scratched out, along with some other things, unintelligible)). I do not know if you will remember meeting me. I made quite a cake of myself when I realized who you were. Perhaps you will think this was because of your appearance. It was not. I was surprised at first, yes, but over the course of our conversation, I knew you were the same brilliant and eloquent young woman with whom I had exchanged so many letters. I think what you do not understand about your looks is this: there is a light that shines through people when they speak of something that they truly believe in and have passion for. Your light is brighter than anyone I have ever known. I cannot say it makes you beautiful, but over the past weeks I have thought upon no other woman so much as I have /you./ You could not possibly see it when you look critically into a mirror and I have no proof for you, but you can be attractive Eliza Elmsworth. Like a candle lit in a dark room, you have the ability and strength to draw every eye and to share your brilliance, even when you feel small and insignificant.
This brings me to the part of the letter which I am entirely unsure how to proceed with. I would be shocked if you were still reading. The girl I know from her diary, would be horrified and hurt perhaps and I would go through a good deal of pain to spare you those feelings, were I not incapable of it as the one who caused them. Perhaps would be kinder not to say, but if and when my life is taken, I believe it would be my greatest regret if I had never attempted to express these feelings: I love you. I do not know when over the course of our correspondence it began or that I realized it until I was summoned, but I love you, Eliza. You do not have to believe me, though I hope you will. I have no reason to lie. This is a kindness to myself--to know you might have read of my feelings--as I join my regiment and set sail (( “for” is crossed out )).
I have no power over what you do with this letter. If you are sensible perhaps you will burn the entirety of my correspondence. Yours I keep locked in a box with a miniature portrait of my family. The key, I will hide each time I leave its side. I believe I can guarantee you they will never be found and connected with you. I would cast the key into the ocean, had I more strength of will, but I have told you before, I have little will when it comes to you. I love you.

If you /are/ by some miracle still reading, I wish to leave you with parting words I think may vex you, as I know I have in my short acquaintance with you. If your sisters and friends are showy roses--fragrant and beautiful--, my love, you are a wildflower. Plainer perhaps, but with hidden resilience and beauty noticed only by a few. (Another reason I love wildflowers is so many have a part in natural remedies.) But my true love for wildflowers is that I may see them--even when gardens are far away. As they shall be, and as I shall see you, through reviewing your letters and in my mind’s eye, the most cherished image of my heart. I go to fight for our country. I cannot expect to live, though I hope to, but I have written this as a last goodbye. I suppose you will probably never know for certain, which I am somewhat thankful for. Imagine me however it makes you happiest to do so. I will imagine you as I met you at Mrs. Hatch’s. A woman more intelligent than most and more beautiful than she could possibly know.

Goodbye.

All my love,
Allan Gale

His signature is as neat and graceful as his usual handwriting, though the pen still obviously shook a little.
Posted 2 months ago

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