Beloved: This is your first letter from me: yet it is not the first I have written to you. There are letters to you lying at love's dead-letter office in this same writing—so many, my memory has lost count of them!
This is my confession: I told you I had one to make, and you laughed:—you did not know how serious it was—for to be in love with you long before you were in love with me—nothing can be more serious than that!
You deny that I was: yet I know when you first really loved me. All at once, one day something about me came upon you as a surprise: and how, except on the road to love, can there be surprises? And in the surprise came love. You did not know me before. Before then, it was only the other nine entanglements which take hold of the male heart and occupy it till the tenth is ready to make one knot of them all.
In the letter written that day, I said, "You love me." I could never have said it before; though I had written twelve letters to my love for you, I had not once been able to write of your love for me. Was not that serious?
Now I have confessed! I thought to discover myself all blushes, but my face is cool: you have kissed all my blushes away! Can I ever be ashamed in your eyes now, or grow rosy because of anything you or I think? So!—you have robbed me of one of my charms: I am brazen. Can you love me still?
You love me, you love me; you are wonderful! we are both wonderful, you and I.
Well, it is good for you to know I have waited and wished, long before the thing came true. But to see you waiting and wishing, when the thing was true all the time:—oh! that was the trial! How not suddenly to throw my arms round you and cry, "Look, see! O blind mouth, why are you famished?"
And you never knew? Dearest, I love you for it, you never knew! I believe a man, when he finds he has won, thinks he has taken the city by assault: he does not guess how to the insiders it has been a weary siege, with flags of surrender fluttering themselves to rags from every wall and window! No: in love it is the women who are the strategists: and they have at last to fall into the ambush they know of with a good grace.
You must let me praise myself a little for the past, since I can never praise myself again. You must do that for me now! There is not a battle left for me to win. You and peace hold me so much a prisoner, have so caught me from my own way of living, that I seem to hear a pin drop twenty years ahead of me: it seems an event! Dearest, a thousand times, I would not have it be otherwise: I am only too willing to drop out of existence altogether and find myself in your arms instead. Giving you my love, I can so easily give you my life. Ah, my dear, I am yours so utterly, so gladly! Will you ever find it out, you who took so long to discover anything?