Beloved: I have been trusting to fate, while keeping silence, that something from you was to come to-day and make me specially happy. And it has: bless you abundantly! You have undone and got round all I said about "jewelry," though this is nothing of the sort, but a shrine: so my word remains. I have it with me now, safe hidden, only now and then it comes out to have a look at me,—smiles and goes back again. Dearest, you must feel how I thank you, for I cannot say it: body and soul I grow too much blessed with all that you have given me, both visibly and invisibly, and always perfectly.
And as for the day: I have been thinking you the most uncurious of men, because you had not asked: and supposed it was too early days yet for you to remember that I had ever been born. To-day is my birthday! you said nothing, so I said nothing; and yet this has come: I trusted my star to show its sweet influences in its own way. Or, after all, did you know, and had you asked anyone but me? Yet had you known, you would have wished me the "happy returns" which among all your dear words to me you do not. So I take it that the motion comes straight to you from heaven; and, in the event, you will pardon me for having been still secretive and shy in not telling what you did not inquire after. Yours, I knew, dear, quite long ago, so had no need to ask you for it. And it is six months before you will be in the same year with me again, and give to twenty-two all the companionable sweetness that twenty-one has been having.
Many happy returns of my birthday to you, dearest! That is all that my birthdays are for. Have you been happy to-day, I wonder? and am wondering also whether this evening we shall see you walking quietly in and making everything into perfection that has been trembling just on the verge of it all day long.
One drawback of my feast is that I have to write short to you; for there are other correspondents who on this occasion look for quick answers, and not all of them to be answered in an offhand way. Except you, it is the coziest whom I keep waiting; but elders have a way with them—even kind ones: and when they condescend to write upon an anniversary, we have to skip to attention or be in their bad books at once.
So with the sun still a long way out of bed, I have to tuck up these sheets for you, as if the good of the day had already been sufficient unto itself and its full tale had been told. Good-night. It is so hard to take my hands off writing to you, and worry on at the same exercise in another direction. I kiss you more times than I can count: it is almost really you that I kiss now! My very dearest, my own sweetheart, whom I so worship. Good-night! "Good-afternoon" sounds too funny: is outside our vocabulary altogether. While I live, I must love you more than I know!