Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Marie Louise Shew — June 1848 (LTR-273)


Can it be true Louise that you have the idea [fixed] in your mind to desert your unhappy and unfortunate friend and patient. You did not say so, I know, but for months I have known you was deserting me, not willingly but none the less surely — my destiny —

Disaster following fast, following faster &c.

I have had premonitions of this for months I [say] my good spirit, my loyal heart! must this follow as a sequel to all the benefits and blessings you have so generously bestowed?, are you to vanish like all I love, or desire, from my darkened and “lost Soul” — I have read over your letter again, and again, and can not make it possible with any degree of certainty, that you wrote it in your right mind (I know you did not without tears of anguish and regret), Is it possible your influence is lost to me? Such tender and true natures are ever loyal until death, but you are not dead, you are full of life and beauty! Louise you came in with the parson, in your floating white robe “Good morning Edgar” There was a [touch] of conventional coldness in your hurried manner and your attitude as you opened the kitchen door to find Muddie is my last remembrance of you of you, There was love, hope, and sorrow in your smile, instead of, love, hope & courage, as ever before, Oh Louise how many sorrows are before you, your ingenuous and sympathetic nature, will be constantly wounded in contact with the hollow heartless world, and for me alas! unless some true and tender and pure womanly love saves me, I shall hardly last a year longer, alone! a few short months, will tell, how far my strength — (physical, and moral) will carry me in life here, How can I believe in Providence when you look coldly upon me, was it not you who renewed my hopes and faith in God? . . . . & in humanity Louise I heard your voice as you passed out of my sight leaving me with the Parson, “The man of God, The servant of the most High.” He stood smiling and bowing at the madman Poe! But, that I had invited him to my house, I would have rushed out into Gods light and freedom! but I still listened to your voice! I heard you say with a sob “dear Muddie,’ I heard you greet my caterina, but it was only as a memory of .... nothing escaped my ear, and I was convinced it was not your generous self that was repeating words so foreign to your nature, to your tender heart! . . I heard you sob out your sense of duty to my mother, and I heard her reply —”yes Loui “yes, “it was the mother of Alma, that child with the madonna eyes! she is good and pure, and passably loving, but she is of her fathers type, she has not your nature, Why sacrifice your angelic perogative for a common place nature?, Why turn your soul from its true work for the desolate, to the thankless and miserly world! Why I was not a priest is a mystery, for I feel I am now a prophet and I did then, and toward in mind, and body, over my invited guest in spite of the duties of hospitality and regard for your feelings, Louise when he said grace and you said a low “amen,” I felt my heart stop, and I was sure I was then to die before your eyes. Louise it is well, it is fortunate you looked up, with a tear in your dear eyes, and raised the window and talked of the [guava] you “had “brought for my sore throat” your instincts are better than a strong mans reason — for me, I trust they may be for your self! Louse I feel I shall not prevail a shadow has already fallen upon your soul and is reflected in your eyes. It is too late you are floating away with the [cruel] tide. I am a coward to write this to you, but it is not a common trial, it is a fearful one to me. Such rare souls as yours, so beautify this earth! So releave it of all that is repulsive and sordid. so brighten its toils, and cares, it is hard to loose sight of them even for a short time, Again I say I am a coward, to wound your loyal unsel~sh and womanly heart, but you must know and be assured, of my regret, my sorrow, if aught I have ever written has hurt you! My heart never wronged you. I place you in my esteem in all solemnity beside the friend of my boyhood, the mother of my school fellow, of whom I told you, and as I the “Beloved Physician,” as the truest, tenderest, of this worlds most womanly souls, and an angel to my forlorn and darkened nature, I will not say “lost soul” again, for your sake. I will try to overcome my grief for the sake of your unselfish care of me in the past, and in life or death, I am ever yours gratefully & devotedly

Edgar A. Poe
June, 1849 [[1848]]





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to M. L. Shew (LTR273/RCL716)