Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Annie L. Richmond — November 16, 1848 (LTR-286)


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Fordham Nov. 16th 1848 —

Ah, Annie Annie! my Annie! what cruel thoughts about your Eddy must have been torturing your heart during the last terrible fortnight, in which you have heard nothing from me — not even one little word to say that I still lived & loved you. But Annie I know that you felt too deeply the nature of my love for you, to doubt that, even for one moment, & this thought has comforted me in my bitter sorrow — I could bear that you should imagine every other evil except that one — that my soul had been untrue to yours. Why am I not with you now darling that I might sit by your side, press your dear hand in mine, & look deep down into the clear Heaven of your eyes — so that the words which I now can only write, might sink into your heart, and make you comprehend what it is that I would say — And yet Annie, all that I wish to say — all that my soul pines to express at this instant, is included in the one word, love — To be with you now — so that I might whisper in your ear the divine emotion[s], which agitate me — I would willingly — oh joyfully abandon this world with all my hopes of another: — but you believe this, Annie — you do believe it, & will always believe it — So long as I think that you know I love you, as no man ever loved woman — so long as I think you comprehend in some measure, the fervor with which I adore you, so long, no worldly trouble can ever render me absolutely wretched. But oh, my larling, my Annie, my own sweet sister Annie, my pure beautiful angel — wife of my soul — to be mine hereafter & forever in the Heavens — how shall I explain to you the bitter, bitter anguish which has tortured me since I left you? You saw, you felt the agony of grief with which I bade you farewell — You remember my expressions of gloom — of a dreadful horrible foreboding of ill — Indeed — indeed it seemed to me that death approached me even then, & that I was involved in the shadow which went before him — As I clasped you to my heart, I said to myself —”it is for the last time, until we meet in Heaven” — I remember nothing distinctly, from that moment until I found myself in Providence — I went to bed & wept through a long, long, hideous night of despair — When the day broke, I arose & endeavored to quiet my mind by a rapid walk in the cold, keen air — but all would not do — the demon tormented me still. Finally I procured two ounces of laudnum & without returning to my Hotel, took the cars back to Boston. When I arrived, I wrote you a letter, in which I opened my whole heart to you — to you — my Annie, whom I so madly, so distractedly love — I told you how my struggles were more than I could bear — how my soul revolted from saying the words which were to be said — and that not even for your dear sake, could I bring myself to say them. I then reminded you of that holy promise, which was the last I exacted from you in parting — the promise that, under all circumstances, you would come to me on my bet of death — I implored you to come then — mentioning the place where I should be found in Boston — Having written this letter, I swallowed about half the laudnum & hurried to the Post-Office — intending not to take the rest until I saw you — for, I did not doubt for one moment, that my own Annie would keep her sacred promise — But I had not calculated on the strength of the laudanum, for, before I reached the Post Office my reason was entirely gone, & the letter was never put in. Let me pass over, my darling Sister, the awful horrors which succeeded — A friend was at hand, who aided & (if it can be called saving) saved me — but it is only within the last three days that I have been able to remember what occurred in that dreary interval — It appears that, after the laudanum was rejected from the stomach, I became calm, & to a casual observer, sane — so that I was suffered to go back to Providence — Here I saw her, & spoke, for your sake, the words which you urged me to speak — Ah Annie Annie! my Annie! — is your heart so strong? — is there no hope! — is there none? — I feel that I must die if I persist, & yet, how can I now retract with honor? — Ah beloved, think — think for me & for yourself — do I not love you Annie? do you not love me? Is not this all? Beyond this blissful thought, what other consideration can there be in this dreary world! It is not much that I ask, sweet sister Annie — my mother & myself would take a small cottage at Westford — oh so small — so very humble — I should be far away from the tumult[s] of the world — from the ambition which I loathe — I would labor day & night, and with industry, I could accomplish so much — Annie! it would be a Paradise beyond my wildest hopes — I could see some of your beloved family every day, & you often — oh VERY often — I would hear from you continually — regularly & our dear mother would be with us & love us both — ah darling — do not these pictures touch your inmost heart? Think — oh think for me — before the words — the vows are spoken, which put yet another terrible bar between us — before the time goes by, beyond which there must be no thinking — I call upon you in the name of God — in the name of the holy love I bear you, to be sincere with me — Can you, my Annie, bear to think I am another’s? It would give me supreme — infinite bliss to hear you say that you could not bear it — I am at home now with my dear muddle who is endeavoring to comfort me — but the sole words which soothe me, are those in which she speaks of “my Annie” — she tells me that she has written you, begging you to come on to Fordham — ah beloved Annie, IS IT NOT POSSIBLE? I am so ill — so terribly, hopelessly ILL in body and mind, that I feel I CANNOT live, unless I can feel your sweet, gentle, loving hand pressed upon my forehead — oh my pure, virtuous, generous, beautiful, beautiful sister Annie! — is it not POSSIBLE for you to come — if only for one little week? — until I subdue this fearful agitation, which if continued, will either destroy my life or, drive me hopelessly mad — Farewell — here & hereafter —

forever your own
Eddy —


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to A. L. Richmond (LTR286/RCL737)