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I have received your and Aaron's letters. I was a little disappointed that you did not send an acrostic; but I still entertain some secret hope that the muse (who, you say, has taken her flight) will shortly return, and, by a new and stricter intimacy, more than repay the pains of this momentary absence. Your happiness, Matt., is really almost the only present thing I can contemplate with any satisfaction; though I, like other fools, view futurity with partiality enough to make it very desirable; but I must first throw reason aside, and leave fancy uncontrolled. In some of these happy freaks I have endeavoured to take as agreeable a sleigh-ride as you had to Goshen; but I find it impracticable, unless you will make one of the party; for my imagination, when most romantic, is not lively or delusive enough to paint an object that can, in my eyes, atone for your absence. From this you will conclude that the news you heard of me at Princeton is groundless. It is so far from being true, that scarce two persons can fix on the same lady to tease me with. However, I would not have you think that this diversity of opinion arises from the volatility of my constitution, or that I am in love with every new or pretty face I see. But, I hope, you know me too well to need a caution of this nature. I am very glad to hear of -----'s downfall. But, with all that fellow's low-lived actions, I don't more sincerely despise him than I do certain other narrow-hearted scoundrels you have among you. Mean as he is, he appears to me to have (or rather to have had) more of something at bottom that bordered on honour, than some who will pass through life respected by many. I say this, not so much to raise him above the common standard of d--ls, as to sink them below it. My idea of a d--l is composed more of malice than of meanness.
Since I commenced this letter I have passed through a scene entirely new. Now, as novelty is the chief and almost only ingredient of happiness here below, you'll fancy I have had some lucky turn. I think it quite the reverse, I assure you. I have serious thoughts of leaving the matter here, that you may be on the rack of curiosity for a month or so. Would not this be truly satanic? What would be your conjectures in such a case? The first, I guess, that I was sadly in love, and had met with some mortifying rebuff.
What would you say if I should tell you that ----- had absolutely professed love for me? Now I can see you with both hands up--eyes and mouth wide open; but don't be over scrupulous. Trust me, I tell you the whole truth. I cannot at present give you any further particulars about the matter, than that I felt foolish enough, and gave as cautious a turn to it as I could, for which I am destined to suffer her future hostility.
Last week I received a letter from T. Edwards, which I fear may prove fatal to the dear project of the 15th of April. He intends to be hereabout the middle of that month. Supposing he should come here the 13th of April, what could I do? Run off and leave him? Observe the uncertainty of all sublunary things. I, who a few months ago was as uncontrolled in my motions as the lawless meteors, am now (sad reverse!) at the beck of a person forty miles off. But all this lamentation, if well considered, is entirely groundless, for (between you and me) I intend to see you at Elizabethtown this spring. But even supposing I should fail in this--where is this sad reverse of fortune?--this lamentable change? Is it not a very easy matter to fix on another time, and write you word by T. Edwards?
I have struck up a correspondence with J. Bellamy (son to the famous divine of that name). He has very lately settled in the practice of the law at Norwich, a place about seventy miles S. E. of this. He is one of the cleverest fellows I have to deal with. Sensible, a person of real humour, and is an excellent judge of mankind, though he has not had opportunity of seeing much of the world. Adieu.
- Aaron Burr
- Project Gutenberg's Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Volume 1., by Matthew L. Davis, 1836