List Of Contents | Contents of Karl Ludwig Sand, by Dumas, Pere
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us all to a better life, preserve, dear Karl, your courage and

"Farewell, and be invariably assured that I shall never cease to love
you strongly and deeply.

"Your faithful mother, who loves you to eternity.

Sand replied:--

January 1820, from my isle of Patmos.


In the middle of the month of September last year I received, through
the grand-duke's special commission of inquiry, whose humanity you
have already appreciated, your dear letters of the end of August and
the beginning of September, which had such magical influence that
they inundated me with joy by transporting me into the inmost circle
of your hearts.

"You, my tender father, you write to me on the sixty-seventh
anniversary of your birth, and you bless me by the outpouring of your
most tender love.

"You, my well-beloved mother, you deign to promise the continuance of
your maternal affection, in which I have at all times constantly
believed; and thus I have received the blessings of both of you,
which, in my present position, will exercise a more beneficent
influence upon me than any of the things that all the kings of the
earth, united together, could grant me.  Yes, you strengthen me
abundantly by your blessed love, and I render thanks to you, my
beloved parents, with that respectful submission that my heart will
always inculcate as the first duty of a son.

"But the greater your love and the more affectionate your letters,
the more do I suffer, I must acknowledge, from the voluntary
sacrifice that we have imposed upon ourselves in not seeing one
another; and the only reason, my dear parents, why I have delayed to
reply to you, was to give myself time to recover the strength which I
have lost.

"You too, dear brother-in-law and dear sister, assure me of your
sincere and uninterrupted attachment.  And yet, after the fright that
I have spread among you all, you seem not to know exactly what to
think of me; but my heart, full of gratitude for your past kindness,
comforts itself ; for your actions speak and tell me that, even if
you wished no longer to love me as I love you, you would not be able
to do otherwise.  These actions mean more to me at this hour than any
possible protestations, nay, than even the tenderest words.

"And you also, my kind brother, you would have consented to hurry
with our beloved mother to the shores of the Rhine, to this place
where the real links of the soul were welded between us, where we
were doubly brothers; but tell me, are you not really here, in
thought and in spirit, when I consider the rich fountain of
consolation brought me by your cordial and tender letter?

"And, you, kind sister-in-law, as you showed yourself from the first,
in your delicate tenderness, a true sister, so I find you again at
present.  There are still the same tender relations, still the same
sisterly affection; your consolations, which emanate from a deep and
submissive piety, have fallen refreshingly into the depths of my
heart.  But, dear sister-in-law, I must tell you, as well as the
others, that you are too liberal towards me in dispensing your esteem
and praises, and your exaggeration has cast me back face to face with
my inmost judge, who has shown me in the mirror of my conscience the
image of my every weakness.

"You, kind Julia, you desire nothing else but to save me from the
fate that awaits me; and you assure me in your own name and in that
of you all, that you, like the others, would rejoice to endure it in
my place; in that I recognise you fully, and I recognise, too, those
sweet and tender relations in which we have been brought up from
childhood.  Oh, be comforted, dear Julia; thanks to the protection of
God, I promise you: that it will be easy for me, much easier than I
should have thought, to bear what falls to my lot.  Receive, then,
all of you, my warm and sincere thanks for having thus rejoiced my

"Now that I know from these strengthening letters that, like the
prodigal son, the love and goodness of my family are greater on my
return than at my departure, I will, as carefully as possible, paint
for you my physical and moral state, and I pray God to supplement my
words by His strength, so that my letter may contain an equivalent of
what yours brought to me, and may help you to reach that state of
calm and serenity to which I have myself attained.

"Hardened, by having gained power over myself, against the good and
ill of this earth, you knew already that of late years I have lived
only for moral joys, and I must say that, touched by my efforts,
doubtless, the Lord, who is the sacred fount of all that is good, has
rendered me apt in seeking them and in tasting them to the full.  God
is ever near me, as formerly, and I find in Him the sovereign
principle of the creation of all things; in Him, our holy Father, not
only consolation and strength, but an unalterable Friend, full of the
holiest love, who will accompany me in all places where I may need
His consolations.  Assuredly, if He had turned from me, or if I had
turned away my eyes from Him, I should now find myself very
unfortunate and wretched; but by His grace, on the contrary, lowly
and weak creature as I am, He makes me strong and powerful against
whatever can befall me.

"What I have hitherto revered as sacred, what I have desired as good
what I have aspired to as heavenly, has in no respect changed now.
And I thank God for it, for I should now be in great despair if I
were compelled to recognise that my heart had adored deceptive images
and enwrapped itself in fugitive chimeras.  Thus my faith in these
ideas and my pure love far them, guardian angels of my spirit as they
are, increase moment by moment, and will go on increasing to my end,
and I hope that I may pass all the more easily from this world into
eternity.  I pass my silent life in Christian exaltation and
humility, and I sometimes have those visions from above through which
I have, from my birth, adored heaven upon earth, and which give me
power to raise myself to the Lord upon the eager wings of my prayers.
My illness, though long, painful, and cruel, has always been
sufficiently mastered by my will to let me busy myself to some result
with history, positive sciences, and the finer parts of religious
education, and when my suffering became more violent and for a time
interrupted these occupations, I struggled successfully,
nevertheless, against ennui; for the memories of the past, my
resignation to the present, and my faith in the future were rich
enough and strong enough in me and round me to prevent my falling
from my terrestrial paradise.  According to my principles, I would
never, in the position in which I am and in which I have placed
myself, have been willing to ask anything for my own comfort; but so
much kindness and care have been lavished upon me, with so much
delicacy and humanity,--which alas!  I am unable to return--by every
person with whom I have been brought into contact, that wishes which
I should not have dared to frame in the mast private recesses of my
heart have been more than exceeded.  I have never been so much
overcome by bodily pains that I could not say within myself, while I
lifted my thoughts to heaven, 'Come what may of this ray.'  And great
as these gains have been, I could not dream of comparing them with
those sufferings of the soul that we feel so profoundly and
poignantly in the recognition of our weaknesses and faults.

"Moreover, these pains seldom now cause me to lose consciousness; the
swelling and inflammation never made great headway, and the fever has
always been moderate, though for nearly ten months I have been forced
to remain lying on my back, unable to raise myself, and although more
than forty pints of matter have come from my chest at the place where
the heart is.  No, an the contrary, the wound, though still open, is
in a good state; and I owe that not only to the excellent nursing
around me, but also to the pure blood that I received from you, my
mother.  Thus I have lacked neither earthly assistance nor heavenly
encouragement.  Thus, on the anniversary of my birth, I had every
reason--oh, not to curse the hour in which I was born, but, on the
contrary, after serious contemplation of the world, to thank God and
you, my dear parents, for the life that you have given me!  I
celebrated it, on the 18th of October, by a peaceful and ardent
submission to the holy will of God.  On Christmas Day I tried to put
myself into the temper of children who are devoted to the Lord; and
with God's help the new year will pass like its predecessor, in
bodily pain, perhaps, but certainly in spiritual joy.  And with this
wish, the only one that I form, I address myself to you, my dear
parents, and to you and yours, my dear brothers and sisters.

"I cannot hope to see a twenty-fifth new year; so may the prayer that
I have just made be granted!  May this picture of my present state
afford you some tranquillity, and may this letter that I write to you
from the depths of my heart not only prove to you that I am not
unworthy of the inexpressible love that you all display, but, on the
contrary, ensure this love to me for eternity.

"Within the last few days I have also received your dear letter of
the 2nd of December, my kind mother, and the grind-duke's commission
has deigned to let me also read my kind brother's letter which
accompanied yours.  You give me the best of news in regard to the
health of all of you, and send me preserved fruits from our dear
home.  I thank you for them from the bottom of my heart.  What causes
me most joy in the matter is that you have been solicitously busy
about me in summer as in winter, and that you and my dear Julia
gathered them and prepared them for me at home, and I abandon my
whole soul to that sweet enjoyment.

"I rejoice sincerely at my little cousin's coming into the world; I
joyfully congratulate the good parents and the grandparents; I
transport myself, for his baptism, into that beloved parish, where I
offer him my affection as his Christian brother, and call down on him

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