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[2316]

to the Marchioness Visconti Arconati.
My loved friend,—I read your letter with greatest content. I did not know but that there might seem something offensively strange in the circumstances I mentioned to you. Goethe says, ‘There is nothing men pardon so little as singular conduct, for which no reason is given;’ and, remembering this, I have been a little surprised at the even increased warmth of interest with which the little American society of Florence has received me, with the unexpected accessories of husband and child, —asking no questions, and seemingly satisfied to find me thus accompanied. With you, indeed, I thought it would be so, because you are above the world; only, as you have always walked in the beaten path, though with noble port, and feet undefiled, I thought you might not like your friends to be running about in these blind alleys. It glads my heart, indeed, that you do not care for this, and that we may meet in love.

You speak of our children. Ah! dear friend, I do, indeed, feel we shall have deep sympathy there. I do not believe mine will be a brilliant child, and, indeed, I see nothing peculiar about him. Yet he is to me a source of ineffable joys,—far purer, deeper, than anything I ever felt before,—like what Nature had sometimes given, but more intimate, more sweet. He loves me very much; his little heart clings to mine. I trust, if he lives, to sow there no seeds which are not good, to be always growing better for his sake. Ossoli, too, will be a good father. He has very little of what is called intellectual development, but unspoiled instincts, affections pure and constant, and a quiet sense of duty, which, to me,—who have seen much of the great faults in characters


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