constant pain and many annoyances I have kept myself upright, and how, if I have not done my work, I have learned my lesson to the end, I should be inclined to excuse myself for every fault, except this neglect and ingratitude against friends.
Yet, if you can forgive, I will try to forgive myself, and I do think I shall never so deeply sin again.
Yet, though thus frank to own to herself and to her peers her errors, Margaret cherished a trust in her powers, a confidence in her destiny, and an ideal of her being, place and influence, so lofty as to be extravagant.
In the morning-hour and mountain-air of aspiration, her shadow moved before her, of gigantic size, upon the snow-white vapor.
In accordance with her earnest charge,
Be true as Truth to me,
I could not but expose this propensity to self-delusion; and her answer is her best explanation and defence:—
I protest against your applying to me, even in your most transient thought, such an epithet as ‘determined exaggeration.’
Exaggeration, if you will; but not determined.
No; I would have all open to the light, and would let my boughs be pruned, when they grow rank and unfruitful, even if I felt the knife to the quick of my being.
Very fain would I have a rational modesty, without self-distrust; and may the knowledge of my failures leaven my soul, and check its intemperance.
If you saw me wholly, you would not, I think, feel as you do; for you would recognize the force, that regulates my life and tempers the ardor with an eventual calmness.
You would see, too, that the more I take my flight in poetical enthusiasm, the stronger materials I bring back for my nest.