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times when they do not think of me- And by the way, I will here thank you for the yellow leaf enclosed in your letter - It came to me safely its long way across the ocean and in its bright color spoke to me of the glowing autumn forrests of America, of those rich landscapes whose million hues blent in such matchless beauty- I have loved to gaze upon in my own home, before I knew that they were unrivalled by any other, and that the sad sweet charm that always rests upon them in all their gayness of attire is perhaps peculiarly their own. This comes from the "ledge" - that old familiar name, "up on the ledge", where we have strolled in summer and slid down hill in winter - Here the trees go gradually into the sere and yellow leaf and wither away into brownness without putting on the bright hectic that foretells their decay with us as they perish into winter - This is owing to the want of the sudden frosts which we have that nips the leaves while they are full of sap - Altho. so much farther north the winters here are much milder, but very little snow and ice, the past, scarcely none. But the summers also much colder indeed the last one seemed to me no summer at all, tho. it was to be sure unusual for this region - It is suited however apparently for grapes and wine which flows most bountifully from all southern hill sides and sunny slopes and vallies - They were beginning the vintage while I was on my journey. The vineyards all about me were laden with the ripe fruit and without fences or hedges to prevent the freest access - The peasantry were all at work, men and women, and it was my habit to give each party a call. Now and then a pretty girl would emerge from the vines with her tub of grapes on her head and I would help her to plunge them into the great cask that always stood by the roadside. for the bruising of them, which was an excellent commencement to a nice little rustic flirtation, and then she would gather me some particularly nice bunches and I would tell her what an odd thing it seemed to me. To see such a pretty girl working in the fields and how nice and lazy she could live where I come from in America, where all the girls do nothing but grow fat and get married and have black slaves to wait upon them, which she could scarcely believe, tho. she had heard America was a paradise - But the fair eyed lovely maids generally associated with vineyards in poetry, I am pretty well convinced is a fiction entirely, at least in Germany, for they are for the most part less fascinating than the cows yoked to their carts and ploughs. Constant labour in the field Düsseldorf, March 25 1851. My dear Charlotte: Yours of Nov. 17th 1849 is rec'd and I hasten to reply - I have also to acknowledge the receipt this day of another of Feb. 19, 1851 from you and Hannah. I find this all right, and as it should be, that you do as you would be done by, and that your resentful and revengeful feelings which you for a time nourished did not triumph but were at last overcome by a kindly and forgiving spirit. There is every reason why this should prevail, for I have been the suffering party - You complain, and feel your case a hard one, but think of mine, and consider what I must have undergone in comparison, in the consciousness of my obligation and ingratitude, in having failed for so long a time to reply to your letters - Let this not be your fault, for you have no conception of the remorse you can bring down upon yourself by so doing - I have felt it much in my time. and particularly in this instance in its fullest force- I have born up as well as I could (and I think I can endure as much in this way as another) till the reception today of yours and Hannah's of the 19 ult. rendered it insupportable, and I resolved to sweep away the weight on my conscience and which has bowed down my good name in the minds of those where I would fain it should still flourish as fresh and green as in the days of old - Speaking of days of old, what a vista opens upon my memory, half pleasant, half unpleasant, in those years of my life that were passed in Augusta (now a city, with its Mayor), but as vague almost as my dreams, with the exception of some few points of reality which are still as palpable to my mind's eye as mortality need be, such as the girls to whom I write &c. (and this I take it you will consider no reflection on your being also quite as spiritual as you need be) This may be owing to the five years that have elapsed since I last left there, and its present remoteness, with the difference of scene, life, circumstances, &c. in which I now find myself placed - But we will let that go for the present. You would probably prefer to know what the difference is - Let me however first thank you for your kind remembrance of me in my wanderings in far off and strange lands and for sending a second
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