"Looking forward to this, and my own still greater happiness, diverts my mind awhile from the one ever-pressing anxiety. But, alas! it will return. By this time my Helen is on the seas--the terrible, the treacherous, the cruel seas, that spare neither beauty nor virtue, nor the longing hearts at home. I have conducted this office for some years, and thought I knew care and anxiety. But I find I knew neither till now.
"I have two ships at sea, the _Shannon_ and the _Proserpine._ The _Proserpine_ carries eighteen chests of specie, worth a hundred and thirty thousand pounds. I don't care one straw whether she sinks or swims. But the _Shannon_ carries my darling; and every gust at night awakens me, and every day I go into the great room at Lloyd's and watch the anemometer. O, God! be merciful, and bring my angel safe to me! O, God! be just, and strike her not for my offenses!
"Besides the direct perils of the sea are some others you might escape by prudence. Pray avoid the night air, for my sake, who could not live if any evil befell you; and be careful in your diet. You were not looking so well as usual when I left. Would I had words to make you know your own value. Then you would feel it a _duty_ to be prudent.
"But I must not sadden you with my fears; let me turn to my hopes. How bright they are! what joy, what happiness, is sailing toward me, nearer and nearer every day! I ask myself what am I that such paradise should be mine.
"My love, when we are one, shall we share every thought, or shall I keep commerce, speculation, and its temptations away from your pure spirit? Sometimes I think I should like to have neither thought nor occupation unshared by you; and that you would purify trade itself by your contact; at other times I say to myself, 'Oh, never soil that angel with your miserable business; but go home to her as if you were going from earth to heaven, for a few blissful hours.' But you shall decide this question, and every other.
"Must I close this letter? Must I say no more, though I have scarcely begun?
"Yes, I will end, since, perhaps, you will never see it.
"When I have sealed it, I mean to hold it in my clasped hands, and so pray the Almighty to take it safe to you, and to bring you safe to him who can never know peace nor joy till he sees you once more.