Chapter XXXV. The Princess Languishes for Want of Pekuah

CHAP. XXXV.

Pekuah is still remembered.

The progress of sorrow.

 

NEKAYAH, seeing that nothing
was omitted for the recovery of
her favourite, and having, by her promise,
set her intention of retirement at
a distance, began imperceptibly to return
to common cares and common pleasures.
She rejoiced without her own consent at
the suspension of her sorrows, and sometimes
caught herself with indignation in
the act of turning away her mind from
the remembrance of her, whom yet she
resolved never to forget. [74]

 

She then appointed a certain hour of
the day for meditation on the merits and
fondness of Pekuah, and for some weeks
retired constantly at the time fixed, and
returned with her eyes swollen and her
countenance clouded. By degrees she
grew less scrupulous, and suffered any
important and pressing avocation to delay
the tribute of daily tears. She then
yielded to less occasions; sometimes forgot
what she was indeed afraid to
remember, and, at last, wholly released herself
from the duty of periodical affliction.
Her real love of Pekuah was yet not
diminished. A thousand occurrences
brought her lack to memory, and a
thousand wants, which nothing but the
confidence of friendship can supply,
made her frequently regretted. She, [75]

therefore, solicited Imlac never to desist
from enquiry, and to leave no art of
intelligence untried, that, at least, she might
have the comfort of knowing that she
did not suffer by negligence or sluggishness.
“Yet what, said she, is to be
expected from our persuit of happiness,
when we find the state of life to be such,
that happiness itself is the cause of
misery? Why should we endeavour to
attain that, of which the possession cannot
be secured? I shall henceforward fear
to yield my heart to excellence, however
bright, or to fondness, however tender,
left I should lose again what I have lost
in Pekuah.” [76]

         

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A Digital Anthology of Writing in English, 1660-1783