Lawrence Sterne to Miss L.
Yes! I will steal from the world, and not a babbling tongue shall tell where I am. Echo shall not so much as whisper my hiding place. Suffer the imagination to permit it as a little sun-light cottage, on the side of a romantic hill. Dost thou think I will leave love and friendship behind me? No! They shall be my companions in solitude, for they will sit down and rise up with me in the amiable form of my L ... We will be as merry and as innocent as our first parents in Paradise, before the arch-fiend entered that indescribable scene.
The kindest affections will have room to shoot and expand in our retirement, and produce such fruit as madness and envy and ambition have always killed in the bud. Let the human tempest and hurricane rage at a distance, the desolation is beyond the horizon of peace. My L... has seen a polyanthus blow in December ... me friendly wall has sheltered it from the biting wind. No planetary influence shall reach us but that which presides and cherishes the sweetest flowers. God preserve us! How delightful this prospect in idea! We will build and we will plant, in our own way ...simplicity shall not be tortured by art. We will learn of nature how to live ... she shall be our alchemist, to mingle all the good of life in one salubrious draught. The gloomy family of care and distrust shall be banished from our dwelling, guarded by the kind and tutelary deity. We will sing our choral songs of gratitude and rejoice to the end of our pilgrimage.
Adieu, my L ...
Return to one who languishes for your society.