Norain's Reviews > An Englishwoman's Love Letters

An Englishwoman's Love Letters by Laurence Housman
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's review
May 09, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: barr-smith-library
Read in May, 2011

The preface to the first edition of this book intentionally left the readers to wonder whether this was a work of fiction or the letters were really written by a woman and later put together by Mr Housman, but the preface to the edition I read said that the letter-writer was not a made up character but a real woman by the name Esther Marion Foley and the man whom the letters were delivered and intended to went by the name Wilfrid.

Two-third of this book was full of her happiness and love for him. She was a woman with intellect and her language was charming and she dotted her writings with humours. But suddenly everything snapped and she was wrenched from her dream to become his wife. The final one-third was letters that she wrote but did not reach him until after she died. She did not know why he left her: she assumed it was his mother whose heart she wished to win but failed but when his mother died he still did not return to her.

‘There is no fault in you,’ he said. ‘[T]he fault is elsewhere; I can no longer love you as I did. All that is between us must be at an end; for your good and mine the only way is to say goodbye without meeting. I know you will not forget me, but you will forgive me, even because of the great pain I caused you. You are the most generous woman I have known. If it would comfort you to blame me for this I would beg you to do it: but I know you better, and ask you to believe it is my deep misfortune rather than my fault that I can no longer your lover, as, God knows, I was once, I dare not say how a short time ago. To me you remain, what I always found you, the best and most true-hearted woman a man could pray to meet.’ And that was all.

She died at about 23, without knowing the real reason.

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