becomes the more important to me. What you call the chief end and aim of my existence concerns me no longer. I cannot escape my destiny; I cannot promote its consummation but I know, and firmly believe, that I am here to accomplish some end, and that I do accomplish it. But the means which nature has chosen to fulfil my destiny are so much the more sacred to me--to me it is everything--my morality, my happiness. All the rest I shall never learn. I am like a messenger who carries a sealed letter to its place of destina tion. What the letter contains is indifferent to him--his business is only to earn his fee for carrying it."
"Alas!" said I, "how poor a thing you would leave me!"
"But in what a labyrinth have we lost ourselves!" exclaimed the Prince, looking with a smile at the table on which the rouleaus lay. "After all perhaps not far from the mark," continued he; "you will now no doubt understand my reasons for this new mode of life. I could not so suddenly tear myself away from my fancied wealth, could not so readily separate the props of my morality and happiness from the pleasing dream with which everything within me was so closely bound up. I longed for the frivolity which seems to render the existence of most of those about me endurable to themselves. Everything which precluded reflection was welcome to me. Shall I confess it to you? I wished to lower myself, in order to destroy this source of my griefs, by deadening the power of reflection."
Here we were interrupted by a visit. In my next I shall have to communicate to you a piece of news, which, from the tenor of a conversation like the one of to-day, you would scarcely have anticipated.
BARON VON F----- TO COUNT VON O-----
As the time of our departure from Venice is now approaching with rapid steps, this week was to be devoted to seeing everything worthy of notice in pictures and public edifices; a task which, when one intends making a long stay in a place, is always delayed till the last moment.
The Marriage at Cana, by Paul Veronese, which is to be