|Laurel Wreath. 3rd or 4th A.D.|
I’m in paternal agony . . . you have imprisoned my son. He has lost his liberty, and our hearts which beat as one, now beat as two. This causes us to suffer, and makes your decision difficult.
My heart recalls when I was pleased with my son. He glowed in all virtues of character, including ardency and generosity. Granted his disposition was sprinkled with romantic eccentricity, but marked with traces of natural righteousness. I watched him rush forward in life, enamored by goodness and incredulous by evils. During his college vacation, we spoke of liberal professions that I had chosen for him, and he agreed that they were pleasant to his disposition and not disapproving to his taste. Those prospects seemed to rouse and gratify his ambition, but his flame was quickly extinguished by his destructive behavior.
In vain, I followed him through every degree of imprudence. While I beheld him in visionary hopes shining conspicuously in the galaxy of inspirations, illuminated by sparkles of his promising genius, he presided as the high priest of the libertines. He behaved without a sense of responsibility by embracing nocturnal orgies and other disreputable pursuits. His actions were more heart wounding to me than painful to him.
Due to the liquidation of my son’s debts, I am in great financial distress. Such financial strain persuades me to retreat into solitude as I struggle to free him from the chains of ironclad creditors. I hope my sacrifice will be sufficient to win your confidence. In time, your decision is as momentary as a bolt of lightning, but it will determine the destiny of my son. Will my son’s destiny be my desire, or will the bowels of darkness devour him? In exchange for the deliverance of him from prison, he promises to renounce all his transgressions, and prepare for sacrifice.
My heart suffers. I am a reckless and wasteful derelict that is not worthy of being called your son. Abandon me . . . I beg you. I can no longer support your cruel mercy to avert this weight of justice upon my chest. Deliver me to that destiny that I have made, that pattern of errors and follies that I have woven. I am able to sustain the judgment that my own vices have drawn. Please allow me to bear this alone.
Among the catalogue of my faults, I do have contempt for my selfishness. As a result of my selfish behavior, I have deservedly become the subject of unpleasantness, and now represent someone who is undesirable. If I accept your generous offer, you may no longer adorn that polished circle in which you so nobly calculated to move amongst. Please do not think of me . . . I will not purchase my liberty at your expense.
I am etc. etc.
Your letter was written in haste, exaggerated by your emotions and without proper thought. You have already embroidered―exiled―across your chest, which makes me weary. Your inability to coolly examine the situation convinces me that this experience has contributed little to the modification of your feelings, or the prudent regulation of your conduct. It is your emotional response and contempt for prudence that is the cause of your difficulties. The standard, the director, the regulator for all virtues is prudence.
If you would display restitution for what you seem to lament, and unite it with penitence, I will become your partner. But I plead with you to abandon that Penal Island, those misguided pursuits, those old haunts, and those wayward associations. What becomes a man is modesty and humility. You should exchange your extravagance for a more moderate form of fare nature. At this time, you must to stand firm with the scars that bind you, and follow your better spirit.
I will join you for the summer at my home on the Point. With its lush scenery and solitary shore, it may settle your impulsivity, and redirect your energies into a more desirable direction. I will contact my steward to prepare my home for your arrival.
I agonize on the bed of creditors. They have seized and tied me to an iron frame, and for collateral they want to stretch me to death. I am ashamed of myself. I spent money on frivolous pursuit, and now must lean on you for financial support. I have stabbed you through the heart, a heart which still pulses with generous affection for me.
I will give you a report of my high crimes and misdemeanors. It is true―I have an adherence to do what is right, and a propensity to do what is wrong. I have no doubt that I will suffer further . . . from the state, and from your fees.
You know me. I have committed the original sin. How many times―I do not know. Women are omnipotent . . . they may lead a man to noble pursuits, or seduce him to primal instincts. It is their spell lures and entices me. My tastes and senses have been made numb from my lecherous and lustful desires of the obscene. My passions were greater than my desire for control. I gave promises for sums which I could not satisfy, and now live with the threat of prosecution.
A letter came from my father. As usual, it was couched in terms of reprehension, and intervals of tenderness. With judicial exactitude, he noted every flaw of mine, and associated my faults with his paternal incapacity. He reflected on the sparkles of my success, my college years and innate curiosity. He recalled a conversation we had―I accused him of being biased towards his eldest son. He spoke of the excellence of Naro, but the failures of mine. I felt loose from my mooring of reason and nature. I inhabited a world of wish fulfillment or in this case, a nightmare.
He has asked me to retire for a few months at the Point. My heart wrenches for desiring to be banished to a place more interesting, like some savage place in the South Sea Islands or an Eskimo hut. My memory of the Point, the land of the drear and drizzles, consists of scenes that dampen my heart. As the stars are my witness, my thoughts are not of penitence. Oh how much―I need to get over myself, but I know not how?
Please send me some charcoals, and a reliable thermometer. It will allow me to ascertain the chill in the air. I hope this will help relieve the tedium of my days. I intend to spend my time meditating on my problems.