Wieland, or the Transformation
Such, for some time, was the course of my meditations. My weakness, and my aversion
to be pointed at as an object of surprize or compassion, prevented me from going into
public. I studiously avoided the visits of those who came to express their sympathy, or
gratify their curiosity. My uncle was my principal companion. Nothing more powerfully
tended to console me than his conversation.
With regard to Pleyel, my feelings seemed to have undergone a total revolution. It often
happens that one passion supplants another. Late disasters had rent my heart, and now
that the wound was in some degree closed, the love which I had cherished for this man
seemed likewise to have vanished.
Hitherto, indeed, I had had no cause for despair. I was innocent of that offence which had
estranged him from my presence. I might reasonably expect that my innocence would at
some time be irresistably demonstrated, and his affection for me be revived with his
esteem. Now my aversion to be thought culpable by him continued, but was unattended
with the same impatience. I desired the removal of his suspicions, not for the sake of
regaining his love, but because I delighted in the veneration of so excellent a man, and
because he himself would derive pleasure from conviction of my integrity.
My uncle had early informed me that Pleyel and he had seen each other, since the return
of the latter from Europe. Amidst the topics of their conversation, I discovered that Pleyel
had carefully omitted the mention of those events which had drawn upon me so much
abhorrence. I could not account for his silence on this subject. Perhaps time or some new
discovery had altered or shaken his opinion. Perhaps he was unwilling, though I were
guilty, to injure me in the opinion of my venerable kinsman. I understood that he had
frequently visited me during my disease, had watched many successive nights by my
bedside, and manifested the utmost anxiety on my account.
The journey which he was preparing to take, at the termination of our last interview, the
catastrophe of the ensuing night induced him to delay. The motives of this journey I had,
till now, totally mistaken. They were explained to me by my uncle, whose tale excited my
astonishment without awakening my regret. In a different state of mind, it would have
added unspeakably to my distress, but now it was more a source of pleasure than pain.
This, perhaps, is not the least extraordinary of the facts contained in this narrative. It will
excite less wonder when I add, that my indifference was temporary, and that the lapse of
a few days shewed me that my feelings were deadened for a time, rather than finally
Theresa de Stolberg was alive. She had conceived the resolution of seeking her lover in
America. To conceal her flight, she had caused the report of her death to be propagated.
She put herself under the conduct of Bertrand, the faithful servant of Pleyel. The pacquet