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The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
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Letter from Matthew Flinders to Ann Chappelle (5 of 41) (FLI25)

Miƒs Chappelle
    Partney near Spilsby

                        16 King St Soho — Jan. 16. 1801

    I arrived here, my dear friend, yesterday. I fear that the little
command I had over myself, during the few dear distreƒsing mo-
ments that we spent together, augmented thy uneasineƒs. Ah An-
nette, thou callest me thy friend, but I doubt I have been a
bitter enemy to thee; and was I to dwell upon the agitated
sighs that, from my bosom, have been in almost continual
search after thee, it would not perhaps decrease thy disquie
-tude; I will therefore constrain my pen and forbear.
    When pondering upon thee and thy behaviour, on my return
from Partney, after the evening I spent there, I did entertain a
suspicion, that thou wouldst have no great difficulty in get-
ting the better of thy uneasineƒs; but the last morning did, in a
great measure, alter my opinion. Indeed, my dear friend, the
character thou hast before given me of thyself is either incor
-rect, or else — or else, I don't know what. Thou hast said that
thou art "ardent, sanguine"; that "thy feelings are too powerful
"for thy reason". When at Spilsby and Partney, my anxious
eye has dwelt upon thee for five minutes together, considering
thee as this character, and saying, now she loves me too; then
have I expected to meet an equally anxious look; — but
no, — thou wast either attending to something indifferent, or

thinking upon some other subject, perhaps totally foreign to what
mine were employed upon. I have attempted to reconcile these
contradictions, by admitting, that your love was not of person,
or of the common kind; but that it was an exceƒs of esteem and
friendship — a love of the mind. But is not mine of this description,
and do I feel this apparent indifference? In truth, I will not say
that it is exactly of this description; I fear that a more common
kind of love was getting poƒseƒsion of me. The love of the qualities
of thy head and heart — a philosophic love, which I had flattered
myself that mine was, became reinforced by another; and between
them, I had near been carried beyond the bounds of reason and
prudence. I do not mean to flatter thee Annette, but thy person
does much exceed my expectation of it. I will not call thy coun-
-tenance handsome, or can I say whether thy eyes have much ex-
-preƒsion or not, I could so seldom meet them. Why, my dear friend,
wast thou so silent? Thou didst not just return me answers to
questions put. Thou offered nothing for me to consider. Thou
asked me no question. Thou seemed to wish no conversation upon
the subject that I was so interested about. Then how art thou
"ardent, sanguine"? — Ah Annette, 'tis I, a pretender to reason,
who am ardent and sanguine; my feelings indeed are almost
too powerful for me. If thou hadst that love for me, that I
was induced to suppose, thou art indeed a stoic philosopher
— one before whom I ought to fall down in reverence, and beg
instruction from.
    Excuse every thing here, my dear dear friend — tears are in

my eyes — I am torn to pieces. Oh Heaven, I beseech thee spare
me a few pangs. Oblivion I would call thee to my aid, but some
thing checks the sound from escaping — I cannot forget thee. I
dread solitude and reflection, and yet — strange fatality! I
court it.
    Thy "pleasures of memory" are at my right hand; but I must
put it farthest from me. I am weaker now than ever. Simpleton,
thus to increase anguish by talking of it. I will go, and bring myself
to love another; and by that means endeavour to take off my attention.
    Had thy conduct breathed the same spirit as some of thy
letters, prudence had fled from me. I had either remained in Lin
-colnshire, or never have left it without thee. Confirm me, my
friend, that I have acted right, by thy letter. Perhaps thou hast
already mastered every affection but that of friendship,
and lookest upon parting from me, as from another
friend; if so, tell me my dear Annette, in mercy tell me
then trouble thee with no more complaints. On the first day of {each}
returning January, I will taste the "pleasures of memory" and sigh
forth thy name, but no more.
    Thou hast promised to inform me when thou art married,
and I trust that the earliest opportunity afterwards will bring
me the intelligence: it will be important to me. And whilst
I am toƒsed by winds and waves on various coasts and in various
climes, may thou enjoy that serenity that a contemplative
mind feels on surveying its own happineƒs. May thou meet
with one, whose mind and heart are worthy of thy love; and
whose circumstances, unlike mine, can afford thee the enjoyment
of life. Adieu, perhaps the last time. This exceƒs of misery

is too great to be often recalled. It is seldom that I have written
a letter in tears. My highest respects attend your good father and
.               Mattw Flinders

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Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
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