The Defections by Hannah Michell - page 9

I suppose animals kept in cages, and so scantily fed as to be always
upon the verge of famine, await their food as I awaited a letter. Oh!
– to speak truth, and drop that tone of a false calm which long to
sustain, outwears nature’s endurance – I underwent in those seven
weeks bitter fears and pains, strange inward trials, miserable defections
of hope, intolerable encroachments of despair. This last came so near
me sometimes that her breath went right through me. I used to feel
it like a baleful air or sigh, penetrate deep, and make motion pause
at my heart, or proceed only under unspeakable oppression. The
letter – the well-beloved letter – would not come; and it was all of
sweetness in life I had to look for.
Charlotte Brontë,
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