Recently i was browsing in a lifelong favorite book, Lorna Doone. There is a little-known passage in it that i consider one of the loveliest passages in the English language. This nineteenth-century romance, actually set in seventeenth-century Exmoor, is the kind of comfortably long book that enables you to lose yourself in another world for a (long) while.
It’s about a protestant yeoman farmer, John Ridd, who falls in love with Lorna Dugal/Doone, grown up in a catholic outlaw band. their love is mutual, but Lorna’s outlaw band has friends in high places (has it been ever thus?) and she is whisked away to London to become accustomed to high society and claim an inheritance.
John feels that she is surely lost to him, until he finds hidden in a wall, a letter from her ending thus:
*"Of one thing, rest you well assured-- and I do hope that it may prove of service to your rest, love, else would my own be broken-- no difference of rank, or fortune, or of life itself, shall ever make me swerve from truth to you. We have passed through many troubles, dangers, and dispartments, but never yet was doubt between us; neither ever shall be. Each has trusted well the other, and still each must do so.
“Though they tell you I am false, though your own mind harbours it from the sense of things around and your own undervaluing, yet take counsel of your heart and cast such thoughts away from you. Being unworthy of itself, they must be unworthy also of the one who dwells there, and that one is, and ever shall be: your own Lorna Dugal.” *