April 19, 1929 -- Letter To Jonathan Cromwell

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Mailed from London, England during Theo Weiss' farewell tour

April 19, 1929

My Dearest James,

Phillipe(1) is waiting for this I know, waiting for me to call him at his hotel so that he may bear this letter with him to you. Yet, I can not hurry. There is so much to say, too much to think of and to hold close to me in your letter and your gift. I do not want to relinquish or set aside this magical time when I almost feel you within the air around me. To hurry would be to lose it, and that I can not do. So . . . Phillipe must wait, and perhaps be delayed in putting this into your hands -- all for the sake of my whims.

The music(2) and your letter makes me weep. From bitter happiness I fear. How is it that we grow to know one another better and closer while we are apart, rather than when we are together? Is it the potency of the words, or only the potency of the memory?

I miss you James.

If frightens me how powerful those words are. Perhaps even more powerful than "I love you", or "I need you". For the longing unlocks chains of thoughts and desires that are best left without their freedom. They bring back to me, in quiet hours, a voice, a touch, or a thousand other things I must not feel now for the peace of my soul.

Yet . . . I can not deny them, nor thrust them away. They are my solace when my time is empty. They are my secret passion hidden deep within my heart where no one else may see. You keep me whole in so many ways, directing my being into some forbidden place where we may touch again.

James . . . James . . . you must find something, someone to help fill even a little of the empty wound that I have opened up inside of you. You will protest you cannot, I know already -- despite it all -- that I would not be replaced in your heart. As much as I love you James, I know that love cannot be selfish - and I would not deny you the things your spirit needs. Touch who you will beloved. Bring whatever is needed to yourself to help you bear up through the waiting. For as I have harmed you enough through this separation - so would I be no barrier to happiness where ever you would find it.(3)

I think of Lyon(4) as a haven, as a paradise of things that hold the future. It is so terribly far away both in place and in time it seems. You are there, within the secretive shadows that clothe my feelings for you. Am I shamed in your eyes by this thing? We are both people of honor, and have always placed honor above all else. Save in this I fear. My rationality deserts me when I think of you. Passion and a wild unfulfilled yearning fills my only thoughts -- until it is only by sheerest will power that I remain where I am.

Do I sound unhappy? I am not. But he(5) is not you James, nor are you him. I can find no balance, no single place where I can be equal between you both. My life is a tightrope it seems -- stretched between two points that are central to my existence. Were things reversed, this letter might have gone to him, and not to you.

Regrets? Yes . . . thousands upon thousands of them. So much gone by and now can only be said through this medium of ink and paper. I would fill up pages with it, yet you have heard it, read it a thousand times before. Can such simple words mean as much to you as they mean to me? They seem devoid of meaning set down like this, without a voice to give them substance, with only eyes to hear their meaning. It seem incomplete in some way that I cannot recognize.

I keep returning to your letter.

Is there comfort? Can I bring anything to you save the pain that causes you deepest grief? I fear even to offer, knowing that what ever touch we may share is impermanent, impeded by honor's demands, will be held in abeyance by ourselves. I do not want it to be so, but would it be best if I became only a memory James? Far away, and someday perhaps only fondly recalled by you without pain. Is that possible? Is that best?

You are alive for me. That single first kiss has burned you into my soul and self beyond all purging. What am I do do when I cannot shake you from my thoughts? To keep you away by losing myself in my work -- but there is no work. To fill my hours and days with a thousand things to keep from thinking of you -- but there is so much time on my hands, and so little to do. I am waiting without a purpose, there is no direction, no definition. Waiting is a very difficult thing to do.

And in waiting . . . there is thought.

What does the darkness(6) hold for me James? Only to you can I turn to - knowing that you will answer my fears with truth - be it good or ill. Is it ass I have always feared? Full of emptiness, and madness and terror? Is there only pain? Pain inflicted on others - on the self? Is it bearable James - can it be bearable for me? You who know me so well, you who hold me within you. Am I right? Am I terribly, terribly wrong? My only legacy of the Nightfolk(7) is that which was given to me through Peter Fagin(8). Is it a lie, or the truth . . .or is it both?

I realize now, only after writing this, that asking you such things may bring you hurt. They are not the questions I should ask . . . they can only draw forth deep poisons into the soul. Forgive me, I can neither see your face, nor feel your hand to know if what I have written pains you. Yet . . . who else may I turn to? Who else may I reach towards for such answers?

I thought I had lost you forever in Chalone(9). That what I had done was unforgivable - a sin against your very nature and everything that made you what you are. I have denied you the peace and rest that every man deserves. That, perhaps for this thing that happened because of me, you could not abide my presence and so sent me from you. I believed that the darkness had taken everything - that I had sacrificed you to it - and in that sacrifice, had lost all. My own grief blinded me to everything else - even to your need. And like a coward, I ran from you.

"What must come".(10) Those words from your pages linger in my thoughts. How can they not? For they echo my own fears and remind me of the path that is unavoidable.(11) How calm I have become, James. I tell myself that it is only acceptance. That where there is no choice for one to make, that you must bow to the inevitable. I have never been a fatalist before - I can not think that I am one now. Do you believe what Mr. Ellis(12) says? That the Nightfolk are as critically important to the world and its survival as the Soldiers(13) are? It would be a fatal flaw to follow this road and find that it does not end where we think it does. Despite those doubts, in my heart, I am unshakably certain that it must be.

Through it all, you will hold me with love James. This I know, and I could not hope for that from any other. It will make life seem less of a loss to me, and more of a thing to be welcomed. For it will mean that I will be in your arms again, and will feel the warmth and pressure of your body against mine, as it was only once before. Within such an embrace I could welcome the opening of the very gates of Hell themselves. For I know that there I would find the strength and the spirit to defy them.

I trust you James, as I can trust no other. I can give over myself completely to no other. You will show me tenderly and gently what I must know to retain the things that will keep me whole. I am horribly afraid that I will not be strong when I must be. You will, I think, be my guide as well as my lover, and your compassion and mercy will give me life -- when I would refuse it.(14)

I bring you little but burdens and obligations it seems. When all that was in my thoughts was to write to bring you a little closer to my heart again. These letters are our lifelines, our way of touching without being touched. A method of retaining strength when I know I will be weak. I cannot think of seeing you, without wanting your lips upon mine, and in to that wanting -- I will give in. Must give in, for to see without touch would be torture unendurable. And to part without touch a thousand times worse than any of Dante's Hells.

I will leave you with only a few more lines. Though .. . as always they say again what I have said before. You are within me, held in my thoughts and my heart. There is no banishment, no erasing what is there - impossible to pass through an hour without touching your memory in some brief way. Live for hope of our reunion - for I do, James.

Especially in my happiest moments, you are never far away.

All my thoughts go with you, dearest:



(1) Phillipe - A messenger sent by Cromwell to take and receive letters between him and Hannelore.
(2) Cromwell's gift with the previous letter was a music box
(3) This is an encouragement to Cromwell to take a "Companion" after his transformation into one of the Nightfolk
(4) Lyon in France - Cromwell's estate was just outside of Lyon
(5) Theo Weiss - who Hannelore married sometime between Jan.1929 and April 1929
(6) Reference to becoming one of the Nightfolk - it was believed that Hannelore was the foretold redeemer of the Nightfolk
(7) Nightfolk - common term for vampires
(8) Peter Fagin (see important NPCS)
(9) Chalone-sur-Saone in France - where Jonathan Cromwell was transformed into one of the Nightfolk.
(10) Reference to previous Cromwell letter - discussing Hannelore becoming the Nightfolk's redeemer
(11) Reference to Hannelore having come to believe she was to be the Nightfolk's redeemer
(12) Carl Ellis
(13) Soldiers - magically trained sorcerers
(14) Hannalore is speaking of Nightfolk Companionship here, not physical intimacy.