Frances Anne (Fanny) Kemble (1809-93) was born into a distinguished London theatrical family and had a brief but justly celebrated career as an actress, especially in Shakespearean roles.
James Sheridan Knowles wrote the part of Julia for Fanny in his play The Hunchback. On tour in the United States she met and married the plantation owner Pierce Butler. The marriage was a volatile one, and after it ended in divorce, she returned to the stage, giving solo readings of Shakespearean plays.
London, December 1842 or early 1843
Having loved you well enough to give you my life when it was best work giving –having made you the center of all my hopes of earthly happiness — having never loved any human being as I have loved you, you can never be to me like any other human being, and it is utterly impossible that I should ever regard you with indifference.
My whole existence having once had you for its sole object, and all its thoughts, hopes, affections having, in their full harvest, been yours, it is utterly impossible that I should ever forget this–that I should ever forget that you were once my lover and are my husband and the father of my children. I cannot behold you without emotion; my heart still answers to your voice, my blood in my veins to your footsteps.
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