A romantic story told in parallel, between two couples - Victorian poets, Randolph Henry Ash and Cristabel LaMotte from the late 1800s, and literary scholars Roland Mitchell and Maud Bailey from 1987. The story unfolds after Roland's discovery of Randolph's love letters.
"If you can order your Thoughts and shape them into Art, good: if you can live in the obligations and affections of Daily Life, good. But do not get into the habit of morbid Self-examination."
"Letters...are a form of narrative that envisages no outcome, no closure...Letters tell no story, because they do not know, from line to line, where they are going...Letters, finally, exclude not only the reader as co-writer, or predictor, or guesser, but they exclude the reader as a reader; they are written, if they are true letters, for A reader."
"Never have I felt such a concentration of my whole Being-on one object, in one place, at one time-a blessed eternity of momentariness that went on forever, it seemed."
"I have dreamed nightly of your face and walked the streets of my daily life with the rhythms of your writing singing in my silent brain."
"The true exercise of freedom is-cannily and wisely and with grace-to move inside what space confines-and not seek to know what lies beyond and cannot be touched or tasted."
"This is where I have always been coming to. Since my time began. And when I go away from here, this will be the midpoint, to which everything ran, before, and from which everything will run. But now my love, we are here, we are now, and those other times are running elsewhere."
"Dust falls from us daily as we walk, dust of us, lives a little in the air as is Trodden-we sweep away-Parts of Ourselves-and shall all these-jots and omicra-cohaere?"