Letter 28

Chevalier Danceny to Cecilia Volanges

You still, Miss, refuse to answer my letters. Will nothing move you? and must every day banish the hopes it brings! What sort of friendship is it that you consent shall subsist between us? If it is not powerful enough even to make you sensible of my anguish; if you can coolly, and unmoved, look on me, while I suffer, the victim of a flame which I cannot extinguish; if, instead of inspiring you with a confidence in me, my sufferings can hardly move your compassion.⁠—Heavens! your friend suffers, and you will do nothing to assist him. He requests only one word, and you refuse it him! And you desire him to be satisfied with a sentiment so feeble, that you even dread to repeat it. Yesterday you said you would not be ungrateful. Believe me, Miss, when a person repays love only with friendship, it arises not from a fear of being ungrateful: the fear then is only for the appearance of ingratitude. But I no longer dare converse with you on a subject which must be troublesome to you, as it does not interest you; I must, at all events, confine it within myself, and endeavour to learn to conquer it. I feel the difficulty of the task; I know I must call forth my utmost exertions: there is one however will wring my heart most, that is, often to repeat, yours is insensible.

I will even endeavour to see you less frequently; and I am already busied in finding out a plausible pretence. Must I then forego the pleasing circumstance of daily seeing you; I will at least never cease regretting it. Perpetual anguish is to be the reward of the tenderest affection; and by your desire, and your decree, I am conscious I never shall again find the happiness I lose this day. You alone were formed for my heart. With what pleasure shall I not take the oath to live only for you! But you will not receive it. Your silence sufficiently informs me that your heart suggests nothing to you in my favour; that is at once the most certain proof of your indifference, and the most cruel manner of communicating it. Farewell, Miss.

I no longer dare flatter myself with receiving an answer; love would have wrote it with eagerness, friendship with pleasure, and even pity with complacency; but pity, friendship, and love, are equally strangers to your heart.