Letter 46

The Chevalier Danceny to Cecilia Volanges

What then has happened to you, my adorable Cecilia! What can have caused so sudden, so cruel a change in you? What are become of your vows of eternal constancy? Even yesterday you renewed them with so much pleasure: what! can today make you forget them? In vain do I examine⁠—I can’t find any reason given by myself; and it afflicts me much to have to seek the cause in you. Ah, no! you are neither fickle or deceitful; and even in this moment of despair, no unworthy suspicion shall disgrace my heart; and yet, from what fatality are you no longer the same? No, cruel creature, you are not! The tender Cecilia, the Cecilia I adore! whose constancy is pledged to me, would not have shunned my tender looks; would not have thwarted the happy accident that placed me near her; or, if any reason that I can’t conceive, had forced her treat to me with so much rigour, she would at least have condescended to have informed me of it.

Ah! you don’t know, you never can know, what you have made me suffer at this day, what I shall suffer at this instant! Do you then think I can live without your love? Yet, when I begged but a word, a single word, to dispel my fears, instead of making a reply, you feigned a dread of being overheard; and this obstacle, which then had no existence, you gave birth to by the place yon fixed on in the circle. When forced to leave you, and I asked what hour I should see you tomorrow, you feigned not to know; and to Madame de Volanges was I obliged for telling me. Thus the moment hitherto so much panted for, of being with you tomorrow, will bring me only distress and grief; and the pleasure of seeing you, as yet the greatest my heart could experience, must now give way to the dread of being troublesome.

I already feel this: my fears prevent me from talking to you of my passion. Though I love you, that enchanting sound, which I so much delighted in repeating, when I could hear it, in my turn; that sweet word which sufficed for my felicity, no longer offers me, if you are altered, but eternal despair. I cannot however think that this talisman of love has lost all its effect, and I still strive to make use of it. Yes, my Cecilia, I love you.11 Repeat then this happy expression with me. Remember you have accustomed me to it; and now to deprive me of it, would be to condemn me to torments, which, like my love, will only end with my life.