Letter 49

Cecilia Volanges to the Chevalier Danceny

Without being either fickle or deceitful, it is sufficient, Sir, to account for my conduct, to know there is a necessity for an alteration in it: I have promised myself a sacrifice to God, until I can offer him also the sacrifice of my sentiments for you, which the religious state you are in renders doubly criminal.⁠—I well know it will give me a great deal of uneasiness, and I will not conceal from you that, since the day before yesterday, I have continually wept when I thought on you; but I hope God will grant me the necessary strength to forget you, which I constantly beg of him night and morning. I even expect, from your friendship and good breeding, that you will not endeavour to interfere with me in the good resolutions that I have been inspired with; and which I endeavour to cherish. I therefore request that you will not write to me any more, as I assure you I shall give no answer; and it would oblige me to acquaint my mamma of everything that happens, which would entirely deprive me the pleasure of seeing you.

I shall, notwithstanding, have all the attachment for you, that one can have, consistently with innocence; and from my soul I wish you all manner of happiness. I know very well you will love me no longer, and, perhaps, you will soon love another better than me; but this will be an additional penance for the fault I committed in giving you my heart, which I ought to have reserved for God and my husband, when I shall have one. I hope the divine mercy will pity my weakness, and not afflict me with misfortunes that I shall not be able to bear.

Farewell, Sir! I can assure you, that if it was lawful for me to love anyone, I should never love any but you; but that is all I can say, and perhaps more than I ought.