Saturday Evening, January, 1820.
A few words from you, my beloved Adèle, have again changed my state of mind. Yes, you can do anything with me; and to-morrow, were I even dead, the sweet tones of your voice, the tender pressure of your lips, would call me back to life again.
How differently I shall feel as I go to sleep to-night from what I did last evening! Yesterday, Adèle, all confidence in the future had abandoned me; I no longer believed that you loved me ; yesterday the hour of my death would have been welcome to me.
And yet I said to myself : ” If it is quite true she does not love me, and nothing in me has deserved her love, that love without which there is no charm left for me in life, is that any reason I should die? Is it for my own personal happiness that I exist? Oh no! My whole existence is devoted to her, shall be hers in spite of herself. And by what right have I aspired to win her love? Am I more than an angel or a deity? I love her, it is true — I — even I! I am ready for her sake to sacrifice everything with joy — even the hope that she may love me; there is no a limit to the devotion for her that I am capable of; for one of her looks, for one of her smiles. But could I do otherwise? Is she not the one supreme object in my life? If she shows me indifference, if she even hates me, it will be my misfortune — that is all. What matter can it be, since it does not impair her happiness? Oh! yes; if she cannot love me, I must only blame myself. My duty is to wait upon her steps, to envelop her existence with my own, to be her defence against all perils, to offer her my head to set her foot on, even to place myself between her and every sorrow, without making any claim for myself — without expecting any reward. Too happy if from time to time she deigns to bend upon her slave a look of pity, and. Oh ! if onh^ she remembers me, and turns to me in a moment of danger!
Alas! would she but permit me to give my life that all her desires might be accomplished, all her caprices attained! Would she but permit me to kiss with devotion and respect her very footsteps; would she but consent to lean upon me sometimes in life’s difficult places — then I should have obtained the only happiness to which I have the presumption to aspire.
Because I am ready to give everything up for her sake, is that any reason she should owe me any gratitude? Is it her fault that I love her? Must she fancy herself constrained because of that to love me? No! she may make what use she pleases of my devotion, she may paye me with hatred for my services, she may scorn my idolatry, she may treat me with contempt, but I shall have no right whatever to complain of such an angel, nor to cease for a moment to lavish on her the care that she dis dains. And when each one of my daj^s shall have been marked by some sacrifice made for her sake,on the day of my death I shall not have paid all the infinite debt that my existence owes to hers.”
Such were my thoughts at this time yesterday, Adele, my much beloved, and such were the resolutions of my soul. They are the same to-day. Only now I have the certainty of happiness, of a happiness so great that I cannot think of it without trembling,and hardly believe it, even now.
Then is it true you love me, Adele? Tell me, may I put faith in that most ravishing idea? Does it not strike you that I might become mad with joy if I could pass my whole life at your feet, sure of making you as happy as I should be myself; sure of being adored by you, even as I adore you? Oh! your letter has given me back peace; your words this evening filled me with happiness. Receive my thanks a thousand times ; Adele, my beloved angel, I should like to kneel before you as I would before a divinity. How happy you have made me ! Adieu, adieu! I shall have a happy night dreaming of you.
Sleep sweetly, and let your husband take the twelve dear kisses that you promised him, and many more for which you have not yet given him permission.
Monday, February 28th.
I should be very sorry, my Adele, to give you back, as yesterday evening you seemed to wish, that letter which, in spite of the cruel thoughts with which it inspired me, has grown dear to me because it proves to me you love me.
It is with joy I own that all the fault was on my side, and it is with most sincere repentance that I implore you to forgive me. No, my Adele, it is not for me to punish you. To punish you ! — for what? Mine is but the right to defend and to protect you.
Let me always know all that happens to you; tell me about all you do, and what you think of.
And here I have a little thing with which to reproach you. I know that you love balls ; you told me your-self, not long ago, that waltzing was for you a great temptation. Why, then, did you refuse the offer made you a few days since? Do not make a mistake.
When, for your sake, I gave up balls and evening parties, it was merely to rid myself of the trouble of going to them. I was making no sacrifice. It is never a sacrifice to give up a thing which does not give you pleasure. Now I have no pleasure but in seeing you — in being near j^ou. But in your case, since dancing amuses you, to give up a ball is a real sacrifice. I am very grateful for your intention of making it for me, but I do not feel willing to accept it.
I am indeed excessively jealous, but it would be un-generous if for that reason I deprived you of pleasures suited to your age, pleasures which, no doubt, I could myself enjoy, if you were not all in all to me. Go, then, and amuse yourself Go to the ball, and in the midst of it do not forget me. I dare say you may see other men more charming, more gallant, more brilliant than I am; but I venture to say that you will not find one whose tender love for you would be so pure and so disinterested as mine.
I will not worry you with my personal troubles; tliey are far from being irremediable. I forget them when I see you gay, serene, and happy.
Adieu! Tell me everything, either by word of mouth or in writing. Courage, prudence, patience. Pray the good God to grant me these three things,the last two especially, for, if you love me, I am safe to have the other. I hope you will not cry over this letter. As for me, I am joyous when I remember you are mine — for you are mine, are you not, my Adde?
In spite of all future obstacles that may present themselves, I feel ready to cry with Charles XII. :
” What God has given me, the devil himself shall not take from me!”
Adieu, forgive me, and let your husband fancy he is taking one of the ten kisses that you still owe him.
When two souls, which have sought each other for, however long in the throng, have finally found each other …a union, fiery and pure as they themselves are… begins on earth and continues forever in heaven.
This union is love, true love, … a religion, which deifies the loved one, whose life comes from devotion and passion, and for which the greatest sacrifices are the sweetest delights.
This is the love which you inspire in me… Your soul is made to love with the purity and passion of angels; but perhaps it can only love another angel, in which case I must tremble with apprehension.
The Story of Adele H. ( L’Histoire d’Adèle H.) is a 1975 French historical drama film directed by François Truffaut and starring Isabelle Adjani, Bruce Robinson, and Sylvia Marriott. Written by Truffaut,Jean Gruault, and Suzanne Schiffman, the film is about Adèle Hugo, the daughter of writer Victor Hugo, whose obsessive unrequited love for a military officer leads to her downfall. The story is based on Adèle Hugo’s diaries. It was filmed on location in Guernsey, Barbados, and Senegal
More about Victor Hugo
Love Letters of Victor Hugo : E-book