Come, my beloved Queen, said I, come, submit to all the rigours of our fate. Some day, it will perhaps please Heaven to see us happier....She put herself in my arms.. once alone with me, she murmured a thousand endearments, reproaching herself for being the cause of my misfortune. I assured her that I should never complain of my lot so long as she would continue loving me. It is not I who is to be pitied, said I... But it is for you, dear heart, that my heart is stirred. What a fate for a creature so charming! Heaven! how canst thou treat so harshly the loveliest of thy works? Why were we not born, you and I, with qualities that matched with our misery? We have been given intelligence, taste, sensibility; alas, a sorry use we make of them, whilst so many grovelling souls worthy of our fate, enjoy all the favours of fortune! Such thoughts as these pierced my heart with grief. But it was as nothing in comparison with the agony of thinking of the future: fear for Manon shrivelled my soul. She had already been in the Hopital (hospital), and even had she left it with full consent, I knew that relapses of this sort were visited with dire penalties. I would fain have told her of my dread; I feared it might be too much for her. I trembled for her, without daring to warn her of the danger, and I clasped her, sighing, in my arms, to assure her at least of my love; it was almost the only feeling I dared utter. Manon, said I, tell me frankly, will you always love me? She made answer that she was very unhappy that I could have any doubt of it. Then, said I, I doubt no longer, and I can outface every enemy we have with that assurance.
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Manon looked aghast at the sight of so forlorn a dwelling, but her distress was for me, far more than for herself. She sat down as soon as we were alone, and began to weep bitterly. I tried at first to comfort her; but when I gathered from her that it was I alone she pitied, and that in our common misfortune she only cared for what I must suffer, I affected courage and even gaiety enough to inspire it in her. What have I to complain of ? said I. I possess everything I desire. You love me, do you not? What other happiness have I ever aimed at? Leave the care of our fortunes to Heaven. They do not seem to me so desperate...And as for the poverty of our hut and the rudeness of our furniture, you may have noticed that there seem few people here better housed or better furnished than ourselves; and then you are a marvellous Alchemist, I added, kissing her, you transform everything to gold. You will be the richest person in the world...
Then, she made answer: for if there never was such a love as yours, even so no one could be loved so tenderly as I love you. I am my own judge, she went on. I feel too well that I have never deserved the amazing tenderness you have for me. I have done you injuries that you could not have forgiven me unless out of the utmost goodness. I have been fickle and light, and even loving you madly as I always have, I was wholly graceless. But you could not believe how I have changed. The tears which you have so often seen me shed since we left France have never once been for my own misfortunes. I ceased to feel them as soon as you began to share them. I have only wept out of tenderness and compassion for you. I cannot be comforted for having hurt you for a single moment in my life. I never ceased blaming myself for my inconstancy , and my heart melts to see what love has made you do for such a wretch who was not worthy of it, and who could not atone even with her blood, she added, in a flood of tears, for half the sorrows she has cost you. Her tears, her words, and the tone in which they were uttered affected me so violently it seemed to me my heart was breaking in twain. Take care, said I, take care beloved; I have not strength enough to bear such tokens of your love: I am not use to this excess of joy. O God! I cried, I ask no more: I am assured of Manon's heart; and 'tis all I have ever wished to give me happiness: I can never be unhappy now: felicity secure and firm at last.
Ring a bell with anyone? :-)
Happy Valentine's Day to everyone --- ladies, please remember to treat your gents special too... not only about us... true love goes both ways and everyone likes to feel they're special to someone else ;-)