Letters: Victor Hugo to Adèle Foucher

24 October 2019


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.

Thy faithful

Victor.

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