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Love Letters

To Adele Foucher (1821)

My dearest,
  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.

Yours forever,
Victor Hugo

To Nora Joyce (1909)

My own dear Nora,
   I love you, I cannot live without you... I would like to go through life side by side with you, telling you more and more until we grew to be one being together until the hour should come for us to die.
  Even now the tears rush to my eyes and sobs choke my throat as I write this...
  O my darling be only a little kinder to me, bear with me a little even if I am inconsiderate and unmanageable and believe me we will be happy together.
  Let me love you in my own way.
Let me have your heart always close to mine to hear every throb of my life, every sorrow, every joy.

James Joyce

To Clara Schmann (1838)

  What a heavenly morning! All the bells are ringing; the sky is so golden and clear..and before me lies your letter.
I send you my first kiss, beloved.

Robert Schumann

To Olivia Langdon (1869)

Livy dear,
  I have already mailed to-day`s letter, but I am so
proud of my privilege of writing the dearest girl in the world whenever I please, that I must add a few lines if only to say I love you, Livy. For I do love you, the dew loves the flowers; as the birds love the sunshine; as the wavelets love the breeze; as mothers love their first-born; as memory loves old faces; as the yearning tides love the moon; as the angels love the pure in heart...
Take my kiss and my benediction, and try to be reconciled to the fact that I am
Yours forever,
P.S.-- I have read this letter over and it is flippant and foolish and puppyish. I wish I had gone to bed when I got back, without writing. You said I must never tear up a letter after writing it to you and so I send it. Burn it ,Livy, I did not think I was writing so clownishly and shabbily. I was in much too good a humor for sensible letter writing.

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

"The frankest and freest product of the human mind and heart is a love letter; the writer gets his limitless freedom of statement and expression from his sense that no stranger is going to see what he is writing."
~ Mark Twain's Autobiography, 1959 preface

To Anne Boleyn (1528)

My Mistress and Friend,
  I and my heart put ourselves in your hands, begging you to recommend us to your good grace and not to let absence lessen your affection...
For myself the pang of absence is already to great, and when I think of the increase of what I must needs suffer it would be well nigh intolerable but for my firm hope of your unchangeable affection...
Henry VIII

To Countess Teresa Guiccioli (1819)

My dearest Teresa,
    I have read this book in your garden, my love, you were absent, or else I could not have read it.
It is a favorite book of mine. You will not understand these English words, and others will not understand them, which is the reason I have not scrawled them in Italian.
But you will recognize the handwriting of him who passionately loved you, and you will divine that, over a book that was yours, he could only think of love.
   In that word, beautiful in all languages,
but most so in yours - Amor mio - is comprised my existence here and thereafter.
I feel I exist here, and I feel that I shall exist hereafter, to what purpose you will decide; my destiny rests with you,
and you are a woman, eighteen years of age, and two out of a convent, I wish you had stayed there, with all my heart,
or at least, that I had never met you in your married state.
   But all this is too late. I love you, and you love me,
at least, you say so, and act as if you did so, which last is a great consolation in all events.
But I more than love you, and cannot cease to love you.
   Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and ocean divide us,  but they never will, unless you wish it.


To Monsieur Duval (1761)

My dear Friend,
   Yes, I have told you, and repeat it: I love you dearly.
You certainly said the same thing to me, I begin to know the world.
   I will tell you what I suggest, now: pay attention.
I don`t want to remain a shopgirl, but a little more my own mistress, and would therefore like to find someone to keep me.
   If I did not love you, I would try to get money from you; I would say to you, you shall begin by renting me a room and furnishing it; only as you told me that you are not rich, you can take me to your own place.
   It will not cost you anymore rent, nor more for your table and the rest of your housekeeping. To keep me and my headdress will be the only expense, and for those give me one hundred livres a month, and that will include everything.
   Thus we could both live happily, and you would never again have to complain about my refusal. If you love me, accept this proposal; but if you do not love me, then let each of us try his luck elsewhere.

Good-by, I embrace you heartily,
Jeanne Rancon
(later known as Madame Du Barry)

Whether or not M. Duval`s ardor was dampened by this letter, we have no way of knowing. What we do know is that before many months passed, Jeanne was installed in the household of Count Du Barry. A gentleman whose wealth was derived from "unmentionable sources." It is believed that Jeanne acted as his decoy for a gambling establishment. With his help, she advanced to the boudoir of Louis XV. The story of her rise to power in the court, her flight from France and her execution during the revolution in a most dramatic story of those times. She was guillotined at the age of forty-seven, on December 7, 1793.

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