George Sand's letter to Alfred de Musset
Venice, May 12th, 1834
No, my dear child, these three letters are not the last oath of the lover who leaves you; these are the hug of the brother who is still with you. That feeling is too beautiful, too pure and too gentle for me to ever need to cease feeling it. Let not my memory poison any pleasure of your life. But do not let these pleasures destroy and despise my memory. Be happy, be loved - how would you not? But keep me in secret corner of your heart and go down there when you are saddest to find solace or support.
Go on, love, my Alfred;
Love once and for all.
Love a young, beautiful woman
Who has never loved yet.
Spare her and do not hurt her.
The heart of a woman is such a delicate thing.
When it is a ice cube or a stone,
I believe that there is almost nothing in between.
And it is the same
With your way to love.
Your soul is bound to ardently love
Or to totally harden.
You said it numerous times
And tried but did not manage to retract.
Nothing, nothing did erase that sentence.
There is nothing in the world but love
Which does exist.
Perhaps you loved me with hatred
To love another woman with abandon.
Perhaps the next one
Will love you less than I did.
And perhaps she will be happier
And more loved.
Perhaps your final love
Will be the most fantasist and the freshest.
But please, please, do not kill your generous heart.
Let him completely go into your love life
So that one day you can look backward and say like me,
'I have often suffered, I have sometimes made mistakes,
But I have loved.'