Monday, February 14

a love story

He was no sooner in the garden but he discovered where
Madam de Cleves was; he saw a great light in the bower, all the
windows of it were open; upon this, slipping along by the side of
the palisades, he came up close to it, and one may easily judge
what were the emotions of his heart at that instant: he took his
station behind one of the windows, which served him conveniently
to see what Madam de Cleves was doing. He saw she was alone; he
saw her so inimitably beautiful, that he could scarce govern the
transports which that sight gave him: the weather was hot, her
head and neck were uncovered, and her hair hung carelessly about
her. She lay on a couch with a table before her, on which were
several baskets full of ribbons, out of which she chose some, and
he observed she chose those colours which he wore at the
tournament; he saw her make them up into knots for an Indian
cane, which had been his, and which he had given to his sister;
Madam de Cleves took it from her, without seeming to know it had
belonged to the Duke. After she had finished her work with the
sweetest grace imaginable, the sentiments of her heart showing
themselves in her countenance, she took a wax candle and came to
a great table over against the picture of the Siege of Mets, in
which was the portrait of the Duke de Nemours; she sat down and
set herself to look upon that portrait, with an attention and
thoughtfulness which love only can give.

It is impossible to express what Monsieur de Nemours felt at this
moment; to see, at midnight, in the finest place in the world, a
lady he adored, to see her without her knowing that he saw her,
and to find her wholly taken up with things that related to him,
and to the passion which she concealed from him; this is what was
never tasted nor imagined by any other lover. [...]

Never was passion so tender and so violent as that of Monsieur de
Nemours; he walked under the willows, along a little brook which
ran behind the house, where he lay concealed; he kept himself as
much out of the way as possible, that he might not be seen by
anybody; he abandoned himself to the transports of his love, and
his heart was so full of tenderness, that he was forced to let
fall some tears, but those tears were such as grief alone could
not shed; they had a mixture of sweetness and pleasure in them
which is to be found only in love.

-- Madame de Lafayette The Princess of Cleves