* * * * *
Sometimes, nevertheless, I have an uneasy feeling about placing
myself so absolutely, so unconditionally into a woman’s hands.
Suppose she did abuse my passion, her power?
Well, then I would experience what has occupied my imagination since
my childhood, what has always given me the feeling of seductive
terror. A foolish apprehension! It will be a wanton game she will play
with me, nothing more. She loves me, and she is good, a noble
personality, incapable of a breach of faith. But it lies in her hands
–_if she wants to she can._ What a temptation in this doubt, this
Now I understand Manon l’Escault and the poor chevalier, who, even
in the pillory, while she was another man’s mistress, still adored
Love knows no virtue, no profit; it loves and forgives and suffers
everything, because it must. It is not our judgment that leads us;
it is neither the advantages nor the faults which we discover, that
make us abandon ourselves, or that repel us.
It is a sweet, soft, enigmatic power that drives us on. We cease to
think, to feel, to will; we let ourselves be carried away by it, and
ask not whither?