There is no glimpse into the private world of famous people quite like reading their love letters.
Suddenly, you see your favorite author or artist at their most vulnerable, using their poetic talents to praise the object of their affections. I found this love letter that I absolutely adore, by one of my favorite French authors, Honoré de Balzac. He clearly employs all his writerly gifts to praise his lover, Ewelina Hańska, a Polish countess who wrote him an anonymous letter after reading his books. This began what turned out to be a decades-long correspondence. They met in person not long after (while she was married to another, a man much older than her), and became lovers. When her husband died, she was finally able to marry Balzac, but he died only 5 months after their union. At least she had these beautiful, beautiful words to look back on. Take a look below.
Honoré de Balzac to Countess Ewelina Hańska (June, 1835):
MY BELOVED ANGEL,
I am nearly mad about you, as much as one can be mad: I cannot bring together two ideas that you do not interpose yourself between them. I can no longer think of nothing but you. In spite of myself, my imagination carries me to you. I grasp you, I kiss you, I caress you, a thousand of the most amorous caresses take possession of me. As for my heart, there you will always be — very much so. I have a delicious sense of you there. But my God, what is to become of me, if you have deprived me of my reason? This is a monomania which, this morning, terrifies me. I rise up every moment say to myself, ‘Come, I am going there!’ Then I sit down again, moved by the sense of my obligations. There is a frightful conflict. This is not a life. I have never before been like that. You have devoured everything. I feel foolish and happy as soon as I let myself think of you. I whirl round in a delicious dream in which in one instant I live a thousand years. What a horrible situation! Overcome with love, feeling love in every pore, living only for love, and seeing oneself consumed by griefs, and caught in a thousand spiders’ threads. O, my darling Eva, you did not know it. I picked up your card. It is there before me, and I talked to you as if you were here. I see you, as I did yesterday, beautiful, astonishingly beautiful. Yesterday, during the whole evening, I said to myself ‘She is mine!’ Ah! The angels are not as happy in Paradise as I was yesterday!