Chateaubriand's memoirs, XV, 3

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Mémoires d'Outre-tombe

Book XV- Chapter 3
A letter from Madame de Krüdner

Paris, 24th November 1803.
I heard the day before yesterday from Monsieur Michaud, who has returned to Lyons, that Madame de Beaumont was in Rome, and that she was very, very ill: that is what he has said. I am deeply sorry to hear it; my nerves have felt it, and I have thought much of that charming woman, whom I have not known for long, but whom I truly love. How often I have wished for her happiness! How often, I have wished she might cross the Alps and find under Italian skies the sweet and profound emotions I have experienced there myself! Alas! Has she reached so delightful a country only to know sadness there and be exposed to dangers I dread! I do not know how to express to you how much the idea of it troubles me. Forgive me, if I am so absorbed in the matter, that I have not yet spoken of yourself, my dear Chateaubriand; you must know my sincere attachment to you, and in revealing to you the real interest that Madame de Beaumont inspires in me, it is in order to move you more than I would have been able to do by speaking about yourself. I have that sad spectacle before my eyes; I know the secret of grief, and my soul always stops short before those souls on whom nature inflicts the power to suffer more than others. I hoped that Madame de Beaumont might enjoy the gift she received, in being happier; I hoped she might find a modicum of health again given Italian sun and the pleasure of your company. Ah! Reassure me, speak to me; tell her I love her sincerely, that I pray for her. Has she had my letter written in response to hers at Clermont? Address your reply to Michaud: I only ask for a word, since I know, my dear Chateaubriand, how much you feel and suffer. I thought her better; I have not written to her; I was overwhelmed with tasks; but I thought of the pleasure she would gain from seeing you again, and I could imagine it. Tell me a little of how you are; trust in my friendship, in the interest I have avowed towards you always, and do not forget me.
Baronne Krudner.’