May 1790 to Annette] - found in Bertaud P121 Claretie 147
Did you notice Madame, that Mlle Lucile cruelly dismissed me yesterday? Yet I still cannot help admiring her more and more and she must be allowed to be a little proud. I certainly hope that now at least there are no more new qualities for me to discover in her. If she has any of which I am still unaware, I beg you to hide them from me, because, in truth, I am already quite mad. I kiss your hands; as for Mlle Lucile, I have no way of kissing hers, even in their gloves. However, Madame you are greatly loved by her. When you were hurt yesterday it caused your heavenly Lucile such pain that if you were to take my interests to heart I would hope for everything. Forget the way she protected you, for my part I surely see that I will never move her even when I address to her as beautiful a plea as that which she makes to God.
I have the honour, madame, of being, with the deepest respect, your most humble and most obedient servant.
Will you organise a return match? As Mirabeau said to Emmery, it takes a loud noise to silence disagreeable tongues
Right now Lucile I do feel truly sorry for myself. Up until now I was waiting for some good luck, and it has arrived, I was waiting for your parents, and they kept me away from you until they saw me with an estate and a reputation, but right now, at the moment when I am allowed to see you, the hope of being happy flies from me forever.
Oh Lucile, I see too clearly that your heart will never move closer to mine. Your face turns away from mine constantly as if by its own volition. My heartbreak and my seven years of constancy count for nothing in your eyes. I am not lovable enough; I do not deserve such charm or such qualities. The grief I feel, when I am near to you, at not being able to please you, combines with my habitual melancholy to make my company wearisome to you. All the conversations I hear seem so cold and indifferent to me that I can take no part in them.
Despite being bored by my company, touched perhaps, by my tender affection, you make an effort to overcome yourself and instead of retiring to your books, and the work you love so much, you prolong my delight in gazing on your face. I thank you fair Lucile, I thank you for this kindness, but the joy of seeing you is cruelly poisoned by the thought that I shall never succeed in pleasing you.
Fair Lucile, I see too clearly that you regard me neither as lover, nor a husband, nor even as a friend. I have questioned your heart with my gaze; it never replies; your eyes have never turned towards your unhappy lover in seven years of tender love. I find a moment’s opportunity to offer you my hand and you have the harshness to refuse me; to tell me that I will never win the hand I desire so passionately.
Rather than offer me a place in your carriage today, you would have watched me die of exhaustion from following you. That is it. I no longer hope to find a way to your heart, this Lucile, so charming, she will never love me, my Lucile will never laugh.
Oh unhappy Desmoulins! Those who congratulate and envy you do not know you well; if you had sought your happiness in wealth, in dignity, or in glory and did not succeed in attaining it, it would only be necessary to blame yourself, your folly and your wickedness; but to have sought your happiness in possessing the heart of Lucile, when her mother had assured me of this heart five years ago when she encouraged me to ask for the hand of her daughter in marriage; when her father had accepted me; when he so cruelly misled me on the growing affection of his daughter; when my heart closed to all other affections, all other happiness, after seven years of constancy to see that one is displeasing, to see that this happiness will never be achieved, this is what rips me apart.
It would be better to be unhappy alone than to seek to obtain happiness through pleading, to wrench a half-hearted consent from you and to make you unhappy with me….I am going to reconcile myself to the thought, that you will never be mine, that you will never place your hand in mine, that I will never rest upon the breast of Lucile, that I will never press her to my heart; Oh unhappy Camille, retire into solitude, go and weep for the rest of your life, forget if you must her singing, her piano playing, her charms, her soul and so many other qualities which you have never even guessed at.
And in a later letter Bertaud p 123 and in the BHVP original this is on a single sheet of paper, blank except for these few lines – very rare for Camille, he almost always seems to have covered his pages - must have been v.upset.
Oh Lucile, you have told me that I am wasting my time; ah well. I am resigned to my misery. I abandon all hope of possessing you, my tears flow freely, but you cannot stop me loving you; those others, who have the joy of seeing you and hearing you, have been blessed by heaven, for me, I must have been born in its anger. Oh gods to love a girl with…..