Letter to Madam Brueys
August 19, 1798
husband was killed by a cannonball while fighting on board
his ship. He died honourably, and without suffering, as every
soldier would wish to die.
sorrow touches me to the quick. It is a dreadful moment when
we are parted from one we love. It shuts us off from the world.
The body is convulsed with pain, and the faculties of the
mind so overwhelmed that all its contacts with reality are
cut off by a distorting dream. Things are such that, if there
were no reason for living, it were better to die.
when second thoughts supervene, and you press your children
to your heart, your nature is revived by tears and tenderness,
and you live for the sake of your offspring.
Madame, you will weep with them, you will nurture their infancy,
you will educate their youth; you will speak to them of their
father and of your grief, of their loss and of the Republic's.
when you have linked your soul to the world again through
the mutual affection of mother and child, I want you to count
as of some value my friendship, and the lively interest that
I shall always take in the wife of my friend.
Be assured that there are men - a minority - who can turn
grief into hope, because they feel so intimately the troubles
of the heart.