The concept of time and human interaction has radically changed with the introduction of technology. Instant messaging and video calls have overshadowed the rituals of romance and conquest that exist among the pages of a love letter.
Previous generations remember the routine of impatiently waiting for the postman to arrive with a prized love letter. The waiting demanded patience, romance, and strength to withstand the distance.
Today, very few people bother to put pen to paper their thoughts and write a love letter. Nothing compares to the emotion of receiving a letter from the one you love, recognizing their handwriting, and saving it to reread it over and over. As the years go by, you will reread those simple words and relive the moments that made you sigh with longing. The feel of vellum in your hands and the faded ink will be equal to the soft caress of the loved one you miss.
The letter wears many faces: it can spell goodbyes, forbidden loves, share good news, and confess secret passions. They can be adorned with shed tears or perfume, and they all share an admirable journey.
Letters are witnesses to the great loves of the ages. The following selection of quotes have been taken from noted historical characters. They faced insurmountable barriers and distant loves, and through letters they discovered that a kiss and caress can be found amidst the written word.
From Napoleon Bonaparte to his wife Josephine de Beauharnais (1796)
Ever since I left you, I have been sad. I am only happy when by your side. Ceaselessly I recall your kisses, your tears, your enchanting jealousy; and the charms of the incomparable Josephine keep constantly alight a bright and burning flame in my heart and senses. When, free from every worry, from all business, shall I spend all my moments by your side, to have nothing to do but to love you…
From Lord Byron to the Countess Teresa Guiccioli (1819)
In that word, beautiful in all languages, but most so in yours –Amor mio– is comprised my existence here and hereafter. I feel I exist here, and I fear that I shall exist hereafter, –as to what purpose you will decide; my destiny rests with you, and you are a woman, seventeen years of age, and two out of a convent. I wish that you had stayed there, with all my heart, –or, at least, that I had never met you in your married state.
From Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1847)
Do you want to know what love is? Look deep inside yourself, and if you truly cherish it within your soul, you will understand it; if not don’t ask it of me.
From Franz Kafka to Milena, who perished in a concentration camp in Ravensbrück in 1944
I can’t think of anything to write about. I’m just walking around here between the lines, under the light of your eyes, in the breadth of your mouth as in a beautiful happy day, which remains beautiful and happy, even when the head is sick and tired.
From Virginia Woolf to her husband, Leonard Woolf. The writer left this letter in their room the day she committed suicide in 1941.
You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that –everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.
I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.