by Daniel Dafoe

“Edward, my dear friend, I do believe I’ve gone mad!”

“Funny you should be the last to know.”

“Don’t be facetious. This is my life.”

“What is it, then? Another heroine has your heart by its feeble strings?”

“No. She cannot be classified by such an inadequate term. We’ve talked and she is sheer delight.”

“You must tell her how you feel then; you have no time to waste. Certainly your ill attempt to express your innermost feelings will impress her.”

“I couldn’t! I won’t.”

“Won’t! Well you must do something. You can’t keep your feelings for this woman preserved like a delicate butterfly in a glass casing. They’re a marvel to look at, but even the most beautiful and vivacious will suffocate.”

Charles stretched an arm along the back of the couch, his finger tracing the smooth curves of his copper ring. “Edward, I have no time for pathetic analogies. If I wanted to witness a tragedy I would simply express myself to her.”

“Then what are you proposing?”

“Withdraw from her completely. I never want to see her again. I must not speak to her, nor her to me.”

“You’re truly as mad as you say.”

“Should love have me act any other way?”

Edward took a long inhale on his pipe. Small halos of smoke billowed from the end. This seemed to amuse him, for a smile crossed his lips. “Charles, you can’t know how she feels unless you first make an attempt. You are no prophet – perhaps she thinks as divinely of you as you do of her.”

“That doesn’t matter! My imagination has granted me infinite pleasure, and I’m not going to throw that away.”

Edward harrumphed and placed his pipe back to his lips. Clouds of smoke appeared again.

“This woman is elegant, Edward. Our relationship could never be as wonderful as I see it unfold in my mind. Do not gawk at me! For all I know our being together could be a complete disaster. What then? If I continue my current course, each moment I’m with her happens as if Cupid were speaking his favourite tale of love to me; it is as if Romeo and Juliet live happily ever after. Beauty becomes envious of us when I think of her, Edward – don’t you see?”

“And what will she think when you reveal this plan to her?”

“In my mind she never finds out.”