The Count of Monte Cristo
"Suppose that the Lord God, after creating the world, after fertilizing the void, had stopped one-third of the way through His creation to spare an angel the tears that our crimes would one day bring to His immortal eyes. Suppose that, having prepared everything, kneaded everything, seeded everything, at the moment when He was about to admire his work, God had extinguished the sun and with His foot dashed the world into eternal night, then you will have some idea…Or, rather, no…No, even then you cannot have any idea of what I am losing by losing my life at this moment." (89.71)
"What, the structure that so long in building, which demanded so much anxious toil, has been demolished at a single blow, a single word, a breath of air! What, this 'I' that I thought was something; this 'I', of which I was so proud; this 'I' that I saw so small in the dungeons of the Château d'If and managed to make so great, will be, tomorrow, a speck of dust!" (90.2)
"And all this, good Lord, because my heart, which I thought was dead, was only numbed; because it awoke, it beat; because I gave way to the pain of that beating which had been aroused in my breast by the voice of a woman!
"And yet," the count went on, lapsing more and more into anticipation of the dreadful future that Mercédès had made him accept, "and yet it is impossible that that woman, with such a noble heart, could for purely selfish reasons have agreed to let me be killed when I am so full of life and strength. It is not possible that she should take her maternal love, or, rather, her maternal delirium, that far! Some virtues, when taken to the extreme, become crimes." (90.5-6)