I've running a favorite literary romantic moments contest on my website and one comment reminded me of a particular category of romantic moments that can be especially poignant and powerful. Farewells. Whether it's the end of a love affair or a moment of separation on the road to a happy ending, farewells can bring out confessions of emotions that are suppressed in less tumultuous times. In Imperial Scandal, I loved writing the farewells between the various couples at the Duchess of Richmond's ball before the battle of Waterloo. It was a bit of challenge to write so many different goodbye scenes, but I also found it was a great way to differentiate how each couple's relationship was unique.
Here are some of my favorite farewells from books and movies.
Damerel telling Venetia she could should go off to London and that their romance was nothing but a light flirtation in Georgette Heyer's Venetia. Heartbreaking, because you know he's doing it to be noble and finds it as hard to part from her as she does to part from him.
James writing what may be his last letter to Susan in Steven Brust & Emma Bull's wonderful epistolary novel Freedom & Necessity. James is driven by causes bigger than himself, so it's a powerful moment when in the midst of crisis he tells Susan just how much she means to him.
Sarah and Guy saying farewell at the train station in Jewel in the Crown/The Raj Quartet (both in the book and the television series).
A Pride and Prejudice scene that occurs only in the Garson/Olivier movie. Darcy comes to see Elizabeth after the news of Lydia's elopement. He leaves to go look for Wickham and Lydia. He turns back at the door and says this is perhaps the last time they will ever meet and adds "God bless you, Elizabeth" (echoing the closing of Darcy's letter in the book). Elizabeth looks round, wanting to stop him, too late. Leslie and I have talked on the blog about what a wonderful heart-tug this moment is.
Rick putting Ilsa on the plane in Casablanca. Need I say more?
What are some of your favorite romantic farewells in books or movies? Writers, are these scenes you enjoying writing?