Dangerous Liaisons —101—


You MUST BE ADDLE-PATED, indeed, to start hence this morning without knowing that Madame de Tourvel was leaving also; or, if you knew, not to come and warn me. Of what use is it, pray, that you should spend my money in getting drunk with the valets; that you should pass the time which you ought to employ in my service in making yourself agreeable to the maids, if I am no better informed of what is passing? This, however, is what comes of your negligence! But I warn you, if a single instance occurs in this matter, it is the last you shall commit in my service.

I require you to keep me informed of all that happens with Madame de Tourvel: of her health; if she sleeps; if she is dull or gay; if she often goes abroad, and whom she frequents; if she receives company, and of whom it consists; how she passes her time; if she shows ill humor with her women, particularly with the one she brought here with her; what she does when she is alone; if, when she reads, she reads uninterruptedly, or often puts her reading aside to dream; and alike, when she is writing. Remember also to become the friend of him who carries her letters to the post. Offer often to do this commission for him in his stead; and if he accepts, only dispatch those which seem to you indifferent, and send me the others, above all those, if you come across any, addressed to Madame de Volanges. Make arrangements to be, for some time longer, the happy lover of your Julie. If she has another, as you believed, make her consent to a participation, and do not plume yourself on any ridiculous delicacy; you will be in the same case with many others who are worth more than you. If, however, your substitute should become too importunate;go should you perceive, for instance, that he occupied Julie too much during the day, and that she was less often with her mistress, get rid of him by some means, or seek a quarrel with him: have no fear of the results, I will support you. Above all, do not quit that house. It is by assiduity that one sees all, and sees clear.

If chance even should cause one of the men to be dismissed, present yourself to seek his place, as being no longer attached to me. Say in that case that you left me to seek a quieter and more regular house. Endeavor, in short, to get yourself accepted. I shall nonetheless keep you in my service during this time: it will be as it was with the Duchesse de —; and in the end Madame de Tourvel will recompense you as well.

If you had skill and zeal enough, these instructions ought to suffice ; but to make up for both, I send you money. The enclosed note authorizes you, as you will see, to receive twenty-five louis from my man of business; for I have no doubt that you are without a sou. You will employ what is necessary of this sum to induce Julie to establish a correspondence with me. The rest will serve to make the household drink. Have a care that this takes place as often as possible in the lodge of the porter of the house, so that he may be glad to see you come. But do not forget that it is your services, and not your pleasures, that I wish to pay for.

Accustom Julie to observe and report everything, even what might appear to her trivial. It were better that she should write ten useless sentences than that she should omit one which was of interest ; and often what appears indifferent is not so. As it is necessary that I should be informed at once, if anything were to happen which should seem to you to deserve attention, immediately on receipt of this letter you will send Philippe on the message horse to establish himself at… ;gp he will remain there until further orders; it will make a relay in case of need. For the current correspondence, the post will suffice.

Be careful not to lose this letter. Read it over every day, to assure yourself that you have forgotten nothing, as well as to make sure that you still have it. In short, do all that needs to be done, when one is honored with my confidence. You know that, if I am satisfied with you, you will be so with me.