Dangerous Liaisons —107—



Conformably to your orders, I went, immediately on the receipt of your letter, to M. Bertrand, who gave me the twenty-five louis, as you had ordered him. I asked him for two more for Philippe, whom I had told to set off immediately, as Monsieur had commanded me, and who had no money; but your man of business would not do so, saying that he had no order from you for that. I was obliged therefore to give him these myself, and Monsieur will hold me acquitted of them, if it be his good pleasure.

Philippe set off yesterday evening. I strongly impressed upon him not to leave the inn, so that we might be certain of finding him if we had need of him.

I went immediately afterward to Madame la Présidente’s to see Mademoiselle Julie; but she was gone out, and I could only speak with La Fleur, from whom I could learn nothing, as, since his arrival, he has only been to the house at mealtimes. It is the second lackey who does all the service, and Monsieur knows that I was not acquainted with him. But I began today.

I returned this morning to Mademoiselle Julie, and she seemed delighted to see me. I questioned her upon the cause of her mistress’s return; but she told me that she knew naught of it; and I believe she told the truth. I reproached her with having failed to inform me of her departure, and she assured me that she had not known it till the night before, when putting Madame to bed; so that she spent all the night in packing, and the poor wench had not two hours’ sleep. She did not leave her mistress’s chamber that night until past one, and left her just as she was sitting down to write.

In the morning, Madame de Tourvel, before leaving, handed a letter to the porter of the château. Mademoiselle Julie does not know for whom: she says that it was, perhaps, for Monsieur; but Monsieur does not speak of it.

During the whole journey, Madame had a great hood over her face; by reason of this one could not see her: but Mademoiselle Julie feels assured that she often wept. She did not speak one word, and she would not halt at …hb as she had done on her coming, which was none too pleasing to Mademoiselle Julie, who had not breakfasted. But, as I said to her, the masters are the masters.

On arriving, Madame went to bed: but she only remained there two hours. On rising, she summoned her Swiss, and gave him orders to admit nobody. She made no toilette at all. She sat down to table for dinner, but only took a little soup, and went away at once. Her coffee was brought to her room, and Mademoiselle Julie entered at the same time. She found her mistress arranging papers in her writing desk, and she saw that they were letters. I would wager that they were those from Monsieur; and of the three which came to her in the afternoon, there was one which she had still before her all the evening. I am quite certain that it is also one from Monsieur. But why then did she leave like this? That is what astounds me. For that matter, Monsieur is sure to know, and it is no business of mine.

Madame la Présidente went in the afternoon to the library, and took thence two books which she carried to her boudoir: but Mademoiselle Julie is certain that she did not read a quarter of an hour in them during the whole day, and that she did nothing but read this letter and dream, with her head resting on her hand. As I thought that Monsieur would be pleased to know what these books are, and as Mademoiselle Julie could not say, I obtained admission today to the library under the pretence of wishing to see it. There are only two books missing: one is the second volume of the Pen-sees chrétiennes,hc and the other, the first of a book entitled Clarissa. I write the name as it is written: Monsieur will, perhaps, know what it is.

Yesterday evening, Madame did not sup; she only took some tea.

She rang at an early hour this morning; asked at once for her horses, and went, before nine o’clock, to the Cistercians,hd where she heard mass. She wished to confess; but her confessor was away, and he will not return for a week or ten days. I thought it well to inform Monsieur of this.

She returned immediately, breakfasted, and then began to write, and she remained thus for nearly an hour. I soon found occasion to do what Monsieur desired the most; for it was I who carried the letters to the post. There was none for Madame de Volanges: but I send one to Monsieur which was for M. le President: it seemed to me that this should be the most interesting. There was one also for Madame de Rosemonde; but I imagined that Monsieur could always see that when he wished, and I let it go. For the rest, Monsieur is sure to know everything, since Madame la Présidente has written to him also. I shall in the future obtain all those which Monsieur desires; for it is Mademoiselle Julie, almost every day, who gives them to the servants, and she has assured me that, out of friendship for me, and for Monsieur too, she will gladly do what I want.

She did not even want the money which I offered her: but I feel sure that Monsieur would like to make her some little present; and if this is his wish, and he is willing to charge me with it, I shall easily find out what will give her pleasure.

I hope that Monsieur will not think that I have shown any negligence in his service, and I have set my heart on justifying myself against the reproaches he makes me. If I did not know of Madame la Présidente’s departure, it was, on the contrary, my zeal in Monsieur’s service which was the cause, since it was that which made me start at three o’clock in the morning; which was the reason that I did not see Mademoiselle Julie the night before, as usual, having gone to Tournebridehe to sleep, so that I might not have to arouse the château.

As for the reproach Monsieur makes me of being often without money; first, it is because I like to keep myself decent, as Monsieur may see; and then one must maintain the honor of the coat one wears: I know, indeed, that I ought, perhaps, to save a little for the future; but I trust entirely to the generosity of Monsieur, who is so good a master.

As for entering the service of Madame de Tourvel while remaining in that of Monsieur, I beg that Monsieur will not require this of me. It was very different with Madame la Duchesse; but certainly I would not wear a livery, and a livery of the robe no less,5 after having had the honor of being Monsieur’s chasseur. In every other way, Monsieur may dispose of him who has the honor to remain, with as much affection as respect, his most humble servitor.