Dangerous Liaisons —109—


IT IS ONLY TODAY, Madame, that I have given M. de Valmont the letter which you have done me the honor to write me. I kept it for four days, in spite of the alarm which I often felt lest it should be found; but I concealed it very carefully; and, when my grief once more seized me, I shut myself up to reperuse it.

I quite see that what I believed to be so great a misfortune is hardly one at all; and I must confess that there is certainly pleasure in it: so much so that I hardly grieve about it any more. It is only the thought of Danceny which still sometimes torments me. But there are already moments when I do not think of him at all! Moreover it is true that M. de Valmont is mighty amiable!

I was reconciled with him two days ago: it was very easy for me; for I had but said two words to him, when he told me that, if I had anything to say to him, he would come to my chamber in the evening, and I only had to answer that I was very willing. And then, as soon as he had come there, he seemed no more vexed than if I had never done anything to him. He did not scold me till afterward, and then very gently; and it was in a manner … just like you; which proved to me that he also had much friendship for me. I should not know how to tell you all the odd things he related to me, and which I never should have believed, particularly about Mamma. You would give me much pleasure by telling me if it is all true. What is very sure is that I could not restrain my laughter; so that once I burst out laughing, which gave us a mighty fright: for Mamma might have heard; and if she had come to see, what would have become of me? I am sure she would have sent me to the convent that very moment.

As we must be prudent, and as M. de Valmont has told me himself that he would not risk compromising me for anything in the world, we have agreed that henceforward he should only come to open the door, and that we should go to his room. In that, there is nothing to fear; I have already been there, yesterday, and even now, while I write to you, I am again expecting him to come. Now, Madame, I hope you will not scold me any more.

There is one thing, however, which has greatly surprised me in your letter; it is what you tell me against the time when I am married, with regard to Danceny and M. de Valmont. I fancy that one day, at the Opera, you told me, on the contrary, that, once married, I could only love my husband, and that I should even have to forget Danceny: for that matter, I may have misunderstood you, and I would far rather have it different, as now I shall not be so much afraid of the time for my marriage. I even desire it, since I shall have more liberty; and I hope then that I shall be able to arrange in such a fashion that I need only think of Danceny. I feel sure that I shall never be really happy except with him: for the idea of him always torments me now, and I have no happiness except when I succeed in not thinking of him, which is very difficult; and, as soon as I think of him, I at once become sad again.

What consoles me a little is that you assure me Danceny will love me the more for this: but are you quite certain? … Oh, yes, you would not deceive me! It is amusing, however, that it is Danceny I love, and that M. de Valmont… But, as you say, perhaps it is fortunate! Well, we shall see.

I understood none too well what you said about my fashion of writing. It seems to me that Danceny finds my letters good as they are. I quite feel, however, that I ought to tell him nothing of what passes with M. de Valmont: thus you have no reason to be afraid.

Mamma has not yet spoken to me of my marriage: but let her do so; when she speaks to me of it, since it is to entrap me, I promise you I shall know how to lie.

Adieu, my dear, kind friend; I thank you mightily, and I promise you I will never forget all your kindnesses to me. I must finish now; it is near one o’clock; so M. de Valmont cannot be long now.