Dangerous Liaisons —123—


I HAVE HAD THE honor of receiving your letter, M. le Vicomte; and yesterday I betook myself, in accordance with your wishes, to the person in question. I explained to her the object and the motives of the visit you had asked me to pay her. Determined as she was upon the prudent course which she had adopted at first, upon my pointing out to her that by a refusal she, perhaps, incurred a risk of putting an obstacle in the way of your happy return, and thus of opposing, in some manner, the merciful decrees of Providence, she consented to receive your visit, always on condition that it shall be the last, and has charged me to tell you that she will be at home on Thursday next, the 28th. If this day should not be convenient to you, will you be so good as to inform her, and appoint another. Your letter will be received.

Meanwhile, M. le Vicomte, permit me to invite you not to delay, without grave reasons, in order that you may be able to abandon yourself the sooner and more entirely to the laudable dispositions which you display to me. Remember that he who hesitates to improve the moment of grace runs the risk of its being withdrawn from him; that, if the mercy of God is infinite, yet the use of it is regulated by justice; and that a moment may come when the God of mercy shall turn into a God of vengeance.

If you continue to honor me with your confidence, I beg you to believe that all my attention shall be yours, as soon as you desire it: however greatly I may be busied, my most important business will ever be to fulfill the duties of my sacred office, to which I am peculiarly devoted, and the finest moment of my life will be that in which, by the blessing of the Almighty, I shall see my efforts prosper. Weak sinners that we are, we can do nothing by ourselves! But the God who recalls you can do all; and we shall owe alike to His bounty—you, the constant desire to be reconciled to Him, and I the means of being your guide. It is by His aid that I hope soon to convince you that Holy Religion alone can give, even in this world, that solid and durable happiness which in the blindness of human passions we seek in vain.

I have the honor to be, with respectful consideration, etc.