Dangerous Liaisons —139—


How I REPROACH MYSELF, my tender friend, for having spoken to you too much and too soon of my passing sorrows! I am the cause if you are grieved at present; those sorrows which you derive from me still endure; and I—I am happy. Yes, all is forgotten, pardoned; rather let me say, all is redeemed. Peace and delight have succeeded to this state of sorrow and anguish. O joy of my heart, how can I express you! Valmont is innocent; no one is guilty who loves so well. Those serious, offensive wrongs for which I reproached him with so much bitterness he had not committed; and if, on a certain point, my indulgence was necessary, had I not also my injustice to repair?

I will not enter into the details of the facts or reasons which justify him; perhaps, even, the mind would but ill appreciate them: it is the heart alone which is capable of feeling them. If, however, you were to suspect me of weakness, I would summon your judgment to the aid of my own. With men, you have said yourself, infidelity is not inconstancy.

’Tis not that I do not feel that this distinction, which opinion justifies in vain, nonetheless wounds our delicacy; but of what should mine complain, when that of Valmont suffers even more? For the very wrong which I forget do not believe that he forgives himself, or is consoled. And yet how greatly has he retrieved this trivial error by the excess of his love and my happiness!

Either my felicity is greater, or I know the value of it better, since I have been afraid that I had lost it: but what I may tell you is that, if I felt I had sufficient strength to support again sorrows as cruel as those I have just undergone, I should not deem I paid too high a price for the excess of happiness I have tasted since. O my tender mother, scold your inconsiderate daughter for having grieved you by too much hastiness; scold her for having judged rashly and calumniated him whom she should ever adore: but, while recognizing her imprudence, see her happy, and enhance her joy by sharing it.