Dangerous Liaisons —72—


O MY CÉCILE! HOW I envy Valmont’s lot! Tomorrow he will see you: it is he who will give you this letter, and I, languishing afar from you, must drag on my painful existence betwixt unhappiness and regret. My friend, my tender friend, pity my misfortunes; above all, pity me for your own: it is in the face of them that my courage deserts me.

How terrible it is to me that I should have caused your misfortune! But for me, you would be happy and tranquil. Can you forgive me? Ah, say, say that you forgive me; tell me also that you love me, that you will always love me. I need that you repeat it to me. It is not that I doubt it: but it seems to me that, the more sure I am of it, the sweeter it is to hear it said. You love me, do you not? Yes, you love me with all your soul. I do not forget that it is the last word I heard you utter. How I have treasured it in my heart! How deeply it is graven there! And with what transports has not mine replied to it!

Alas, in that moment of happiness, I was far from foreseeing the awful fate which awaited us! Let us occupy ourselves, my Cécile, with the means of alleviating it. If I am to believe my friend, it will suffice, to attain this, that you should treat him with the confidence which he deserves.

I was grieved, I confess, at the unfavorable opinion you appear to have had of him. I recognized there the prejudices of your Mamma; it was to submit to them that, for some time past, I had neglected that truly amiable man, who today does everything for me; who, in short, labors to reunite us, whom your Mamma has separated. I implore you, my dear friend, look upon him with a more favorable eye. Reflect that he is my friend, that he wishes to be yours, that he can afford me the happiness of seeing you. If these reasons do not convince you, my Cécile, you do not love me as well as I love you, you do not love me as much as you used to love me. Ah, if ever you were to come to love me less! But no, the heart of my Cécile is mine, it is mine for life; and if I have to dread the pain of a love which is unfortunate, her constancy will save me at least from the torments of a love betrayed.

Adieu, my charming friend; do not forget how I suffer, and that it only rests with you to make me happy, completely happy. Hear my heart’s vow, and receive the most tender kisses of love.