Dangerous Liaisons —93—


I CANNOT CONCEAL FROM you how grieved I have been to hear from Valmont of the scant confidence you continue to place in him. You are not ignorant that he is my friend, that he is the only person who can bring us together once more: I had thought that these titles would be sufficient with you; I see with pain that I have made a mistake. May I hope that at least you will inform me of your motives? Will you again find fresh difficulties which will prevent you? I cannot, however, without your help, penetrate the mystery of this conduct. I dare not suspect your love; doubtless you too would not venture to betray mine. Ah! Cécile! …

Is it true then that you have rejected a means of seeing me? A simple, convenient and sure means?gc And is it thus that you love me? An absence so short has indeed changed your sentiments. But why deceive me? Why tell me that you love me always, that you love me more? Your Mamma, in destroying your love, has she also destroyed your sincerity? If she has at least left you some pity, you will not learn without sorrow the fearful tortures which you cause me. Ah! I should suffer less were I to die.

Tell me then, is your heart closed to me beyond recall? Have you utterly forgotten me? Thanks to your refusals, I know not either when you will hear my complaints, nor when you will reply to them. Valmont’s friendship had assured our correspondence: but you, you have not wished it; you found it irksome; you preferred it to be infrequent. No, I shall believe no more in love, in good faith. Nay, whom can I believe, if my Cecile has deceived me?

Answer me then: is it true that you no longer love me? No, that is not possible; you are under an illusion; you belie your heart. A passing fear, a moment of discouragement, which love has soon caused to vanish: is it not true, my Cécile? Ah, doubtless; and I was wrong to accuse you. How happy I should be to be proved wrong! How I should love to make you tender excuses, to repair this moment of injustice with an eternity of love!

Cécile, Cecile, have pity on me! Consent to see me, employ for that every means! Look upon the effects of absence! Fears, suspicions, perhaps even coldness! A single look, a single word, and we shall be happy. But what! Can I still talk of happiness? Perhaps it is lost to me, lost for ever. Tortured by fear, cruelly buffeted between unjust suspicions and the most cruel truth, I cannot stay in any one thought; I only maintain existence to love you and to suffer. Ah, Cécile, you alone have the right to make it dear to me; and I expect, from the first word that you will utter, the return of happiness or the certainty of an eternal despair.