Letter 107

Azolan to the Viscount de Valmont


On receipt of your orders, I immediately waited on Mr. Bertrand, your honour’s steward, who paid me twenty-five louis d’ors, as your honour had ordered. I asked him for two more for Philip, who was to set off immediately, as your honour had ordered, and who had no money; but your steward would not give them, as he said he had not any order from your honour to that purpose; so I was obliged to give them to myself, and which your honour will be pleased to observe.

Philip set out last night. I recommended it to him strongly not to leave the inn, that you may find him when necessary.

I went immediately after to Madame the Presidente’s, to see Mademoiselle Julie: but she was abroad, and I could only speak to La Fleure, from whom I could not get any intelligence, because he has been always abroad since his return only at meal times. It is the second that has always attended table, and your honour knows I had no acquaintance with him: but I began today.

I returned this morning to Mademoiselle Julie, and she seemed very glad to see me. I asked her concerning the reason of her mistress returning to town; she told me, she knew nothing of it, and I believe she spoke truth. I scolded her, because she did not tell me of their going away, and she declared she knew nothing of it till her mistress was going to bed; so she was obliged to sit up to settle everything, and the poor girl had but two hours rest. She did not leave her mistress till past one; and she left her writing.

In the morning Madame de Tourvel left a letter with the housekeeper. Mademoiselle Julie does not know for who: but imagined it was for your honour, but your honour said nothing of it to me. During the whole journey Madame had a great cloak over her, which hid her entirely; but Mademoiselle Julie thinks she cried very often. She did not speak a word during the whole journey, and she would not stop at ⸻,24 as she did in coming; which was not very agreeable to Mademoiselle Julie, who had not breakfasted: but, as I said, masters will be masters.

When they came to town, Madame went to bed for two hours. When she got up, she sent for the porter, and gave him orders not to admit anyone. She did not make any toilette. She sat down to dinner, but only tasted a little soup, and went away directly. Her coffee was brought to her apartment. Mademoiselle Julie went in at the same time. She found her mistress settling some papers in her desk, and she could perceive they were letters. I would lay a wager they were your honour’s; and of the three she received the same evening, there was one she had before her late the same night. I am very certain it was one from your honour: but why should she come away that way, that astonishes me; but certainly your honour knows, and it is no business of mine.

Madame the Presidente went to the library in the evening, and took two books, which she carried into her dressing room: but Mademoiselle Julie declares she did not read a quarter of an hour the whole day, and that she did nothing but read the letter, muse, and lean on her arm. As I thought your honour would be glad to know what books they were, and that Mademoiselle Julie did not know, I made an excuse to go and see the library today: there is no void but for two books; one is the second volume of Christian Thoughts, and the other the first book of a work entitled Clarissa. I write as it was before me; your honour will certainly know what it is.

Last night Madame had no supper, only took tea. This morning she rung early, and ordered her carriage immediately, and went before nine to mass at the Fenillant’s. She wanted to go to confession, but her confessor was not in the way, and will not return for eight or ten days. I thought it necessary to inform your honour of this. She then came home, breakfasted, and sat down to write, and stayed at it till near one o’clock. I then found an opportunity of doing what your honour wished most for, for I carried the letters to the post office. There was none for Madame de Volanges; but I send your honour one for Monsieur the President; I thought that might be the most necessary. There was one also for Madame de Rosemonde; but I thought your honour might see that whenever you had a mind, and I let it go. Besides, your honour will know all, as Madame the Presidente has wrote to him. Hereafter I can have all your honour pleases; for it is Mademoiselle Julie that almost always gives them to the servants, and she has promised me, that out of friendship to me as well as for your honour, she will do everything I would have her. She would not even take the money I offered her; but I dare say your honour will make her some small present; and if it is your pleasure, and that you think proper, I shall soon know what will please her.

I hope your honour will not think me negligent in your service. I have it much at heart to be clear of the reproaches made me. It was my zeal for your honour’s service was the reason of my not knowing Madame the Presidente’s departure, because your honour ordered me to set out at three in the morning, which hindered me from seeing Mademoiselle Julie at night as usual, as I went to sleep with the ostler, that I might not disturb the people in the castle.

As to what your honour says, I am often in want of money, it is because I always love to be decent, as your honour may see; besides, one must keep up the honour of the livery they wear. I know very well I ought to save something for a rainy day; but I depend entirely on your honour’s generosity, who has been so good a master.

As to what your honour desires, of my entering into Madame de Tourvel’s service, and still remaining in yours, I hope your honour will not require it; it was quite different at the Duchess’s, for I certainly cannot stoop to wear a livery, and a lawyer’s livery, after having been your honour’s huntsman. As for all the rest, your honour may dispose as you please of him, who is, with the greatest respect and affection, his most humble and obedient servant,