Letter 109

Cecilia Volanges to the Marchioness de Merteuil

Dear Madam, I did not deliver the letter you did me the honour to write me until this day to M. de Valmont. I kept it four days, often under great apprehensions lest it should be discovered; but concealed it carefully; and when a fit of dullness seized me, I locked myself up to read it again. I begin to think what I imagined so great a misfortune, is a trifling thing; I own there is a deal of pleasure in it; so that I begin to be tolerably easy. Nothing now gives me any trouble, but the idea of Danceny; I am often, that I do not think of him at all, and I believe it is because M. de Valmont is so engaging. I made it up with him two days ago; which was not at all difficult; for before I had scarcely spoke, he said, if I had anything to tell him, he would come to my room at night if it was agreeable to me. As soon as he came, he was as good humoured as if I had not done anything to vex him. He did not scold me till afterwards, and then very gently, but in such a manner⁠—just as you used to do; which convinces me, he loves me very much.

I cannot remember all the comical stories he told me, which I should never have believed, particularly about mama. I would be much obliged to you, if you would let me know if it is all true. I could not refrain from laughing; once I was ready to burst out, which frightened us both; for mama would have heard me, and then what would become of me! she would have infallibly shut me up in the convent.

I must be prudent; and, as M. de Valmont says he would not run the risk of a discovery for all the world, we have agreed, hereafter he will only come, open the door, and we will go to his chamber. There will be no danger then; I was there last night: whilst I am writing to you, I expect him. Now, Madam, I hope you will not be angry with me. There is still something in your letter that surprises me a good deal; that is, in regard to Danceny and M. de Valmont when I am married. I think you told me at the opera, when once I was married, I should love no one but my husband, and I must even forget Danceny: may be I did not understand you right; and I would much rather it was otherwise, because I should not then be so much afraid of being married. I shall even wish for it, as I shall have the more liberty. I hope then matters may be so settled, that I shall have Danceny only to think of. I know very well I shall never be truly happy but with him; for the thoughts of him constantly disturb me; I have no peace but when I do not think of him, and that is not in my power; as soon as he comes in my head, I grow melancholy.

My greatest consolation is, you promise me Danceny will love me the more for it: are you very sure of it? You would not deceive me, I know; however, it is very whimsical that it should be Danceny I love, and that M. de Valmont⁠—but, as you say, may be it is all for the better. I do not well understand what you mention about my writing. Danceny likes my letters very well: I must not say anything to him, I know, about what passes between M. de Valmont and me⁠—you need not be uneasy about that.

Mama has not spoke yet about marriage; but when she does, since it is to ensnare me, I promise you I will know how to tell a lie.

Adieu, my dear friend; I am very much obliged to you; I assure you I shall never forget your friendship: I must conclude, for it is almost one, and M. de Valmont will be here soon.