Letter 114

The Presidente de Tourvel to Madame de Rosemonde

My dear friend, my uneasiness for the state of your health is so great, I cannot forbear writing to you. Without knowing whether you will be able to answer me, I cannot avoid interrogating you. M. de Valmont’s state, which you tell me is not dangerous, does not, however, dispel my apprehensions so much as it does yours. It is no novelty that melancholy and distaste for company should be symptoms of an approaching disease; bodily disorders, as well as those of the mind, incline us to solitude; and we often load those with ill temper, whose disorder we ought to compassionate.

I think he ought, at least, consult with someone. How happens it, that being yourself indisposed, you have not a physician? Mine, who I sent for this morning, and whom, for I will not conceal it from you, I consulted indirectly, is of opinion, that with persons of naturally an active disposition, this kind of sudden apathy should by no means be neglected. He told me, moreover, disorders will not give way to remedies, when they have been neglected in the beginning. Why then run such a hazard with one so dear to you?

It adds greatly to my uneasiness, I have not had any news of him these four days. Good God! I beg you will not deceive me on his state! Why is it he has left off writing to me so suddenly? If it was only the effect of my obstinacy in returning his letters, I believe he would have taken the resolution sooner. Without having, however, any faith in forebodings, for these few days I have been in a most melancholy situation. I fear I am on the eve of some great misfortune. You cannot imagine, and I am ashamed to tell you, how much I regret not receiving those letters which I refused to read. I was certain he at least thought of me, and saw something that came from his hands. I did not open them, but I wept over them: my tears were softer, and flowed with more ease; they only partly dissipated the habitual oppression I experience since my return. I conjure you, my most respectable friend, to write to me yourself as soon as you can; in the meantime, pray indulge me every day in hearing from you, and of him.

I now perceive, I have scarcely said a word to you: but you know my sentiments, my unreserved attachment, my tender gratitude, for your sincere friendship. You will forgive my distress, my painful anguish, for dreading evils of which I am, perhaps, the cause. Merciful God! this desponding idea pursues me and wrings my heart. This misfortune only was wanting. I know I am born to experience them all.

Adieu, my dear friend! love me, pity me. Shall I hear from you this day?