Letter 117

Cecilia Volanges to the Chevalier Danceny

(Dictated by Valmont.)

Do you think my dear friend there is any necessity to be angry with me to make me melancholy, when I know you to be in affliction; and do you think I have not my share of sufferings as well as you? I even partake of those I am obliged to give you; and still you are unjust. I see plainly what puts you out of temper; it is because I was silent to the two requisitions you made to me here; do you think an answer to it is so easy to give? Do you think I do not know what you want is not right? And if I am so distressed to refuse you at such a distance, how would it be if you was here? Then again I must be afflicted all my life for giving you a moments consolation.

I hide nothing from you, I give you my reasons, you may judge for yourself; I should perhaps have done what you wish, had it not been for what I wrote you, that M. de Gercourt, who is the cause of all our trouble, will not come so soon; and as mama is greatly pleased with me now, I caress her as much as possible; who knows what I may bring her to: if we could be happy without having anything to reproach myself with, surely it would be much better. If I am to believe what I have often heard, that men, when they have loved their wives before marriage, do not love them so much after; the dread of that restrains me more than anything:⁠—Are you not sure of my heart, and will there not be always time enough.

I promise you, if I cannot avoid marrying M. de Gercourt, who I already hate without knowing him, nothing shall prevent me from being yours as much as I can, even before anything, as I do not mind being loved by any but you:⁠—you will see if I act wrong it shall not be my fault; the rest is indifferent to me, provided you promise to love me always as much as you do now:⁠—but until then let me be as I am; and do not ask a thing I have good reasons not to do, and am vexed to refuse you.

I would likewise be very glad M. de Valmont would not be so pressing on your account, which only makes me more unhappy: he is your very good friend I assure you; he does everything as you would do yourself; but adieu, my dear friend! it was late when I began to write, and spent a good part of the night at it. I am going to bed to retrieve the time I lost. I embrace you; but do not scold me any more.