Letter 55

Cecilia Volanges to Sophia Carnay

You were in the right, my dear Sophy; thy prophesies are more successful than thy advice. Danceny, as you predicted, has been stronger than my confessor, than you, or even myself; we are just as we were before. I am not sorry for it; and if thou art, and that you scorn me, it is because you are a stranger to the pleasure I have in loving Danceny. It is easy to lay down rules how we should act; but if you had ever experienced the distress we feel for those we love, how we participate in his joys, how difficult it is to say no, when we wish to say yes, you would no longer be astonished: I who have already sensibly felt it, cannot as yet conceive it. Now, can you believe that I can see Danceny cry, without crying myself? That, I assure you, is impossible; and when he is pleased, I am happy; it is in vain to talk about it; what is, must be, and I am sure it is so.

I wish you were in my room;⁠—but that is not what I mean to say; for certainly I would not give place to anyone: but I wish you were in love with somebody; it is not only that you should understand me better, but that you should have less reason to find fault; but also that you should be happier, or, rather, that you should begin to taste of happiness.

Our amusements, our trifles, and all that, is folly; but in love, a word, a look only, is the summit of happiness. When I see Danceny, I wish for nothing more: when he is from me, I wish for nothing but him. I cannot account for it: but I imagine that everything that pleases me, bears a resemblance to him. When he is absent from me, I dream of him; and when I can think of him without being disturbed, that is, when I am alone, I am happy. When I close my eyes, I think I see him; I recall his conversation, and I think I hear him speak; then I sigh⁠—I feel myself agitated in a strange manner⁠—it is a kind of sensation; I don’t know what to call it; but it is inexpressibly delightful.

I am apt to think, that when one is in love, it diffuses itself to our friendship: that I have for thee, has never altered; it is always the same as it was at the convent; but that I experience with Madame de Merteuil, is more like the affection I have for Danceny than that I have for thee; and I sometimes wish she was a man; that is, perhaps, because it is not a childish friendship like ours; or else, that I see them so often together. But this I am sure of, between them both they make me very happy. After all, I don’t think there is any great harm in what I do. I wish I was to remain as I am; for there is nothing gives me uneasiness but the thoughts of my marriage. And if Mr. de Gercourt is so disagreeable as he is described to me, which I have no doubt of, I don’t know what will become of me. Adieu, my dear Sophy; I love thee most affectionately.