Letter 61

Cecilia Volanges to Sophia Carnay

My dear Sophy, pity thy poor Cecilia; she is very unhappy. Mamma knows all. I cannot conceive how she had any suspicion; and yet she has discovered everything. Last night mamma appeared to be a little out of temper; but I did not take any notice of it; and whilst she was at cards, I chatted very agreeably with Madame de Merteuil, who supped with us. We had a great deal of talk about Danceny; and yet I believe we were not overheard. She went away, and I retired to my apartment.

I was undressing when mamma came in, and ordered my waiting maid to retire; she demanded the key of my escrutoire. The tone in which she made this requisition threw me all in a flutter, so that I could scarcely support myself; I made believe I could not find it: but at length I was obliged to obey. The first drawer she opened was the very one where all Chevalier Danceny’s letters were. I was so perplexed, that when she asked me what they were, I could give her no other answer, but that it was nothing at all; but when I saw she began to read the first that offered, I had scarce time to fall into a chair, when I fainted. As soon as I recovered, my mother, who had called in the waiting maid, retired, desiring me to go to bed. She carried off all Danceny’s letters. I shudder every time I think that I must appear before her again. I have done nothing but cry all night.

It is but just daylight, and I write to you, in hopes that Josephine will come. If I can speak to her alone, I shall beg of her to leave a note, that I shall write, with Madame de Merteuil; and if I cannot, I will put it in your letter, and you will be so good as to send it, as from yourself. It is from her alone that I can receive any consolation. We will, at least, speak of him, for I never hope to see him more. I am very unhappy. She perhaps will be kind enough to deliver a letter to Danceny. I dare not confide in Josephine, and still less in my waiting maid; for it is, perhaps, she that told my mother that I had letters in my desk.

I will not write to you any more now, because I must have time to write to Madame de Merteuil and Danceny, and to have all my letters ready, if she will take charge of them; after that, I will go to bed again, that they may find me in bed when they come into my room. I will say I am ill, to prevent my being called to mamma. I shall not tell a great lie; for I surely suffer as much as if I had a fever. My eyes are inflamed with crying; and I have a weight at my stomach, which prevents me from breathing. When I think I never shall see Danceny more, I wish I was dead. Farewell, my dear Sophy. I can’t write any more; my tears suffocate me.