Letter 65

Chevalier Danceny to Cecilia Volanges

(Sent open to the Marchioness de Merteuil, in the 66th Letter of the Viscount.)

Ah, my Cecilia! what will become of us? What will save us from the miseries that hang over us? Love, at least, can give us resolution to support them. I cannot express my astonishment, my distraction, on seeing my letters, and reading Madame de Volanges’. Who is it can have betrayed us? On whom do your suspicions fall? Is it by any imprudent act of your own? How do you employ your time? What has been said to you? I wish to know all, and am ignorant of everything. Perhaps you are in the same situation.

I enclose you your mamma’s letter, with a copy of my answer to it. I hope you will approve of what I wrote: and I want much to be satisfied whether you will approve of the steps I have taken since this fatal discovery, which all tend to hear from you, and to be able to write to you; and, who knows, perhaps to see you again with more freedom than ever.

I can’t express the joy, my Cecilia, I conceive at the prospect of seeing you once more; renewing my vows of eternal love, and receiving yours. Who would not bear torments to enjoy so much happiness! I have this prospect in view; and the methods I mean to take, are what I beseech you to approve. I am indebted for them to the anxiety of a worthy friend; and I only ask that you will permit my friend to be also yours.

But, perhaps, I ought not to have engaged your confidence without your consent; misfortunes and necessity must plead in my favour. It is love led me on; it is love solicits your indulgence; implores you to forgive so necessary a confidence, without which we should be forever separated.14 You know the friend I mean; he is also the friend of the woman you love best⁠—the Viscount Valmont.

My design was, to engage him first to prevail on Madame de Merteuil to deliver you a letter. He was of opinion this scheme would not succeed; but he will answer for her waiting-maid, who lays under some obligations to him. She will then deliver you this letter, and you may trust her with your answer.

This means will be of very little use, if, as Mr. de Valmont tells me, you are to set out immediately for the country: but in that case he will be our friend. The lady, to whose house you are going, is his near relation. He will make use of this pretence to go there at the same time that you do; and we can carry on our correspondence through him. He even assures me, if you leave the management to him, he will provide us the means of seeing each other, without danger of a discovery.

Now, my dear Cecilia, if you love me, if you compassionate my misfortunes, if, as I hope, you partake my sorrows, you will not refuse your confidence to a man who will be our guardian angel. Were it not for his assistance, I should be reduced even to despair of being able to soften the distresses I have caused you: I hope they will soon be at an end. But, my dearest life, promise me not to give way to them; neither suffer yourself to be too much dejected. The idea of your grief is an insupportable torment to me. I would cheerfully die to make you happy; you know it well. May the certainty of being adored, bring some small consolation to your soul. Let me be assured you pardon the evils my love has made you suffer, for my consolation.

Adieu, my dear Cecilia!