Letter 72

Chevalier Danceny to Cecilia Volanges

(Delivered only the 14th.)

Oh, my Cecilia! How much I envy Valmont’s good fortune; tomorrow he will see you. He will deliver you this letter; whilst I, languishing far from you, will lead a wretched lingering life. Between regret and misery, my life, my dearest life, pity me not only for my own misfortunes, but also for yours; for it is they that deprive me of my resolution.

How dreadful the reflection, to be the cause of your misery! Had it not been for me, you would have been happy; will you forgive me? Speak! Say you forgive me; tell me you love me; that you will love me ever, which is the only consolation that is now left me. Not that I doubt it; but it relieves my anguish; you love me then? Yes, you love me with your whole heart. I do not forget it was the last word you spoke: it is treasured in mine; it is there deeply engraved. With what transports did my heart answer it!

Alas, in that happy moment, I was far from foreseeing the dreadful fate that awaited us! Let us seek for means to soften it. If I am to believe my friend, it will be enough that you should have the confidence in him he deserves. I was chagrined, I must own, at the disadvantageous idea you had of him. I knew the bad opinion your mamma had imbibed, and in submission to that opinion, I had, for some time, neglected a truly amiable man, who now is ready to serve me; who endeavours to reunite us, whilst your mamma has cruelly torn you from me. I conjure you, my love, to have a more favourable opinion of him; remember he is my friend, and wishes to be yours; that he can procure me the happiness of seeing you. If those reasons do not convince you, my Cecilia, you do not love me as much as I love you; you no longer love me as you did. Ah! if you should ever love me less⁠—but no, Cecilia’s heart is mine: I have it for life; and if I must feel the torments of an unsuccessful passion, her constancy, at least, will insure me the inexpressible joy of a permanent affection.

Adieu, my lovely dear! Do not forget that I suffer; it will be your fault if I am not perfectly happy; attend to the vows of my heart, and receive the tender kisses of love.