Letter 73

Viscount de Valmont to Cecilia Volanges

(Annexed to the foregoing.)

The friend who takes upon him to assist you, knows that you have not materials to write with, therefore has provided them for you. You will find in the antechamber of your apartment, under the great clothes press on the left hand, paper, pens, and ink, which he will renew whenever you please, and which, he thinks, you may leave in the same place, if you cannot find a better.

He requests you will not be offended, if he seems to take little notice of you in company, and only to treat you as a child. This behaviour appears necessary to him, to avoid suspicion, and to be able more effectually to bring about your and his friend’s happiness. He will endeavour to get opportunities to speak to you, when he has anything to say or to give you; and hopes to be able to accomplish it, if, on your part, you will second him.

He also advises you to give him the letters you will receive, after you have read them, in order to avoid all bad consequences.

He finishes his letter by assuring you, if you confide in him, he will employ his utmost endeavours to soften the persecution that a cruel mother makes two persons undergo; one of which is his best friend, and the other seems to him to deserve his tenderest concern.