Letter 75

Cecilia Volanges to Sophia Carnay

[In this Letter, Cecilia Volanges gives a most circumstantial account of everything that relates to herself, in the events which the reader has seen at the end of the 59th Letter, and the following; for this reason a repetition was thought unnecessary; at last she speaks of Viscount de Valmont, and thus expresses herself:]

I assure you he is a very extraordinary man: my mamma speaks very ill of him, but the Chevalier Danceny is enamoured with him, and I believe he is in the right. I never saw a man so artful; when he gave me Danceny’s letter, it was amongst a good deal of company, and no one knew anything of the matter. It is true I was very much frightened, because I had no notion of any such thing, but hereafter I shall be on the watch. I conceive, already, how he would have me return the answer; it is very easy to understand him, for he has an eye tells one everything; I do not know how he contrives: he told me in the note which I mentioned to you, he would not seem to take any notice of me before mamma; really one would imagine he never thinks of it, and yet every time I want to look at him, I am sure to meet his eyes fixed upon me.

There is a lady here, also an intimate friend of mamma’s, I did not know, who appears to me not to like Mr. de Valmont. Although he seems to be all attention to her, I am afraid he will soon grow tired of this life, and return to Paris; that would be dreadful indeed! He must be an exceeding good-natured man, to come here on purpose to serve his friend and me. I wish to know how I could testify my gratitude; but I don’t know how to speak to him; and if I even had the opportunity, I should be so ashamed I should not know what to say.

I cannot speak to anybody freely, about my love affair, but Madame de Merteuil; perhaps even with thee, to whom I tell everything, if it was in a chatting way, I should be abashed. Even with Danceny himself, I have often felt, as it were, against my inclination, a kind of fear, which prevented me from saying everything I could wish. I am very sorry for it now, and I would give anything in the world for a moment, to tell him only once how much I love him. Mr. de Valmont has promised him, if I will be ruled by him, he will find an opportunity for us to see each other. I am very well inclined to do whatever he would have me; but I can’t conceive how it is possible.

Farewell, my dear friend: I have no more room.15