Letter 82

Cecilia Volanges to the Chevalier Danceny

My God! what trouble your letter gives me! I had great reason, to be sure, to be impatient to receive it. I expected to have received some consolation, and am now more afflicted than ever. I could not help crying when I read it. But that is not what I reproach you with; for I have often cried already upon your account, without giving me so much trouble: but now the case is altered.

What is it, then, you mean to say? That your love is now a torment to you; that you can’t live any longer thus, nor bear to be so circumstanced? What! will you cease loving me, because it is not quite so easy to see me as formerly? Don’t think I am happier than you; on the contrary: but I love you the more notwithstanding. If Mr. de Valmont has not wrote to you, it is not my fault. I could not prevail on him; because I have never been alone with him; we have agreed never to speak to one another before company; and all upon your account, that he may the sooner do what you would have him. I don’t say, but what I wish it as well as you; and you ought to be very sure of it: but what would you have me do? If you think it is so easy, find out the way; it is what I wish for as much as you do.

Do you think it so pleasing to be scolded every day by mamma? She who before never said anything to me, now it is worse than if I was in a convent. I used to be consoled thinking it was for you; even sometimes, I was very glad of it. Now I perceive you are vexed without my giving any occasion for it. I am more melancholy than for anything that has happened till now.

Nothing can be more difficult than to receive your letters; so that if Mr. de Valmont was not so complaisant and dexterous as he is, I should not know what to do; and it is still more difficult to write to you. In the morning I dare not, because my mamma is always near me, and comes every moment into my chamber. Sometimes I can do it in the afternoon, under pretence of singing or playing on the harp. I must stop at the end of every line, that they may hear me play. Fortunately my chambermaid falls asleep sometimes at night, and I tell her I can go to bed very well alone; that she may go, and leave me the candle; I am sometimes obliged to hide behind the curtain, that no one may see the light, and listen; for, on the least noise, I hide everything in my bed, lest anyone should come. I wish you were only here to see: you would be convinced one must have a great affection to do all this. In short, you may depend I do everything in my power.

I can’t help telling you I love you, and will always love you. I never told you so with more sincerity, yet you are angry. You assure me, however, before I told you so, that it would be enough to make you happy; you can’t deny it, for it is in your letters: although I have them no longer, I remember it as well as when I used to read them every day; and because we are now absent, you have altered your mind; but this absence will not last forever, perhaps. Good God! how unhappy I am; and you are the cause of it all.

Now I think of it, about your letters; I hope you have kept all those that mamma took from me, and that she sent you back. Surely the time will come, when I shan’t be so closely watched as I am at present, and you will give them to me again. How happy shall I be, when I can keep them always, without anyone prying into them.⁠—Now, I return them back to Mr. de Valmont, as it would otherwise be running too great a risk, and yet I never return any but it gives me a great deal of trouble.

Adieu, my dear friend! I love you with all my heart, and I will love you all my life. I hope now you will not be vexed any more; if I was sure of it, I would not be so myself. Write to me as soon as you can, for I find that until then I shall be always uneasy.