Letter 88

Cecilia Volanges to the Viscount de Valmont

Although I have the greatest pleasure in receiving the Chevalier Danceny’s letters, and I wish as ardently as he does, we might see each other without interruption, yet I dare not venture to do what you propose. First, I think it too dangerous; the key you desire I should put in the place of the other resembles it pretty much, it is true: but still there is some difference, and mama is so exceedingly watchful, that nothing escapes her; besides, though it has not been used since we came here, an accident might happen, and if it was missed, I should be ruined forever. Moreover, it would be very wrong to have a double key; that would be too much: it is true, you would take the management of it yourself; but yet if it should come to be known, all the reproach would fall on me, as it would be done for me; not that there is any difficulty in the matter, and I twice had a mind to take it, but something came over me, and I was seized with such a tremor, my resolution failed me. I believe, then, we had better remain as we are.

If you will be so good to continue your friendship as you have done hitherto, you will always find an opportunity to deliver me a letter. Even the last I should have had very readily, had it not been for the accident of your turning about so suddenly. I am very sensible, you cannot be always taken up with those matters as I am: but I would rather have a little patience than run such risks. I am certain Mr. Danceny would be of the same opinion: for whenever he wanted anything I was not inclined to, he instantly gave it up.

You will find, Sir, with this letter, your own, Mr. Danceny’s, and your key. I am, nevertheless, extremely obliged to you for your kindness, which I entreat you to continue to me. I am, indeed, very miserable, and should be much more so, were it not for you: but she is my mother, and I must have patience; and provided Mr. Danceny will always love me, and you do not desert me, I may yet, perhaps, be happy.

I have the honour to be, with the utmost gratitude, Sir, your most humble and obedient servant.