Letter 93

Chevalier Danceny to Cecilia Volanges

I cannot conceal my affliction at hearing from Valmont how much you still distrust him. You know he is my friend, and the only person who can give us an opportunity of seeing each other: I fondly imagined this would have been a sufficient recommendation, but am very sorry to find I am mistaken. May I, however, hope to know your reasons? There are, perhaps, some obstacles that prevent you; I cannot, however, without your aid, guess at this mysterious conduct. I dare not entertain any suspicion of your affection, neither would you deceive mine. Ah, Cecilia!

It is, then, past a doubt, that you have refused an easy, commodious, and safe way22 of seeing me. And is it thus I am beloved? Has so short an absence altered your sentiments?⁠—Why, then, deceive me? Why tell me you still love me, and even still more? Has your mama, by destroying your affection for me, also destroyed your candour?⁠—If, however, she has not left you destitute of compassion, you will feel for the pangs you occasion me, which death cannot even equal.

Tell me, then, have I forever lost your heart? Am I totally forgotten? I know not when you will hear my complaints, nor when they will be answered. Valmont’s friendship had secured our correspondence, but you rejected it; you thought it troublesome; it was too frequent. Never more will I confide in love or in promises. Who is to be believed, when Cecilia deceives me?

Am I no longer, then, your beloved Danceny? No, that is not possible; you deceive your own heart. A transitory apprehension, a momentary gloom, causes my present distress, which love will soon dispel: is it not so, my adorable Cecilia? Yes, it is, and I am much to blame for accusing you. How happy shall I be to discover my error, and repair it by soothing apologies and never-ending love.

Cecilia, lovely Cecilia, take pity on me; consent to see me; form the plan yourself: this is the consequence of absence; fears, doubts, and perhaps coolness. One single glance, a word only, and we shall be happy. But why mention happiness? Mine is, perhaps, at an end, and that forever. Tortured with apprehensions, suspended between doubts and fears, I cannot form a resolution. My existence depends on love and sufferings: You alone, my Cecilia, are the arbitress of my fate; you alone can decide on my happiness or misery.