Dangerous Liaisons —14—


I DID NOT WRITE to you yesterday, my dear Sophie, but it was not pleasure which was the cause; of that I can assure you. Mamma was ill, and I did not leave her all day. In the evening, when I retired, I had no heart for anything at all, and I went to bed very quickly, to make sure that the day was done; never have I passed a longer. It is not that I do not love Mamma dearly; but I do not know what it was. I was to have gone to the Opera with Madame de Merteuil; the Chevalier Danceny was to have been there. You know well that they are the two persons whom I like best. When the hour arrived when I should have been there, my heart was sore in spite of me. I did not care for anything, and I cried, cried, without being able to stop myself. Happily Mamma had gone to bed, and could not see me. I am quite sure that the Chevalier Danceny will have been sorry too, but he will have been amused by the spectacle, and by everybody; that’s very different.

Luckily, Mamma is better today, and Madame de Merteuil is coming with somebody else and the Chevalier Danceny; but she always comes very late, Madame de Merteuil; and when one is so long all by oneself, it is very tiresome. It is not yet eleven o’clock. It is true that I must play on my harp; and then my toilette will take me some time, for I want my hair to be done nicely today. I think Mother Perpétue is right and that one becomes a coquette as soon as one enters the world. I have never had such a desire to look pretty as during the last few days, and I find I am not as much so as I thought; and then, by the side of women who use rouge, one loses much. Madame de Merteuil, for instance; I can see that all the men think her prettier than me: that does not vex me much, because she is so fond of me; and then she assures me that the Chevalier Danceny thinks I am prettier than she. It is very nice of her to have told me that! She even seemed to be pleased at it. Well, that’s a thing I can’t understand! It’s because she likes me so much! and he! … Oh, that gives me so much pleasure! I think too that only to look at him is enough to make one prettier. I should look at him always, if I did not fear to meet his eyes: for every time that that happens to me, it puts me out of countenance,ay and seems as though it hurt me; but no matter!

Adieu, my dear friend: I am going to make my toilette. I love you as dearly as ever.