Dangerous Liaisons —160—


I WRITE TO YOU from the chamber of your unhappy friend, whose state has remained almost always the same. There is to be a consultation of four physicians this afternoon. That is, unhappily, as you know, more often a proof of danger than a means of relief.

It seems, however, that her mind was somewhat restored last night. The waiting maid informed me this morning that just before midnight her mistress called her; that she wished to be alone with her; and that she dictated to her a fairly long letter. Julie added that, while she was busy in making the envelope for it, Madame de Tourvel’s delirium returned: so that the girl did not know to whom she was to address it. I was astonished, at first, that the letter itself had not been sufficient to inform her; upon which she answered me that she feared to make a mistake; that her mistress, however, had greatly charged her to have it dispatched immediately. I took upon myself to open the packet.

I found there the communication which I send you, which, in fact, is addressed to everybody and to nobody. I think, however, that it was to M. de Valmont that our unhappy friend meant at first to write; but that she gave way, without perceiving it, to the disorder of her ideas. Be that as it may, I judged that the letter should not be given to anybody. I send it you, because you will learn from it, better than you can from me, what are the thoughts which fill our patient’s head. As long as she remains so keenly affected, I shall have no hope. The body recovers with difficulty, when the mind is so ill at ease.

Adieu, my dear and revered friend. I congratulate you upon being at a distance from the sad spectacle which is continually before my eyes.