Dangerous Liaisons —66—


You WILL SEE, MY lovely friend, by a perusal of the two enclosed letters, whether I have well fulfilled your project. Although both are dated today, they were written yesterday at my house, and beneath my eyes; that to the little girl says all that we wanted. One can but humble oneself before the profundity of your views, when one judges of it by the success of your measures. Danceny is all on fire; and assuredly, at the first opportunity, you will have no more reproaches to make him. If his fair ingénuedj chooses to be tractable,dk all will be finished a short time after her arrival in the country; I have a hundred methods all prepared. Thanks to your care, behold me decidedly the friend of Danceny; it only remains for him to become Prince.dl

He is still very young, this Danceny! Would you believe it, I have never been able to prevail on him to promise the mother to renounce his love; as if there were much hindrance in a promise, when one is determined not to keep it! It would be deceit, he kept on repeating to me: is not this scruple edifying, especially in the would-be seducer of the daughter? That is so like men! all equally rascally in their designs, the weakness they display in the execution they christen probity.dm

It is your affair to prevent Madame de Volanges from taking alarm at the little salliesdn which our young man has permitted himself in his letter; preserve us from the convent; try also to make her abandon her request for the child’s letters. To begin with, he will not give them up, he does not wish to, and I am of his opinion; here love and reason are in accord. I have read them, these letters; I have assimilated the tedium of them. They may become useful. I will explain.

In spite of the prudence which we shall employ, there may arise a scandal; this would break off the marriage, would it not? and spoil all our Gercourt projects. But, as on my side I have to be revenged on the mother, I reserve for myself in such a case the daughter’s dishonor. By selecting carefully from this correspondence, and producing only a part of it, the little Volanges would appear to have made all the first overtures, and to have absolutely thrown herself at his head. Some of the letters would even compromise the mother, and would, at any rate, convict her of unpardonable negligence. I am quite aware that the scrupulous Danceny would revolt against this at first; but, as he would be personally attacked, I think he would be open to reason. It is a thousand chances to one that things will not turn out so; but one must foresee everything.

Adieu, my lovely friend: it would be very amiable of you to come and sup tomorrow at the Maréchale de —’s; I could not refuse.

I presume I have no need to recommend you secrecy, as regards Madame de Volanges, upon my country project. She would at once decide to stay in Town: whereas, once arrived there, she will not start off again the next day; and, if she only gives us a week, I answer for everything.