Dangerous Liaisons —88—


IN SPITE OF ALL the pleasure that I take, Monsieur, in the letters of M. le Chevalier Danceny, and although I am no less desirous than he is that we might be able to see one another again without hindrance, I have not, however, dared to do what you suggest to me.

In the first place, it is too dangerous; this key, which you want me to put in the other’s place, is like enough to it, in truth; but not so much so, however, that the difference is not to be seen, and Mamma looks at and takes notice of everything. Again, although it has not yet been made use of since we have been here, there needs but a mischance;fy and, if it was to be perceived, I should be lost for ever. And then, it seems to me too that it would be very wrong; to make a duplicate key like that: it is going very far! It is true that it is you who would be kind enough to undertake it; but in spite of that, if it became known, I should, nonetheless, have to bear the blame and the odium, since it would be for me that you had done it. Lastly, I have twice tried to take it, and certainly it would be easy enough if it were anything else: but I do not know why, I always started trembling, and have never had the courage. I think then we had better stay as we are.

If you continue to have the kindness to be as complaisant as hitherto, you will easily find a means of giving me a letter. Even with the last, but for the ill chance which made you suddenly turn round at a certain moment, we should have been quite secure. I can quite feel that you cannot, like myself, be thinking only of that; but I would rather have more patience and not risk so much. I am sure that M. Danceny would speak as I do: for, every time that he wanted something which caused me too much pain, he always consented that it should not be.

I will give you back, Monsieur, at the same time as this letter, your own, that of M. Danceny, and your key. I am nonetheless grateful for all your kindnesses, and I beseech you to continue them. It is very true that I am most unhappy, and without you I should be even more so; but, after all, she is my mother; I must needs have patience. And provided that M. Danceny goes on loving me, and you do not abandon me, perhaps a happier time will come.

I have the honor to be, Monsieur, with much gratitude, your most humble and obedient servant.