Dangerous Liaisons —89—


IF YOUR AFFAIRS DO not always advance as quickly as you could wish, my friend, it is not entirely me whom you must blame. I have more than one obstacle to overcome here. The vigilance and severity of Madame de Volanges are not the only ones; your young friend also throws some in my way. Whether from coldness or timidity, she does not always do as I advise her; and I think, nonetheless, that I know better than she what must be done.

I had found a sure, convenient and simple means of giving her your letters, and even of facilitating, subsequently, the interviews which you desire: but I could not persuade her to employ it. I am all the more distressed at this, as I cannot see any other means of bringing you together; and as, even with your correspondence, I am constantly afraid of compromising us all three. Now you may imagine that I am no more anxious to run that risk myself than to expose either of you to it.

I should be truly grieved, however, if your little friend’s lack of confidence were to prevent me from being useful to you; perhaps, you would do well to write to her on the subject. Consider what you want to do, it is for you alone to decide; for it is not enough to serve one’s friends, one must also serve them in their own manner. This might also be one means the more to assure yourself of her sentiments toward you; for the woman who keeps a will of her own does not love as much as she says.

’Tis not that I suspect your mistress of inconstancy: but she is very young; she has a great fear of her Mamma, who, as you know, only seeks to injure you; and perhaps it would be dangerous to stay too long without occupying her with you.fz Do not, however, render yourself unduly anxious by what I tell you. I have at bottom no reason for distrust; it is entirely the solicitude of friendship.

I do not write to you at greater length, because I too have certain affairs of my own. I am not as far advanced as you, but I am as fond;ga that is a consoling thought; and, even if I should not succeed for myself, if I succeed in being useful to you, I shall consider that my time has been well employed. Adieu, my friend.