Dangerous Liaisons —25—


THIS IS YESTERDAY’S BULLETIN. At eleven o’clock I visited Madame de Rosemonde, and, under her auspices, I was introduced into the presence of the pretended invalid, who was still in her bed. Her eyes looked very worn; I hope she slept as badly as I did. I seized a moment when Madame de Rosemonde had turned away to deliver my letter: it was refused; but I left it on the bed, and went decorously to the side of my old aunt’s armchair. She wished to be near her dear child. It was necessary to conceal the letter to avoid scandal. The invalid was artless enough to say that she thought she had a little fever. Madame de Rosemonde persuaded me to feel her pulse, vaunting mightily my knowledge of medicine. My beauty then had the double vexation of being forced to give me her hand, and of feeling that her little falsehood was to be discovered. I took her hand, which I pressed in one of mine, while, with the other, I ran over her fresh and rounded arm. The naughty creature made no response, which impelled me to say, as I withdrew, “There is not even the slightest symptom.” I suspected that her gaze would be severe, and to punish her, I refused to meet it: a moment later she said that she wished to rise, and we left her alone. She appeared at dinner, which was a somber one; she gave out that she would not take a walk, which was as much as to tell me that I should have no opportunity of conversing with her. I was well aware that, at this point, I must put in a sigh and a mournful look; no doubt she was waiting for that, for it was the one moment of the day when I succeeded in meeting her eyes. Virtuous as she is, she has her little ruses like another.bm I found a moment to ask of her if she had had the kindness to inform me of my fate, and I was somewhat astonished when she answered, “Yes, Monsieur, I have written to you.” I was mighty anxious to have this letter, but whether it were a ruse again, or for awkwardness, or shyness, she did not give it to me till the evening, when she was retiring to her apartment. I send it you, as well as the first draft of mine; read and judge; see with what signal falsity she says that she feels no love, when I am sure of the contrary; and then she will complain if I deceive her afterward, when she does not fear to deceive me before! My lovely friend, the cleverest of men can do no more than keep on a level with the truest woman. I must needs, however, feign to believe all this nonsense, and weary myself with despair, because it pleases Madame to play at severity ! It is hard not to be revenged on such baseness! Ah, patience! … But adieu. I have still much to write. By the way, return me the letter of the fair barbarian; it might happen later that she would expect one to attach a value to those wretched sheets, and one must be in order.

I say nothing to you of the little Volanges; we will talk of her at an early day.