Dangerous Liaisons —37—


I YIELD, MADAME, TO the counsels which your friendship gives me. Accustomed as I am to defer in all things to your opinions, I am ready to believe that they are always based on reason. I will even admit that M. de Valmont must be, indeed, infinitely dangerous, if he can, at the same time, feign to be what he appears here and remain such a man as you paint him. However that may be, since you request it, I will keep him away from me; at least I will do my utmost: for often things which ought to be at bottom the most simple become embarrassing in practice.

It still seems to me impracticable to make this request to his aunt; it would be equally ungracious both to her and to him. Neither would I adopt the course, without the greatest repugnance, of going away myself: for apart from the reasons I have already given you relative to M. de Tourvel, if my departure were to annoy M. de Valmont, as is possible, would it not be easy for him to follow me to Paris? And his return, of which I should be—or at least should appear—the motive, would it not seem more strange than a meeting in the country, at the house of a lady who is known to be his relation and my friend?

There is left me then no other resource than to induce himself to consent to going away. I feel that this proposal is difficult to make; however, as he seems to me to have set his heart on proving to me that he has, effectually, more honesty than is attributed to him, I do not despair of success. I shall not be sorry even to attempt it, and to have an occasion of judging whether, as he has often said, truly virtuous women never have had, and never will have, to complain of his behavior. If he leaves, as I desire, it will indeed be out of consideration for me; for I cannot doubt but that he proposes to spend a great part of the autumn here. If he refuses my request and insists upon remaining, there will still be time for me to leave myself, and that I promise you.

That is, I believe, Madame, all that your friendship demanded of me; I am eager to satisfy it, and to prove to you that in spite of the warmth I may have used to defend M. de Valmont, I am nonetheless disposed, not only to heed, but also to follow, the counsels of my friends.

I have the honor to be, etc.