Dangerous Liaisons —39—


I AM SAD AND anxious, my dear Sophie. I wept almost all night. It is not that I am not, for the moment, very happy, but I foresee that it will not last.

I went yesterday to the Opera with Madame de Merteuil; we spoke much of my marriage, and I have learned no good of it. It is M. le Comte de Gercourt whom I am to wed, and it is to be in the month of October. He is rich, he is a man of quality, he is colonel of the Regiment of—. So far, all very well. But, to begin with, he is old: imagine, he is at least thirty-six! and then, Madame de Merteuil says he is gloomy and stern, and she fears I shall not be happy with him. I could even see quite well that she was sure of it, only that she would not say so for fear of grieving me. She hardly talked to me of anything the whole evening, except of the duties of wives to their husbands: she admits that M. de Gercourt is not at all lovable, and yet she says I must love him. Did not she say also that, once married, I ought not to love the Chevalier Danceny any longer? as though that were possible! Oh, you can be very sure I shall love him always! Do you know, I would prefer not to be married. Let this M. de Gercourt look after himself, I never went in search of him. He is in Corsica at present, far away from here; I wish he would stay there ten years. If I were not afraid of being sent back to the convent, I would certainly tell Mamma that I don’t want a husband like that; but that would be still worse. I am very much embarrassed. I feel that I have never loved M. Danceny so well as I do now; and when I think that I have only a month more left me, to be as I am now, the tears rush suddenly to my eyes; I have no consolation except the friendship of Madame de Merteuil; she has such a good heart! She shares in all my troubles as much as I do myself; and then she is so amiable that, when I am with her, I hardly think any more of them. Besides, she is very useful to me, for the little that I know she has taught me: and she is so good that I can tell her all I think, without being in the least ashamed. When she finds that it is not right, she scolds me sometimes; but only quite gently, and then I embrace her with all my heart, until she is no longer cross. Her, at any rate, I can love as much as I like, without there being any harm in it, and that pleases me very much. We have agreed, however, that I am not to have the appearance of being so fond of her before everybody, and especially not before Mamma, so that she may have no suspicions about the Chevalier Danceny. I assure you that, if I could always live as I do now, I believe I should be very happy. It’s only that horrid M. de Gercourt … But I will say no more about him, else I should get sad again. Instead of that, I am going to write to the Chevalier Danceny; I shall only speak to him of my love and not of my troubles, for I do not want to distress him.

Adieu, my dear friend. You can see now that you would be wrong to complain, and that however busy I have been, as you say, there is time left me, all the same, to love you and to write to you.bz