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Dangerous Liaisons

Pierre Ambroise Laclos

Part Four, Exchange Thirteen: Letters 138–149

Part Four, Exchange Twelve: Letters 125–137

Part Four, Exchange Thirteen: Letters 138–149, page 2

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Summary

In Letter One Hundred and Thirty-eight, Valmont assures the Marquise de Merteuil again that he is not in love. He relates the story of how he snubbed Tourvel while in his carriage with the courtesan, Emilie. He adds that he has also taken care to send Tourvel a saccharine note explaining, but not apologizing for, his behavior.

Having received said saccharine note, the Présidente de Tourvel writes to Madame de Rosemonde (Letter One Hundred and Thirty-nine) to tell her that she was misled about Valmont's actions. He is innocent and she was too hasty to blame him.

Valmont composes another letter to the Marquise (Letter One Hundred and Forty) in which he recounts an episode with Cécile. One night, after he and Cécile had been making love, the wind blew the door of his room open. As he rushed up to see if someone was intruding on them, Cécile fell off the bed in fright. When Valmont returned, she was having seizures on the floor. Valmont promptly diagnosed her attack as a miscarriage and set about explaining to the girl what a pregnancy was and then he recommended she go see a doctor.

The Marquise is not phased by Valmont's description of Cécile's miscarriage. Her only interest is in ending his affair with Tourvel as quickly as possible. To that end, in Letter One Hundred and Forty-one, she tells him the exemplary story of a man who had gotten involved with a woman he needed to be rid of. When this woman blamed him or begged him not to leave her, the man simply said, "It is not my fault" ("Ce n'est pas ma faute"). Thus he was finally rid of her.

Valmont thanks the Marquise for her letter-writing advice (Letter One Hundred and Forty-two) and tells her cheerfully that he has sent a copy of the sample epistle to the Présidente. He challenges Merteuil to tell him now that he is still in love with Tourvel.

Meanwhile, Tourvel is devastated. She tells Madame de Rosemonde (Letter One Hundred and Forty-three) that the only thing she has to look forward to now is death.

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