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Dangerous Liaisons

Pierre Ambroise Laclos

Contents

Part One, Exchange Four: Letters 27–36

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Summary

After the emotionally charged exchange between Valmont and Tourvel, Cécile's letter to the Marquise de Merteuil (Letter Twenty-seven) comes as a breath of fresh air. She writes to ask for advice about how to conduct herself in her budding affair with the Chevalier Danceny and includes the letter he has recently sent her (Letter Seventeen).

The Chevalier's most recent correspondence with Cécile follows directly after (Letter Twenty-eight). He now wants her to show him greater proof of her affection for him, claiming that he has already revealed himself to her. He complains that she must feel nothing at all for him, since she refuses to write.

Cécile worries and frets to Sophie over Danceny's complaints (Letter Twenty-nine). She finds fault with her own reluctance to reply, as well as fault with Sophie, who had encouraged her to remain silent. Fortunately, the Marquise de Merteuil has given her some solid advice, which she passes on the Sophie, "One should never admit to love until one can no longer help it" ("...qu'il ne fallait pas convenir d'avoir de l'amour, que quand on ne pouvait plus s'en empêcher...").

Apparently, Cécile can help it no longer. She composes a very strange avowal of love to her Chevalier (Letter Thirty) saying, "I...assure you of my love, since otherwise you are unhappy" ("Je...vous [assure] de mon amour, puisque, sans cela, vous seriez malheureux"). She invites him over for dinner that very night.

Danceny's reply is equally wooden (Letter Thirty-one), stating his confidence in their passion and his optimism for the future.

Letter Thirty-two changes the direction of the plot a little. Madame de Volanges writes to the Présidente de Tourvel to announce that no matter what the Présidente may say, she will not alter her bad opinion of the Vicomte de Valmont. She advises to Tourvel not to remain isolated on an estate with him.

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