Cécile reports to the Marquise (Letter One Hundred and Nine) that she sees Valmont nightly, and that though she does not understand what is happening, the Marquise must know best, so she puts her trust in her advice.

At his fourth rejected letter to the Présidente, Valmont writes to the Marquise (Letter One Hundred and Ten) to bemoan his fate. He writes that the only pleasure remaining him is his nightly instruction of Cécile.

Finally, the Comte de Gercourt, writes to Madame Volanges (Letter One Hundred and Eleven) to ask her if it will be possible to postpone the wedding another few months while he takes a vacation in Italy.


In this exchange we see the introduction of actual plot elements. The choices of Madame Volanges suddenly become central to the outcome of the novel. We wonder whether she will she allow Cécile to marry Danceny, and whether she will summon Gercourt back from Italy to marry Cécile before Valmont can finish debauching her. A certain amount of suspense enters along with these uncertainties, since we can visualize a "happy ending" (Cécile's marriage to Danceny). It is then also interesting to see how the Marquise seizes on this possibility (Letters One Hundred and Four and One Hundred and Five) and immediately takes action to prevent this kind of good fortune. We learn later that the Marquise has intentions of her own for Danceny, but there is another possible explanation for her preventative measures. The thought of accord between two people in life, and just not for sake of momentary mutual advantage, is repulsive to her.

This brings us to the issue of education, another theme very close to the Marquise's heart. It is unclear whether her frequent referral to the seduction of Cécile as the girl's "education" is entirely an unkind joke. Valmont seems to participate in this unusual view of education as well. In Letter One Hundred and Ten, he describes Cécile's recent anatomy lessons, in which he has taught her "a sort of debauchee's catechism" ("une espèce de catéchisme à débauche") to help her remember the names of all the parts. Indeed, Merteuil seems to have had a place in her company all picked out for Cécile, once she had undergone a few tests and trials (Letter One Hundred and Six). Marquise refers to an education for the stage. In Merteuil's opinion, a woman is made, and not born, and she is a character she herself creates or writes. The right "material" is absolutely essential for the creation of a proper character; without it, a woman cannot control her own fate or her own person.