Are you in Paris in the midst of all this torment? What a lesson the people are getting who want absolute masters! France and Prussia are cutting each other’s throats for reasons that they don’t understand! Here we are in the midst of great disasters, and what tears at the end of it all, even should we be the victors! One sees nothing but poor peasants mourning for their children who are leaving.
The mobilization takes away those who were left with us and how they are being treated to begin with! What disorder, what disarray in that military administration, which absorbed everything and had to swallow up everything! Is this horrible experience going to prove to the world that warfare ought to be suppressed or that civilization has to perish?
We have reached the point this evening of knowing that we are beaten. Perhaps tomorrow we shall know that we have beaten, and what will there be good or useful from one or the other?
It has rained here at last, a horrible storm which destroyed everything.
The peasant is working and ploughing his fields; digging hard always, sad or gay. He is imbecile, people say; no, he is a child in prosperity, a man in disaster, more of a man than we who complain; he says nothing, and while people are killing, he is sowing, repairing continually on one side what they are destroying from the other. We are going to try to do as he, and to hunt a bubbling spring fifty or a hundred yards below ground. The engineer is here, and Maurice is explaining to him the geology of the soil.
We are trying to dig into the bowels of the earth to forget all that is going on above it. But we cannot distract ourselves from this terror!
Write me where you are; I am sending this to you on the day agreed upon to rue Murillo. We love you, and we all embrace you.
Nohant, Sunday evening.
I got to Paris on Monday, and I left it again on Wednesday. Now I know the Parisian to the very bottom, and I have excused in my heart those most ferocious politics of 1793. Now, I understand them! What imbecility! what ignorance! what presumption! My compatriots make me want to vomit. They are fit to be put in the same sack with Isidore!
This people deserves to be chastised, and I fear that it will be.
It is impossible for me to read anything whatever, still more so to write anything. I spend my time like everyone else in waiting for news. Ah! if I did not have my mother, I would already be gone!
I wrote to you to Paris according to your instructions the 8th. Weren’t you there then? Probably so: in the midst of all this confusion, to publish Bouilhet, a poet! this is not the moment. As for me, my courage is weak. There is always a woman under the skin of the old troubadour. This human butchery tears my poor heart to pieces. I tremble too for all my children and friends, who perhaps are to be hacked to pieces.