Some days ago I went from here with Dumas to Brussels from where I thought to go direct to Paris. But “the new Athens” seems to me to surpass Dahomey in ferocity and imbecility. Has the end come to the humbugs? Will they have finished with hollow metaphysics and conventional ideas? All the evil comes from our gigantic ignorance. What ought to be studied is believed without discussion. Instead of investigating, people make assertions.
The French Revolution must cease to be a dogma, and it must become once more a part of science, like the rest of human things. If people had known more, they would not have believed that a mystical formula is capable of making armies, and that the word “Republic” is enough to conquer a million of well disciplined men. They would have left Badinguet on the throne expressly to make peace, ready to put him in the galleys afterward. If they had known more, they would have known what the volunteers of ’92 were and the retreat of Brunswick gained by bribery through Danton and Westermann. But no! always the same old story! always poppycock! There is now the Commune of Paris which is returning to the real Middle Ages! That’s flat! The question of leases especially, is splendid! The government interferes in natural rights now, it intervenes in contracts between individuals. The Commune asserts that we do not owe what we owe, and that one service is not paid for by another. It is an enormity of absurdity and injustice.
Many conservatives who, from love of order, wanted to preserve the Republic, are going to regret Badinguet and in their hearts recall the Prussians. The people of the Hotel de Ville have changed the object of our hatred. That is why I am angry with them. It seems to me that we have never been lower.
We oscillate between the society of Saint-Vincent de Paul and the International. But this latter commits too many imbecilities to have a long life. I admit that it may overcome the troops at Versailles and overturn the government, the Prussians will enter Paris, and “order will reign” at Warsaw. If, on the contrary, it is conquered, the reaction will be furious and all liberty will be strangled.
What can one say of the socialists who imitate the proceedings of Badinguet and of William: requisitions, suppressions of newspapers, executions without trial, etc.? Ah! what an immoral beast is the crowd! and how humiliating it is to be a man!
I embrace you!
Why no letters? Haven’t you received mine sent from Dieppe? Are you ill? Are you still alive? What does it mean? I hope very much that neither you (nor any of yours) are in Paris, capital of arts, cornerstone of civilization, center of fine manners and of urbanity?
Do you know the worst of all that? It is that we get accustomed to it. Yes! one does. One becomes accustomed to getting along without Paris, to worrying about it no longer, and almost to thinking that it exists no longer.