As for me, I am not like the bourgeois; I consider that after the invasion there are no more misfortunes. The war with Prussia gave me the effect of a great upheaval of nature, one of those cataclysms that happen every six thousand years; while the insurrection in Paris is, to my eyes, a very clear and almost simple thing.
What retrogressions! What savages! How they resemble the people of the League and the men in armor! Poor France, who will never free herself from the Middle Ages! who labors along in the Gothic idea of the Commune, which is nothing else than the Roman municipality. Oh! I assure you that my heart is heavy over it!
And the little reaction that we are going to have after that? How the good ecclesiastics are going to flourish again!
I have started at Saint-Antoine once more, and I am working tremendously.
No, certainly I do not forget you! I am sad, sad, that is to say, that I am stunned, that I watch the spring, that I am busy, that I talk as if there were nothing; but I have not been able to be alone an instant since that horrible occurrence without falling into a bitter despair. I make great efforts to prevent it; I do not want to be discouraged; I do not want to deny the past and dread the future; but it is my will, it is my reason that struggles against a profound impression unsurmountable up to the present moment.
That is why I did not want to write to you before feeling better, not that I am ashamed to have crises of depression, but because I did not want to increase your sadness already so profound, by adding the weight of mine to it. For me, the ignoble experiment that Paris is attempting or is undergoing, proves nothing against the laws of the eternal progression of men and things, and, if I have gained any principles in my mind, good or bad, they are neither shattered nor changed by it. For a long time I have accepted patience as one accepts the sort of weather there is, the length of winter, old age, lack of success in all its forms. But I think that partisans (sincere) ought to change their formulas or find out perhaps the emptiness of every a priori formula.
It is not that which makes me sad. When a tree is dead, one should plant two others. My unhappiness comes from pure weakness of heart that I don’t know how to overcome. I cannot sleep over the suffering and even over the ignominy of others. I pity those who do the evil! while I recognize that they are not at all interesting, their moral state distresses me. One pities a little bird that has fallen from its nest; why not pity a heap of consciences fallen in the mud? One suffered less during the Prussian siege. One loved Paris unhappy in spite of itself, one pities it so much the more now that one can no longer love it. Those who never loved get satisfaction by mortally hating it. What shall we answer? Perhaps we should not answer at all. The scorn of France is perhaps the necessary punishment of the remarkable cowardice with which the Parisians have submitted to the riot and its adventurers. It is a consequence of the acceptance of the adventurers of the Empire; other felons but the same cowardice.