Are you working? Is Saint-Antoine going well? Tell me what you are doing in Paris, what you are seeing, what you are thinking. I have not the courage to go there. Do come to see me before you return to Croisset. I am blue from not seeing you, it is a sort of death.
I find Paris a little less mad than in June, at least on the surface. They are beginning to hate Prussia in a natural manner, that is to say, they are getting back into French tradition. They no longer make phrases in praise of her civilizations. As for the Commune, they expect to see it rise again later, and the “established order” does absolutely nothing to prevent its return. They are applying old remedies to new woes, remedies that have never cured (nor prevented) the least ill. The reestablishment of credit seems to me colossally absurd. One of my friends made a good speech against it; the godson of your friend Michel de Bourges, Bardoux, mayor of Clermont-Ferrand.
I think, like you, that the bourgeois republic can be established. Its lack of elevation is perhaps a guarantee of stability. It will be the first time that we have lived under a government without principles. The era of positivism in politics is about to begin.
The immense disgust which my contemporaries give me throws me back on the past, and I am working on my good Saint-Antoine with all my might. I came to Paris only for it, for it is impossible for me to get in Rouen the books that I need now; I am lost in the religions of Persia. I am trying to get a clear idea of the God Horn, and it isn’t easy. I spent all the month of June in studying Buddhism, on which I already had many notes. But I wanted to get to the bottom of the subject as soon as possible. And I also did a little Buddha that I consider charming. Don’t I want to read you that book (mine)!
I am not going to Nohant, for I don’t care to go further I away from my mother now. Her society afflicts me and unnerves me, my niece Caroline takes turns with me in carrying on the dear and painful burden.
In a fortnight I shall be back in Croisset. Between the 15th and the 20th of August I am expecting the good Tourgueneff there. It would be very kind of you to come after him, dear master. I say come after, for we have only one decent room since the visit of the Prussians. Come, make a good effort. Come in September.
Have you any news of the Odeon? I can’t get any response whatsoever from de Chilly. I have been to his house several times and I have written three letters to him: not a word! Those gay blades behave towards one like great lords, which is charming. I don’t know if he is still director, or if the management has been given to the Berton, Laurent, Bernard company, do you?
Berton wrote to me to recommend him (and them) to d’Osmoy, deputy and president of the dramatic commission, but since then I have not heard anything mentioned.