Give me news of yourself, tell me of your poor mother, your family, of Croisset. Love us still, as we love you.
Well, dear master, it seems to me that you are forgetting your troubadour, aren’t you? Are you then quite overwhelmed with work! How long a time it is since I saw your good firm writing! How long it is since we have talked together! What a pity that we should live so far from each other! I need you very much.
I don’t dare to leave my poor mother! When I am obliged to be away, Caroline comes to take my place. If it were not for that, I should go to Nohant. Shall you stay there indefinitely? Must we wait till the middle of the winter to embrace each other?
I should like very much to read you Saint-Antoine, which is half done, then to stretch myself and to roar at your side.
Some one who knows that I love you and who admires you brought me a copy of le Gaulois in which there were parts of an article by you on the workmen, published in le Temps. How true it is! How just and well said! Sad! Sad! Poor France! And they accuse me of being skeptical.
But what do you think of Mademoiselle Papevoine, the incendiary, who, in the midst of a barricade, submitted to the assaults of eighteen citizens! That surpasses the end of l’Education sentimentale where they limit themselves to offering flowers.
But what goes beyond everything now, is the conservative party, which is not even going to vote, and which is still in a panic! You cannot imagine the alarm of the Parisians. “In six months, sir, the Commune will be established everywhere” is the answer or rather the universal groan.
I do not look forward to an imminent cataclysm because nothing that is foreseen happens. The International will perhaps triumph in the end, but not as it hopes, not as they dread. Ah! how tired I am of the ignoble workmen, the incompetent bourgeois, the stupid peasant and the odious ecclesiastic!
That is why I lose myself as much as I can in antiquity. Just now I am making all the gods talk in a state of agony. The subtitle of my book could be The Height of Insanity. And the printing of it withdraws further and further into my mind. Why publish? Who pray is bothering about art nowadays? I make literature for myself as a bourgeois turns napkin rings in his garret. You will tell me that I had better be useful. But how? How can I make people listen to me?
Tourgueneff has written me that he is going to stay in Paris all winter beginning with October. That will be some one to talk to. For I can’t talk of anything whatever with anyone whatever.
I have been looking after the grave of my poor Bouilhet today; so tonight I have a twofold bitterness.