These theatrical affairs disturb me greatly, for I was in great form. For the last month I was even in an exaltation bordering on madness!
I have met the unavoidable Harrisse, a man who knows everyone, and who is a judge of everything, theatre, novels, finances, politics, etc. What a race is that of enlightened men!!! I have seen Plessy, charming and always beautiful. She asked me to send you a thousand friendly messages.
For my part, I send you a hundred thousand affectionate greetings.
Your old friend
Ouf! I have just finished my gods, that is to say the mythological part of my Saint-Antoine, on which I have been working since the beginning of June. How I want to read it to you, dear master of the good God!
Why did you resist your good impulse? Why didn’t you come this autumn? You should not stay so long without seeing Paris. I shall be there day after tomorrow, and I shall have no amusement there at all this winter, what with Aisse, a volume of verse to be printed (I should like to show you the preface), and Heaven knows what else. A lot of things that are not at all diverting.
I did not receive the second article that was announced. Your old troubadour has an aching head. My longest nights these three months have not exceeded five hours. I have been grubbing in a frantic manner. Furthermore, I think I have brought my book to a pretty degree of insanity. The idea of the foolish things that it will make the bourgeois utter sustains me, or rather I don’t need to be sustained, as such a situation pleases me naturally.
The good bourgeois is becoming more and more stupid! He does not even go to vote! The brute beasts surpass him in their instinct for self-preservation. Poor France! Poor us!
What do you think I am reading now to distract myself? Bichat and Cabanis, who amuse me enormously. They knew how to write books then. Ah! how far our doctors of today are from those men!
We suffer from one thing only: Absurdity. But it is formidable and universal. When they talk of the brutishness of the plebe, they are saying an unjust, incomplete thing. Conclusion: the enlightened classes must be enlightened. Begin by the head, which is the sickest, the rest will follow.
You are not like me! You are full of compassion. There are days when I choke with wrath, I would like to drown my contemporaries in latrines, or at least deluge their cockscombs with torrents of abuse, cataracts of invectives. Why? I wonder myself.
What sort of archeology is Maurice busy with? Embrace your little girls warmly for me.
Your old friend
I hear from Plauchut that you won’t let yourself be abducted for our Christmas Eve revels. You say you have too much to do. That is so much the worse for us, who would have had such pleasure in seeing you.—You were at Ch. Edmond’s successful play, you are well, you have a great deal to do, you still detest the silly bourgeois; and with all that, is Saint-Antoine finished and shall we read it soon?