I am giving you an easy commission to do, this is it: I have had to aid a respectable and interesting person [Footnote: Mademoiselle de Flaugergues.] to whom the Prussians have left for a bed and chair, only an old garden bench. I sent her 300 francs, she needed 600. I begged from kind souls. They sent me what was necessary, all except the Princess Mathilde, from whom I asked 200 francs. She answered me the 19th of this month: How shall I send this to you?
I replied the same day; simply by mail. But I have received nothing. I do not insist, but I fear that the money may have been stolen or lost, and I am asking you to clear up the affair as quickly as possible.
With this, I embrace you, and Lolo, Aurore embraces you too and all the family which loves you.
[The words ‘Aurore embraces you too’ were written by the little girl herself.]
Your letter which I have just found again, makes me remorseful, for I have not yet done your errand to the princess. I was several days without knowing where the princess was. She was to have come to get settled in Paris, and send me word of her arrival. Today at last I learn that she is at Saint-Gratien where I shall go on Sunday evening probably. Anyway your commission shall be done next week.
You must forgive me, for I have not had for the last two weeks ten minutes of freedom. The revival of Ruy Blas which was going to be put ahead of Aisse had to be put off (it was a hard job). Well, the rehearsals are to begin on Monday next. I read the play to the actors today, and the roles are to be verified tomorrow. I think it will go well. I have had Bouilhet’s volume of verse printed, the preface of which I re-wrote. In short I am worn out! and sad! sad enough to croak. When I have to get into action I throw myself into it head first. But my heart is breaking in disgust. That is the truth.
I have seen none of our friends except Tourgueneff, whom I have found more charming than ever. Give a good kiss to Aurore for her sweet message, and let her kiss you for me.
Your old friend
The money was stolen, I did not receive it, and it can not be claimed, for the sender would be liable to a suit. Thank the princess just the same for me, and for poor Mademoiselle de Flaugergues whom by the way, the minister is aiding with 200 francs. Her pension is 800.
You are in the midst of rehearsals, I pity you, and yet I imagine that in working for a friend one puts more heart in it, more confidence and much more patience. Patience, there is everything in that, and that is acquired.
I love you and I embrace you, how I would like to have you at Christmas! You can not, so much the worse for us. We shall drink you a toast and many speaches [sic].