Dear good master,
I should have answered at once your first, very kind letter. But I was too sad. I lacked physical strength.
At last, today, I am beginning to hear the birds singing and to see the leaves growing green. The sun irritates me no longer, which is a good sign. If I could feel like working again I should be all right.
Your second letter (that of yesterday) moved me to tears! You are so good! What a splendid creature you are! I do not need money now, thank you. But if I did need any, I should certainly ask you for it.
My mother has left Croisset to Caroline with the condition that I should keep my apartments there. So, until the estate is completely settled, I stay here. Before deciding on the future, I must know what I have to live on, after that we shall see.
Shall I have the strength to live absolutely alone in solitude? I doubt it, I am growing old. Caroline cannot live here now. She has two dwellings already, and the house at Croisset is expensive. I think I shall give up my Paris lodging. Nothing calls me to Paris any longer. All my friends are dead, and the last one, poor Theo, is not for long, I fear. Ah! it is hard to grow a new skin at fifty years of age!
I realized, during the last two weeks, that my poor dear, good mother was the being that I have loved the most! It is as if someone had torn out a part of my vitals.
I hold my poor Aurore, who has a terrible case of whooping-cough, day and night in my arms. I have an important piece of work that I must finish, and which I shall finish in spite of everything. If I have not already done the article on Bouilhet, rest assured it is because it is impossible. I shall do it at the same time as that on l’Annee terrible. I shall go to Paris between the 20th and 25th of May, at the latest. Perhaps sooner, if Maurice takes Aurore to Nimes where Lina and the littlest one are. I shall write to you, you must come to see me in Paris, or I will go to see you.