What are you doing now? We saw each other so little and so inconveniently the last time.
This letter is stupid. But they are making such a noise over my head that it is not clear (my head).
In the midst of my bewilderment, I embrace you and yours also. Your old blockhead who loves you.
Dear old troubadour,
We too are going away, but without knowing yet where we are going; it doesn’t make any difference to me. I wanted to take my brood to Switzerland; they would rather go in the opposite direction, to the Ocean; the Ocean will do! If only we travel and bathe, I shall be out of my mind with joy. Decidedly our two old troubadourships are two opposites. What bores you, amuses me; I love movement and noise, and even the tiresome things about travelling find favor in my eyes, provided they are a part of travelling. I am much more sensible to what disturbs the calm of sedentary life, than to that which is a normal and necessary disturbance in the life of motion.
I am absolutely like my grandchildren, who are intoxicated beforehand without knowing why. But it is curious to see how children, while loving the change, want to take with them their surroundings, their accustomed playthings, when they go out into the world. Aurore is packing her dolls’ trunk, and Gabrielle, who likes animals better, intends to take her rabbits, her little dog, and a little pig that she is taking care of until she eats it. Such is life [sic].
I believe that, in spite of your bad temper, this trip will do you good. It will make you rest your brain, and if you have to smoke less, so much the better! Health above all. I hope that your niece will make you move around a bit; she is your child; she ought to have some authority over you, or the world would be turned upside down.
I cannot refer you to the bookshop that you need for borrowing books. I send for such things to Mario Proth, and I don’t know where he finds them. When you get back to Paris, tell him from me to inform you. He is a devoted fellow, as obliging as possible. He lives at 2 rue Visconti. It occurs to me that Charles Edmond, too, might give you very good information; Troubat, [Footnote: Sainte-Beuve’s secretary.] also.
You are surprised that spoken words are not contracts; you are very simple; in business nothing holds except written documents. We are Don Quixotes, my old troubadour; we must resign ourselves to being trimmed by the innkeepers. Life is like that, and he who does not want to be deceived must go to live in a desert. It is not living to keep away from all the evil of this nether-world. One must swallow the bitter with the sweet.
As to your Saint-Antoine, if you let me, I shall see about finding you a publisher or a review on my next trip to Paris, but we ought to talk about it together and you ought to read it to me. Why shouldn’t you come to us in September? I shall be at home until winter.