I am perhaps blinding myself, but I think that I am now writing something very quick and easy to play. We shall see.
Adieu, dear master, embrace all yours for me.
Your old good-for-nothing Cruchard, friend of Chalumeau. Note that name. It is a gigantic story, but it requires one to toe the mark to tell it suitably.
I don’t know where you are at present, Cruchard of my heart. I am addressing this to Paris whence I suppose it will be forwarded to you. I have been ill, your reverence, nothing except a stupid anemia, no legs, no appetite, continual sweat on the forehead and my heart as jumpy as a pregnant woman; it is unfair, that condition, when one gets to the seventies, I begin my seventieth spring tomorrow, cured after a half score of river baths. But I find it so comfortable to rest that I have not yet done an iota of work since I returned from Paris, and until I opened my ink-well again to write to you today. We reread your letter this morning in which you said that Maurice had lost his wager. He insists that he has won it as you are taking out the vertus theologales.
As for me, bet or no bet, I want you to keep the new version which is quite in the atmosphere, while the theological virtues are not.— Have you any news of Tourgueneff? I am worried about him. Madame Viardot wrote me, several days ago, that he had fallen and hurt his leg.—Yes, I have read l’Abandonnee, it is very beautiful as is all that he does. I hope that his injury is not serious! such a thing is always serious with gout.
So you are still working frantically? Unhappy one! you don’t know the ineffable pleasure of doing nothing! And how good work will seem to me after it! I shall delay it however as long as possible. I am getting more and more of the opinion that nothing is worth the trouble of being said!
Don’t believe a word of that, do write lovely things, and love your old troubadour who always cherishes you.
Love from all Nohant.
Why do you leave me so long without any news of yourself, dear good master? I am cross with you, there!
I am all through with the dramatic art. Carvalho came here last Saturday to hear the reading of le Sexe faible, and seemed to me to be satisfied with it. He thinks it will be a success. But I put so little confidence in the intelligence of all those rascals, that for my part, I doubt it.
I am exhausted, and I am now sleeping ten hours a night, not to mention two hours a day. That is resting my poor brain.
I am going to resume my readings for my wretched book, which I shall not begin for a full year.
Do you know where the great Tourgueneff is now?
A thousand affectionate greetings to all and to you the best of everything from your old friend.