When they forbade the playing of Mademoiselle La Quintinie, you were too stoical, dear master, or too indifferent. You should always protest against injustice and folly, you should bawl, froth at the mouth, and smash when you can. If I had been in your place with your authority, I should have made a grand row. I think too that Father Hugo was wrong in keeping quiet about le Roi s’amuse. He often asserts his personality on less legitimate occasions.
At Rouen they are having processions, but the effect is completely spoiled, and the result of it is deplorable for fusion! What a misfortune! Among the imbecilities of our times, that (fusion) is perhaps the greatest. I should not be surprised if we should see little Father Thiers again! On the other hand many Reds, from fear of the clerical reaction, have gone over to Bonapartism. One needs a fine dose of simplicity to keep any political faith.
Have you read the Antichrist? I find that indeed a beautiful book, aside from some faults of taste, some modern expressions applied to ancient things. Renan seems to me on the whole to have progressed. I passed all one evening recently with him and I thought him adorable.
The existence of Cruchard is a beautiful poem, so much in keeping, that I don’t know if it is a fictitious biography or the copy for a real article done in good faith. I had to laugh a bit after the departure of all the Viardots (except Viardot) and the big Muscovite, who was charming although very much indisposed from time to time. He left very well and very gay, but regretting not to have been to see you. The truth is that he was ill just then. He has had a disordered stomach, like me, for some time. I get well by being moderate, and he does not! I excuse him; after these crises one is famished, and if it is because of an empty stomach that one has to fill up, he must be terribly famished. What a kind, excellent and worthy man! And what modest talent! Everyone adores him here and I give them the example. We adore you too, Cruchard of my heart. But you love your work better than your friends, and in that you are inferior to the real Cruchard, who at least adored our holy religion.
By the way, I think that we shall have Henry V. They tell me that I am seeing the dark side of things; I don’t see anything, but I perceive the odor of sacristies that increases. If that should not last a long time, I should like our clerical bourgeois to undergo the scorn of those whose lands they have bought and whose titles they have taken. It would be a good thing.
What lovely weather in our country! I still go every day to dip into the cold rush of my little river and I feel better. I hope to resume tomorrow my work that has been absolutely abandoned for six months. Ordinarily, I take shorter holidays; but the flowering of the meadow saffron always warns me that it is time to begin grubbing again. Here it is, let us grub. Love me as I love you.