As regards the church. I have read in full (which I never did before) Lamennais’ Essai sur l’indifference. I know now, and thoroughly, all the great buffoons who had a disastrous influence on the XIXth century. To establish common sense or the prevailing mode and custom as the criterion of certitude, that is preparing the way for universal suffrage, which is, to my way of thinking, the shame of human kind.
I have just read also, la Chretienne by the Abbe Bautain. A curious book for a novelist. It smacks of its period of modern Paris. I gulped a volume by Garcin de Tassy on Hindustani literature, to get clean. One can breathe, at least, in that.
You see that your Father Cruchard is not entirely stupefied by the theatre. However, I haven’t anything to complain of in the Vaudeville. Everyone there is polite and exact! How different from the Odeon!
Our friend Chennevieres is now our superior, since the theatres are in his division. The theatrical people are enchanted.
I see the Muscovite every Sunday. He is very well and like him better and better.
Saint-Antoine will be in galley proof at the end of January.
Adieu, dear master! When shall we meet? Nohant is very far away! and I am going to be, all this winter, very busy.
I am seized with a headache, but, although perfectly imbecile, I want to embrace you and thank you for having written to me on New Year’s day. All Nohant loves you and smacks you, as they say in the country.
We wish you a magnificent success and we are glad that it is not to be at the cost of annoyances. However, that is hardly the way of the actors whom I have known, and at the Vaudeville I have found only those who were good natured. Have you a part for my friend Parade? And for Saint-Germain, who seemed to you idiotic one day when perhaps he had lunched too well, but who nevertheless is a fine addlepate, full of sympathy and spirit. And with real talent!
I am not reading all these horrid things that you feed on so as to sense better apparently the good things with which you sandwich them. I have stopped laughing at human folly, I flee it and try to forget it. As for admiration, I am always ready, it is the healthiest regime by far, and too, I am glad to know that I shall soon read Saint-Antoine again.
Keep in touch with your play and don’t get ill this hateful winter.
Your old troubadour who loves you.
I have at last a moment to myself, dear master; now let us talk a little.
I knew through Tourgueneff that you were doing very well. That is the main thing. Now I am going lo give you some news about that excellent Father Cruchard.