Farewell, dear good adored master, friendly regards to yours. Kisses to the dear little girls, and all my love to you.
P.S. Could you give me a copy or the original of Cruchard’s biography; I have no draft of it and I want to reread it to freshen up my ideal.
Those who say that I do not think Saint-Antoine beautiful! and excellent, lie about it, I do not need to tell you. Let me ask you how I could have confided in the Levy clerks whom I do not know! I remember, as for Levy himself, saying to him last summer, that I found the thing superb and first class.
I would have done an article for you if I had not already refused Maurice recently, to do one about Hugo’s Quatre-vingt-treize. I said that I was ill. The fact is, that I do not know how to do articles, and I have done so many of them for Hugo that I have exhausted my subject. I wonder why he has never done any for me; for, really, I am no more of a journalist than he is, and I need his support much more than he needs mine.
On the whole, articles are not of any use, now, no more than are friends at the theatre. I have told you that it is the struggle of one against all, and the mystery, if there is one, is to turn on an electric current. The subject then is very important in the theatre. In a novel, one has time to win the reader over. What a difference! I do not say as you do that there is nothing mysterious in that. Yes, indeed, there is something very mysterious in one respect: namely that one can not judge of one’s effect beforehand, and that the shrewdest are mistaken ten times out of fifteen. You say yourself that you have been mistaken. I am at work now on a play; it is not possible to know if I am mistaken or not. And when shall I know? The day after the first performance, if I have it performed, which is not certain. There is no fun in anything except work that has not been read to any one. All the rest is drudgery and professional business, a horrible thing. So make fun of all this gossip; the guiltiest ones are those who report it to you. I think it is very odd that they say so much against you to your friends. No one indeed ever says anything to me: they know that I would not allow it. Be valiant and content since Saint-Antoine is doing well and selling better. What difference does it make if they cut you up in this or that paper? In former times it meant something; in these days, nothing. The public is not the public of other days, and journalism has not the least literary influence. Every one is a critic and forms his own opinions. They never write articles about my novels. That doesn’t make any difference to me.
I embrace you and we love you.
Your old troubadour.