The good Tourgueneff has sent me news from the depths of Scythia. He has found the information he wanted for a book that he is going to do. The tone of his letter is frivolous, from which I conclude that he is well. He will return to Paris in a month.
A fortnight ago I made a little trip to Lower Normandy, where I have found at last a neighborhood suitable to place my two good men. It will be between the valley of the Orne and the valley of the Auge. I shall have to return there several times.
Beginning with September, then, I shall start that hard task! it makes me afraid, and I am overwhelmed by it in advance.
As you know Switzerland, it is useless for me to talk to you of it, and you would scorn me if I were to tell you that I am bored to extinction here. I came here obediently because they ordered me to, for the purpose of bleaching my face and calming my nerves! I don’t think that the remedy will be efficacious; anyhow it has been deadly boring to me. I am not a man of nature, and I do not understand anything in a country where there is no history. I would give all these glaciers for the Vatican Museum. One can dream there. Well, in three weeks I shall be glued to my green table! in a humble refuge, where it seems to me you never want to come!
I was in Paris from the 30th of May to the 10th of June, you were not there. Since my return here, I have been ill with the grippe, rheumatic, and often absolutely deprived of the use of my right arm. I have not the courage to stay in bed: I spend the evening with my children and I forget my little miseries which will pass; everything passes. That is why I was not able to write to you, even to thank you for the good letter which you wrote to me about my novel. In Paris I was overwhelmed by fatigue. That is the way I am growing old, and now I am beginning to feel it; I am not more often ill, now, illness PROSTRATES me more. That is nothing, I have not the right to complain, being well loved and well cared for in my nest. I urge Maurice to go about without me, since my strength is not equal to going with him. He leaves tomorrow for Cantal with a servant, a tent, a lamp, and a quantity of utensils to examine the micros of his entomological division I am telling him that you are bored on the Righi. He cannot understand it.
I am taking up my letter again, begun yesterday; I still find it very hard to move my pen, and even at this moment, I have a pain in my side, and I cannot...