Dear friend, as I’m always out, I don’t want you to come and find the door shut and me far away. Come at six o’clock and dine with me and my children whom I expect tomorrow. We dine at Magny’s always at 6 o’clock promptly. You will give us ‘a sensible pleasure’ as used to say, as would have said, alas, the unhappy Goulard. You are an exceedingly kind brother to promise to be at Don Juan. For that I kiss you twice more.
XI. TO GUSTAVE FLAUBERT
It is next Thursday,
I wrote you last night, and our letters must have crossed.
Yours from the heart,
Sunday, 5 August, 1866.
My good comrade and friend, I am going to see Alexandre at Saint-Valery Saturday evening. I shall stay there Sunday and Monday, I shall return Tuesday to Rouen and go to see you. Tell me how that strikes you. I shall spend the day with you if you like, returning to spend the night in Rouen, if I inconvenience you as you are situated, and I shall leave Wednesday morning or evening for Paris. A word in response at once, by telegraph if you think that your answer would not reach me by post before Saturday at 4 o’clock.
I think that I shall be all right but I have a horrid cold. If it grows too bad, I shall telegraph that I can not stir; but I have hopes, I am already better.
I embrace you.
Dear friend, I shall be in Rouen on Tuesday at 1 o’clock, I shall plan accordingly. Let me explore Rouen which I don’t know, or show it to me if you have the time. I embrace you. Tell your mother how much I appreciate and am touched, by the kind little line which she wrote to me.
First of all, embrace your good mother and your charming niece for me. I am really touched by the kind welcome I received in your clerical setting, where a stray animal of my species is an anomaly that one might find constraining. Instead of that, they received me as if I were one of the family and I saw that all that great politeness came from the heart. Remember me to all the very kind friends. I was truly exceedingly happy with you. And then, you, you are a dear kind boy, big man that you are, and I love you with all my heart. My head is full of Rouen, of monuments and queer houses. All of that seen with you strikes me doubly. But your house, your garden, your citadel, it is like a dream and it seems to me that I am still there.
I found Paris very small yesterday, when crossing the bridges.