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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 378 pages of information about The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters.

As for letting my personal opinion be known about the people I put on the stage:  no, no, a thousand times no!  I do not recognize the right to that.  If the reader does not draw from a book the moral that should be found there, the reader is an imbecile or the book is false from the point of view of accuracy.  For, the moment that a thing is true, it is good.  Obscene books likewise are immoral only because they lack truth.  Things are not “like that” in life.

And observe that I curse what they agree to call realism, although they make me one of its high priests; reconcile all that.

As for the public, its taste disgusts me more and more.  Yesterday, for instance, I was present at the first night of the Prix Martin, a piece of buffoonery that, for my part, I think full of wit.  Not one of the witty things in the play produced a laugh, and the denouement, which seems out of the ordinary, passed unperceived.  Then to look for what can please seems to me the most chimerical of undertakings.  For I defy anyone to tell me by what means one pleases.  Success is a consequence and must not be an end.  I have never sought it (although I desire it) and I seek it less and less.

After my little story, I shall do another,—­for I am too deeply shaken to start on a great work.  I had thought first of publishing Saint-Julien in a periodical, but I have given the plan up.

CCCX.  TO GEORGE SAND Friday evening...1876

Ah! thank you from the bottom of my heart, dear master!  You have made me pass an exquisite day, for I have read your last volume, la Tour de Percemont.—­Marianne only to-day; as I had many things to finish, among others my tale of Saint-Julien, I had shut up the aforesaid volume in a drawer so as not to succumb to the temptation.  As my little story was finished last night, I rushed upon your book when morning came and devoured it.

I find it perfect, two jewels!  Marianne moved me deeply and two or three times I wept.  I recognized myself in the character of Pierre.  Certain pages seemed to me fragments of my own memoirs, supposing I had the talent to write them in such a way!  How charming, poetic and true to life all that is!  La Tour de Percemont pleased me extremely.  But Marianne literally enchanted me.  The English think as I do, for in the last number of the Athenaeum there is a very fine article about you.  Did you know that?  So then, for this time, I admire you completely and without the least reserve.

There you are, and I am very glad of it.  You have never done anything to me that was not good; I love you tenderly!

CCCXI.  TO GUSTAVE FLAUBERT Sunday, Nohant, 5th April, 1876.

Victor Borie is in Italy, what must I write him?  Are you the man to go to find him and explain the affair to him?  He is somewhere near Civita-Vecchia, very much on the go and perhaps not easy to catch up with.

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