I want to start back again. I did not see you enough, you and your surroundings; but I must rush off to the children, who are calling and threatening me. I embrace you and I bless you all.
On going home yesterday, I found Couture to whom I said on your behalf that his portrait of me was, according to you, the best that anyone had made. He was not a little flattered. I am going to hunt up an especially good copy to send you.
I forgot to get three leaves from the tulip tree, you must send them to me in a letter, it is for something cabalistic.
Send me back the lace shawl. My faithful porter will forward it to me wherever I am. I don’t know yet. If my children want to go with me into Brittany, I shall go to fetch them, if not I shall go on alone wherever chance leads me. In travelling, I fear only distractions. But I take a good deal on myself and I shall end by improving myself. You write me a good dear letter which I kiss. Don’t forget the three leaves from the tulip tree. They are asking me at the Odeon to let them perform a fairy play: la Nuit de Noel from the Theatre de Nohant, I don’t want to, it’s too small a thing. But since they have that idea, why wouldn’t they try your fairy play? Do you want me to ask them? I have a notion that this would be the right theatre for a thing of that type. The management, Chilly and Duquesnel, wants to have scenery and machinery and yet keep it literary. Let us discuss this when I return here.
You still have the time to write to me. I shall not leave for three days yet. Love to your family.
I forgot! Levy promises to send you my complete works, they are endless. You must stick them on a shelf in a corner and dig into them when your heart prompts you.
I have just returned from a twelve days trip with my children, and on getting home I find your two letters. That fact, added to the joy of seeing Mademoiselle Aurore again, fresh and pretty, makes me quite happy. And you my Benedictine, you are quite alone in your ravishing monastery, working and never going out? That is what it means to have already gone out too much. Monsieur craves Syrias, deserts, dead seas, dangers and fatigues! But nevertheless he can make Bovarys in which every little cranny of life is studied and painted with mastery. What an odd person who can also compose the fight between the Sphinx and the Chimaera! You are a being quite apart, very mysterious, gentle as a lamb with it all. I have had a great desire to question you, but a too great respect for you has prevented me; for I know how to make light only of my own calamities, while those which a great mind has had to undergo so as to be in a condition to produce, seem to me like sacred things which should not be touched roughly nor thoughtlessly.