I embrace you very warmly, dear master.
Your letter was forwarded to me from Paris. It isn’t lost. I think too much of them to let any be lost. You don’t speak to me of the floods, therefore I think that the Seine did not commit any follies at your place and that the tulip tree did not get its roots wet. I feared lest you were anxious and wondered if your bank was high enough to protect you. Here we have nothing of that sort to be afraid of; our streams are very wicked, but we are far from them.
You are happy in having such clear memories of other existences. Much imagination and learning—those are your memories; but if one does not recall anything distinct, one has a very lively feeling of one’s own renewal in eternity. I have a very amusing brother who often used to say “at the time when I was a dog. ...” He thought that he had become man very recently. I think that I was vegetable or mineral. I am not always very sure of completely existing, and sometimes I think I feel a great fatigue accumulated from having lived too much. Anyhow, I do not know, and I could not, like you, say, “I possess the past.”
But then you believe that one does not really die, since one lives again? If you dare to say that to the Smart Set, you have courage and that is good. I have the courage which makes me pass for an imbecile, but I don’t risk anything; I am imbecile under so many other counts.
I shall be enchanted to have your written impression of Brittany, I did not see enough to talk about. But I sought a general impression and that has served me for reconstructing one or two pictures which I need. I shall read you that also, but it is still an unformed mass.
Why did your trip remain unpublished? You are very coy. You don’t find what you do worth being described. That is a mistake. All that issues from a master is instructive, and one should not fear to show one’s sketches and drawings. They are still far above the reader, and so many things are brought down to his level that the poor devil remains common. One ought to love common people more than oneself, are they not the real unfortunates of the world? Isn’t it the people without taste and without ideals who get bored, don’t enjoy anything and are useless? One has to allow oneself to be abused, laughed at, and misunderstood by them, that is inevitable. But don’t abandon them, and always throw them good bread, whether or not they prefer filth; when they are sated with dirt they will eat the bread; but if there is none, they will eat filth in secula seculorum.