I have heard you say, “I write for ten or twelve people only.” One says in conversation, many things which are the result of the impression of the moment; but you are not alone in saying that. It was the opinion of the Lundi or the thesis of that day. I protested inwardly. The twelve persons for whom you write, who appreciate you, are as good as you are or surpass you. You never had any need of reading the eleven others to be yourself. But, one writes for all the world, for all who need to be initiated; when one is not understood, one is resigned and recommences. When one is understood, one rejoices and continues. There lies the whole secret of our persevering labors and of our love of art. What is art without the hearts and minds on which one pours it? A sun which would not project rays and would give life to no one.
After reflecting on it, isn’t that your opinion? If you are convinced of that, you will never know disgust and lassitude, and if the present is sterile and ungrateful, if one loses all influence, all hold on the public, even in serving it to the best of one’s ability, there yet remains recourse to the future, which supports courage and effaces all the wounds of pride. A hundred times in life, the good that one does seems not to serve any immediate use; but it keeps up just the same the tradition of wishing well and doing well, without which all would perish.
Is it only since ’89 that people have been floundering? Didn’t they have to flounder in order to arrive at ’48 when they floundered much more, but so as to arrive at what should be? You must tell me how you mean that and I will read Turgot to please you. I don’t promise to go as far as Holbach, although he has some good points, the ruffian!
Summon me at the time of Bouilhet’s play. I shall be here, working hard, but ready to run, and loving you with all my heart. Now that I am no longer a woman, if the good God was just, I should become a man; I should have the physical strength and would say to you: “Come let’s go to Carthage or elsewhere.” But there, one who has neither sex nor strength, progresses towards childhood, and it is quite otherwhere that one is renewed; where? I shall know that before you do, and, if I can, I shall come back in a dream to tell you.
Dear friend, they write me from the Odeon that Bouilhet’s play is on the 27th. I must be in Paris the 26th. Business calls me in any event. I shall dine at Magny’s on that day, and the next, and the day after that. Now you know where to find me, for I think that you will come for the first performance. Yours always, with a full heart,
Dear friend, since the play is on the 29th I shall give two more days to my children and I leave here the 28th. You have not told me if you will dine with me and your friend on the 29th informally, at Magny’s at whatever hour you wish. Let me find a line at 97 rue des Feuillantines, on the 28th.