All that results from our charming profession. That is what it means to torment the soul and the body. But perhaps this torment is our proper lot here below?
I told you, didn’t I, that I had reread Consuelo and the Comtesse de Rudolstadt; it took me four days. We must discuss them at length, when you are willing. Why am I in love with Siverain? Perhaps because I am of both sexes.
Here I am at home, fairly strong except for several hours during the evening. Yet, that will pass. The evil or he who endures it, my old cure used to say, can not last. I received your letter this morning, dear friend of my heart. Why do I love you more than most of the others, even more than old and well-tried friends? I am asking, for my condition at this hour, is that of being
Thou who GOEST seeking,
Yes, intellectual fortune, light! Oh well, here it is: one gets, being old, at the sunset of life,—which is the most beautiful hour of tones and reflections,—a new idea of everything and of affection above all.
In the age of power and of personality, one tests one’s friends as one tests the earth, from the point of view of reciprocity. One feels oneself solid, one wants to find that which bears one or leads one, solid. But, when one feels the intensity of the moi fleeing, one loves persons and things for what they are in themselves, for what they represent in the eyes of one’s soul, and not at all for what they add further to one’s destiny. It is like the picture or the statue which one would like to own, when one dreams at the same time of a beautiful house of one’s own in which to put it.
But one has passed through green Bohemia without gathering anything there; one has remained poor, sentimental and troubadourish. One knows very well that it will always be the same, and that one will die without a hearth or a home. Then one thinks of the statue, of the picture which one would not know what to do with and which one would not know where to place with due honor, if one owned it. One is content to know that they are in some temple not profaned by cold analysis, a little far from the eye, and one loves them so much the more. One says: I will go again to the country where they are. I shall see again and I shall love always that which has made me love and understand them. The contact of my personality will not have changed them, it will not be myself that I shall love in them.
And it is thus, truly, that the ideal which one does not dream of grasping, fixes itself in one because it remains itself. That is all the secret of the beautiful, of the only truth, of love, friendship, of art, of enthusiasm, and of faith. Consider it, you will see.