No, I shall not go to Cannes, in spite of a strong temptation! Imagine, I received a little box filled with flowers gathered out-doors, five or six days ago; for the package followed me to Paris and to Palaiseau. Those flowers are adorably fresh, they smell sweetly, they are as pretty as anything.—Ah! to go, go at once to the country of the sun. But I have no money, and besides I have no time. My illness has delayed me and put me off. Let us stay here. Am I not well? If I can’t go to Paris next month, won’t you come to see me here? Certainly, it is an eight hours’ journey. You can not see this ancient nook. You owe me a week, or I shall believe that I love a big ingrate who does not pay me back.
Poor Sainte-Beuve! More unhappy than we, he who has never had any great disappointments and who has no longer any material worries. He bewails what is the least regrettable and the least serious in life understood as he understood it! And then very proud, having been a Jansenist, his heart has cooled in that direction. Perhaps the intelligence was developed, but that does not suffice to make us live, and does not teach us how to die. Barbes, who has expected for a long time that a stroke would carry him off, is gentle and smiling. It does not seem to him, and it does not seem to his friends, that death will separate him from us. He who quite goes away, is he who believes he ends and does not extend a hand so that anyone can follow him or rejoin him.
And good-night, dear friend of my heart. They are ringing for the performance. Maurice regales us this evening with marionettes. They are very amusing, and the theatre is so pretty! A real artist’s jewel. Why aren’t you here? It is horrid not to live next door to those one loves.
I received yesterday your son’s book. I shall start it when I have gotten rid of less amusing readings, probably. Meanwhile, don’t thank him any the less, dear master.
First, let’s talk of you; “arsenic.” I am sure of it! You must drink iron, walk, and sleep, and go to the south, no matter what it costs, there! Otherwise the wooden woman will break down. As for money, we shall find it; and as for the time, take it. You won’t do anything that I advise, of course. Oh! well, you are wrong, and you hurt me.
No, I have not what you call worries about money; my revenues are very small, but they are sure. Only, as it is your friend’s habit to anticipate them he finds himself short at times, and he grumbles “in the silence of his closet,” but not elsewhere. Unless I have extraordinary reverses, I shall have enough to feed me and warm me until the end of my days. My heirs are or will be rich (for it is I who am the poor one of the family). Then, zut!
As for gaining money by my pen, that is an aspiration that I have never had, recognizing that I was radically incapable of it.