Find out from him if all that is true; I shall be obliged.
Dear friend, you shall have your information. I asked Peyrat last evening, I am writing today to Barbes who will answer directly to you.
Where do you think I have come from? From Normandy. A charming opportunity took me there six days ago. I had been enchanted with Jumieges. This time I saw Etretat, Yport, the prettiest of all the villages, Fecamp, Saint-Valery, which I knew, and Dieppe, which dazzled me; the environs, the chateau d’Arques, Limes, what a country! And I went back and forth twice within two steps of Croisset and I sent you some big kisses; always ready to return with you to the seaside or to talk with you at your house when you are free. If I had been alone, I should have bought an old guitar and should have sung a ballad under your mother’s window. But I could not take a large family to you.
I am returning to Nohant and I embrace you with all my heart.
I think that the Bois-Dore is going well, but I don’t know anything about it. I have a way of my own of being in Paris, namely, being at the seaside, which does not keep me informed of what is going on. But I gathered gentians in the long grass of the immense Roman fort of Limes where I had quite a stunning view of the sea. I walked out like an old horse, but I am returning quite frisky.
LXVIII. TO GEORGE SAND
At last, at last, I have news of you, dear master, and good news, which is doubly agreeable.
I am planning to return to my home in the country with Madame Sand, and my mother hopes that will be the case. What do you say? For, with all that goes on, we never see each other, confound it!
As for my moving, it is not that I lack the desire of being free to move about. But I should be lost if I stirred before I finish my novel. Your friend is a man of wax; everything gets imprinted on him, is encrusted on him, penetrates him. If I should visit you, I should think of nothing but you and yours, your house, your country, the appearance of the people I had met, etc. I require great efforts to gather myself together; I always tend to scatter myself. That is why, dear adored master, I deprive myself of going to sit down to dream aloud in your house. But, in the summer or autumn of 1869, you shall see what a fine commercial traveller I am, once let loose to the open air. I am abject, I warn you.
As to news, there is a quiet once more since the Kerveguen incident has died its beautiful death. Was it not a farce? and silly?
Sainte-Beuve is preparing a lecture on the press law. He is better, decidedly. I dined Tuesday with Renan. He was marvellously witty and eloquent, and artistic! as I have never seen him. Have you read his new book? His preface causes talk. My poor Theo worries me. I do not think him strong.