I tenderly embrace you, my dear old fellow, and Maurice thinks your letter so fine that he is going to put the phrases and words at once in the mouth of his first philosopher. He bids me embrace you for him.
Madame Juliette Lambert [Footnote: Afterwards, Madame Edmond Adam.] is really charming; you would like her a great deal, and then you have it 18 degrees above zero down there, and here we are in the snow. It is severe; moreover, I rarely go out, and my dog himself doesn’t want to go out. He is not the least amazing member of society. When he is called Badinguet, he lies on the ground ashamed and despairing, and sulks all the evening.
It is unkind to sadden me with the recital of the amusements at Nohant, since I cannot share them. I need so much time to do so little that I have not a minute to lose (or gain), if I want to finish my dull old book by the summer of 1869.
I did not say it was necessary to suppress the heart, but to restrain it, alas! As for the regime that I follow which is contrary to the laws of hygiene, I did not begin yesterday. I am accustomed to it. I have, nevertheless, a fairly seasoned sense of fatigue, and it is time that my second part was finished, after which I shall go to Paris. That will be about the end of the month. You don’t tell me when you return from Cannes.
My rage against M. Thiers is not yet calmed, on the contrary! It idealizes itself and increases.
No, it is not silly to embrace each other on New Year’s day: on the contrary, it is good and it is nice. I thank you for having thought of it and I kiss you on your beautiful big eyes. Maurice embraces you also. I am housed here by the snow and the cold, and my trip is postponed. We amuse ourselves madly at home so as to forget that we are prisoners, and I am prolonging my holidays in a ridiculous fashion. Not an iota of work from morning till night. What luck if you could say as much!—But what a fine winter, don’t you think so? Isn’t it lovely, the moonlight on the trees covered with snow? Do you look at that at night while you are working?—If you are going to Paris the end of the month, I shall still have a chance to meet you.
From far, or from near, dear old fellow, I think of you and I love you from the depth of my old heart which does not know the flight of years.
My love to your mother always. I imagine that she is in Rouen during this severe cold.
Yes, friend of my heart, am I not in the midst of terrible things; that poor little Madame Lambert [Footnote: Madame Eugene Lambert, the wife of the artist] is severely threatened.