How will the rehearsals of Cadio prevent you from coming to see your poor old friend this autumn? It is not impossible. I know Freville. He is an excellent and very cultivated man.
Is this the way to behave, dear master? Here it is nearly two months since you have written to your old troubadour! you in Paris, in Nohant, or elsewhere? They say that Cadio is now being rehearsed at the Porte Saint-Martin (so you have fallen out with Chilly?) They say that Thuillier will make her re-appearance in your play. (But I thought she was dying). And when are they to play this Cadio? Are you content? etc., etc.
I live absolutely like an oyster. My novel is the rock to which I attach myself, and I don’t know anything that goes on in the world.
I do not even read, or rather I have not read La Lanterne! Rochefort bores me, between ourselves. It takes courage to venture to say even hesitatingly, that possibly he is not the first writer of the century. O Velches! Velches! as M. de Voltaire would sigh (or roar)! But a propos of the said Rochefort, have they been somewhat imbecilic? What poor people!
And Sainte-Beuve? Do you see him? As for me, I am working furiously. I have just written a description of the forest of Fontainebleau that made me want to hang myself from one of its trees. As I was interrupted for three weeks, I am having terrible trouble in getting back to work. I am like the camels, which can’t be stopped when they are in motion, nor started when they are resting. It will take me a year to finish the book. After that I shall abandon the bourgeois definitely. He is too difficult and on the whole too ugly. It will be high time to do something beautiful and that I like.
What would please me well for the moment, would be to embrace you. When will that be? Till then, a thousand affectionate thoughts.
Just at present, dear friend, there is a truce to my correspondence. On all sides I am reproached, wrongly, for not answering letters. I wrote you from Nohant about two weeks ago that I was going to Paris, on business about Cadio:—and now, I am returning to Nohant tomorrow at dawn to see my Aurore. I have written during the last week, four acts of the play, and my task is finished until the end of the rehearsals which will be looked after by my friend and collaborator, Paul Meurice. All his care does not prevent the working out of the first part from being a horrible bungle. One needs to see the putting-on of a play in order to understand that, and if one is not armed with humor and inner zest for the study of human nature in the actual individuals whom the fiction is to mask, there is much to rage about. But I don’t rage any more, I laugh; I know too much of all that to get excited about it, and I shall tell you some fine stories about it when we meet.