It appears that you are studying the boor (pignouf). As for me, I avoid him. I know him too well. I love the Berrichon peasant who is not, who never is, a boor, even when he is of no great account; the word pignouf has its depths; it was created exclusively for the bourgeois, wasn’t it? Ninety out of a hundred provincial middle-class women are boorish (pignouf lardes) to a high degree, even with pretty faces that ought to give evidence of delicate instincts. One is surprised to find a basis of gross self-sufficiency in these false ladies. Where is the woman now? She is becoming a freak in society.
Good night, my troubadour: I love you, and I embrace you warmly; Maurice also.
My dear master,
You see in your troubadour a worn-out man. I have spent a week in Paris, looking up wearisome information (from seven to nine hours in fiacres every day, which is a fine way to make money out of literature). Oh, well!
I have just reread my outline. All that I have still to write horrifies me, or rather disgusts me, so that I want to vomit. It is always so, when I get to work. It is then that I am bored, bored, bored! But this time exceeds all others. That is why I dread so much interruptions in the daily grind. I could not do otherwise, however. I dragged about at funerals at Pere-Lachaise, in the valley of Montmorency, through shops of religious objects, etc.
In short, I have enough material for four or five months now. What a big “Hooray” I shall utter, when it is finished, and when I am not in the midst of remaking the bourgeois! It is high time that I enjoyed life.
I saw Sainte-Beuve and the Princess Mathilde, and I know thoroughly the story of their break, which seems to me irrevocable. Sainte-Beuve was outraged against Dalloz and has gone to le Temps. The princess begged him not to do anything about it. He did not listen to her. That is all. My opinion on it, if you wish to know it, is this. The first wrong was done by the princess, who was hasty; but the second and the worst was by pere Beuve, who did not behave as a courteous man. If one has a friend, a rather good fellow, and that friend has given one thirty thousand francs a year income, one owes him some consideration. It seems to me that in Sainte-Beuve’s place I should have said, “That displeases you, let us talk no more about it.” He lacked manners and poise. What disgusted me a little, between ourselves, was the way he praised the emperor to me! yes, he praised Badinguet, to me!—And we were alone!
The princess had taken the thing too seriously from the beginning. I wrote to her, saying that Sainte-Beuve was right; he, I am sure, found me rather cold. It was then, in order to justify himself to me, that he made these protestations of isidorian love, which humiliated me a little; for it was as if he took me for a complete imbecile.