The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

CXLIV. To Gustave Flaubert, at Croissset Nohant, 9 January, 1870

I have had so much proof to correct that I am stupefied with it. I needed that to console me for your departure, troubadour of my heart, and for another departure also, that of my drudge of a Plauchmar — and still another departure, that of my grand-nephew Edme, my favorite, the one who played the marionettes with Maurice. He has passed his examinations for collector and goes to Pithiviers — unless by pull, we could get him as substitute at La Chatre.

Do you know M. Roy, the head of the management of the domains? If by chance the princess knew him and would be willing to say a word to him in favor of young Simonnet? I should be happy to owe her this joy for his family and this economy for his mother who is poor. It appears that it is very easy to obtain and that no rule opposes it. But one must HAVE PULL; a word to the princess, a line from M. Roy and our tears would change to joy.

That child is very dear to me. He is so loving and so good! They had hard work to bring him up, he was always ill, always dandled on the knees and always gentle and sweet. He has a great deal of intelligence and he works well at La Chatre, where his chief the collector adores him and mourns for him also. Well, do what you can, if you can do anything at all.

They continue to damn your book. That doesn’t prevent it from being a fine and good book. Justice will come later, JUSTICE IS ALWAYS DONE. Apparently it did not come at the right moment, or rather it came too soon. It has demonstrated too well the disorder that reigns in people’s minds. It has rubbed the open wound, people recognize themselves too well in it.

Everyone adores you here and our consciences are too pure to be upset at the truth: we talk of you every day. Yesterday, Lina said to me that she admired very much all you do, but that she preferred Salammbo to your modern descriptions. If you had been in a corner, this is what you would have heard from her, from me, and from THE OTHERS:

“He is taller and larger than the average person. His mind is like him, beyond ordinary proportions. In that he is like Victor Hugo, at least as much as like Balzac, but he has the taste and discernment that Hugo lacks, and he is an artist which Balzac was not. — Is he then more than both? Chi lo sa? — He hasn’t let himself out yet. The enormous volume of his brain troubles him. He doesn’t know if he is a poet or a realist; and the fact that he is both, hinders him. — He must get straightened out in his different lines of effort. He sees everything and wants to grasp everything at once. — He is not the cut of the public that wants to eat in little mouthfuls, whom large pieces choke. But the public will go to him, just the same, when it understands. — It will even go rather quickly if the author CONDESCENDS to be willing to be quite understood. — For that, perhaps there will have to be asked some concessions to the indolence of its mind. One ought to reflect before daring to give this advice.”

That sums up what we said. It is not useless to know the opinion of good people and of young people. The youngest say that l’Education sentimentale made them sad. They did not come across themselves in it, they who have not yet lived; but they have illusions and they say: “Why does this man, so good, so kind, so gay, so simple, so sympathetic, wish to discourage us from living?” What they say is poorly reasoned out, but as it is instinctive, perhaps it ought to be taken into account.

Aurore talks of you and still cradles her baby in her lap; Gabrielle calls Punch, HER LITTLE ONE, and will not eat her dinner unless he is opposite her. They are our continual idols, these brats.

Yesterday, I received, after your letter of the day before, a letter from Berton, who thinks that they will not play l’Affranchi longer than the 18th or the 20th. Wait for me, since you can delay your departure a little. It is too bad weather to go to Croisset; it is always an effort for me to leave my dear nest to go to attend to my miserable profession; but the effort is less when I hope to find you in Paris.

I embrace you for myself and for all my brood.

G. Sand

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Last updated Friday, March 14, 2014 at 21:53