The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

CLXXVI. To George Sand. Saturday, 1870

Dear master,

Here we are in the depths of the abyss! A shameful peace will perhaps not be accepted! The Prussians intend to destroy Paris! That is their dream.

I don’t think the siege of Paris is very imminent. But in order to force Paris to yield, they are going to (1) terrify her by the sight of cannon, and (2) ravage the surrounding country.

We expect the visit of these gentlemen at Rouen, and as I have been (since Sunday) lieutenant of my company, I drill my men and I am going to Rouen to take lessons in military tactics.

The most deplorable thing is that opinions are divided, some for defence to the utmost, and others for peace at any price.

I AM DYING OF HUMILIATION. What a house mine is! Fourteen persons who sigh and unnerve me! I curse women! It is because of them that we perish.

I expect that Paris will have the fate of Warsaw, and you distress me, you with your enthusiasm for the Republic. At the moment when we are overcome by the plainest positivism, how can you still believe in phantoms? Whatever happens, the people who are now in power will be sacrificed, and the Republic will follow their fate. Observe that I defend that poor Republic; but I do not believe in it.

That is all that I have to say to you. Now I should have many more things to say, but my head is not clear. It is as if cataracts, floods, oceans of sadness, were breaking over me. It is not possible to suffer more. Sometimes I am afraid of going mad. The face of my mother, when I turn my eyes toward her, takes away all my strength.

This is where our passion for not wanting to see the truth has taken us! Love of pretence and of flap-doodle. We are going to become a Poland, then a Spain. Then it will be the turn of Prussia who will be devoured by Russia.

As for me, I consider myself a man whose career is ended. My brain is not going to recover. One can write no longer when one does not think well of oneself. I demand only one thing, that is to die, so to be at rest.

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