The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

XXVI. To George Sand Monday night

You are sad, poor friend and dear master; it was you of whom I thought on learning of Duveyrier’s death. Since you loved him, I am sorry for you. That loss is added to others. How we keep these dead souls in our hearts. Each one of us carries within himself his necropolis.

I am entirely UNDONE since your departure; it seems to me as if I had not seen you for ten years. My one subject of conversation with my mother is you, everyone here loves you. Under what star were you born, pray, to unite in your person such diverse qualities, so numerous and so rare?

I don’t know what sort of feeling I have for you, but I have a particular tenderness for you, and one I have never felt for anyone, up to now. We understood each other, didn’t we, that was good.

I especially missed you last evening at ten o’clock. There was a fire at my wood-seller’s. The sky was rose color and the Seine the color of gooseberry sirup. I worked at the engine for three hours and I came home as worn out as the Turk with the giraffe.

A newspaper in Rouen, le Nouvelliste, told of your visit to Rouen, so that Saturday after leaving you I met several bourgeois indignant at me for not exhibiting you. The best thing was said to me by a former sub-prefect: “Ah! if we had known that she was here . . . we would have . . . we would have . . . ” he hunted five minutes for the word; “we would have smiled for her.” That would have been very little, would it not?

To “love you more” is hard for me — but I embrace you tenderly. Your letter of this morning, so melancholy, reached the BOTTOM of my heart. We separated at the moment when many things were on the point of coming to our lips. All the doors between us two are not yet open. You inspire me with a great respect and I do not dare to question you.

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