The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

CCLXXIX. To George Sand Kalt-Bad. Righi. Friday, 3d July, 1874

Is it true, dear master, that last week you came to Paris? I went through it to go to Switzerland, and I read “in a sheet” that you had been to see les Deux Orphelines, had taken a walk in the Bois de Boulogne, had dined at Magny’s, etc.; all of which goes to prove that, thanks to the freedom of the Press, one is not master of one’s own actions. Whence it results that Father Cruchard is wrathful with you for not having advised him of your presence in the “new Athens.” It seems to me that people are sillier and flatter there than usual. The state of politics has become drivel! They have tickled my ears with the return of the Empire. I don’t believe in it! However . . . We should have to expatriate ourselves then. But how and where?

Is it for a play that you came? I pity you for having anything to do with Duquesnel! He had the manuscript of le Sexe faible returned to me by an agent of the theatrical management, without a word of explanation, and in the ministerial envelope was a letter from an underclerk, which is a gem! I will show it to you. It is a masterpiece of impertinence! People do not write in that way to a Carpentras urchin, offering a skit to the Beaumarchais theatre.

It is that very play le Sexe faible that, last year, Carvalho was so enthusiastic about! Now no one wants it any more for Perrin thinks it unconventional to put on the boards of the Theatre Francais, a nurse and a cradle. Not knowing what to do with it, I have taken it to the Cluny Theatre.

Ah! my poor Bouilhet did well to die! But I think that the Odeon could show more respect for his posthumous work.

Without believing in an Holbachic conspiracy, I think that they have been knocking me a bit too much of late; and they are so indulgent towards certain others.

The American Harrisse maintained to me the other day that Saint-Simon wrote badly. At that I burst out and talked to him in such a way that he will never more before me belch his idiocy. It was at dinner at the Princess’s; my violence cast a chill.

You see that your Cruchard continues not to listen to jokes on religion! He does not become calm! quite the contrary!

I have just read la Creation naturelle by Haeckel, a pretty book, pretty book! Darwinism seems to me to be better expounded there than in the books of Darwin himself.

The good Tourgueneff has sent me news from the depths of Scythia. He has found the information he wanted for a book that he is going to do. The tone of his letter is frivolous, from which I conclude that he is well. He will return to Paris in a month.

A fortnight ago I made a little trip to Lower Normandy, where I have found at last a neighborhood suitable to place my two good men. It will be between the valley of the Orne and the valley of the Auge. I shall have to return there several times.

Beginning with September, then, I shall start that hard task! it makes me afraid, and I am overwhelmed by it in advance.

As you know Switzerland, it is useless for me to talk to you of it, and you would scorn me if I were to tell you that I am bored to extinction here. I came here obediently because they ordered me to, for the purpose of bleaching my face and calming my nerves! I don’t think that the remedy will be efficacious; anyhow it has been deadly boring to me. I am not a man of nature, and I do not understand anything in a country where there is no history. I would give all these glaciers for the Vatican Museum. One can dream there. Well, in three weeks I shall be glued to my green table! in a humble refuge, where it seems to me you never want to come!

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