The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

XXXI. To Gustave Flaubert Palaiseau, 22 November, 1866

I think that it will bring me luck to say good evening to my dear comrade before starting to work.

I am QUITE ALONE in my little house. The gardener and his family live in the pavilion in the garden and we are the last house at the end of the village, quite isolated in the country, which is a ravishing oasis. Fields, woods, appletrees as in Normandy; not a great river with its steam whistles and infernal chain; a little stream which runs silently under the willows; a silence . . . ah! it seems to me that I am in the depths of the virgin forest: nothing speaks except the little jet of the spring which ceaselessly piles up diamonds in the moonlight. The flies sleeping in the corners of my room, awaken at the warmth of my fire. They had installed themselves there to die, they come near the lamp, they are seized with a mad gaiety, they buzz, they jump, they laugh, they even have faint inclinations towards love, but it is the hour of death and paf! in the midst of the dance, they fall stiff. It is over, farewell to dancing!

I am sad here just the same. This absolute solitude, which has always been vacation and recreation for me, is shared now by a dead soul [Footnote: Alexandre Manceau, the engraver, a friend of Maurice Sand.] who has ended here, like a lamp which is going out, yet which is here still. I do not consider him unhappy in the region where he is dwelling; but the image that he has left near me, which is nothing more than a reflection, seems to complain because of being unable to speak to me any more.

Never mind! Sadness is not unhealthy. It prevents us from drying up. And you dear friend, what are you doing at this hour? Grubbing also, alone also; for your mother must be in Rouen. Tonight must be beautiful down there too. Do you sometimes think of the “old troubadour of the Inn clock, who still sings and will continue to sing perfect love?” Well! yes, to be sure! You do not believe in chastity, sir, that’s your affair. But as for me, I say that SHE HAS SOME GOOD POINTS, THE JADE!

And with this, I embrace you with all my heart, and I am going to, if I can, make people talk who love each other in the old way.

You don’t have to write to me when you don’t feel like it. No real friendship without ABSOLUTE liberty.

In Paris next week, and then again to Palaiseau, and after that to Nohant. I saw Bouilhet at the Monday performance. I am CRAZY about it. But some of us will applaud at Magny’s. I had a cold sweat there, I who am so steady, and I saw everything quite blue.

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