The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

XCI. To George Sand

Does that astonish you, dear master? Oh well! it doesn’t me! I told you so but you would not believe me.

I am sorry for you. For it is sad to see the friends one loves change. This replacement of one soul by another, in a body that remains the same as it was, is a distressing sight. One feels oneself betrayed! I have experienced it, and more than once.

But then, what idea have you of women, O, you who are of the third sex? Are they not, as Proudhon said, “the desolation of the Just”? Since when could they do without delusions? After love, devotion; it is in the natural order of things. Dorine has no more men, she takes the good God. That is all.

The people who have no need of the supernatural, are rare. Philosophy will always be the lot of the aristocrats. However much you fatten human cattle, giving them straw as high as their bellies, and even gilding their stable, they will remain brutes, no matter what one says. All the advance that one can hope for, is to make the brute a little less wicked. But as for elevating the ideas of the mass, giving it a larger and therefore a less human conception of God, I have my doubts.

I am reading now an honest book (written by one of my friends, a magistrate), on the Revolution in the Department of Eure. It is full of extracts from writings of the bourgeois of the time, simple citizens of the small towns. Indeed I assure you that there is now very little of that strength! They were literary and fine, full of good sense, of ideas, and of generosity.

Neo-catholicism on the one hand, and Socialism on the other, have stultified France. Everything moves between the Immaculate Conception and the dinner pails of the working people.

I told you that I did not flatter the democrats in my book. But I assure you that the conservatives are not spared. I am now writing three pages on the abominations of the national guard in June, 1848, which will cause me to be looked at favorably by the bourgeois. I am rubbing their noses in their own dirt as much as I can. But you don’t give me any details about Cadio. Who are the actors, etc.? I mistrust your novel about the theatre. You like those people too much! Have you known any well who love their art? What a quantity of artists there are who are only bourgeois gone astray!

We shall see each other in three weeks at the latest. I shall be very glad of it and I embrace you.

And the censorship? I really hope for you that it will make some blunders. Besides, I should be distressed if it was wanting in its usual habits.

Have you read this in the paper? “Victor Hugo and Rochefort, the greatest writers of the age.” If Badinguet now is not avenged, it is because he is hard to please in the matter of punishments.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/f/flaubert/gustave/f58g/letter91.html

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