I never had a greater desire or a greater need to see you than now. I have just come from Paris and I don’t know to whom to talk. I am choking. I am overcome, or rather, absolutely disheartened.
The odor of corpses disgusts me less than the miasmas of egotism that exhale from every mouth. The sight of the ruins is as nothing in comparison with the great Parisian inanity. With a very few exceptions it seemed to me that everybody ought to be tied up.
Half the population wants to strangle the other half, and VICE VERSA. This is clearly to be seen in the eyes of the passers-by.
And the Prussians exist no longer! People excuse them and admire them. The “reasonable people” want to be naturalized Germans. I assure you it is enough to make one despair of the human race.
I was in Versailles on Thursday. The excesses of the Right inspire fear. The vote about the Orleans is a concession made to it, so as not to irritate it, and so as to have the time to prepare against it.
I except from the general folly, Renan who, on the contrary, seemed to me very philosophical, and the good Soulie who charged me to give you a thousand affectionate messages.
I have collected a mass of horrible and unpublished details which I spare you.
My little trip to Paris has troubled me extremely, and I am going to have a hard time in getting down to work again. What do you think of my friend Maury, who kept the tricolor over the Archives all during the Commune? I think few men are capable of such pluck.
When history clears up the burning of Paris, it will find several elements among which are, without any doubt: (1) the Prussians, and (2) the people of Badinguet; they have NO LONGER ANY written proof against the Empire, and Haussman is going to present himself boldly to the elections of Paris.
Have you read, among the documents found in the Tuileries last September, a plot of a novel by Isidore? What a scenario!
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:50