[FOOTNOTE: Evidently an answer to a lost letter.]
No, I am not ill, my dear old troubadour, in spite of the sorrow which is the daily bread of France; I have an iron constitution and an exceptional old age, abnormal even, for my strength increases at the age when it ought to diminish. The day that I resolutely buried my youth, I grew twenty years younger. You will tell me that the bark undergoes none the less the ravages of time. I don’t care for that, the heart of the tree is very good and the sap still runs as in the old apple trees in my garden, which bear fruit all the better the more gnarly they are. Thank you for having worried over the illness which the papers have bestowed upon me. Maurice thanks you also and embraces you. He is still mingling with his scientific, literary, and agricultural studies, beautiful marionette shows. He thinks of you every time and says that he would like to have you here to note his progress, for he continually improves.
In what condition are we, according to your opinion?
In Rouen, you no longer have any Prussians at your back, that’s something, and one would say that the bourgeois Republic wants to impose itself. It will be foolish. You foretold that, and I don’t doubt it; but after the inevitable rule of the Philistines, life will extend and spread on all sides. The filth of the Commune shows us dangers which were not sufficiently foreseen and which enforce a new political life on everybody, carrying on one’s affairs oneself and forcing the charming proletariat created by the Empire to know what is possible and what is not. Education does not teach honesty and disinterestedness overnight. The vote is immediate education. They have appointed Raoul Rigault and company. They know how much people like that cost now by the yard; let them go on and they will die of hunger. There is no other way to make them understand in a short time.
Are you working? Is Saint-Antoine going well? Tell me what you are doing in Paris, what you are seeing, what you are thinking. I have not the courage to go there. Do come to see me before you return to Croisset. I am blue from not seeing you, it is a sort of death.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:50