The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

CCXLIX. To George Sand Monday evening, 3 February, 1873

Dear master,

Do I seem to have forgotten you and not to want to make the journey to Nohant? Not at all! But, for the last month, every time I go out, I am seized anew with the grippe which gets worse each time. I cough abominably, and I ruin innumerable pocket-handkerchiefs! When will it be over?

I have sworn not to step beyond my doorsill till I am completely well again, and I am still awaiting the good will of the members of the commission for the Bouilhet fountain! For nearly two months, I have not been able to get together in Rouen six citizens of Rouen! That is the way friends are! Everything is difficult, the least undertaking demands great efforts.

I am reading chemistry now (which I don’t understand a bit), and the Raspail theory of medicine, not to mention the Potager moderne of Gressent and the Agriculture of Gasparin. In this connection, Maurice would be very kind, to compile his agronomical recollections, so that I may know what mistakes he made and why he made them.

What sorts of information don’t I need, for the book that I am undertaking? I have come to Paris this winter with the idea of collecting some; but if my horrible cold continues, my stay here will be useless! Am I going to become like the canon of Poitiers, of whom Montaigne speaks, who for thirty years did not leave his room “because of his melancholic infirmity,” but who, however, was very well “except for a cold which had settled on his stomach.” This is to tell you that I am seeing very few people. Moreover whom could I see? The war has opened many abysses. I have not been able to get your article on Badinguet. I am planning to read it at your house.

As regards reading, I have just swallowed ALL the odious Joseph de Maistre. They have saddled us enough with this gentleman! And the modern socialists who have praised him beginning with the saint-simonians and ending with A. Comte. France is drunk with authority, no matter what they say. Here is a beautiful idea that I find in Raspail, THE PHYSICIANS OUGHT to be MAGISTRATES, so they could force, etc.

Your romantic and liberal old dunce embraces you tenderly.

Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:08