The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

CCLVII. To George Sand

Dear master,

Cruchard should have thanked you sooner for sending him your last book; but his reverence is working like ten thousand negroes, that is his excuse. But it did not hinder him from reading “Impressions et Souvenirs.” I already knew some of it, from having read it in le Temps (a pun). [Footnote: “Dans de temps” means also, “some time ago.”]

This is what was new to me and what struck me: (1) the first fragment; (2) the second in which there is a charming and just page on the Empress. How true is what you say of the proletariat! Let us hope that its reign will pass like that of the bourgeois, and for the same causes, as a punishment for the same folly and a similar egoism.

The “Reponse a un ami” I knew, as it was addressed to me.

The “Dialogue avec Delacroix” is instructive; two curious pages on what he thought of father Ingres.

I am not entirely of your opinion as regards the punctuation. That is to say that I would shock you by my exaggeration in that respect; but I do not lack, naturally, good reasons to defend my point of view.

“J’allume le fagot,” etc., all of this long article charmed me.

In the “Idees d’un maitre d’ecole,” I admire your pedagogic spirit, dear master, there are many pretty a b c phrases.

Thank you for what you say of my poor Bouilhet!

I adore your “Pierre Bonin.” I have known people like him, and as these pages are dedicated to Tourgueneff it is the moment to ask you if you have read “I’Abandonnee”? For my part, I find it simply sublime. This Scythian is an immense old fellow.

I am not at such high-toned literature now. Far from it! I am hacking and re-hacking “le Sexe faible.” I wrote the first act in a week. It is true that my days are long. I spent, last week, one of eighteen hours, and Cruchard is as fresh as a young girl, not tired, no headache. In short, I think that I shall be through that work in three weeks. After that, God knows what!

It would be funny if Carvalho’s fantasticality was crowned with success!

I am afraid that Maurice has lost his wager, for I want to replace the three theological virtues by the face of Christ appearing in the sun. What do you think about it? When the correction is made and I have strengthened the massacre at Alexandria and clarified the symbolism of the fantastic beasts, “Saint-Antoine” will be finished forever, and I shall start at my two good fellows who were set aside for the comedy.

What a horrid way of writing is required for the stage! The ellipses, the delays, the questions and the repetitions have to be lavish, if movement is desired, and all that in itself is very ugly.

I am perhaps blinding myself, but I think that I am now writing something very quick and easy to play. We shall see.

Adieu, dear master, embrace all yours for me.

Your old good-for-nothing Cruchard, friend of Chalumeau. Note that name. It is a gigantic story, but it requires one to toe the mark to tell it suitably.

Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:50