A wandering gout, pains that go all over me, an invincible melancholy, the feeling of “universal uselessness” and grave doubts about the book that I am writing, that is what is the matter with me, dear and valiant master. Add to that worries about money with melancholic recollections of the past, that is my condition, and I assure you that I make great efforts to get out of it. But my will is tired. I cannot decide about anything effective! Ah! I have eaten my white bread first, and old age is not announcing itself under gay colors. Since I have begun hydrotherapy, however, I feel a little less like a COW, and this evening I am going to begin work without looking behind me.
I have left my apartment in the rue Murillo, and I have taken a larger one which is next to the one that my niece has just reserved on the Boulevard Reine Hortense. I shall be less alone next winter, for I cannot endure solitude.
Tourgueneff seemed to me, however, to be very well pleased with the two first chapters of my frightful book. But Tourgueneff loves me too much, perhaps to judge impartially. I am not going to leave my house for a long time now, for I WILL get ahead in my task, which weighs on my chest like a burden of a million pounds. My niece will come to spend all the month of June here. When she has gone away, I shall make a little archeological and geological excursion in Calvados, and that will be all.
No, I do not rejoice at Michel Levy’s death, and I even envy him that death so quiet. Just the same, that man did me a great deal of harm. He wounded me deeply. It is true that I am endowed with an absurd sensitiveness; what scratches others tears me to pieces. Why am I not organized for enjoyment as I am for suffering!
The bit you sent me about Aurore who is reading Homer, did me good. That is what I miss: a little girl like that! But one does not arrange one’s own destiny, one submits to it. I have always lived from day to day, without plans for the future and pursuing my end (one alone, literature) without looking to the right or to the left. Everything that was around me has disappeared, and now I find I am in a desert. In short, the element of distraction is absolutely lacking to me. One needs a certain vivacity to write good things! What can one do to get it again? How can one proceed, to avoid thinking continually about one’s miserable person? The sickest thing in me is my humor: the rest doubtless would go well. You see, dear, good master, that I am right to spare you my letters. Nothing is as imbecile as the whiners.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:08