The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

CCCXIII. To Maurice Sand Tuesday evening, 27th

All I can say to you, in the first place, my dear friend, is, that your book has made me pass a sleepless night. I read it instantly, at one fell swoop, only stopping to fill my good pipe from time to time and then to resume my reading.

When the impression is a little less fresh I shall take up your book again to find the flaws in it. But I think that there are very few. You must be content? It ought to please? It is dramatic and as amusing as possible!

Beginning with the first page I was charmed with the sincerity of the description. And at the end I admired the composition of the whole, the logical way the events were worked out and the characters related.

Your chief character, Miss Mary, is too hateful (to my taste) to be anything but an exact picture. That is one of the choicest parts of your book, together with the homelife, the life in New York?

Your good savage makes me laugh out loud when he is at the Opera.

I was struck by the house of the missionaries (Montaret’s first night). You make it seem real. Naissa scalping, and then wiping her hands on the grass, seemed to me especially well done. As well as the disgust that she inspires in Montaret,

I venture a timid observation: it seems to me that the flight of father Athanasius and of Montaret, when they escape from their prison, is not perfectly clear? Is not the material explanation of the event too short?

I do not care for, as language, two or three ready-made locutions, such as “break the ice.” You can see that I have read you attentively! What a pedagogue I make, eh! I am telling you all that from memory, for I have lent your book, and it has not been returned to me yet. But my recollection of it is of a thing very well done.

Don’t you agree with me that a play of very great effect could be made from it for a boulevard theatre?

By the way, how is Cadio going?

Tell your dear mamma that I adore her.

Harrisse, from whom I have received a letter today, charges me to remember him to her, and, for my part, I charge you to embrace her for me.

And I grasp your two hands heartily and say “bravo” to you again, and faithfully yours.

Gustave Flaubert

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54