I am remorseful for not having answered at length your last letter, my dear master. You told me of the “ill turns” that people did you. Did you think that I did not know it? I confess to you even (between ourselves), that I was hurt on account of them more because of my good taste, than because of my affection for you. I did not think that several of your friends were warm enough towards you. “My God! my God! how mean literary men are!” A bit out of the correspondence of the first Napoleon. What a nice bit, eh? Doesn’t it seem to you that they belittle him too much?
The infinite stupidity of the masses makes me indulgent to individualities, however odious they may be. I have just gulped down the first six volumes of Buchez and Roux. The clearest thing I got out of them is an immense disgust for the French. My Heavens! Have we always been bunglers in this fair land of ours? Not a liberal idea which has not been unpopular, not a just thing that has not caused scandal, not a great man who has not been mobbed or knifed! “The history of the human mind is the history of human folly!” as says M. de Voltaire.
And I am convinced more and more of this truth: the doctrine of grace has so thoroughly permeated us that the sense of justice has disappeared. What terrified me so in the history of ’48 has quite naturally its origins in the Revolution, which had not liberated itself from the middle ages, no matter what they say. I have re-discovered in Marat entire fragments of Proudhon (sic) and I wager that they would be found again in the preachers of the League.
What is the measure that the most advanced proposed after Varennes? Dictatorship and military dictatorship. They close the churches, but they raise temples, etc.
I assure you that I am becoming stupid with the Revolution. It is a gulf which draws me in.
However, I work at my novel like a lot of oxen. I hope on New Year’s Day not to have over a hundred pages more to write, that is to say, still six good months of work. I shall go to Paris as late as possible. My winter is to pass in complete solitude, good way of making life run along rapidly.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:50