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Title: Letters to Madame Hanska - 1833-1846
Author: Balzac, Honoré de
Language: English
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       I.   LETTERS DURING 1833
      II.   LETTERS DURING 1834
      IV.   LETTERS DURING 1836
       V.   LETTERS DURING 1837
      VI.   LETTERS DURING 1838
     VII.   LETTERS DURING 1839, 1840, 1841
    VIII.   LETTERS DURING 1843, 1844, 1845
      IX.   LETTERS DURING 1846



In 1876 M. Calmann Lévy published Balzac's Correspondence in the
twenty-fourth volume of the Édition Définitive of his works. These
letters are prefaced by a short memoir written by his sister Laure,
Madame Surville, which she had already published in 1856, six years
after her brother's death, under the title of "Balzac, sa vie et ses
écrits, d'après sa correspondance."

In this Correspondence given in the Édition Définitive, the first
letter addressed by Balzac to Madame Hanska is dated August 11, 1835,
and to it is appended the following foot-note:--

      "At this period Balzac was, and had been for some time,
      in correspondence with the distinguished woman to whom he
      was later to give his name; but, unfortunately, a part
      of this correspondence was burned in Moscow in a fire
      which occurred at Madame Hanska's residence. It must,
      therefore, be remarked that in the letters of this series
      two or three gaps occur, all the more regrettable because
      those which escaped the fire present a keen interest."
      (Éd. Déf., vol. xxiv., p. 217.)

       *       *       *       *       *

The present publication of Letters (of which this volume is a
translation) bears upon its title-page the words: "H. de Balzac.
Œuvres Posthumes. Lettres à l'Étrangère. 1833-1842." No explanation is
given of how these letters were obtained, and no proof or assurance is
offered of their authenticity. A foot-note appended to the first letter
merely states as follows:--

      "M. le Vicomte de Spoelberch de Lovenjoul, in whose
      hands are the originals of these letters, has related
      the history of this correspondence in detail, under the
      title of 'Un Roman d'Amour' (Calmann Lévy, publisher).
      Madame Hanska, born Countess Evelina (Eve) Rzewuska,
      who was then twenty-six or twenty-eight years old,
      resided at the château of Wierzchownia, in Volhynia. An
      enthusiastic reader of the 'Scènes de la Vie privée,'
      uneasy at the different turn which the mind of the author
      was taking in 'La Peau de Chagrin,' she addressed to
      Balzac--then thirty-three years old, to the care of the
      publisher Gosselin, a letter signed, 'l'Étrangère,' which
      was delivered to him February 28, 1832. Other letters
      followed; that of November 7 ended thus: 'A word from
      you in the "Quotidienne" will give me the assurance
      that you have received my letter, and that I can write
      to you without fear. Sign it: "To l'É--h. de B."' This
      acknowledgment of reception appeared in the 'Quotidienne'
      of December 9. Thus was inaugurated the system of 'Petite
      correspondance' now practised in divers newspapers, and,
      at the same time, this correspondence with her who was,
      seventeen years later, in 1850, to become his wife."

Balzac himself gives the date of his reception of l'Étrangère's first
letter in a way that puts it beyond all controversy. In a letter to
Madame Hanska, written January 1, 1846 (Éd. Déf., p. 586), he says:--

      "One year more, dear, and I take it with pleasure,
      for these years, these thirteen years which will be
      consummated in February on the happy day, a thousand
      times blessed, when I received that adorable letter,
      starred with happiness and hope, seem to me links
      indestructible, eternal. The fourteenth will begin in two

Thirteen years _consummated_ in February, 1846, the fourteenth year
_beginning_ in February, 1846, make the date of the reception of that
first letter February 28, 1833, not 1832. This fact not only puts an
end to the tale about the advertisement in the "Quotidienne" [contained
in the note to first page of present volume, quoted above, and in
pages 31 to 39 of "Roman d'Amour"], but it falsifies the dates of
the present volume. The first letter given, which is evidently not
the first of Balzac's replies, is dated January, 1833, a month or
more before the first letter of "l'Étrangère" was written. Throughout
the volume other dates can be shown to be false, proving arbitrary
arrangement of some kind, and casting justifiable doubt on the
authenticity of a certain number of these letters.

"Un Roman d'Amour" is a book made up of conjectures, insinuations,
hypotheses, and errors, in which one, and one only, _fact_ is
presented. That fact is a letter from Balzac to his sister, Madame

This letter Madame Surville first published in 1856 in her memoir of
her brother (pp. 139, 140), introducing it in the following words:
"Being absent from Paris in the month of October of the same year
[1833], I received from my brother the following letter:"--

      "Gone, without a word of warning [_sans crier gare_]. The
      poor toiler went to your house to make you share a little
      joy, and found no sister! I torment you so often with my
      troubles that the least I can do is to write you this
      joy. You will not laugh at me, you will believe me, _you_

      "I went yesterday to Gérard's; he presented me to
      three German families. I thought I was dreaming; three
      families!--no less!--one from Vienna, another from
      Frankfort, the third Prussian, I don't know from where.

      "They confided to me that they had come faithfully for
      a month to Gérard's, in the hope of seeing me; and they
      let me know that beyond the frontier of France (dear,
      ungrateful country!) my reputation has begun. 'Persevere
      in your labours,' they added, 'and you will soon be at
      the head of literary Europe.' Of Europe! they said it,
      sister! Flattering families!--How I could make certain
      friends roar with laughter if I told them that. _Ma foi!_
      these were kind Germans, and I let myself believe they
      thought what they said, and, to tell the truth, I could
      have listened to them all night. Praise is so good for
      us artists, and that of the good Germans restored my
      courage; I departed quite gaily [_tout guilleret_] from
      Gérard's, and I am going to fire three guns on the public
      and on envious folk, to wit: 'Eugénie Grandet,' 'Les
      Aventures d'une idée heureuse,' which you know about, and
      my 'Prêtre catholique,' one of my finest subjects.

      "The affair of the 'Études de Mœurs' is well under way;
      thirty thousand francs of author's rights in the reprints
      will stop up large holes. That slice of my debts paid, I
      shall go and seek my reward at Geneva. The horizon seems
      really brightening.

      "I have resumed my life of toil. I go to bed at six,
      directly after dinner. The animal digests and sleeps till
      midnight. Auguste makes me a cup of coffee, with which
      the mind goes at one flash [_tout d'une traite_] till
      midday. I rush to the printing-office to carry my copy
      and get my proofs, which gives exercise to the animal,
      who dreams as he goes.

      "One can put a good deal of black on white in twelve
      hours, little sister, and after a month of such life
      there's no small work accomplished. Poor pen! it must be
      made of diamond not to be worn out by such toil! To lift
      its master to reputation, according to the prophecy of
      the Germans, to pay his debts to all, and then to give
      him, some day, rest upon a mountain,--that is its task!

      "What the devil are you doing so late at M....? Tell
      me about it, and say with me that the Germans are very
      worthy people. Fraternal handshake to Monsieur Canal.
      [_Poignée de main fraternelle à M. Canal_]; tell him that
      'Les Aventures d'une idée heureuse' are on the ways.

      "I send you my proofs of the 'Médecin de Campagne' to

When, twenty years later, Balzac's Correspondence appeared in the
Édition Définitive (Calmann Lévy, 1876) Madame Surville's little memoir
was made the Introduction to the volume. On page lv (Introduction) the
above letter is given. On page 176 the letter is again given (in its
place in the Correspondence), and it is there identically the same as
the letter given above, down to the words: "What the devil are you
doing so late at M....?" after which, the following additions are

      "However, you are free, and this is not a reproach, it is
      curiosity; between brother and sister that is pardonable.

      "Well, adieu. If you have a heart you will reply to me.
      A fraternal handshake to _M. Canal_; tell him that the
      'Aventures d'une idée' are on the ways, and that he can
      soon read them.

      "_Addio! Addio!_ Correct 'le Médecin' well; point out to
      me all the passages which may seem to you bad; and _put
      the great pots into the little pots_; that is to say, if
      a thing can be said in one line instead of two, try to
      make the sentence."

Three points are here to be observed and borne in mind, namely:--

1. These discrepancies are additions in one version, and omissions in
the other; they are _not_ changes in the phraseology.

2. Balzac's playful nickname for Madame Surville's husband, who was
government engineer of bridges, canals, and highways, is given in both

3. The first point shows conclusively that the letter given in the
Correspondence is not a mere copy from that in Madame Surville's
memoir, but is _taken from the original letter_, inasmuch as the
version of 1876, though identical to a certain point with that of 1856,
gives additions to it.

Twenty years later, in 1896, forty years after its first publication
by the person who received it, the same letter appears in "Un Roman
d'Amour," introduced by the following words (pp. 76, 77, 78):--

"Happily, a unique document, and exceptionally precious in relation
to this first interview, that at Neufchâtel [with Madame Hanska], is
in our hands. It is precise, and fixes, from Balzac's own pen, his
immediate impressions of Madame Hanska and the five days he spent near
her. This document consists of an autograph letter, almost entirely
unpublished, addressed to his sister, Madame Surville; this letter
is certainly the most important which, until now, has been brought
to light on the opening of that celebrated passion. We shall quote
it here. In it will be found many other unknown details of the most
extreme interest, which confirm what we have already said as to the
rôle which the feminine element always played in the life of the
master.... Here is the complete text [_texte complet_] of this letter,
certainly written very rapidly, for we find several words omitted, and
more than one obscurity. To make the meaning clearer we have made,
according to our custom in such cases, some additions [_adjonctions_],
placed, as usual, between brackets."[1]

[Footnote 1: One of these "adjonctions" is the signature!--TR.]

      [PARIS] Saturday, 12 [October, 1833].

      MY DEAR SISTER,--You understand that I could not speak to
      you before Eugénie, but I had all my journey to relate to

      I have found down there all that can flatter the thousand
      vanities of that animal called man, of whom the poet is
      certainly the vainest species. But what am I saying?
      vanity! No, there is nothing of all that. I am happy,
      very happy in thoughts, in all honor as yet. Alas! a
      damned husband never left us for one second during five
      days. He kept between the petticoat of his wife and my
      waistcoat. [Neufchâtel is] a little town where a woman,
      an illustrious foreigner, cannot take a step without
      being seen. I was, as it were, in an oven. Constraint
      does not suit me.

      The essential thing is that we are twenty-seven years
      old, beautiful to admiration; that we possess the
      handsomest black hair in the world, the soft, deliciously
      delicate skin of brunettes, that we have a love of a
      little hand, a heart of twenty-seven, naïve; [in short,
      she is] a true Madame de Lignolles, imprudent to the
      point of flinging herself upon my neck before all the

      I don't speak to you of colossal wealth. What is that
      before a masterpiece of beauty, whom I can only compare
      to the Princess Belle-Joyeuse, but infinitely better?
      [She possesses] a lingering eye [_œil traînant_] which,
      when it meets, becomes of voluptuous splendor. I was
      intoxicated with love.

      I don't know whom to tell this to; certainly it is not
      [possible] either _to her_, the great lady, the terrible
      marquise, who, suspecting the journey, comes down from
      her pride, and intimates an order that I shall go
      to her at the Duc de F.'s [Fitz-James], [nor] is it
      [possible to tell it either] _to her_, poor, simple,
      delicious bourgeoise, who is like Blanche d'Azay. I am a
      _father_,--that's another secret I had to tell you,--and
      at the head of a pretty little person, the most naïve
      creature that ever was, fallen like a flower from heaven,
      who comes to me secretly, exacts no correspondence, and
      says: "Love me a year; I will love you all my life."

      It is not [either] _to her_, the most treasured, who
      has more jealousy for me than a mother has for the milk
      she gives her child. She does not like _L'Étrangère_,
      precisely because _L'Étrangère_ appears to be the very
      thing for me.

      And, finally, it is not _to her_ who wants her daily
      ration of love, and who, though voluptuous as a thousand
      cats, is neither graceful nor womanly. It is to you, my
      good sister, the former companion of my miseries and
      tears, that I wish to tell my joy, that it may die in the
      depths of your memory. Alas, I can't play the fop with
      any one, unless [apropos of] Madame de Castries, whom
      celebrity does not frighten. I do not wish to cause the
      slightest harm by my indiscretions. Therefore, burn my

      As it will be long before I see you,--for I shall go, no
      doubt, to Normandy and Angoulême, and return to _see her_
      at Geneva,--I had to write you this line to tell you I am
      happy at last. I am [joyous] as a child.

      _Mon Dieu!_ how beautiful the Val de Travers is, how
      ravishing the lake of Bienne! It was there, as you may
      imagine, that we sent the husband to attend to the
      breakfast; but we were in sight, and then, in the shadow
      of a tall oak, the first furtive kiss of love was given.
      Then, as our husband is approaching the sixties, I swore
      to wait, and _she_ to keep her hand, her heart for me.

      Isn't it a pretty thing to have torn a husband--who looks
      to me like a tower--from the Ukraine, to come eighteen
      hundred miles to meet a lover who has come only four
      hundred, the monster![1]

      I'm joking; but knowing my affairs and my occupation
      here, my four hundred count as much as the eighteen
      hundred of my _fiancée_. She is really very well. She
      intends to be seriously ill at Geneva, which require
      [will require the care of] M. Dupuytren to soften the
      Russian ambassador and obtain a permit to come to Paris,
      for which she longs; where there is, for a woman, liberty
      on the mountain. However, I've enchanted the husband;
      and I shall try next year to get three months to myself.
      I shall go and see the Ukraine, and we have promised
      ourselves a magnificent and splendid journey in the
      Crimea; which is, you know, a land where tourists do not
      go, a thousand times more beautiful than Switzerland or
      Italy. It is the Italy of Asia.

      But what labor between now and then! Pay our debts!
      Increase our reputation!

      Yesterday I went to Gérard's. Three German families--one
      Prussian, one from Frankfort, one from Vienna--were
      officially presented to me. They came faithfully to
      Gérard's for a month past to see me and tell me that
      nothing was talked of but me in their country [_chez
      eux_]; that amazing fame began for me on the frontier of
      France, and that I had only to persevere for a year or
      two to be at the head of literary Europe, and replace
      Byron, Walter Scott, Goethe, Hoffmann!

      _Ma foi!_ as they were good Germans I let myself believe
      [all] that. It restored to me some courage, and I am
      going to fire a triple shot on the public and on the
      envious. During this fortnight, at one flash [I shall]
      finish "Eugénie Grandet," and write the "Aventures d'une
      idée [heureuse]" and "Le Prêtre catholique," one of my
      finest subjects. Then will come the fine third _dizain_,
      and after that I shall go and seek my reward at Geneva,
      after having paid a good slice of debts. There, sister. I
      have now resumed my winter life. I go to bed at six, with
      my dinner in my mouth, and I sleep till half-past twelve.
      At one o'clock Auguste brings me a cup of coffee, and I
      go at one flash, working from one in the morning till an
      hour after midday. At the end of twenty days, that makes
      a pretty amount of work!

      Adieu, dearest sister. If your husband has arrived, tell
      him the "Aventures d'une idée [heureuse]" are on the
      ways, and he will perhaps read them at Montglat, for I
      will send you the paper in which they appear if you stay
      till the end of the month.

      The affair of the "Études de Mœurs" is going on well.
      Thirty-three thousand francs of author's rights will
      just stop all the big holes. I shall [then] only have to
      undertake the repayment to my mother, and after that,
      faith! I shall be at my ease. I hope to repay you the
      remaining thousand francs at the end of the month; but
      if my mother wants all her interests [at once] I shall
      be obliged to put you off [till] the first fortnight in

      Well, adieu, my dear sister. If you have any heart, you
      will answer me. What the devil are you doing at Montglat?
      However, you are free; this is not a reproach, it is
      curiosity. Between brother and sister it is pardonable.
      Much tenderness. You won't say again that I don't write
      to you.

      Apropos, the pain in my side continues; but I have such
      fear of leeches, cataplasms, and to be tied down in a way
      that I can't finish what I have undertaken, that I put
      everything off. If it gets too bad we will see about it,
      I and the doctor, or magnetism.

      _Addio, addio._ A thousand kind things. Correct carefully
      the "Médecin [de Campagne]," or rather tell me all the
      places that seem to you bad, and _put the great pots into
      the little pots_; that is to say, if a thing can be said
      in one line instead of two, try to make the sentence.

      Adieu, sister. [HONORÉ.]

[Footnote 1: Monsieur Hanski hired the house in Neufchâtel early in
the spring of 1833 and took his family there in May. Balzac was not
invited, or, at any rate, did not go there till September 25th.]

Now there are three points here to be noticed and studied:--

1. The letters all state the purpose for which they were written. The
versions of 1856 and 1876 give the same purpose. That given in "Roman
d'Amour" is totally different.

2. The "Roman d'Amour" letter claims to be the complete text [_texte
complet_]. How comes it, therefore, to have such variations from
the original letter published by the sister who received it, and
republished authoritatively in the Édition Définitive?

3. These variations are not merely omissions or additions of passages;
they are the total reconstruction of many, and very characteristic,

Some one _must_ have rewritten the letter. Some one has garbled it.
There can be no question about this; the fact is there. It is not
necessary for the vindication of Balzac's honour to inquire who did it;
but it is plain that it was done.

It is therefore legitimate to suppose that the hand which garbled parts
of the letter added the slanderous language of the first part.

Three years ago, in 1896, when "Roman d'Amour" first appeared, I added
to the new edition of my "Memoir of Balzac" an appendix entitled "A
Vindication of Balzac." It goes into more details connected with this
slander than I can suitably put into this Preface, and I respectfully
ask my readers to read it in the Memoir.

Now, to me who have lived in Balzac's mind for the last fifteen years
as closely, perhaps, as any one now living, it is plain that the same
hand that garbled the letter of October, 1833, has been at work on some
of the letters in the present volume.

The simple story of these letters is as follows: In February, 1833,
Balzac received a letter, posted in Russia, from a lady who signed
herself "l'Étrangère" ["Foreigner"]. This letter is not known to exist;
nor is there any authentic knowledge of its contents; but it began
a correspondence between its writer and Balzac which ended in their
marriage in 1850. It does not appear at what date Madame Hanska gave
her name; it must have been quite early in the correspondence, although
he never knew it exactly until the day he met her in September, 1833,
at Neufchâtel.

The first reply from Balzac which is given is the first letter in the
present volume, misdated January, 1833, a month _before_ l'Étrangère's
first letter was written; but it is plainly not the first reply he had
made to her.

Eleven letters from Balzac follow the first, ending on the day
(September 26, 1833) when he met Madame Hanska for the first time at

These twelve letters to an unknown woman are romantic; they are the
letters of a poet, creating for himself an ideal love, and letting his
imagination bear him along unchecked. From our colder point of view
they seem, here and there, a little foolish, as addressed to a total
stranger, but the impression conveyed of his own being, his nature,
the troubles of his life and heart, is affecting and full of dignity.
They are, moreover, the letters of a gentleman to a woman he respects.
Owing to their false dates and to a forgery in the first letter (done
undoubtedly to bring them into line with "Roman d'Amour"), they are
open to suspicion; but Balzac's characteristics are in them, and I
believe them to be, in spite of some interpolations, genuine.

But from the time that he meets Madame Hanska at Neufchâtel, a date
which corresponds precisely with the garbled letter in "Roman d'Amour,"
the tone of the correspondence changes. For six months (from October to
March) it becomes out of keeping with the respect which the foregoing
letters, and the letters of all the rest of his life show that he
felt for her. More especially is this true of the letters of January,
February, and March. They are not in Balzac's style of writing; they
present ideas that were not his, expressed in a manner that was not
his; they contradict the impression given by all the other letters
of his life; they contradict the letters of romantic ideal love that
precede them; they contradict what every friend who knew Balzac closely
has said of him; they contradict the known facts of the history of
himself and Madame Hanska; they are, moreover, disloyal to friendship
in a manner that Balzac's whole conduct in life, as evidenced in his
correspondence, shows to have been impossible.

To bring the question home to ourselves--which of us, after reflection
and comparison, can suppose that the paltry, immature, contemptibly
vulgar stuff of the letters here designated as spurious ever came from
the brain of the man who thought and wrote the "Comédie Humaine"?

There is such a thing as _true literary judgment_,--as unerring as
the science that sees a mammoth in a bone. To that judgment, if to no
other, this question may be left. The letters are here in this volume,
and the reader can judge them for himself. In my opinion they have
been garbled in various places; expressions, passages, and many whole
letters have been interpolated, with the vulgarity of the hand that
garbled the letter in "Roman d'Amour," for the purpose of supporting
the slander suggested in that book.

This is, necessarily, opinion and judgment only; but a very remarkable
circumstance appears in this volume, which should be studied and judged
by readers thoroughly informed about Balzac, his nature, his character,
and his writings.

September 16, 1834, Balzac writes to Monsieur Hanski, asking him to
explain to Madame Hanska how he came to write to her two love-letters;
these letters are not given. He asks her pardon, he is grieved, he
is mortified (and justly so); but the letter is characteristic of a
man who was honest and brave; the defence rings true. Monsieur Hanski
must have thought so, for he accepted the commission and so performed
it that Balzac's next letter to Madame Hanska thanks her for her
pardon, and is written in a tone of boyish glee which was eminently
characteristic of him, and could not have been counterfeited.

From this time there is not a trace of embarrassment in his letters;
he does not feel himself withheld from expressing his ardent but
respectful feelings for Madame Hanska; he assures her, again and again,
of her influence upon his life, and he sends friendly messages to
Monsieur Hanski, which are returned in an evidently kind and cordial

To the translation of the "Lettres à l'Étrangère" I have added that
of all the letters to Madame Hanska during the rest of Balzac's life
which are contained in the volume of Correspondence in the Édition
Définitive. The "Lettres à l'Étrangère"--those, I mean, that are
genuine--ought, if published at all, to have been shortened. They were
written to give vent to the emotions of a heart and soul under violent
pressure; perhaps no letters exist that ever came so hot from the inner
being; they lay bare a soul that little dreamed of this exposure, for
the man who wrote them never read them over. For this reason, this lack
of editing, the reader will surely find them too monotonous in their
one long cry; and yet, without them, the world would not have known a
tragedy too great for tears, nor the true history of a hero.

I should not have consented to translate these letters unless I had
been allowed by my publishers to preface them with these remarks, and
give my name and what weight my long, close intercourse with Balzac may
possess in his just defence.








PARIS, January, 1833.

MADAME,--I entreat you to completely separate the author from the
man, and to believe in the sincerity of the sentiments which I have
vaguely expressed in the correspondence you have obliged me to hold
with you. In spite of the perpetual caution which some friends give
me against certain letters like those which I have had the honour to
receive from you, I have been keenly touched by a tone that levity
cannot counterfeit. If you will deign to excuse the folly of a young
heart and a wholly virgin imagination, I will own that you have been
to me the object of the sweetest dreams; in spite of my hard work I
have found myself more than once galloping through space to hover above
the unknown country where you, also unknown, live alone of your race.
I have taken pleasure in comprehending you among the remains almost
always unfortunate of a dispersed people, a people scattered thinly
over the earth, exiled perhaps from heaven, but of whom each being
has language and sentiments to him peculiar and unlike those of other
men,--delicacy, choiceness of soul, chasteness of feeling, tenderness
of heart, purer, sweeter, gentler than in the best of other created
beings. There is something saintly in even their enthusiasms, and calm
in their ardour. These poor exiles have all, in their voices, their
words, their ideas, something, I know not what, which distinguishes
them from others, which serves to bind them to one another in spite of
distance, lands, and language; a word, a phrase, the very sentiment
exhaled in a look are like a rallying call which they obey; and,
compatriots of a hidden land whose charms are reproduced in their
memories, they recognize and love one another in the name of that
country toward which they stretch their arms. Poesy, music, and
religion are their three divinities, their favourite loves; and all
these passions awake in their hearts sensations that are equally

I have clothed you with all these ideas. I have held out to you my
hand, fraternally, from afar, without conceit, without affectation,
but with a confidence that is almost domestic, with sincerity; and
could you have seen my glance you would have recognized within it both
the gratitude of a lover and the religions of the heart,--the pure
tenderness that binds the son to a mother, the brother to a sister, the
respect of a young man for woman, and the delightful hopes of a long
and fervent friendship.

'T was an episode wholly romantic; but who will dare to blame the
romantic? It is only frigid souls who cannot conceive all there is of
vast in the emotions to which the unknown gives full scope. The less
we are restrained by reality, the higher is the flight of the soul. I
have therefore let myself gently float upon my reveries, and they are
ravishing. So, if a star darts from your candle, if your ear should
catch a distant murmur, if you see figures in the fire, if something
sparkles or speaks beside you, near you, believe that my spirit is
wandering among your panels.

Amid the battle I am fighting, amid my heavy toil, my endless studies,
in this agitated Paris, where politics and literature absorb some
sixteen or eighteen hours of the twenty-four, to me, an unfortunate
man, widely different from the author that people imagine, come
charming hours which I owe to you. So, in order to thank you, I
dedicated to you the fourth volume of the "Scènes de la Vie privée,"
putting your seal at the head of the last "Scene," which I was writing
at the moment when I received your first letter. But a person who is
a mother for me, and whose caprices and even jealousy I am bound to
respect, exacted that this silent testimony of secret sentiments should
be suppressed. I have the sincerity to avow to you both the dedication
and its destruction, because I believe you have a soul sufficiently
lofty not to desire a homage which would cause grief to a person as
noble and grand as she whose child I am, for she preserved me in the
midst of griefs and shipwreck where in my youth I nearly perished. I
live by the heart only, and she made me live! I have saved the only
copy of that dedication for which I was blamed as if it were a horrible
coquetry; keep it, madame, as a souvenir and by way of thanks. When you
read the book say to yourself that in concluding it and revising it
I thought of you and of the compositions which you have preferred to
all the others. Perhaps what I am doing is wrong; but the purity of my
intentions must absolve me.[1]

Lay the things that shock you in my works, madame, to the account
of that necessity which forces us to strike powerfully a _blasé_
public. Having undertaken, rashly no doubt, to represent the whole of
literature by the whole of my works; wishing to erect a monument more
durable from the mass and the amassing of materials than from the
beauty of the edifice, I am obliged to represent everything, that I may
not be accused of want of power. But if you knew me personally, if my
solitary life, my days of study, privation, and toil were told to you,
you would lay aside some of your accusations and perceive more than one
antithesis between the man and his writings. Certainly there are some
works in which I like to be myself; but you can guess them; they are
those in which the heart speaks out. My fate is to paint the happiness
that others feel; to desire it in perfection, but never to meet it.
None but those who suffer can paint joy, because we express better that
which we conceive than that we have experienced.

See to what this confidence has drawn me! But, thinking of all the
countries that lie between us, I dare not be brief. Besides, events are
so gloomy around my friends and myself! Civilization is threatened;
arts, sciences, and progress are threatened. I myself, the organ of
a vanquished party representing all noble and religious ideas, I am
already the object of lively hatred. The more that is hoped from my
voice, the more it is feared. And under these circumstances, when a man
is thirty years old and has not worn out his life or his heart, with
what passion he grasps a friendly word, a tender speech!...

Perhaps you will never receive anything from me again, and the
friendship you have created may be like a flower perishing unknown in
the depths of a wood by a stroke of lightning. Know, at least, that it
was true, and sincere; you are, in a young and stainless heart, what
every woman must desire to be--respected and adored. Have you not shed
a perfume on my hours? Do I not owe to you one of those encouragements
which make us accept hard toil, the drop of water in the desert?

If events respect me, and in spite of excursions to which my life as
poet and artist condemn me, you can, madame, address your letters "Rue
Cassini, No. 1, near the Observatory"--unless indeed I have had the
misfortune to displease you by this candid expression of the feelings I
have for you.

Accept, madame, my respectful homage.

[Footnote 1: This publication of the "Scènes de la Vie privée" took
place in May, 1832, nine months _before_ Mme. Hanska's first letter
reached Balzac. The above passage must therefore have been forged and
interpolated here; probably to bring this letter into line with a
tale in "Roman d'Amour" (pp. 55-59), which the same dates prove to be

PARIS, end of January, 1833.

Pardon me the delay of my answer. I returned to Paris only in December
last, and I found your letter in Paris awaiting me. But once here, I
was sharply seized by crushing toil and violent sorrows.[1] I must be
silent as to the sorrows and the toil. None but God and myself will
ever know the dreadful energy a heart requires to be full of tears
repressed, and yet suffice for literary labours. To spend one's soul in
melancholy, and yet to occupy it ever with fictitious joys and sorrows!
To write cold dramas, and keep within us a drama that burns both heart
and brain! But let us leave all this. I am alone; I am now shut up at
home for a long time, possibly a year. I have already endured these
voluntary incarcerations in the name of science and of poverty; to-day,
troubles are my jailers.

I have more than once turned my thought to you. But I must still be
silent; these are follies. I have one regret; it is to have boasted
to you of "Louis Lambert," the saddest of all abortions. I have just
employed nearly three months in remaking that book, and it is now
appearing in a little 18mo volume, of which there is a special copy for
you; it will await your orders and shall be given, with the Chénier, to
the person who calls for them; or they shall be sent wherever you write
to me to forward them.

This work is still incomplete, though it bears this time the pompous
title of "Histoire Intellectuelle de Louis Lambert." When this edition
is exhausted, I will publish another "Louis Lambert" more complete.

I tell you naïvely all that you want to know about me. I am still
waiting for you to speak to me with equal confidence. You are afraid
of ridicule? And of whose? That of a poor child, victim yesterday and
victim to-morrow of his feminine bashfulness, his shyness, his beliefs.
You have asked me with distrust to give an explanation of my two
handwritings; but I have as many handwritings as there are days in the
year, without being on that account the least in the world versatile.
This mobility comes from an imagination which can conceive all and yet
remain virgin, like glass which is soiled by none of its reflections.
The glass is in my brain. But my heart, my heart is known but to one
woman in the world as yet,--the _et nunc et semper dilectæ dicatum_ of
the dedication of "Louis Lambert." Ties eternal and ties broken! Do not
blame me. You ask me how we can love, live, and lose each other while
still loving. That is a mystery of life of which you know nothing as
yet, and I hope you never may know it. In that sad destiny no blame can
be attached except to fate; there are two unfortunates, but they are
two irreproachable unfortunates. There is no fault to absolve because
there is no cause to blame. I cannot add another word.

I am very curious to know if "La Femme abandonnée," "La Grenadière,"
the "Lettre à Nodier" (in which there are enormous typographical
errors), the "Voyage à Java," and "Les Maranas" have pleased you?...

Some days after receiving this letter you will read "Une Fille d'Ève,"
who will be the type of the "La Femme abandonnée," taken between
fifteen and twenty years of age.

At this moment I am finishing a work that is quite evangelical, and
which seems to me the "Imitation of Jesus Christ" poetized. It bears
an epigraph which will tell the disposition of mind I was in when
writing the book: _To wounded hearts, silence and shade_. One must have
suffered to understand that line to its full extent; and one must also
have suffered as much as I have done to give birth to it in a day of

I have flung myself into work, as Empedocles into the crater, to stay
there. "La Bataille" will come after "Le Médecin de campagne" (the book
I have just told you of); and is there not something to shudder at when
I tell you that "La Bataille" is an impossible book? In it I undertake
to initiate the reader into all the horrors and all the beauties of a
battle-field; my battle is Essling, Essling with all its consequences.
This book requires that a man, in cold blood, seated in his chair,
shall see the country, the lay of the land, the masses of men, the
strategic events, the Danube, the bridges; shall behold the details and
the whole of the struggle, hear the artillery, pay attention to all the
movements on the chess-board; see all, and feel, in each articulation
of the great body, Napoleon--whom I shall not show, or shall only
_allow to be seen_, in the evening, crossing the Danube in a boat! Not
a woman's head; cannon, horses, two armies, uniforms. On the first page
the cannon roars, and never ceases until the last. You read through
smoke, and, the book closed, you have seen it all intuitively; you
remember the battle as if you had been present at it.

It is now three months that I have been measuring swords with that
work, that ode in two volumes, which persons on all sides tell me is

I work eighteen hours a day. I have perceived the faults of style
which disfigure "La Peau de Chagrin." I corrected them to make it
irreproachable; but after two months' labour, the volume being
reprinted, I discover another hundred faults. Such are the sorrows of a

It is the same thing with "Les Chouans." I have rewritten that book
entirely; but the second edition, which is coming out, has still many
spots upon it.

On all sides they shout to me that I do not know how to write; and
that is cruel when I have already told myself so, and have consecrated
my days to new works, using my nights to perfect the old ones. Like
the bears, I am now licking the "Scènes de la Vie privée" and the
"Physiologie du Mariage;" after which I shall revise the "Études

As all my passions, all my beliefs are defeated, as my dreams are
dispersed, I am forced to _create myself_ passions, and I choose that
of art. I live in my studies. I wish to do better. I weigh my phrases
and my words as a miser weighs his bits of gold. What love I thus
waste! What happiness is flung to the winds! My laborious youth, my
long studies will not have the sole reward I desired for them. Ever
since I have breathed and known what a pure breath coming from pure
lips was, I have desired the love of a young and pretty woman; yet
all has fled me! A few years more and youth will be a memory! I am
eligible to the Chamber under the new law which allows us to be men at
thirty years of age, and certainly in a few years the recollections of
youth will bring me no joys. And then, what hope that I could obtain
at forty that which I have missed at twenty? She who is averse to me,
being young, will she be less reluctant then? But you cannot understand
these moans,--you, young, solitary, living a country life, far from our
Parisian world which excites the passions so violently, and where all
is so great and so petty. I ought still to keep these lamentations in
the depths of my heart....

You have asked my friendship for _a_ youth; I thought of you yesterday
in fulfilling a promise of the same kind and devoting myself to a young
man whom I hope to embark upon a fine and noble life. You are right;
there is a moment in the life of young men when a friendly heart can
be very precious. In the park of Versailles is a statue of "Achilles
between Vice and Virtue," which seems to me a great work, and I have
always thought, when looking at it, of that critical moment in human
life. Yes, a young man needs a courageous voice to draw him to the
life of manhood while allowing him to gather the flowers of passion
that bloom along the wayside.

You will not laugh at me, you, who have written to me so noble a page
and lines so melancholy, in which I have believed. You are one of those
ideal figures to whom I give the right to come at times and nebulously
pose amid my flowers, who smile to me between two camellias, waving
aside a rosy heather, and to whom I speak.

You fear the dissipations of the winter for me? Alas! all that I know
of the impressions I can produce, comes to me in a few letters from
kind souls which set me glowing. I never leave my study, filled with
books; I am alone, and I listen and wish to listen to no one. I have
such pain in uprooting from my heart my hopes! They must be torn out,
one by one, root by root, like flax. To renounce Woman!--my sole
terrestrial religion!

You wish to know if I ever met Fedora; if she is true. A woman of cold
Russia, the Princess Bagration, is supposed in Paris to be the model
of her. I have reached the seventieth woman who has the coolness to
recognize herself in that character. They are all of ripe age. Even
Madame Récamier is willing to _fedorize_ herself. Not a word of all
that is true. I made Fedora out of two women whom I have known without
ever being intimate with them. Observation sufficed me, and a few

There are also some kind souls who will have it that I have courted the
handsomest of Parisian courtesans and have hid, like Raphael, behind
her curtains. These are calumnies. I have met a Fedora; but that one I
shall not paint; besides, the "La Peau de chagrin" was published before
I knew her.

I must bid you adieu, and what an adieu! This letter may be a month on
its way; you will hold it in your hands, but I may never see you,--you
whom I caress as an illusion, who are in my dreams like a hope, and
who have so graciously embodied my reveries. You do not know what it
is to people the solitude of a poet with a gentle figure, the form of
which attracts by the very vagueness which the indefinite lends it. A
solitary, ardent heart takes eagerly to a chimera when it is real! How
many times I have travelled the road that separates us! what delightful
romances! and what postal charges do I not spend at my fireside!

Adieu, then; I have given you a whole night, a night which belonged
to my legitimate wife, the "Revue de Paris," that crabbed spouse.
Consequently the "Théorie de la Démarche," which I owed to her must be
postponed till the month of March, and no one will know why; you and
I alone are in the secret. The article was there before me--a science
to elucidate; it was arduous, I was afraid of it. Your letter slipped
into my memory, and suddenly I put my feet to the embers, forgot
myself in my arm-chair,--and adieu "La Démarche;" behold me galloping
towards Poland, and re-reading your letters (I have but three)--and
now I answer them. I defy you to read two months hence the "Théorie de
la Démarche" without smiling at every sentence; because beneath those
senseless foolish phrases there are a thousand thoughts of you.

Adieu. I have so little time that you must absolve me. There are but
three persons whose letters I answer. This sounds a little like French
conceit, and yet it is really most delicate in the way of modesty. More
than that, I meant to tell you that you are almost alone in my heart,
grandparents excepted.

Adieu. If my rose-tree were not out of bloom I would send you a petal.
If you were less fairy-like, less capricious, less mysterious, I would
say "write to me often."

P. S. The black seal was an accident. I was not at home, and the friend
with whom I was staying at Angoulême was in mourning.

[Footnote 1: This letter is inconsistent with the preceding one, also
dated January, 1833. A system of arbitrary dating is thus shown.--TR.]

PARIS, February 24, 1833.

Certainly there is some good genius between us; I dare not say
otherwise, for how else can one explain that you should have sent me
the "Imitation of Jesus Christ" just when I was working night and day
at a book in which I have tried to dramatize the spirit of that work by
conforming it to the desires of the civilization of our epoch. How is
it that you had the thought to send it to me when I had that of putting
its meditative poesy into action, so that across wide space the saintly
volume, accompanied by an escort of gentle thoughts, should have come
to me as I was casting myself into the delightful fields of a religious
idea; coming too, at a moment when, weary and discouraged, I despaired
of being able to accomplish this magnificent work of charity; beautiful
in its results--if only my efforts should not prove in vain. Oh! give
me the right to send you in a month or two my "Médecin de campagne"
with the Chénier and the new "Louis Lambert," in which I will write the
last corrections. My book will not appear till the first of March. I
do not choose to send you that ignoble edition. A few weeks after its
appearance I shall have still another ready, and I can then offer you
something more worthy of you. The same line of thought presented itself
to me in all of them,--poesy, religion, intellect, those three great
principles will be united in these three books, and their pilgrimage
toward you will be fulfilled; all my thoughts are assembled in them,
and if you will draw from that source there will be for you, in me,
something inexhaustible.

Now I know that my book will please you. You send me the Christ upon
the cross, and I, I have made him bearing his cross. There lies the
idea of the book: resignation and love; faith in the future and the
shedding of the fragrance of benefits around us. What joy for a man
to have at last been able to do a work in which he can be himself,
in which he may pour out his soul without fear of ridicule, because
in serving the passions of the mob he has conquered the right, dearly
bought, of being heard in a day of grave thought. Have you read
"Juana"? Tell me if she pleases you.

You have awakened many diverse curiosities in me; you are capable
of a delightful coquetry which it is impossible to blame. But you
do not know how dangerous it is to a lively imagination and a heart
misunderstood, a heart full of rejected tenderness, to behold thus
nebulously a young and beautiful woman. In spite of these dangers, I
yield myself willingly to hopes of the heart. My grief is to be able
to speak to you of yourself as only a hope, a dream of heaven and of
all that is beautiful. I can therefore tell you only of myself; but I
abandon myself with you to my most secret thoughts, to my despairs, to
my hopes. You are a second conscience; less reproachful perhaps and
more kindly than that which rises so imperiously within me at evil

Well, then! I will speak of myself, since it must be so. I have met
with one of those immense sorrows which only artists know. After three
months' labour I re-made "Louis Lambert." Yesterday, a friend, one of
those friends who never deceive, who tell you the truth, came, scalpel
in hand, and we studied my work together. He is a logical man, of
severe taste, incapable of doing anything himself, but a most profound
grammarian, a stern professor, and he showed me a thousand faults.
That evening, alone, I wept with despair in that species of rage which
seizes the heart when we recognize our faults after toiling so long.
Well, I shall set to work again, and in a month or two I will bring
forth a corrected "Louis Lambert." Wait for that. Let me send you,
when it is ready, a new and fine edition of the four volumes of the
Philosophical tales. I am preparing it. "La Peau de chagrin," already
corrected, is to be again corrected. If all is not then made perfect,
at least it will be less ugly.

Always labour! My life is passed in a monk's cell--but a pretty cell,
at any rate. I seldom go out; I have many personal annoyances, like all
men who live by the altar instead of being able to worship it. How many
things I do which I would fain renounce! But the time of my deliverance
is not far off; and then I shall be able to slowly accomplish my work.

How impatient I am to finish "Le Médecin de campagne," that I may know
what you think of it--for you will read it no doubt before you receive
your own copy. It is the history of a man faithful to a despised love,
to a woman who did not love him, who broke his heart by coquetry; but
that story is only an episode. Instead of killing himself, the man
casts off his life like a garment, takes another existence, and in
place of making himself a monk, he becomes the sister of mercy of a
poor canton, which he civilizes. At this moment I am in the paroxysm of
composition, and I can only speak well of it. When it is finished you
will receive the despairs of a man who sees only its faults.

If you knew with what force a solitary soul whom no one wants springs
toward a true affection! I love you, unknown woman, and this fantastic
thing is only the natural effect of a life that is empty and unhappy,
which I have filled with ideas only, diminishing its misfortunes by
chimerical pleasures. If this present adventure ought to happen to any
one it should to me. I am like a prisoner who, in the depths of his
dungeon, hears the sweet voice of a woman. He puts all his soul into a
faint yet powerful perception of that voice, and after his long hours
of revery, of hopes, after voyages of imagination, the woman, beautiful
and young, kills him--so complete would be the happiness. You will
think this folly; it is the truth, and far below the truth, because the
heart, the imagination, the romance of the passions of which my works
give an idea are very far below the heart, the imagination, the romance
of the man. And I can say this without conceit, because all those
qualities are to me misfortunes. After all, no one attaches himself
with greater love to the poesy of this sentiment at once so chimerical
and so true. It is a sort of religion, higher than earth, less high
than heaven. I like to often turn my eyes toward these unknown skies,
in an unknown land, and gather some new strength by thinking that
_there_ may be sure rewards for me, when I do well.

Remember, therefore, that there is here, between a Carmelite convent
and the Place where the executions take place, a poor being whose joy
you are,--an innocent joy according to social laws, but a very criminal
one if measured by the weight of affection. I take too much, I assure
you, and you would not ratify my dreamy conquests if it were possible
to tell you my dreams, dreams which I know to be impossible, but which
please me so much. To go where no one in the world knows where I
am,--to go into your country, to pass before you unknown, to see you,
and return here to write and tell you, "You are thus and so!" How many
times have I enjoyed this delightful fancy--I, attached by a myriad
lilliputian bonds to Paris, I, whose independence is forever being
postponed, I, who cannot travel except in thought! It is yours, that
thought; but, in mercy and in the name of that affection which I will
not characterize because it makes me too happy, tell me that you write
to no one in France but me. This is not distrust nor jealousy; although
both sentiments prove love, I think that the suspicions they imply
are always dishonouring. No, the motive is a sentiment of celestial
perfection which ought to be in you and which I inwardly feel there. I
know it, but I would fain be sure.

Adieu; pitiless editors, newspapers, etc., are here; time fails me
for all I have to do; there is but a single thing for which I can
always find time. Will you be kind, charitable, gracious, excellent?
You surely know some person who can make a sepia sketch. Send me a
faithful copy of the room where you write, where you think, where you
are _you_--for, you know well, there are moments when we are more
ourselves, when the mask is no longer on us. I am very bold, very
indiscreet; but this desire will tell you many things, and, after all,
I swear it is very innocent.

In the month of May two young Frenchmen who are going to Russia can
leave with the person you may indicate, in any town you indicate, the
parcel containing André Chénier, my poor "Louis Lambert" and your copy
of "Le Médecin de campagne." Write me promptly on this subject. They
are two young men who are not inquiring; they will do it as a matter
of business. Objects of art are not exposed to the brutalities of
the custom-house and you will permit a poor artist to send you a few
specimens of art. They are only precious from the species of perfection
that artists who love each other give to their work for a brother's
sake. At any rate, allow Paris the right to be proud of her worship of
art. You will enjoy the gift because none but you and I in the world
will know that this book, this copy is the solitary one of its kind.
The seal I had engraved upon it is lost. It came to me defaced by
rubbing against other letters. You will be very generous to send me an
impression inside of your reply.

All this shows that I am occupied with you, and you will not refuse to
increase my pleasures; they are so rare!

PARIS, end of March; 1833.

I have told you something of my life; I have not told you all; but
you will have seen enough to understand that I have no time to do
evil, no leisure to let myself go to happiness. Gifted with excessive
sensibility, having lived much in solitude, the constant ill-fortune of
my life has been the element of what is called so improperly _talent_.
I am provided with a great power of observation, because I have been
cast among all sorts of professions, involuntarily. Then, when I
went into the upper regions of society, I suffered at all points of
my soul which suffering can touch; there are none but souls that are
misunderstood, and the poor, who can really observe, because everything
bruises them, and observation results from suffering. Memory only
registers thoroughly that which is pain. In this sense it recalls great
joy, for pleasure comes very near to being pain. Thus society in all
its phases from top to bottom, legislations, religions, histories,
the present times, all have been observed and analyzed by me. My one
passion, always disappointed, at least in the development I gave to it,
has made me observe women, study them, know them, and cherish them,
without other recompense than that of being understood at a distance by
great and noble hearts. I have written my desires, my dreams. But the
farther I go, the more I rebel against my fate. At thirty-four years
of age, after having constantly worked fourteen and fifteen hours a
day, I have already white hairs without ever being loved by a young
and pretty woman; that is sad. My imagination, virile as it is, having
never been prostituted or jaded, is an enemy for me; it is always in
keeping with a young and pure heart, violent with repressed desires,
so that the slightest sentiment cast into my solitude makes ravages.
I love you already too much without ever having seen you. There are
certain phrases in your letters which make my heart beat. If you knew
with what ardour I spring toward that which I have so long desired! of
what devotion I feel myself capable! what happiness it would be to me
to subordinate my life for a single day! to remain without seeing a
living soul for a year, for a single hour! All that woman can dream of
that is most delicate, most romantic, finds in my heart, not an echo
but, an incredible simultaneousness of thought. Forgive me this pride
of misery, this naïveté of suffering.

You have asked me the baptismal name of the _dilecta_ [Mme. de Berny].
In spite of my complete and blind faith, in spite of my sentiment for
you, I cannot tell it to you; I have never told it. Would you have
faith in me if I told it? No.

You ask me to send you a plan of the place I live in. Listen: in one
of the forthcoming numbers of Regnier's "Album" (I will go and see him
on the subject) he shall put in my house for you, oh! solely for you!
It is a sacrifice; it is distasteful to me to be put _en évidence_.
How little those who accuse me of vanity know me! I have never desired
to see a journalist, for I should blush to solicit an article. For
the last eight months I have resisted the entreaties of Schnetz and
Scheffer, author of "Faust" who wish extremely to make my portrait.

Yesterday I said in jest to Gérard, who spoke to me of the same thing,
that I was not a sufficiently fine fish to be put in oils. You will
receive herewith a little sketch made by an artist of my study. But I
am rather disturbed in sending it to you because I dare not believe
in all that your request offers me of joy and happiness. To live in
a heart is so glorious a life! To be able to name you secretly to
myself in evil hours, when I suffer, when I am betrayed, misunderstood,
calumniated! To be able to retire to you!... This is a hope that goes
too far beyond me; it is the adoration of God by monks, the Ave Maria
written in the cell of a Chartreux,--an inscription which once made me
stand at the Grande-Chartreuse, beneath a vault, for ten minutes. Oh!
love me! All that you desire of what is noble, true, pure, will be in
a heart that has borne many a blow, but is not blasted!

That gentleman was very unjust. I drink nothing but coffee. I have
never known what drunkenness was, except from a cigar which Eugène Sue
made me smoke against my will, and it was that which enabled me to
paint the drunkenness for which you blame me, in the "Voyage à Java."
Eugène Sue is a kind and amiable young man, a braggart of vices, in
despair at being named Sue, living in luxury to make himself a great
seigneur, but for all that, though a little worn-out, worth more than
his works, I dare not speak to you of Nodier, lest I should destroy
your illusions. His artistic caprices stain that purity of honour which
is the chastity of men. But when one knows him, one forgives him his
disorderly life, his vices, his lack of conscience for his home. He
is a true child of nature after the fashion of La Fontaine. I have
just returned from Madame de Girardin's (Delphine Gay). She has the
small-pox. Her celebrated beauty is now in danger. This distresses me
for Émile, her husband, and for her. She had been vaccinated; present
science declares that one ought to be vaccinated every twenty years.

I have returned home to write to you under the empire of a violent
annoyance. Out of low envy the editor of the "Revue de Paris" postpones
for a week my third number of the "Histoire des Treize." Fifteen days'
interval will kill the interest in it, and I had worked day and night
to avoid any delay. For this last affair, which is the drop of water
in too full a cup, I shall probably cease all collaboration in the
"Revue de Paris." I am so disgusted by the tricky enmity which broods
there for me that I shall retire from it; and if I retire, it will be
forever. To a certain degree my will is cast in bronze, and nothing can
make me change it. In reading the "Histoire" in the March number, you
will never suspect the base and unworthy annoyances which have been
instigated against me in the inner courts of that review. They bargain
for me as if I were a fancy article; sometimes they play me monkey
tricks [_malices de nègre_]; sometimes insults upon me are anonymously
put into the Album of the Revue; at other times they fall at my feet,
basely. When "Juana" appeared, they inserted a notice that made me pass
for a madman.

But why should I tell you these miserable things? The joke is that
they represent me as being unpunctual; promising, and not keeping
my promises. Two years ago, Sue quarrelled with a bad courtesan,
celebrated for her beauty (she is the original of Vernet's Judith). I
lowered myself to reconcile them, and the consequence is the woman is
given to me. M. de Fitz-James, the Duc de Duras, and the old court, all
went to her house to talk, as on neutral ground, much as people walk
in the alley of the Tuileries to meet one another; and I am expected
to be more strait-laced than those gentlemen! In short, by some fatal
chance I can't take a step that is not interpreted as evil. What a
punishment is celebrity! But, indeed, to publish one's thoughts, is it
not prostituting them? If I had been rich and happy they should all
have been kept for my love.

Two years ago, among a few friends, I used to tell stories in the
evening, after midnight. I have given that up. There was danger of
my passing for an _amuser_; and I should have lost consideration. At
every step there is a pitfall. So now I have retired into silence and
solitude. I needed the great deception with which all Paris is now busy
to fling myself into this other extremity. There is still a Metternich
in this adventure; but this time it is the son, who died in Florence. I
have already told you of this cruel affair, and I had no right to tell
you. Though separated from that person out of delicacy, all is not over
yet. I suffer through her; but I do not judge her. Only, I think that
if you loved some one, and if you had daily drawn that person towards
you into heaven, and you became free, you would not leave him alone
at the bottom of an icy abyss after having warmed him with the fire
of your soul. But forget all that; I have spoken to you as to my own
consciousness. Do not betray a soul that takes refuge in yours.

You have much courage! you have a great and lofty soul; do not tremble
before any one, or you will be unhappy; you will meet in life with
circumstances that will make you grieve that you did not know how to
obtain all the power which you ought to have had and might have had.
What I tell you now is the fruit of the experience of a woman advanced
in years and purely religious. But, above all, no useless imprudence.
Do not pronounce my name; let me be torn in pieces; I do not care for
such criticism, provided I can live in two or three hearts which I
value more than the whole world beside. I prefer one of your letters to
the fame of Lord Byron bestowed by universal approbation. My vocation
on this earth is to love, even without hope; provided, nevertheless, I
am a little loved also.

Jules Sandeau is a young man. George Sand is a woman. I was interested
in both, because I thought it sublime in a woman to leave everything
to follow a poor young man whom she loved. This woman, whose name is
Mme. Dudevant, proves to have a great talent. It was necessary to
save Sandeau from the conscription; they wrote a book between them;
the book is good. I liked these two lovers, lodging at the top of a
house on the quai Saint-Michel, proud and happy. Madame Dudevant had
her children with her. Note that point. Fame arrived, and cast trouble
into the dove-cote. Madame Dudevant asserted that she ought to leave
it on account of her children. They separated; and this separation is,
as I believe, founded on a new affection which George Sand, or Madame
Dudevant, has taken for the most malignant of our contemporaries, H.
de L. [Henri de Latouche], one of my former friends, a most seductive
man, but odiously bad. If I had no other proof than Madame Dudevant's
estrangement from me, who received her fraternally with Jules Sandeau,
it would be enough. She now fires epigrams against her former host, so
that yesterday I found Sandeau in despair. This is how it is with the
author of "Valentine" and "Indiana," about whom you ask me.

There is no one, artist or literary person, whom I do not know in
Paris, and for the last ten years I have known many things, and things
so sad to know that disgust of these people has seized my heart. They
have made me understand Rousseau, they cannot pardon me for knowing
them; they pardon neither my avoidance of them nor my frankness. But
there are some impartial persons who are beginning to speak truth. My
name is Honoré, and I wish to be faithful to my name.

What mud all this is! and, as you write me, man is a perverse animal.
I do not complain, for heaven has given me three hearts: _la dilecta_
[Madame de Berny], the lady of Angoulême [Mme. Carraud] and a friend
[Auguste Borget] who is at this moment making a sketch of my study for
you, without knowing for whom it is; and these three hearts, besides
my sister and you,--you who can now do so much for my life, my soul,
my heart, my mind, you who can save the future from a past given over
to suffering,--are my only riches. You will have the right to say that
Balzac is diffuse, not quoting from Voltaire, but of your own knowledge.

At this moment of writing, you must have read "Juana," and have,
perhaps, given her a tear. In the last chapter there are sentences in
which we can well understand each other: "melancholies not understood
even by those who have caused them," etc., etc.

Do you not think that I have said too much good of myself and too much
evil of others? Do not suppose, however, that all are gangrened. If
H..., married for love and having beautiful children, is in the arms of
an infamous courtesan, there is in Paris Monsieur Monteil, the author
of a fine work ["L'Histoire des Français des divers états aux cinq
derniers siècles"], who is living on bread and milk, refusing a pension
which he thinks ought not to be given to him. There are fine and noble
characters; rare, but there are some. Scribe is a man of honour and
courage. I should have to make you a whole history of literary men; it
would not be too beautiful.

I entreat you to tell me, with that _kittenish_, pretty style of yours,
how you pass your life, hour by hour; let me share it all. Describe
to me the places you live in, even to the colours of the furniture.
You ought to keep a journal and send it to me regularly. In spite of
my occupations I will write you a line every day. It is so sweet to
confide all to a kind and beautiful soul, as one does to God.

To put a stop to some of your illusions, I shall have a sketch made of
the "Médecin de campagne" and you will find in it the features, perhaps
a little caricatured, of the author. This is to be a secret between
you and me. I have been thinking how to send you this copy when it is
ready. I think I have found the most natural way, and I will tell it to
you, unless you invent a better.

Grant my requests for the details of your life; so that when my thought
turns towards you it may meet you, see that work-frame, the flower
begun, and follow you through all your hours. If you knew how often
wearied thought needs a repose that is partly active, how beneficent to
me is the gentle revery that begins: "She is there! now she is looking
at such or such a thing." And I--I can give to thought the faculty to
spring through space with force enough to abolish it. These are my only
pleasures amid continual work.

I have not room to explain to you here what I have undertaken to
accomplish this year. In January next you can judge if I have been
able to leave my study much. And yet I would like to find two months
in which to travel for rest. You ask me for information about Saché.
Saché is the remains of a castle on the Indre, in one of the most
delicious valleys of Touraine. The proprietor, a man of fifty-five,
used to dandle me on his knee. He has a pious and intolerant wife,
rather deformed and not clever. I go there for him; and besides, I am
free there. They accept me throughout the region as a child; I have no
value whatever, and I am happy to be there, like a monk in a monastery.
I walk about meditating serious works. The sky is so pure, the oaks so
fine, the calm so vast! A league away is the beautiful château d'Azay,
built by Samblançay, one of the finest architectural things that we
possess. Farther on is Ussé, so famous from the novel of "Petit Jehan
de Saintré." Saché is six leagues from Tours. But not a woman! not a
conversation possible! It is your Ukraine without your music and your
literature. But the more a soul full of love is restricted physically,
the more it rises toward the heavens. That is one of the secrets of
cell and solitude.

Be generous; tell me much of yourself, just as I tell you much of
myself. It is a means of exchanging lives. But let there be no
deceptions. I have trembled in writing to you, and have said to myself:
"Will this be a fresh bitterness? Will the heavens open to me once more
only to drive me out?"

Well, adieu, you who are one of my secret consolations, you, towards
whom my soul, my thoughts are flying. Do you know that you address
a spirit wholly feminine, and that what you forbid me tempts me
immensely? You forbid me to see you? What a sweet folly it would be
to do so! It is a crime which I would make you pardon by the gift of
my life; I would like to spend it in deserving that pardon. But fear
nothing; necessity cuts my wings. I am fastened to my glebe as your
serfs to the soil. But I have committed the crime a hundred times in
thought! You owe me compensation.

Adieu! I have confided to you the secrets of my life; it is as if I
told you that you have my soul.

PARIS, May 29-June 1, 1833.

I have to-day, May 29, received your last letter-journal, and I have
made arrangements to answer it as you wish. In the first place I have
finally discovered a paper thin enough to send you a journal the
weight of which shall not excite the distrust of all the governments
through which it passes. Next, I resign myself, from attachment to your
sovereign orders, to assume this fatiguing little handwriting, intended
for you specially. Have I understood you, my dear star? for there are
fearful distances between us, and you shine, pure and bright, upon my
life, like the fantastic star attributed to every human being by the
astrologers of the middle ages.

Where are you going? You tell me nothing about it. To have all the
requirements of a sentiment so grand, so vast, and not to have its
confidence, is not that very wrong? You owe me all your thoughts. I am
jealous of them.

If I have been long without writing to you it is because I have
awaited your answer to my letters, being ignorant as to whether you
received them. Even now I do not know where to address the letter I am
beginning. Then, this is what has happened to me: from March to April
I paid off my agreement with the "Revue de Paris" with a composition
entitled, "Histoire des Treize," which kept me working day and night;
to this were joined vexations; I felt fatigued, and I went to spend
some time in the South, at Angoulême; there I remained, stretched on
a sofa, much petted by a friend of my sister, of whom I think I have
already told you; and I became sufficiently rested to resume my work.

I found in my new _dizain_ and in the "Médecin de campagne" untold
difficulties. These two works (still in press) absorb my nights
and days; the time passes with frightful rapidity. My doctor [Dr.
Nacquart], alarmed at my fatigue, ordered me to remain a month without
doing anything,--neither reading, writing letters, nor writing of any
kind; to be, as he expressed it, like Nebuchadnezzar in the form of
a beast. This I did. During this inaction vainglory has had its way.
MADAME [the Duchesse de Berry] has caused to be written to me the most
touching things from the depths of her prison at Blaye. I have been her
consolation; and "l'Histoire des Treize" had so interested her that
she was on the point of writing to me to be told the end in advance,
so much did it agitate her! And an odd thing! M. de Fitz-James writes
me that old Prince Metternich never laid the story down, and that he
devours my works. But enough of all that. You will read Madame Jules,
and when you reach her you will regret having told me to burn your
letters. The "Histoire des Treize" [this refers only to one part,
"Ferragus"] has had an extraordinary success in this careless and busy

Forgive my scribbling; my heart and head are always too fast for
the rest, and when I correspond with a person I love I often become

I have just read and re-read your long and delightful letter. How glad
I am that you are making the journal I asked of you. Now that this is
agreed upon between us I will confide to you all my thoughts and the
events of my life, as you will yours to me. Your letter has done me
great good. My poor artist [Auguste Borget] is one of my friends. At
this moment he is roaming the shores of the Mediterranean, or you would
have had by this time a sketch of my chamber or my little salon. I
cannot yet tell you his name; but he will perhaps put it on a landscape
he is to make in the copy of the "Médecin de campagne" which is
destined for you, but cannot be ready before next autumn. He is a great
artist, still more a noble heart, a young man full of determination
and pure as a young girl. He was not willing to _exhibit_ this year
some magnificent studies. He wants to study two years longer before
appearing, and I praise the resolution. He will be great at one stroke.

Regnier, who is making the collection of the dwellings of celebrated
persons, was here yesterday; my house will be (for you) in the next
number, and, to finish up the quarter, he will put in the Observatoire,
on the side where M. Arago lives. That is the side I look upon; it is
opposite to me.

I hope "Le Médecin de campagne" will appear within the next fortnight.
This is the work that I prefer. My two counsellors cannot hear
fragments of it without shedding tears. As for me, what care bestowed
upon it!--but what annoyances! The publisher wanted to summons me to
deliver the manuscript more rapidly! I have only worked at it eight
months; yet to all the world this delay--put it in comparison with the
work--will seem diabolical. You shall have an ordinary copy, in which I
want you to read the composition. Do not buy it; wait, I entreat you,
for the handy volume I intend for you, besides the grand copy. You know
how much I care that you shall read me in a copy that I have chosen.
It is a gospel; it is a book to be read at all moments. I desire that
the volume in itself shall not be indifferent to you; there will be a
thought, a caress for you on every page.

Before I can hear from you where to address my letters, much time must
elapse. I can therefore talk to you at length. To-morrow I will speak
of your last letter, which I have near me, very near me, so that it
perfumes me. Oh! how a secret sentiment brightens life! how proud it
renders it! If you knew what part you have in my thoughts! how many
times during this month of idleness, under that beautiful blue sky of
Angoulême, I have delightfully journeyed toward you, occupying my mind
with you, uneasy about you, knowing you ill, receiving no answers,
and giving myself up to a thousand fancies. I live much through you,
perhaps too much: betrayed already by a person who had only curiosity,
my hopes in you are not devoid of a sort of terror, a fear. Oh! I am
more of a child than you suppose.

Yesterday I went to see Madame Récamier, whom I found ill, but
wonderfully bright and kind. I had heard she did much good, and very
nobly, in being silent and making no complaint of the ungrateful
beings she has met. No doubt she saw upon my face a reflection of
what I thought of her, and, without explaining to herself this little
sympathy, she was charming to me.

In the evening I went to see (for I have been only six days in Paris)
Madame Émile de Girardin, Delphine Gay, whom I found almost well of her
small-pox. She will have no marks. There were bores there, so I came
away,--one of them that enemy to all laughter, the bibliophile X...,
about whom you ask me for news. Alas! I can tell you all in a word. He
has married an actress, a low and obscure woman of bad morals, who, the
week before marrying him, had sent to one of my classmates, S..., the
editor of the "National," a bill of her debts, by way of flinging him
the handkerchief. The bibliophile had said much harm of this actress;
he did not then know her. He went behind the scenes of the Odéon, fell
in love with her, and she, in revenge, married him. The vengeance is
complete; she is the most dreadful tyrant I ever knew. She has resumed
her actress allurements, and rules him. There is no talent possible to
him under such circumstances. He calls himself a bibliophile and does
not know what bibliography is; Nodier and the amateurs laugh at him. He
needs much money, and he stays in literature for want of funds to be a
banker or a merchant of fashions. Hence his books,--"Divorce," "Vertu
et Tempérament," and all that he does. He is the culminating point of
mediocrity. By one of those chances that seem occult, I knew of his
behaving horribly to a poor woman whose seduction he had undertaken as
if it were a matter of business. I have seen that woman weeping bitter
tears at having belonged to a man whom she did not esteem and who had
no talent.

Sandeau has just gone to Italy; he is in despair; I thought him

As for Janin, another alas!... Janin is a fat little man who bites
everybody. The preface to "Barnave" is not by him, but by Béquet, on
the staff of the "Journal des Débats," a witty man, ill-conducted, who
was hiding with Janin to escape his creditors. Béquet was a school-mate
of mine; he came to me, already an old man from his excesses, to weep
over his trouble. Janin had taken from him a poor singer who was all
Béquet's joy. The "Chanson de Barnave" is by de Musset; the infamous
chapter about the daughters of Sejanus is by a young man named Félix

For mercy's sake, leave me free to be silent about these things when
they are too revolting. They run from ear to ear in the salons, and one
must needs hear them. I have already told you about H...; well! married
for love, having wife and children, he fell in love with an actress
named J..., who, among other proofs of tenderness, sent him a bill of
seven thousand francs to her laundress, and H... was forced to sign
notes of hand to pay the love-letter. Fancy a great poet, for he is a
poet, working to pay the washerwoman of Mademoiselle J...! Latouche
is envious, spiteful, and malicious; he is a fount of venom; but he
is faithful to his political creed, honest, and conceals his private
life. Scribe is very ill; he has worn himself out in writing.

General rule: there are few artists or great men who have not had their
frailties. It is difficult to have a power and not to abuse it. But
then, some are calumniated. Here, except about the washerwoman's bill,
a thing I have only heard said, all that I have told you are facts that
I know personally.

Adieu for to-day, my dear star; in future I will only tell you of
things that are good or beautiful in our country, for you seem to me
rather ill-disposed towards it. Do not see our warts; see the poor and
luckless friends of Sandeau subscribing to give him the needful money
to go to Italy; see the two Johannots, so united, so hard-working,
living like the two Corneilles. There are good hearts still.

Adieu; I shall re-read your pages to-night before I sleep, and
to-morrow I will write you my day. This day I have corrected the
fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the "Médecin de campagne" and
signed an agreement for the publication of the "Scènes de la Vie
Parisienne." I wish I knew what you were doing at the moments when my
mind is occupied with you.

During my absence a horse I was fond of died, and three beautiful
unknown ladies came to see me. They must have thought me disdainful.
I opened their letters on arriving. There was no address; all was
mysterious as a _bonne fortune_. But I am exclusive; I write to none
but you, and chance has sent my answer to those inquisitive women.

PARIS, July 19-August 8, 1833.

You have not been either forgotten or less loved; but you yourself have
been a little forgetful. You have not written to me how long a time you
were to stay in Vienna, so that I might know if my reply would reach
you there. Then you have written the name of your correspondent so
illegibly that I copy it with fear that there may be some mistake.

That said, I have written you several letters which I have burned for
fear of displeasing you, and I will now sum up for you in very few
words my recent life.

An odious lawsuit was instituted against me by a publisher, _à propos_
of "Le Médecin de campagne." The work was finished to-day, July 19, and
will be sold by a publisher appointed by the court. As for that book, I
have buried therein since I last wrote to you more than sixty nights.
You will read it, you, my distant angel, and you will see how much of
heart and life has been spent in that work, with which I am not yet
very content.

My work has so absorbed me that I could not give you my thoughts; I
am so weary, and for me life is such a desert! The only sentiment
apparently true that dawns in my real life is a thousand leagues away
from me. Does it not need all the power of a poet's heart to find
consolation there; to say to itself amid such toil: "She will quiver
with joy in seeing that her name has occupied me, that she herself
was present to my thought, and that what I dwelt on as loveliest and
noblest in that young girl I have named for her"? You will see in
reading the book that you were in my soul as a light.

I have nothing to tell you about myself, because I have been working
night and day without seeing any one. Nevertheless, a few unknown
ladies have rapped at my door and have written to me. But I have not
a vulgar soul, and, as _la dilecta_ says, "If I were young and pretty
I should come, and not write this." So I drop all that into the void.
There is something of you in this feminine reserve. A crown of the
nature of that to which I aspire is given in its entirety; it cannot be

Well, still some days, some months of labour, and I shall have ended
one of my tasks. I shall then take a brief repose and refresh my brain
by a journey; friends have already proposed to me Germany, Austria,
Moravia, Russia. _Non so._ I do not yet know what I shall do. You are
so despotic in your orders that I am afraid to go your way; there would
be a double danger there for me.

Your letters delight me; they make me love you more and more; but this
life, which turns incessantly toward you, is consumed in efforts and
returns to me no richer. To love one another without personal knowledge
is torture.

August 1, 1833.

Twelve days' interval without being able to resume my letter! Judge my
life by that. It is a perpetual combat, without relaxing. The wretches!
they don't know what they destroy of poesy.

My lawsuit will be decided to-morrow. "L'Europe Littéraire" has quoted
the "Story of the Emperor" told by a soldier of the Imperial Guard
to peasants in a barn (one of the chief things in the "Médecin de
campagne"). Bah! And here are speculators who for the last week have
stolen me, printed me without my permission, and have sold over twenty
thousand copies of that fragment! I could use the law with rigour,
but that's unworthy of me. They neither give my name, nor that of
the work; they murder me and say nothing; they rob me of my fame and
my pittance,--me, a poor man! You will some day read that gigantic
fragment, which has made the most unfeeling weep, and which a hundred
newspapers have reproduced. Friends tell me that from end to end of
France there has risen a cry of admiration. What will it be for the
whole work!

I send herewith a scrap of a former letter which I had not entirely

Since the 19th of last month I have had nothing but troubles,
anxieties, and toil. To finish this little letter, I have to take part
of a night, and I think it a gentle recreation.

I leave in a week for the country so as to finish in peace the third
_dizain_ of the "Contes Drolatiques" and a great historical novel
called "Privilège." Always work! You can, I think, without blushing,
allow yourself to read the third _dizain_. It is almost pure.

I await, assuredly with anxiety, your letter relating to "Le Médecin de
campagne." Write me quickly what you think of it; tell me your emotions.

_Mon Dieu!_ I would fain recount to you a thousand thoughts; but there
is a pitiless somebody who hurries and commands me. Be generous,
write to me, do not scold me too much for a seeming silence; my heart
speaks to you. If a spark flames up in your candle at night, consider
the little gleam as a message of the thoughts of your friend. If your
fire crackles, think of me who think often of you. Yes, dream true in
saying to yourself that your words not only echo, but they remain in
my memory; that in the most obscure corner of Paris there is a being
who puts you into all his dreams, who counts you for much in his
sentiments, whom you animate at times, but who, at other times is sad
and calls to you, as we hope for a chance that is well-nigh impossible.

PARIS, August 8, 1833.

I have received your letter from Switzerland, from Neufchâtel.

Will you not be much dissatisfied with yourself when you know that you
have given me great pain at a moment when I already had much? After all
that I have said to you, was not my silence significant of misfortunes?
I now inclose to you the letters begun before I received this letter
from Switzerland in which you give me your exact address.

I will not explain to you the troubles that overwhelm me; they are
such that I thought yesterday of quitting France. Besides, the lawsuit
which troubles me so much is very difficult to explain even to the
judges; you will feel therefore that I cannot tell you anything about
it in a letter. _Mon Dieu!_ if you have never thought that I might have
untold troubles, your heart should have told you that I did not enter
your soul to leave it as you suppose me to have done, and that I did
not forget you. You do not know with what strength a man who has met
with nothing but toil without reward, sorrows without joy, fastens to
a heart in which for the first time he finds the consolations that he
needs. The fragments of letters which I now send you have been under my
hand for the last three months, but for three months past I have not
had a day, an hour, to write to the persons I love best. But you are
far away; you know nothing of my life of toil and anguish. At any rate,
I pardon you the _badnesses_ which reveal such force in your heart for
him whom you love a little.

Later, I will write you in detail; but to-day I can only send you these
beginnings of letters, assuring you of my constant faith. I intend to
plead my case myself, and I must study it.

Nothing can better picture to you the agitated life which I lead than
these fragments of letters. I have not the power or the faculty to give
myself up for an hour to any connected subject outside of my writings
and my business matters. When will this end? I do not know. But I am
very weary of this perpetual struggle between men and things and me.

I must bid you adieu. Write to me always, and have faith in me. During
the hours of release that come to me I shall turn to you and tell you
all there is of good and tender sentiments in me for you. Adieu; some
day you will know how unhappy I was in writing you these few lines, and
you will be surprised that I was able to write them.

Adieu; love him who loves you.

PARIS, August 19, 1833.

What would I not pardon after reading your letter, my cherished angel?
But you are too beloved ever to be guilty of a fault; you are a spoilt
child; to you belong my most precious hours. See, I answer you alone.
_Mon Dieu!_ do not be jealous of any one. I have not been to see
Madame Récamier or any one else. I do not love Madame de Girardin;
and every time I go there, which is rare, I bring away with me an
antipathy.[1]... It is ten months since I have seen Eugène Sue, and
really I have no male friends in the true acceptation of the word.

Do not read the "Écho de la Jeune France." The second part of "Histoire
des Treize" ought to be in it, but those men have acted so badly
towards me that I have ceased to do what, out of extreme good-will to a
college friend interested in the enterprise, I began by doing. You will
find a grand and beautiful story just begun; the first chapter good,
the second bad. They had the impertinence to print my notes, without
waiting for the work I always undertake as it goes through the press,
and I shall now not complete the history till I put it in the "Scènes
de la Vie Parisienne" which will appear this winter.

I have only a moment in which to answer you; I live by chance, and by
fits and starts. _Perdonatemi._

Since I last wrote to you in such a hurry I have had more troubles than
I ever had before in my life.

My lawyers, my solicitors, everybody, implore me not to spend eight
months of my life in the law-courts, and yesterday I signed a
compromise allowing all questions in litigation to be sovereignly
decided by two arbitrators. That is how I now stand. The affair will be
decided by the end of the week, and I shall then know the extent of my
losses and my obligations.

Of the three copies I have had made of "Le Médecin de campagne" nothing
exists that I can send you, unless it be the first volume. But here
is what I shall do: I shall have duplicate proofs made of the second
volume, and you shall read them ten days hence, before the rest of the
world. I have already found many blemishes, therefore it is a copy of
the second edition only that I wish to give you; which will prove to
you my tenderness, for I don't know for whom else I would take the
trouble to write myself the title for printing [_le titre en regard de

The extreme disorder which this lawsuit and the time taken in making
this book has brought into my affairs, obliges me to take service once
more in the newspapers. For the last week I have been very actively
working on "L'Europe littéraire" in which I own a share. Thursday next
the "Théorie de la Démarche" will be finished. It is a long and very
tiresome treatise. But by the end of the month there will be a "Scène
de la Vie de province," in the style of "Les Célibataires," called
"Eugénie Grandet," which will be better. Take "L'Europe littéraire" for
three months.

You have not told me whether you have read "Juana" in the "Revue de
Paris," nor whether you have found the end of "Ferragus." I would like
to know if I ought to send you those two things. As for the _dizains_
of the "Contes Drolatiques," do not read them. The third you might
read. The first two belong, like those which follow the third, to a
special literature. I know women of exquisite taste and lofty devotion
who do read them; but in truth I never reckoned on such rare suffrages.
It is a work that cannot be judged until completed, and ten years
hence. It is a literary monument built for a few connoisseurs. If you
do not like La Fontaine's Tales, nor those of Boccaccio, and if you are
not an adorer of Ariosto, let the "Contes Drolatiques" alone; although
they will be my finest meed of fame in the future. I tell you this once
for all, not to return to it.

I send to you, to the address of Henriette Borel,[2] by to-morrow's
carrier, a unique "Louis Lambert" on Chinese paper, which I have had
printed for you, believing my work perfect. But I have the grief to
tell you that there is now a new manuscript for the future edition of
the "Études Philosophiques." You will also find in the package the
first volume of "Le Médecin de campagne," and I will send you the
second as soon as there is a copy. I hope to make you wait not more
than eight or ten days for it. _Evelina_ is in the second volume. If
you receive these volumes safely I will send you the Chénier I have
here for you.

Now that what I regard as business is ended, let us speak of
ourselves--Ourselves! Who told you about the little Metternich? As to
the services I have rendered Eugène Sue, I do not understand. But,
I entreat, do not listen to either calumny or gossip; I am the butt
of evil tongues. Yesterday one of my friends heard a fool relating
that I had two talismans in my house, in which I believed; two
drinking-glasses; on one of which depended my life, on the other my
talent. You cannot imagine what nonsense is told about me, calumnies,
crazy incriminations! There is but one thing true--my solitary life,
increasing toil, and sorrows.

No, you do not know how cruel and bitter it is to a loving man to ever
desire happiness and never meet it. Woman has been my dream; yet I
have stretched my arms to none but illusions. I have conceived of the
greatest sacrifices. I have even dreamed of one sole day of perfect
happiness in a year; of a woman who would have been as a fairy to
me. With that I could have been content and faithful. And here I am,
advancing in life, thirty-four years old, withering myself with toil
that is more and more exacting, having lost already my finest years and
gained nothing real.

You, you, my dear star, you fear--you, young and beautiful--to see me;
you overwhelm me with unjust suspicions. Those who suffer never betray;
they are the betrayed.

Benjamin Constant has made, as I think, the arraignment of men of the
world and intriguers; but there are noble exceptions. When you have
read the Confession in the "Médecin de campagne" you will change your
opinion, and you will understand that he who, for the first time,
revealed his heart in that book ought not to be classed among the
cold men who calculate everything. O my unknown love, do not distrust
me, do not think evil of me. I am a child, that is the whole of it--a
child, with more levity than you suppose, but pure as a child and
loving as a child. Stay in Switzerland or near France. In two months
I must have rest. Well, you shall hear, perhaps without terror, a
"Conte Drolatique" from the lips of the author. Oh! yes, let me find
near you the rest I need after this twelvemonth of labour. I can take
a name that is not known, beneath which I will hide myself. It will be
a secret between you and me. Everybody would suspect M. de Balzac, but
who knows M. d'Entragues? Nobody.[3]

_Mon Dieu!_ what you wish, I wish. We have the same desires, the same
anxieties, the same apprehensions, the same pride. I, too, cannot
conceive of love otherwise than as eternal, applying that word to the
duration of life. I do not comprehend that persons [_on_] should quit
each other, and, to me, one woman is all women. I would break my pen
to-morrow if you desired it; to-morrow no other woman should hear my
voice. I should ask exception for my _dilecta_, who is a mother to me.
She is nearly fifty-eight years old, and you could not be jealous of
her--you, so young. Oh! take, accept my sentiments and keep them as a
treasure! Dispose of my dreams, realize them? I do not think that God
would be severe to one who presents herself before him followed by an
adorable cortège of beautiful hours, happiness, and delightful life
given by her to a faithful being. I tell you all my thoughts. As for
me, I dread to see you, because I shall not realize your preconceived
ideas; and yet I wish to see you. Truly, dear, unknown soul who animate
my life, who bid my sorrows flee, who revive my courage during grievous
hours, this hope caresses me and gives me heart. You are the all in
all of my prodigious labour. If I wish to be something, if I work, if
I turn pale through laborious nights, it is, I swear to you, because I
live in your emotions, I try to guess them in advance; and for this I
am desperate to know if you have finished "Ferragus;" for the letter
of Madame Jules is a page full of tears, and in writing it I thought
much of you; offering to you there the image of the love that is in my
heart, the love that I desire, and which, in me, has been constantly
unrecognized. Why? I love too well, no doubt. I have a horror of
littlenesses, and I believe in what is noble, without distrust. I have
written in your "Louis Lambert" a saying of Saint Paul, in Latin: _Una
fides_; one only faith, a single love.

_Mon Dieu!_ I love you well; know that. Tell me where you will be
in October. In October I shall have a fortnight to myself. Choose a
beautiful place; let it be all of heaven to me.

Adieu, you who despotically fill my heart; adieu. I will write to you
once every week at least. You, whose letters do me so much good, be
charitable; cast, in profusion, the balm of your words into a heart
that is athirst for them. Be sure, dear, that my thought goes out to
you daily; that my courage comes from you; that one hard word is a
wound, a mourning. Be good and great; you will never find (and here I
would fain be on my knees before you that you might see my soul in a
look) a heart more delicately faithful, nor more vast, more exclusive.

Adieu, then, since it must be. I have written to you while my solicitor
has been reading to me his conclusions, for the case is to be judged
the day after to-morrow, and I must spend the night in writing a
summary of my affair.

Adieu; in five or six days you will have a volume that has cost much
labour and many nights. Be indulgent to the faults that remain in spite
of my care; and, my adored angel, forget not to cast a few flowers of
your soul to him who guards them as his noblest wealth; write to me
often. As soon as the judgment is rendered I will write to you; it will
be on Thursday.

Well, adieu. Take all the tender regards that I place here. I would
fain envelop you in my soul.

[Footnote 1: This is not true. The antipathy, if any, was to Émile de
Girardin, and it put an end for a time to Balzac's visits to the house.
See Éd. Déf., vol. xxiv., p. 198.--TR.]

[Footnote 2: Mlle. Henriette Borel was governess in the Hanski family.
She was a native of Neufchâtel, and M. Hanski employed her to select
and engage a furnished house there for himself and family, to which
they went in May, 1833. She was the "Lirette" who took the veil in
Paris (December, 1845); of which ceremony Balzac gives a vivid account
in one of the following letters.--TR.]

[Footnote 3: If Balzac ever wrote this paragraph (which I believe to
be an interpolation made to fit the theory in "Roman d'Amour") he
fell ludicrously short of his design; for he wrote letters to friends
about this journey, two from Neufchâtel during the five days he stayed
there (pp. 181-183, vol. xxiv., Éd. Déf.); he stopped half way to see
manufacturers and transact business with them in his own name; he
took with him to Neufchâtel his artist-friend, Auguste Borget; and
he made the acquaintance, not of Madame Hanska only, but of Monsieur
Hanski, who remained his friend through life and his occasional

PARIS, end of August, 1833.

My dear, pure love, in a few days I shall be at Neufchâtel. I had
already decided to go there in September; but here comes a most
delightful pretext. I must go on the 20th or 25th of August to
Besançon, perhaps earlier, and then, you understand, I can be in the
twinkling of an eye at Neufchâtel. I will inform you of my departure by
a simple little line.

I have given to speculators a great secret of fortune, which will
result in books, blackened paper,--salable literature, in short.[1]
The only man who can manufacture our paper lives in the environs of
Besançon. I shall go there with my printer.

Ah! yes, I have had money troubles; but if you knew with what rapidity
eight days' labour can appease them! In ten days I can earn a hundred
louis at least. But this last trouble has made me think seriously of no
longer being a bird on a branch, thoughtless of seed, fearing nought
but rain, and singing in fine weather. So now, at one stroke, I shall
be rich--for one needs gold to satisfy one's fancies. You see I have
received your letter in which you complain of life, of your life, which
I would fain render happy.

Oh! my beloved angel, now you are reading, I hope, the second volume
of "Le Médecin de campagne;" you will see one name written with joy on
every page. I liked so much to occupy myself with you, to speak to you.
Do not be sad, my good angel; I strive to envelop you in my thought. I
would like to make you a rampart against all pain. Live in me, dear,
noble heart, to make me better, and I, I will live in you to be happy.
Yes, I will go to Geneva after seeing you at Neufchâtel; I will go and
work there for a fortnight. Oh! my dear and beloved Evelina, a thousand
thanks for this gift of love. You do not know with what fidelity I love
you, unknown--not unknown of the soul--and with what happiness I dream
of you. Oh! each year, to have so sweet a pilgrimage to make! Were it
only for one look I would go to seek it with boundless happiness! Why
be displeased about a woman fifty-eight years old, who is a mother to
me, who folds me in her heart and protects me from stings? Do not be
jealous of her; she would be so glad of our happiness. She is an angel,
sublime. There are angels of earth and angels of heaven; she is of

I have the contempt for money that you profess; but money is a
necessity; and that is why I am putting such ardour into the vast and
extraordinary enterprise which will burst forth in January. You will
like the result. To it I shall owe the pleasure of being able to travel
rapidly and to go oftener toward you.

_Una fides_; yes, my beloved angel, one sole love and all for you. It
is very late for a young man whose hairs are whitening; but his heart
is ardent; he is as you wish him to be, naïve, childlike, confiding. I
go to you without fear; yes, I will drive away the shyness which has
kept me so young, and stretch to you a hand old in friendship, a brow,
a soul that is full of you.

Let us be joyous, my adored treasure; all my life is in you. For you I
would suffer everything!

You have made me so happy that I think no longer of my lawsuit.
The loss is reckoned up. I have done like _le distrait_ of La
Bruyère--established myself well in my ditch. For three thousand eight
hundred francs flung to that man, I shall have liberty on a mountain.

I will bring you your Chénier, and will read it to you in the nook of a
rock before your lake. Oh, happiness!

What a likeness between us! both of us mismanaged by our mothers.
How that misfortune developed sensitiveness. Why do you speak of a
"cherished lamb"? Are you not my dear Star, an angel towards whom I
strive to mount?

I have still three pages on which to talk with you, but here comes
business, lawyers, conferences. _À bientôt_, A thousand tendernesses of
the soul.

You speak to me of a faithless woman; but there is no infidelity where
there was no love.

[Footnote 1: This was one of his amusing visions of making a

PARIS, September 9, 1833.

Winter is already here, my dear soul, and already I have resumed my
winter station in the corner of that little gallery you know of. I have
left the cool, green salon from which I saw the dome of the Invalides
over twenty acres of leafage. It was in this corner that I received
and read your first letter, so that now I love it better than before.
Returning to it, I think of you more specially, you, my cherished
thought; and I cannot resist speaking a little word to you, conversing
one fraction of an hour with you. How could it be that I should not
love you, you, the first woman who came across the spaces to warm a
heart that despaired of love. I had done all to draw to me an angel
from on high; fame was only a pharos to me, nothing more. Then you
divined all,--the soul, the heart, the man. And yesterday, re-reading
your letter, I saw that you alone had the instinct to feel all that is
my life. You ask me how I can find time to write to you. Well, my dear
Eve (let me abridge your name, it will tell you better that you are all
the sex to me, the only woman in the world, like the first woman to the
first man),--well, you alone have asked yourself if a poor artist to
whom time lacks, does not make sacrifices that are immense in thinking
of and writing to her he loves. Here, no one thinks of that; they take
my hours without scruple. But now I would fain consecrate my whole life
to you, think only of you, and write for you only.

With what joy, if I were free of cares, would I fling all palms, all
fame, and my finest works like grains of incense on the altar of love.
To love, Eve,--that is my life!

I should long ago have wished to ask you for your portrait if there
were not some insult, I know not what, in the request. I do not want it
until after I have seen you. To-day, my flower of heaven, I send you a
lock of my hair; it is still black, but I hasten it to defy time. I am
letting my hair grow, and people ask why. Why? Because I want enough to
make you chains and bracelets!

Forgive me, my dearest, but I love you as a child loves, with all the
joys, all the superstitions, all the illusions of its first love.
Cherished angel, how often I have said to myself: "Oh! if I were loved
by a woman of twenty-seven, how happy I should be; I could love her all
my life without fearing the separations that age decrees." And you, my
idol, you are forever the realization of that ambition of love.

Dear, I hope to start on the 18th for Besançon. It depends on
imperative business. I would have broken that off if it did not concern
my mother and many very serious interests. I should be thought a
lunatic, and I have already trouble enough to pass for a man of sense.

If you will take "L'Europe littéraire" from the 15th of August you will
find the whole of the "Théorie de la Démarche" and a "Conte Drolatique"
called "Perseverance d'amour," which you can read without fear. It will
give you an idea of the first two _dizains_.

You have now read "Le Médecin de campagne." Alas! my critical friends
and I have already found more than two hundred faults in the first
volume! I thirst for the second edition, that I may bring the book to
its perfection. Have you laid down the book at the moment when Benassis
utters the adored name?

I am working now at "Eugénie Grandet," a composition which will appear
in "L'Europe littéraire" when I am travelling.

I must bid you adieu. Do not be sad, my love; it is not allowable that
you should be when you can live at all moments in a heart where you
are sure of being as you are in your own, and where you will find more
thoughts full of you than there are in yours.

I have had a box made to hold and perfume letter-paper; and I have
taken the liberty to have one like it made for you. It is so sweet to
say, "She will touch and open this little casket, now here." And then,
I think it so pretty; besides, it is made of _bois de France_; and it
can hold your Chénier, the poet of love,--the greatest of French poets,
whose every line I would like to read to you on my knees.

Adieu, treasure of joy, adieu. Why do you leave blank pages in your
letters? But leave them, leave them. Do nothing forced. Those blanks
I fill myself. I say to myself, "Her arm passed here," and I kiss the
blank! Adieu, my hopes. _À bientôt._ The mail-cart goes, they say, in
thirty-six hours to Besançon.

Well, adieu, my cherished Eve, my eloquent and all-gracious star.
Do you know that when I receive a letter from you a presentiment,
I don't know what, has already announced it. So to-day, 9th, I am
certain I shall get one to-morrow. Your lake--I see it; and sometimes
my intuition is so strong that I am sure that when I really see you I
shall say, "'Tis _she_!"--"_She_, my love, _is thou_!"

Adieu; _à bientôt_.

PARIS, September 13, 1833.

Your last letter, of the 9th, has caused me I cannot tell what keen
pain; it has entered my heart to desolate it. It is now three hours
that I have been sitting here plunged in a world of painful thoughts.
What crape you have fastened on the sweetest, most joyous hopes which
ever caressed my soul! What! that book, which I now hate, has given
you weapons against me? Do you not know with what impetuosity I spring
to happiness? I was so happy! You put God between us! You will not
have my joys, you divide your heart: you say, "There, I will live
with him; here, I will live no more." You make me know all the agonies
of jealousy against ideas, against reason! _Mon Dieu_, I would not
say to you wicked sophisms; I hate corruption as much as violation;
I would not owe a woman to seduction, nor even to the power of good.
The sentiment which crowns me with joy, which delights me, is the free
and pure sentiment which yields neither to the grace of evil nor to
the attraction of good; an involuntary sentiment, roused by intuitive
perception and justified by happiness. You gave me all that; I lived in
a clear heaven, and now you have flung me into the sorrows of doubt. To
love, my angel, is to have nothing in the heart but the person loved.
If love is not that, it is nothing. As for me, I have no longer a
thought that is not for you; my life is you. Griefs?--I have had none
to speak of for several days. There are no longer griefs or pains to me
but those you give me; the rest are mere annoyances. I said to myself,
"I am so happy that I ought to pay for my happiness." Oh! my beloved,
she who presents herself in heaven accompanied by a soul made happy by
her can always enter there! I have known noble hearts, souls very pure,
very delicate; but these women never hesitated to say that to love is
the virtue of women. It is I who ought to be the good and the evil for
you. Confess yourself? Good God! to whom, and for what? My angel, live
in your sphere; consider the obligations of the world as a duty imposed
upon your inward joys; live in two beings; in the _unknown you_, the
most delightful, and the _known you_--two divisions of your time; the
happy dreams of night, the harsh toils of day.

If what I say to you here is evil, my God! it is without my knowledge.
Do not put me among the Frenchmen whom people believe they have the
right to accuse of levity, fatuity, and evil creeds about women. There
is nothing of that in me. To betray love for a man or an idea is one
and the same thing. Oh! I have suffered from this betrayal! A glacial
cold has seized me at the mere apprehension of new sorrows. I shall
resist no more; I am not strong enough. I must be done with this life
of tender sentiments, exalted feelings, happiness dreamed of, constant,
faithful love which you have roused for the first and the last time
in all its plenitude. I have often risen to gather in the harvest,
and have found nothing in the fields, or else I have brought back
unfructifying flowers. I am more sad than I have told you that I am,
and from the nature of my character, my feelings go on increasing. I
shall be the most unhappy man in the world until your answer comes;
I can still receive it here before my departure for Besançon and
consequently for Neufchâtel. I leave Saturday, 21st; I shall be at
Besançon 23rd, and on the 25th at Neufchâtel. My journey is delayed
by the box I am taking to you. There are many things to do to it. I
have sought for the cleverest workman in Paris for the secret drawer,
and what I wish to put into it requires time. With what joy I go about
Paris, bestir myself, keep myself moving for a thing that will be
yours! It is a life apart, it is ineffable! The Chénier is impossible;
we must wait for the new edition.

You ask me what I am doing. _Mon Dieu!_ business; my writings are laid
aside. Besides, how could I work knowing that Saturday evening I shall
be going towards you? One must know how the slightest expectation
makes me palpitate, to understand all the physical evil that I endure
from hope. God has surely given me iron membranes if I do not have an
aneurism of the heart.

Here all the newspapers attack "Le Médecin de campagne." Every one
rushes to give his own stab. What saddened and angered Lord Byron makes
me laugh. I wish to govern the intellectual life of Europe; only two
years more of patience and labour, and I will walk upon the heads
of those who strive to tie my hands, retard my flight! Persecution,
injustice give me an iron courage. I am without strength against kind
feelings. You alone can wound me. Eve, I am at your feet; I deliver to
you my life and my heart. Kill me at a blow, but do not make me suffer.
I love you with all the forces of my soul; do not destroy such glorious

Thank you a thousand times for the view; how good and merciful you are!
The site resembles that of the left bank of the Loire. The Grenadière
is a short distance away from that steeple. There is a complete
resemblance. Your drawing is before my eyes until there is no need of a

_À bientôt._

In future my letters will be always _poste restante_; there is more
security for you in that way.

PARIS, September 18, 1833.

DEAR, BELOVED ANGEL,--I have a conviction that in coming to Neufchâtel
I shall do more than all those heroes of love of whom you speak to me;
and I have the advantage over them of not talking about it. But that
folly pleases me.

I cannot leave till the 22nd; but the mail-cart, the quickest vehicle,
more rapid than a post-chaise, will take me in forty hours to Besançon.
The 25th, in the morning, I shall be at Neufchâtel, and I shall remain
there until your departure.

Unhappily, I do not know if your house is Andrea or Andrée. Write me a
line, _poste restante_, at Besançon on this subject.

A thousand heart-feelings, a thousand flowers of love. Dear, loved one,
in two years I shall be able to travel a thousand leagues, and pass
through the dangers of Arabian Tales to seek a look; but that will be
nothing extraordinary in comparison with the impossibilities of all
kinds that my present journey presents. It is not the offering to God
of a whole life; no, it is the cup of water which counts in love and in
religion for more than battles. But what pleasures in this madness! How
I am rewarded by knowing proudly how much I love you!

I start Sunday, 22nd, at six in the evening. I should like to stay
three days at Neufchâtel. Do not leave till the 29th.

Adieu, cherished flower. What thoughts, solely filled with you,
throughout the hours of this journey! I will be yours only. I have
never so truly lived, so hoped!

_À bientôt._

NEUFCHÂTEL, Thursday, September 26, 1833.

_Mon Dieu!_ I have made too rapid a journey, and I started fatigued.
But all that is nothing now. A good night has repaired all. I was four
nights without going to bed.

I shall go to the Promenade of the faubourg from one o'clock till four.
I shall remain during that time looking at the lake, which I have
never seen. Write me a little line to say if I can write to you in all
security here, _poste restante_, for I am afraid of causing you the
slightest displeasure; and give me, I beg of you, your exact name [_et
donnez-moi, par grâce, exactement votre nom_].

A thousand tendernesses. There has not been, from Paris here, a moment
of time which has not been full of you, and I have looked at the Val de
Travers with you in my mind. It is delightful, that valley.

_À bientôt._

PARIS, October 6, 1833.[1]

My dearest love, here I am, very much fatigued, in Paris. It is the
6th of October, but it has been impossible to write to you sooner. A
wild crowd of people were all the way along the road, and in the towns
through which we passed the diligence refused from ten to fifteen
travellers. The mail-cart was engaged for six days, so that my friend
in Besançon could not get me a place. I therefore did the journey on
the imperial of a diligence, in company with six Swiss of the canton
de Vaud, who treated me corporeally like cattle they were taking to
market, which singularly aided the packages in bruising me.

I put myself into a bath on arriving and found your dear letter. O
my soul! do you know the pleasure it gave me? will you ever know it?
No, for I should have to tell you how much I love you, and one does
not paint that which is immense. Do you know, my dearest Eva, that I
rose at five in the morning on the day of my departure and stood on
the "Crêt" for half an hour hoping--what? I do not know. You did not
come; I saw no movement in your house, no carriage at the door. I
suspected then, what you now tell me, that you stayed a day longer, and
a thousand pangs of regret glided into my soul.

My angel, a thousand times thanked, as you will be when I can thank you
as I would for what you send me.

Bad one! how ill you judge me! If I asked you for nothing it was that
I am too ambitious. I wanted enough to make a chain to keep your
portrait always upon me, but I would not despoil that noble, idolized
head. I was like Buridan's ass between his two treasures, equally
avaricious and greedy. I have just sent for my jeweller; he will tell
me how much more is needed, and since the sacrifice is begun, you shall
complete it, my angel. So, if you do have your portrait taken, have it
done in miniature; there is, I think, a very good painter in Geneva;
and have it mounted in a very flat medallion. I shall write you openly
by the parcel I am going to send.

My dear wife of love, let Anna [her daughter] wear the little cross I
shall have made of her pebbles; I shall engrave on the back, _Adoremus
in eternum_. That is a delicious woman's motto, and you will never see
the cross without thinking of him who says to you ceaselessly those
divine words from the young girl's little talisman.

My darling Eva, here then is a new life delightfully begun for me. I
have seen you, I have spoken to you; our persons have made alliance
like our souls, and I have found in you all the perfections that I
love. Every one has his, and you have realized all mine.

Bad one! did you not see in my eyes all that I desired. Be tranquil!
all the desires that a woman who loves is jealous of inspiring, I have
felt them; and if I did not tell you with what ardour I wished that you
might come some morning it was because I was so stupidly lodged. But in
Geneva, oh! my adored angel, I shall have more wits for our love than
it takes for ten men to be witty.

I have found here everything _bad_ beyond my expectations. Those who
owed me money and gave me their word to pay it have not done so. But my
mother, whom I know to be embarrassed, has shown me sublime devotion.
But, my dear flower of love, I must repair the folly of my journey, a
folly I would renew to-morrow if you wrote me that you had twenty-four
hours' liberty. So now I must work day and night. Fifteen days of
happiness at Geneva to earn; those are the words that I find engraved
inside my forehead, and they give me the proudest courage I have ever
had. I think there will come more blood to my heart, more ideas to my
brain, more strength to my being from that thought. Therefore I do not
doubt that I shall do finer things inspired by that desire.

During the next month, therefore, excessive toil,--all to see you. You
are in all my thoughts, in all the lines I write, in all the moments of
my life, in all my being, in my hair that is growing for you.

After to-morrow, Monday, you will receive my letters only once a week;
I shall post them punctually on Sundays; they will contain the lines I
write to you every evening; for every evening before I go to bed, to
sleep in your heart, I shall say to you my little prayer of love and
tell you what I have been doing during the day. I rob you to enrich
you. Henceforth there is nothing but you and work, work and you; sleep
in peace, my jealous one. Besides, you will soon know that I am as
exclusive as a woman, that I love as a woman, and that I dream all

Yes, my adored flower, I have all the fears of jealousy about you;
and behold, I have come to know that guardian of the heart, jealousy,
of which I was ignorant because I was loved in a manner that gave no
fears. _La dilecta_ lived in her chamber, and you, everybody can see
you. I shall only be happy when you are in Paris or at Wierzchownia.

My celestial love, find an impenetrable place for my letters. Oh! I
entreat you, let no harm come to you. Let Henriette be their faithful
guardian, and make her take all the precautions that the genius of
woman dictates in such a case.

I begin to-morrow, without delay, on "Privilège," for I must work. I
am frightened about it. I do not wish to start for Geneva until I have
returned Nodier's dinner, and I cannot help making it splendid. Thus I
have to work as much for the necessary superfluities of luxury as for
the superfluous necessity of my existence.

To-morrow, Monday, I begin a journal of my life, which will only stop
during the happy days when my fortunate star permits me to see you. The
gaps will show my happiness. May there be many of them! _Mon Dieu!_
how proud I am to be still of an age to appreciate all the treasures
that there are in you, so that I can love you as a young man full of
beliefs, a man who has a hand upon the future. Oh, my mysterious love!
let it be forever like a flower buried beneath the snow, a flower
unseen. Eva, dear and only woman whom the world contains for me, and
who fills the world, forgive me all the little wiles [_ruses_] I shall
employ to hide the secret of our hearts.

_Mon Dieu_, how beautiful I thought you, Sunday, in your pretty violet
gown. Oh! how you touched me in all my fancies! Why do you ask me so
often to tell you what I would fain express only in my looks? All such
thoughts lose much in words. I would communicate them, soul to soul, by
the flame of a glance only.

Now, my wife, my adored one, remember that whatever I write you,
pressed by time, happy or unhappy, there is in my soul an immense love;
that you fill my heart and my life, and that although I may not always
express this love well, nothing can alter it; that it will ever flower,
more beautiful, fresher, more graceful, because it is a true love,
and a true love must ever increase. It is a beautiful flower, of many
years, planted in the heart, which spreads its branches and its palms,
doubling each season its clusters and its perfume; and you, my dear
life, tell me, repeat to me, that nothing shall gall its bark or bruise
its tender foliage, that it shall grow in our two hearts, beloved,
free, treasured as a life within our lives--a single life! Oh! I love
you! and what balm that love sheds all about me; I feel no sorrows
more. You are my strength; you see it.

Well adieu, my cherished Eva, I must bid you adieu--no, not adieu, _au
revoir_, and soon,--at Geneva on the 5th of November. If you are coming
to Paris tell me so quickly.

After all, I have told you nothing of what I wished to say: how true
and loving I thought you; how you answered to all the fibres of my
heart, and even to my caprices. _Mon Dieu!_ often I was so absorbed,
in spite of the general chatter I had to make, that I forgot to answer
when you asked me if they did not bind books well in Saint-Petersburg.

Well, _à bientôt_. Work will make the time that separates us short.
What beauteous days were those at Neufchâtel! We will make pilgrimages
there some day. Oh, angel! now that I have seen you I can re-see you in

Well, a thousand kisses full of my soul. Would I could enclose them.
The sweetest of all, I dream of it still.

[Footnote 1: Here the tone of the letters changes, as told in the
preface to this translation; and, as if to show its connection with
the tale of the "Roman d'Amour," parts of the garbled letter in that
book are given here in a foot-note in the French volume. From this time
until March 11 all the letters (except twelve little notes written in
Geneva) use the _tutoiement_. As it is impossible to put that form into
readable English, the extreme familiarity of the tone of these letters
is not given in the translation.--TR.]

PARIS, October 13, 1833.

My dearest love, it is now nearly three days since I have written to
you, and this would be bad indeed if you were not my beloved wife.
But work has been so enthralling, the difficulties are so great! Poor
angel, I prefer to tell you the sweetness of which my soul is full
for you than to recount to you my tribulations. As for my life it is
unshakably fixed, as I have told you already, I believe. Going to bed
at six after my dinner, rising at midnight, here I am, bending over
the table that you know of, seated in this arm-chair that you can
see, beside the fireplace which has warmed me for six years, and so
working until midday. Then come rendezvous for business, the details
of existence which must be attended to; often at four o'clock, a bath;
five o'clock, dinner. And then I begin over again intrepidly, swimming
in work, living in that white dressing-gown with the silk sash that
you must know about. There are some authors who filch my time, taking
from me an hour or two; but more often obligations and anxieties are
fixtures; returns uncertain.

I am now in the midst of concluding an agreement which will echo
through our world of envy, jealousy, and silliness; it will jaundice
the yellow bile of those who have the audacity to want to walk in my
shadow. A firm of rather respectable publishers buy the edition of the
"Études de Mœurs au XIXe Siècle" for twenty-seven thousand francs;
twelve volumes 8vo, including the third edition of the "Scènes de la
Vie privée," the first of the "Scènes de la Vie de province," and the
first of the "Scènes de la Vie Parisienne." Besides which, the printer,
who owes me a thousand _écus_, pays them in the operation. This will
give me ten thousand _écus_. That's enough to make all idlers, barkers,
and the _gens de lettres_ roar! Here I am, barring what I owe to my
mother, free of debt, and free in seven months to go where I please! If
our _great affair_ succeeds I shall be rich; I can do what I wish for
my mother, and have a pillow, a bit of bread, and a white handkerchief
for my old days.

Alas! my beloved, to secure that treaty I have had to assume
engagements, trot about, go out in the morning at nine o'clock after
working all night. Nevertheless, I shall not be without anxiety as
to the payments, for one always has to grant credit to publishers.
My vigils, my work, all that there is most sacred in the world may
be compromised. This publisher is a woman, a widow [Madame Charles
Bêchet]. I have never seen her, and don't know her. I shall not send
off this letter until the signatures are appended on both sides, so
that my missive may carry you good news about my interests; but there
are two other negotiations pending which are not less important, too
long to explain to you, so that I shall only tell you results.

The "Aventures d'une idée heureuse" are one-quarter done, and I am well
in the mood to finish them; "Eugénie Grandet," one of my most finished
works, is half done. I am very content with it. "Eugénie Grandet" is
like nothing that I ever did before. To invent "Eugénie Grandet" after
Madame Jules--without vanity, that shows talent.

Did I tell you that our paper cannot be made at Angoulême? I received
this answer yesterday from my friend in Angoulême. I am going there in
a few days. I am obliged to rush to Saintes, the capital of Saintonge,
to study the faubourg where Bernard de Palissy lived; he is the hero of
the "Souffrances d'un Inventeur" ["David Séchard"], which I shall write
very quickly at Angoulême, on my return from Saintes. Saintes is twelve
leagues from Angoulême, farther on among the hills. I will bring you
your _cotignac_ [quince marmalade] from Orléans myself. I have already
got your peaches from Tours. I am waiting till my jeweller allows me to
write to you openly, but Fossin is a king, a power, and when one wants
things properly done one must kiss that devil's spur that men call

I don't say that I received with great pleasure the letter in which
you are no longer grieved, and in which you tell me the story of that
monster of an Englishman. That's what husbands are; a lover would have
wrung his neck. A duel? May the avenging God make him meet some inn
servant girl who will render him diseased and cause him a thousand
ills! Considering the nature of the gentleman, my wish will, I hope, be

At least there is love in your letter, my dear love. The other was so
gloomy. _Mon Dieu!_ how can you give way for a moment to doubt, or have
a fear? _À propos_, friends have been here to tell me that the rumour
is all about that I have been to Switzerland in search of a woman
who positively came from Odessa. But happily other people say that
I followed Madame de Castries, and others again that I have been to
Besançon on a commercial enterprise. The author of the invention of the
rendezvous is, I think, Gosselin, the publisher, who sent me a letter
from Russia five months ago. And finally, others say that I never left
Paris at all, but was put in Sainte Pélagie [prison], _where they saw
me_. That is Paris.

My dear, idolized one, adieu! Nevertheless, I ought to tell you the
thoughts on which I gallop for the last three days, the good little
quarters of an hour which I give myself when I have done a certain
number of pages. I rebehold the Val de Travers, I recommence my five
days, and they fill the fifteen minutes with all their joys; the
least little incidents come back to me. Sometimes a view of that fine
forehead, then a word, or, better still, a flame lighted by Sev.... Oh!
darling, you are adorably loving, but how stupid you are to have fears.
No, no, my cherished Eva, I am not one of those who punish a woman for
her love. Oh! I would I could remain half a day at your knees, my head
on your knees, telling you my thoughts lazily, with delight, saying
nothing sometimes, but kissing your gown. _Mon Dieu!_ how sweet would
be the day when I could play at liberty with you, as a child with its
mother. O my beloved Eva, day of my days, light of my nights, my hope,
my adored, my all-beloved, my sole darling, when can I see you? Is it
an illusion? Have I seen you? Have I seen you enough to say that I have
seen you?

_Mon Dieu!_ how I love your rather broad accent, your mouth of
kindness, of voluptuousness--permit me to say it to you, my angel of

I work night and day to go and see you for a fortnight in December. I
shall cross the Jura covered with snow, but I shall think of the snowy
shoulders of my love, my well-beloved. Ah! to breathe your hair, to
hold your hand, to strain you in my arms! that's where my courage comes
from. I have friends here who are stupefied at the fierce _will_ I am
displaying at this moment. Ah! they don't know my darling [_ma mie_],
my soft darling, her, whose mere sight robs pain of its stings! Yes,
Parisina and her lover must have died without feeling the axe, as they
thought of one another!

A kiss, my angel of earth, a kiss tasted slowly. Adieu. The nightingale
has sung too long; I am allured to write to you, and Eugénie Grandet

Saturday, 12, midday.

The protocols are exchanged, our reflections made, to-morrow the
signature. But to-morrow all may be changed. I have scarcely done
anything to "Eugénie Grandet" and the "Aventures d'une idée." There
are moments when the imagination jolts and will not go on. And then,
"L'Europe littéraire" has not come. I am too proud to set foot there
because they have behaved so ill to me. So, since my return I am
without money. I wait. They ought to have come yesterday to explain
matters; they did not. They ought to come to-day. At this moment
the price of "Eugénie Grandet" is a great sum for me. So here I am,
rebeginning my trade of anguish. Never shall I cease to resemble
Raphael in his garret; I still have a year before me to enjoy my last
poverty, to have noble, hidden prides.

I am a little fatigued; but the pain in my side has yielded to quiet
sitting in my arm-chair, to that constant tranquillity of the body
which makes a monk of me.

For the time being, my fancies are calmed; when there is famine in
the house I don't think of my desires. My silver chafing-dishes are
melted up. I don't mind that. No more dinners in October. But I enjoy
so much in thought the things I have not, and these desires make them
so precious when I do possess them. It is now two years that, month by
month, I counted on a balance for my dishes, but they vanish. I have
a crowd of little pleasures in that way. They make me love the little
nest where I live; it is what makes me love you--a perpetual desire.
Those who call me ill-natured, satirical, deceptive, don't know the
innocence of my life, my life of a bird, gathering its nest twig by
twig and playing with a straw before it uses it.

O dear confidant of my most secret thoughts, dear, precious conscience,
will you some day know, you, the companion of love, how you are
loved,--you, who, coming on faithful wing toward your mate, did not
reject him after seeing him. How I feared that I might not please
you! Tell me again that you liked the man, after liking his mind and
heart--since the mind and heart have pleased you, I could not doubt it.
My idol, my Eva, welcomed, beloved, if you only knew how all that you
said and did laid hold upon me, oh! no, you would have no doubts, no
dishonouring fears. Do not speak to me as you did, saying, "You will
not love a woman who comes to you, who, who, who--" you know what I

Angel, the angels are often forced to come down from heaven; we cannot
go up to them. Besides, it is they who lift us on their white wings to
their sphere, where we love and where pleasures are thoughts.

Adieu, you, my treasure, my happiness, you, to whom all my desires fly,
you, who make me adore solitude because it is full of you.

Adieu, till to-morrow. At midday my people are coming for the
agreement. This letter will wait to carry you good or bad news, but it
will carry you so much love that you will be joyous.

Sunday, 13, nine o'clock.

My cherished love, my Eva, the business is completed! They will all
burst with envy. My "Études de Mœurs au XIXe Siècle" has been bought
for twenty-seven thousand francs. The publisher will make that ring.
Since Chateaubriand's twenty-five volumes were bought for two hundred
thousand francs for ten years there has not been such a sale. They take
a year to sell....

Ah! here comes your letter. I read it.

My divine love, how stupid you are! Madame de S...!--I have quarrelled
with her, have I, so that I never say a word to her; I will not even
bow to her daughter? Alas! I have met her, Madame de S..., at Madame
d'Abrantès' this winter. She came up to me and said: "_She_ is not
here" (meaning Madame de Castries); "have you been so severe as you
were at Aix?" I said, pointing to her lover, former lover of Mme. d'A.,
a Portuguese count, "But _he_ is here." The duchess burst out laughing.

Oh! my celestial angel, Madame de S...--if you could see her you would
know how atrocious the calumny is.... Your Polish women saw too much
of Madame de C... to pay attention to Madame de S... who was paying
court to her. But I was at Aix with Madame de C... and we were dining
together. As for the marquise, faith, the portrait you draw of her
makes me die of laughing. There is something in it, but changed now.
Fresh, yes; without heart, yes, at least I think so. She will always be
sacred to me; but in the chatter of your Polish women there was just
enough truth to make the slander pass.

My idolized love, no more doubts; never, do you understand? I love but
you and can love none but you. Eva is your symbolic name. Better than
that; I have never loved in the past as I feel that I love you. To you,
all my life of love may belong.

Adieu, my breath. I would I could communicate to these pages the virtue
of talismans, that you might feel my soul enveloping you. Adieu, my
beloved. I kiss this page; I add a leaf of my last rose, a petal of my
last jasmine. You are in my thought as the very base of intellect, the
substance of all things.

"Eugénie Grandet" is enchanting. You shall soon have it in Geneva.

Well, adieu, you whom I would fain see, feel, press, adieu. Can I not
find a way to press you? What impotent wishes imagination has! My dear
light, I kiss you with an ardour, an embrace of life, an effusion of
the soul, without example in my life.

My angel, I don't answer about the cry I gave apropos of Madame de C...
and the son M... dying for his mother-in-law. To-morrow for all that.
You must have laughed at my pretended savagery.

Do not put _poste restante_ any longer.

PARIS, Sunday, October 20, 1833.

What! my love; fears, torments? You have received, I hope, the first
two letters that I wrote you after my return. What shall I do not to
give you the slightest trouble, to make you clear skies? What! could
you not have reckoned on a day's delay, an hour of weariness. _Mon
Dieu! Mon Dieu!_ what shall I do?

I write to you every day; if you want to receive a letter every third
day instead of every eighth day, say so, speak, order. I will do all
not to let a single evil thought come into your heart.

If you knew the harm your letter has done me. You do not know me yet.
All that is bad. But I pardon the little grief your letter has caused
me, because it is one way of telling me you love me.

I have good news to tell you. I think that the "Études de Mœurs"
will be a settled business by Tuesday next, and that I shall have as
debtor one of the most solid firms of publishers in the market. That is

Forgive me, my Eva of love, if I talk to you of my mercantile affairs;
but it is my tranquillity; it will no doubt enable me to go to Geneva.
Alas! I may not go till December, because I cannot leave till I have
finished the first part of these "Études."

Adieu; I must return to "Eugénie Grandet," who is going on well. I have
still all Monday and a part of Tuesday.

Adieu, my angel of light; adieu, dear treasure; do not ill-treat me.
I have a heart as sensitive as that of a woman can be, and I love you
better or worse, for I rest without fear on your dear heart, and kiss
your two eyes--all!

Adieu; _à demain_.

PARIS, Wednesday, October 23, 1833.

To you, my love, to you a thousand tendernesses. Yesterday I was
running about all day and was so tired that I permitted myself to sleep
the night through, so that I made my idol only a mental prayer. I went
to sleep in thy dear thought just as, if married, I should have fallen
asleep in the arms of my beloved.

_Mon Dieu!_ I am frightened to see how my life belongs to you; with
what rapidity it turns to your heart. Your arteries beat as much for
me as for yourself. Adored darling, what good your letters do me! I
believe in you, don't you see, as I believe in my respiration. I am
like a child in this happiness, like a _savant_, like a fool who takes
care of tulips. I weep with rage at not being near you. I assemble all
my ideas to develop this love, and I am here, watching ceaselessly
that it shall grow without harm. Does not that partake of the child,
the _savant_, and the botanist? Thus, my angel, commit no follies.
No, don't quit your tether, poor little goat. Your lover will come
when you cry. But you make me shudder. Don't deceive yourself, my dear
Eve; they do not return to Mademoiselle Henriette Borel a letter so
carefully folded and sealed without looking at it. There are clever
dissimulations. Now, I entreat you, take a carriage that you may
never get wet in going to the post. Besides, it is always cold in the
rue du Rhône. Go every Wednesday, because the letters posted here on
Sunday arrive on Wednesday. I will never, whatever may be the urgency,
post letters for you on any day but Sunday. Burn the envelopes. Let
Henriette scold the post-office man who delivered her letter, which was
_poste restante_; but scold him laughing, for officials are rancorous.
They would be capable of saying some Wednesday there were no letters,
and then delivering them in a way to cause trouble. O my angel,
misfortunes only come through letters. I beg you, on my knees, find a
place, a lair, a mine to hide the treasures of our love. Do it, so that
you can have no uneasiness.

Now, the Countess Potoçka, is she not that beautiful Greek, beloved
by P..., married to a doctor, married to General de W..., and then
to Count L... P...? If she is, don't confide to her a single thing
about your love, my poor lamb without mistrust. If she has proofs,
then own to her; but such an avowal must not be made until you cannot
do otherwise, and then, make a merit of a forced confession. You must
judge of the opportunity; but when I am in Geneva, you understand that
people who run two ideas and who suppose evil when it does not exist,
will know well how to divine when true.

Now, when I read your letters I am in Geneva, I see all. _Mon Dieu_,
what grace and prettiness in your letters! Eh! my angel of love, I
shall be in Geneva precisely when you choose. But calculate that it
takes your letter four days to reach me, and four days for me to
arrive; that makes eight days.

My cherished angel, do not share my troubles more than you must in
knowing them; heaven has given me all the courage necessary to support
them. I would not have a single one of my thoughts hidden from you, and
I tell you all. But do not give yourself a fever about them. Yes, the
sending of the newspapers was an indignity. Tell me who was capable of
such a joke. There will be a duel between him and me. Whoever wounds
you is my head enemy; but an enemy Arab fashion, with an oath of

My dear happiness, there is not a voice here in my favour; all are
hostile. I must resign myself. They treat me, it is true, like a man
of genius; and that gives pride. I must redouble cares and courage to
mount this last step. I am preparing fine subjects of hatred for them.
I work with unexampled obstinacy.

I can only write the ostensible letter to you next week, for I wish the
package to be full. So much the better if I am blamed; the recollection
will be all the more precious.

My darling, you can very well say that you saw me at Neufchâtel, for
that can no more be concealed than the nose upon one's face. It will be
known; it should therefore be told, soul of my soul.[1]

You see I answer all you write to me, but hap-hazard. I am in haste to
finish what I call the business of our love, to talk to you of love.

What! you have read the "Contes Drolatiques" without the permission of
your husband of love? Inquisitive one! O my angel, it needs a heart as
pure as yours to read and enjoy "Le Péché véniel." That's a diamond of
naïveté. But, dearest, you have been very audacious. I am afraid you
will love me less. One must know our national literature so well, the
grand, majestic literature of the seventeenth century, so sparkling
with genius, so free in deportment, so lively in words which, in
those days, were not yet dishonoured, that I am afraid for myself. I
repeat to you, if there is something of me that will live, it is those
Contes. The man who writes a hundred of them can never die. Re-read
the epilogue of the second _dizain_ and judge. Above all, regard these
books as careless arabesques traced with love. What do you think of the
"Succube"? My dear beloved, that tale cost me six months of torture. I
was ill of it. I think your criticisms without foundation. The trial
of the supposed poisoners of the Dauphin was held at Moulin's, by
Chancellor Paget, before the captivity of François I.; I have not the
time to verify it. Catherine de' Medici was Dauphine in 1536, I think.
Yes, the battle of Pavia was in 1525; you are right. I think you are
right as to the Connétable; it was Duc François de Montmorency who
married the Duchesse de Farnese. But all that is contested. I will
verify it very carefully, and will correct it in the second edition.
Thank you, my love; enlighten me, and for all the faults you find,
as many tender thanks. Nevertheless, in these Contes there must be
incorrectnesses; that's the _usage_; but there must not be lies.

Enough said, my beloved love, my darling Eva. Here is nearly half a
night employed on you, in writing to you. _Mon Dieu_, return it to me
in caresses! I must, angel, resume my collar of misery; but it shall
not be until I have put here for you all the flowers of my heart, a
thousand tendernesses, a thousand caresses, all the prayers of a poor
solitary who lives between his thoughts and his love.

Adieu, my cherished beauty; one kiss upon those beautiful red lips, so
fresh, so kind, a kiss which goes far, which clasps you. I will not
say adieu. Oh! when shall I have your dear portrait? If, by chance you
have it mounted, let it be between two _plaques_ of enamel so that the
whole may not be thicker than a five-franc piece, for I want to have
it always on my heart. It will be my talisman; I shall feel it there;
I shall draw strength and courage from it. From it will dart the rays
of that glory I wish so great, so broad, so radiant to wrap you in its

Come, I must leave you; always with regret. But once at liberty and
without annoyances, what sweet pilgrimages! But my thought goes faster,
and every night it glides about your heart, your head, it covers you.

Adieu, then. _À demain._ To-morrow I must go to the Duchesse
d'Abrantès; I will tell you why when I get back.

[Footnote 1: This sentence alone would show the falseness of these
letters. On pp. 182, 183, vol. xxiv., Éd. Déf., are two letters of
Balzac written from Neufchâtel; one to Charles de Bernard, the other
to Mme. Carraud. In the latter he says: "I have just accompanied the
great Borget to the frontier of the sovereign states of this town....
I conclude here (Paris) this letter, begun at Neufchâtel. Just think
that, at the moment when I had ensconced myself by my fire to answer
you at length and reply to your last good letter, they came for me to
go and see views [_sites_]; and that lasted till my departure." A man
who goes about sight-seeing with a family party would not have written
the sentence in the text.

The writer of it himself makes a slip, and forgets that he has said in
the "Roman d' Amour" letter that on one of these excursions (to the
Lake of Bienne) the husband was sent to order breakfast while they gave
themselves a first kiss. Murder will out in small ways.--TR.]

Thursday, 24.

This morning, my cherished love, I have failed in an attempt which
might have been fortunate. I went to offer to a capitalist, who
receives the indemnities agreed upon between us for the works promised
and not written, a certain number of copies of the "Études de Mœurs."
I proposed to him five thousand francs _à terme_ for three thousand
_échus_. He refused everything, even my signature and a note, saying
that my fortune was in my talent and I might die. The scene was one
of the basest I ever knew. Gobseck was nothing to him; I endured, all
red, the contact with an iron soul. Some day, I will describe it. I
went to the duchess that she might undertake a negotiation of the same
kind with the man who had the lawsuit with me, her publisher, who cut
my throat. Will she succeed? I am in the agonies of expectation, and
yet I must have the serenity, the calmness, that are necessary for my
enormous work.

My angel, I cannot go to Geneva until the first part of the "Études de
Mœurs" appears published, and the second is well under way. That done,
I shall have fifteen days to myself, twenty perhaps; all will depend
on the more or less money that I shall have, for I have an important
payment to make the end of December. I am satisfied with my publisher;
he is active, does not play the gentleman, takes up my enterprise as a
fortune, and considers it eminently profitable. We must have a success,
a great success. "Eugénie Grandet" is a fine work. I have nearly all
my ideas for the parts that remain to do in these twelve volumes. My
life is now well regulated: rise at midnight after going to bed at
six o'clock; a bath every third day, fourteen hours of work, two for
walking. I bury myself in my ideas and from time to time your dear head
appears like a beam of sunlight. Oh, my dear Eva, I have but you in
this world; my life is concentrated in your dear heart. All the ties of
human sentiment bind me to it. I think, breathe, work by you, for you.
What a noble life: love and thought! But what a misfortune to be in the
embarrassments of poverty to the last moment! How dearly nature sells
us happiness! I must go through another six months of toil, privation,
struggle, to be completely happy. But how many things may happen in six
months! My beautiful hidden life consoles me for all. You would shudder
if I told you all my agonies, which, like Napoleon on a battlefield,
I forget. On sitting down at my little table, well, I laugh, I am
tranquil. That little table, it belongs to my darling, my Eve, my wife.
I have had it these ten years; it has seen all my miseries, wiped away
all my tears, known all my projects, heard all my thoughts; my arm has
nearly worn it out by dint of rubbing it as I write.

_Mon Dieu!_ my jeweller is in the country; I have confidence in him
only. Anna's cross will be delayed. That annoys me more than my own
troubles at the end of the month. Your quince marmalade is on its way
to Paris.

My dear treasure, I have no news to give you; I go nowhere, and see no
one. You will find nothing but yourself in my letters, an inexhaustible
love. Be prudent, my dear diamond. Oh! tell me that you will love me
always, because, don't you see, Eva, I love you for all my life. I
am happy in having the consciousness of my love, in being in a thing
immense, in living in the limited eternity that we can give to a
feeling, but which is an eternity to us. Oh! let me take you in thought
in my arms, clasp you, hold your head upon my heart and kiss your
forehead innocently. My cherished one, here, from afar, I can express
to you my love. I feel that I can love you always, find myself each day
in the heart of a love stronger than that of the day before, and say to
you daily words more sweet. You please me daily more and more; daily
you lodge better in my heart; never betray a love so great. I have but
you in the world; you will know in Geneva only all that there is in
those words. For the moment I will tell you that Madame de C[astries]
writes me that we are not to see each other again; she had taken
offence at a letter, and I at many other things. Be assured that there
is no love in all this. _Mon Dieu!_ how everything withdraws itself
from me? How deep my solitude is becoming! Persecution is beginning for
me in literature! The last obligations to pay off keep me at home in
continual gigantic toil. Ah! how my soul springs from this person to
join your soul, my dear country of love.

I paused here to think of you; I abandoned myself to revery; tears came
into my eyes, tears of happiness. I cannot express to you my thoughts.
I send you a kiss full of love. Divine my soul!

Saturday, 26.

Yesterday, my beloved treasure, I ran about on business, pressing
business; at night I had to correct the volumes which go to press
Monday. No answer from the duchess. Oh! she will not succeed. I am too
happy in the noble regions of the soul and thought to be also happy
in the petty interests of life. I have many letters to write; my work
carries me away, and I get behindhand. How powerful is the dominion
of thought! I sleep in peace on a rotten plank. That alone expresses
my situation. So much money to pay, and to do it the pen with which I
write to you--. Oh! no, I have two, my love; yours is for your letters
only; it lasts, usually, six months.

I have corrected "La Femme Abandonnée," "Le Message," and "Les
Célibataires." That has taken me twenty-six hours since Thursday. One
has to attend to the newspapers. To manage the French public is not a
slight affair. To make it favorable to a work in twelve volumes is an
enterprise, a campaign. What contempt one pours on men in making them
move and seeing them squabble. Some are bought. My publisher tells
me there is a tariff of consciences among the feuilletonists. Shall
I receive in my house a single one of these fellows? I'd rather die

To-morrow I resume my manuscript work. I want to finish either "Eugénie
Grandet" or "Les Aventures d'une idée heureuse." It is five o'clock;
I am going to dinner, my only meal, then to bed and to sleep. I fall
asleep always in thoughts of you, seeking a sweet moment of Neufchâtel,
carrying myself back to it, and so, quitting the visible world, bearing
away one of your smiles or listening to your words.

Did I tell you that persons from Berlin, Vienna, and Hamburg had
complimented me on my successes in Germany, where, said these gracious
people, nothing was talked of but your Honoré? This was at Gérard's.
But I must have told you this. I wish the whole earth would speak of
me with admiration, so that in laying it on your knees you might have
the whole world for yourself.

Adieu, for to-day, my angel. To-morrow my caresses, my words all full
of love and desires. I will write after receiving the letter which
will, no doubt, come to-morrow. Dear, celestial day! Would I could
invent words and caresses for you alone. I put a kiss here.

Sunday, 27.

What! my dear love, no letters? Such grief not to know what you think!
Oh! send me two letters a week; let me receive one on Wednesdays and
the other on Sundays. I have waited for the last courier, and can only
write a few words. Do not make me suffer; be as punctual as possible.
My life is in your hands:

I have no answer to my negotiations.

Adieu, my dear breath. This last page will bring you a thousand
caresses, my heart, and some anxieties. My cherished one, you speak of
a cold, of your health. Oh, to be so far away! _Mon Dieu!_ all that is
anguish in my life pales before the thought that you are ill.

To-morrow, angel. To-morrow I shall get another letter. My head swims
now. Adieu, my good genius, my dear wife; a thousand flowers of love
are here for you.

PARIS, Monday, October 28, 1833.

I have your letter, my love. How much agony in one day's delay. _À
demain_; I will tell you then why I cannot answer to-day.

Tuesday, 29.

My cherished Eva, on Thursday I have four or five thousand francs
to pay, and, speaking literally, I have not a sou. These are little
battles to which I am accustomed. Since childhood I have never yet
possessed two sous that I could regard as my own property. I have
always triumphed until to-day. So now I must rush about the world of
money to make up my sum. I lose my time; I hang about town. One man
is in the country; another hesitates; my securities seem doubtful to
him. I have ten thousand francs in notes out, however; but by to-morrow
night, last limit, I shall no doubt have found some. The two days I am
losing are a horrible discount.

I only tell you these things to let you know what my life is. It is a
fight for money, a battle against the envious, perpetual struggles with
my _subjects_, physical struggles, moral struggles, and if I failed to
triumph a single time I should be exactly dead.

Beloved angel, be a thousand times blessed for your drop of water,
for your offer; it is all for me and yet it is nothing. You see what
a thousand francs would be when ten thousand a month are needed. If I
could find nine I could find twelve. But I should have liked in reading
that delicious letter of yours to have plunged my hand in the sea and
drawn out all its pearls to strew them on your beautiful black hair.
Angel of devotion and love, all your dear, adored soul is in that
letter. But what are all the pearls of the sea! I have shed two tears
of joy, of gratitude, of voluptuous tenderness, which for you, for me,
are worth more than all the riches of the whole world; is it not so, my
Eva, my idol? In reading this feel yourself pressed by an arm that is
drunk with love and take the kiss I send you ideally. You will find a
thousand on the rose-leaf which will be in this letter.

Let us drop this sad money; I will tell you, however, that the two
most important negotiations on which I counted for my liberation have
failed. You have made me too happy; my luck of soul and heart is too
immense for matters of mere interest to succeed. I expiate my happiness.

Celestial powers! whom do you expect me to be writing to, I who have no
time for anything? My love, be tranquil; my heart can bloom only in
the depths of your heart. Write to others! to others the perfume of my
secret thoughts! Can you think it? No, no, to you, my life, my dearest
moments. My noble and dear wife of the heart, be easy. You ask me for
new assurances about your letters; ask me for no more. All precautions
are taken that what you write me shall be like vows of love confided
from heart to heart between two caresses. No trace! the cedar box is
closed; no power can open it; and the person ordered to burn it if I
die is a Jacquet, the original of Jacquet, who is named Jacquet, one of
my friends, a poor clerk whose honesty is iron tempered like a blade
of Orient. You see, my love, that I do not trust either the _dilecta_
or my sister. Do not speak to me of that any more. I understand the
importance of your wish; I love you the more for it if possible, and
as you are all my religion, an idolized God, your desires shall be
accomplished with fanaticism. What are orders? Oh! no, don't go to
Fribourg. I adore you as religious, but no confession, no Jesuits. Stay
in Geneva.

My jeweller does not return; it vexes me a little. My package is
delayed: but it is true that the "Caricature" is not yet bound and I
wish you to receive all that I promised to send.

_Mon Dieu!_ your letter has refreshed my soul! You are very ravishing,
my frolic angel, darling flower. Oh! tell me all. I would like more
time to myself to tell you my life. But here I am, caught by twelve
volumes to publish, like a galley-slave in his handcuffs.

I have been to see Madame Delphine de Girardin this morning. I had to
implore her to find a place for a poor man recommended to me by the
lady of Angoulême, who terrified me by her silent missive. The sorrows
of others kills me! Mine, I know how to bear. Madame Delphine promised
me to do all she could with Émile de Girardin when he returns.

Apropos, my love, "L'Europe littéraire" is insolvent; there is a
meeting to-morrow of all the shareholders to devise means. I shall go
at seven o'clock, and as it is only a step from Madame Delphine's I
dine with her, and I shall finish the evening at Gérard's. So, I am all
upset for two days. Moreover, in the mornings I run about for money.
Already the hundred louis of Mademoiselle Eugénie Grandet have gone off
in smoke. I must bear it all patiently, as Monsieur Hanski's sheep let
themselves be sheared.

My rich love, what can I tell you to soothe your heart? That my
tenderness, the certainty of your affection, the beautiful secret life
you make me dwarfs everything and I laugh at my troubles--there are no
longer any troubles for me. Oh! I love you, my Eva! love you as you
wish to be loved, without limit. I like to say that to myself; imagine
therefore the happiness with which I repeat it.

I have to say to you that I don't like your reflected portrait, made
from a copy. No, no. I have in my heart a dear portrait that delights
me. I will wait till you have had a portrait made that is a better
likeness after nature. Poor treasure, oh! your shawl. I am proud to
think that I alone in the world can comprehend the pleasure you had in
giving it, and that I have that of reading what you have written to
me,--I who do these things so great and so little, so magnificent and
so _nothing_, which make a museum for the heart out of a straw!

My beloved, my thoughts develop all the tissues of love, and I would
like to display them to you, and make you a rich mantle of them. I
would like you to walk upon my soul, and in my heart, so as to feel
none of the mud of life.

Adieu, for to-day, my saintly and beautiful creature, you the principle
of my life and courage. You who love, who are beautiful, who have
everything and have given yourself to a poor youth. Ah! my heart will
be always young, fresh, and tender for you. In the immensity of days I
see no storm possible that can come to us. I shall always come to you
with a soul full of love, a smile upon my lips, and a soft word ready
to caress you in the ear. My Eva, I love you.

Thursday morning, 31.

No more anxieties, all is arranged! Here are six thousand francs found,
five thousand five hundred paid! There remains to the poor poet five
hundred francs in a noble bank-bill. Joy is in the house. I ask if
Paris is for sale. My love, you'll end by knowing a bachelor's life!

Yesterday, all was doubtful. In two hours of time all was settled. I
started to find my doctor, an old friend of my family, seeing that I
had nothing to hope from bankers. Ah! in the course of the way I met
R... who took me by the hand and led me to his wife. They were getting
into a carriage. Caresses, offers of service, why did they never see
me? why...? A thousand questions, and Madame R... began to make eyes at
me as she did at Aix, where she tried to seize my portrait on the sly.

Can't you see me, my love, in conference with a prince of money,--me,
who couldn't find four sous! Was anything ever more fantastic? A single
word to say, and my twelve thousand francs of notes of hand went into
the gulf. I said nothing about it, and certainly he would not have
taken a sou of discount. I laughed like one of the blest, as I left
him, at the situation.

I resume; seeing that I had nothing to hope from bankers, I reflected
that I owed three hundred francs to my doctor; I went and paid them
with one of my commercial notes, and he returned me seven hundred
francs, less the discount. From there I went to my landlord, an old
wheat-dealer in the Halle; I paid him my rent, and he returned me
on my note, which he accepted, seven hundred more francs, less the
discount. From there I went to my tailor, who at once took one of
my thousand-franc notes and put it in his memorandum of discount
[_bordereau d'escompte_--cash account?] and returned me a thousand

Finding myself in the humour, I got into a cabriolet and went to see
a friend, a double millionnaire, a friend of twenty years' standing.
He had just returned from Berlin. I found him; he turned to his desk
and gave me two thousand francs, and took two of my notes from Madame
Bêchet without looking at them. Oh! oh! I came home, I sent for my wood
merchant and my grocer to come and settle our accounts, and to each I
paid, in bank-bills, five hundred francs! At four o'clock I was free,
my payments for to-day prepared. Here I am, tranquil for a month. I
resume my seat on my fragile seasaw and my imagination rocks me. _Ecco,

My dear, faithful wife, did I not owe you this faithful picture of
your Paris household? Yes, but there are five thousand francs of the
twenty-seven thousand eaten up, and I have, before I can go to Geneva,
ten thousand francs to pay: three thousand to my mother, one thousand
to my sister, and six thousand in indemnities. "Yah! monsieur, where
will you get all that?" In my inkbottle, dearly beloved Eva.

I am dressed like a lord, I have dined with Madame Delphine, and,
after being present at the death agony of "L'Europe littéraire," I
went joyously to Gérard's, where I complimented Grisi, whom I had
heard the night before in "La Gazza ladra" with Rossini, who, having
met me Tuesday on the Boulevard, forced me to go to his opera-box to
talk _un poco_; and as on that Tuesday your poor Honoré had dined with
Madame d'A[brantès] who had to render him an account of the great
negotiation (which missed fire) with Mame, he had, your poor youth, to
drown his sorrows in harmony. What a life, _ma minette_! What strange
discordances, what contrasts!

At Gérard's I heard the admirable Vigano. She refused to sing, snubbed
everybody; I arrived, I asked her for an air; she sat down at the
piano, sang, and delighted us. Thiers asked who I was; being told,
he said, "It is all plain, now." And the whole assembly of artists

The secret of it is that I was, last winter, full of admiration for
Madame Vigano; I idolize her singing; she knows that, and I am a
Kreizler to her. I went to bed at two o'clock after returning on
foot through the deserted, silent streets of the Luxembourg quarter,
admiring the blue sky and the effects of moon and vapour on the
Luxembourg, the Pantheon, Saint-Sulpice, the Val-de-Grâce, the
Observatoire, and the boulevards, drowned in torrents of thought and
carrying two thousand francs upon me--though I had forgotten them; my
valet found them. That night of love had plunged me in ecstasy; you
were in the heavens! they spoke of love; I walked, listening whether
from those stars your cherished voice would fall, sweet and harmonious,
to my ears, and vibrate in my heart; and, my idol, my flower, my life,
I embroidered a few arabesques on the evil stuff of my days of anguish
and toil.

To-day, Thursday, here I am back again in my study, correcting proofs,
recovering from my trips into the material world, resuming my chimeras,
my love; and in forty-eight hours the charms of midnight rising, going
to bed at six in the evening, frugality, and bodily inaction will be

We have had, for the last week, an actual summer; the finest weather
ever created. Paris is superb. Love of my life, a thousand kisses are
committed to the airs for you; a thousand thoughts of happiness are
shed during my rushing about, and I know not what disdain in seeing
men. They have not, as I have, an immense love in their hearts, a
throne before which I prostrate myself without servility, the figure of
a madonna, a beautiful brow of love which I kiss at all hours, an Eve
who gilds all my dreams, who lights my life.

Adieu, my constant thought, _à demain_. I may not be so talkative;
to-morrow comes toil.


I have worked all day at two proofs which have taken me twenty hours;
then I must, I think, find something to complete my second volume of
"Scènes de la Vie de province" because to make a fine book the printers
so compress my manuscript that another Scene is wanted of forty or
fifty pages. Nothing to-day, therefore, to her who has all my heart;
nothing but a thousand kisses, and my dear evening thoughts when I go
to sleep thinking of you.

To-morrow, pretty Eve.


Certainly, my love, you will not act comedy. I have not spoken to you
of that. I have just re-read your last letter. It is a prostitution to
exhibit one's self in that way; to speak words of love. Oh! be sacredly
mine! If I should tell you to what a point my delicacy goes, you would
think me worthy of an angel like yourself. I love you in me. I wish
to live far away from you, like the flower in the seed, and to let my
sentiments blossom for you alone.

To-day I have laboriously invented the "Cabinet des Antiques;" you will
read that some day. I wrote seventeen of the _feuillets_ at once. I
am very tired. I am going to dress to dine with my publisher, where I
shall meet Béranger. I shall get home late; I have still some business
to settle.

My cherished love, as soon as the first part appears and the second
is printed I shall fly to Geneva and stay there a good three weeks. I
shall go to the Hôtel de la Couronne, in the gloomy chamber I occupied
[in 1832]. I quiver twenty times a day at the idea of seeing you. I
meant to speak to you of Madame de C[astries], but I have not the time.
Twenty-five days hence I will tell you by word of mouth. In two words,
your Honoré, my Eva, grew angered by the coldness which simulated
friendship. I said what I thought; the reply was that I ought not to
see again a woman to whom I could say such cruel things. I asked a
thousand pardons for the "great liberty," and we continue on a very
cold footing.

I have read Hoffmann through; he is beneath his reputation; there is
something of it, but not much. He writes well of music; he does not
understand love, or woman; he does not cause fear; it is impossible to
cause it with physical things.

One kiss and I go.


Up at eight o'clock; I came in last night at eleven. Here are my hours
upset for four days. Frightful loss! I awaited the old gentleman
on whose behalf I implored Delphine. He did not come. It is eleven
o'clock,--no letter from Geneva. What anxiety! O my love, I entreat
you, try to send me letters on regular days; spare the sensibility of
a child's heart. You know how virgin my love is. Strong as my love is,
it is delicate, oh! my darling. I love you as you wish to be loved,
solely. In my solitude a mere nothing troubles me. My blood is stirred
by a syllable.

I have just come from my garden; I have gathered one of the last
violets in bloom there; as I walked I addressed to you a hymn of love;
take it, on this violet; take the kisses placed upon the rose-leaf.
The rose is kisses, the violet is thoughts. My work and you, that is
the world to me. Beyond that, nothing. I avoid all that is not my Eva,
my thoughts. Dear flower of heaven, my fairy, you have touched all
here with your wand; here, through you, all is beautiful. However
embarrassed life may be, it is smooth, it is even. Above my head I see
fine skies.

Well, to-morrow, I shall have a letter. Adieu, my cherished soul! Thank
you a thousand times for your kind letters; do not spare them. I would
like to be always writing to you; but, poor unfortunate, I am obliged
to think sometimes of the gold I draw from my inkstand. You are my
heart; what can I give you?

PARIS, Wednesday, November 6, 1833.

The agonies you have gone through, my Eve, I have very cruelly felt,
for your letter arrived only to-day. I cannot describe all the horrible
chimeras which tortured me from time to time; for the delay of one of
your letters puts everything in doubt between you and me; the delay of
one of mine does not imply so many evils to fear.

As to the last page of your letter, endeavour to forget it. I pardon
it, and I suffer at your distress. To be unjust and ill-natured! You
remind me of the man who thought his dog mad and killed him, and then
perceived that he was warning him not to lose his forgotten treasure.

You speak of death. There is something more dreadful, and that is pain;
and I have just endured one of which I will not speak to you. As to
my relations with the person you speak of, I never had any that were
very tender; I have none now. I answered a very unimportant letter,
and, apropos of a sentence, I explained myself; that was all. There are
relations of politeness due to women of a certain rank whom one has
known; but a visit to Madame Récamier is not, I suppose, _relations_,
when one goes to see her once in three months.

_Mon Dieu!_ the man who seems to be justifying himself has just been
stabbed to the heart. He smiles to you, my Eve, and this man does not
sleep--he, rather a sleepy man--more than five hours and a half. He
works seventeen hours, to be able to stay a week in your sight; I sell
years of my life to go and see you. This is not a reproach. But you may
say to me, you, that perhaps I love the pages I write _from necessity_
better than my love. But with you I am not proud, I am not humble. I
am, I try to be, you. You have suffered; I suffer,--you wished to make
me suffer. You will regret it. Try that it may not happen again; you
will break the heart that loves you, as a child breaks a toy to look
inside of it. Poor Eva! So we do not know each other? Oh, yes, we do,
don't we?

_Mon Dieu!_ to punish me for my confidence! for the joy that I feel
more and more in solitude! I don't know where my mother is; it is two
months that no one has any news of her. No letters from my brother. My
sister is in the country, guarded by duennas fastened on her by her
husband, and he is travelling. So I have no one to tell you about. The
_dilecta_ is with her son at Chaumont, with the devil. I am myself in a
torrent of proofs, corrections, copies, works. And it is at the moment
when I expected to plunge into all my joys that, after your first
pages, I find the pompous praise of ..., _mon Dieu!_ and my accusation
and condemnation, which will bleed long in a heart like mine.

I am sad and melancholy, wounded, weeping, and awaiting the serenity
that never comes full and complete. If you wished that, if you wished
to pour upon my life as much pain as I have toil (impossible now), Eva,
you have succeeded. As to anger, no; reproaches? what good are they?
Either you are in despair at having pained me, or you are content to
have done so. I do not doubt you. I would like to console you; but
you have cruelly abused the distance that separates us, the poverty
that prevents my taking a post-chaise, the engagements of honour which
forbid me to leave Paris before the 25th or 26th of this month. You
have been a woman; I thought you an angel. I may love you the better
for it; you bring yourself nearer to me. I will smile to you without
ceasing. Ever since I knew the Indian maxim, "Never strike, even with
a flower, a woman with a hundred faults," I have made that the rule
of my conduct. But it does not prevent me from feeling to the heart,
more violently than those who kill their mistresses feel, insults, and
suspicions of evil. I, so exclusive, tainted with commonness! made
petty enough to be lowered to vengeance! What! that love so pure, you
stain it with suspicion, with blame, with doubt! God himself cannot
efface what has been; he may oppose the future, but not the past!

I cannot write more; I rave; my ideas are confused. After twelve hours
of toil I wanted a little rest, and to-day I must rest in suffering.
Oh! my only love, what grief to look on what I write to you, to weigh
my words, and not say all that is without evasion, because I am without
reproach. Oh! I suffer. I have not a passing passion, but a one sole

November, 10, 1833.

I posted a letter last night, not expecting to be able to write again;
I suffered too much. My neuralgia attacked me. That is a secret between
me and my doctor; he made me take some pills, and I am better this
morning. But, can I help it? your letter burns my heart. I will go to
Geneva, I will pass my winter there. At least you shall not have the
right to emit suspicions. You shall see my life of toil, and you will
perceive the barbarity there is in arming yourself with my confidence
in opening my heart to you. I, who want to think in you! I, who detach
myself from everything to be more wholly yours!

Deceive you! But, as you say yourself, that would be too easy. Besides,
is that my character? Love is to me all confidence. I believe in you
as in myself. What you say of that compatriot [Madame de Castries is
meant] makes me surfer, but I do not doubt it. I shall not speak to you
of the cause of your imprecation, "Go to the feet of your marquise"
[_Va aux pieds de ta marquise_], except verbally.[1]

I have five important affairs to terminate, but I shall sacrifice
all to be on the 25th in Geneva, at that inn of the Pré-l'Évêque.
But we shall see each other very little. I must go to bed at six in
the evening, to rise at midnight. But from midday till four o'clock
every day I can be with you. For that I must do things here that seem
impossible; I shall attempt them. If they cause me a thousand troubles
I shall go to Geneva, and forget everything there to see but one thing,
the one heart, the one woman by whom I live.

I would give my life that that horrible page had not been written. To
reproach me for my very devotion! Do you believe that I would not
leave all, and go with you to the depths of some retreat? You arm
yourself with the phrase in which I sacrifice (the word meant nothing,
there is no sacrifice) to you all!

Why have you flung suffering into what was so sweet? You have made me
give to grief the time that belonged to the toil which facilitates my
means of going to you sooner.

I await, with an impatience beyond words, a letter, a line; you have
completely upset me. No, you do not know the childlike heart, the
poet's heart, that you have bruised. I am a man to suffer, then!

Adieu. Did I tell you the story of that man who wrote drinking-songs
in order to bury an adored mistress? To work with a heart in mourning
is my fate till your next letter comes. You owe me your life for this
fatal week. Oh! my angel, mine belongs to you. Break, strike, but love
me still. I adore you as ever; but have mercy on the innocent. I do not
know if you have formed an idea of what I have to do. I must finish
with the printing of four volumes before I can start, I must compound
with five difficulties, pay eight thousand francs; and the four volumes
make one hundred _feuilles_, or one hundred times sixteen pages, to be
revised each three or four times, without counting the manuscripts.

Well, I will lose sleep, I will risk all, but you will see me near you
on the 20th at latest.

To-morrow I shall write openly to Madame Hanska to announce my parcel.

May I put here a kiss full of tears? Will it be taken with love? Make
no more storms without cause in what is so pure.

It is midday. That you may get this in time, I send it to the general

[Footnote 1: This whole presentation of Madame Hanska justifies, and
even demands, a few words here. Judging her by the genuine letters in
this volume,--which are, so far as I know, our only means of judging
her at all at this distance of time,--she was a woman of principle,
dignity, intelligence, and good-breeding; with a strong sense of duty,
and a certain deliberateness of nature, shown in the fact that it was
eight years after M. Hanski's death before she consented to marry
Balzac. Her love for him was plainly much less than his for her; but
she was proud of his devotion, and always unwilling to lose it. That a
woman of her position and character ever wrote to Balzac those words,
"_Va aux pieds de ta marquise_," is an impossibility. There are certain
things that a woman of breeding cannot do or say; though some who do
not know what such women are do not perceive this.

Writing a few weeks later than the above letter (from Geneva in
January, 1834) to his intimate friend, Madame Carraud, Balzac bears the
following little testimony to Madame Hanska's feeling to his friend:
"I hope you know what the security of friendship is, and that you will
not say to me again, 'Bear me in memory,' when some one here [Madame
Hanska] says to me, 'I am happy in knowing that you inspire such
friendships; that justifies mine for you.'" (Éd. Déf. vol. xxiv, p.
192). This is the woman whose memory a few men are now endeavouring to

PARIS, Thursday, November 12, 1833.

It is six o'clock; I am going to bed, much fatigued by certain errands
[_courses_] made for pressing affairs; for I have hope, at the cost of
three thousand francs in money, of compromising on the litigious affair
which causes me the most anxiety. On returning home I found your letter
sent Friday, with that kind page which effaces all my pain.

O my adored angel, as long as you do not fully know the bloom of
sensitiveness which constant toil and almost perpetual seclusion have
left in my heart, you will not understand the ravages that a word, a
doubt, a suspicion can cause. In walking this morning through Paris I
said to myself that commercially the most simple contract could not be
broken without attainting probity; but have you not broken, without
hearing me, a promise that bound us forever?

This is the last time that I shall speak to you of that letter except
when, in Geneva, I shall explain to you what gave rise to it. Fear
nothing; I have finished all my visits, and shall not go again to
Gérard's. I refuse all invitations, I hibernate completely, and the
woman most ambitious of love could find nothing to blame in me.

But alas! all that I have been able to do has been to take one more
hour from sleep. I must sleep five hours. My doctor, whom I saw this
morning, and who knows me since I was ten years old (a friend of the
house), is always fearful on seeing how I work. He threatens me with an
inflammation of the integuments of my cerebral nerves:--

"Yes, doctor," I told him, "if I committed excess upon excess; but for
three years I have been as chaste as a young girl, I never drink either
wine or liquors, my food is weighed, and the return of my neuralgia
comes less from work than from grief."

He shrugged his shoulders and said, looking at me:--

"Your talent costs dear! It is true; a man doesn't have a flaming look
like yours if he addicts himself to women."

There, my love, is a very authentic certificate of my sobriety. The
doctor is alarmed at my work. "Eugénie Grandet" makes a thick volume. I
keep the manuscript for you. There are pages written, in the midst of
anguish. They belong to you, as all of me does.

My dear love, listen; you must content yourself with having only a few
sentences, a line perhaps, per day, if you wish to see me in November
at Geneva. Apropos, write me openly in reply to my open letter, to come
to the inn on the Pré-l'Évêque, and give me its name. I shall come for
a month, and write "Privilège" there. I shall have to bring a whole

My love, _à bientôt_. Nevertheless, I have a thousand obstructions.
The printers, and there are three printing-offices busy with these
four volumes, well, they do not get on. I, from midnight to midday, I
compose; that is to say, I am twelve hours in my arm-chair writing,
improvising, in the full meaning of that term. Then, from midday to
four o'clock I correct my proofs. At five I dine, at half-past five I
am in bed, and am wakened at midnight.

Thank you for your kind page; you have removed my suffering; oh!
my good, my treasure, never doubt me. Never a thought or a word in
contradiction of what I have said to you with intoxication can trouble
the words and thoughts that are for you. Oh! make humble reparations
to Madame P... Bulwer, the novelist, is not in Parliament; he has a
brother who is in Parliament, and the name has led even our journalists
into error. I made the same mistake that you did, but I have verified
the matter carefully. Bulwer is now in Paris,--the novelist, I mean.
He came yesterday to the Observatoire, but I have not seen him yet.

You make me like Grosclaude [an artist]. What I want is the picture he
makes for you, and a copy equal to the original. I shall put it before
me in my study, and when I am in search of words, corrections, I shall
see what you are looking at.

There is a sublime scene (to my mind, and I am rewarded for having it)
in "Eugénie Grandet," who offers her fortune to her cousin. The cousin
makes an answer; what I said to you on that subject was more graceful.
But to mingle a single word that I have said to my Eve in what others
will read!--ah! I would rather fling "Eugénie Grandet," into the fire.
Oh, my love! I cannot find veils enough to veil it from everyone. Oh!
you will only know in ten years that I love you, and how _well_ I love

My dear _gentille_, when I take this paper and speak to you I let
myself flow into pleasure; I could write to you all night. I am obliged
to mark a certain hour at my waking; when it rings I ought to stop, and
it rang long ago.

Till to-morrow.


After the 22nd, including the 22nd, do not post any more letters; I
shall not receive them. Oh! I would like to intoxicate myself so as not
to think during the journey. Three days to be saying to myself, "I am
going to see her!" Ah! you know what that is, don't you? It is dying of
impatience, of pleasure! I have just sent you the licensed letter, and
I am now going to do up the parcel and arrange the box. I have returned
the remainder of the pebbles; I had not the right to lose what Anna
picked up; and I would not compromise Mademoiselle Hanska by keeping

Oh! let me laugh after weeping. I shall soon see you. I bring
you the most sublime masterpiece of poesy, an epistle of Madame
Desbordes-Valmore, the original of which I have; I reserve it for you.
To-morrow, Thursday, I hope to be delivered of "Eugénie Grandet." The
manuscript will be finished. I must immediately finish "Ne touchez pas
à la hache."

I do not know how it is that you can go and put yourself so often into
the midst of that atmosphere of Genevese pedantry. But also I know
there is nothing so agreeable as to be in the midst of society with a
great thought, oh! my beautiful angel, my Eva, my treasures, of which
the world is ignorant.

Nothing could be more false than what that traveller told you about
Madame C... You understand, my love, that the ambitious manner in which
I now present myself in society must engender a thousand calumnies,
a thousand absurd versions. To give you an example: I have a glass I
value, a saucer, out of which my aunt, an angel of grace and goodness
who died in the flower of her age, drank for the last time; and my
grandmother, who loved me, kept it on her fireplace for ten years.
Well, my lawyer heard some man in a literary reading-room say that my
life was attached to a talisman, a glass, a saucer; and my talent also.
There are things of love and pride and nobleness in certain lives which
others would rather calumniate than comprehend.

Latouche has said a frightful thing of hatred to one of my friends. He
met him on the quay; they spoke of me,--Latouche with immense praises
(in spite of our separation). "What pleases me about him," he said, "is
that I begin to believe he will bury them all."

_Mon Dieu!_ how I love your dear letters; not those in which you scold,
but those in which you tell me minutely what happens to you. Oh! tell
me all; let me read in your soul as I would like to make you read in
mine. Tell me the praises that your adorable beauty receives, and if
any one looks at your hair, your pretty throat, your little hands, tell
me his name. You are my most precious fame. We have, they say, stars in
heaven; you, you are my star come down,--the light in which I live, the
light toward which I go.

How is it that you speak to me of what I write. It is what I think and
do not say that is beautiful, it is my love for you, its _cortège_ of
ideas, it is all that I fain would say to you, in your ear, with no
more atmosphere between us.

I do not like "Marie Tudor;" from the analyses in the newspapers, it
seems to me nasty. I have no time to go and see the play. I have no
time to live. I shall live only in Geneva. And what work I must do even
there! There, as here, I shall have to go to bed at six o'clock and get
up at midnight. But from midday to five o'clock, O love! what strength
I shall get from your glances. What pleasure to read to you, chapter by
chapter, the "Privilège" or other tales, my cherished love!

Do not think that there is the least pride, the least false delicacy
in my refusal of what you know of, the golden drop you have put
angelically aside. Who knows if some day it might not stanch the blood
of a wound? and from you alone in the world I could accept it. I know
you would receive all from me. But no; reserve all for things that I
might perhaps accept from you, in order to surround myself with you,
and think of you in all things. My love is greater than my thought.

Find here a thousand kisses and caresses of flame. I would like to
clasp you in my soul.

PARIS, Wednesday, November 13, 1833.

MADAME,--I think that the house of Hanski will not refuse the slight
souvenirs which the house of Balzac preserves of a gracious and most
joyous hospitality. I have the honour to address you, _bureau restant_
at Geneva, a little case forwarded by the Messageries of the rue
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. You have no doubt been accusing the frivolity
and carelessness of the "Frenchman" (forgetting that I am a Gaul,
nothing but a Gaul), and have never thought of all the difficulties of
Parisian life, which have, however, procured me the pleasure of busying
myself long for you and Anna. The delay comes from the fact that I
wanted to keep all my promises. Permit me to have some vanity in my

Before the sublime Fossin deigned to leave the diadems and crowns
of princes to set the pebbles picked up by your daughter, I had to
entreat him, and be very humble, and often leave my retreat, where I am
busy in setting poor phrases. Before I could get the best _cotignac_
[quince marmalade] from Orléans, inasmuch as you want to be a child
again and taste it, there was need of correspondence. And foreseeing
that you would find the marmalade below its reputation, I wanted
to add some of the clingstone peaches of Touraine, that you might
feel, gastronomically, the air of my native region. Forgive me that
Tourainean vanity. And finally, in order to send you a "La Caricature"
complete, I had to wait till its year was ended and then submit to the
delays of the binder,--that high power that oppresses my library.

For your beautiful hair nothing was more easy, and you will find what
you deigned to ask me for. I shall have the honour to bring you myself
the recipe for the wonderful preservative pomade, which you can make
yourself in the depths of the Ukraine, and so not lose one of your
beauteous black hairs.

Rossini has lately written me a note; I send it to you as an offering
to Monsieur Hanski, his passionate admirer. You see, madame, that I
have not forgotten you, and that if my work allows I shall soon be in
Geneva to tell you myself what sweet memories I preserve of our happy

You admire Chénier; there is a new edition just published, more
complete than the preceding ones. Do not buy it; arrange that I may
read to you, myself, these various poems, and perhaps you will then
attach more value to the volumes I shall select for you here. That
sentence is not vain or impertinent; it is the expression of a hope
with wholly youthful frankness.

I hope to be in Geneva on the 25th; but, alas! for that I have to
finish four volumes, and though I work eighteen hours out of the
twenty-four, and have given up the music of the opera and all the joys
of Paris to stay in my cell, I am afraid that the coalition of workmen
of which we are now victims will make my efforts come to nought. I
wish, as I have to make this journey, that I might find a little
tranquillity in it, and remain away from that furnace called Paris for
a fortnight, to be employed in some _far niente_. But I shall probably
have to work more than I wish to.

Give the most gracious expression of my sentiments and remembrances
to Monsieur Hanski, kiss Mademoiselle Anna in my name, and accept for
yourself my respectful homage. Will you believe me, and not laugh at
me if I tell you that, often, I see again your beautiful head in that
landscape of the Île Sainte-Pierre, when, in the middle of my nights,
weary with toil, I gaze into my fire without seeing it, and turn my
mind to the most agreeable memories of my life? There are so few pure
moments, free of all _arrière-pensées_, naïve as our own childhood, in
this life. Here, I see nothing but enmities about me. Who could doubt
that I revert to scenes where nothing but good-will surrounded me? I do
not forget either Mademoiselle Séverine or Mademoiselle Borel.

Adieu, madame; I place all my obeisances at your feet.

PARIS, Sunday, November 17, 1833.

Thursday, Friday, and yesterday it was impossible for me to write
to you. The case does not start till to-morrow, Monday, so that you
will hardly get it before Thursday or Friday. Tell me what you think
of Anna's cross. We have been governed by the pebbles, which prevent
anything pretty being made of them. The _cotignac_ made everybody send
me to the deuce. They wrote me from Orléans that I must wait till the
fresh was made, which was better than the old, and that I should have
it in four or five days. So, not wishing it to fail you as announced,
I rushed to all the dealers in eatables, who one and all told me they
never sold two boxes of that marmalade a year, and so had given up
keeping it. But at Corcelet's I found a last box; he told me there was
no one but him in Paris who kept that _article_, and that he would have
some fresh _cotignac_ soon. I took the box; and you will not have the
fresh till my arrival, _cara_.

As for Rossini, I want him to write me a nice letter, and he has just
invited me to dine with his mistress, who happens to be that beautiful
Judith, the former mistress of Horace Vernet and of Eugène Sue, you
know. He has promised me a note about music, etc. He is very obliging;
we have chased each other for two days. No one has an idea with what
tenacity one must will a thing in Paris to have it. The smaller a thing
is, the less one obtains it.

I have now obtained an excellent concession from Gosselin. I shall not
do the "Privilège" at Geneva. I shall do two volumes of the "Contes
Philosophiques" there, which will not oblige me to make researches; and
this leaves me free to go and come without the dreadful paraphernalia
of a library. I am afraid I cannot leave here before the 20th, my poor
angel. Money is a terrible thing! I must pay four thousand francs
indemnities to get peace; and here I am forced to begin all over again
to raise money on publishers' notes, and I have ten thousand francs to
pay the last of December, besides three thousand to my mother. It is
enough to make one lose one's head. And when I think that to compose,
to work, one needs great calmness, to forget all!

If I have started on the 25th I shall be lucky. Of one hundred
_feuilles_ wanted to-day, Sunday, I have only eight of one volume and
four of another printed, eleven set up of one and five of the other.
I am expecting the _fabricators_ this morning to inform them of my
ultimatum. Why! in sixteen hours of work--and what work?--I do in one
hour what the cleverest workmen in a printing-office cannot do in a
day. I shall never succeed!

In the judgment of all men of good sense, "Marie Tudor" is an infamy,
and the worst thing there is as a play.

_Mon Dieu!_ I re-read your letters with incredible pleasure. Aside
from love, for which there is no expression, we are, in them, heart
to heart; you have the most refined of minds, the most original, and,
dearest, how you speak to all my natures! Soon I can tell you more in a
look than in all my letters, which tell nothing.

I put in a leaf of sweet-scented camellia; it is a rarity; I have cast
many a look at it. For a week past, as I work I look at it; I seek the
words I want, I think of you, who have the whiteness of that flower.

O my love, I would I could hold you in my arms, at this moment when
love gushes up in my heart, when I have a thousand desires, a thousand
fancies, when I see you with the eyes of the soul only, but in which
you are truly mine. This warmth of soul, of heart, of thought, will
it wrap you round as you read these lines? I think of you when I hear
music. _Adoremus in æternum_, my Eva,--that is our motto, is it not?

Adieu; _à bientôt_. What pleasure I shall have in explaining to you the
caricatures you cannot understand.

Do you want anything from Paris? Tell me. You can still write the day
after you receive this letter. The camellia-leaf bears you my soul; I
have held it between my lips in writing this page, that I might fill it
with tenderness.

PARIS, November 20, 1833, five in the morning.

My dear wife of love, fatigue has come at last; I have gathered the
fruit of these constant night-watches and my continual anxieties.
I have many griefs. In re-reading "Les Célibataires" which I had
re-corrected again and again, I find deplorable faults after printing.
Then, my lawsuits have not ended. I await to-day the result of a
transaction which will end everything between Mame and me. I send him
four thousand francs, my last resources. Here I am, once more as poor
as Job, and yet this week I must find twelve hundred francs to settle
another litigious affair. Oh! how dearly is fame bought! how difficult
men make it to acquire her! No, there is no such thing as a cheap great

I could not write to you yesterday, or Monday; I was hurrying about.
Hardly could I re-read my proofs attentively. In the midst of all this
worry I made the words of a song for Rossini.

I was Sunday with Bra, the sculptor; there I saw the most beautiful
masterpiece that exists; and I do not except either the Olympian
Jupiter, or the Moses, or the Venus, or the Apollo. It is Mary, holding
the infant Christ, adored by two angels. If I were rich I would have
that executed in marble.

There I conceived a most noble book; a little volume to which "Louis
Lambert" should be the preface; a work entitled "Séraphita." Séraphita
will be two natures in one single being--like "Fragoletta," with this
difference, that I suppose this creature an angel arrived at the last
transformation, and breaking through the enveloping bonds to rise to
heaven. This angel is loved by a man and by a woman, to whom he says,
as he goes upward through the skies, that they have each loved the
love that linked them, seeing it in him, an angel all purity; and he
reveals to them their passion, he leaves them love, as he escapes our
terrestrial miseries. If I can, I will write this noble work at Geneva,
near to you.

But the conception of this multi-toned Séraphita has wearied me; it has
lashed me for two days.

Yesterday I sent Rossini's autograph, extremely rare, to Monsieur
Hanski, but the song for you. I am afraid I cannot leave here before
27th; seventeen hours of toil do not suffice. In a few hours you will
receive my last letter, which will calm your fears and your sweet
repentance. I would now like to be tortured--if it did not make me
suffer so much. Oh! your adorable letters! And you believe that I will
not burn those sacred effusions of your heart! Oh! never speak of that

To-day, 20th, I have still one hundred pages of "Eugénie Grandet" to
write, "Ne touchez pas à la hache" to finish, and "La Femme aux yeux
rouges" to do, and I need at least ten days for all that. I shall
arrive dead. But I can stay in Geneva as long as you do. This is how:
if I am rich enough I will lose five hundred francs on each volume to
have it put in type and corrected in Geneva; and I will send to Paris
a single corrected proof, and they will reprint it under the eyes of
a friend who will read the sheets. It is such a piece of folly that I
shall do it. What do you say to it?

Yesterday my arm-chair, the companion of my vigils, broke. It is the
second I have had killed under me since the beginning of the battle
that I fight.

When people ask me where I am going, and why I leave Paris, I tell them
I am going to Rome.

Coffee has no longer any effect upon me. I must leave it off for some
time that it may recover its virtues.

My dearest Eva, I should like to find in that inn you speak of, a very
quiet room where no noise could penetrate, for I have truly much work
to do. I shall work only my twelve hours, from midnight to midday, but
those I must have.

I cannot tell you how these delays of the printer annoy me; I am ill of
them. All the day of Monday was occupied by an old man of sixty-five,
a man belonging to the first families of Franche-Comté, fallen into
poverty, for whom I was entreated by the lady in Angoulême to find a
situation. My heart is still wrung at the sight of him. I took him to
Émile de Girardin, who gave him a place at a hundred francs a month. A
man with white hair who lives on bread only, he and his family, while
I, I live luxuriously, my God! I did what I could. People call these
good actions; God thinks of those who compassionate the miseries of
others. Just now God is crushing me a good deal. But it is true that
you love me, and I worship you, and that enables me to bear all. I had
to dine with Émile and his wife, and lose a day and a night; what a
sacrifice! Ten years hence to give away a hundred thousand francs would
be less.

Adieu for to-day. I have rested myself for a moment on your heart, oh,
my dear joy, my gentle haven, my sole thought, my flower of heaven!
Adieu, then.

Saturday, 23rd.

From Thursday until to-day I have often thought of you, but to write
has been impossible. I have a weight of a hundred thousand pounds on
my shoulders. Yes, my angel, I am quit of that publisher at the cost
of four thousand francs. My lawyer, my notary, and a _procureur du
Roi_ have examined the receipt. All is ended between us; agreements
destroyed; I owe him neither sou nor line. I have deposited the
document, precious to me, with my notary.

The next day I completed, also at a cost of three thousand francs
(making seven thousand in a week), my other transaction. But as I had
not enough money I drew a note for five days, and by Wednesday, 27th, I
must have twelve hundred francs! I have, besides, a little _procillon_
to compound for, but that is only for money not yet due. I have still
two other matters concerning my literary property to bring to an end
before I can start. I am absolutely without a sou; but, at least, I am
tranquil in mind. I shall always have to work immensely.

Now in relation to the Mind manufactory, this is where I am: I have
still twenty-five _feuilles_ to do to finish "Eugénie Grandet;" I have
the proofs to revise. Then "Ne touchez pas à la hache" to finish, with
the "Femme aux yeux rouges" to do; also the proofs of two volumes
to read. It is impossible for me to start till all that is done. I
calculate ten days; this is now the 24th, for it is two o'clock in
the morning. I cannot get off till the 4th, arrive the 7th, and stay
till January 7th. Moreover, in order that I may stay, the "Médecin de
campagne" must be sold, I must write a "Scène de la Vie de campagne" at
Geneva, and the other "Scènes de la Vie de campagne" must be published,
during my absence, in Paris. However, I want to start on the 4th at
latest. Therefore, you can write to me till the 30th. After the 30th of
this month do not write again.

_Mon Dieu!_ What time such business consumes!--when I think of what I
do, my manuscripts, my proofs, my corrections, my business affairs! I
sleep tranquil, thinking that I have to pay two thousand four hundred
francs of acceptances for six days, for which I have not a sou! I
have lived like this for thirty-four years, and never has Providence
forgotten me. And so, I have an incredible confidence. What has to
be done is always done; and you can well believe that to pay seven
thousand francs with 0 obliges one to sign notes.

There's my situation, financial, scriptural, moral, of author, of
corrections, of all in short that is not love, on Sunday, the 24th, at
half-past one o'clock in the morning. I write you this just as I get
to the eleventh _feuillet_ of the fifth chapter of "Eugénie Grandet,"
entitled, "Family Griefs;" and between a proof of the eleventh sheet
of the book, that is to say, at its 176th page. When you have the
manuscript of "Eugénie Grandet," you will know its history better than
any one.

For the last two days I have had some return of my cerebral neuralgia;
but it was not much, and considering my toil and my worries, I ought to
think myself lucky to have only that.

Now, do not let us talk any more of the material things of life, which,
nevertheless, weigh so heavily upon us. How you make me again desire

My cherished love, have you tasted your marmalade? do you like the
peaches? has Anna her cross? have you laughed at the caricatures? I
have received your open letter, and it has all the effect upon me of
seeing you in full dress, in a grand salon, among five hundred persons.

Oh! my pretty Eve! _Mon Dieu!_ how I love you! _À bientôt._ More than
ten days, and I shall have done all I ought to do. I shall have printed
four volumes 8vo in a month. Oh! it is only love that can do such
things. My love, oh, suffer from the delay, but do not scold me. How
could I know, when I promised you to return, that I should sell the
"Études de Mœurs" for thirty-six thousand francs, and that I should
have to negotiate payments for nine thousand francs of suits? I put
myself at your darling knees, I kiss them, I caress them; oh, I do in
thought all the follies of earth; I kiss you with intoxication, I hold
you, I clasp you, I am happy as the angels in the bosom of God.

How nature made me for love! Is it for that that I am condemned to
toil? There are times when you are here for me, when I caress you and
strew upon your dear person all the poesy of caresses. Oh! there is
nobody but me, I believe, who finds at the tips of my fingers and on my
lips such voluptuousness.

My beloved, my dear love, my pearl, when shall I have you wholly mine
without fear? If that trip to Fribourg of which you speak to me had
taken place,--oh! say,--I think I should have drowned myself on the

How careful I am of your Chénier; for, this time, I will read you
Chénier. You shall know what love is in voice, in looks, in verses, in
pages, in ideas. Oh! he is the man for lovers, women, angels. Write
"Séraphita" beside you; you wish it. You will annihilate her after
having read it.

I am very tired; my pen will hardly hold in my fingers; but as soon as
it concerns you and our love I find strength.

I have satisfied a little fancy this week; I gave myself, for my
bedroom, the prettiest little chimney-piece sconces that I ever saw;
and for my banquets, two candelabra. _Mon Dieu!_ a folly is sweet to
do! But I meditate a greater, which will, at any rate, be useful. It is
too long to write about.

Angel of love, do you perfume your hair? Oh, my beauty, my darling, my
adored one, my dear, dear Eve, I am as impatient as a goat tethered to
her stake--though you don't like that phrase. I would I were near you;
you have become tyrannical, you are the idea of every moment. I think
that every line written brings me nearer to you, like the turn of a
wheel, and from that hope I gather infernal courage.... So the 10th, at
latest, I shall see you. The 10th! I know that the immense amount of
work I have to do will shorten the time a little.

_Mon Dieu, mon Dieu_, God in whom I believe, he owes me some soft
emotions at the sight of Geneva, for I left it disconsolate, cursing
everything, abhorring womankind. With what joy I shall return to it, my
celestial love, my Eva! Take me with you to your Ukraine; let us go
first to Italy. All that will be possible, when the "Études de Mœurs"
are once published.

Sunday, 23rd, midday.

So, then, at l'Auberge de l'Arc! I shall be there December 7th or 8th
without fail. You see I have received your little note.

After writing to you last night I was obliged to go to bed without
working. I was ill. It is five days now since I have been out of my
apartments; I am not very well just now, but I think it is only a
nervous movement caused by overwork.

From our windows we shall see each other!--that is very dangerous.

Well, _à bientôt_. I put in for you a kissed rose-leaf; it carries
my soul and the most celestial hope a man can have here below. Oh!
my love, you do not know yourself how wholly you are mine. I am very

Adieu, my beautiful life; there are only a few days more. I imagine we
can travel to Italy and stay three or six months together.

Adieu, angel, whom I shall soon see face to face.

PARIS, December 4th, four in the morning.

My adored angel, during these eight days I have made the efforts of a
lion; but, in spite of sitting up all night, I do not see that my two
volumes can be finished before the 5th, and the two others I must leave
to appear during my absence. But on the 10th I get into a carriage,
for, finished or not, neither my body nor my head, however powerful my
monk's life makes them, can sustain this steam-engine labour.

So, the 13th, I think, I shall be in Geneva. Nothing can now change
that date. I shall have the manuscript of "Eugénie Grandet" bound, and
send it ostensibly to you.

I have great need of rest, to be near you,--you, the angel; you, the
thought of whom never fatigues; you, who are the repose, the happiness,
the beautiful secret life of my life! It is now forty-eight hours that
I have not been in bed. I have at this moment the keenest anxieties
about money. I stripped myself of everything to win tranquillity, of
which I have such need, and to be near you for a little while. But,
relying on my publisher, yesterday, for my payments at the month's end,
he betrays me in the midst of my torrent of work.

Oh! decidedly, I will make myself a resource, I will have a sum in
silver-ware which my poetic fancies will never touch, but which I can
proudly carry to the pawn-shop in case of misfortune. In that way one
can live tranquil, and not have to endure the cold, pale look of one's
childhood's friends, who arm themselves with their friendship to refuse
us. On the 10th I start; I do not know at what hour one arrives, but,
whatever be my fatigue, I shall go to see you immediately.

I have worked steadily eighteen hours a day this week, and I could only
sustain myself by baths, which relaxed the general irritation.

What vexations, what goings to and fro! I had to give a great dinner
this week, Friday, 29th. I discovered I had neither knives nor glasses.
I don't like to have inelegant things about me. So I had to run in debt
a little more; I tried to do a stroke of business with my silversmith.
No. However, I will economize in Geneva by working and keeping quiet.

How I paw, like a poor, impatient horse! The desire to see you makes me
find things that, ordinarily, would not occur to me. I correct quicker.
You not only give me courage to support the difficulties of life, but
you give me talent, or at least, facility. One must love, my Eve, my
dear one, to write the love of "Eugénie Grandet," a pure, immense,
proud love. Oh! dear, dearest, my good, my divine Eve, what grief not
to have been able to write you every evening what I have done, said,
and thought!

Soon, soon, in ten minutes, I can tell you more than in a thousand
pages, in one look more than in a hundred years, because I shall give
you all my heart in that first look, O my delicate, beauteous forehead!
I looked at that of Madame de Mirbel, the other day; it is something
like yours. She is a Pole, I think.

PARIS, Sunday, December 1, 1833, eleven o'clock.

My angel, I have just read your letter. Oh! I long to fall at your
knees, my Eve, my dear wife! Never have a second of melancholy thought.
Oh! you do not know me! As long as I live I will be your darling, I
will respect in myself the heart you have chosen; I no longer belong
to myself. There are no follies, no sacrifices; no, no, never! Oh! do
not be thus, never talk to me of laudanum. I flung aside the proofs of
"Eugénie Grandet" and sprang up as if to go to you. The end of your
letter has made me pass over the pain of its beginning.

My love, my dear love, I shall be near you in a few days; when you hold
this paper full of love for you, to which I would like to communicate
the beatings of my heart, there will be but a few days; I shall
redouble my cares, my work, I shall rest down there.

Besides, I shall arrange to stay a long time. O my love! make your
skies serene, for there is nothing in my being but affection, love,
tenderness, and caresses for you.

You ought to curse that Gaudissart. The printer took a type which
compressed the matter, and to make out the volume I had to improvise
all that _in one night_, darling, and make eighty pages of it, if you

My pretty love, you will receive a fine letter, very polite,
submissive, respectful, with the manuscript of "Eugénie Grandet," and
you will find in pencil on the back of the first page of manuscript
the precise day for which I have engaged my place in the diligence.

Yes, I live in you, as you live in me. Never will God separate what he
has put together so strongly. My life is your life. Do not frighten
me thus again. Your sadness saddens me, your joy makes me joyous. I
am in your heart; I listen to your voice at times. In short, I have
the eternal, imperishable, angelic love that I desired. You are the
beginning and the end, my Eve,--do you understand?--_the Eve!_ I am as
exclusive as you can be. In short, _Adoremus in æternum_ is my motto;
do you hear me, darling?

Well, it is getting late. I must send this to the general post-office,
that you may get it Wednesday.

My love, why make for yourself useless bitterness? What I said to you,
I will repeat: "It would be too odd if that were she," was my thought
when I saw you first on leaving the Hôtel du Faucon [at Neufchâtel].

Adieu; I have no flowers this time; but I send you an end of a cedar
match I have been chewing while I write; I have given it a thousand

_Mon Dieu!_ I don't know how I shall get over the time on the journey,
in view of the palpitations of my heart in writing to you. You will
receive only one more letter, that of Sunday next; after that I shall
be on the way. O my darling, to be near you, without anxieties; to have
my time to myself, to be free to work well and read to you by day what
I do at night! My angel, to have my kiss,--the greatest reward for me
under heaven! Your kiss!

No, you will only know how I love you ten years from now, when you
fully know my heart, that heart so great, that you fill. I can only say
now, _à bientôt_.

Well, adieu, dear. Thanks for the talisman. I like it. I like to have
a seal you have used. My love, do not laugh at my fancies. Ah? if you
could see Bra's "Two Angels," and "Mary with the child Jesus." I have
in my heart for you all the adoration he found in his sublime genius
to express angels. You are God to me, my dear idol. Adieu!

PARIS, Sunday, December 8.

My dearest, no, not a line for you in eight days! But tears, effusions
of the soul sent with fury across the hundred and fifty leagues that
part us.

If I get off Thursday next, 12th, I shall regard myself as a giant. No,
I will not soil this paper full of love which you will hold, by pouring
money troubles on it, however nobly confided they be. The printers
would not work; I am their slave. The calculations of the publisher, of
the master-printers, and my own have been so cruelly frustrated by the
workmen that my books announced as published yesterday will not appear
till Thursday next. I am in a state of curious destitution, without
friends from whom I can ask an obole, yet I must borrow the money for
my journey on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I do not know where. I will
tell you all about it.

I have no time to write. I have been forty-eight hours this week
without sleeping. Old Dubois told me yesterday I was marching to old
age and death. But how can I help it? I have considered nothing but
my pleasure, our pleasure, and I have sacrificed all--even you and
myself--to that object.

Alas, my dearest, I have not the time to finish this letter. The
publisher of "Séraphita" is here. He wants it by new year's day.
Nevertheless, I shall be on Sunday near you.

Adieu, my love; _à bientôt_, but that _bientôt_ will not be till
Sunday, 15th, for I have inquired, and the diligence starts only every
other day, and takes three days and a half to get there. I have a world
of things to tell you, but I can only send you my love, the sweetest
and most violent of loves, the most constant, the most persistent,
across space. O my beloved angel, do you speak to me again of our
promise? Say nothing more to me about it. It is saintly and sacred like
our mutual life.

Adieu, my angel. I cannot say to you "Calm yourself,"--I, who am so
unhappy at these delays. You must suffer, for I suffer.

GENEVA, December 25th, 1833.

I shall tell you all in a moment, my beloved, my idolatry. I fell in
getting into the carriage, and then my valet fell ill. But we will not
talk of that. In an instant I shall tell you more in a look than in a
thousand pages. Do I love you! Why, I am near you! I would it had been
a thousand times more difficult and that I should have suffered more.
But here is one good month, perhaps two, won.

Not one, but millions of caresses. I am so happy I can write no more.
_À bientôt._

Yes, my room is very good, and the ring is like you, my love, delicious
and exquisite.[1]

[Footnote 1: At the end of this year, as this vitiated portion of the
correspondence draws to a close, I shall venture to make a few comments
on it.

Very early in life Balzac formed for himself a theory of woman and of
love. See Memoir, p. 261. When I wrote that Memoir I was not aware of
the character of these letters. I now see from certain of them (those
from the time he received Mme. Hanska's first letter till he met her
at Neufchâtel) that he kept that ideal before him up to his 34th year,
making, apparently, various attempts to realize it, which failed (if
we except one lifelong affection) until he met with Mme. Hanska. No
one, I think, can read those letters, without recognizing that they are
the expression of an ideal hope, in a soul striving to escape from the
awful (it was nothing less than awful) struggle between its genius and
its circumstances into the calmer heaven for which all his life he had
longed. They are imaginative, rash to folly, but they are in keeping
with his nature, his headlong need of expansion, and the elsewhere
recorded desires of his spirit. That mind must be a worldly one, I
think, that cannot see the truth about this man, clinging, through the
turmoil of his life and of his nature, to his "star," and dying of
exhaustion at the last. But what shall we think of the men who have
not only shut their eyes to the purity of this story, the strongest
testimony to which is in this very volume, but have used it to cast
upon this man and this woman the glamour of "voluptuousness"?

Enough has been told in the Preface to prove: (1) deception; (2) the
forgery of one passage; (3) the falsification of dates. Coupling those
facts with the literary impossibility that Balzac ever wrote a portion
of the letters just given, we are justified in believing that a certain
number of the letters that here follow are forgeries.

I class them as follows:--

During Balzac's stay in Geneva (from Dec. 25 to Feb. 8) nineteen
letters are given; all dated indiscriminately "Geneva, January, 1834."
Eleven of these are friendly little notes, such as would naturally
pass between friends in daily intercourse. The remaining eight contain
matters so disloyal that I place in an Appendix a letter from Balzac to
his friend Madame Carraud, _written at the same time_, and leave the
reader to form his own judgment.

Next follow twelve letters (from Feb. 15 to March 11, 1834) which I
characterize as infamous forgeries. But their refutation is not far to
seek; it is _here_, in this volume,--in letters from Balzac that bare
his soul in the tragic struggle of his life; letters that show the deep
respect of his heart and of his mind for the woman whom he held to be
his star and the guide of his spirit.--TR.]



GENEVA, January, 1834.

MADAME,--I do not know if I had the honour to tell you yesterday that
I might, perhaps, not have the pleasure of dining with you to-day. I
should be in despair if you could think I did not attach an extreme
value to that favour by making you wait for me in vain. Your cousin has
engaged me for Thursday next; I have accepted so as not to seem absurd
in my seclusion. I hope you will see nothing "French" in this sentiment.

I hope this continual rain has not made you sad, and I beg you to
present my most distinguished sentiments to M. Hanski, and accept my
most affectionate homage and obedience.


GENEVA, January, 1834.

MADAME,--Here is the first part of your _cotignacian_ poems. But you
will presently see a man in despair. I do not like to bring you the
Chénier, and yet I hesitate to send it back. Of all that I ordered,
nothing has been done. Binding execrably ugly, covering silly. One
should be there one's self to have things done. If you accept it you
must remember only the good intentions with which I took charge of your
book; that is the only way to give it value.

I have been into town; I made myself joyous; I thought I had found
something that would give you pleasure. I have _deranged_ myself. If
you permit it, I will compensate my annoyance by coming to see you

A thousand graceful homages.


I considered the _cotignac_ so precious I would not delay your
gastronomic joys.

GENEVA, January, 1834.

MADAME,---Will you exchange colonial products? Here is a little of my
coffee. My sister writes that I shall have more to-morrow; therefore,
take this. You shall have your coffee-pot to-morrow. Will you give me
_a little_ tea for my breakfast? I want strictly a little.

Have you passed a good night? Are you well? Have you had good dreams?
I hope your health is good, so that we can go and take a walk [_nous
promener, bromener_]. The treasury? ... _Furth!_


GENEVA, January, 1834.

Very dear sovereign, sacred Majesty, sublime queen of Paulowska and
circumjacent regions, autocrat of hearts, rose of Occident, star of the
North, etc., etc., etc., fairy of _tiyeuilles_.[1]

Your Grace wished for my coffee-pot, and I entreat your Serene Highness
to do me the honour to accept one that is prettier and more complete;
and then to tell me, to fling me from your eminent throne a word full
of happiness, amber, and flowers, to let me know if I am to be at Your
sublime door in an hour, with a carriage, to go to Coppet.

I lay my homage at the feet of your Majesty, and entreat you to believe
in the honesty of your humble moujik, HONORESKI.

[Footnote 1: _Bromener_ and _tiyeuilles_ (_tilleuls_ lindens), make fun
of her pronunciation.--TR.]

GENEVA, January, 1834.

Never did an invalid less merit that name. He is ready to go to walk,
to fetch his proofs, and when his business is finished, which will be
in about a quarter of an hour, he will go and propose to Madame _la
doctrice_ to profit by this beautiful day to take an air-bath on the
Crêt of Geneva, along the iron railings; unless the laziness of the
Hanski household concurs with that of the poor literary moujik who lays
at your feet, madame, his strings of imaginary pearls, the treasure of
his heroes, his fanciful Alhambra, where he has carved, everywhere, not
the sacred name of God, but a human name that is sacred in other ways.
But all this immense property may not be worth, in reality, the four
games won yesterday.

GENEVA, January, 1834. I have slept like a dormouse, I feel like a
charm, I love you like a madcap, I hope that you are well, and I send
you a thousand tendernesses.

GENEVA, January, 1834.

If I must come this evening, and dress myself because you have your
_charaders_, permit me to come a little earlier. There is a dinner
here; they are singing and making such a noise while I write that it is
enough to drive the devil away. _Ecco._ I can calculate. Wednesday I
shall be _encandollé_ [dinner with M. de Candolle]. Thursday is taken.
To-morrow I work without intermission, for I shall have proofs. So, out
of five days, when one has but one in prospect, it is no flattery to
add a few hours. Yes? Very good.

Allow me to return your "Marquis" by a good "Maréchale."

GENEVA, January, 1834.

_Willingly_, but you will bring me back to your house, will you
not?--for I can't get accustomed to be two steps away from you, doing
nothing, without better employing my time.

If you go into the town I will ask you to be so kind--No, I will go

GENEVA, January, 1834.

MADAME,--To a man who considers happy moments as the most profitable
moments of existence, it is permitted to wish not to lose any part of
the sums he amasses. It is only in the matter of joy that I wish to be

If I take this morning the time that you would give me, from three to
ten o'clock, would you refuse me? No? Good. If you love me?--yes--you
will be visible at twelve or one o'clock.

Forgive my avarice; I possess as yet nothing but the happiness which
heaven bestows. Of that I may be avaricious, since I have nothing else.
To you, a thousand affectionate respects, and my obeisances to the
honourable Maréchal of the Ukraine and noble circumjacent regions.

GENEVA, January, 1834.

I cannot come because I am more unwell than I expected to be, and going
out might do me harm. If you would have the kindness to send me back a
little orgeat you would do me a real service, for I don't know what to
drink, and I have a consuming thirst.

I have spent my day very sadly, trying to work, and finding myself
incapable of it. So, I think I shall go to bed in a few hours.

A thousand thanks, and present my respects to the Grand Maréchal.

GENEVA, January, 1834.

MADAME,--If it were not that I get impatient and suffer at losing so
much time, both for that which gives me pleasure and also for my work,
I should be this morning well, and like a man who has had a fever. I
don't know whether I had better go out or keep my room; but I frankly
own that here, alone, I worry horribly.

A thousand thanks for your good care, and forgive me that, yesterday, I
was more surprised than grateful at your visit, which touched me deeply
after you had left. I don't know if you know that there are things that
get stronger as they get older.

A thousand thanks and grateful regards to M. Hanski. How stupid I am
to have made you anxious for so slight a matter; but how happy I am to
know that you have as much friendship for me as I for you.

GENEVA, January, 1834.

My love, this morning I am perfectly well. I was embarrassed yesterday
because there were for you, under the things you moved about, two
letters I send with this.

_Mon Dieu!_ my love, I am afraid that step of yours (your visit to my
room) may be ill taken, and that you exposed the two letters. For other
reasons, _Mon Dieu!_ certainly, I wanted to see you here! I have such
need to cure my cold that if I go out it cannot be till this evening.

I am up; I could not stay in bed longer, I am too uncomfortable. I must
talk or have something to do. Inaction kills me. Yesterday, I spent a
horrible evening thinking of what I had to do. I am this morning like a
man who has had a fever.

A thousand tender caresses. _Mon Dieu!_ how I suffer when I don't see
you. I have a thousand things to tell you.

GENEVA, January, 1834.

What have I done that last evening should end thus, my dear, beloved
Eve? Do you forget that you are my last hope in life? I don't speak
of love, or human sentiments, you are more than all that to me. Why
do you trample under your feet all the hopes of our life in a word?
You doubt one who loves you freely with delights; to whom to feel you
is delirious happiness, who loves you _in æternum_, and you do not

O my love! you play very lightly with a life you chose to have, and
which, moreover, has been given to you with an entire devotion which I
should have given you if you had not demanded it. I like better that
you did wish for it.

I love you with too much constancy that such disputes should not be
mortal to me. _Mon Dieu!_ I have told you the secrets of my life, and
you ought, in return for such unlimited confidence, to spare him who
lives in you the torture of such doubts. You hold me by the hand, and
the day you withdraw that adored hand you alone will know the reason of
what becomes of me.

My beloved Eve, I commit extravagance on extravagance. It is impossible
to think of anything but you. It is not a _desire_, though I have fully
the right to desire pleasure more keenly than other men, and this
desire renders me stupefied at times; no, it is a need to breathe your
air, to see you, and yesterday you gave me eternal memories of beauty.

If I had no sacred pecuniary obligations (and I commit the folly of
forgetting them sometimes), we would not think of the rue Cassini. No.
Yesterday at Diodati I said to myself: "Why should I quit my Eve; why
not follow her everywhere?" I wish it, myself. I accept all sufferings
when I see you; and you, you wounded me yesterday.

But you do not love as I do; you do not know what love is; I, for
my sorrow, have known its delights, and I see that from Neufchâtel
to my death I can reach the end desired through my whole youth, and
concentrate my life and my affections on a single heart!

Dearest, dearest, I am too unhappy from the things of life not to make
it a cruelty in her I love and idolize to cause me a shadow of grief. I
would like better the most horrible of agonies to causing you pain.

Must I come and seek a kiss?

GENEVA, January, 1834.

Your doubts do me harm. You are more powerful than all. Angel of my
life, why should I not follow you everywhere? Because of poverty. _Mon
Dieu_, you have nothing to fear. From the day on which I told you that
I loved you, nothing has altered this delicious life; it is my only
life. Do not dishonour it by suspicions; do not trouble our pleasures.
There was no one before you in my heart; you will fill it forever. Why
do you arm yourself with thoughts of my former life? Do not punish me
for my beautiful confidence. I wish you to know all my past, because
all my future is yours. Break your heart! Sacrifice you to anything
whatever! Why, you don't know me! I am ashamed to bring you sufferings.
I am ashamed not to be able to give you a life in harmony with the
life of the heart. I suffer unheard-of woes, which you efface by your

Pardon, my love, for what you call my coquetries. Pardon a Parisian
for a simple Parisian talk; but what you will shall be done. I will go
to see no one. Two visits of a quarter of an hour will end all. Perish
a thousand times the society of Geneva rather than see you sad for a
quarter of an hour's conversation. It would be ridiculous (for others)
that I should occupy myself with you only. I was bound to respect you,
and in order to talk to you so much it was necessary that I should
talk with Madame P... Besides, what trifles! Before the Ocean of which
you talk, are you going to concern yourself about a miserable spider?
_Mon Dieu!_ you don't know what it is to love _infinitely_.

What I wrote you this morning is of a nature to show you how false are
your fears. I never ceased to look at you while talking to Madame P...

Ah! dearest, my dear wife, my Eva, I would willingly sell my talent for
two thousand ducats! I would follow you like a shadow. Do you wish to
go back to Wierzchownia? I will follow you and stay there all my life.
But we must have pretexts, and, unfortunate that I am, I cannot leave
Paris without satisfying editors and creditors.

I have received two letters; one from that good Borget, the other from
my sister. Troubles upon troubles. To have at all moments the sight of
paradise and the sufferings of hell,--is that living?

GENEVA, January, 1834.

My love, my only life, my only thought, oh! your letter! it is written
forever on my heart.

Listen, celestial angel, for you are not of this earth. I will reply to
you on these things once for all. Fame, vanity, self-love, literature,
they are scarcely clouds upon our sky. You trample all that twenty
times a day beneath your feet, which I kiss twenty times.

Oh, my angel, see me at your knees as I tell you this: if I have had
the most fugitive of reputations it has come when I did not want it.
I was drunk for it till I was twenty-two. I wanted it as a pharos to
attract to me an angel. I had nothing with which to please; I blamed
myself. An angel came; I let myself suffer in her bosom, hiding from
her my desires for a young and beautiful woman. She saw those desires
and said to me: "When she comes I will be your mother, I will have the
love of a mother, the devotion of a mother."[1]

Then one day the misery of my life grew greater. The toils of night and
day began. She who had offered me, on her knees, her fortune, which I
had taken, which I was returning at the peril of my life, she watched,
she corrected, she refined, as I refined, corrected, watched. Then all
my desires were extinguished in work. It was no longer a question of
fame, but of money. I _owed_, and I had nothing.

Three years I worked without relaxation, having drawn a brass circle
around me from 1828 to 1831. I abhor Madame de C[astries], for she
broke that life without giving me another,--I do not say a comparable
one, but without giving me what she promised. There is not the shadow
of wounded vanity, oh! but disgust and contempt.

You alone have made me know the vanities of fame. When I saw you at
Neufchâtel I wanted to be something. In you then begins, more splendid
than I dreamed it, that dreamed life.

Oh! my Eve, you alone in my life to come!--Alas! like Louis Lambert I
wish that I could give you my past. Thus, nothing that is _success,
fame, Parisian distractions_, moves me. There is but one power that
makes me accept my present life: _Toil_. It calms the exactions of my
fiery temperament. It is because I fear myself that I am chaste.

As for this seclusion that you want, hey! I want it as much as you. It
is not being a fop to tell you that since Neufchâtel three ravishing
women have come to the rue Cassini, and that I did not even cast a
man's glance on seeing them.

My Eve, I love you better than you love me, for I am alone in the
secret of what I lose, and you know nothing of love but the sentiments
of love. Besides, I love you better, for I have more reasons to love
you. If I were free I would live near you, happy to be the steward
of your fortune and the artisan of your wealth, as Madame Carraud's
brother is for Madame d'Argout. I have a security of love, a plenitude
of devotion, which you will only know with time. It needs time to
fathom the infinite. To suffer the whole of life with you, taking a few
rare moments of happiness, yes! To have a lifetime in two years, three,
four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten years, and die, yes! Never to
speak to a woman, to refuse myself to all, to live in you, oh, angel!
but that is my thought at all hours. The ... which I told you about
Madame P... was because she had vexed you, and before your suffering I
became besotted, as you before mine.

_Mon Dieu!_ if we lived together, if I had twenty ducats a month, to
you should belong my poems. I would write books, and read them to
you, and we would burn them in our fire. My adored _minette_, I weep
sometimes in thinking that I sell my ideas, that people read me! Ah!
you do not know what I could be if, free for one evening, I could speak
to you, see you, caress you by my thoughts and by myself. Oh! you would
then know that your thoughts of purity, of exclusive tenderness are
mine. Angel of my life, I live in you, for you, by you. Only, if I am
mistaken, tell me so without anger. There is never any false or bad
intention in me. I obey my heart in all that is sentiment. I have never
known what a calculation is. If I mistake, it is in good faith.

My love, let us never separate. In six months I shall be free. Well,
then, no power on earth can disunite us. _La dilecta_ was forty-six
when I was twenty-two. Why talk about your forty years? We have thirty
years before us. Do you think that at sixty-four a man betrays thirty
years' affection?

What! you think that the opera, the salons, fame can distract me from
you? Then you don't know how I love you. I shall be more angry at that
than you at Madame P... No, believe me, I love you as a woman loves and
as a man loves. In my life to come there is nothing but you and work.
My dear gift, my dear star, my sweet spirit, let yourself be caressed
by hope, and say to yourself that I am not amorous or passionate; all
that passes. I love you, I adore you _in æternum_. I believe in you
as I do in myself. _Mon Dieu!_ I would like to know words which could
infuse into you my soul and my thought, which could tell you that you
are in my heart, in my blood, in my brain, in my thought,--in short,
the life of my life; that each beating of my heart gives birth to
a desire full of thee. Oh! you do not know what are three years of
chastity, which spring at every moment to the heart and make it bound,
to the head and make it palpitate. If I were not sober and did not
work, this purity would drive me mad. I alone am in the secret of the
terrible emotions which the emanations from your dear person give me.
It is an unspeakable delirium which, by turns, freezes my nature by the
omnipotence of desire, and makes me burn. I resist follies like those
of the young seigneur cut down by the Elector.

We have, both of us, our sufferings; do not let us dispute that. Let us
love each other, and do not refuse me that which makes all accepted.
In other respects, in all things, angel, I am submissive to you as to
God. Take my life, ask me to die, order me all things, except not to
love you, not to desire you, not to possess you. Outside of that all is
possible to me in your name.

[Footnote 1: Madame de Berny is meant, and the invention of this letter
is infamous. See letter to Madame Carraud in Appendix, written _at the
same time_ as this spurious letter.--TR]

GENEVA, January, 1834.

If you only knew the superstitions you give me! When I work I put the
talisman on my finger; I put it on the first finger of the left hand,
with which I hold my paper, so that your thought clasps me. You are
there, with me. Now, in seeking from the air for words and ideas,
I ask them of that delicious ring; in it I have found the whole of

Love celestial, what things I have to say to you, for which one needs
the sacred hours during which the heart feels the need of baring
itself. The adorable pleasures of love are the only means of arriving
at that union, that fusion of souls. Dear, with what joy I see the
fortunes of my heart and the fate of my soul secured to me. Yes, I will
love you alone and solely through my life. You have all that pleases
me. You exhale, for me, the most intoxicating perfume a woman can have;
that alone is a treasure of love.

I love you with a fanaticism that does not exclude the quietude
of a love without possible storms. Yes, say to yourself well that
I breathe by the air you breathe, that I can never have any other
thought than you. You are the end of all for me. You shall be the young
_dilecta_--already I call you the _pre dilecta_.

Do not murmur at this alliance of the two sentiments. I should like to
think I loved you in her, and that the noble qualities which touched me
and made me better than I was were all in you.

I love you, my angel of earth, as they loved in the middle ages, with
the most complete fidelity, and my love will always be grand, without
stain; I am proud of my love. It is the principle of a new life. Hence,
the new courage that I feel under my last adversities. I would be
greater, be something glorious, so that the crown to place upon your
head should be the most leafy, the most flowery of all those that great
men have nobly won!

Never, therefore, have fear or distrust; there are no abysses in
heaven! A thousand kisses full of caresses; a thousand caresses full of
kisses! _Mon Dieu!_ shall I never be able to make you see how I love
you, you, my Eve!

_À bientôt_; a thousand kisses will be in my first look.

GENEVA, January, 1834.

My loved love, with a single caress you have returned me to life.
Oh! my dearest, I have not been able to either sleep or work. Lost
in the remembrance of that evening, I have said to you a world of
tendernesses. Oh! you have that divine soul to which one remains
attached during a lifetime. My soul, you have, through love, the
delicious language of love which makes all griefs and annoyances
fly away on wings. Loved angel, do not obscure with any doubt the
inspirations of love of which your dear caress is but the interpreter.
Do not think you can ever enter into comparison with any one, no matter
who. But, my loved darling, my flower of heaven, do you not understand,
you, all charm and all truth, that a poor poet can be struck at finding
the same heart, at being loved beyond his hopes? My adored wife, yes,
it was for you that the heart of the most delicate and sweetest woman
that ever was brought me up. I shall be permitted to say to her: "You
wished to be twenty years old to love me better and give me even the
pleasures of vanity. Well, I have met with what you wished me." She
will be joyous for _us_. Dear eternal idol, my beautiful and holy
religion, I know how the memories of another love must wound a proud
and delicate love. But not to speak of it to you would be to deprive
you of nameless fêtes of the soul, and joys of love. There are such
identities of tenderness and soul that I am proud for you, and I know
not if it is you I loved in her. Then, an ungovernable jealousy has so
habituated me to think with open heart, and say all to her in whom I
live, that I could never hide from you a thought. No, you are my own

Yes, to you all is permitted. I shall tell you naïvely all that I
think that is fine, and all that I think that is bad. You are an I,
handsomer, prettier.

My love has neither exaltation, nor more, nor less, nor anything that
is terrestrial. Oh! my dear Eve, it is the love of the angel always at
the same degree of force, of exaltation. To feel, to touch your hand of
love, that hand of soft, _proud_ sentiments,--do you understand me, my
angel, tender, kind, passionate,--that hand, polished and relaxed of
love, that is a happiness as great as your caress of honey and of fire.

This is what I wished to say to my timid angel, who thought that
all caresses were not _solidaire_. One, the lightest as the most
passionate, comprises all. In that you see to the bottom of my soul. A
kiss on your cherished lips,--those virgin lips that have no souvenirs
yet (which makes you in my eyes as pure as the purest young girl),--a
kiss will be a talisman for the desires of love, when it contains all
the caresses of love. Our poor kiss, still disinherited of all our
joys, only goes to your heart, and I would that it enwrapped all your
person. You would see that possession augments, enlarges love. You
would know your Honoré, your husband; and you would know that he loves
you more daily.

My dearest Eva, never doubt me, but doubt yourself less. I have
told you that there is in you, in your letters, in your love, in
its expression, a something I know not what that is more than in
other letters and expressions that I thought inimitable. But you are
twenty-eight years old,--that is the grand secret. But, dear treasure,
you have the most celestial soul that I know, and you have intoxicating
beauties. _Mon Dieu!_ how shall I tell you that I am drunk at the
faintest scent of you, and that had I possessed you a thousand times
you would see me more intoxicated still, because there would be hope
and memory where now there is only hope.

Do you remember the bird that has but one flower? That is the history
of my heart and my love. Oh! dear celestial flower, dear embalming
perfumes, dear fresh colours, my beautiful stalk, do not bend, guard
me always. At each advance of a love which goes and ever will go on
increasing, I feel in my heart _foyers_ of tenderness and adoration.
Oh! I want to be sure of you as I am of myself. I feel at each
respiration that I have in my heart a constancy that nothing can alter.

I wept on the road to Diodati, when, after having promised me all the
caresses that you have granted me, a woman was able, with a single
word, to cut the woof she seemed to have taken such pleasure in
weaving. Judge if I adore you, you who perceive nothing of these odious
manœuvres, who deliver yourself up with candour and happiness to love,
and who speaks thus to all my natures.

There is my confession made. I think that you have all the noblenesses
of the heart, for, adored angel, one should respect the weakness and
even the crimes of a woman, and if I hide nothing from your heart, it
is that it ought always to be _mine_. So I send you my sister's chatter
and the letter of Madame de C[astries] on condition that you burn all,
my angel. I know you so true, so great; ah! I would not hesitate to
read you the letter of the _dilecta_ if you wish it, for you are really
myself. I would not hide from you the shadow of a thought, and you
ought, at all hours, to enter my heart, as into the palace you have
chosen to spread your treasures in, to adorn it, and find pleasure in
it. All should there be yours.

If Madame C...'s letter displeases you, say so frankly, my love.
I will write to her that my affections are placed in a heart too
jealous for me to be permitted to correspond with a woman who has her
reputation for beauty, for charm, and that I act frankly in telling her
so. I wish to write this letter from myself. I would like well that you
should tell it to me.

As for my money troubles, do not be uneasy about them. It is the basis
of my life, till the end of July, love, which makes everything easy to
me to bear.

Pardon me for having made known to you yesterday's trouble. Oh, dear,
always beautiful flower, I am ashamed to have made you know the extent
of your mission, but you are an inexhaustible treasury of affection, of
love, of tenderness, and I shall always find in you more consolations
than I have troubles. You have put into my thoughts and all my hours a
light, a gleam, which makes me endure all.

I wake up happy to love you; I go to bed happy to be loved. It is the
life of angels; and my despair comes from feeling in it the discord
which my want of fortune and of liberty puts between the desires of
my heart, the impulses of my nature, and the works which keep me in
an ignoble cabin like the moujiks of Paulowska. If I were only at
Paulowska! I would that you were I for a moment to know how you are
loved. Then I would be sure that seeing so much love, so much devotion,
such great security of sentiment, you would never have a doubt, and you
would love _in æternum_ a heart that loves you thus.

A thousand kisses, and may each have in itself a thousand caresses to
you like that of yesterday to me.

GENEVA, January, 1834.

Dear soul of my soul, I entreat you, attach yourself solely--your
cares, your thoughts, your memory--to what will be in my life a
constant thought. Let the piece of malachite become by you alone an
inkstand. I will explain the shape. It should be cut six-sided; the
sides should be about the dimensions of the sides of your card-basket,
except that they ought to end, at the top, squarely, as at the base;
they should go up, enlarging from the base to the top, and, to decide,
logically, the conditions of the stand, the pot for the ink (hollowed
out in the malachite) must have at its surface a diameter equal to this
line [drawn]. The cover, shaped like a _marchepain_, must be round,
and sunk in the pot; it should be simple, and end in a silver-gilt
knob. Let the stand have a handle, fastened on by simple buttons,
and this handle, of bronzed silver-gilt, should be like that of your
card-basket. Have engraved upon it our motto: _Adoremus in æternum_,
between the date of your first letter and that of Neufchâtel.

The inkstand should be mounted on a pedestal, also of six sides,
suitably projecting; and on each side, at the junction of the
pedestal and the stand, there should be, in art-term, a moulding of
silver-gilt, which is simply a round cordon, which must harmonize with
the proportions of the inkstand. Then I think that at the top of the
sides this moulding should be repeated. In the middle of each side of
the pedestal put a star; then, in small letters, in the middle of each
large side, these words: _Exaudit,--Vox,--Angeli_, separated by stars
(which makes "Eva").

If you want to be magnificent you will add a paper-knife of a single
piece of malachite and a powder-pot, the shape of which I will explain
to you.

Not to displease that person I will give him Décamp's drawing which you
can get back, and I will ask him, in exchange, for a piece of malachite
for my alarm-clock.

Here is Susette. I can only say that this will make me renounce the
pleasure of making you pick up on the shores of the lake the pebbles
I intended to have made into an alarm-clock. I went, yesterday, to
see if we could walk along the shore. I wanted to connect you with
these souvenirs, to make you see that one can thus enlarge life and
the world, and have the right to surround you with my thought through
a thousand things, as I would like to surround myself with yours. Thus
sentiment moulds material objects and gives them a soul and a voice.

What! _bébête_, did you not guess that the dedication was a surprise
which I wished to give you? You are, for longer than you think, the
thought of my thought.

Yes, I shall try to come to-night at nine.

GENEVA, January 19, 1834.

My loved angel, I am almost mad for you, as one is mad. I cannot put
two ideas together that you do not come between them. I can think of
nothing but you. In spite of myself my imagination brings me back to
you. I hold you, I press you, I kiss you, I caress you; and a thousand
caresses, the most amorous, lay hold upon me.

As to my heart, you will always be there, _willingly_; I feel you there
deliciously. But, _mon Dieu!_ what will become of me if you have taken
away my mind. Oh! it is a monomania that frightens me. I rise every
moment, saying to myself, "Come, I'll go there!" Then I sit down again,
recalled by a sense of my obligations. It is a dreadful struggle. It is
not life. I have never been like this. You have consumed the whole of
me. I feel stupefied and happy when I let myself go to thinking of you.
I roll in a delicious revery, where I live a thousand years in a moment.

What a horrible situation. Crowned with love, feeling love in all my
pores, living only for love, and to find oneself consumed by grief and
caught in a thousand spider's-webs.

Oh! my dearest Eva, you don't know. I have picked up your card; it
is there, before me, and I speak to it as if you were there. I saw
you yesterday, beautiful, so admirably beautiful. Yesterday, all the
evening, I said to myself, "She is mine!" Oh! the angels are not as
happy in Paradise as I was yesterday.

GENEVA, February, 1834.

MADAME,--Bautte [chief clock-maker in Geneva] is a great seigneur who
is bored by small matters; and as you deign to attach some importance
to the chain of your slave, I send you the worthy Liodet, who will
understand better what is wanted, and will put more good-will into
doing it. I have told him to put a link to join the two little chains.

Accept a thousand compliments, and the respectful homage of your moujik,


GENEVA, February, 1834.

The Sire de Balzac is very well indeed, madame, and will be, in a few
moments, at your fireside for a chat; he is too avaricious of the few
moments that remain to him to spend in Geneva, and if he had not had
some letters to answer, he would have gone there already this morning.
A thousand affectionate compliments to M. Hanski, and to you a thousand
homages full of friendship.

PARIS, Wednesday, February 12, 1834.

I prefer saying nothing more than that. I love you with increasing
intoxication, with a devotion that difficulties increase, to telling
you imperfectly my history for the last three days. Sunday I will post
a complete journal. I have not a minute to myself. Everything hurries
me at once, and time presses. But, adored angel, you will divine me.

The _dilecta_ [Madame de Berny] is better, but the future seems bad to
me. I wait still before despairing.

_Mon Dieu!_ may my thoughts of love echo in your ears and cradle you.

PARIS, Thursday, February 13, 1834.

MADAME,--I arrived much fatigued, but I found troubles at home, of
which you can conceive the keenness. Madame de Berny is ill, and
seriously ill,--more ill than she is aware of. I see in her face a
fatal change. I hide my anxiety from her; it is boundless. Until my own
doctor or a somnambulist reassure me, I shall not feel easy about that
life which you know to be so precious.

I have delayed a day in writing to you, because on Wednesday morning
I had to rush to the rue d'Enfer, and when I could write to you there
was no longer time; the public offices closed earlier on account of

The sight of that face so gracious, aged in a month by twenty years,
and horribly contracted, has greatly increased the grief I felt. Even
if the health is restored, and I hope it, it will be always painful
to me to see the sad change to old age. I can say this only to you.
It seems as if nature had avenged herself suddenly, in a moment, for
the long protestation made against her and time. I hope most ardently
that the life may be saved; but I recognized symptoms that I saw with
horror in my father before the irreparable loss. So, I have sorrow
upon sorrow.[1] Now, after confiding to you these distresses, I can,
madame, give you some consoling news. The publisher has understood my
delay, and is not angry with me. I have, certainly, to work enormously,
but, at least, I shall not have the annoyance of being blamed. As
for M. Gosselin, that is only a loss of money. So, you who felt such
affectionate fears lest the prolongation of my stay would prove a
burden may be reassured. I shall have had complete joy, and no remorse;
and now that there is no remorse, I should like a little. It is so
sweet to bear something for those whose friendship is precious to us.
I can tell you from afar, with less trembling in my voice and redness
in my eyes, that the forty-four days I spent in Geneva have been one
of the sweetest halts that I have made in my life of a literary
foot-soldier. That rest was necessary for me, and you have made it into
a joy. It was a sleep with the sweetest dreams,--dreams which will be
realities. True friendship, sweet, kind, noble and good sentiments are
so rare in life that there must mingle a little gratitude in the return
we owe, and I feel as much gratitude as friendship.

I shall forget nothing of our affectionate little agreements: neither
the album, nor the coffee, nor anything. To-day I can only tell you
that I arrived without any hindrance, except great fatigue. The cold
was keen. Saturday morning I crossed the Jura on foot through the
snow, and on reaching the stone where two years ago I sat down to look
at the wonderful spectacle of France and Switzerland separated by a
brook, which is the Lake of Geneva, and a ditch, which is the valley
between the Mont Blanc and the Jura, I had a moment of joy mingled
with sadness. Two years ago I wept over lost illusions [refers to his
rupture with Mme. de Castries], and to-day I had to regret the sweetest
things that have ever come to me, outside of family feelings,--hours of
friendship, the value of which a poor writer from necessity must feel
more keenly than others, because there is in him a great poet for all
that is emotion of the heart.

Yes, I am proud of my personal feelings, but it is a great grief to
know the joys of friendship to their full extent, and lose them, even

To-day I replunge into work, and it is crushing. I have promised that
the second Part of the "Études de Mœurs" shall appear February 25th.
That is only ten days for completing you know how much. My punctuality
must excuse the delays. You see that in writing I am as indiscreet as
when I went to see you.

Well, adieu, madame; believe that I am not "French" in the matter of
memory, and that I know all that I leave of good and true beyond the
Jura. In the hours when I am worn-out I shall think of our evenings;
and the word _patience_, written in the depths of my life, will make me
think of our games. You know all that I would say to the Grand Maréchal
of the Ukraine, and I am certain that my words will be more graceful
from your lips than from my pen. Tell Anna that _her horse_ sends her
his remembrances and kisses her forehead. A thousand affectionate
compliments to Mademoiselle Séverine; inform Mademoiselle Borel that
I have _not_ broken my neck, and keep, I entreat you, madame, at your
feet, my most sincere and most affectionate homage; your noble beauty
assures you of sincerity, and as to the affection, I wish I could prove
it to you in some way that would not involve misfortune.

"Do not forget _to-morrow_," was one of your recommendations when I
told you that I did not believe in morrows; but now I do believe in
them, for, by chance, I have a future, and my publisher has proved it
to me. He is jubilant at the sale of "Eugénie Grandet," and said to me
solemnly, "It sells like bread." I tell this to you who think you see
cakes in it, while most people expect to see me _faire brioches_ of it
[fiasco]. Excuse this studio jest, you who like artists.

Devotion and friendship.

[Footnote 1: Madame de Berny was the friend of his parents, and
twenty-four years older than himself. When the family lived at
Villeparisis the de Bernys lived near them in a hired house, their
own estate being at Saint-Firmin. Madame de Berny recognized Balzac's
genius in his early youth, when parents and friends denied it. For a
time, while at Villeparisis, he taught her son with his own brother
Henry. When Balzac's father opposed his literary career, it was she
who, with Mme. Surville and her husband, induced the old man to advance
him part of his inheritance for the printing-office, and later another
portion to avoid bankruptcy. When the crisis came, in 1828, and his
father would do no more for him, Madame de Berny lent him money from
time to time to meet his load of business debts. The total amount lent
by her, at five per cent interest, was 45,000 francs, the last 6,000
of which he paid in full in 1836. Madame de Berny had cruel trials of
her own. Two of her children were insane, one idolized son and two
daughters died before her in the prime of their youth. The illness here
mentioned was one form of heart disease, from which she rallied for
a time, but died in July, 1836, in the sixty-first year of her age.
Of Balzac's grief at this event his sister says: "My brother was then
(1836) overwhelmed by a great heart-sorrow ... the death of a person
very dear to him.... I have never read anything so eloquent as his
expression of that grief."

Writing, himself, to a friend at that time, he says: "She whom I have
lost was more than a mother, more than a friend, more than any creature
can be to another creature. I can explain her only by divinity. She
sustained me during great storms by words, by actions, by devotion.
If I live, it was through her. She was all to me; and though for the
last two years illness and lapse of time had separated us, yet we were
visible to each other from a distance. She re-acted upon me. She was,
as it were, my moral sun. Madame de Mortsauf in the _Lys_ is a pale
expression of her noble qualities; it is but a distant reflection of
her, for I have a horror of prostituting my own emotions."--TR.]

PARIS, February 15, 1834, eleven o'clock.

My darling Eva, to you belongs this part of my night. Since Wednesday
morning of this week I have been like a balloon; but as I went and
came, and bustled through this Paris, I walked along, exciting myself
with one fixed idea,--the idea of being forever near to you.

My dear idol, I have never had so much courage in my life; or rather,
I have a new life. I read your name in me, I see you; everything seems
easy to me to attain to seeing you again. I am afraid of nothing. My
tears, my regrets, my sadness of love,--all that falls upon my heart
at the moment when I get into bed. Then, alone with myself, I am all
grief not to be at the "Arc," not to have seen my darling, and I go
over in memory the smallest details of those days when, for all grief,
I had that of being waked three hours too soon, hours that separated my
rising from the moment when I set out to go to you.

The next day I work with an ardour of enthusiasm. What shall I tell
you of these four days? I had to see two editors (they came) and
the printer, to finish my proofs, to nurse Mme. de Berny, who is
better,--but what a change! she is still a little feeble, incapable of
correcting my proofs. Everything will suffer for that, but what does it
matter? I want to see that life out of danger.

I felt there how I loved you. A horrible sensation told me that I could
not bear any danger to you. All that recalled my terror at the time of
your nervous attack. Oh, _mon Dieu!_ to see you seriously ill, you,
who sum up and hold all my affections in your heart, my life in your
life,--why! I should die, not of your death, but of your sufferings.
No, you do not know what you are to me. Near you, I feel too much to
tell you egotistical thoughts; here I talk to you all day long. You are
woven into my thought. I find no word but that to express my situation.
As soon as I found myself in Paris I thought of the means of going to
see you for a single day in Geneva.

Here I find violent family troubles. To-day I have had my
brother-in-law and my mother to dinner. That tells you that from five
o'clock to half-past ten I have been given up to them. Yesterday I had
to dine with my sister, my mother, and my brother-in-law; then I was
forced to give them from four to eleven o'clock. Those poor heads are
distracted. I must have courage, ideas, energy, _economy_ for all of

The morning of this Friday I set myself to learn all that has happened
here. I had to go out early, to see the doctor, negotiate a payment
for to-day, 15th, and consult him. So you see the employment of to-day
and yesterday. Thursday was taken up by the publishers, a little
sleep and a bath, also by Madame de Berny, to whom I wished at any
rate to read "Ne touchez pas à la hache." Wednesday, the day after my
arrival, I wrote you in the evening, I ran about all the morning, set
my affairs in order, attended to a thousand little things,--which I
don't particularize, as they are all mere necessary nothings,--made up
my accounts, wrote, etc. After this avalanche of small things here I
am, not much rested, rather less anxious about the _dilecta_, before a
pile of proofs and enormous debts for the end of the month. Madame D...
has urgent need of half her money by the end of February. It is now the
15th, the month is a short one, I must finish my two volumes; I must
finish "Ne touchez pas" and write "La Femme aux yeux rouges."

My adored, my darling _minette_, I tell you things that are terrifying,
but do not be alarmed. Vienna is traced out before me; all will be
well. Your desire to see me, your love, all _you_ hovers above me. I
believe in you only; I want new successes, new fame, new courage; I
_will_ in short, that you shall be a thousand times prouder of your
husband of love than of your lover. Yes, dear celestial Eva, I am
melancholy because I am here and you are down there, but I have no
more discouragements, no more depressions. When I raise my eyes I see
something better than God, I see a sure happiness, a tried happiness.
Oh! you do not know, my treasure, my dear life, what such sweet
certainty is to my soul. You don't know what you did with your infernal
jesting, you remember? You tried upon a most loving heart a weapon you
did not know was loaded. A moment more, and I was lost. My eternal
love could be placed on you alone; I see it, I know it now, for now I
desire you more than ever. My dearest soul, I have for myself all the
efforts that I make to meet you again; I materialize my hope. But, my
beautiful myself, you, what are you doing? Ah! my beautiful, saintly
creature, I know it is not on him of Paris that the burden is heaviest;
it is our Geneva love, it is you who, bearing all our happiness, feel
most our pains, our sorrows. Neither do I ever look _at us two_ without
a smile full of hope, but also slightly tainted with sadness. Oh! my
idolized angel, you in whom all my future resides, all my happiness,
and for whom I desire all the fine glories that make a happy woman, you
whom I love with all the ardour of a young sentiment, of a first and a
last love in one, yes, know it well, no sufferings, ideas, joys, which
can agitate your soul fail to come and agitate mine.[1]

At this moment when I write to you, having left all to plunge into
your heart, to come nearer to you, no, I feel space no longer; we are
near one to the other; I see you, and one of my senses is intoxicated
by the memory of one of those little voluptuous moments which made me
so happy! I am very proud of you. I cry out to myself that I love you!
You see, a poet's love has a little madness in it. None but artists are
worthy of women, because they are somewhat women too. Oh! what need I
have always to hear myself told that I am loved, to hear you repeat
it! You, you are all. You will know only when you hear my voice how
ardently I tell you that you are the only well-beloved, the only wife.
Now I shall rush there more amorously than the two preceding times.
You know why, my dear, naïve wife? Because I know you better, because
I know all there is of divine and girlish in your dear, celestial
character, because--. No, I never dreamed so ambitiously the perfections
that are agreeable to me because I know that I can love ever. Going
to Neufchâtel I _wanted to_ love you; returning from Geneva it is
impossible not to love you!

Who will ever know what the road to Ferney is at the spot where, having
to leave on the morrow, I stood still at the sight of your dear,
saddened face. _Mon Dieu!_ if I tried to tell you all the thoughts
there are in my soul, the voluptuous pleasures which my heart contains
and desires, I should never cease writing, and, unfortunately, the word
"Vienna" is there. I am cruel to both of us in the name of a continued
happiness; yes, _one year_ passed together will prove to you that you
can be better loved each day, and I aspire to September...

My dearest, I have many griefs; this flaming happiness is surrounded by
briars, thorns, stones. I cannot speak to you of family troubles; they
are endless. You will know them from one word, you who feel through
a sister what, in another order of things, I feel through my mother.
My mother has committed, with good intentions, follies that bring a
person into disrepute. Here am I, I, so busy, forced to undertake the
education of my mother, hold her in check, make a child of her.[2] Dear
angel, what a sad thing to think that if the world has accumulated
obstacles in my life, my family have done worse in being of no use to
me, and secretly hampering me. One day or other the world counts us as
a victor to have beaten it. But family griefs are between _us_ and God.

I told Borget that September would see me in Vienna, and a whole year
in the Ukraine and the Crimea, and you know I wrote him that he could
meet you in Italy. I send you a scrap of a letter from that excellent
friend; it will please you; you will see in it that nobility of soul,
that beauty of sentiment, that make us love him. What rush of love
he has to those who love his friend! But do not go and love him too
much, _Madame_. He will take to you _your chain_, the sketches of my
apartment, and your seal, if it is done, without knowing what he hands
to you. So tell me the day you will be in Venice; he will go there. He
is my Thaddeus, you see. What he does for me, I should do for him. One
is never jealous of fine sentiments. As much as _death_ entered cold
into your husband's heart when you spoke of a coquetry to Séverine, so
much should I go joyously to accomplish in your name a service to your

From to-day, Sunday, I shall write to you every day a word, on a little
diary. Yes, the Würtemberg Coquebin shall alone touch the manuscript
of "Séraphita," which will be coarsely bound in the gray cloth which
slipped so easily on the floors. Am I not a little of a woman, hey,
_minette_? Have I not found a pretty use for what you wanted destroyed,
and a souvenir? Nothing can be more precious, or simpler. Book of
celestial love, clothed in love and in joys terrestrial as complete as
it is possible to have here below. Yes, angel, complete, full! Yes, my
ambitious one, you fill all my life! Yes, we can be happy every day,
feeling every day new joys.

_Mon Dieu!_ Friday at dinner I saw in my sister's home one of those
scenes which prove that inspired love, that jealous love, that nothing
in Paris can resist continued poverty. Oh! dear angel, what a terrible
reaction in my heart, thinking of the little home in the rue Cassini.
How I swore to myself then, with that iron will, never to expose the
flowers of my life to be in the brown pot in which were the pinks of
Ida's mother,--you know, in "Ferragus." No, no, I never could have that
experience, for never shall I forget the 14th of February, 1834, any
more than the 26th of January; there is a lesson in it for me. Yes, I
want too much; there exists in my being an invincible need to love you
always better, that I may never expose my love to any misunderstanding.
Oh, my heart, my soul, my life, with what joy I recognize at every
step that I love you as you dream of being loved. The most indifferent
things enter into this circumference.

No, your young girl's chain shall remain pure. I would like to employ
it. It is too pretty for a man. That is why I wanted your head by
Grosclaude. What a delicious border I could have made of it, and what
a delicious thought to surround you, you, my dear wife, with all the
superstitions of your childhood which I adore. Your childhood was mine.
We are brothers and sisters through the sorrows of childhood.

There is one of your smiles of happiness, a ravishing little
contraction, a paleness that takes you at the moment of joy, which
returns to stab me with intoxicating memories. Oh! you do not know with
what depth you correspond to the caprices, the loves, the pleasures,
the poesies, the sentiments of my nature!

Come, adieu. Think, my beloved, that at every instant of the day a
thought of love surrounds you; that a light more brilliant and secret
gilds your atmosphere; that my thought is all about you; that my
interior eyes see you; that a constant desire caresses you; that I work
in your name and for you. Take good care of yourself; and remember
that the only serious order that is given to you by him who loves you
and whom you have told me you wished to obey is to _walk_ a great deal
whatever the weather may be. You must. Ah! the doctor laughed at my
fears. Nevertheless, there are baths to be taken, and some precautions,
"fruits of my excessive labour," he said. "So long as you lead your
chaste, monkish life and work your twelve hours a day, take every
morning an infusion of _wild pansy_." Isn't his prescription droll?

You know all the caressing desires that I send you. Well, I hope that
every Wednesday you will know how to draw my letter from the claws
of the post. From now till the end of the month I shall work only my
twelve hours, sleep seven, and spread out the five others in rest,
reading, baths, and the bustle of life. Your Bengali is wise. Well, a
thousand flowers of the soul. All reflection made, I shall send your
ostensible letter by Borget.

[Footnote 1: This ridiculous stuff is carefully translated word for
word. The reader must make what he can of it. It is ludicrous to
suppose that Balzac ever wrote those vapourings of a shop-boy to his
female kind.--TR.]

[Footnote 2: His whole correspondence, and all that we know and can
gather of his life go to prove that he never could have written
this. His family then consisted of his mother and Mme. Surville. His
affection for M. and Mme. Surville appears in every part of his life.
His mother seems to have been at times irritating, and very injudicious
with him, but not in the way suggested. At one period he intrusted her
with all his affairs, and she was his business agent. He shows in his
life and writings a strong respect for the Family bond, and his last
letter to his mother is signed "Ton fils soumis"--"Your submissive

PARIS, February 17--February 23, 1834.

No letter to-day, my dearest Eve. _Mon Dieu!_ are you ill? What
tortures one has at such a distance! If you are ill, and they have
taken your letters! A thousand thoughts enter my brain and make me

To-day I work much, but get on little. To-morrow I am forced to go
and dine with M. de Margonne, the lord of Saché. Nevertheless, I get
up at half-past one in the morning and go to bed at half-past six. My
habits of work are resumed and the fatigues of toil; but I bear them
well. I find unheard-of difficulties in doing well what I have to do
at this moment. At every instant of the day my thought flies to you. I
have mortal fears of being less loved. I adore you with such complete
abandonment! I have such need of knowing myself loved! I can be happy
only when I receive a letter from you, not every day, but every two
days. Your letters refresh my soul; they cast into it celestial balm.

You cannot doubt me; I work night and day, and every line brings me
nearer to you. But you, my beloved angel, what are you doing? You
are idle; you still see a little company. _Mon Dieu!_ what ties are
between us! They will not break, say! You do not know how much I am
attached to you by all the things that you thought would detach me.
There is not only ungovernable love, passions, happiness, pleasures,
there is also, from me to you, I know not what profound esteem of moral
qualities. Your mind will always please me; your soul is strong; you
are fully the _wife_ I desire for mine. I go over deliciously within
me those forty-five days, and everything proves to me that I am right
in my love. Yes, I can love you always; always hold out to you a hand
full of true affection and receive you in a heart that is always full
of you. I like to speak to you of your superiority because it is real.
Every sound your soul gives out is grand, strong, and true. I am very
happy through you in thinking that you have all the qualities which
perpetuate attachment in life.

My dear flower of love, I wrote in my last letter that I wished you to
walk; but I wish more, I also wish you to give up coffee _au lait_ and
tea. I wish you to obey me, and I desire that you shall only eat dark
meats. Above all, that you bring yourself gradually to using cold water
when you dress. Will you not do all that when it is asked of you in
the name of love? Do not depart in any way from that regimen. As for
walking, begin by short walks and increase every day till you can do
six miles on foot. Take your walk fasting, getting up, and coming back
to breakfast on a little meat, but dark and always roasted. If you love
me you will manage yourself in this way with a constancy that nothing
hinders. Then your beauty will remain the same; you will get slightly
thinner, your health will be good, and you will prevent many illnesses.
Oh! I implore you, follow this regimen, and when you are near the sea
take sea-baths. You do not know how I love you.

Tuesday, 18.

Still no letter; what anguish! I have just returned from Madame de
C[astries], whom I do not want for an enemy when my book comes out,
and the best means of obtaining a defender against the faubourg
Saint-Germain is to make her approve of the work in advance; and she
greatly approved of it. I carried to Madame Appony Madame Potoçka's
letter. The ambassadress [of Austria] was at her toilet; I did not see
her, and, on the whole, I am content; I do not want to be disturbed, I
wish to go nowhere, and the singular idea has come to me of shaving my
head like a monk so as to be unable to go out of the house. I have to
go to a ball Saturday at Dablin's; he has done me services, and I am
forced to have some gratitude.

Do you know there is some question of my taking my mother, sister,
and brother-in-law to live here? I await a family council upon it. I
see many inconveniences; the lessening of my liberty, though nothing
would prevent my going to the Ukraine and Vienna and absenting myself
two years. But, for the last two days, my reason tells me to refuse
this union; and yet it is the only means to prevent my mother from
committing follies. What vexations and impediments! I have worked
little to-day and have rushed about much.

Wednesday, 19.

Furious work. The "Duchesse de Langeais" costs me more than I can
tell you. In my opinion it is colossal in work, but it will be little
appreciated by the crowd. My publisher refuses me any money for my
month's bills; here I am constrained to a thousand annoying efforts,
and shall I succeed? he is right; he represents Madame Bêchet, and
tells me he can't ask her to pay in advance; the new Part must
absolutely be brought out. So I send you a thousand tendernesses. Here,
reading this line, you must think that the heart of your lover was
full of love, that he had _need_ to write to you a thousand gracious
things, but that he must be silent and work! Till to-morrow.

Thursday, 20, five o'clock.

My mother, sister, and brother-in-law are coming to dinner to talk
over affairs. I have worked since one hour after midnight till three
hours after midday without leaving off. Now, angel of mine, decidedly
you will shudder, you will palpitate, when you read the "Duchesse de
Langeais," for it is the greatest thing in women that I have so far
done. No woman of this Faubourg resembles her.

You have a thousand thoughts of love, a thousand caresses, a thousand
prettinesses. I think of you and your pleasure when I hear my name
uttered gloriously everywhere. I wish to become great for a sentiment
greater still.

Till to-morrow. A kiss to the wife, a little _pigeonnerie_ to Eve. A
thousand souls for you in my soul.

Friday, 21.

I have your letter, the second letter written to your dearest one. _Mon
Dieu!_ how I love you! The thousand desires, the hopes of happiness
which fired my heart at each turn of the wheel as I went to Neufchâtel,
the certain delights that I went to find in Geneva and which made you
sublime, ravishing, in short a wife, forever mine,--well, I have felt
all those divers emotions once more, augmented by dear joys, by the
adorable security of an angel in his sky.

Oh! my love, what rapid wings have borne me near to you! Yes, my
thought has kissed your magnificent forehead, my heart has been in your
heart, my thought in your beautiful hair, and my mouth--I dare not say,
but certainly it breathed love and kissed you with unheard-of ardour.
Oh! dear Eve, dear treasure of happiness, dear, noble soul, dear
light, dear world, my only happiness, how shall I tell you fully that
I felt there that I loved you _in æternum_? I ought to have read that
letter on my knees before your portrait! What courage you communicate
to me!

_Eh bien_, I am glad at what you inform me of. To have it so, it must
be the fruit of conscientious thought. Oh! dear darling, I want that
this other _you_, this other _we_, well, I wish he may have all that
can flatter the vanities of a mother, that he may be tall, that he
have your forehead, my energy, that he be handsome and noble, a great
heart and a fine soul. For all that, wisdom! At Vienna, my love, at
Vienna, we will try. What delights in chastity, in fame, in work that
has an object. Fidelity, fame, toil, all that for a woman, one only,
for her whose love shines already upon me for all my life. Yes, Eva,
Eva of love, my beautiful and noble mistress, my pretty, naïve servant,
my great sovereign, my fairy, my flower, yes, you light all things!
Persist in your projects; be a woman as superior in your conduct as you
are in your plans. Be as strong in your house as you are in your love.

Oh! your letters, they ravish me, they stir me; oh! you make me dote
upon you! What a soul, what a heart, what a dear mind! You crown
my ambitions, and yesterday I was saying to Mme. de B... that you
were--you, the unknown of Geneva and Neufchâtel--the realization of the
ambitious programme I had made of a woman.

Ah! my love, it is something, after the triumph that all women desire
to obtain over the senses and the heart of their lovers, to obtain also
the complete and entire assurance that they are admired from afar,
that we can always esteem them, cherish them, take pleasure beside
them. Such as you have seen me near you, such I shall ever be. To you
all my smiles, to you the flowers of heart and love, inexhaustible in
their bloom. To you the candour and freshness of my sentiments, to
you all. To you, who understand the mind, the gaiety, the melancholy,
the grandeur, the transports of the ever diverse love of a poet! Oh! I
stop, kissing your eyes.

To-morrow I rush, about; I have tiresome business matters; but this
is the last time. I shall finish at one blow the difficulty about the
"Physiologie du Mariage," and by the end of March I shall not owe a
sou to Madame Delannoy. After? Well, I shall resume work to accomplish
the rest. I tell you nothing of these tramps, but they take much time,
weary me, exhaust me, and my love, as much as necessity, cries to me
every morning, "March!"

My love, my Eve, night and day I go to sleep and wake in your heart,
in your thought. To suffer, to work for you, these are pleasures. Till

Saturday, 22.

I have just received your ostensible letter and have answered it. I
spoke _stupidly_ of your chain, but I have not the heart to throw the
letter into the fire and write it over again. I am tired. To-night I
must go to a ball; I, at a ball! But, my love, I must. It is at the
house of the only friend who has ever gallantly served me. I will
send you the pattern of a chain, that of Vaucanson; have it made
solid, and Liodet can send it to me and draw on me for the cost. Tell
me if bronze-gilt things can enter Russia. I have had an admirable
three-branched candelabrum made here, and I should like to send you
one; also an inkstand and an alarm-clock (a very useful thing to a
woman), in short, all that I use here to be the same with you. If I had
been richer do you think I would not have substituted to you a chain
like yours and taken yours, in order that you might say to yourself
while playing with it, "He plays with that chain!" But I can make such
joys for ourselves later. Answer me about the bronze, because I want
you to have that masterpiece before your eyes. Think, what happiness to
see as you write to me, _Exsultat vitam angelorum_, which I shall see
in writing to you. Oh! I am greedy, hungry for such things, which put
two lovers unceasingly in each other's hearts! I shall have your room
at Wierzchownia made just like mine here. I want you to have the same

Oh! I adore you. Just now I wept on thinking of the floor of your house
in Geneva. How lucky to have the strength not to cough! These tears
have told me that I shall be at Vienna, September 10, and that I shall
press you, happy one, on this heart that is all yours.

_Bébête_, in ten years you will be thirty-seven and I forty-five, and,
at that age we can love, marry, and adore each other for a lifetime.
Come, my noble companion, my dear Eve, never any doubts,--you have
promised me. Love with confidence. Séraphita is we two. Let us spread
our wings with the same movement, and love in the same way. I adore
you, looking neither before nor behind. _You_ are the present, all my
happiness at every moment.

Do not be jealous of Madame P...'s letter; that woman must be _for us_.
I have flattered her, and I want her to think that you are disdained.
All that I read you in the "Duchesse de Langeais" has been changed. You
will read a new book.

Dear angel, no, we will never quit the sphere of happiness where you
have made me a happiness so complete. Love me always, you will see me
always happy; oh, my life, oh, my beautiful life! Here, I no longer
know what an annoyance is in seeing my whole life ardent with one sole
love. Tell me what you are doing. Your visit to Genthod delighted me.
Never let any woman bite you without biting her deeper. They will fear
you and esteem you.

Thanks for the violet; but an end of white ribbon would please me
better; it has no longer any smell. I send you a violet from my garden.

Sunday, 23.

Adieu, soul of my soul; will this letter tell you how you are loved?
Will it tell it to you really? No; never really. _Il faut mes coups de
bec là où est l'amour_.

I hope to finish my volume this week. You will receive it in Geneva. I
will attend to your orders, and do blindly what you tell me. But write
_names_ legibly in all business.

Would you believe that two young men dined with me yesterday and
told me that several men, two of them friends of theirs, said _they
were I_ at the [masked] ball at the Opera, and obtained the favours
of well-bred women while I was at Geneva, and that I have been thus
calumniated. There are women who boast they have been mine, and that
they come to me, to me, who see only _la dilecta_, who receive nobody,
who want to live in your heart! I learned that last night.

Well, adieu my love; no, not adieu, but _à bientôt_, at Vienna, _cara
mia_, my treasure. I have to work horribly, still; seven or eight
proofs to a sheet. Ah! you will never know what the volume you will
soon read has cost.

I hope to be in funds for my payments; I hope that on March 25th the
third Part will appear. So, all goes well. I lose five hundred francs
more by Gosselin, but pooh! The violet will tell you a thousand things
of love. The Würtemberg Coquebin will bind "Séraphita" marvellously
with the gray cloth; do you understand, treasure?

I go to-day at three o'clock to Madame Appony. Perhaps I shall wish to
go to Madame Potoçka of Paris. I will speak to you of that.

PARIS, March 2, 1834.

My salvation! For my salvation! No, let me believe that between the two
persons of whom you are thinking and me, you have not hesitated, you
have condemned me. At least, there is in that all the grandeur of true

I was working night and day to go to you. Now I shall certainly work
as much, for it is not possible for me to take the slightest resolution
till my mother is physically happy. I have still a year to suffer.

Let us say no more of me. So you have been cruelly agitated? A
sentiment which gives such remorse was feeble, and it is my heart that
was blamed!--I, to whom _adoremus in æternum_ meant something!

Fate is about to take from me a true affection, and to-day I lose all
my beliefs in happiness, without anything being able to disengage me
from myself. Ah! you have not known me! All those who have suffered
forgive, you know. I shall stay as I am; I cannot change. You said
yourself: "The Jules women love faithfully, in spite of desertion."
Am I therefore not a man? Is this another test? It costs me more than
life; it costs me my courage.

I cannot oppose to this blow either disdain, contempt, or any of the
egotistical sentiments that console. I remain in my stupor, without
understanding. Ah! I knew not that I was writing for myself: _To
wounded hearts, silence and, shade_.

_Mon Dieu!_ my book is finished; I am not rich enough to destroy it,
but I lay it at your knees, begging you not to read it: Eve should not
open a book in which is the "Duchesse de Langeais." You might, though
certain of the entire devotion of him who writes to you, be wounded,
as one is pricked by bushes. I shall always weep at being unable to
suppress it.

I cannot bid you adieu; I shall never quit you more, and, from this
day, I shall not allow myself even the sight of a woman. But you have
not told me all! I have been odiously calumniated. You have given ear
to impostors. There is room for many blows in a heart like mine; you
cannot kill it easily. It is eternally yours, without division.

I tell you nothing of what is in my soul; I have neither strength
nor ideas. I suffer through you. So long as it is from your hand, why
should I complain? Ah! you shall see that I know how to love. Our
hearts will always understand each other.

PARIS, March 9, 1834.

My angel returns to me; ah! I will hide my anguish from you, my
griefs, my terrible resolutions of a week in which all things have
come together to rend my heart. You, Monday; Tuesday. I quarrelled,
perhaps to fight, with Émile de Girardin,--that was happiness. There's
a society I shall never see again and never want to see. My enemies
are setting about a rumour of my liaison with a Russian princess;
they name Madame P... I have seen since my return only Madame Appony,
Madame de C..., Madame de G..., and, for one hour, Madame de la B...
That rumour can come only from Geneva, and not from me, who have never
opened my mouth about my journey. Here I am, on bad terms with Madame
de C[astries] on account of the "Duchesse de Langeais"--so much the
better. But all this happens at once. So, no _solitude_ shall ever be
more complete than mine.

I have but an hour in which to answer you. Oh! my love, I swear to you
I wrote to Madame P... only to prevent the road to Russia being closed
to me. It would be poor cleverness to have it said here, in Paris, that
I am starting for Russia. That is the way to have passports refused to
me when I ask for them. I have not seen Zaluzki. Is it he who talks?
_Mon Dieu!_ I, in my hole, to be subjected to such griefs. Read the
"Duchesse de Langeais." You will read it with delight. As true as that
I love and adore you, I never said more than two sentences to Madame
Bossi, and I never looked at her.

You desire, oh, my angel, that I shall not again be coquettish except
with men. But between now and Vienna there is only toil and solitude.
Give me the means to send you my book, and your coffee, in which will
be your hair-chain. Therefore, undo the parcel yourself.

Never give yourself such anxieties again; yesterday, Saturday, without
_la dilecta_, I should have killed myself. Oh! I entreat you, if you
wish that I should esteem you and adore you to the end of our days,
do not change; be solely mine. I, do you see? have none but you. The
superhuman efforts that I make are the greatest proofs of love a man
can give. Oh, dear, adored one, my Eve, my Eva, to give his life, what
is that? Nothing. Each time that I saw you I gave it without regret. I
sacrificed all to you. But to rise every day at midnight to plunge into
a crater of work, and to do it with one name upon my lips, one image in
my heart, one woman before me!--_strength and constancy_; I live only
by the sentiment of grandeur which a mysterious love conveys to me.
This is loving. Oh! be my true Beatrice, a Beatrice who gives herself,
but remains an angel, a light! All that your jealousy can demand,
all that your caprice can exact shall be done with joy. Except the
_dilecta_, who corrects my proofs and who, I swear to you, is a mother,
no woman shall hear me, shall see me.

My mother and sister have decided. They will live together, and not
come to me. I am still free.

Oh, my love, my love, dear and adored, forgive me my answer to your
letter; but to sacrifice a love like mine to a child, to a husband,
to reject it for any interest whatever; that kills me. Oh, my angel,
to think that you are a fancy, after all that you said to me, after
all that you exacted, all that I accomplished,--it is enough to die
of it! I am proudly a poet; I live by the heart, by sentiments only,
and I have but one sentiment. My _dilecta_, at sixty years of age,
is no longer anything but a mother; she is all my family, as you are
all my heart, all my future! I have to work hard; the "Duchesse"
will appear on the 15th; she excites all Paris already. _Mon Dieu!_ a
thousand kisses; may each be worth a thousand. Oh, my angel, I hope I
may not again have to tell you that to betray me in the name of any one
whatever is to put me to death. I kiss you with transport. The Bengali
is virtuous. He is dead under his toil.

Put _Ave_ on the inkstand. The "Contes Drolatiques" will tell you why.

I have said nothing. I had a thousand effusions of the soul; I am
forced to keep them back. This letter must go to the post at one
o'clock. I received yours at midday.

PARIS, March 11, 1834.

My flower, my one sole love, I have just received the letter you
wrote me after having received the letter of _badnesses_. Oh! what
happiness to be able to write to you once more so that you can leave
Geneva without a regret! Since the letter in which you return to me,
you cannot imagine how beautiful, grand, sumptuous, has been the fête
in my heart at the recovery of your cherished heart. What joy, what
intoxication of thought, what forgetfulness of pain, or rather how
sweet its memory is, since it tells me how much you are loved, adored,
as you wish to be. Oh! if you had seen all that, never a suspicion, nor
a doubting word, nor a written phrase would dishonour the purity, the
blue immensity of this love that dyes all my soul, fills all my life,
is become the foundation of all my thoughts.

For the last two days I am drunk with happiness, glad, joyous, dancing,
when I have a moment, jumping like a child. Oh, dear talisman of
happiness, darling Eva, _minette_, wife, sister, family, light, all! I
live alone in delights; I have said a sincere farewell to the world, to
all. _Mon Dieu!_ forgive what you call my coquetries; I kneel at your
beloved knees, dimpled, loved, kissed, caressed; I lay my head against
you, I ask pardon, I will be solitary, a worker, I will walk with none
but Madame de B..., I will work without ceasing. Oh! blessed be the
Salève, if the Salève gives me my happy Eve! Ah! dearest, I adore you,
don't you see? I have no other life, no other future.

I received yesterday a letter from Madame P... I shall not answer it,
to end the correspondence. Besides, I can write only to you. My time is
taken up in a frightful manner. For the last ten days I have not varied
it; to bed at six o'clock, rising at midnight. I shall do this till
April 20. After which I shall take two weeks' liberty to rest. My book
will appear on the 16th, the day of your departure from Geneva. You
will find it addressed to you, _bureau restant_, at the coach office in

I wrote you in great haste on Sunday. Incredible tales are being told
about me. While I am sitting up all night they say an Englishwoman
has eloped with me. It is no longer a Russian princess; it is an
Englishwoman. Oh! my dear treasure, I implore you, never let your dear
celestial forehead be clouded by the effect of a "they say," for you
will hear it gravely said that I am crazy, and a thousand absurdities.
Write to me and expect an answer. I never keep you waiting. Your dear
writing overcomes me; it shines in my eyes like the sun. I _feel_ you,
I breathe you when I see it.

You will travel surrounded by the thoughts of love; I accompany you in
idea, I never leave you. At each correction made, at each page written,
I cry, "Vienna!" That is my word of joy, my exclamation of happiness.
Why do you speak of God? There are not two religions, and you are mine.
If you totter, I shall believe in nothing. Oh! my love, you have given
me _yourself_; you will never withdraw it. One alone cannot break that
which belongs to two. You are all nobleness, be all constancy. I shall
be that without effort, with joy; I love you like my breath, and _in
æternum_; oh, yes, for all my life.

I cannot tell you the sufferings of my week of passion, of my desire
to go and end my days at your house in Neufchâtel. I told Borget to
come at once. I withdrew "Séraphita" from the printers, and meant to
send you a sole copy (without the manuscript), bound with your gifts
of love. In short, a thousand follies, a thousand tempests agitated my
heart cruelly. Oh! I am much of a child! It is a crime to torment a
love so true, so pure, so unutterable! Oh! how angry I was with you! I
cursed your _analyzing_ forehead, on which I place a thousand kisses
of love. Oh! my good treasure, make me no more bitterness. In writing
a few sweet things to Madame P... I had in view to stand well with the
dear ambassadress, because, through her, I shall have Pozzo di Borgo,
and I do not want any hindrance to my year in the Ukraine, the first
complete happiness of my life. So, if your cousin shows you my letter
triumphantly, play the disdained, I entreat you. To see the Ukraine,
eighteen good months! and no money interests to hamper me! I can even
die for you without wronging any one. Listen, my love; this is the
secret of my nights: that I may be happy without a thought to tarnish
my joy! After that, I can die happy, if I have lived one year beside
you. Every hour would be the most beautiful poem of love. At every
hour I should be happy with the happiness of a child, a schoolboy, who
believes with delight in the love of a woman. If heaven marries us some
day, at whatever moment of my life it be, it will be the union of two
souls in one. You are a dear, loved spirit. You please me in all ways,
and you are, far-off or near, the superior woman, the mistress always
desired, each of us sustaining the other. It is so sweet to a man to
find that the mind, the heart, the soul, the understanding of the woman
who pours out to him his pleasures, is not narrow.

Oh! dearest, all is in you. I believe in you, I love you, and as I have
known you better I have found a thousand reasons for eternal attachment
in esteem and in the thousand things of your heart and mind. There is
no evil possible for me when I think of the life that you can make me
by your love. In writing this, which you will read in that room of
love before quitting it, I wish to cast upon this paper which you will
hold all my soul, all the tangible qualities of a being who is yours
forever; never withdraw from me the heart I have pressed, the adorable
charms of that cherished soul--yourself in short.

Adieu, soul of my soul, my faith, strength, courage, love--all the
great sentiments that make a great man, and a happy life. Adieu; _à
bientôt_, and sooner than you think, dearest.

Yes, I will love you better than any woman was ever loved, and our
"Chêne" will be better than that you picture to me. Coquette, indeed!
You know well that my heart will rest in yours without other clouds to
our love than those you make.

Come, Auguste, carry this to the general post-office.[1]

[Footnote 1: This is the last but one of these spurious letters. There
is one other which plainly belongs to this series, but it has been
placed at a later date for a purpose which will appear farther on.--TR.]

PARIS, March 30--April 3, 1834.

I have not written to you sooner, madame, because I presumed that you
would not be in Florence before the 1st of April. I have sent to the
address of MM. Borri & Co. a little package containing your copy of the
second part of the "Études de Mœurs au XIXe Siècle," and I have added
the Prologue of the third _dizain_ of the "Contes Drolatiques" for M.
Hanski, inasmuch as there is something in it about a famous inkstand,
and things that will make him laugh; for I do not insult you with my
Prologue, pay attention to that. It is to M. Hanski, and not to you,
that this proof belongs.

You will see at the end of the "Duchesse de Langeais" that I have
preserved a remembrance of the Pré-l'Évêque by dating the work from
that revolutionary and military spot where we saw such warlike
intentions. The third _dizain_ is also dated from the Eaux Vives, and
the Hôtel de l'Arc.

I have many things to tell you, but little time to myself. My
third Part is in the press, and I ought to make up for time lost.
Nevertheless, Madame Bêchet is a very good person.

Forgive the want of order in my letter, but I will tell you the events
that have happened to me as they come into my memory.

In the first place, I have said adieu to that mole-hill of Gay, Émile
de Girardin and Company. I seized the first opportunity, and it was so
favorable that I broke off, point-blank. A disagreeable affair came
near following; but my susceptibility as man of the pen was calmed by
a college friend, ex-captain in the ex-Royal Guard, who advised me. It
all ended with a piquant speech replying to a jest.

Another thing I must tell you is that I have recently quarrelled also
with the Fitz-James. And here I am, as much alone as the woman most
ambitious of love could desire, if any woman could wish for a man whom
excessive work is withering more and more. It is two months to-day that
I have been working eighteen hours a day.

The "Médecin de campagne" will be completely sold off in a few days.
I am in all the fuss and worries of getting out a new edition of that
book, which I want to sell at thirty sous, in order to popularize it.

Thursday, April 3.

From March 30, the day on which I began to write to you, until this
evening, I have been lying on my pallet unable to write, read, or work,
or do anything at all. A prostration of all my forces made me very
anxious; but to-day I am quite well, and I am going for a week to the
Pavilion in the forest of Fontainebleau. I have ordered all my letters
to be kept in Paris. I want change of air, and to work at one thing
only; for I have just suffered very much, but, thank God, it is all
over. I resume my letter.

I invited your cousin Bernard ... to dinner, with Zaluski, and
Mickiewicz, your dearest poet, whose face pleased me much. Bernard is
very handsome and was very witty.

I entreat you, madame, to send me word, by return of post, if you will
still be in Florence May 10th, how much time you stay in Rome, when you
arrive, and when you will leave; because when my third Part is done I
shall have twenty days to myself. I want to use them in travelling and
doing nothing, and I shall accompany Auguste Borget to Florence. We
shall leave May 1st and it takes only eight days from Paris to Florence.

Do not blame me too much for the unpunctuality of my correspondence.
In the extreme desire for LIBERTY which possesses me, I don't consult
human forces, I work exorbitantly. I have at this moment in press: two
volumes of my third Part of the "Études de Mœurs," two volumes of "Les
Chouans," and the third _dizain_; then, in a week from now, two volumes
for Gosselin. It is enough to terrify one. But there are two magic
words which make me able to do all: _liberty_ on the 1st of September;
_Vienna_ on that day; and I shall not regret my nights or my tortures,
for pen-receipts will tally with expenses.

_Mon Dieu!_ what a charming project,--to be in Florence May 10, and
back in Paris for the 20th! To see Florence with you! Write me quickly;
for after these terrible toils through the month of April I must have
twenty days' rest, and I know nothing more delightful than to see an
Italian city while accompanying a friend.

I think of you very often, and I much regret Geneva, where I worked
so much, all the while amusing myself. Except for a few worries, my
affairs are going well. Some flatterers say that my fame is increasing,
but I know nothing of that, for I live in my chimney-corner, working
for citizen rights in the Ukraine. Your poor "Séraphita" is laid aside.
What is promised must be done before all else. You yourself, without
knowing it, tell me to work. I keep before me the _bon à tirer_ [order
to print] which you gave for one sheet in Geneva, and it seems to me
a perpetual counsel. Do you know, it is rather melancholy to think
of you only with regrets. You do not know that for twelve or fifteen
years, Neufchâtel and Geneva are the two sole periods when I have been
permitted, by what grace of heaven I know not, to look neither forward
nor back; to live beneath the sky without thinking of griefs, or
business, or poverty; you have been to me something beneficent. There
is more gratitude in my remembrance than you know. And now that I have
been nailed to an insatiable table for two months, and shall be for
another month, leaving it only to sleep, I cannot think without emotion
of the walks to Sacconex, to Coppet, and of your house, and my hunger
which made us leave the garden where we were sitting under the willows
and you discovered that good smell in the Indian chestnut, macerated in
water. There are none of those tranquil pleasures in Paris. But I am
not in Paris now.

Here I am alone, much alone. I have parted from society, and have
returned to my former fruitful solitude. Before all things else, I must
finish a book, and the "Études de Mœurs" ought to be finished this
year. My liberty will be to go and come and remain where I please to go
and remain. Nevertheless, I do not know a more agreeable trip than to
Florence to see you for five days, and hear you for one single evening
say "tiyeuilles" or "Iodet." That, I think, would restore my courage
for another three months.

Perhaps I shall bring M. Hanski the third _dizain_ to laugh away his
"blue devils;" at any rate, he must be very ill if he resists my wild
joy. It is two months since I laughed; one more will make three; but
_then_ he shall die of laughing. Tell him that as Geneva was so base
in the matter of the poor Poles, I will never speak well of Geneva
again. Are you comfortable in Italy? How did you cross the mountains?
I follow you in thought. Have you thought of your poor, humble moujik
and his _blonde capricieuse_ at Aix? You ought to have thought of him
at Aiguebelles, where the servants at the inn are so gracious, and at
Turin, where he wished to go. Thank you, madame, if you think a little
of him who thinks much of you.

I have not seen Grosclaude. Our Exhibition is detestable. There are
five to ten fine pictures in three thousand five hundred canvases.

How is your dear Anna? You will tell me, won't you, how your little
caravan rolls on? M. Bernard ... came yesterday to make me compliments
on the "Duchesse de Langeais," and was very gracious.

_Mon Dieu!_ you will forgive me--me, a poor hermit toiler--for talking
to you so much of myself, because I am calling for your egotism in
reply; to talk to me solely of yourself would be doing well by me. I
can tell you only two things: I work constantly, I pay, I think of my
friends. I have in my heart a happy corner, and that ought to suffice
to make a noble life. My "blue devils" have no time to rise to the

Do you still intend to play Grandet at Wierzchownia? for in that case I
shall await thirty invitations before going there, to save provisions.
Do you want anything in Paris? I hope that you and M. Hanski will not
employ any other correspondent than me. But Borget and I will arrive
laden with cotignac, peach preserves, and Angoulême and Strasburg
pâtés. You ought to give me a commission; you don't know what pleasure
it is to me to busy myself for something a friend asks of me, how
it brightens my life. A fancy--that's myself only; but the fancy of
another, whom I love, is a double fancy.

Spachmann [binder] has done your album, and I am beginning to collect
the autographs. It will take long, but you shall have it, with
patience. I begin with the oldest. Pigault-Lebrun is eighty-five years
old; he shall begin it.

Adieu, madame, I would like to keep on writing to you always, just
as when I was by your fireside I did not want to go away. But I must
bid you adieu--no, not adieu, but au revoir. I shall await with great
impatience your answer, to know if you will be in Florence May 10. Do
be there! The shorter the journey, the longer time I shall have to see
you; I have twenty days to myself, no more. The twenty-first I must
resume the _yoke of misery_.

Madame de G[irardin] has made many efforts to get me back again,
but your obstinate moujik--he would not be moujik if he did not say
"nie"--has said nay as elegantly as he could, for he is a little
civilized, your devoted moujik.[1]


You know that all I wish to say to those about you; my regards, my
respects, will have more value by passing through your lips.

[Footnote 1: Delphine de Girardin made many attempts to recover him,
and did so, finally. In spite of his estrangement from her house she
was always loyal to him; and during the time of his quarrel with her
husband she wrote many kind things of him in "La Presse."--TR.]

FRAPESLE, near ISSOUDUN, April 10, 1834.

MADAME,--Since I had the pleasure of writing to you I have been very
ill. My night work, my excesses, have been paid for. I fell into a
state of prostration which did not allow me to read or write or even
to listen to a sustained discussion. My bodily weakness equalled
the intellectual weakness. I could not move. What has frightened me
most is that for the last two years these attacks of debility have
increased. At first, after a month of toil, I would feel one or two
hours' weakness; then five hours, then a whole day. Since then the
weakness has become excessive, lasting two days, three days. This time
it came near death; but for the last ten days I am convalescent.[1] The
doctor ordered me change of air, absolute repose, no occupation, and
nourishing food. So I am here for ten days in Berry, at Issoudun, with
Madame Carraud.

To-day, April 10th, I am better; I can write to you and tell you of my
little death-struggle, my despair, for, feeling no force, no thought
within me, I wept like a child. But to-day I recover courage; _passato,
pericolo, gabbato il santo_. I shall laugh at the doctor who said to

"You will die like Bichat, like Béclard, like all those who abuse by
their brain the human forces; and what is so extraordinary in this
is that you--you the most energetic _forbidder_ of emotion, you the
apostle who preach the absence of thought, you who pretend that life
goes off in the passions and by the action of the brain more than by
bodily motions,--you will be dead for having neglected the formulas you

From all this has resulted, madame, a good and beautiful project of
opposing to each month of toil a full month of amusement. So, from the
10th or 12th of May, I shall take twenty days in which to go and see
you for two or three days wherever you are in Italy. If you are willing
to see Saint Peter's at Rome in June, we will see Rome together. Then,
after admiring Rome for five days, I will come back and take up my
yoke. Next, having spent July and August on new _pensums_, I will go
to see Germany, and salute you once more in Vienna, for I don't know
anything sweeter than to give a purpose of friendship to a journey of
pure amusement, to go in search of two or three gentle evenings, and
make you laugh, and chase away the "blue devils."

You have not written to me; do you know that there is ingratitude in
you? it is you who have a "French" heart. What! not the smallest little
line! Nothing from Genoa, nothing from Florence. You received, I hope,
in Florence, my third Part, and the third _dizain_ to make M. Hanski

Just now I am completing the third Part, and doing a
master-work,--"César Birotteau,"--the brother of him whom you know,
victim like his brother, but victim of Parisian civilization, whereas
his brother is the victim of a single man. It is another "Médecin de
campagne," but in Paris; it is Socrates _stupid_, drinking, in shadow
and drop by drop, his hemlock; an angel trodden underfoot, an honest
man misjudged. Ah! it is a great picture; it will be grander, more vast
than anything I have yet done. I want, if you forget me, that my name
should be cast to you by Fame, as a reproach.

Do you know, madame, that you are very seriously in my prayers of night
and morning,--you and all those you care for? You do not truly know
the heart which chance has made you meet. A desire to boast possesses
me--but no; time will be to you a too constant, too noble eulogy on me.
I do not wish to add to it.

As soon as "Birotteau" is printed, the third Part out, the _dizain_ in
the light, I shall rush joyously to Italy to seek your approbation as a
sweet reward. Maître Borget cannot come with me; you will see him, no
doubt, in Venice; but the artist moves slowly, he sips all, whereas I
am forced to go like the wind and return like a vapour. Borget is here,
and returns with me to Paris, April 20.

Poor Madame Carraud is very unwell, and is causing alarm to her
friends. She confided to me the secret of her sufferings. She is
perhaps pregnant, and another child would be her death. She has hardly
strength to live.

I beg of you, write me in detail about your travelling life, that I
may know all your joys and even your disappointments. I have so much
admired the splendid face of Mickiewicz; what a noble head! Write me
what you think of the "Duchesse de Langeais." Kiss Anna on the forehead
for me, her poor _horse_. Present my regards to M. Hanski; how does
Italy suit him? My respects to Mademoiselle Séverine. To you, madame,
my most affectionate thoughts.

I must bid you adieu for to-day, because work calls me. In ten days,
after "Birotteau" is done, I will write you a long letter and make up
arrears. I will tell you my past troubles, my sufferings laid to rest,
and my sensations, inasmuch as you deign to take an interest in your
poor literary moujik. Your beautiful Séraphita is very mournful; she
has folded her wings and awaits the hour to be yours. I will not have
a single rival thought disturb that thought you have adopted. Perhaps
I will bring her to Rome that she may be done, little by little, under
your eyes. Each day enlarges the picture and _magnifies it_.

I have not had time to answer Madame Jeroslas ...; she cannot be
pleased with me; truly it is not possible for me to write except to you
and the persons who are nearest to my heart. One has but three friends
in the world, and if one is not exclusive for them, what good is it to
love? When I have an instant to myself I am too tired to write; but
I think; I carry my thoughts back to Geneva, I utter, mechanically,
"tiyeuilles," and I illusion myself. Then a proof arrives, and I return
to my sad condition of workman, of manual labour.

Well, adieu. Be happy; see the beautiful scenery, the fine pictures,
the masterpieces, the galleries, and say to yourself if some gnat hums,
or the fire sparkles, or a flame darts up, it is a friend's thought
coming from my heart, from my soul toward you; and that I, too,--I
would like my share in those beautiful enjoyments of art, but that I am
here in my galley, having nought to offer you except a thought--but a
constant thought.

I wrote you on the day I felt recovered; therefore have no fear if you
take an interest in my health. I have no more weakness except in the

[Footnote 1: This letter in the French volume is dated April 10, which
is, of course, wrong, or else the previous letter is misdated.--TR.]

PARIS, April 28, 1834.

MADAME,--I have just received your good letter of the 20th, written in
Florence; and you know by this time that it is impossible for me to go
there. You must have received my little line from Issoudun, in which I
asked you with great cries for Saint Peter's in Rome. For that trip I
can answer. At that time all my affairs will be arranged. But Madame
Bêchet needs me and my Parts, otherwise she will be compromised.

I hope you have not mingled anything personal in your reflections on:
"it was only a poem" [conclusion of the "Duchesse de Langeais"]. You
feel, of course, that a _Thirteener_ must have been a man of iron. You
would not accuse an author of thinking all he writes?

If painters, poets, artists were sharers in all they represent, they
would die at twenty-five. No, my duchess is not my Fornarina. When
I have her--but _I have_ a Fornarina--I shall never paint her. Her
adorable spirit may animate my soul, her heart may be in my heart, her
life in my life, but paint her, show her to the public!--I would sooner
die of hunger, for I should die of shame.

I am very glad that you do not yet know me fully; because now you may,
perhaps, love me better some day. _Mon Dieu!_ what you tell me of your
health and that of Monsieur Hanski made me bound in my chair. Madame,
in the name of the sentiment, the sincere affection I bear you, I
implore you when you or Monsieur Hanski or your Anna are ill, write
to me. Don't laugh at what I am going to say to you. Recent facts at
Issoudun proved to me that I possess a great magnetic power, and that
either by a somnambulist, or by myself, I can cure those who are dear
to me. Therefore, have recourse to me. I will leave everything to go to
you. I will devote myself with the pious warmth of true devotion to the
care that illness needs, and I can give you undeniable proofs of that
singular power. Therefore, put me in the way of knowing how you are.
Don't deceive me, and don't laugh at this.

Your _romances_ afflict me. Why have such dark suppositions? _Mon
Dieu!_ as for me, when I dream, I dream of happiness only.

Yesterday, some one told me the secret of my journeys was discovered,
and that I had been to join Queen Hortense. I laughed much at that.

You make me weep with rage when I read what you say of Florence. Shall
I ever meet with all that again? Oh! make me very supplicating to M.
Hanski for the eight days I can be in Rome. See! it is possible. Saint
Peter's day is the 23rd of June. I can leave Paris on the 12th for
Lyon, and reach Marseille the l5th, whence a steamboat takes you in
forty-eight hours to Civita Vecchia. I could stay eight or ten days
in Rome without doing any harm to my affairs; for all, doctors and
somnambulists, are unanimous in beseeching me to balance a month's work
by a month's amusement. Now there is nothing that takes me so out of
my work as music and travel--in Paris no interest excites my soul; I
live in a desert; I am, as it were, in a convent; the heart is moved
by nothing. Rome would be a grand and beautiful distraction if I were
there alone, but with you for _cicerone_ what would it be! And this is
not said from gallantry, _à la_ "charming Frenchman." No, it is said
from heart to heart, to the woman of the North, to the barbarian!

I have broken with everybody; I was tired of grimaces. I have but two
unalterable friendships here which are true, and to which I at times
confide. Then, I have work into which I fling myself daily.

This letter will still reach you in Florence. It will tell you feebly
my regrets, which are boundless. This heavy material life, which I so
largely escaped in Geneva, oppresses me here. I thirst for my liberty,
for freedom, and if you knew what prodigies of will, what creating
persistence is needed to secure no more than my twenty-four days in
June and July, you would say, like one of my friends who has perceived
a little of the intellectual working of my furnace (and you know more
than a mere acquaintance), that Napoleon never showed as much will, or
as much courage.

What you have written me about Montriveau [in the "Duchesse de
Langeais"] worries me, for you are _a little_ epigrammatic, and it
would be a great grief to me to be ill judged or misunderstood by you.
You are the second person to whom I have shown my mind in its truth. I
like to let no one penetrate it, because if they do, what is there to
give to those we love? You did not mean to wound me, did you?

I like your judgments on Florence and works of art much; and I would
greatly like, if you will be so good to your moujik, that you should
study Rome, so that when I come I may not stop to look at bagatelles,
but see in my eight days all that there is of really fine, and good,
and masterly, which goes to the soul. Do not say "Montriveau" to me
again. Remember that I have the life of the heart and the life of the
brain; that I live more by sentiments than by the caprices of the mind;
that I would rather feel than express ideas; and that neither way does
wrong to the other. One needs a little intellect to love.

I write you as it comes, without premeditation; for I must tell you
that I am in the midst of "Les Chouans," which I am printing with
extreme rapidity, _causa metalli_, to put an end to some debts. But
no matter! my scribbling will surely tell you that a loving thought
follows you wherever you go, and that there is at a fireside near the
Observatoire a poet who takes interest in your steps, is troubled by
your cough, and made uneasy by Monsieur Hanski's illness. I was already
uneasy enough at receiving no letters from you. I belong to you like a
moujik, and if M. Hanski gives wheat to his, you owe to me, moujik of
Paulowska, a few straws of affection, here and there. You might have
written to me _three times_ since Turin.

I will tell you nothing of my combats; I am occupied solely by my work
and by a life which is also a work for me; not a poem, madame, but all
that there is of good and beautiful upon this earth. Thus, everything
here, politics, men, and things, seem to me very paltry beside what I
feel in heart and brain.

I am every day more grieved to have been forced to abandon "Séraphita;"
but in Rome it shall be the work of my choice. It belongs to you and
it ought to be done beneath your eyes.

_Mon Dieu!_ if you are better, tell me so quickly. Throw into the post
these words only: "I am," or "We are better." It is so good to see
the writing, the painting, of a thought escaped from the heart of a
friend! You don't know how, in the evening, when I am very weary, my
castle in the air, my novel, my own, is Diodati; but a Diodati without
the deceptions of your novels; a Diodati without bitterness in its
dénouement. Of us two, am I indeed the younger and the one most full
of illusions? There are days when I say _tiyeuilles_, laughing like a
child, and those who take me for a grave man would be stupefied. Come,
don't knock down my dreams, my castles. Let me believe in a cloudless
sky. Since I exist I have lived by unalterable beliefs only, and you
are one of those beliefs. Don't cough and look dark; may the troubles
of _spleen_ never come either to you or to M. Hanski, to whom my letter
is half addressed; take it only as a talk full of affection.

Our Exhibition has nothing regrettable. M. Hanski would not have bought
much there; but if I were rich I should like to send you one picture,
an Algiers interior, which seems to me excellent. Borget is preparing
for his journey; you will see him in Venice perhaps, for he moves

I beg of you, madame, tell me whether, according to this new
arrangement, we can meet in Rome; for I begin to perceive that I am
writing to you to know that. You would be very good if you would
torment M. Hanski in order to obtain it. In the first place, if you
torment him you will amuse him; you will substitute for his blue devils
real annoyances; next, you will create a little conjugal drama, in
which you will be victorious; and it is so good to triumph, especially
over a husband.

Well, once more adieu. To all those who are near you give the
remembrances of a poor workman in letters, who subscribes himself your
affectionate, your wholly devoted servant and friend,


I am reading over your letter to see if I have forgotten anything. No;
I have answered all, and only omitted to tell you one thing, because
it is too daily: it is that I press, across space, the pretty hand you
hold out to me so graciously, and wish a thousand pleasures to your

_À bientôt_ in Rome; for work, alas! will make me consume the time with
terrifying rapidity. Adieu, I cannot quit my pen any better than I
could quit your house in Geneva.

You chose to laugh, _à la_ Française, at my "beautiful marquise, whose
fine eyes make me die of love." I will play the Frenchman and tell you
to turn that speech round, except as to the beauty of the eyes. Fie!
it is not nice to be always showing me the rock on which my vanity was
wrecked. Come, admit that you have not been frank, or it will be the
ground of a quarrel in Rome--if one could quarrel with you on meeting

PARIS, May 10, 1834.

I have this moment received, madame, your letter of April 30. Alas! I
have buried my hopes of the Rome trip. It always costs me horribly to
renounce an illusion; all my illusions seem to be one and inseparable.

I have but a moment to answer you, for in order that you may get this
letter before you leave Florence, on the 20th, it must be posted
to-day, and it is now twelve o'clock. You do not tell me where you are
going. Is it to Milan? What will be your address? How long shall you
stay? I could see you there if I went with Borget. But at any rate, in
September, at Vienna. That is more reasonable.

_Mon Dieu!_ yes, the advice you give is impossible to follow. With the
certainty of risk, I risk myself. There are no thanks worthy of the
kindness you show in speaking to me so frankly of what I do; and you
will not know, except in course of years, how grateful I am for this
frankness. Do not be afraid; go on, blaming boldly.

You tell me to go to Gérard's; have I the time? Time melts in my
fingers. To bring to an end my crushing liabilities I have undertaken
a tragedy, in prose, called, "Don Philippe et Don Carlos." It is the
old subject of Don Carlos already treated by Schiller. All must march
abreast; the little literature of copper coins, the puerilities, the
studies of manners and morals, and the great thoughts that are not
understood,--"Louis Lambert," "Séraphita," "César Birotteau," etc.

My life is always the same. I rise to work, I sleep little. Sometimes
I let myself go to gentle reveries. Since I last wrote to you, I have
had but one recreation; I heard Beethoven's symphony in C minor at
the Conservatoire. Ah! how I regretted you. I was alone in a stall--I
alone! It was suffering without expression. There exists in me a need
of expansion which toil beguiles, but which the first emotion brings to
the surface like a gush of tears. Yes, I am alone, deplorably alone. To
find happiness I need the evening hour, silence, not work, but solitude
and my inmost thoughts.

Write me quickly where I shall send you "Les Chouans," which will
appear on the 15th, five days hence. Florence will certainly see me;
you have been happy there. I shall go and pick up your thoughts in
seeing those beautiful places, those noble works. I am only jealous of
the illustrious dead: Beethoven, Michel Angelo, Raffaelle, Poussin,
Milton,--all that was ever grand, noble, and solitary stirs me.

All is not said about me yet; I am only at the little details of a
great work. When a man has undertaken what I have to do,--ah! madame,
permit me to confide this to your heart,--it is impossible to fall into
the petty and base intrigues of this world; sentiments ought to be as
great as the works desire to be great. My ambition is even stronger on
the side of sentiments than it is for a fame which, after all, shines
only upon graves! So, I live alone, more alone than ever; nothing
drags me from my contemplations: to love and to think, to act and to
meditate. To develop all one's strength on two great things,--work and
the richest emotions of the soul,--what can one ask more than that? A
drop of friendship, a little sunshine; to press a hand by which we can
support ourselves.

Your advice upon my writings proves to me that on one point you have
crowned my ambition. I would that I could send into your soul by this
paper the emotions of pleasure your letter has caused me. But that is

So I cannot see you again until Vienna! Till then I shall not listen
again to the only person who has made me hear a language completely
poetical and largely generous. I must stop, for you will take truth
for flattery. What a hindrance is writing; how often one look has more
meaning than all words. Well, you will divine whatever I think that is
good, and all that time prevents me from saying. You wall tell yourself
that it is impossible for a solitary man--a man often crushed by work
and lost in Paris--not to think, every day, of persons who love him
truly; you will know that I am occupied with you, and am gathering for
you those autographs.

_Mon Dieu!_ what a number of things to tell you! How the Academy wanted
to give the Montyon prize to the "Médecin de campagne," and what I
did to avoid being put in the competition,--as many applications and
proceedings were needed as the other competitors made to obtain the
prize. And about my tragedy, and my other works in hand! But it is very
difficult not to forget one's self in thinking of you.

If you go to Milan, if you stay some time, if I can go and say
_bonjour_ to you for a few days, tell me; for from the 20th to the 30th
of June I should be very glad of an object for a trip, and I know none
that would give me such keen happiness. I will inquire about Bartolini;
but I see plainly you do not know our sculptors. In the Exhibition
there was a statue of Modesty which might crush the antique; in
sculpture we have great talents that are real. You like Bartolini, so I
will like him, and I will make Gérard like him. But you think no longer
of Grosclaude; do you know that your admirations have something which
might alarm any other heart than a sincerely friendly one?

You have shown such exquisite feeling for my poor "Chouans" that, to
make it less unworthy of you and me, I have delivered myself up to
patient toil such as my printer alone has an idea of. You will re-read
the book in Milan, no doubt. The third Part of the "Études de Mœurs"
will not be ready before the first days of June. I should much like to
have Susette take them to you from the author, who would then solicit
an audience and recover from the fatigues of the journey through the
hope of seeing you.

Alas! I have such business on hand that the devil and his horns could
not get away. But I am a three-horned demon, of the race, rather
degenerated, of Napoleon.

A thousand gracious thoughts and memories. Find here all that you can
wish in a heart full of gratitude and devotion.

What! will you really be in Vienna in July? So soon! These distances
placed between us seem to me like farewells. But I shall go to Germany
in September. I shall arrive rich with some successes; which please
me now only because you take an interest in them; you make them more
essential to me for this reason.

Well, here is the hour. I do not know where to write to you, but I
shall write all the same, and when your new box comes I will send it to
you. There is no lake at Vienna, therefore give me the hope of seeing
the Lago Maggiore with you. At Vienna I shall do my reconnoitring on
the Danube, in order to paint the battle of Wagram, and the fight
at Essling, which are to be my work during the coming winter in the
Ukraine, if you will have me. But I must also see the countries through
which Prince Eugène marched from Italy across the Tyrol.

Adieu, adieu, you whom one does not like to leave. You know as well as
I all that I think, and you must be kind enough to give expression to
my sentiments to your travelling companions. Oh! how I wish I could
have seen with you the city of flowers!

PARIS, June 3rd--June 21, 1834.

I have this moment received, madame, the last letter you did me the
honour to write to me from Florence; I hope, therefore, that this one
will find you in Milan in time to prevent false hopes, as you are so
kind as to interest yourself in my excellent Borget. He is still at
Issoudun, and will take Italy by way of the Tyrol, beginning by both
banks of the Rhine; therefore he will have no chance of meeting you. I
am sorry. His is one of those fine souls one needs to know in order to
judge of man and have some ideas of the future.

I myself renounce with sorrow the pleasure I had planned, of bidding
you good-day in Milan. You put such grace and urgency into your
inquiries as to my situation that I cannot help speaking of it to
you after summing it up for myself. I still owe six thousand ducats
[sixty to eighty thousand francs]; this will be comprehensible to you
if turned into your currency. Between now and the last of October, I
must pay off two thousand. The remaining four thousand are owing to my
mother. But until the end of October I have five hundred ducats to pay
monthly; and since my return from Geneva my pen and my courage have
sufficed until now to pay that sum. If by the end of September I am
free, I shall have done marvels. But until then neither truce nor rest.
My tranquil, joyous winter must be won at this cost. The doctor thinks
well of the Baden waters. This is my situation.

For the last two months I have worked night and day at the work
you honour with your preference. You have had much influence on my
determination relating to that work ["Les Chouans"]. In the desire to
make it worthy of your friendship I have re-made it. It is not yet
perfect, because, absorbed in the faults of the _ensemble_, I have let
pass faults of detail and several mistakes. But, such as it is, it
may now bear my name and you can avow your charitable protection. It
has needed a courage no one will give me credit for; but the secret
of my perseverance and my love for this work has been in my desire to
be agreeable to you, and to deserve one of those approbations which
intoxicate me with pleasure, and to hear from your lips, when I have
shaken off the enormous weight of my troubles, that the work pleases
you. I shall send it to Florence to M. Borri, requesting him to forward
it to you in Milan; and I shall also send it to Trieste, so that this
poor first flower may be certain to receive your friendly glances. I
have been delighted with it, and I have let myself be persuaded that
you are right in liking it. I have tried to justify your preference.
Marie de Verneuil is much finer, and the work has been well cleaned up;
but, as the printer said to me: "It is not forbidden to put butter on
spinach,"--a saying worthy of Charlet.

Great news! Pichot is dismissed from the "Revue de Paris;" I return
there with several pecuniary advantages, which will help me to get
free. "Séraphita" serves me to re-enter with great éclat. The work has
surprised Parisians. When the last number appears I shall add a letter
of _envoi_ to you, in which you will find the dedication, which I shall
try to make worthy of you, simple and grand. It was not put in the
beginning because I did not wish to dedicate to you a book not finished.

Here is a whole long month that I have worked to pure loss on my third
Part. I am dissatisfied, vexed with what I do. Nevertheless, you will
find it at Trieste. I must make a composition in the style of "Eugénie
Grandet," to sustain this Part [of the Études de Mœurs].

My affairs are, at this moment, complicated by a transaction I have
proposed to M. Gosselin, to annul our contracts, which will require
six thousand francs in cash paid to him, for which he will return my
agreements. That point obtained, I shall have no engagements except
with Madame Bêchet; and by three months of great labour I could, by
the end of September, take the road to Germany, poor, but without
anxieties, carrying my tragedy to do, and idleness to enjoy near you.
If you knew what cares, debates, labours were necessary to reach this
result! But what happiness to recover liberty, what pleasure to do what
one likes!

Spachmann is no longer Coquebin. By my efforts, and those of my sister,
he has just married a young and pretty girl who will have some fortune.
She brings him five hundred ducats, which make him rich, and she has
four thousand more in expectation. Mademoiselle Borel was quite wrong;
here's a happy man made. I thought of you in marrying this poor binder,
about whom we laughed and talked at your fireside in Geneva.

The greatest sorrows have overwhelmed Madame de Berny. She is far from
me, at Nemours, where she is dying of her troubles. I cannot write you
about them; they are things that can only be spoken of ear to ear. But
I am all the more alone, deplorably alone,--as much alone, that is, as
I can be, for treasures are in my thought during the hours of repose
and calmness which I take with delight. All is hope for me, because all
is belief.

If you knew how much there is of you in each rewritten phrase of
the "Chouans"! You will only know it when I can tell you in the
chimney-corner at Vienna, in some hour of calm and silence when the
heart has neither secrets nor veils.

The correction of the second edition of "Le Médecin de campagne"
draws to a close, and I am half-way on with the third _dizain_,--so
that I now am driving abreast nine volumes. My life is sober, silent,
self-contained. Nevertheless, a _lady_ has crossed the straits and
written me a beautiful letter _in English_, to which I have answered
that I only understand French, and that I respect ladies too much to
give it out for translation. The affair stopped there. I received
a letter from Madame Jeroslas ..., delightful in style and quite
surprising. I have not yet replied.

Those are all the events of my life since I wrote you last.

"Philippe le Réservé" is put aside. Nevertheless, the literary world
is very curious about my play. In reply to what you deign to write
me about it, I must tell you that Carlos was so deeply in love with
the Queen that there is sufficient proof that the child of which she
died pregnant ("treated for dropsy, for God took pity on the throne
of Spain, and blinded the doctors," says the sensitive Mariano) was
the Infant's. So in my play the Queen is guilty, according to received
ideas. Carlos idem; Philippe II. and Carlos are fooled by Don John
of Austria. I conform to history and follow it step by step. However,
according to all appearance, this work will be done under your eye, for
it is the only thing that can be done while travelling, and you shall
then judge of the political depths of that awful tragedy. It needs a
lead well guarded by ropes to gauge it! Two of my friends are ardently
rummaging historical manuscripts that I may miss nothing. I want to
obtain even the plans of the palace and the rules of etiquette of the
Spanish court under Philippe II.

MM. Berryer and Fitz-James wish to have me nominated for deputy, but
they will fail. The matter will be decided within a month, and you
will know it, no doubt, at Trieste. If I were nominated I should have
myself ordered to Baths, for the portfolio of prime minister would not
induce me to renounce the dear use I mean to make of the first moment
of liberty I have ever won in my life.

The farther I go on, the higher is the ideal I form of true happiness.
For me, a happy day is more than worlds. When I want to give myself
a magnificent fête I shut my eyes and lie down on a sofa, and absorb
myself in remembering the silly things I said to you with my _pa'ole
d'ôneû panachée_,[1] beside the Lake of Geneva, and I go over again
that good day at Diodati, which effaced a thousand pangs I had felt
there a year before. You have made me know the difference between a
true affection and a simulated affection, and for a heart as childlike
as mine there is cause there for eternal gratitude.

Yesterday I went to see my mother and found her much changed, very
ill and quite resigned. I have been sad ever since. In settling and
clearing up our accounts a fortnight ago she fretted greatly about what
would happen to me if she died, and that constant foresight pained me.
Yesterday I was far more sad. She is very good to me. She has sent for
me, but to-day I cannot go because I am expecting an arbitrator to whom
I must explain the Gosselin affair. But to-morrow I shall go quickly. I
have now only fifteen days in which to do a volume which is impatiently
demanded, and never did I have less warmth of imagination.

[Footnote 1: Fashionable speech of the "Incroyables."--TR.]

June 20.

You are at Milan. I am not there! This letter, begun seventeen days
ago, has remained unfinished by force of circumstances. In the first
place, the return of my brother from the West Indies with a wife (was
it necessary to go five thousand miles to find a wife like that?); then
annoyances, vexations without number, besides work. The publisher of
"Les Chouans" has not paid me. Here I am, with notes falling due. Then,
M. Gosselin demands ten thousand francs, nearly a thousand ducats,
to break our contract; I am trying to find them. But the greatest
misfortune is this: after much trouble I had succeeded in finding a
subject for my third Part; but after doing _half a volume_ I flung
it into the box of embryos, and have begun anew with a grand, noble,
magnificent subject, which will give you, I hope, both honour and
pleasure. According to my ideas, and according to my critics, it is
above everything else. But I have had to make up for time lost. Ah!
madame, what hours of despair and terrible insomnia between the 3rd and
the 20th of June. There must have been sympathy!

Believe in me, I entreat you. Whether you go to Vienna or to
Wierzchownia, my winter is destined to you. I want to flee Paris; I
want absolutely to dig out in silence my Philippe II. You will see me
arrive with the rapidity, the fidelity of a swallow.

I shall go, in July, to Nemours to write, away from Paris, which is
intolerable in summer, my fourth and fifth Parts of the "Études de
Mœurs." If I can end them in September I shall make untold efforts to
get the last printed by the beginning of November. Perhaps you will
still be in Vienna the first fifteen days of that month. I would like
to know your itinerary, for I shall take, as soon as I can, fifteen
days' liberty, and shall go, naturally, to the country you are in.

I send to-day, to Trieste, the "Chouans" for you, and the second
edition of the "Médecin de campagne" for Monsieur Hanski, as you have
yours. I will send my third Part later, for I am very impatient to have
your opinion about this new production. When "Séraphita" is finished
I will bring her to you, bound by the husband of the pretty girl of
Versailles. You will see he had not the heart to continue Coquebin to
do that savage binding of cloth and satin. But if I could know how long
you stay at Trieste, I could leave here July 10th and be at Trieste the
16th, see you for three days, and get back again. I have a thousand
things to bring you; the _cotignac_, the perfumes, and _tutti quanti_.

I shall end this letter by saying: _à bientôt_. The hope of crossing
many countries to find you at the end of the journey gives me courage.
I work, now, twenty consecutive hours. Well, I must bid you adieu,
saying, as gracefully as I can, that you are less a memory to me than
a heart-thought, and that you would be very unkind to fling in my face
forever that I am a Frenchman. Remember, madame, that I am a Coquebin
who does not marry, or at least only marries with the Muses. I have
been alarmed by reading in Hoffmann (article on Vows) a severe judgment
on Polish women; still, I had, to tell the truth, a pleasurable
evening in thinking that the article was true for you in all that was
flattering, and false in all that was cruel.

Our poor Sismondi has been roughly demolished (the word is true) in the
"Revue de Paris" of last Sunday. His "Histoire des Français" has been
rased, destroyed--from garret to cellar.

Poor Madame de Castries is going away, dying, and so dying that I
blame myself for not having been there for a month, for those infamous
Parisians have deserted her because she suffers. What a sad sentiment
is that of pity. Therefore!--Ah!

Friday, 21.

I have been for several days sad and distressed. I did not tell you
this yesterday. The post hour went by, and I kept this letter. Yes, I
have failed in hope, I who live only by hope, that noble virtue of the
Christian life. "Le Médecin de campagne" reappears to-morrow. What will
be its fate?

I have been very happy this morning; you could never, perhaps, guess
why. I should have to paint to you the state of a poor solitary who
stays in his cell, rue Cassini, and whose only rejoicing is in a tiny
winged insect which comes from time to time. The poor little gleam was
late in coming, and I was horribly afraid, saying to myself: "Where
is she? Is anything amiss with her? She has been eaten up!" At last
the pretty little creature came. Once more I saw my _bête à bon dieu_,
iridescent, a little mournful; but I put it on my paper and asked it,
as if it were a person: "Have you come from Italy? How are my friends?"

You will take me for a lunatic--no, for I have heart and intellect, and
only trespass through excess, not want, of sensibility. That is how a
man who wrote the "Treize" can weep with joy on again beholding the
scales of his little insect.

Well, adieu. I wish that _you_ might have the same quiverings. That
is only saying that one is still young, that the heart beats strong,
that life is beautiful, that one feels, one loves, and that all the
riches of the earth are less than one hour of sensuous joy such as I
had with my little insect. And, also, do you know how much of joy,
amber, flowers, grace of the countries it flies through, that little
creature can bring back? See all that poesy can invent about a _bête à
bon dieu_, and what lunatics are hermits and dreamers!

Well, adieu; be happy on your journey; see all those fine countries
well. As for me, I am furious at being nailed to this little mahogany
table, which has been so long the witness of my thoughts, sorrows,
miseries, distresses, joys--of all! Thus I will never give it except
to ----. But I will not tell you all my secrets to-day.

To-day I am gay. I have been so sad nearly all this month! There are my
beautiful blue flowers in the barren fields between the Observatoire
and my window drooping their heads. It is hot. Nevertheless, if I want
to see you this winter I must mind neither weariness, nor heat, nor

Would you believe that the second edition of the "Physiologie du
Mariage" does not appear, that those men will not pay me, and that I
shall have another lawsuit on my hands? _Mon Dieu!_ What have I done to
those fellows!

Kiss Anna on the forehead. Oh! how I wish I were her horse again.
Offer my regards to M. Hanski. Put all that is most flowery in French
courtesy at the feet of your two companions, and keep for yourself,
madame, whatever you will of my heart.

PARIS, July 1, 1834.

Ah! madame, nature is avenging herself for my disdain of her laws; in
spite of my too monastic life my hair is falling out by handfuls, it is
whitening to the eye! the absolute inaction of my body is making me fat
beyond measure. Sometimes I remain twenty-five hours seated. No, you
won't recognize me any more! The moments of despair and melancholy are
more frequent. Griefs of all sorts are not lacking to me.

I wrote three half-volumes before finding anything suitable for the
third Part of the "Études de Mœurs." It will at last appear on the
20th of this month. (Be satisfied, it is not I who am elected deputy.)

You will tell me, will you not? where I am to send my third Part. Do
not deprive me of the happiness of being read by you, which is one of
my rewards. I still have three months' arduous labour before me; shall
I finish before October? I don't know. I am like the bird flying above
the face of the waters and finding no rock on which to rest its feet. I
should be unjust if I did not say that the flowery island where I could
repose is in sight of my piercing eyes; but it is far, far-off.

I should like to write to you only good news; but, although arranged,
my compromise with M. Gosselin is not yet signed. I must find a
thousand ducats, and in our book business nothing is so scarce; for
_books_ are not _francs_--and not always _français_!

I laugh, but I am profoundly sad. "La Recherche de l'Absolu" will
certainly extend the limits of my reputation; but these are victories
that cost too dear. One more, and I shall be seriously ill. "Séraphita"
has cost me many hairs. I must find exaltations that do not come at the
cost of life. But that work which belongs to you ought to be my finest.

Tell me to what Baths you are going, for it is possible
if--if--if--that I may myself bring you various little things, such as
a faultless new edition of the "Médecin de campagne," my third Part,
and the manuscript of "Séraphita," which will be finished in August.
Yes, stay at some place where I can go till September l5th.

If I compromise with Gosselin, I can free myself only by alienating
an edition of the "Études Philosophiques." That will be work added to
work. In the total solitude in which I live, sighing after a poesy
which is lacking to me and which you know, I plunge into music. I have
taken a seat in a box at the Opera, where I go for two hours every
other day. Music to me is memories. To hear music is to love those we
love, better. It is thinking with joys of the senses of our inward
joys; it is living beneath eyes whose fire we love; it is listening to
the beloved voice. So Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from half-past
seven to ten o'clock, I love with delight. My thought travels.

Well, I must say _