Front Page Titles (by Subject) 147.: Letter to Mme Cheuvreux - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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147.: Letter to Mme Cheuvreux - Frédéric Bastiat, The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics 
The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics, translated from the French by Jane and Michel Willems, with an introduction by Jacques de Guenin and Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean. Annotations and Glossaries by Jacques de Guenin, Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean, and David M. Hart. Translation editor Dennis O’Keeffe (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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Letter to Mme Cheuvreux
Mugron, 18 September 1849
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 43]
There is a note of sadness in your letter, madam, and this is very natural. You have just lost a childhood friend. In these circumstances, the initial feeling is one of regret, and then you look around your entourage with worry and end up looking in at yourself. Your mind asks questions of the great unknown and, on receiving no reply, panics. This is because there is a mystery there which is not open to the spirit but to the heart. Can you have any doubts when facing a tomb?
Madam, allow me to remind you that you have not got the right to mourn for very long. Your soul is a tuning fork for all those who love you and you have to be happy under pain of making miserable your mother, your husband, and the delightful child whom you love so much that you would force everyone to love her if she did not do so perfectly well on her own.
My ideas have taken the same road, since we too have our trials. Cholera has not visited this region but it has sent a distressing emissary: my aunt’s chambermaid is gravely ill, but they hope to save her. This has made my aunt appear to have lost twenty years, as she is on her feet night and day. For my part, I bow before such devotion to duty and I will always maintain that you, ladies, are worth a hundred times more than we. It is true that I do not agree with other economists on the meaning of the word value.290
Are you making fun of me, madam, in reproaching me for not writing? Five letters in four weeks! But what has happened to the precious missive which you mention? I will be inconsolable if it is lost definitively.
What was M. Augier talking about for you to have the kindness to send me his work? I like this young poet’s verses a great deal and will long remember the vivid impression we had at the reading of his drama.291 In any case, this play will be obtainable; he has doubtless kept the text and he will be happy to send it to me.
However, are your letter and that of Mlle Louise lost forever? In this case, will you be able to tell me what was in them? You may be sure that I will ask you to do this.
It is on Saturday that I am leaving for Bayonne; I have only four more days here. Although Mugron is monotony personified, I will miss this sojourn of peace, the total independence, and free disposal of my time and the hours that so resemble one another that they cannot be distinguished:
I have not finished the line as my literature master taught me that reason should never be sacrificed to rhyme.
19th. In two hours I will myself be going to Tartas293 to post the boxes containing ortolans.294 They will be leaving on Thursday morning and will arrive in Paris on Saturday. If, by chance, they are not delivered to the Hôtel Saint-Georges, you will have to take the trouble to go to the post office as punctuality is essential for these small creatures.
I hope that my fellow countrymen will not let themselves be corrupted on the way and that you will not have to echo the quotation from Faucher with regard to the conflicts of interest:295 “Can anything good come out of the Great Landes?” Our friend de Labadie is already a good contrary case; what do you think, Mlle Louise? Since I am addressing you, allow me to say that my poor ears are in a sort of vacuum here. They are hungering and thirsting for music. Please keep a pretty romantic song, the most minor possible, for me. Would you not also like to practice the “Tropical Night”? You will end up liking it.
From music to the Harmonies is a very tempting switch. But since it is a question of economic harmonies, it throws a bit of cold water on things. So I will not talk to you about it. I will simply admit that, because of developments into which I have been drawn, my book will no longer reach other people than those professionally engaged. I am therefore almost resolved, as I said to M. Cheuvreux, to start a monthly publication. I will be calling on you to place advertisements. Where journals are concerned, placing advertisements is at least as important as composition of articles. This is what our colleagues are too apt to forget. You must interest women in this work.
Farewell, madam; please remember me to M. Cheuvreux. I am not surprised that he finds the air at La Jonchère is better than that at Vichy. I beg Mlle Louise to allow me the word friendship. One is always embarrassed faced with such charming creatures; homage is very respectful and affection is very familiar. There is a bit of all this here and I do not know how to express it. They will have to guess at it a little.
Your very devoted servant,
[290 ]Bastiat is referring to his chapter on value in Economic Harmonies. (OC, vol. 6, p. 140, “De la valeur.”)
[292 ]Source unknown.
[293 ]A small town in the Landes.
[294 ]A type of bird; a table delicacy.
[295 ]Bastiat is mockingly comparing French political corruption with the potential spoiling of the Ortolans.