Front Page Titles (by Subject) 168.: 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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168.: 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, 20 May 1850
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 69]
How I thank you, madam, for thinking of the exile in the Landes in the middle of all your occupations; I would scarcely dare to ask you to continue this charitable work if I did not know how persevering in your goodness you are. Please be certain that there is no cordial nor chest remedy that can equal a few lines from Paris, and my health is more dependent on the postman than the pharmacist. It is true that the pen is a heavy and tiring machine; do not send me long letters but just a few words as often as possible, so that I know what is being done, thought, felt, and resolved at the Hôtel Saint-Georges.
Here, for example, is a change of situation that I cannot say is completely unexpected. A short note from M. Cheuvreux made me think it was coming. Poor M. D—— has been dismissed; I am sure that the heart of your Louise is greatly relieved and that is already a good thing. If my wishes were granted, she would go through life without all these trials.
After I wrote to you from Bordeaux, I made some visits. Fortunately several of my friends were absent, as I would not have been able to avoid talking and shouting a great deal. The ones I saw are in such a state of exaltation that calm conversation with them is not possible. These unfortunate people are convinced that for the last two years no one has dared open the shops in Paris. Having taken this idea to heart, they want to escape a situation like this at any cost and, to do this, they do not recoil even from the idea of a civil or foreign war. My département has seemed to be more moderate; our prefect325 has devoted himself unceasingly to moderating public opinion and he was therefore discharged from office on the day I passed through Mont-de-Marsan. We are being sent one who will be better able to arouse the people.
I arrived on Friday. When I saw the church spire of my village I was surprised not to experience the vivid emotions that the sight of it never failed to arouse in me in the past. Are we like plants, and do the strings of the heart become woody with age, or else do I now have two fatherlands? I remember that Mlle Louise predicted that country life would have lost a great deal of its charms for me.
In a family council made up of my aunt, her chambermaid, and me (and I might say, epitomized by her chambermaid), it was decided that Mugron was as good as Les Eaux-Bonnes and that, in any case, it was not yet warm enough for the Pyrenees. I am therefore staying in the Landes until further instructions. This being decided, our native of the Basque country began to unpack my trunk; we soon saw her return to the drawing room totally upset and crying out, “Madamoiselle, M. Bastiat’s linen is completely perrec, perrec, perrec!” I am sorry that de Labadie is no longer with you to explain the strength of the word perrec, which combines the three notions of shreds, rags, and tatters. What profound scorn must the poor girl feel for Paris and its laundrywomen! It is enough to make one resign as a representative!
On Saturday I went to see the rest of my family in the country and came back tired. The coughing fits have come back so strongly that breathing could not cope; I thought of the description of whale fishing that your cousin gave you. “Everything is fine,” he said, “when you can give a little line to the wounded animal.” Coughing is equally not much of a problem as long as the lungs can give it a little line, after which the situation becomes uncomfortable.
Truly, madam, these details prove to you that I am yielding to the affection I feel for you and that I am counting on yours, as long as this does not, I beg you, go beyond what we call the trio.
The post has brought me a letter; how can I express my gratitude to you! Did you guess my wishes then? My aunt and I have started to have arguments about the north and the south; she praises the superiority of the south, doubtless in order to keep me here, while I claim that everything of any good comes from the north, even the sun (we are receiving light from the north today). It is sending me your good wishes, giving me some reassuring news about Mlle Louise and a few details on these pleasant scenes in the home which I have often witnessed and which I appreciate so much.
[325 ]Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte appointed his supporters to the highest military and administrative positions in the country.