Front Page Titles (by Subject) 170.: 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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170.: 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, 27 May 1850
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 76]
I was confused about the calendar and now my exile has set things right; it is the 27th.
My holiday326 dates from the 12th, which means that a quarter of the two months has passed. After three times as long as this I will see Paris again.
I have done another calculation, madam, which is less attractive; your last letter was date-stamped the 17th. It is ten days since you wrote it and eight since I received it, eight days! This is nothing for you who spend them surrounded by your family or walking along the banks of the Seine or the Marne, chatting almost always delightfully with your daughter and husband! If at least I could be sure that no cold is stopping you from writing!
Yesterday, a telegraphed dispatch arrived announcing the vote on article 1;327 I thought that the telegraph might be better employed at least as far as I am concerned.
You have so many friends who, while recommending you to rest, pursue you from morning to night; how anxious I am to learn that you have put a few kilometers between their assiduity and your graciousness!
I have to admit, madam, that La Fontaine was right and that a good number of men are women when it comes to chattering; when I was coming to seek my health here I had not thought that I would find it totally impossible to avoid long conversations. The people of Mugron have nothing to do and so they do not take account of time, except for the times of lunch or dinner. They also resemble Pope a little; they are so many question marks. I leave you to think of how many words you have to deliver. Through a clever maneuver, I lead them into the village gossips or on their pet subjects, their eccentric preoccupations. This gives me a small respite, but all in all, frankly I talk too much, and this has cost me a crisis, which fortunately had no aftermath. I am much better now and ready to leave for Les Eaux-Bonnes, when the sun is pleased to play its part, but it is lazy; we can see mountains covered with snow from here, which will not be habitable much before the month of June.
When I look at Mugron with what are now city dweller’s eyes, I believe I would be ashamed to show it to you; I would blush for it with its smoke-filled houses, its single, deserted road, its patriarchal furniture and neglected civil administration. Its only charm lies in a rustic naiveté, poverty that does not seek to hide itself, a nature that is always silent and peaceful, a total absence of rowdiness, all things that are appreciated and understood only through habit. Nevertheless, if in this uniform existence you place two objects of affection, I maintain that it becomes general happiness, just as when these objects of affection are absent it becomes general boredom and nothingness.328 There I found again the affection of Félix. It is impossible to say with what joy we started our interrupted conversations again and what pleasure is to be found in the communion of two spirits in harmony, two parallel minds born on the same day, cast in the same mold, fed on the same milk, and having the same opinion on all things, be they religion, philosophy, politics, or social economics. Everything is examined without our succeeding in finding on any subject the slightest difference of opinion between us. This identity of understanding is a great guarantee of certainty, especially since, only ever having just a few books, these are our own opinions which are in contact and not the opinion of a common master. However, in spite of the pleasantness of this company, there is an emptiness here; Félix and I are companions mainly through our minds, and something is lacking in feeling. Here I am, being totally egotistical. I am ashamed of myself, and as a punishment I will take leave of you until tomorrow.
28th. The mail has arrived empty-handed, for what is this pile of letters and journals? However, I recognize Paillottet’s writing; what has he got to say to me? He does not know you and will not have met M. Cheuvreux. I now regret not having dared to introduce him to you as I had the presentiment that he would be punctual and that he would be good for me. Oh! I do hope that nothing dreadful has happened at the Hôtel Saint-Georges.
Farewell, mesdames, I feel that I am beginning to write in f minor. I had better stop while assuring you of my respectful and devoted attachment.
[326 ]Bastiat had been given a two-month leave of absence for health reasons.
[327 ]Article 1 of a law restricting universal suffrage, opposed by 197 deputies, including Bastiat. The law was approved by the majority on 31 May.
[328 ]He is referring to his fondness for his Aunt Justine and his friend Félix Coudroy.