Front Page Titles (by Subject) 173.: Letter to Louise Cheuvreux - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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173.: Letter to Louise 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 Louise Cheuvreux
Mugron, 11 June 1850
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 80]
It was my resolution, firmly taken, to let a full week go by before I wrote to you, for one may well count on the benevolence of friendship, but it should not be abused. However, I think that my haste may be excused, for you tell me that your mother is unwell and I am at the end of the world; I cannot send my rustic maid from the Franche-Comté to the Hôtel Saint-Georges to ask for news.
Here you are at last, finally settled in Fontainebleau, far from any noise. We must hope that a week of retirement and silence will restore all those with damaged health; it was yesterday that I learned of your departure from M. Say. This news had a strange effect on me at first; it was as though a hundred leagues more had come to separate us. This is because, since I have never been to Fontainebleau, my imagination was turned upside down.
I cannot thank you enough, dear demoiselle, for your most affectionate words; you have sent me words that are so sweet that they resemble recollections of harmonies or perfumes which the senses sometimes suddenly remember, mingled with a few childhood memories.
But I sense from your letter that you have not yet recovered your gaiety; let us see if I am mistaken. You have such noble self-control that, when it is necessary, you overcome your emotions, but you lack the carefree spirit that makes people forget them. Your nature will always arouse sympathy and admiration, but it will find it hard in this world to come upon the calm which gives rise to long-lasting gaiety. What do you think of my efforts in psychology? Whether or not they are accurate, I will give them to you; please do not try to change yourself, you will gain nothing from this.
I am leaving tomorrow for Les Eaux-Bonnes; this is just another excuse for this letter. The name Eaux-Bonnes reminds me of the dreadful risk I am running; who knows whether I will not leave it just at the time you arrive? Who knows whether your post chaise will not pass the enormous vehicle which will carry me to Paris in the other direction? You must allow that it would be a big disappointment for me.
Oh, come to the Pyrenees! Come right now to breathe this pure and always fragrant air. Come and enjoy this peaceful corner of nature, such an impressive place. There you will forget the troubles of this winter and politics. There you will avoid the heat of the summer. Every day you will vary your walks and excursions; you will gaze on new marvels and combine strength, health, and moral adaptability with physical exercise. You will have the joy of seeing your father lose sight of all his uncertainties which are now an inseparable part of life in Paris. Take the decision, then. I will take you to Biarritz and Saint-Sebastian in the Basque country; compare the journeys; is this not better than Belgium and Holland?
One writer has said that there are just two types of people in the world, “those that drink beer and those that drink wine.” If you want to know how you earn money, go and see the people who drink beer; if you prefer to see how they laugh, sing, and dance, come and visit the people who drink wine.
I had adopted a few illusions about the effect of the air of my native region; although I am coughing less frequently, I have a slight fever every evening. However, fever and Les Eaux-Bonnes have never been compatible.
I would also like to be cured of a bout of low spirits which I cannot explain. Where has it come from? Is it the result of the doleful changes that Mugron has undergone in the last few years? Is it because ideas fly from me without my having the strength to write them down on paper, to the great detriment of posterity? Is it because . . . is it because? But if I knew, this sadness would have a cause and it does not . . . I will stop there, before starting the boring jeremiads of splenetic dispositions, misunderstood souls or blasé ones, geniuses without recognition or those seeking soul mates, a cursed race that I detest. I prefer that people simply tell me, like Bazile:332 It is your fever, buona sera.
Farewell; tell your father and mother how much I appreciate their remembering me. Farewell; when will I see you all again? Farewell; I repeat this word which is never neutral, since it is the most painful or the most pleasant that can ever cross our lips.
Please be assured, dear demoiselle, of the tender attachment of your devoted servant,
[332 ]A character in Beaumarchais’ plays Le Barbier de Seville and Le Marriage de Figaro.