Front Page Titles (by Subject) 177.: Letter to Mme Cheuvreux - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
Return to Title Page for The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
177.: 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Letter to Mme Cheuvreux
Les Eaux-Bonnes, 24 June 1850
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 92]
You have seen the Pyrenees in Paris; I for my part am finding Paris in the Pyrenees. There are only beautiful women, fine outfits, countesses, and marquises; this morning some children chased one of their comrades away because he had come dressed in twill: you are not smart enough! These were the expressions used. His father, a doctor, was mortified by this.
Recently, I have been to the village of Aas; you know, you have to go down into the valley and up on the other side. I visited the cemetery; it is full of monuments: young men and women who came to Les Eaux-Bonnes to seek an end to their suffering and succeeded far beyond their hopes. Should we envy their fate? Oh, no. Not yet. I met two women and came back with them. The daughter was weak, slim, thoughtful, and fearful of the ride she was taking on horseback; her mother was in good health and indefatigable. Add to this the purest of language, the most distinguished manners, and you will understand that this necessarily reminded me of an outing at La Jonchère.
Yesterday, Sunday, we had a few joys, but alas, all the local color is leaving; the mountain folk were making their rounds to the sound of violins and Spaniards danced the fandango in smocks: tambourines, castanets, striped jackets, and mantillas, what will become of you? Violins are invading everywhere, and as for smocks, there are no more Pyrenees.339 Oh, the smock will become the symbol of the next century! But after all, is not what appears to us to be a profanation in fact progress? It is funny that we, civilized people, so proud of our arts and outfits, should want people elsewhere to preserve knickerbockers and the Provençal flute forever and ever, to entertain the tourists.
Did I read correctly, mesdames? You tell me that I must not return to Paris until I am cured, that I must spend the winter in Mugron! You must find my absence very pleasant then!
Ah, there is no point in your saying this. I take your words as evidence of interest since I am the most obliging interpreter in the world. I am therefore hoping to return to Paris on 20 July, unless the Chamber is prorogued; this will be an extension of a week to my holiday. It would be amusing if the Assembly inflicted a penalty on me for having returned too late while you scolded me for returning too soon.
I am anxious to receive a letter from La Jonchère to know whether M. Cheuvreux has decided to take a little rest or if you were pursuing your projects alone? Solitude for three! That is a universe; and is not Croissy close at hand, and the Renouard and Say families and Mme Freppa? In all conscience, I cannot pity you your fate!
Goodness, how I am overusing M. Cheuvreux’s fine writing desk; it has solved the problem of pens for me and I have never written such incommensurate letters!
Please persuade Mlle Louise to pardon me and please call what others might call indiscretion, friendship.
Farewell, your devoted servant,
[339 ]An allusion to a phrase of Louis XIV’s uttered when the king of Spain, Charles II, decided to make Philippe d’Anjou (grandson of Louis XIV) his heir.