The letter of the month – N° 13 – January 2015

The letter of the month and letters of the year 1830

      In 2014, we made the month when our three correspondents wrote their letter coincide with the month when you, dear subscribers, received yours.
In 2015, it will be different. We shall give preference to continuity and offer you the letters written during the year 1830 by Maurice de Guérin, Eugénie de Guérin, Louise de Bayne.
Our first letter is, as befits, a Best Wishes letter.

 A brother is a friend bestowed by nature3.

      Maurice de Guérin is writing to his elder brother, Érembert. The latter, a weights & measures supervisor in Gaillac, had let him know he would like to find a position in an administration in Paris.

                                                                                                           Paris, 5th January 1830-

     How may I express to you, my dear Érembert, the pleasure your letter bestowed on me? Most certainly I could not receive a more pleasant New Year’s gift than this sweet proof of the recovery of your health, and the day I received it made up for the one [I] was compelled to leave you, my heart distressed by a dreadful uncertainty. But why linger on such cruel moments ? Isn’t it enough for the present to disturb our most vivid joys ? If you come to Paris you will not gather with more than the two of us1 ; now, we are only two to be interested in you, to love you, but also, my dearest Érembert ! … oh what bliss for me if you came to meet me in this huge solitude of Paris! No doubt you understand me, since you know one is often isolated amidst the crowd. It is presently my most cherished wish to be able to bring together, at long last, two lives till now so distant from one another.
   A brother is a friend bestowed by nature². So, let us tighten the knots of this natural friendship ;
we are both in a position to feel much bitterness and anguish, and what could be crueller than having to devour them on one’s own ? Let us start between ourselves this sweet exchange of feelings, these confid[ences] that soothe the soul and that hearten it to endure . Thus, while waiting for the blissful moment that will bring us together, let us maintain a more active correspondence than in the past, and, above all, nothing hidden between both of us, because confiding is only agreeable as far as it is thorough. 
That is, my dear Érembert, what my  heart dictates ; you will take it, I hope, as stemming from there.
   Auguste will try and find you a position ; he knows a Division head at the ministry of the king’s House, and he will intervene on that side ; moreover I’ll keep you informed about the success of his approaches. As for me, I continue to try to earn a living but am not sure that I’ll succeed ; my two tutorials are not sufficient for me, since one only gives, per month, the modest sum of 15 fr. [to] me, and, the other one, 25. I’m looking []all over the place to find any new one[s]; may heaven let quærite et invenietis³  be accomplished ! In my next one I will give you more details about the way I live, my acquaintances, even what I read, if that might be of any interest to you.
    Farewell, my dear friend, I embrace you, while wishing you what many people only wish on New Years’ day, but that your good brother wishes you every single day of his life.
     If you go to the Cayla,  give everyone a hug from me. In case the turkeys and the pâté have not left yet, please hasten their departure.


*  Studied text : autograph AG 448 (from the Grès fund), Cayla Museum. Maurice de Guérin, Complete Works, ed. by Marie-Catherine Huet-Brichard, Garnier Classics, 2012, p. 522-523.
(1) Once Victor Mathieu had died, Maurice de Guérin remained alone with Auguste Raynaud.
(2) Legouvé père : Abel’s Death.
(3) « Seek and you will find » (Matthew », VII, 7).


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