Letter to Léon Bélugou

[1906]

   Dear Sir,

   it is me again, I am confused, I very much beg your pardon. When we begin to talk about matters of the heart - and above all about those rare matters of the mind that are also matters of the heart - we never end up by saying the things we wanted to. Immediately after having written to you - if unnecessarily to "through some demon of perversity"? - I felt some remorse. And just now reading one of Ruskin's travel books, feeling my heart beating with the desire to see the same places once more, I said to myself, "if I no longer cared for him would he still be making the world beautiful for me, until I am consumed with longing and regret whenever I look at a railway time-table?" Yes, my affection for Ruskin has endured. Only sometimes nothing chills it so much as reading him. But is there a love that is not weakened in the presence of the one we love. Oh, Monsieur, how little interest any of this has for you, as I beg your forgiveness, promise you that I will not start all over again, and trust that you will quite simply put to one side these words that need so much to be true (I want to say sincere, you rightly think that I no longer make any claims!) of so much commentary, contradictions and retouching that more than anything I would like you to forgive, out of pity for yourself - and for me.

   Marcel Proust.

Written on black framed mourning paper. Described as unpublished, but partially quoted by Painter. http://www.museedeslettres.fr/public/

 


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