To Madame C——.
My dear Friend,—How much pleasure and comfort your letter gives me, and how your warm friendship sustains my courage!
What you say to me about my mother binds me closer to existence. Thank you for your splendid and constant affection.
. . . What shall I tell you of my life? Through the weariness and the vicissitudes I am upheld by the contemplation of Nature which for two months has been accumulating the emotion and the pathos of this impassioned season. One of my habitual stations is on the heights which overlook the immense Woëvre plain. How beautiful it is! and what a blessing to follow, each hour of the day and evening, the kindling colours of the autumn leaves! This frightful human uproar cannot succeed in troubling the majestic serenity of Nature! There are moments when man seems to go beyond anything that could be imagined; but a soul that is prepared can soon perceive the harmony which over looks and reconciles all this dissonance. Do not think that I remain insensible to the agony of scenes that we behold all too often: villages wiped out by the artillery that is hurled upon them; smoke by day, light by night; the misery of a flying population under shell-fire. Each instant brings some shock straight to one’s heart. That is why I take refuge in this high consolation, because without some discipline of the heart I could not suffer thus and not be undone.