DELACROIX Eugène (1798-1863).

Lot 34
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DELACROIX Eugène (1798-1863).
L.A.S. "Eugène Delacroix", "à la maison des gardes de la forêt de Boixe" 9 "novembre" [for October] 1818, to Achille PIRON, "Employé de l'administration des Postes, Hôtel des Postes", in Paris; 3 pages in-4, address (address crossed out with some ink corrosions). Beautiful and lengthy letter during a stay with his sister Henriette de Verninac in the Charente, where he indulges in the pleasures of hunting. "You must be surprised, my dear Achilles, at my lack of accuracy in keeping my promises. [...] I have found myself here in the midst of a completely new and wild life which has distracted me from my promises to my friends and from the plans I had formed to use the time I was to spend here. The days pass with such rapidity when one is once out of the circle of habitual occupations, that one hardly notices their duration. It is now a month since I left Paris and I think I am still in the car: another month and I will be back in the eternal city: eternal of poop, eternal of length and often of boredom. I do not believe, however, that when the time comes to return, I will see it again with any difficulty. There are many things that nothing can replace, amidst the lively amusements of the country. Besides, work is a pleasure for me, and I shall find it in Paris with great happiness. Here I do not have the pleasure of bathing [...] As a reward I hunt almost as much as the weather allows. When the day promises to be beautiful, I am woken up just as dawn is about to break. The sun rising in front of my window sends me its first rays when I have been lazy enough to wait for them. I leave for my rounds; sometimes in vast clearings, sometimes in thickets where the day does not penetrate. Sometimes I go out into the surrounding vineyards, and it must be said, they have been the scene of my greatest exploits so far. As a citizen of a large city where one lives only on brilliant evenings, visits and shows, represent you a small white house of little appearance, adjoining a few barns and surrounded by a walled enclosure; in the center of an immense forest which has in its greatest diameter two leagues of post; this is my retreat, whose interior is as convenient and pleasant as its exterior is simple. [...] After dinner we all go for a walk that one would call a trip to your place, you sybarites, and always with our rifles on our shoulders: for every evening when we return, we hear the wolves howling and answering each other from the valleys of the forest hill, like men dying. Such is the life I have been leading for a month, without even realizing that I am living. One hour slowly leads to the next, the days pass imperceptibly and devour each other. I am saddened when I think that all this makes life and that when all the days are absorbed, it will be as if they had not been. I find myself gaining years without gaining strength. The thousand ideas that came into my head from the time we were together at school, all those vain projects that kept me seriously busy, are with the years gone by. [...] you find that for a man who spends his life having fun, I am hardly amused when I talk about it. I am angry to see that, even though one has seen what one had waited for so impatiently, one is surprised to find that it is only this; I am even more angry to think that, after this time has passed, one says to oneself angrily, "Why didn't you enjoy it more? We must therefore resign ourselves to the distressing idea that the happiest man on earth always lacks something. [...] I want this letter to reach you when you return from the opera at a quarter to midnight, ringing the bell at the town hall; when your head is tired of sound and your eyes of light and the red of the dancers, when, ready to go to bed to get up at nine o'clock, you will bless my opium and start a happy dream on my letter that will remind you of your beautiful or absent friend. Farewell. I'm going away while waiting for dinner to draw some fledglings that are certainly not worth my powder [...] they live, they sing in this moment and tonight they will be no more. O Ecclesiastes is right: Vanitas vanitatum"... Piron noted at the top of the letter that he replied on October 15. Lettres intimes (XII, p. 62, badly dated).
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