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Lot n° 8

COURBET GUSTAVE (1819-1877)

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L.A.S. "G. Courbet", Paris July 15 [1870], to HIS PARENTS; 4 pages in-8 (ink stamp of the solicitor Fumey in Besançon). Beautiful letter written on the day of the vote by the Chambers for war against Prussia, after Courbet's refusal of the Legion of Honor. "My dear parents, war has been declared. The peasants who voted yes will pay dearly. The Prussians are already at Beffort and are marching immediately on Besançon, we are in the case of seeing the allies with the Napoleons. It is natural. Everyone leaves Paris. As for me, I will leave within 5 or 6 days for sea bathing, perhaps in Guernsey at Victor Hugo's in England, and will return to Étretat. It is a general desolation. The police and the government are shouting long live the war in Paris. It is an infamy. All the honest people are withdrawing to their homes and fleeing Paris. Write to me, however, because if the Germans come to Besançon, I will go immediately to Ornans"... Paul Boulet "had an address made on behalf of the people of Ornans at my instigation, it was published in the Siècle. I am overwhelmed with compliments. I have received three hundred letters of compliments, as never in the life of any man in the world has received anything. In the opinion of everyone I am the first man in France. Mr. THIERS had me come to his house to pay me compliments. I receive even princesses for the same purpose, and I was given a dinner of 80 or 100 people to congratulate me, it was all the press of Paris and the scholars. I have to hold my hat in my hand like the priests along the streets. I was very delighted with your adhesion and the bouquet that you sent me, everyone was delighted as I was with your adhesion, the adhesion of the people of Ornans was diplomatic and weak, do not say anything about it! It is only Jeannier who wrote me a superb letter. The Ordinaries played a sad role in this affair, they did not come to the meal. I rarely see them, I let them walk in their own way, the act that I have just done is a marvelous move, it is like a dream, everyone envies me. I don't have an opponent. I have so many orders in this moment that I cannot succeed. So I leave. Paris is odious and one can be grabbed every day"... He will come to Ornans in September, "provided that the Prussians are not here in eight days. [...] My business lasted three weeks in Paris, in the provinces and abroad. It is finished now. The war replaces me." Correspondence, letter 70-21 (incomplete).

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