"(a) The day divided afresh: physical exercises for all the ages of life. Competition as a principle.
"But when I shall be with you, and in Venice, then, for a time, there will be an end of 'courtesy' and 'comedy' and 'satiety' and of all the malediction of Nice, won't there, my good friend?
"I have very often suffered from a heavy and depressed mood. But more than once inspiration has returned to me; my manuscript has benefited from it. I have given[Pg 112] the go-by to philology in the most cavalier fashion. They may praise me, they may blame me, they may promise me the highest honours, they may talk as they choose; I turn my back upon it. Every day I go deeper into my philosophic domain, and I begin to have confidence in myself; better still, if I am ever to be a poet, from to-day I feel myself disposed towards it. I do not know, I have no means of knowing, whither my destiny guides me. And nevertheless, when I examine myself, everything is in perfect accord within me, as though I had followed some good genius. My ends are extremely hidden from me; no concern for office, for hierarchic honours, directs my efforts; and none the less I live in a surprising condition of clarity, of serenity. What a sensation it is to see one's world before one, a fine globe, round and complete! Now it is some fragment of a new metaphysic, now it is a new ?sthetic which grows up within me, now another idea claims me, a new principle of education which entails the complete rejection of our Universities and gymnasia. I never learn any fact but it immediately finds a good place in some corner that has been long prepared for it. This sentiment of an interior world which springs up within me I feel in all its force when I think not coldly, but quietly and without exaggerated enthusiasm, on the history of these last ten months, on these events which I consider as the instruments of my noble designs. Pride, folly, are words that feebly express my condition of mental 'insomnia.'
"... Let us try to reach a little island on which there will be no longer need to close one's ears with wax. Then we shall be one another's masters. Our books, from now till then, are but hooks to catch our friends, a public for our ?sthetic and monachal association. Let us live, let us work, let us enjoy for one another's sake; in that manner only, perhaps, shall we be able to work for the whole. I may tell you (see how serious is my design) that I have already commenced to reduce my expenses in order to constitute a little reserve fund. We shall gamble in order to try our 'luck'; as to the books which we shall be able to write, I shall demand the highest honorarium as a provision for coming times. In brief, we shall neglect no lawful means of success in founding our cloister. We also have our duty for the next two years!