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Full text of "Marie Bashkirtseff; the journal of a young artist, 1860-1884"

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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



_ 




MAEIE BASHKIETSEFP. 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 



THE JOURNAL OF A YOUNG ARTIST 



1860-1884 



TRANSLATED BY 

MARY J. SERRANO 

AUTHOR OF " DESTINY AND OTHER POEMS," 
TRANSLATOR OF "DRAGON'S TEETH," " PEPITA XIMENEZ," ETC. 



ILLUSTRATED 



CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED 

104-106 FOURTH AVENUE, NEW YORK 



COPYRIGHT, 

1889, 
By O. M. DUNHAM. 



All rights reserved. 



Press of W. L. Mershon & C 
Rahway, N . J. 



Art Library 



JOSEPHINE LAZARUS 



THIS TRANSLATION IS DEDICATED, IN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HER APPRECIATION 

OF THE AUTHOR OF THIS JOURNAL, AND HER GENEROUS CRITICISM 

OF THE WORK OF THE TRANSLATOR. 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE. 



HERE is the record of an extraordinary life ' a book 
without a parallel," as Gladstone has called it. In these 
pages, science, art, literature, social questions, love, are 
treated with all the cynicism of a Machiavelli and the naivete 
of an ardent and enthusiastic girl. On a background solemn 
and somber as the steppes of her native land are traced 
pictures that reflect the vivid hues, the luminous atmosphere, 
the life, the movement, the variety, of France, Spain, Italy. 
With a nature that was profoundly religious, and a spirit 
that was essentially skeptical, with ambition to conquer the 
universe, and a heart that yearned with a passionate longing 
for affection, demanding all things for herself, yet capable 
of the most utter self-abnegation. " hoping all things," and 
fearing all things alternately, clinging to life with an eager- 
ness that is pathetic in its intensity, wishing for death with 
an eagerness no less pathetic, regarding herself by turns as 
the superior of kings, and as less than the least of created 
beings, Marie Bashkirtseff has left us as her contribution to 
the literature of humanity these confessions, which no one 
who has a mind to think or a heart to feel can read un- 
moved. Certain portions of the Journal, which in its 
entirety might seem diffuse to American readers, have been 
omitted in the translation. 

M. J. S. 



AUTHOR'S PREFACE. 



OF what use were pretense or affectation ? Yes, it is evi- 
dent that I have the desire, if not the hope, of living upon this 
earth by any means in my power. If I do not die young I hope 
to live as a great artist; but if I die young, I intend to have my 
journal, which cannot fail to be interesting, published. Per- 
haps this idea of publication has already detracted from, if not 
destroyed, the chief merit that such a work may be said to 
possess ? But, no ! for in the first place I had written for a 
long time without any thought of being read, and then it is pre- 
cisely because I hope to be read that I am altogether sincere. 
If this book is not the exact, the absolute, the strict truth, it 
has no raison d'etre. Not only do I always write what I 
think, but I have not even dreamed, for a single instant, of 
disguising anything that was to my disadvantage, or that 
might make me appear ridiculous. Besides, I think myself 
too admirable for censure. You may be very certain, then, 
charitable readers, that I exhibit myself in these pages just 
as I am. As a subject of interest for you /may appear to 
you of little consequence ; but forget that it is /_, think 
simply that a fellow-being is recounting to you her impres- 
sions from her infancy. Such a document is very interest- 
ing from a human standpoint. Ask M. Zola if this be not so, 
or even M. de Goncourt, or Maupassant himself ! My jour- 
nal commences at my twelfth year, but begins to possess some 
value only from after my fifteenth or sixteenth year. There 
is in it, therefore, a blank to be filled up ; so that I shall 

iii 



IV AUTHOR'S PREFACE. 

write a sort of preface in order to render this monument of 
human and literary interest intelligible. 

Assume, then, that I am of noble birth, and let us begin : 

I was born on the nth of November, 1860. Only to 
write it down is frightful. But then I console myself by 
thinking that I shall be of no age at all when you read my 
journal. 

My father was the son of General Paul Gregorievitch 
Bashkirtseff, a provincial nobleman who was of a brave, 
obstinate, severe, and even ferocious nature. My grand- 
father was raised to the grade of General after the Crimean 
war, I think. He married a young girl the adopted daugh- 
ter of a grand seigneur; she died at the age of thirty-eight, 
leaving five children my father and four daughters. 

Mamma was married at the age of twenty-one, after having 
rejected several very good partis. She was a Babanine. 
On the side of the Babanines we belong to an old noble 
family of the provinces ; and grandpapa has always boasted 
of being of Tartar origin (his ancestors having come to 
Russia at the time of the first invasion). Baba Nina are 
two Tartar words for my part I laugh at all this. Grand- 
papa was the contemporary of Lermontoff, Poushkine, etc. 
He was an admirer of Byron, a poet, a soldier, and a man 
of letters. He married, while quite young, Mademoiselle 
Julie Cornelius, a girl of fifteen, very sweet and very pretty. 
They had nine children if you will pardon the smallness 
of the number ! 

After two years of marriage mamma went, with her two 
children, to live with her parents. I was always with grand- 
mamma, who idolized me. Besides grandmama to adore 
me, there was my aunt, when mamma did not carry her off 
with her my aunt, who was younger than mamma, but not 
so pretty ; who sacrificed herself to and was sacrificed by 
everybody. 

In May, 1870, we set out to travel. The dream so long 



AUTHOR'S PREFACE. V 

cherished by mamma was realized. We remained a month 
in Vienna, making ourselves dizzy with novelties of every 
description fine shops, theaters, etc. We arrived at Baden- 
Baden in June, at the height of the season, and found our- 
selves in the midst of a luxury truly Parisian. Our party 
consisted of grandpapa, mamma, my aunt Romanoff, Dina 
(my cousin-german) my brother Paul, and myself; and we 
had with us a doctor, the angelic, the incomparable Walit- 
sky. He was a Pole, but without any exaggerated patriot- 
ism, of a sweet nature, and very winning manners. He 
spent all his income on his profession. At Achtirka he was 
the physician of the district. He attended the University 
with mamma's brother, and was always treated as one of the 
family at our house. At the time of our setting out on our 
travels a physician was needed for grandpapa, and for that 
reason we took Walitsky with us. It was at Baden that I 
first became acquainted with the world, and with the re- 
finements of polite society, and that I suffered the tortures 
of vanity. 

But I have not said enough about Russia, and about my- 
self, which is the principal thing. I had two governesses, 
one a Russian, the other a French woman. The former, 
whom I remember very well, was a certain Madame Melni- 
koff, a woman of elegant manners, well educated, romantic, 
and who was separated from her husband. She became a 
governess on a sudden impulse, after reading a great many 
romances. She was regarded by the family as a friend, and 
treated by them as an equal. All the men paid court to 
her, and one fine morning, after a certain romantic adven- 
ture, she disappeared. She might have bade us good-by and 
gone away quite naturally, but the Slav nature, with French 
civilization grafted on to it and influenced by romantic 
reading, is a curious compound. In her character of un- 
happy wife this lady had at once set herself to adore the 
little girl confided to her care. I had returned her adora- 



VI AUTHOR'S PREFACE. 

tion through an instinctive feeling of dramatic fitness, and 
my family, poseuse and simple-minded, thought her departure 
ought to make me ill ; they all regarded me with compas- 
sionate looks that day, and I remember that grandmamma 
ordered a certain soup a soup for invalids to be made 
expressly for me. I felt myself grow quite pale before this 
exhibition of sensibility. I was, indeed, sickly looking, 
fragile, and not at all pretty all which did not prevent 
every one's regarding me as a being destined to become 
one day beautiful, brilliant, and magnificent. Mamma once 
went to a Jew who told fortunes. 

" You have two children," he said to her ; " your son will 
be like everybody else, but your daughter will be a star ! " 

One evening at the theater a gentleman said to me, 
laughingly : 

" Show me your hand, mademoiselle. Ah, by the style 
in which you are gloved, there is not the slightest doubt but 
that you will one day be a terrible coquette." 

I was for a long time very proud of this. Since I have 
been able to think, since I was three years old (I was not 
weaned until I was three and a half), I have always had 
aspirations toward greatness of some kind. My dolls were 
always kings or queens ; all my thoughts, everything I heard 
from those who surrounded mamma, always bore some refer- 
ence to this greatness which must one day inevitably come 
to me. 

When I was about five years old I dressed myself one 
day in mamma's laces, put flowers in my hair, and went to 
the drawing-room, to dance. I was the great danseuse. 
Petipa, and all the household were there to look at me. 
Paul was nobody beside me, and Dina, although the daughter 
of the dearly beloved Georges, did not put me in the shade. 
One more incident : When Dina was born, grandmamma 
took her from her mother, and kept her from that time forth 
with herself. This was before I was born. 



AUTHOR'S PREFACE. Vll 

After Mme. Melnikoff I had for a governess Mdlle. 
Sophie Dolgikoff, a girl of sixteen blessed Russia ! and 
another, a Frenchwoman called Mme. Brenne, who wore 
her hair in the style of the Restoration, had pale blue eyes, 
and was a sorrowful looking creature with her fifty years, 
and her consumption. I was very fond of her. She taught 
me how to draw. I drew a little church under her instruc- 
tions. I drew at other times also. While the grown-up 
people played cards I would often draw on the green cloth. 

All this brings us back to Baden in 1870. War having 
been declared, we had betaken ourselves to Geneva, I with 
my heart filled with bitterness, and cherishing projects of 
revenge. Every evening on going to bed I recited in my 
own mind the following supplementary prayer : 

" My God, grant that I may never have the small-pox ; 
that I may grow up pretty ; that I may have a beautiful 
voice ; that I may be happily married ; and that mamma 
may live for a long time to come ! 

At Geneva we put up at the Hotel de la Couronne on the 
borders of the lake. There I had a professor of drawing 
who brought designs with him for me to copy little chalets 
in which the windows were like trunks of trees, and did not 
at all resemble the windows of real chalets, so I refused to 
draw them. The good man then told me to copy them 
from nature, just as they appeared to me. Just then we 
left the hotel to live in a family boarding-house, with Mont 
Blanc in front of us. I therefore copied scrupulously all 
that was visible of Geneva and the lake. 

When I am dead, my life, which appears to me a remark- 
able one, will be read. (The only thing wanting is that it 
should have been different.) But I detest prefaces (they 
have kept me from reading a great many excellent books), 
as well as the notices of editors. For this reason I write my 
own preface. It might have been omitted if I had pub- 
lished the whole of my journal, but I limited myself to be- 



Vl.ll AUTHOR'S PREFACE. 

ginning at my twelfth year ; to give what precedes would 
render the book too long. Besides, I give you glimpses 
enough into it in the course of the journal. I go back to 
the past very often, apropos of anything or nothing. 

What if, seized without warning by a fatal illness, I should 
happen to die suddenly ! I should not know, perhaps, of 
my danger ; my family would hide it from me ; and after 
my death they would rummage among my papers ; they 
would find my journal, and destroy it after having read it, 
and soon nothing would be left of me nothing nothing 
nothing ! This is the thought that has always terrified me. 
To live, to have so much ambition, to suffer, to weep, to 
struggle, and in the end to be forgotten ; as if I had never 
existed. If I should not live long enough to become 
famous, this journal will be interesting to the psychologist. 
The record of a woman's life, written down day by day, 
without any attempt at concealment, as if no one in the 
world were ever to read it, yet with the purpose of being 
read, is always interesting ; for I am certain that I shall be 
found sympathetic, and I write down everything, every- 
thing, everything. Otherwise why should I write? Be- 
sides, it will very soon be seen that I have concealed 
nothing. 

PARIS, May i, 1884. 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF: 

THE JOURNAL OF A YOUNG ARTIST. 



I873- 

VILLA ACQUA-VIVA, ) 

PROMENADE DBS ANGLAIS, NICE. 1" 

January (at the age of twelve years). Aunt Sophie is 
playing some of the national airs of Little Russia on the 
piano, and this recalls our country to me. I am transported 
in fancy, and what recollections can I have of that life 
that are not associated with poor grandmamma ? The tears 
are coming to my eyes ; they are there now, and in another 
instant they will fall ; they are falling already. Poor grand- 
mamma ! How unfortunate I am to have you no longer 
beside me ! How tenderly you loved me, and I you ! But 
I was too young to love you as you deserved to be loved ! 
I am deeply moved by these memories. The memory of 
grandmamma is a respected, a sacred, a beloved one, but it 
is not a living one. O my God ! grant me happiness in this 
life, and I will be grateful! But what am I saying? It 
appears to me that I have been placed in this world in 
order to be happy ; make me happy, O my God ! 

Aunt Sophie is still playing. The sounds of the piano 
reach me at intervals, and penetrate my soul. I have no 
lessons to learn for to-morrow, for it is Aunt Sophie's fete- 
day. God grant that the Duke of H may be mine ! 

I will love him and make him happy ! I will be happy too. 



2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1873. 

I will do good to the poor. It is a sin to think that one 
can purchase the favor of God by good works, but I know 
not how otherwise to express myself. 

I love the Duke of H , but I cannot tell him that I 

love him ; and even if I were to tell him so, he would pay 
no attention to it. When he was here I had some object in 
going out, in dressing myself, but now ! I used to go to 
the terrace in the hope of seeing him for even a single 
instant, at a distance. My God, assuage my grief ! I can 
pray no more; hear my prayer. Thy grace is infinite; Thy 
mercy great ! Thou hast granted me so many blessings ! 
It grieves me to see him no longer on the promenade. His 
face was easily distinguishable among the vulgar faces of 
Nice. 

Mrs. Howard invited us yesterday to spend the day with 
her children. We were on the point of setting out, when 
she returned to say that she. had asked mamma's permission 
to keep us till evening. We remained, and after dinner we 
all went to the great drawing-room, which was dark, and 
the girls begged me so much to sing ; they went on their 
knees to me the children as well ; we laughed a great 
deal ; I sang " Santa Lucia," " The Sun is Risen," and 
some roulades. They were so delighted that they all em- 
braced me frantically. If I could produce the same effect 
upon the public I would go on the stage this very day. 

It causes so profound an emotion to be admired for 
something more than one's dress ! Truly, I am transported 
by these words of praise from children. What would it be, 
then, if I were admired by others ? 

I was made for triumphs and emotions ; the best thing I 
can do, therefore, is to become a singer. If the good God 
would Q\~\\Y preserve, strengthen, and develop my voice, then I 
should enjoy the triumph for which I long. Then I should 
enjoy the happiness of being celebrated, and admired ; and 
in that way the one I love might be mine. If I remain as I 



1&73-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 3 

am, I have but little hope of his loving me ; he is ignorant 
even of my existence. But when he sees me surrounded by 
glory, in the midst of triumphs ! Men are so ambitious ! 
And I shall be received in society, for I shall not be a 
celebrity out of a tobacco-shop or a filthy street. I am of 
noble birth ; I have no need to make use of my talents my 
fortune does not exact it so that I shall have all the greater 
glory for elevating myself, and it will be all the easier for 
me to do so. In that way my life would be perfect. I 
dream of glory, of fame, of being known throughout the 
world! 

To see thousands of persons, when you appear upon the 
stage, await with beating hearts the moment when you sl^pll 
begin to sing ; to know as you look at them that a single 
note of your voice will bring them all to your feet ; to look 
at them with a haughty glance (for I can do anything) that 
is my dream, that is my life, that is my happiness, that is 
my desire. And then, in the midst of all this, Monsignor le 

Due de H will come with the others to throw himself 

at my feet, but he shall not meet with the same reception as 
the others. Dear, you will be dazzled by my splendor, and 
you will love me ! You will behold me in all my glory, it is 
true you deserve for a wife only such a woman as I hope 
to become. I am not ugly ; I am even pretty yes, rather 
pretty than ugly. I am extremely well-formed, with all the 
perfection of a statue; I have tolerably fine hair; I have a 
coquettish manner that is very becoming, and I know how to 
conduct myself toward men. 

I am a modest girl, and I would never give a kiss to any 
other man than my husband ; I can boast of something that not 
every girl of twelve or fourteen years can say, that is, of never 
having been kissed, and of never having kissed anyone. Then, 
to see a young girl at the highest point of glory to which a 
woman can attain, who has loved him from her childhood 
with a constant love, simple and modest all this will aston- 



4 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1873. 

ish him ; he will want to marry me at any cost, and he will 
do so through pride. But what do I say ? Why should I 
not admit that he may love me ? Ah, yes, with the help of 
God ; God has made me discover the means by which I 
may possess him I love. I thank Thee, O my God, I thank 
Thee! 

Friday, March 14. This morning I heard a noise of car- 
riages in the Rue de France ; I looked out and saw the Duke 

of H driving with four horses on the Promenade. Ah, 

if he is here, he will take part in the pigeon-shooting match 
in April ; I will be there at any cost ! 

To-day I saw the Duke of H again. No one bears 

fcimself as he does; he has the air of a king when he is 
driving in his carriage. 

I shall be happy with my husband, for I will not neglect 
myself ; I will adorn myself to please him, as' I adorned my- 
self when I wished to please him for the first time. Besides, 
I cannot understand how a man and a woman can love each 
other tenderly, and endeavor to please each other unceas- 
ingly, and then neglect themselves after marriage. Why 
believe that with the word marriage love must pass away, 
and that only cold and reserved friendship remains ; why 
profane marriage by representing the wife in curl-papers and 
a wrapper, with cold-cream on her nose, trying to get money 
from her husband for dresses ; why should a woman be 
careless of her appearance before the man for whom she 
should adorn herself the most ? I do not see why one should 
treat one's husband like a domestic animal, and yet so long 
as one is not married, why one should wish to please this 
man. Why not always retain something of coquetry with 
one's husband, and treat him as a stranger whom one desires 
to please ? Is it because one need not conceal one's love, 
because it is not a crime to love, and because marriage has 
received God's benediction ? Is it because that which is 



IS73-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 5 

not forbidden possesses no value in our eyes, and that one 
can find pleasure only in secret and forbidden things ? This 
ought not to be. 

I have strained my voice in singing and injured it, so that 
I have made a promise to God to sing no more (a resolution 
that I have since broken a hundred times) until I take 
lessons ; I have prayed to Him in the mean time to purify, 
strengthen and develop it. And in order that I may not be 
tempted to break my vow, I have even besought Him to 
take it from me, should I do so. This is frightful, but I 
will do all I can to keep my vow. 

Friday, December 30. To-day I have on an antediluvian 
dress, my little petticoat and black velvet coat, over it the 
tunic and sleeveless jacket of Dina, and it all looks very 
well. I think it is because I know how to wear the dress, 
and carry myself well. (I looked like a little old woman.) 
I was very much noticed. I should like to know why they 
all look at me, and whether it is because I appear ridiculous, 
or because I am pretty. I would reward well any one who 
would tell me the truth. I have a mind to ask some one 
(some young man) if I am pretty. I always like to believe 
things that are good, and I should prefer to believe that it 
is because I am pretty. Perhaps I deceive myself, but if it 
be a delusion I would rather keep it, because it is a flatter- 
ing one. What would you have ? In this world it is neces- 
sary to look at things in their best possible light. Life is so 
beautiful and so short ! 

I have been thinking of what my brother Paul will do 
when he is a man. What profession will he choose ? For 
he cannot spend his life as so many people spend theirs 
first saunter idly about, and then throw himself into the 
world of gamblers and cocottcs ; no ! Besides, he has not 
the means of doing this. I write sensible letters to him 
every Sunday not sermons, no ! but letters such as a com- 



JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1873. 

rade might write him. Well, I shall know what to do, and, 
with God's help, I shall exert some influence over him, for 
he must be a man. 

I was so preoccupied that I had almost forgotten (what a 
shame !) the absence of the Duke ! It seems as if so great 
a gulf separate us, especially if we go to Russia in the 
summer. They are talking seriously of that. How can I 
imagine that he should ever be mine ? He no more thinks 
of me than he does of last year's snow. I do not exist for 
him. If we remain in Nice for the winter, I may still hope ; 
but it seems to me that with our departure for Russia all 
my hopes will vanish ; everything that I had thought possi- 
ble is disappearing from my gaze. I am passing through a 
period of supreme anguish a change in my whole nature is 
taking place. How strange it is ! 

1 am overwhelmed by my thoughts. O my God, at the 
thought that he will never love me I am ready to die of 
grief ! I have no longer any hope. I was mad- to desire 
things so impossible. I wished to possess what was too 
beautiful. Ah, but no ! I must not allow myself to be thus 
carried away. What ! I dare despair thus ! Is there not 
a God to whom all things are possible, who protects me ? 
What ! I dare entertain these thoughts ? Is He not every- 
where always, watching over us? He can do all things; 
He is all-powerful ; for Him there is neither time nor space. 

1 may be in Peru, and the Duke in Africa, and if He wishes 
He can bring us together. How can I have entertained for 
a single moment a despairing thought ? How can I have 
forgotten for an instant His divine goodness ? Is it because 
He does not give me everything that I desire at once that I 
dare to deny Him? No, no, He is more merciful ; He will 
not allow a soul as innocent as mine to be torn apart by 
these sinful doubts. 

This morning I pointed out a coal-vender to Mile. 
Colignon (my governess) saying : "See how much that man 



1873-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. ^ 

resembles the Duke of H ." She replied, smiling : 

" What nonsense! " It gave me an indescribable pleasure to 
pronounce his name. But I notice that if we never speak of 
the man we love, our love grows stronger ; but if we speak 
continually of him, our love diminishes. It is like a vial of 
some essence ; if it be corked, the perfume remains strong, 
while if it be open, the perfume evaporates. This is pre- 
cisely the case with my love ; it remains strong because I 
never hear him I love spoken of. I never speak of him, I 
keep him entirely for myself. 

I am very sad. I have no positive ideas regarding my 
future ; that is to say, I know what I would like to have, 
but not what I shall have. How gay I was last winter ! 
Everything smiled on me ; I had hope. I love a shadow 
which perhaps I shall never possess. I am in despair about 
my gowns ; they have cost me many tears. I went with my 
aunt to two dressmakers ; but they were both unsatisfactory. 
I shall write to Paris ; I cannot bear the gowns here. 

This evening we spent at church ; it is the first day of 
our Holy Week, and I performed my devotions. I must 
say that there are many things about our religion which I 
do not like ; but it is not for me to reform them ; I believe 
in God, in Christ, and in the Holy Virgin. I pray to God 
every night, and I have no wish to trouble myself about a 
few trifles that have nothing to do with true religion with 
true faith. I believe in God, and He is good to me ; He 
gives me more than I need. Oh, if He would only give me 
what I desire so much ! The good God will have pity on 
me, although I might do without what I ask. I should be 
so happy if the Duke would only take notice of me, and I 
would bless God. 

I must write his name, for if I neither mentioned it to 
any one nor even wrote it down here I could no longer 
live. ... It is some slight consolation only to write it. 
On the Promenade I saw with joy a carriage containing a 



S JOURNAL OF MARIE BAStiKlRTSEFF. [1873. 

young man,* tall, slender, and dark. I thought I recog- 
nized some one. I gave a cry of surprise : " Oh, caro !" 
They asked me what was the matter ; I answered that Mile. 
Colignon had stepped on my foot. He resembles his brother 
in nothing. Nevertheless, it makes me happy to see him. 
Ah, if I could only make his acquaintance, at least ; for 
through him I might come to know the Duke ! I love this 
one as if he were my brother ; 1 love him because he is his 

brother. At dinner Walitsky said suddenly, " H ." I 

blushed ; I was confused, and I walked toward the cup- 
board. Mamma reproved me for this, saying that it was 
very wrong. I think she divines something, because every 

time any one mentions the name H I blush or leave the 

room abruptly. She does not scold me for it, however. 

They are all sitting in the dining-room, chatting together 
quietly, and thinking me occupied with my studies. They 
are ignorant of what is passing within me, and they do not 
know what my thoughts are now. I must be either the 

Duchess of H , and that is what I most desire (for God 

knows how ardently I love him), or become famous on the 
stage ; but this career does not attract me so much as the 
other. It is doubtless flattering to receive the homage of 
the entire world, from the lowest to the sovereigns of the 
earth, but the other ! Yes, I will have him I love ; that is 
altogether another kind of happiness, and I prefer it. A 
great lady a duchess I would rather be this in society, 
than be the first among the celebrities of the world, for that 
would not be my world. 

May 6. Mamma is up, and Mile. C also, for she has 

been ill. It was so delightful after the rain ! so fresh, and 
the trees looked so beautiful with the sun shining on them, 
that I could not study. I went into the garden and placed 
my chair beside the fountain, and had before me a magnifi- 

* The Duke's brother. 



1373-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 9 

cent picture, for this fountain is surrounded by large trees, 
that completely shut out the prospect. All that is to be 
seen is a brook, and rocks covered with moss, and on every 
side trees of different kinds, their foliage lighted up by the 
sun. And the soft, green turf ! Truly I was tempted to roll 
on it. All this made a sort of grove, so fresh, so soft, so green, 
so beautiful that I should try in vain to give you an idea of 
it ; I cannot. If the villa and the garden do not change, I 
will bring him here to show him the spot where I have so 
often thought of him. Yesterday evening I prayed to God, 
and when I came to the part where 1 asked that I might 
know the Duke, that God would grant me this happiness, I 
shed tears. Three times already has God listened to me, 
and granted my prayer : the first time I asked Him for a set 
of croquet, and my aunt brought me one from Geneva ; 
the second time I asked Him to help me to learn English. 
I prayed and wept so much, and my imagination was so 
excited, that I thought I beheld an image of the Virgin in 
a corner of the room, who promised what I asked for. I 
could even recognize the face, if I should see it again. 

I don't want any one to think that, when I have done witli 
studying, I shall do nothing but dance and dress myself ; 
no, having finished the studies of childhood, I shall devote 
myself seriously to painting, music, and singing. I have 
talent for all this, and a great deal of it ! What a consola- 
tion it is to write this ! I am already calmer. Not only 
do the annoyances I suffer injure my health, but they injure 
my disposition and my appearance. This flush that over- 
spreads my face makes my cheeks burn as with fire, and 
when calmness returns they are no longer either fresh or 
rosy. This color which I am condemned to have always in 
my face will make me pale and faded, and that is Mile. 

C 's fault, for the agitation she causes me produces it. 

I even have slight headaches after my face has burned 
like this. Mamma scolds me; she says it is my fault 



10 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSRFF. [1873. 

that I do not speak English. How indignant that makes 
me ! 

I think, if he should ever read this journal, that he will 
find it stupid, above all, my confessions of love. I have 
repeated them so often that they have lost all their force. 
Ah, when one thinks what a miserable creature man is ! 
Every other animal can, at his will, wear on his face the 
expression he pleases. He is not obliged to smile if he 
has a mind to weep. When he does not wish to see his 
fellows he does not see them. While man is the slave of 
everything and everybody ! And yet I draw this very fate 
upon myself. I love to visit, and I love to see visitors. 

Last night I had a horrible dream. We were in a house 
that I had never seen before, when suddenly I, or some one, 
I do not remember who, looked out of the window. The 
sun had increased in size until it covered almost half of the 
sky, but it did not shine, and it gave forth no heat. Then 
it separated into parts, and a quarter of it disappeared ; the 
remainder separated again into parts, changing color as it 
did so, and casting a glow all around ; then a cloud over- 
spread one half of the sun, and everybody cried out, 
" The sun has stopped moving." It remained for some 
moments immovable, but pallid ; then something strange 
happened to the earth ; it was not that it trembled ; I can- 
not describe what it was. There are no words to express 
what we do not comprehend. Then the sun began to move 
again, like two wheels, one within the other ; that is to say, 
that part of the sun which remained shining was covered 
at intervals by a cloud round like itself. Every one was 
troubled. Mamma was not with us ; she came afterward 
in a kind of omnibus, and seemed to be not at all frightened. 
Everything was strange ; this omnibus was not like other 
omnibuses. Then I began to examine my dresses ; we 
were packing our things into a little trunk. But at that 
instant everything began over again. " It is the end of the 



i 873.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. H 

world," I thought, and I asked myself how it was that God 
had not warned me of it, and how it was that I was thought 
worthy to be present in the flesh, on this day. Every one 
was afraid, and we got into the vehicle with mamma, and 
returned, I know not where. 

What is the meaning of this dream ? Is it sent by God 
to forewarn me of some great event ? or is it simply the 
result of nervousness ? 

Mile. C goes away to-morrow. All the same it is a 

little sad. It is painful to part from even a dog with which 
one has lived. It matters not whether the existing relations 
were pleasant or not, I have a worm gnawing at my heart. 

Time passes swift as an arrow. In the morning I study a 
little the piano for two hours. The Apollo Belvidere which 
I am going to copy bears some slight resemblance to the 
Duke. In the expression, especially, the likeness is very 
strong the same manner of carrying the head, and the 
same shaped nose. 

Manote, my music teacher, was very much pleased with 
me this morning. I played a passage in Mendelssohn's con- 
certo in G-minor without a single mistake. Then we went 
to the Russian church the Church of the Trinity. The 
whole church was decorated with flowers and plants. 
Prayers were offered up, in which the priest asked pardon 
for sins, mentioning each one separately. Then he knelt 
down and prayed again. Everything he said was so appli- 
cable to me that I remained motionless, listening to and 
echoing his prayer. This is the second time that I have 
prayed with so much fervor in church. The first time was 
on New Year's Day. The service has become so hackneyed, 
and then the things spoken of are not those of everyday 
life things that concern every one. I go to mass, but I do 
not pray. The prayers and the hymns they sing find no 
response either in my heart or in my soul. They prevent 
me from praying with freedom, while the Te Deu/ii, in 



12 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1873. 

which the priest prays for every one (where every one finds 
something applicable to himself) penetrates my soul. 

Paris At last I have found what I longed for without 
knowing what it was ! Life, that is Paris ! Paris, that is 
life ! I tormented myself because I did not know what I 
desired ; now I see before me I know what I desire. To 
go from Nice to Paris ; to have an apartment, to furnish 
it ; to have horses, as we have at Nice ; to have the entree 
to society through the medium of the Russian Ambassador 
this, this is what I desire. How happy it makes one to know 
what one desires ! But there is one thought that tortures 
me it is, that I am ugly ! This is horrible ! 

Nice I regard Nice as an exile. I must, before every- 
thing, make an order of exercises for each day, including the 
hours of my different professors. On Monday I begin 
again my studies, which were cut so diabolically short by 
Mile. Colignon. With the winter people will come to the 
city, and with people, gayety. It will then be no longer 
Nice, but a little Paris. And the races ! Nice has its good 
side. All the same, the six or seven months we are to 
spend here seem to me like a sea that is to be crossed 
without once removing my eyes from the beacon that guides 
me. I do not hope to stand upon its shore, I only hope to 
see land, and the sight of it alone will endow me with 
force of character, and give me strength to endure life until 
next year. And then ? And then ! Upon my word I 
know nothing about it, but I hope. I believe in God and in 
His divine goodness that is why I do not lose courage. 

" He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High 
shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. He shall cover 
thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust ; 
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not 
be afraid for the terror by night ; nor for the arrow that 
flieth by day." I cannot express what I feel, nor my grati- 
tude to God for his goodness toward me. 



1873.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BA&HKIRTSEFF. 13 

June 9. I have begun to study drawing. I feel tired, 
weak, unable to work. The summers in Nice are killing 
me ; no one is here ; I am ready to cry ; in a word, I am 
unhappy. We live only once. To spend a summer at Nice 
is to lose half one's life. I am crying now, a tear has fallen 
on the paper. Oh, if mamma and the others knew what it 
costs me to remain here, they would not keep me in this 
FRIGHTFUL desert ! Nothing diverts my thoughts from 
//////. It is so long since I have heard his name mentioned. 
It seems to me as if he were dead. And then, I am envel- 
oped in darkness ; the past I can scarcely recall, the present 
is hideous ; I am completely changed ; my voice is hoarse ; 
I have grown ugly ; formerly on awaking in the morning I 
was fresh and rosy. But what is it that tortures me thus ? 
What has happened to me ? -What is going to happen ? 

We have hired the Villa Bacchi. To tell the truth, it is 
very distressing to have to live there ; for the bourgeois it is 
well enough, but for us ! As for me I am an aristocrat ; I 
prefer a ruined gentleman to a rich bourgeois. I find a 
greater charm in old satin, or in the gilding, blackened by 
time, of old-fashioned columns and ornaments, than in rich 
and tasteless furniture that obtrudes itself upon the eye. A 
true gentleman will not base his pride on having shining 
boots and well-fitting gloves. Not that one should be care- 
less as to one's appearance, no ; but between the careless- 
ness of the nobleman and the carelessness of the plebeian 
there is such a difference ! 

We are going to leave this lodging, and I am sorry for it ; 
not because it is convenient or handsome, but because it is 
like an old friend, and I am accustomed to it. When I 
think that I shall never again see my beloved study ! I 
have thought so often of him here ! This table on which I 
am leaning, and on which I have written day by day all 
that was sweetest and most sacred in my soul ; those walls 
over which my glances wander, seeking to pierce them and 



14 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1873. 

fly far, far away ! In each flower of the wall-paper I be- 
hold him ! How many scenes have I pictured to myself in 
this study, in each of which he played the principal role ! 
It seems to me there is not a single thing in the world of 
which I have not thought in this little room, from the sim- 
plest to the most fantastic. 

In the evening Paul, Dina, and I remained for a while 
together ; then they left me alone. The moon shone into 
my chamber, and I did not light the candles. I went out 
on the terrace, and listened to the distant sounds of a vio- 
lin, guitar, and flute. I returned quickly to my room and 
sat down by the window in order to listen more at my ease. 
It was a charming trio. It is long since I have listened to 
music with so much pleasure. In a concert one's attention 
is engaged more by the audience than by the music, but 
this evening, seated all alone by the light of the moon, I 
devoured, if I may use the expression, this serenade, for 
such it was, given us by the young men of Nice. They 
could not be more gallant. Unfortunately the fashionable 
young men do not like these amusements ; they prefer to 
spend their time in the cafe's chantants, but as for music 
What can be nobler than to take part in a serenade, as in 
Spain in olden times !. Upon my word, after riding, I 
should choose to spend my time under my mistress's win- 
dow, and afterward at her feet. 

I should so much like to have a horse ! Mamma has 
promised that I shall have one, and my aunt also. This 
evening, in mamma's room, I asked her to give me one, in 
my airy, enthusiastic way, and she promised it to me seri- 
ously. I shall go to bed quite happy to-night. Every one 
tells me I am pretty, but in truth, in my own mind I don't 
think so. My pen refuses to write the word ; I am grace- 
ful only and occasionally pretty. How happy I am ! 

I am to have a horse ! Did any one ever see a little girl 
like me with a race-horse ? I shall make a furore. What 



1873 ] JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 15 

colors shall my jockey wear ? Gray and parti-colored ? 
No, green and pale rose. A horse, for me ! How happy I 
am ! What a creature I am ! Why not give something 
from my overflowing cup to the poor, who have nothing ? 
Mamma gives me money ; I will give half of it to the 
poor. 

I have altered the arrangement of my room ; it is prettier 
without the table in the middle. I have put in it several 
trifles an inkstand, a pen, and two old traveling candle- 
sticks which had lain hidden away for a long time in the 
box in which things out of use are kept. The world, that is 
my life ; it calls me, it waits for me, I long to run to meet 
it, but I am not old enough yet to go into society. But I 
long to be old enough, not for the sake of marrying, but 
because I want to see mamma and my aunt shake off their 
laziness. Not the world of Nice, but the world of St. 
Petersburg, of London, of Paris ; there it is that I could 
breathe freely, for the constraints of society are freedom 
for me. 

Paul has no taste, as yet ; he understands nothing about 
woman's beauty. I have heard him say : " Beauties, such 
ugly creatures as those ! " I must form his manners and 
his tastes. So far, indeed, I do not exercise a great deal of 
influence over him, but I hope to do so in time. For the 
present, I try to communicate my own views of things to 
him, but without his suspecting it; I convey sentiments of 
the severest morality to him under a frivolous guise. 

Tuesday, July 29. Here we are on our way to Vienna ; 
our departure was, on the whole, a cheerful one. I was, as 
usual, the soul of the party. 

September 2. The drawing-master has come ; I gave him 
a list of subjects I wished to study, the other day, that he 
might send me some professors from the Lyceum. At last 



16 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1873. 

I shall set to work ! On Mile. Colignon's account I have 
lost four months, which is monstrous. Binsa went to the 
censor, who asked him for a day's time. Seeing my note 
he inquired, " How old is the young girl who wants to 
study all this ; and who makes out such a programme for 
herself ? " The stupid Binsa answered, " Fifteen years 
old." I scolded him severely for doing so; I was furious, 
enraged. Why should he say I am fifteen ? It is not true. 
He excused himself by saying that, judging from my rea- 
soning powers, I was twenty ; that he thought he did very 
well in saying that I was only two years older than I am, 
etc. I exacted from him to-day at dinner a promise that he 
should tell the censor how old I am ; 1 exacted it. 

Friday, September 19. I try to be cheerful under all cir- 
cumstances ; one ought not to sadden one's-self by griev- 
ing. Life is so short, one should laugh while one can. 
Tears will come of themselves, those at least we can avoid, 
but there are sorrows which we cannot escape, such as death 
and absence ; yet even this last has its charms, so long as 
one has the hope of being reunited to the absent one. But 
to spoil one's life with petty worries is a shame. I pay no 
heed to such trifles ; I have a horror of trivial, every-day 
annoyances, so I let them pass with a smile. 

Monday, October 13. I was looking up my lesson to-day 
when little Heder, my English governess, said to me : 
" Do you know that the Duke is going to marry the 

Duchess M ?" I put the book closer to my face, for I 

was as red as fire. I felt as if a sharp knife had pierced my 
heart. I began to tremble so violently that I could 
scarcely hold the volume. I was afraid I was going to 
faint, but the book saved me. I pretended to be looking 
for the place for a few moments, until I grew calmer. I 
said my lesson in a voice that trembled with emotion. I 



I873-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. I? 

summoned all my courage as I had done on a former 
occasion, when I wished to throw myself over the bridge 
and told myself that I must control myself. I wrote a dic- 
tation so as not to have to speak. I was rejoiced when I 
went to the piano ; I tried to play, but my fingers were cold 
and stiff. The Princess came to ask me to teach her to 
play croquet. " With pleasure," I responded gayly ; but my 
voice still trembled. I ran to dress myself. In a green 
gown my hair is the color of gold, and my complexion 
white and red I looked as pretty as an angel or a woman. 
I kept thinking continually, " He is going to marry ! Can 
it be possible ? How unhappy I am ! " not unhappy, as 
formerly, on account of the paper of one room, or the fur- 
niture of another, but really unhappy ! 

Fdid not know how to tell the Princess that he was going 
to be married (for they will all know it some day), and it is 
better I should tell it myself. I chose a moment when she 
was seated in an arm-chair ; the light was behind me so 
that she could not see my face. " Do you know the news, 
Princess ? " I said (we spoke in Russian), " the Duke of 

H is going to be married." At last ! I had said the 

words. I did not grow red ; I was calm ; but what passed 
within me, in the depths of my soul, no one shall ever 
know ! 

We went out for a walk, but Nice is no longer Nice. 
The only thing that bound me to Nice was he. I detest 
Nice ! I can scarcely endure the thought of remaining here. 
I am weary ! ah, how weary I am ! 

My God, save me from despair ! My God, pardon me 
my sins ; do not punish me for them ! All is ended ! 
ended ! 

To-day I am happy ; I am gay at the thought that per- 
haps it is not true, for the terrible news has not been con- 
firmed, and I prefer ignorance to the certainty of the crush- 
ins; truth. 



l8 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1873. 

Friday, October 17. I was playing on the piano when the 
newspapers were brought in. I took up Galignani's Messen- 
ger, and the first words on which my eyes fell related to the 

marriage of the Duke of H . The paper did not fall 

from my hands ; on the contrary it remained tight in my 
grasp. I had not the strength to stand ; I sat down and re- 
read the blighting lines a dozen times over to assure myself 
that I was not dreaming. O Divine charity ! what have I 
read ! My God, what have I read ! I could not write 
in the evening, I threw myself on my knees and wept. 
Mamma came into the room, and in order that she might 
not see me in this state I pretended I was going to inquire 
if tea was ready. And I have to take a Latin lesson ! Oh, 
torture ! Oh, anguish ! I can do nothing, I cannot remain 
quiet. There are no words to express what I feel ; but 
what makes me desperate, what enrages me, what kills me, 
is jealousy jealousy and envy ; they rend my soul apatt, 
they make me furious, mad ! If I could only let my feelings 
be seen ! But I must hide them and seem calm, and that 
makes me all the more miserable. 

I shall learn to forget in time, no doubt. To say that my 
grief will be eternal would be, ridiculous nothing is eternal. 
But the fact is that, for the present, I can think of nothing 
else. He does not marry ; they marry him. It is all owing 
to the machinations of his mother. (1880. All this on ac- 
count of a man whom I had seen a dozen times in the street, r 
whom I did not kncnu, and who did not know that I was in 
existence?) Oh, I detest him ! I want to see them to- 
gether. They are at Baden-Baden that I loved so much ! 
Those walks where I used to see him, those kiosks, those 
shops ! 

(All this re-read in 1 880 produces no effect on me whatever?) 

To-day 1 will alter in my prayer all that relates to him. 

I will no longer pray to God that I may become his wife ! 

To give up this prayer seems to me impossible, killing ! I 



i8?3-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 19 

shed tears like a fool ! Come, come, my child, let us be 
reasonable. 

It is ended ! yes, it is ended ! Ah, I see now that our 
wishes are not always granted. Let me make ready for the 
torture of altering the prayer. Ah, that is the crudest of 
all suffering it is the end of everything. Amen. 

Saturday, October 18. I have altered my prayer. I have 
omitted the prayer for him. I felt as if my heart were 
being torn out as if I saw them carrying away the coffin of 
one dear to me. While the coffin is still there, one is un- 
happy indeed, but not so unhappy as when one feels a void 
on every side. I am a strange creature ; no one suffers as 
I do, yet I live, I sing, I write. How changed I am since 
the thirteenth of October, that fatal day ! Suffering is 
depicted on my countenance. His name is no longer the 
source of a beneficent warmth. It is fire ; it is a reproach 
to me, it awakens jealousy and grief within me. This is the 
greatest misfortune that can happen to a woman ; and I 
have experienced it ! Bitter mockery ! 

I begin to think seriously about my voice. I should so 
much like to sing. To what end, now? He was as a lamp 
within my soul, and now this lamp is extinguished. All 
there is dark, gloomy, sorrowful. I know not which way to 
turn. Before, in my little troubles I had something to lean 
upon a light that guided and strengthened me. And now 
I may seek in vain, I shall find nothing but a dark and 
dreary void. It is horrible ! horrible ! when there is only a 
void in the depths of the soul. 

Saturday, October 25. Yesterday a knock came to my 
door, and they told me that mamma was very ill. I went 
down stairs, half asleep, and found her sitting in the dining- 
room in a dreadful state. She wished to see me, she said, 
before her death. I was seized with horror, but I did not 



20 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1873. 

allow this feeling to appear. Every one was in despair. Dr. 
Reberg and Dr. Macari were sent for. Servants were hur- 
ried off in all directions for remedies. Never could I give 
an idea of this terrible night. I spent it seated in an 'arm- 
chair near the window. There were enough persons present 
to do all that was necessary, and besides, I am not a good 
nurse. Never have I suffered so much ! Yes, on the 
thirteenth of October I suffered as much, but in a different 
way. 

Tuesday, October 28. Poor mamma is no better ; those 
brutes of doctors have blistered her, which has made her 
suffer horribly. The best medicines are cold water or tea; 
those are natural and simple. If a man is to die, he will die 
even though he has the attendance of all the doctors in the 
world ; if, on the contrary, he is not to die, then he will not 
die, even if he have no assistance at all. Reasoning calmly, 
it appears to me that it is better to dispense with all those 
pharmaceutic horrors. 

Paul will do nothing ; he does not study ; he is not seri- 
ous enough ; he does not understand that it is his duty to 
study, and this grieves me. My God, inspire him with 
wisdom ; make him understand that he ought to study ; in- 
spire him with a little ambition -3. little, just enough to 
make him desire to be something. My God, hear my 
prayer, direct him, guard him against all those miscreants 
who seek to turn him from the right path ! 

Never could a man beneath me in station succeed in 
pleasing me. Common people disgust me ; they sicken me. 
A poor man loses half his manhood. He looks small, mis- 
erable, and has the air of a beggar, while the rich and inde- 
pendent man carries himself haughtily, and has a certain 
comfortable air. Self-confidence r;ives one a victorious look. 
And I love in H this self-confident, capricious, vain, 
and cruel air. He has something of the Nero in him. 



1873-1 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 2t 

Saturday^ November 8. We should never give too much 
of our society even to those who love us. It is well not to 
stay too long in any company so as to leave regrets and illu- 
sions behind us when we depart. One will thus appear to 
better advantage, and seem to be worth more. People will 
then desire to see you return ; but do not gratify that desire 
immediately ; make them wait for you, but not too long, 
however. Anything that costs too much loses by the diffi- 
culty with which it is obtained. Something better was an- 
ticipated. Or, on the other hand, make them wait a very 
long time for you then you will be a queen. 

I think I must have a fever ; I suffer, and I try to disguise 
my feelings by talking. No one would suspect it ; I sing, I 
laugh, I jest. The more unhappy I am the gayer I seem 
to be. 

All that I could write would never express what I feel ; I 
am stupid, mad ; I feel myself deeply aggrieved. It seems 
to me that in marrying the Duke they are robbing me of him. 
It is, in truth, as if they had taken something from me that 
was my own. What a wretched state ! I do not know how- 
to express myself, but I feel that I am too weak ; for a mere 
nothing I make use of the strongest expressions, and when 
I wish to speak seriously I find there is nothing left. 

It is only now that looking at mamma as if she were a 
stranger, I find that she is charming, beautiful as the day ; 
although she is worn out with all sorts of troubles and mala- 
dies. When she speaks her voice is so sweet not high, but 
vibrating and sweet and her manners, although natural and 
simple, are agreeable. 

Saturday, November 29. I am tortured by jealousy, love, 
envy, deceit, wounded vanity, by every hideous feeling in 
the world. Above all, I feel his loss. I love him ! 

One thing tortures me especially ; it is that in a few 
years I shall laugh at myself, that I shall have forgotten all 



22 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1874. 

this! (1875 . // is two years since that time, yet I do not laugh 
at myself, and I have not forgotten^) All these sorrows will 
seem to me childishness and affectation but, no, I conjure 
you, do not forget ! When you read these lines go back to the 
past, think that you are again thirteen years old ; that you 
are at Nice ; that all this is taking place now ! Think that 
the past lives now ! You will understand ! You will be 
happy ! 

Sunday, November 30. I wish he would marry at once. 
It is always thus with me ; when anything disagreeable is to 
be done, instead of wanting to put it off, I wish to have it 
over. When we left Paris, I made them hasten the hour of 
our departure ; I knew that pill must be swallowed. The 
expectation of an unpleasantness is more terrible than the 
thing itself. 



1874. 

Sunday, Jamiary 4. How sweet it is to awaken naturally 
from sleep ! My alarm has not yet sounded, and my eyes 
have unclosed of themselves ! It is as if one were gliding on 
in a boat : one sinks into a revery, and when one wakens 
out of it one has already arrived at one's destination. 

Friday, Jamiary 9. On returning from a walk to-day I 
said to myself that I would not be like some girls, who are 
comparatively serious and reserved. I do not understand 
how this seriousness comes; how from childhood one passes 
to the state of girlhood. I asked myself, " How does this 
happen? Little by little, or in a single day?" Love, or a 
misfortune, is what develops, ripens, or alters the character. 
If I were a bel esprit I should say they were synonymous 
terms ; but I do not say so, for love is the most beautiful 
thing in the whole world. I compare myself to a piece of 



1874.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 23 

water that is frozen in its depths, and has motion only on 
the surface, for nothing amuses or interests me in my 
DEPTHS. 

Thursday, January 24. All last winter I could not sing 
a note. I was in despair ; I thought I had lost my voice, 
and I blushed and remained silent when I was spoken to. 
Now it has come back again, my voice, my treasure, my 
fortune ! I receive it with tears in my eyes, and I thank 
God for it on my knees. I said nothing, but I was cruelly 
grieved. I did not dare to speak of it. I prayed to God, 
and He lias heard me ! What happiness? What a pleasure 
it is to sing well ! One feels as if one were all-powerful, 
one thinks one's-self a queen ! How happy one is ! happy 
in one's own worth. It is not like the pride that springs 
from the possession of wealth or a title. One is more than 
woman ; one feels one's self immortal. One is freed from 
earth ; one soars into heaven ! And all the people wLo 
hang upon your notes, who listen to your song as to a 
voice from heaven, who are electrified, carried away by 
enthusiasm, ravished you hold sway over them all. After 
real sovereignty comes the sovereignty of song. The sove- 
reignty of beauty comes after this, because its sway is not 
a universal one ; but song lifts man above the earth ; his 
soul soars above it in a cloud like that in which Venus 
appeared to ^Eneas. 

Tuesday, July 6. Nothing in the world is lost. If we 
cease to love one individual, this affection is immediately 
transferred to another, even without our being conscious of 
it ; and if we fancy we love no one, we deceive ourselves. 
If one does not love a man, one loves a dog or a piece of 
furniture ; and with the same ardor, only in a different 
fashion. If I loved a man, I would want him to love me as 
I loved him. I would allow nothing not even a single 



24 JOURNAL OF MARIE SASHKIRTSEFF. [1874. 

word for another. Such a love is not to be found ; there- 
fore I will never love, for I should never be loved as I desire 
to be loved. 

July 14. They have been talking of Latin, of the Lyceum, 
of the examination ; all this has given me an intense desire 
to study, and when Brunet came to-day, I did not keep him 
waiting. I asked him about the examination ; the informa- 
tion he gave me was such that I feel myself capable, after a 
year's preparation, of presenting myself for the degree of 
bachelor of arts and sciences. I will speak to him further 
about it. 

July 15. Last night I said to the moop, after leaving the 
Sapogenikoffs : "Moon, O beautiful moon, show me the 
person I shall marry before I die ! " 

If you say these words to the moon, without speaking 
afterward until you fall asleep, they say the person you 
dream of is the one you are to marry. 

It is all nonsense. I dreamed of S. and A. two impos- 
sibilities. I am in a bad humor ; I fail in everything I 
attempt ; nothing succeeds with me. I shall be punished 
for my pride and my stupid arrogance. Read this, good 
people, and profit by it ! This journal is the most useful 
and the most instructive of all the books that ever were or 
ever will be written. It is the transcript of a woman's 
life her thoughts and hopes, her deceptions, meannesses, 
good qualities, sorrows and joys. I am not yet altogether a 
woman, but I shall be. One may follow me here from 
childhood to death. For. the life of any one one's entire 
life, without any concealment or disguise is always a grand 
and interesting spectacle. 

Friday, July 16. In regard to the transference of love, 
all I possess at present is concentrated on Victor, one of 
my dogs. I breakfast with him sitting opposite to me, his 
fine, large head resting on the table. Let us love dogs ; let 



1874.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 25 

us love only dogs. Men and cats are unworthy creatures. 
And yet a dog is a filthy animal ! He looks at you with 
hungry eyes while you eat ; he follows you about for the 
sake of his dinner. Still I never feed my dogs and they 
love me, and Prater, through jealousy of Victor, has left me 
and gone over to mamma ! And men do not they ask to 
be fed ? Are not they voracious and mercenary ? 

We do not return to Russia. . . . 

I am going to say once more to the moon : " Moon, O 
beautiful moon, show me in my sleep the person I am to 
marry before I die ! " 

My hair, fastened in a Pysche knot, is redder than ever. 
In a woolen gown of a peculiar white, well-fitting and grace- 
ful, and a lace handkerchief around my neck, I look like 
one of the portraits of the First Empire ; in order to make 
the picture complete I should be seated under a tree, hold- 
ing a book in my hand. I love to be alone before a look- 
ing-glass, and admire my hands, so fine and white, and 
faintly rosy in the palms. 

Perhaps it is stupid to praise one's-self in this way, but 
people who write always describe their heroine, and I am 
my heroine. And it would be ridiculous for me to lower or 
belittle myself through false modesty. One makes little of 
one's-self in conversation, because one is sure of being con- 
tradicted, but if I were to do so in writing, every one would 
believe I was speaking the truth, and that I was ugly and 
stupid, and that would be absurd ! 

Fortunately or unfortunately, I esteem myself so great a 
treasure that I think there is no one worthy of me, and those 
who raise their eyes to this treasure are regarded by me as 
hardly worthy of pity. I think myself a divinity, and lean- 
not conceive how a man like S. should fancy he could please 
me. I could scarcely treat a king as an equal. I think 
that is as it should be. I look down on men from such a 
height that they find me charming, for it is not becoming to 



26 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1874. 

despise those who are so far beneath us. I regard them as 
a hare would regard a mouse. 

Monday, August 2. After a day spent with seamstresses 
and dressmakers, in shopping, promenading, and coqueting, 
I put on my wrapper and sat down to read my good friend 
Plutarch. 

Tuesday, August 17. Last night I dreamed of the Fronde : 
I had entered the service of Anne of Austria, I thought, 
and she doubted my loyalty, so I led her into the midst of 
the rebellious people, crying " Vive la Reine .' " and the people 
cried after me, " Vive la Reine ! " 

Wednesday, August 18. To-day has been spent in admir- 
ing me. Mamma admired me, and the Princess S. admired 
me. The Princess is always saying that I look either like 
mamma or like her daughter ; and that is the greatest com- 
pliment she could pay me. One never thinks better of 
others than of one's own. The fact is, that I am really 
pretty. The picture on the ceiling of the great saloon of 
the Ducal Palace at Venice, by Paul Veronese, represents 
Venus as a tall woman, blonde and fresh-colored. I resem- 
ble that picture. My photographs are never like me. Color 
is wanting in them, and the unequaled freshness and white- 
ness of my skin are my chief charm. But let any one put 
me in a bad humor ; let me be dissatisfied with anything ; 
let me be tired, and adieu to my beauty! There is nothing 
more fragile than I. It is only when I am happy and tran- 
quil that I am charming. 

PARIS, Wednesday, Aitgust 24. I begin now to live, and 
to try to realize my dreams of becoming famous. I am 
already known to many people. I look at myself in the 
glass, and I find that I am beautiful. I am beautiful ; what 



1874.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 27 

more do I want ? Can I not accomplish anything with that ? 
My God, in giving me the little beauty I possess (I say little 
through modesty) you have already given me too much. O 
my God ! I feel myself to be beautiful ; it seems to me that 
I shall succeed in all that I undertake. Everything smiles 
upon me, and I am happy, happy, happy ! 

The noise of Paris, this hotel, as large as a city, with 
people always walking, talking, reading, smoking, looking, 
confuse me. I love Paris, and it makes my heart beat with 
emotion to be here. I want to live faster, faster, faster ! 
(" I never saw such a fever of life," D. says, looking at me.) 
It is true ; I fear that this desire to live always at high pres- 
sure is the presage of a short existence. Who knows ? 
Come, I am growing melancholy. No, I will have nothing 
to do with melancholy. 

Sunday, September 6. There were so many people from 
Nice in the Bois that I thought for a moment I was at Nice. 
Nice is so beautiful in September ! I recall the morning 
walks I took last year with my dogs, the sky so pure, the 
sea so silvery. Here there is neither morning nor evening. 
In the morning they are sweeping ; in the evening the in- 
numerable lights irritate my nerves. I lose my bearings 
here I cannot distinguish the east from the west. While at 
Nice one is comfortable ! It is as if one were in a nest sur- 
rounded by mountains, not too high nor too bare. One is 
sheltered on three sides as if by a graceful and easy mantle, 
and in front there is a boundless horizon, always the same, 
and always new. I love Nice. Nice is my country. Nice 
has seen me grow up ; Nice has given me health and a fresh 
color. It is so beautiful ! One rises with the dawn and sees 
the sun appear yonder to the left, behind the mountains 
which stand out boldly from a silvery blue sky, so soft and 
vaporous that one can scarcely speak for joy. Toward 
noon the sun faces me ; it is a warm day, but it does not 



28 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, [1874. 

seem warm ; there is that delightful breeze that always keeps 
the atmosphere cool. Everything seems asleep. There is 
not a soul to be seen on the promenade save two or three of the 
tovvn's-people dozing on the benches. Then 1 can breathe 
freely ; then I can admire nature. In the evening the same 
sea, the same sky, the same mountains. But at night all is 
black or deep blue. And when the moon shines, leaving a 
silvery track upon the waters that looks like an enormous fish 
with diamond scales, and I am seated at my window, peace- 
ful and alone, a mirror and two wax tapers in front, I ask for 
nothing more, and I bow down in thankfulness before God. 
Oh, no, what I desire to express will not be understood ; it 
will not be understood because it has not been experienced. 
No, it is not that ! It is that I grow desperate every time I 
try to express what I feel ! It is as when one is in a night- 
mare and has not the strength to cry out ! 

Besides, one can never give by words the least idea of 
real life. How describe the freshness, the perfume of mem- 
ory ? One may invent, one may create, but one cannot 
copy. It is of no avail to feel what one writes ; commonplace 
words only are the result ; woods, mountains, sky, moon, 
everybody uses these words. And then, why write all this? 
What does it matter to others ? Others will never under- 
stand it, since it is not they, but I, who have felt it. I alone 
understand and remember. And then, men are not worth 
the trouble of trying to make them understand. Every one 
feels for himself, as I do. I should like to see others feel as 
I feel, through my means ; but that would be impossible ; to 
do so they must be /. My child, my child, leave all this 
alone ; you lose yourself in subtleties of thought. You will 
become crazy if you excite yourself about those things as 
you did before about your DEPTHS. There are so many 
people of intelligence well, not that. I mean to say that 
it is their part to understand you. Well, no ! They can 
create, but understand no, no, a hundred thousand times, 



I874-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. ?<) 

no ! In all this what is very evident is, that I am homesick 
for Nice. 

Monday, September 6. Though I am in a state of depres- 
sion and constant suffering, I do not curse life ; on the con- 
trary, I love it, and I find it good. Will it be believed, I find 
everything, even tears, even grief, good and pleasant. I love 
to weep ; I love to give myself up to despair ; I love to be 
troubled and sorrowful. I regard these feelings as so many 
diversions, and I love life, notwithstanding them all. I wish 
to live. It would be cruel to make me die when I am so 
accommodating. I weep, I complain, and I take pleasure 
in doing so. No, not that ; I don't know how to express 
myself. In a word, everything in life pleases me ; I find 
everything agreeable ; and while I ask for happiness I find 
myself happy in being miserable ; my body suffers and 
cries out, but something within me, above me, rejoices at 
everything. It is not that I prefer tears to joy, but far 
from cursing life in my moments of despair, I bless it ; I 
say to myself that I am unhappy, I pity myself, but I find 
life so beautiful that everything seems tome beautiful, and 
I feel I must live ! Apparently this some one who is above 
me, who rejoices at so much weeping, has gone out this 
evening, for I feel very unhappy. 

Thursday, September 9. We are at Marseilles, and are to 
leave this ill-smelling city at one o'clock. 

At last I behold it, the Mediterranean, for which I have 
sighed. How black the trees are ! And the moon casts a 
track of silvery light across the waters. 

The silence is complete ; there is not a sound, either of 
carriage-wheels or footsteps, to be heard. I enter my dress- 
ing-room and throw open the window to look out upon the 
chateau, which is unchanged. And the clock strikes what 
hour I know not and my heart is oppressed with sadness, 



3 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1874. 

Ah, I might well call this year the year of sighs ! I am 
tired, but I love Nice ! I love Nice ! 

Friday, September 10 (Journey to Florence). The mos- 
quitoes awakened me a dozen times during the night, but, 
notwithstanding this, I woke up in the morning with a sense 
of well-being, though I was still a little fatigued. 

Sunday, September 13. We drove through the city en 
toilette, in a landau. Ah, how I admire these somber edi- 
fices, these porticos, these columns, this grand and massive 
architecture ! Blush for shame, ye architects of England, 
France, and Russia ! Hide yourselves under the earth ; 
sink into the ground, ye cardboard palaces of Paris ! Not 
the Louvre that is above criticism but all the others. 
They will never bear comparison with the superb magnifi- 
cence of the Italians. I was struck with amazement on 
seeing the huge stones of the Palazzo Pitti. The city is dirty, 
almost squalid, but how many beauties it possesses ! O 
city of Dante, of the Medici, of Savonarola, how full of 
splendid memorials for those who think, who feel, who 
know ! What masterpieces ! What ruins ! O puppet- 
king ! Ah, if I were only queen ! 

I adore painting, sculpture, art, in short, wherever it is to 
be found. I could spend entire days in those galleries, but 
my aunt is not well ; she has difficulty in keeping up with 
me, and I sacrifice myself to her comfort. Besides, life is 
all before me ; I shall have time enough to see all this after- 
ward. 

At the Pitti Palace I did not find a single costume to 
copy, but what beauty, what art ? Must I say it ? I dare 
not. Every one will cry " Shame, shame ! " Come then, in 
confidence Well, I don't like the Madonna delta Sedia, 
of Raphael. The countenance of the Virgin is pale, the 
color is not natural, the expression is that of a waiting-maid 



1 8 74.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 31 

rather than that of a Madonna. Ah, but there is a Mag- 
dalen of Titian that enchanted me. Only there is always 
an only her wrists are too thick, and her hands are too 
plump beautiful hands they would be in a woman of fifty. 
There are things of Rubens and Vandyke that are ravishing. 
The " Mensonge," of Salvator Rosa is very natural. I do 
not speak as a connoisseur ; what most resembles nature 
pleases me most. Is it not the aim of painting to copy 
nature ? I like very much the full, fresh countenance of 
the wife of Paul Veronese, painted by him. I like the style 
of his faces. I adore Titian and Vandyke ; but that poor 
Raphael ! Provided only no one knows what I write ! peo- 
ple would take me for a fool. I do not criticise Raphael, 
I don't understand him ; in time I shall no doubt learn to 
appreciate his beauties. The portrait of Pope Leo Tenth, 
I think it is is admirable, however. A " Virgin with the 
Infant Jesus," of Murillo, attracted my attention ; it is fresh 
and natural. To my great satisfaction I found the picture 
gallery smaller than I had thought it to be. Those galleries 
without end those labyrinths more intricate than that of 
Crete are killing. 

I spent two hours in the palace without sitting down for 
an instant, yet I am not tired. That is because the things 
one loves do not tire one. So long as there are paintings, 
and, better still, statues, to be seen, I am made of iron. 
Ah, if I were compelled to walk through the shops of the 
Louvre, or the Bon Marche, or even through the establish- 
ment of Worth, I should be ready to cry at the end of three- 
quarters of an hour. No journey ever pleased me so much 
as this one has done. I find an endless number of things 
that are worth being seen ; I adore those somber Strozzi 
palaces. And I adore those immense doors, those superb 
courts, those galleries, those colonnades. They are majes- 
tic, grand, beautiful ! Ah, the world is degenerating ; one 
would like to sink into the earth when one compares our 



32 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1875. 

modern buildings with those structures of gigantic stones, 
piled one upon another, and mounting up to the sky. One 
passes under bridges that connect palaces at a prodigious 
height. 

Oh, my child, be careful of your expressions ! What 
then, will you say of Rome ? 



1875- 

Friday, Octoberi. God has not done what I asked Him 
to do ; I am resigned ; (not at all, I am only waiting). Oh, 
how tiresome it is to wait, to do nothing but wait ! 

Disorder in the house is a source of great annoyance to 
me. The swallow builds her nest, the lion makes his lair ; 
why, then, should not man, so superior to the other animals, 
follow this example. 

When I say "so superior," I do not mean that I 
esteem man more than the other animals. No ; I despise 
men profoundly and from conviction. I expect nothing 
good from them. I should be satisfied after all my waiting 
to find one good and perfect soul. Those who are good 
are stupid, and those who are intelligent are either too false 
or too self-conceited to be good. Besides, every human be- 
ing is by nature selfish, and find goodness for me if you can 
in an egotist ! Self-interest, deceit, intrigue, envy, rather. 
Happy are they who possess ambition that is a noble pas- 
sion; through vanity or through ambition one seeks to ap- 
pear well in the eyes of others sometimes, and that is better 
than not at all. Well, my child, have you come to the end 
of your philosophy ? For the moment, yes. In this way, 
at least, I shall suffer fewer disappointments. No mean- 
ness will grieve me, no base action surprise me. The day 
will doubtless come when I shall think I have found a 
man,but, if so, I shall deceive myself wofully. I can 



1875.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKlRTSZFF. 33 

well foresee that day ; I shall then be blind. I say this 
now while I can see clearly. But in that case why live ; 
since there is nothing but meanness and wickedness in 
the world ? Why ? Because I am reconciled to the knowl- 
edge that this is so ; because, whatever people may say, life 
is very beautiful. And because, if one does not analyze 
too deeply, one may live happily. To count neither on 
friendship nor gratitude, nor loyalty nor honesty ; to elevate 
one's-self courageously above the meannesses of humanity, 
and take one's stand between them and God ; to get all one 
can out of life, and that quickly ; to do no injury to one's 
fellow-beings ; to make one's life luxurious and magnificent; 
to be independent, so far as it be possible, of others ; to pos- 
sess power ! yes, power ! no matter by what means ! 
this is to be feared and respected ; this is to be strong, and 
that is the height of human felicity, because one's fellow- 
beings are then muzzled, and either through cowardice or 
for other reasons will not seek to tear one to pieces. 

Is it not strange to hear me reason in this way ? Yes, 
but this manner of reasoning in a young creature like me is 
but another proof of how bad the world is ; it must be 
thoroughly saturated with wickedness to have so saddened 
me in so short a time. I am only fifteen. 

And this proves the divine mercy of God ; for, when I 
shall be completely initiated into all the baseness of the 
world, I shall see that there is only He above in the heav- 
ens, and I here below on earth. This conviction will give 
me greater strength ; I shall take note of vulgar things 
only in order to elevate myself, and I shall be happy when 
I am no longer disheartened by the meannesses around 
which men's lives revolve, and which make them fight with 
each other, devour each other, and tear each other to pieces, 
like hungry dogs. 

Here are words enough ! And to what am I going to 
elevate myself ? And how ? Oh, dreams ! 



34 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1875. 

I elevate myself intellectually for the present ; my soul is 
great, I am capable of great things ; but of what use will all 
that be to me, since I live in an obscure corner, unknown 
to all ? 

There, you see that I do set some store by my worthless 
fellow-beings ; that I have never disdained them ; on the 
contrary, I seek them ; without them there is nothing in the 
world. Only only that I value them at their worth, and I 
desire to make use of them. 

The multitude, that is everything. What matter to me a 
few superior beings? I need everybody I need eclat, 
fame ! 

Why can one never speak without exaggeration ? . . . 
There are peaceful souls, there are beautiful actions and 
honest hearts, but they are so rarely to be met with that one 
must not confound them with the rest of the world. 

Saturday, October 9. If I had been born Princess of 
Bourbon, like Madame de Longueville ; if I had counts for 
servitors, kings for relations and friends ; if, since my first 
step in life, I had met only with bowed heads and courtiers 
eager to please me ; if I had trodden only on heraldic 
devices, and slept only under regal canopies, and had had 
a succession of ancestors each one more glorious and 
haughtier than all the rest, it seems to me I should be 
neither prouder nor more arrogant than I am. 

O my God, how I bless thee ! These thoughts with 
which you inspire me will keep me in the right path, and 
will prevent me from turning away my gaze even for an in- 
stant from the luminous star toward which I move. I 
think that, at present, I do not move at all ; but I shall 
move ; and for so slight a cause it is not worth while to 
alter so fine a sentence. Ah, how weary I am of my ob- 
scurity ! I am consumed by inaction ; I am growing moldy 
in this darkness. Oh, for the light, the light, the light ! 



1875.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 35 

From what side will it come to me ? When ? Where ? 
How ? I desire to know nothing, provided only that it 
come ! 

In my moments of wild longing for greatness common 
objects appear to me unworthy of my attention ; my pen 
refuses to write a commonplace word ; I look with supreme 
disdain on everything that surrounds me, and I say to my- 
self with a sigh, " Come, courage ! this stage of existence is 
but the passage to that in which I shall be happy." 

Monday, December 27. All my life is contained in this 
diary ; my calmest moments are those in which I write ; 
they are perhaps my only calm moments. 

If I should die young, I will burn these pages ; but if I 
live to be old, this diary will be given to the public. I 
believe there is no photograph yet, if I may so express my- 
self, of the whole life of a woman of all her thoughts, of 
everything, everything. It will be curious. 

If I die young, and it should chance that my journal is 
not burned, people will say, " Poor child ; she has loved, 
and all her despair comes from that ! " 

Let them say so, I shall not try to prove the contrary, 
for the more I should try to do so the less would I be 
believed. 

What can there be more stupid, more cowardly, more vile, 
than humanity? Nothing. Humanity was created for the 
perdition of good ! I was going to say, of humanity. 

It is three o'clock in the morning, and, as my aunt says, 
I shall gain nothing by losing my sleep. 

Oh, how impatient I am ! I wish to believe that my time 
will come, but something tells me that it will never come ; 
that I shall spend my life in waiting always waiting. 

Tuesday, December 28. I am so nervous that every 
piece of music that is not a galop makes me shed tears. 



3<$ JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1875. 

The most commonplace words of any opera I chance to 
come across touch me to the heart. 

Such a condition of things would do honor to a woman 
of thirty. But to have nerves at fifteen, to cry like a fool 
at every stupid, sentimental phrase I meet, is pitiable. 

Just now I fell on my knees, sobbing, and praying to 
God with outstretched arms, and eyes fixed straight before 
me, just as if He were there in my room. It appears that 
God does not hear me. Yet I cry to Him loudly enough. 

Shall I ever find a dog on the streets, famished, and 
beaten by boys ; a horse that drags behind him from morn- 
ing till night a load beyond his strength ; a miller's ass, a 
church mouse, a professor of mathematics without pupils, 
an unfrocked priest, a poor devil of any kind sufficiently 
crushed, sufficiently miserable, sufficiently sorrowful, suffi- 
ciently humiliated, sufficiently depressed, to be compared to 
me ? The most dreadful thing with me is that humiliations, 
when they are past, do not glide from my heart, but leave 
there their hideous traces. To be compelled to lead a life 
like mine, with a character such as mine ! I have not even 
the pleasures proper to my age ! I have not even the re- 
source that every American girl has, I do not even dance ! 

Wednesday, December 29. My God, if you will make my 
life what I wish it to be, I make a vow, if you will but take 
pity upon me, to go from Kharkoff to Kieff, on foot, like the 
pilgrims. If, along with this, you will satisfy my ambition 
and render me completely happy, I will take a vow to make 
a journey to Jerusalem, and to go a tenth part of the way 
on foot. Is it not a sin to say what I am saying ? Saints 
have made vows ; true, but I seem to be setting conditions. 
No ; God sees that my intention is good, and if I am doing 
wrong He will pardon me, for I desire to do right. 

My God, pardon me and take pity on me ; ordain that 
my vows may be fulfilled ! 



1876.] JOURNAL Of MAR1& BA&8K1RTS&FP. 37 

Holy Mary, it is perhaps stupid of me, but it seems to me 
that you, as a woman, are more merciful, more indulgent ; 
take me under your protection, and I will make a vow to 
devote a tenth of my revenue to all manner of good works. 
If I do wrong, it is without meaning it. Pardon ! 



1876. 

ROME, Saturday, January i. Oh, Nice, Nice! Is there, 
after Paris, a more beautiful city than Nice? Paris and 
Nice, Nice and Paris. France, nothing but France. In 
France only does one live. 

The question now is to study, since that is what I am in 
Rome for. Rome does not produce on me the effect of 
Rome. Is Rome an agreeable place? May I not deceive 
myself? Is it possible to live in any other city than Nice? 
To pass through other cities, to visit them, yes; but to live 
in them, no! 

Bah ! I shall become accustomed to it. 

I am here like a poor transplanted flower. I look out 
of the window, and instead of the Mediterranean I see grimy 
houses; I look out of the other window, and instead of the 
(bateau I see the corridor of the hotel. 

It is a bad thing to acquire habits, and to hate change. 

}VtJnesi1a\\ Januaiy 9. I have seen the facade of St. 
Peter's; it is superb. I was enchanted with it, especially 
with the colonnade to the left, because there no other 
building intercepts the view, and these columns, with the 
sky for a background, produce the most ravishing effect. 
One might fancy one's-self in ancient Greece. 

The bridge and fort of St. Angelo are also after my own 
ideas. 



3^ JOURNAL OF MARtE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

And the Coliseum ! 

What remains for me to say of it, after Byron? 

Friday, January 14. At eleven o'clock my painting- 
master, Katorbinsky, a young Pole, came, bringing with him 
a model a real Christ-face, if the lines and the shadows 
were a little softened. Katorbinsky told me he always took 
him for his model when he wished to paint a Christ. 

I must confess that I was a little frightened when I was 
told to draw from nature, all at once, in this way, without 
any previous preparation. I took the charcoal and bravely 
drew the outlines: "Very good," said my master. "Now 
do the same thing with the brush." I took the brush and 
did as he told me. 

"Good," said he once more; "now work it up." 

And I worked it up, and at the end of an hour and a half 
it was all finished. 

My unhappy model had not budged, and, as for me, I 
could not believe my eyes. With Binsa two or three lessons 
were necessary to draw the outlines and copy a picture, and 
here was the whole thing done at once, after nature out- 
line, coloring, and background. I am satisfied with myself, 
and, if I say this it is because I deserve it. I am severe and 
hard to please, especially where I myself am concerned. 

Nothing is lost in the world. Where, then, does love go? 
Every created being, every individual, is endowed with an 
equal portion of this force or fluid at his birth; only that he 
seems to have more or less of it according to his constitu- 
tion, his character, and his circumstances. Every human 
being loves always, but not always the same object; when 
he seems to love no one, the force goes toward God, or 
toward nature, in words, in writings, or simply in sighs or 
thoughts. 

Now there are persons who eat, drink, laugh, and do 
nothing else: with these the force is either absorbed by the 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 39 

animal instinct, or dissipated among men and things in gen- 
eral; and thise are the persons who are called good-natured, 
and who, generally speaking, are incapable of the passion of 
love. There are persons who love no one, it is sometimes 
said. This is not true; they always Idve some one, but in a 
different manner from others in a manner peculiarly their 
own. But there are still other unhappy persons, who really 
love no one, because they have loved, and love no longer? 
Another error! They love no longer, it is said. Why, then, 
do they suffer? Because they still love, and think they love 
no longer, either because of disappointed affection, or the 
loss of the beloved object. 

Thursday, January 20. To-day Facciotti made me sing 
all my notes. He was struck with admiration. As for me, 
I don't know what to do with myself for joy; my voice, my 
treasure, my dream, that is to cover me with glory on the 
stage! This is for me as great a destiny as to become a 
princess. 

Tuesday, February 15. . . . Rossi came to see us 

to-day. My mother asked him who A was. "He is 

Count A ," replied Rossi; "a nephew of the Cardinal." 

"I asked you who he was," said my mother, "because he 
reminds me very much of my son." 

"He is a charming fellow," returned Rossi; "he is alittle 
passarelh / sprightly and full of intelligence, and he is very 
handsome." 

Friday, Pebruary 18. There was a grand masked ball at 
the Capitol to-night. Dina, my mother, and I went there 
at eleven o'clock. I wore no domino: I was dressed in a 
close-fitting gown of black silk, with a train, a tunic of 
black gauze trimmed with silver lace, light gloves, a rose 
and some lilies of the valley in my corsage. It was charm- 
ing; consequently our entrance produced an immense effect. 



4 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

A has a perfectly beautiful countenance; he has a 

pale complexion, black eyes, a long and regular nose, beau- 
tiful ears, a small mouth, very passable teeth, and the mus- 
tache of a young man of twenty-three. I treated him by 
turns as a young fqp, as a deceitful fellow, as unhappy, as 
audacious; and he told me in return, in the most serious 
manner in the world, how he had run away from home at 
nineteen; how he had thrown himself head-foremost into 
the pleasures of life; how blase he is; how he has never 
loved, etc. 

"How many times have you been in love?" he asked me. 

"Twice." 

"Oh! oh!" 

"Perhaps even oftener." 

"I should like to be the oftener" 

"Presumptuous man! Tell me, why has every one taken 
me for that lady there in white?" 

"Because you resemble her. That is why I am with you. 
I am madly in love with her." 

" It is not very amiable of you to say so." 

" What would you have ! It is the truth." 

" You look at her enough. She is evidently pleased by it, 
for she is posing." 

" Never ! She never poses ; you may say anything else 
of her but that ! " 

" It is easily seen that you are in love." 
. "I am with you ; you resemble her." 

" Oh ! I have a much better figure." 

" No matter. Give me a flower." 

I gave him a flower, and he gave me a spray of ivy in 
return. His accent and his languishing air irritated me. 

" You have the air of a priest. It it true that you are 
going to be ordained ?" I said. 

He laughed. 

"I detest priests ; I have been a soldier." 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE B A SHKIRTSEFF. 41 

" You ! you have never been anywhere but at the sem- 
inary." 

"I hate the Jesuits ; that is why I am always at odds 
with my family." 

" My dear friend, you are ambitious, you would like to 
have people kiss your slipper." 

" What an adorable little hand ! " he cried, kissing my 
hand an operation he repeated several times in the course 
of the evening. 

" Why did you begin so badly with me ? " I asked. 

" Because I took you for a Roman, and I hate that kind 
of woman." 

Wednesday, Febniary 23. Looking down from the bal- 
cony, I saw A , who saluted me. Dina threw him a 

bouquet, and a dozen arms were stretched out to seize it as 

it fell. One man succeeded in catching it ; but A , 

with the utmost sang froid, caught him by the throat, and 
held him in his strong grasp until the wretch let go his prey. 
It was so beautifully done that A looked almost sub- 
lime. I was carried away by my enthusiasm, and forgetting 
my blushes, and blushing anew, I threw him a camellia ; he 
caught it, put it in his pocket, and disappeared. 

You will laugh, perhaps, at what I am going to tell you, 
but I will tell it to you all the same. 

Well, then, by an action like this a man might make him- 
self loved by a woman at once. His air was so calm while 
he was strangling the villain that it took my breath away. 

Monday, February 28. On going out into the balcony on 
the Corso I found all our neighbors at their posts, and the 
Carnival going on with great animation. . . . 

. . . "But what do you do with yourself?" said A , 

with his calm, sweet air. " You do not go to the theater." 

" I was ill ; I have a sore finder." 



42 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

" Where ? " (and he wanted to take my hand.) " Do you 
know that I went every evening to the Apollo, and remained 
only for five minutes or so ? " 

" Why ? " 

" Why ? " he repeated, looking me straight in the eyes. 

" Yes, why ? " 

"Because I went there to see you, and you were not 
there." 

He said a great many other things of the same kind, 
accompanied with tender glances, to my great amusement. 

He has adorable eyes, especially where he does not open 
them too wide. His eyelids, covering a quarter of the 
pupil, give his eyes an expression that makes my heart 
beat, and my head grow dizzy. 

March. At three o'clock we were at the Porta del Po- 

polo. Debeck, Plowden, and A met us there, and A 

helped me to mount my horse, and we set off. 

My riding-habit is of black cloth, and made in a single 
piece by Laferriere, so that it has nothing of the English 
stiffness, nor of the scantiness of riding-habits in general. 
It is a princesse robe, closely fitting everywhere. 

" How chic you are on horseback," said A . 

Plowden annoyed me by wanting to be continually at my 
side. 

Once alone with the Cardinalino the conversation natur- 
ally turned on love. 

" Eternal love is the tomb of love," said he ; "one should 
love for a day, then make a change." 

" A charming idea ! It is from your uncle the Cardinal 
you have learned it, I suppose." 

" Yes," he answered, laughing. 

Tuesday, March 8. I put on my riding-habit, and at five 
o'clock we were at the Porta del Popolo, where the Cardi- 



1876.] JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHK'IRTSEFF. 43 

nalino was waiting for us with two horses. Mamma and 
Dina followed in a carriage. 

" Let us ride in- this direction," said my cavalier. 

" Let us do so." 

And we entered a sort of field a green and pretty place 
called La Farnesina. He began his declarations again, 
saying : 

" I am in despair." 

"What is despair ?" 

"It is when a man desires a thing and cannot have it." 

" You desire the moon ? " 

" No, the sun." 

"Where is it?" I said, looking around the horizon. "It 
has set, I think." 

" No, it is shining upon me now ; you are it." 

" Bah ! bah ! " 

" I have never loved before, I hate women " 

" And as soon as you saw me you loved me ? " 

" Yes, that very instant the first evening I saw you, at 
the theater." 

"You told me that had passed away." 

" I was jesting." 

" How can I tell when you are jesting, and when you are 
in earnest? " 

" That is easy to be seen." 

" True ; one can almost always tell when a person is 
speaking the truth, but you inspire me with no confidence, 
and your fine ideas regarding love with still less." 

" What are my ideas ? I love you and you will not believe 
it. Ah," said he, biting his lips, and giving me a side 
glance, " then I am nothing, I can do nothing." 

" Yes, play the hypocrite," said I, laughing. 

"The hypocrite !" he cried, growing furious. "Always 
the hypocrite ; that is what you think of me ! " 

" How can one help admiring you ? " he said, looking at 



44 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

me fixedly, a little further on ; "You are beautiful, only I 
think you have no heart." 

"On the contrary, I assure you I have an excellent heart." 

" You have an excellent heart, and you don't want to fall 
in love." 

" That depends." 

"You are a spoiled child ; am I not right? " 

" Why should I not be spoiled ? I am not ignorant ; I 
am good ; the only thing is I have a bad temper." 

" I have a bad temper, too : I am passionate ; I can get 
furiously angry ; I want to correct these faults. Shall we 
jump that ditch ?" 

" No." 

And I rode across the little bridge, while he jumped the 
ditch. 

" Let us canter toward the carriage," he said, " we have 
finished the descent." 

I put my horse into a trot, but a few paces from the car- 
riage he began to gallop. I turned to the right. A 
followed me, my horse galloping rapidly. I tried to hold 
him in, but he dashed forward madly ; I had lost control of 
him ; there was an open space in front ; my hair fell down 
on my shoulders, my hat dropped on the ground. I could 

hear A behind me ; I felt what they must be suffering 

in the carriage. I had a mind to jump to the ground, but 
the horse flew on like an arrow. " It is stupid to be killed 
in this way," I thought I had no longer any strength. 
" They must save me ! " 

" Hold him in ! " cried A. who could not catch up 

with me. 

" I cannot," I answered in a low voice. 

My arms trembled ; an instant more and I should have 
lost consciousness ; just then he came close to me and 
gave my horse a blow across the head with his whip ; I 
seized his arm, as much to touch him as to stop myself. 



1876.] JOL'RXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 45 

I looked at him ; he was pale as death ; never had I seen 
a countenance so full of emotion ! 

" God ! " he said, " how you have made me suffer ! " 

" Ah, yes, but for you I should have fallen ; I could hold 
the reins no longer. Now it is over well, that is good." 
I added, trying to laugh. " Let some one give me my hat ! " 

Dina had got out of the carriage, which we now approached. 
Mamma was beside herself with terror, but she said nothing 
to me. She knew that something was the matter, and did 
not wish to annoy me. 

" We will return slowly, step by step, to the Porta del 
Popolo," he said. 

" Yes, yes ! " 

" How you frightened me ! And you were you not 
afraid ? " 

" No, I assure you, no." 

" Oh, but you were I could see it." 

" It was nothing nothing at all." 

And in a second more we were declining the verb " to 
love," in all its moods and tenses ; he told me everything, 
from the first evening he had seen me at the opera, when, 
observing Rossi leaving our box, he left his own to go meet 
him. 

When we returned home I took off my habit, threw on a 
wrapper, and lay down on the sofa, tired, charmed, con- 
fused. I could remember nothing clearly at first, of all 
that had taken place ; it took me a couple of hours to get 
together what you have just read. I should be at the 
height of joy if I believed him, but notwithstanding his air 
of sincerity, of candor even, I doubt him. This is what it 
is to be " canaille" one's-self. And besides it is better that it 
should be so. 

Tuesday, March 4. . . . To-day we leave the Hotel de 
Londres ; we have taken a large and handsome apartment 



46 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

on the first floor, in the Hotel della via Babuina consisting 
of an ante-chamber, a large drawing-room, a small drawing- 
room, four bed-rooms, a studio, and servants' rooms. 

Saturday, March 18. I have never yet had a moment's 

tete-a tete with Pietro A ; this vexes me. I love to hear 

him tell me that he loves me. When he has told it to me over 
and over again, I rest my elbows on the table and think with 
my head between my hands. Perhaps I am in love with him. 
It is when I am tired and half-asleep that I think I love 
Pietro. Why am I vain ? Why am I ambitious ? Why do 
I reason coldly about my emotions ? I cannot make up my 
mind to sacrifice to a moment's happiness whole years of 
greatness and satisfied ambition. 

" Yes," say the romance-writers, "but that moment's hap- 
piness is sufficient to brighten by its splendor an entire life- 
time." Oh, no ; to-day I am cold, and in love ; to-morrow 
I shall be warm, and in love no longer. See on what changes 
of temperature the destinies of men depend. 

When he was going A kept my hand in his while he 

said good-night, and asked me a dozen questions, afterward, 
to defer the moment of our parting. 

I told all this immediately to mamma. I tell her every- 
thing. 

Friday, March 24 ; Saturday, March 25. A came a 

quarter of an hour earlier than usual to-day ; he looked 
pale, interesting, sorrowful, and calm. When Fortune an- 
nounced him, I clothed myself at once from head to foot in 
an armor of cold politeness such as a woman uses when she 
wishes to make a man in his position angry. 

I let him spend ten minutes with mamma before going in. 
Poor fellow ! he is jealous of Plowden ! What an ugly 
thing it is to be in love ! 

" I had sworn not to come again to see you," he said. 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 47 

" Why have you come, then ? " 

" I thought it would be rude toward your mother, who is 
so amiable to me, if I stayed away." 

" If that is the reason, you may go away novs, and not 
come back again. Good-by." 

" No, no, no, it is on your account." 

" Well, that is different." 

" Mademoiselle, I have committed a great mistake," he 
said, " and I know it." 

" What mistake ? " 

" That of giving you to understand of telling you " 

"What?" 

" That I love you," he said, with a contraction of the lips, 
as if he found it hard to keep from crying. 

" That was not a mistake." 

" It was a great a very great mistake ; because you 
play with me as if I were a ball or a doll." 

"What an idea!" 

" Oh, I am well aware that that is your character. You 
love to amuse yourself ; well, then, amuse yourself ; it is 
my own fault." 

" Let us amuse ourselves together." 

" Then it was not to dismiss me that you told me at the 
theater to leave you ? " 

" No." 

" It was not to get rid of me ? " 

" I have no need to make use of a stratagem, Monsieur, 
when I want to get rid of any one. I do it quite simply, 
as I did with B ." 

" Ah, and you told me that was not true." 

" Let us speak of something else.' 

He rested his cheek against my hand. 

" Do you love me ? " he asked. 

" No, not the least bit in the world." 

He did not believe a word of it. At this moment Dina 



4 8 JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

and mamma entered the room, and at the end of a few 
minutes he left. 

Monday, March 27. In the evening we had visitors, 

among others A . I think he has spoken to his father, 

and that his communication has not been well received. I 
cannot decide upon anything. I am entirely ignorant of the 
condition of affairs, and I would not for anything in all 
the world consent to go live in another family. Am I not 
extremely sensible for a girl of my age? 

" I will follow you wherever you go," he said to me the 
other evening. 

" Come to Nice," I said to him to-day. He remained 
with bent head, without answering, which proves to me that 
he has spoken to his father. I do not understand it ; I 
love him and I do not love him. 

Monday, March 30. To-day Visconti spoke to mamma 
about A 's attentions. . . 

" Pietro A is a charming young man," he ended, " and 

will be very rich, but the Pope interferes in all the affairs of 
the A 's, and the Pope will make difficulties." 

"But why do you say all that? " mamma answered ; "there 
is no question of marriage. I love the young man like a 
son, but not as a future son-in-law." 

It would be well to leave Rome, the more so as nothing 
will be lost by putting off the matter till next winter. . . . 

What irritates me is that the opposition does not come 

from our side but from the side of the A 's. This is 

hateful, and my pride revolts against it. 

Let us leave Rome. 

In the evening Pietro A came. We received him 

very coldly in consequence of the Baron Visconti's words, 
and our own suspicions ; for, except the words of Visconti, 
all the rest is only suspicion. 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 49 

" To-morro\v," said Pietro, after a few moments, " I leave 
Rome." 

" And where are you going ? " I asked. 

" To Terracina. I shall remain there a week, I think." 

" They are sending him away," said mamma to me in 
Russian. 

I had said the same thing to myself, but what a humilia- 
tion ! I was ready to cry with rage. 

" Yes, it is disagreeable," I replied in the same language. 

When we were, alone I attacked the question bravely, 
though with some nervousness. 

" Why are you leaving Rome ? Where are you going ? " 

Well, if you think he answered those questions as plainly 
as I put them, you are mistaken. 

I continued to question him, and he evaded answering. 

... I wanted to know all, at any cost. This state of 
disquiet and suspicion made me too miserable. 

" Well, monsieur," I said, "you wish me to love a man of 
whom I know nothing, who conceals everything from me ! 
Speak, and I will believe you ! Speak, and I promise to give 
you an answer. Listen well to what I say : after you have 
spoken, I promise to give you an answer." 

" But you will laugh at me, mademoiselle, if I tell you. It 
is so great a secret that if I tell it to you there will be noth- 
ing left for me to conceal. There are things that one can 
tell no one." 
' " Speak, I am waiting." 

" I will tell it to you, but you will laugh at me." 

"I swear to you I will not." 

After many promises not to laugh, and not to betray it to 
any one, he at last told me the secret. 

It seems that last year, when he was a soldier at Vicenza, 
he contracted debts to the amount of thirty-four thousand 
francs. When he returned home ten months later he had a 
quarrel with his father, who refused to pay them. At last, 



5 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

a few days ago, he pretended he was going to leave the 
house, saying that he was badly treated at home. Then his 
mother told him that his father would pay his debts, on 
condition that he would promise to lead a sensible life. 
"And to begin," she said, "and before being reconciled 
with your parent, you must be reconciled with God." He 
had not confessed himself for a long time past. 

In short, he is going to retire for a week to the convent of 
San Giovanni and Paolo, Monte Coelio, near the Coliseum. 

I found it hard enough to remain serious, I can assure 
you. To us all this seems odd, but it is natural enough to 
the Catholics of Rome. 

This, then, is his secret. . . . 

Next Sunday, at two in the afternoon, lam to be in front 
of the convent, and he will show himself at the window, 
pressing a white handkerchief to his lips. 

After he went away I ran to soothe mamma's wounded 
pride, by telling her all this ; but with a smile, so as not to 
appear as if I were in love with him. 

Friday, Marckzi- Poor Pietro in a cassock, shut up 
in a cell, with four sermons a day, a mass, vespers, matins 
I cannot accustom myself to so strange an idea. 

My God, do not punish me for my vanity. I swear to you 
that I am good at heart, incapable of cowardice or baseness. 
I am ambitious that is my greatest fault ! The beauties 
and the ruins of Rome make me dizzy. I should like to be 
Cassar, Augustus, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caracalla, Satan, 
the Pope ! I should like to be all these and I am nothing. 

But I am always myself ; you may convince yourself of 
that by reading my diary. The details and the shading of 
the picture change, but the outlines are always the same. 

Wednesday, April 5. .... I paint and I read, but that 
is not enough. For a vain creature like me it is best to 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 51 

devote one's-self entirely to painting, because that is im- 
perishable. 

I shall be neither a poet nor a philosopher, nor a savante. 
I can be nothing more than a singer and a painter. But 
that is always something. And then I want to be talked of 
by everybody, which is the principal thing. Stern moralists, 
do not shrug your shoulders and censure me with an affected 
indifference for worldly things because I speak in this way. 
If you were more just you would confess that you yourselves 
are the same at heart ! You take very good care not to let 
it be seen, but that does not prevent you from knowing in 
your inmost souls that I speak the truth. 

Vanity ! Vanity ! Vanity ! 

The beginning and the end of all things, and the eternal 
and sole cause of all things. That which does not spring 
from vanity springs from passion. Vanity and passion are 
the sole masters of the world. 

Friday, April 7. I liv" in torture ! Oh, how expressive 
is the Russian saying, " To have a cat in one's heart " ! I 
have a cat hidden in my heart. It makes, me suffer incredi- 
bly to think it possible that a man I care for should not 
love me. 

Pietro has not come ; he left the convent only this even- 
ing. I saw his clerical and hypocritical brother, Paul 

A , to-day. There is a creature to be crushed under 

foot little, black, sallow, vile, hypocritical Jesuit ! 

If the affair of the monastery be true he must know of it, 
and how he must laugh with his mean, cunning air as he 
relates it to his friends ! Pietro and Paul cannot abide 
each other. 

Sunday, April 9. I have been to confession and received 
absolution, and now I fly into a passion and swear. A cer- 
tain amount of sin is as necessary to a man's existence, as 



5 2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

a certain volume of air is to sustain life. .Why are men 
attached to this earth ? Because the weight of their con- 
science drags them down. If their conscience were pure, 
men would be too light to keep their footing on this planet, 
and would soar up to the skies like little red balloons. 

There is a fantastic theory for you ! No matter ! 

And Pietro does not come. 

Monday, April 10. They have shut him up forever. No, 
only for the time I am to remain in Rome. 

To-morrow I go to Naples ; they cannot have foreseen 
this trick. Besides, once he is released, he will come in 
search of me. . . . 

I don't know whether to think him a worthless fellow, a 
coward, or a child whom they tyrannize over. I am quite 
calm, but sad. It is only necessary to look at things from 
a certain point of view, mamma says, in order to see that 
nothing in the world is of any consequence. I am in com- 
plete accord with madame, my mother, as to this, but to be 
able to judge what that point of view is in the present in- 
stance, I must first know the exact truth. All that I now 
know is that this is a strange adventure. 

Tuesday, April 18. At noon to-day we set out for Pom- 
peii ; we are to make the journey in a carriage, as we pass 
through a beautiful country and can thus enjoy the view of 
Vesuvius and of the cities of Castellamare and Sorrento. 

I overheard mamma speaking of marriage. 

"Woman is made to suffer," she said, "even if she has 
the best of husbands." 

" Woman before marriage," I said, " is Pompeii before 
the eruption ; and woman after marriage is Pompeii after 
the eruption." 

It may be that I am right ! 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE B.I SHKIRTSEFF. 53 

Wednesday, April 19. See at what a disadvantage I am 
placed ! Pietro, without me, has his club, society, his 
friends everything, in a word, except me ; while I, without 
Pietro, have nothing. 

His love forme is only the occupation of his idle moments, 
while mine for him is everything to me. He made me for- 
get my ambition to play an active part in the world ; I had 
ceased to think of it, I thought only of him, too happy to 
escape thus from my anxieties. Whatever I may become 
in the future, I bequeath my journal to the world. I offer 
you here what no one has ever yet seen. All the memories, 
the journals, the letters, which are given to the public are 
only inventions glossed over, and intended to deceive the 
world. I have no interest in deceiving any one ; I have 
neither any political action to gloss over, nor any unworthy 
action to conceal. No one troubles himself whether I am 
in love or not, whether I weep or whether I laugh. My 
chief anxiety is to express myself with as much exactness as 
possible. I do not deceive myself in regard to my style or 
my orthography. I can write letters without mistakes, but 
in this ocean of words, doubtless, I make a great many. 
Besides, I am not a Frenchwoman, and I make mistakes in 
French. Yet if you asked me to express myself in my own 
language I should do it still worse, perhaps. 

ROME, Monday, April 24. I had matter enough to keep 
me writing all day, but I have no longer a clear idea of any- 
thing. I only know that in the Corso we met A , that 

he ran up to the carriage, radiant and joyous ; and that he 
asked if we should be at home in the evening. We said we 
should be, alas ! 

He came, and I went into the drawing-room and took 
part in the conversation quite naturally like the others. He 
told me he had remained four days in the convent, and that 
he had then gone to the country ; that he was at present on 



54 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

good terms with his father and mother ; and that he was now 
going to be sensible and to think of his future. Finally, 
he said that I had amused myself at Naples ; that I had 
been flirting there as usual, and that this showed I did not 
love him. He told me also that he had seen me the other 
Sunday near the Convent San Giovanni and Paolo ; and to 
prove that he spoke the truth he told me how I was dressed 
and what I was doing ; and I must confess he was correct. 

" Do you love me ?" he asked me at last. 

"And you?" 

" Ah, that is the way with you always ; you are always 
laughing at me." 

" And what if I should say that I do ? " 

He is altogether changed ; in twenty days' time he seems 
to have become a man of thirty. He speaks quite differ- 
ently ; he has become surprisingly sensible, and has grown 
as diplomatic as a Jesuit. 

" You know I play the hypocrite," he said ; " I bow down 
before my father, I agree to everything he wishes ; I have 
grown very sensible, and I think of my future." 

Perhaps I shall be able to write more to-morrow ; to-night 
I am so stupid that I cannot. 

Tuesday, April 25. " I will come to-morrow," he said, 
to pacify me, "and we will talk over all this seriously." 

" It is useless," I said. " I see now how much I can de- 
pend upon your fine professions of love. You need not 
come back," I added more faintly. "You have vexed me ; 
I bid you good-by in anger, and I shall not sleep to-night. 
You may boast of having put me in a rage go ! " 

" But, mademoiselle, how unjust you are ! To-morrow 
I will speak with you when you are calmer." 

It is he who complains ; it is he who says I have always 
repulsed him ; that I have always laughed at him ; that I 
have never loved him. In his place I should have said the 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRT^EFF. 55 

same ; nevertheless, I find him very dignified and very self- 
possessed for a man who is really in love. I know how to 
love better than that ; at any rate I am furious, furious, 
furious ! 

It was still raining when the Baron Visconti who, not- 
withstanding his age, is both charming and spirituel was 
announced. Suddenly, while discussing the Odescalchi 
marriage, the conversation turned on Pietro. 

" Well, madame, the boy, as you call him, is not a 
parti to be despised," he said, " for the poor Cardinal 
may die at any moment, so that one of these days his 
nephews will be millionnaires, and Pietro, consequently, a 
millionnaire." 

" Do you know, Baron, they tell me the young man is 
going to enter the convent," said mamma. 

" Oh, no, indeed, I assure you ; he is thinking of some- 
thing altogether different!" 

o o 

Then the talk turned on Rome, and I observed that I 
should be sorry to leave it. 

" Remain here, then," said the Baron. 

" I should like very much to do so." 

" I am glad to see that you are fond of our city." 

" Do you know," I said, "that they are going to leave me 
here in a convent ? " 

" Oh," said Visconti, " I hope you will stay here from 
another reason than that. We shall find the means, I 
will find them," he said, pressing my hand warmly. 

Mamma was radiant, I was radiant ; it was quite an 
aurora borealis. 

This evening, contrary to our expectations, we had a 
great many visitors, among them A . 

Our visitors were seated at one table ; Pietro and I at 
another. We talked of love in general, and Pietro's love in 
particular. His principles are deplorable, or rather he is 
so crazy that he has none. He spoke so lightly of his love 



5 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

for me that I don't know what to think. And then his 
character is wonderfully like my own. 

I don't know how it was, but at the end of five minutes 
we were good friends again ; everything was explained and 
we agreed to marry ; he did, at least ; I remained silent for 
the most part. 

" You leave Rome on Thursday ?"*' he said. 

" Yes, and you will forget me." 

" Ah, no, indeed ; I am going to Nice." 

" When ? " 

" As soon as I can ; for the present I cannot." 

" Why not ? Tell me, tell me this instant ! " 

" My father will not allow it." 

" You have only to tell him the truth." 

" Of course I shall tell him that I go there on your 
account, that I love you, and that I wish to marry you but 
not yet. You do not know my father. He has only just 
forgiven me ; I dare not ask anything more from him for 
the present." 

" Speak to him to-morrow." 

" I dare not ; I have not yet gained his confidence. Only 
think, he had not spoken to me for three years ; we had 
ceased to speak to each other. In a month I will be at 
Nice." 

" In a month I shall be no longer there." 

"And where shall you go?" 

"To Russia. I shall go away and you will forget me." 

"But I shall be at Nice in a fortnight, and then and 
then we will go away together. I love you, I love you," 
he ended, falling on his knees. 

"Are you happy?" I asked, pressing his head between 
my hands. 

''Oh, yes, because I believe in you I believe your 
word." 

"Come to Nice, now," I said. 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 57 

"Ah, if I could!" 

"What one wants to do, one can do." 

Thursday, April 27. ... At the railway station I 
walked up and down the platform with the Cardinalino. 

"I love you," he cried, "and I shall always love you, to 
my misfortune, it may be." 

"And you can see me go away with indifference." 

"Oh, don't say that. You must not speak so; you do 
not know what I have suffered. Since I have known you I 
am completely changed; but you, you always treat me as if 
I were the most despicable of men. For you I have broken 
with the past; for you I have endured everything; for you 
I have made this peace with my family. . . . Will you 
write to me?" 

"Don't ask too much," I said gravely. "It is a great 
favor if a young girl permits herself to be written to. If 
you don't know that, I shall teach it to you. But they are 
entering the car. Let us not lose time in useless discus- 
sion. Will you write to me?" 

' 'Yes, and all that you can say is of no avail. I feel that 
I love you as I can never love again. Do you love me?" 

I nodded affirmatively. 

"Will you always love me?" 

The same sign. 

"Good-by, then." 

"Till when?" 

"Till next year." 

"No!" 

"Come, come, good-by." 

And without giving him my hand I went into the railway 
coach where our people were already seated. 

"You have not shaken hands with me," he said, ap- 
proaching the car. 

I gave him my hand, 



5 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

"I love you!" he said, very pale. 

"Au revoir," I answered softly. 

"Think of me sometimes," he said, growing still paler; 
"as for me, I shall do nothing else but think of you." 

"Yes; au revvir." 

The train started, and for a few seconds I could still see 
him looking after me with an expression of deep emotion 
on his countenance; then he walked a few steps toward the 
door, but as the train was still in view, he stopped again, 
mechanically crushed his hat down over his eyes, took a 
few steps forward, and then then we were already out of 
sight. 

NICE, Friday, April 28. . . . The house is charmingly 
furnished; my room is dazzling, all upholstered in sky-blue 
satin. On opening the window of the balcony and looking 
out on our pretty little garden, the Promenade, and the sea, 
I could not help saying aloud : 

"They may say what- they will, but there is no place at 
once so charmingly home-like and so adorably romantic as 
Nice." 

Sunday, May 7. One finds a miserable satisfaction in 
having cause to despise everybody. At least one no longer 
cherishes illusions. If Pietro has forgotten me, I have been 
grossly insulted, and there is another name to inscribe on 
the list of those to whom I owe hatred and revenge. 

Such as they are, I am satisfied with my fellow-beings and 
I like them; my interests are the same as theirs; I live 
among them, and on them depend my fortune and my hap- 
piness. All this is stupid enough. But in this world what 
is not stupid is sad, and what is not sad is stupid. 

To-morrow at three o'clock I start for Rome, to enjoy the 

gayeties there, as well as to show A my contempt for 

him if the occasion should present itself. 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 59 

ROME, Thursday, May n. ... I left Nice yesterday 
at two o'clock, with my aunt. . . . We arrived here at two. 
1 took my aunt to the Corso. (What a delightful thing it 
is to see the Corso again after Nice!) Simonetti came over 
to us. I presented him to Mme. Romanoff, and told him it 
was by a miraculous chance I was in Rome. 

I made a sign to Pietro to come to us; he was radiant, 
and looked at me with a glance that shows he has taken 
everything seriously. 

He made us laugh a great deal telling us about his sojourn 
in the monastery. He had consented, he said, to go there 
for four days, and they kept him for seventeen. 

"Why did you tell me a falsehood?" I asked. "Why 
did you say you were going to Terracina?" 

"Because I was ashamed to tell you the truth." 

"And do your friends at the club know of it?" 

"Yes; at first I said I had gone to Terracina; then they 
asked me about the monastery, and I ended by telling 
them all about it; I laughed, and everybody laughed. Only 
Torlonia was furious." 

"Why?" 

"Because I did not tell him the truth at first; because I 
had not confidence in him." 

Then he told us how, in order to please his father, he 
had let a rosary fall, as if by chance, out of his pocket, so 
that it might be thought he always carried one. I said all 
sorts of mocking and impertinent things to him, to all of 
which he responded, I must say, with a good deal of spirit. 

Saturday \ May 13. I feel unable to write to-night, and 
yet something compels me to write. So long as I leave 
anything unsaid, something within torments me. 

I chatted and made tea to the best of my ability till half- 
past ten. Then Pietro arrived. Simonetti went away soon 
afterward, and we three were left alone. The talk turned 



60 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

on my diary, that is to say, on the questions I have touched 

on in it, and A asked me to read him some extracts 

from it on God and the soul. I went to the antechamber, 
and knelt down beside the famous white box to look up the 
passages while Pietro held the light. But in doing so I 
came across others of more general interest, and read them 
aloud. And this lasted almost half an hour. On returning 

to the drawing-room A began to tell us all sorts of 

anecdotes of his past life, from the time he was eighteen. I 
listened to everything he said with something like jealousy 
and terror. 

In the first place, his absolute dependence upon his 
family freezes my blood. If they were to forbid him to 
love me, 1 am certain he would obey. 

The thought of the priests, the monks, terrifies me, not- 
withstanding all he has told me of their piety. It frightens 
me to hear of the atrocities they perpetrate, of their tyranny. 

Yes, they make me afraid, and his two brothers also, but 
this is not what most troubles me; I am free to accept or to 
refuse him. All I heard to-night and the conclusions I 
drew from it, taken in connection with what has passed 
between us, confuse my mind. 

Wednesday, May 17. I had much to write about yester- 
day but it was nothing compared to what I have to write 
about to-night. He spoke to me again of his love. I told 
him it was useless; that my family would never consent. 

"They would be right in not doing so," he said dreamily. 
"I could not make any woman happy. I have told my 
mother everything; I spoke to her about you. I said, 'She 
is so good and so religious, while as for me I believe in 
nothing, I am only a miserable creature.' See, I remained 
seventeen days in the monastery, I prayed, I meditated, and 
I do not believe in God; religion does not exist for me, I 
believe in nothing." 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 6l 

I looked at him in terror. 

"You must believe," I said, taking his hand in mine; 
"you must correct your faults; you must be good." 

"That is impossible; and as I am no- one could love me. 
Am I not right? I am very unhappy," he continued: "you 
could never form an idea of my position. I am apparently 
on good terms with my family, but qnly apparently. I detest 
them all my father, my brothers, my mother herself. I am 
unhappy; if you ask me why, I cannot tell you. I do not 
know. Oh, the priests!" he cried, clenching his fists and 
grinding his teeth as he raised to heaven a face hideous with 
hatred. "The priests! oh, if you knew what they were!" 

It was fully five minutes before he grew calm. 

"I love you, however, and you only. When I am with 
you I am happy," he said at last. 

"Give me the proof." 

"Speak." 

"Come to Nice." 

"You put me out of my senses when you say that; you 
know that I cannot go." 

" Why not ? " 

" Because my father will not give me the money ; because 
my father does not wish me to go to Nice." 

" I understand that very well, but if you tell him why you 
wish to go ? " 

" He would still refuse his consent ; I have spoken to my 
mother ; she does not believe me. They are so accustomed 
to see me behave badly that they no longer believe in me." 

" You must reform ; you must come to Nice." 

" But you have told me that I shall be refused." 

" I have not said you would be refused by me." 

" Ah, that would be too much happiness," he said, look- 
ing at me intently ; " That would be a dream." 

" But a beautiful dream ; is it not so? " 

" Ah, yes ! " 



62 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

" Then you will ask your father to let you go ? " 

" Yes, certainly ; but he does not wish me to marry." 

" All is ended, then," I said, drawing back. " Fare- 
well !" 

" I love you ! " 

" I believe you," I said, pressing both his hands in mine, 
" and I pity you." 

" You will never love me ? " 

"When you are free." 

" When I am dead." 

" I cannot love you at present, for I pity you, and I de- 
spise you. If they commanded you not to love me, you 
would obey." 

"Perhaps!" 

" That is frightful ! " 

" I love you," he repeated for the hundredth time, and he 
went away, his eyes filled with tears. 

He came back once more and I bade him farewell. 

" No, not farewell." 

" Yes, yes, yes, farewell. I loved you until this conversa- 
tion." (1881. / never loved him ; all this was but the effect 
of an excited imagination in search of romance?) 

For the past three days I have had a new idea it is that 
I am going to die. I cough and complain. The day before 
yesterday I was seated in the drawing-room at two o'clock 
in the morning ; my aunt urged me to retire, but I paid no 
heed to her ; I said I was convinced that I was going 
to die. 

"Ah," said my aunt, " from the way in which you behave 
I don't doubt but that you will die." 

" So much the better for you ; you will have less to 
spend ; you will not have to pay so much to Laferriere ! " 

And being seized with a fit of coughing I threw myself 
face downward on the sofa, to the terror of my aunt, who 
left the room so as to make it appear that she was angry. 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 63 

Friday, May 19. ... I have just been singing, and 
my chest pains me ; here you see me playing the role of 
martyr ! It is too stupid ! My hair is dressed in the fashion 
of the Capitoline Venus : I am in white, like a Beatrice ; 
and I have a rosary with a mother-of-pearl cross around my 
neck. Say what you will, there is in man a certain leaning 
toward idolatry a necessity for experiencing physical sensa- 
tions. God, in His simple grandeur, is not enough. One 
must have images to look at and crosses to kiss. Last night 
I counted the beads on the rosary ; there were sixty, and I 
prostrated myself sixty times on the ground, touching the 
floor with my forehead each time I did so. I was quite out 
of breath when it was over, but I thought I had performed 
an act agreeable in the sight of God. It was no doubt 
absurd, but the intention was there. Does God take inten- 
tions into account ! Ah, but I have here the New Testa- 
ment. Let me see. As I could not find the good book I 
read Dumas instead. It is not quite the same thing. 

When Count A was announced this evening I was 

alone. . . . My heart beat so violently that I was afraid it 
would be heard, as they say in novels. 

He seated himself beside me and tried to take my hand, 
which I withdrew immediately. 

" I have so many things to say to you," he began. 

"Indeed?" . . . 

" But serious things." 

" Let us hear them." . . . 

" Listen : I have spoken to my mother, and my mother 
has spoken to my father." 

"Well?" 

" I have done right, have I not ? " 

" That does not concern me ; whatever you have done 
you have done to please yourself." 

" You no longer love me ?" he asked. 

" No." 



64 JOURNAL OF MARfE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

"And I, I love you madly." 

" So much the worse for you," I said, smiling, and allow- 
ing him to take my hands in his. 

" No, listen," he said; "let us speak seriously; you are 
never serious ; I love you, I have spoken to my mother. Be 
my wife ! " 

" At last ! " I thought to myself. But I remained silent. 

" Well ? " he said. 

" Well," I answered, smiling. 

" You know," he said, encouraged by this, " it is necessary 
to take some one into our confidence." 

" What do you mean ?" 

" This : I can do nothing myself. We must find some 
one who will undertake the affair some one of respect- 
ability who is serious and dignified, who will speak to my 
father and arrange the whole matter, in short. But whom?" 

" Visconti," I said, laughing. 

" Yes," he replied very seriously, " I had thought of 
Visconti ; he is the man we need. . . Only," he resumed, 
" I am not rich not at all rich. Ah, I wish I were a hump- 
back and had millions." 

" You would gain nothing in my eyes by that." 

" Oh ! oh ! oh ! " he exclaimed incredulously. 

" I believe you wish to insult me," I said, rising. 

" No, I don't say that on your account ; you are an 
exception to women." 

" Then don't speak to me of money." 

" Heavens, what a creature you are ! One can never 
understand what you want. Consent consent to be my 
wife ! " 

He wished to kiss my hand ; I held the cross of the 
rosary before him, which he kissed instead ; then raising 
his head : 

" How religious you arel " he said, looking at me. 

" And you, you believe in nothing?" 



1876.] JOURNAL OP MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 65 

" I ? I love you ; do you love me ? " 

" I don't say those things." 

" Then, for Heaven's sake, give me to understand it, at 
least." 

After a moment's hesitation I gave him my hand. 

" You consent ? " 

" Not too fast ! " I said, rising; "you know there are my 
father and my grandfather, and they will strongly oppose 
my marrying a Catholic." 

" Ah, there is that, too ! " 

" Yes, there is that, too." 

" He took me by the arm and made me stand beside him 
before the glass ; we looked very handsome standing thus 
together. 

" We will give it in charge to Visconti," said A . 

"Yes." 

" He is the man we need. . . . But we are both so young 
to marry ; do you think we shall be happy?" 

" You must first get my consent." 

"Of course. Well, then, if you consent, shall we be happy?" 

"7/1 consent, I can swear to you by my head that there 
will be no happier man in the world than you." 

" Then let us be married. Be my wife." 

I smiled. . . . 

At this moment voices were heard on the staircase, and I 
sat down quietly to wait for my aunt, who soon entered. 

A great weight was lifted from my heart. . . . 

At twelve A rose, and bade me good-night, with a 

warm pressure of the hand. 

" Good-night," I answered. 

Our glances met, I cannot tell how, it was like a flash of 
lightning. 

"Well, aunt," I said, after he had gone, "we leave early 
to-morrow. You retire, and I will lock the door of your 

* Marie belonged to the Greek Church, of Russia. 



66 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. [1876. 

room so that I need not disturb you by my writing, and I 
will soon go to bed." 

" You promise ? " 

"Certainly." 

I locked my aunt's door, and after a glance at the mirror 
went downstairs, and Pietro glided like a shadow through 
the half-open door. 

" So much may be said without words when one is in love. 
As for me, at least I love you," he murmured. 

I amused myself by imagining this to be a scene from a 
novel, and thought involuntarily of the novels of Dumas. 

" I leave to-morrow," I said, " and we have so many things 
to talk seriously about, which I had forgotten." 

" That is because you no longer think of anything." 

" Come," I said, partly closing the door, so that only a 
ray of light could pass through. 

And I sat down on the lowest step of the little stairs at 
the end of the passage. 

He knelt down by my side. 

I fancied at every moment that I heard some one coming. 
I remained motionless, and trembled at every drop of rain 
that fell on the flags. 

"It is nothing," said my impatient lover. 

" It is very easy for you to say that, monsieur. If any 
one should come, it would only flatter your vanity, and I 
should be lost." 

With head thrown back I looked at him through my half- 
closed lids. 

'"Through me ? n he said, misunderstanding the mean- 
ing of my words. " I love you too much ; you are safe 
with me." 

I gave him my hand, on hearing these noble words. 

" Have I not always shown my consideration and respect 
for you ? " he said. 

" Oh, no ; not always. Once you even wanted to kiss me." 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 67 

" Don't speak of that, I entreat you. I have begged your 
forgiveness for it so often. Be good and forgive me." 

" I have forgiven you," I said softly. 

I felt so happy ! Is this what it is to be in love, I thought ? 
Is it serious? I thought every moment he was going to 
laugh, he looked so grave and tender. 

I lowered my glance before the extraordinary intensity 
of his. 

" But see, we have again forgotten our affairs. Let us be 
serious, and talk of them." 

" Yes, let us talk of them. 

" In the first place, what are we to do if you go away to- 
morrow ? Stay ! I entreat you, stay ! " 

" Impossible ; my aunt " 

" She is so good ! Oh, stay ! " 

" She is good, but she will not consent to that. Good-by, 
then, perhaps forever ! " 

" No, no ; you have consented to be my wife." 

" When ? " 

" Toward the end of the month I will be at Nice. If 
you consent to my borrowing, I will go to-morrow." 

" No, I will not have that ; I would never see you again 
in that case." . . . 

"Advise me; you, who reason like a book, advise me 
what to do." 

" Pray to God," I said, holding my cross before him ; 
ready to laugh if he ridiculed my advice, or to maintain my 
air of gravity if he took it seriously. He saw my impassive 
countenance, pressed the cross against his forehead, and 
bent his head in prayer. 

" I have prayed," he said. 

"Truly?" 

" Truly. But let us continue. We will entrust the whole 
affair to Baron Visconti then." 

" Very well." 



68 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHtflR'TSEFF. [1876. 

I said " Very well," and thought " CONDITIONALLY." 

" But all that cannot be done immediately," I resumed. 

" In two months." 

"Are you jesting?" I asked, as if what he suggested 
were the most impossible thing in the world. 

" In six months, then?" 

" No." 

" In a year." 

" Yes, in a year ; will you wait ? " 

*' If I must on condition that I shall see you every 
day." 

"Come to Nice, for in a month I go to Russia." 

" I will follow you." 

" You cannot." 

" And why not ? " 

"My mother would not allow it." 

" No one can prevent my traveling." 

" Don't say stupid things." 

" Oh, how I love you ! " 

I leaned toward him so as not to lose a single one of his 
words. 

" I shall always love you," he said. " Be my wife." . . . 
He proposed that we should confide all our secrets to each 
other. 

"Oh, as to yours, they do not interest me." 

"Tell me, mademoiselle," he said, "how many times have 
you been in love ? " 

" Once." 

"And with whom?" 

" With a man I do not know, whom I saw ten or twelve 
times in the street, and who is not even aware of my exist- 
ence. I was twelve years old at the time, and I had never 
spoken to him." 

" What you tell me is like f.ction." 

"It is the truth." 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 69 

" But this is a novel, a fantastic tale. Such a feeling 
would be impossible ; it would be like loving a shadow." 

" Yes, but I feel that I have no reason to blush for having 
loved him, and he has become for me a species of divinity. 
I compare him to no one in my thoughts, and there is no 
one worthy of being compared to him." 

"Where is he?" 

" I do not even know. He is married and lives far 
away." 

" What an absurdity ! " 

And my good Pietro looked somewhat disdainful and 
incredulous. 

" But it is true : I love you now, but the feeling is an 
entirely different one." 

" I give you the whole of my heart," he answered, " and 
you give me only the half of yours." 

" Do not ask for too much, and be satisfied with what 
you have." 

" But that is not all ? There is something else." 

" That is all." 

" Forgive me, and allow me to disbelieve you for this 
once." 

(See what depravity !) 

" You must believe the truth." 

" I cannot." 

" So much the worse," I cried, vexed. 

" That is beyond my understanding," he said. 

" That is because you are very wicked." 

" Perhaps." 

" You do not believe that I have never allowed any one 
to kiss my hand ? " 

" Pardon me, but I do not believe it." 

" Sit down here beside me," I said, " let us talk over our 
affairs, and tell me everything." . . . 

" You will not be angry ? " he asked. 



5ro JOURNAL OF MARIE &ASHXIRTSEFF. [1876. 

" I shall be angry only if you conceal anything from me." 

" Very well, then ; you understand that our family is very 
well known here ? " 

" Yes." 

" And that you are strangers in Rome ? " 

" Well ? " 

"Well, my mother has written to some persons in Paris." 

" That is very natural ; and what do they say of me ?" 

" Nothing, as yet, but they may say what they choose, I 
shall always love you." 

" I stand in no need of your indulgence " 

" Then," he said, " there is the religion." 

" Oh, the religion." 

" Ah," he said, with the calmest air imaginable, " become 
a Catholic." 

I cut him short with a very severe expression. 

" Do you wish me, then, to change my religion ? " asked 



"No, because, if you did so, I should despise you." To 
tell the truth it would have displeased me only on account 
of the Cardinal. 

" How I love you ! How beautiful you are ! How 
happy we shall be ! " 

My only answer was to take his head between my hands 
and kiss him on the forehead, the eyes, the hair. I did it 
rather on his account than my own. 

" Marie ! Marie ! " cried my aunt from above. 

" What is the matter ? " I asked quietly, putting my head 
through the door at the head of the stairs, that the voice 
might seem to come from my room. 

"You should go to sleep ; it is two o'clock." 

" I am asleep." 

" Are you undressed ? " 

" Yes, let me write." 

" Go to bed." 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. /I 

" Yes, yes." 

I went down again and found the place empty ; tHc poor 
fellow had hidden himself under the staircase. 

" Now," said he, resuming his place, "let us speak of the 
future." 

" Yes, let us speak of it." 

" Where shall we live ? Do you \iks Rome ? " 

" Yes." 

" Then we will live in Rome, but by ourselves not with 
my family." 

" No, indeed ; in the first place, mamma would never 
consent to let me live with the family of my husband." 

" She would be right ; and then, my family have such ex- 
traordinary ideas ! It would be torture. We will buy a 
little house in the new quarter." 

" I should prefer a large one." 

" Very well, then, a large one." 

And we began he, at least to make plans for the 
future. 

" We will go into society," I resumed ; "we will keep up 
a large establishment, shall we not? " 

" Oh, yes ; tell me all you would like." 

" Yes, when people decide to spend their lives together, 
they want to do so as comfortably as possible." 

" I understand that. You know all about my family ; 
but there is the Cardinal." 

" You must make your peace with him." 

" Of course ; I shall do so decidedly. The only thing is 
that I am not rich." 

" No matter," I answered, a little displeased, but suffi- 
ciently mistress of myself to refrain from making a gesture 
of contempt ; this was perhaps a trap. . . . 

No, f his cannot be true love ; in true love there is no 
room for meanness or vulgarity. 

I felt secretly dissatisfied. . . . 



72 JO URN A L OF MA RlE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [1876. 

Do I love him truly, or is it only that he has turned my 
head ? Who can tell ? From the moment doubt exists, 
however, there is no longer room for doubt. 

" Yes, I love you," I said, taking his hands in mine and 
pressing them tightly. 

He did not answer ; perhaps he did not understand the 
importance I attached to my words ; perhaps he found 
them quite natural. . . . 

But I began to be afraid, and I told him he must go. " It 
is time," I said. 

" Already ? Stay with me a moment longer. How happy 
we are thus ! Dost thou love me ?" he cried ; " Wilt thou 
love me always, always?" 

This thou chilled me and made me feel humiliated. 

"Always !" I answered, still dissatisfied, "always; and 
you, do you love me?" 

" Oh, how can you ask me such things ? Oh, my darling, 
I should like to remain here forever ! " 

"We should die of hunger," I replied, humiliated by this 
term of endearment, and not knowing what to say. 

" But what a beautiful death ! In a year, then," he said, 
devouring me with his eyes. 

" In a year," I repeated, for form's sake rather than for 
any other reason. 

At this moment I heard the voice of my aunt, who, seeing 
light still in my room, began to grow impatient. 

" Do you*hear ?" I said. 

We kissed each other and I fled, without once turning 
back. It is like a scene out of a novel, that I have read 
somewhere. I feel humiliated. I am angry with myself ! 
Shall I always be my own critic, or is it because I do not 
entirely love him that I feel thus ? 

" It is four o'clock ! " cried my aunt. 

" In the first place, aunt, it is only ten minutes past two ; 
and in the next place leave me in peace." 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 73 

"This is frightful ! You will die, if you sit up so late," 
exclaimed my aunt. 

" Listen," I said, opening her door, " don't scold, or I 
shall tell you nothing." 

" What is it ? Oh, what a girl ! " 

" In the first place, I was not writing, I was with Pietro." 

" Where, miserable child ? " 

" Downstairs." 

" How dreadful ! " 

"Ah, if you cry out you shall hear nothing." 

"You were with A ." 

"Yes!" 

" Well, then," she said, in a voice that made me tremble, 
" when I called you just now, 1 knew it." 

" How ? " 

" I had a dream in which your mother came to me and 
said, "Do not leave Marie alone with A ." 

A cold shiver passed down my back when I compre- 
hended that I had escaped a real danger. . . . 

NICE, Tuesday, May 23. I should like to be certain of one 
thing do I love him or do I not love him ? 

I have allowed my thoughts to dwell so much on grand- 
eur and riches that Pietro appears to me a very insignificant 

person indeed. Ah, H ! And if I had waited ? waited 

for what ? A millionnaire prince, an H ? And if no 
one came ? I try to persuade myself that A is very 
chic, but when I am with him he seems to me even more 
insignificant than he really is. . . . 

To-night I love him. Should I do well to accept him ? 
So long as love lasted, it would be very well, but afterward ? 

I greatly fear that I could not endure mediocrity in a hus- 
band ! 

I reason and discuss as if I were mistress of the situation. 
Ah ! misery of miseries ! 



74 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

To wait ! To wait for what ? 

And if nothing comes ! Bah ! with my face something 
will come, and the proof is that I am scarcely sixteen and 
that I might already be a countess two and a half times 
over if I had wished. The half is on Pietro's account. 

Wednesday, May 24. To-night, on retiring, I kissed 
mamma. 

" She kisses like Pietro," she said laughing. 

" Has he kissed you ? " I asked. 

" He has kissed you" said Dina, laughingly, thinking she 
had said the most dreadful thing possible, and causing me 
to feel a sensation of lively remorse, almost of shame. 

" Oh, Dina ! " I cried, with such an expression that mam- 
ma and my aunt both turned on her a look of reproach and 
displeasure. 

Marie kissed by a man ! Marie, the proud, the severe, 
the haughty ! Marie, who has made such fine speeches on 
' that subject. 

This made me inwardly ashamed. And indeed, why was 
I false to my principles ? I cannot admit that it was through 
weakness, through passion. If I were to admit that, I 
should no longer respect myself ! I cannot say that it was 
through love. 



Friday, May 26. My aunt remarked to-day that A 

was only a child. 

" That is quite true," said mamma. 

These words, of which I recognized the justice, made me 
feel that I have sullied myself for nothing ; for, after all, I 
have committed this folly without the excuse of either inter- 
est or love.- It is maddening ! 

After his departure for Rome I looked at myself in the 

glass, to see if my lips had not changed their color. A 

will have the right to say I loved him, and that the break- 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 75 

ing of this engagement has made me very unhappy. A 
broken engagement is always a blot on the life of a 
young girl. Every one will say we loved each other, but no 
one will say the refusal came from me. We are neither 
sufficiently liked nor sufficiently great for that. Besides, 
appearances will justify those who may say so ; that en- 
rages me ! If it were not for those words of V , 

" Oh, child, how young you are still ! " I should never have 
gone so far. But I needed to hear his repeated offers of 
marriage to soothe my wounded vanity. You will observe 
that I have said nothing positive ; I let him talk, but, as I 
allowed him to take my hands in his and kiss them he failed 
to notice the tone of my voice, and in his happy and ex- 
alted mood suspected nothing. These thoughts console me, 
but they are not enough. 

They say the blonde is the ideal woman ; as for me, I say 
the blonde is the material woman, par excellence. See those 
golden locks, those lips red as blood, those deep-gray eyes, 
that rose-tinted flesh, that Titian knows so well how to 
paint, and tell me what are the thoughts with which they 
inspire you ! Besides, we have Venus among the Pagans, 
and Magdalen among the Christians, both of them blondes. 
While the woman who is a brunette, who is really as 
much of an anomaly as a man who is fair, the brunette, 
with her eyes of velvet and her skin of ivory, may remain 
pure and divine in our thoughts. There is a fine picture of 
Titian's in the Borghese Palace called " Pure Love and 
Impure Love." " Pure Love " is a beautiful woman with 
rosy cheeks and black hair, who is regarding with a tender 
look her infant child whom she is holding in the bath. 
" Impure Love " is a reddish blonde who is leaning 
against something, just what, I do not remember, with 
her arms crossed above her head. For the rest, the normal 
woman is fair, and the normal man dark. 

The different types we see that are in seeming contradic- 



?6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF [1876. 

tion to this rule are sometimes admirable, but they are none 
the less anomalies. I have never seen any one to be com- 
pared to the Duke of H : he is tall and strong ; he has 

hair of a beautiful reddish gold hue, and a mustache of the 
same color ; his eyes are gray and small, but piercing ; his 
lips are modeled after those of the Apollo Belvidere. There 
is in his whole person an air of grandeur and majesty, of 
haughtiness even, and indifference to the opinions of others. 
It may be that I see him with the' eyes of love. Bah ! I do 
not think so ! How is it possible to love a man who is dark, 
ugly, extremely thin ? who has beautiful eyes, it is true, but 
who has all the awkwardness of a very young man, and 
whose bearing is by no means distinguished, after having 
loved a man like the Duke, even though it be three years 
since I have seen him ? And remember that three years in a 
young girl's life are three centuries. Therefore I love no 
one but the Duke ! And the Duke will not be very proud of 
my love, and will .care very little about it. I often tell my- 
self stories ; I think of all the men I have ever known or 
heard of well, not even to an Emperor could I say, "I love 
you," with the conviction that I was speaking the truth. 
There are some to whom I could not say it at all. Stay ! I 
have said it in reality ! Yes, but I thought so little about 
it at the time that it is not worth while to speak of that. 

Sunday, May 28. I am reading Horace and Tibullus. 
The theme of the latter is always love, and that suits me. 
And then I have the French and the Latin texts side by 
side ; that gives me practice. Provided only that this mar- 
riage affair that I have brought about by my own thought- 
lessness does not injure me ! I much fear it may. I ought 

not to have given A any promise ; I should have said 

to him : " I thank you, monsieur, for the honor you have 
done me, but I can give you no answer until I have con- 
sulted with my family. Let your people speak to mine 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 77 

about it, and we shall see. As for me," I might have added, 
to soften this answer, " I shall have no objection to offer." 

This accompanied by one of my amiable smiles, and 
my hand to kiss, would have been sufficient. I should not 
then have compromised myself ; they would not have gos- 
siped about me at Rome, and all would have been well. I 
have sense enough, but it always comes to my assistance 
too late. 

Wednesday, May 31. Has not some one said that great 
minds think alike ? I have just been reading La Rochefou- 
cauld, and I find he has said a great many things that 1 
have written down here I, who believed I had originated 
so many thoughts, and it turns out that they are all things 
that have been said long since. 

I am troubled about my eyes. Several times, while 
painting, I was obliged to stop ; I could no longer see. I 
use them too much, for I spend all my time either reading, 
writing, or painting. I went over my compendium of the 
classics this evening, and that gave me occupation. And 
then, I have discovered a very interesting work on Con- 
fucius a French translation from the Latin. There is 
nothing like keeping the mind occupied ; work is a cure for 
everything, especially mental work. I cannot understand 
women who spend their time knitting or embroidering the 
hands busy and the mind idle. A multitude of frivolous or 
dangerous fancies must crowd upon the mind at such a 
time, and if there is any secret trouble in the heart, the 
thoughts will dwell upon that, and the result must be dis- 
astrous. . . . 

Ask those who know me best what they think of my dis- 
position, and they will tell you that I am the gayest, the 
most light-hearted, as well as the most self-reliant person 
they ever saw, for I experience a singular pleasure in 
appearing haughty and happy, invulnerable to a wound 



7 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

from any quarter, and I delight in taking part in discus- 
sions of all sorts, both serious and playful. Here you see 
me as I am. To the world I am altogether different. One 
would suppose, to see me, that I had never had a care in 
my life, and that I was accustomed to bend circumstances 
and people alike to my will. 

Saturday, June 3. Why does everything turn against me? 
Forgive me for shedding tears, O my God ! There are 
persons more unhappy than I ; there are those who want 
for bread, while I sleep under lace coverlets ; there are 
those who bruise their feet against the stones of the street, 
while I tread on carpet ; there are those who have only the 
sky for a canopy, while I have above my head a ceiling 
hung with blue satin. Perhaps it is for my tears that you 
punish me, my God ; ordain, then, that I no longer weep. 
To what I have already suffered there is now added a feel- 
ing of personal shame shame before myself. They will 

say : " Count A asked her in marriage, but there was 

some opposition, so he changed his mind and withdrew." 

See how good impulses are recompensed ! 


Sunday, June 4. When Jesus had healed the lunatic, his 

disciples demanded of him .why they had not been able to 
do so, and he answered : " Because of your unbelief : for 
verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard- 
seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to 
yonder place, and it shall remove ; and nothing shall be 
impossible to you." 

On reading these words my mind was, as it were, illumined, 
and for the first time in my life, perhaps, I believed in God. 
I rose to my feet, I was conscious of myself no longer. I 
clasped my hands together, and raised my eyes to heaven ; 
I smiled ; I was in a state of ecstasy. Never, never will I 
doubt again ; not that I may receive a reward for my faith, 



i8;6.] JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 79 

but because I am convinced because I believe. Up to the 
age of twelve I was spoiled ; my lightest wishes were obeyed, 
but my education was never thought of. At twelve years I 
asked for masters ; they were given to me, and I made out 
a programme for myself. I owe everything to myself. . . . 

Thursday, June 8. . ... To think only that we live but 
once, and that this life is so short ! When I think of this 
my senses forsake me and my mind becomes a prey to de- 
spair ! We live but once ! And I am losing this precious 
life, hidden in obscurity, seeing no one. We live but once ! 
And my life is being ruined. We live but once! And I am 
made to waste my time miserably. And the days are pass- 
ing, passing, never to return, and carrying a part of my life 
with them, as they pass. 

We live but once ! Must this life, already so short, be still 
further shortened, ruined, stolen yes, stolen by miserable 
circumstances ? 

Saturday, June 10. " Do you know," I said to the doc- 
tor, " that I spit blood, and that it is necessary that my 
health should be attended to ? " 

*' Oh, mademoiselle," replied Walitsky, " if you continue 
to go to bed at three o'clock in the morning, you will have 
every ailment under the sun." 

" And why do you suppose I go to bed late ? Because 
my mind is disturbed. Give me a tranquil mind and I will 
sleep tranquilly." 

"You might have had that if you chose. You had the 
opportunity at Rome." 

" Who would have given it to me ? " 

"A , if you had consented to marry him without ask- 
ing him to change his religion." 

" Oh, my friend Walitsky, how shocking ! A man like 
A ! Think of what you are saying ! A man who has 



So JOURNAL OF, MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

neither an opinion nor a will of his own ; you have made a 
very foolish speech ! " 

And I began to laugh softly. 

" He neither comes to see us nor writes," I continued ; 
"he is a poor boy whose importance we have exaggerated. 
No, my dear friend, he is only a boy, and we were wrong to 
think otherwise." 

I preserved the same calmness in uttering these words as 
I had shown during the rest of the dialogue a calmness 
that resulted from the conviction I had of having said only 
what was just and true. 

/ went to my own room, and my spirit all at once became, as 
it were, illuminated. I comprehended at last that I had done 
wrong in allowing a kiss a single one, indeed, but still a kiss 
and in giving a rendezvous downstairs; that, if I had not gone 
out into the hall or elsewhere, to seek a tete-a-tete, the man 
would have had more respect for me, and I should now have no 
occasion for either anger or tears. 

(How I love myself for having spoken thus ! What re- 
finement of feeling ! Paris, 1877.) 

Everything is at an end ! I knew well this state of things 
could not last. I long to lead a tranquil life. I will go to 
Russia that will improve the situation and bring papa 
back with me to Rome. 

Monday, January 12 ; Tuesday, January 13. I, who 
desired to live half a dozen lives at once, I do not live even 
a quarter of a life. I am held in chains. But God will 
have pity upon me ; my strength has left me, I feel as if 
I were going to die. Yes, I must either acquire what God 
has given me the power to discern and to comprehend, in 
which case I shall be worthy of a future, or die. For, if 
God cannot with justice grant me all I ask, he will not have 
the cruelty to make an unhappy creature live to whom lie 



1 876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 8 1 

has given comprehension, and the ambition to acquire what 
she comprehends. 

God has not made me such as I am without design. He 
cannot have given me the power to understand all things in 
order to torture me by denying me everything. Such a sup- 
position is not in accordance with the nature of God, who 
is just and merciful. I must either attain the object of my 
ambition or die. Let it be as He wills. I love Him ; I 
believe in Him ; I bless Him ; and I beg Him to pardon 
me for all the wrong I may have done. He has endowed 
me with the comprehension of what is great, in order that I 
might attain it, and I will show myself to be worthy of the 
gift. If I am not worthy, then God will allow me to die. 

Wednesday, June 14. In addition to the triumph I have 
given this little Italian, which deeply vexes me, I foresee, 
besides, the scandal that will result from this affair. 

I did not anticipate an adventure of this nature ; I fore- 
saw nothing of the sort ; I had never imagined that such a 
thing could happen to me ; if I am as beautiful as I say, 
why then am I not loved ? I am admired, I am made love to, 
but I am not loved I, who have so much need of love ! 
It is the novels I have read that have turned my head ! 
No ; but I read novels because my head is turned. I read 
over and over again the novels I have already read, seeking 
out the love-scenes with lamentable eagerness. I devour 
them, because I think I am loved because I think I am not 
loved ! 

I love, yes ; I will give no other name to what I feel. 

But no ; this is not what I long for. I long to go into 
society ; I long to shine ; I long for high rank, for riches, 
pictures, palaces, jewels ; I long to be the center of a brill- 
iant circle political, literary, charitable, frivolous. I long 
for all this. May God grant it to me ! 

My God, do not chastise me for these wildly ambitious 



8 2 JO URN A L OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [1876. 

thoughts. Are there not people who are born in the midst 
of all this, and who find it natural to possess it, and who 
thank God for it? 

Am I culpable in desiring to be great? No, for I desire 
to employ my greatness in manifesting my gratitude to God, 
and in being happy. Is it forbidden to wish to be happy? 

Those who find their happiness in a modest and com- 
fortable home, are they less ambitious than I? No, for they 
have no comprehension of anything beyond. He who is 
content to live humbly, in the midst of his family, is he thus 
modest and moderate in his wishes through wisdom? No, 
no, no! He is so because he is happy thus; because to live 
obscurely is for him the height of happiness. And if he 
does not desire excitement, it is because excitement would 
render him unhappy. There are those, too, who have not 
the courage to be ambitious; those are not sages, but cow- 
ards; because they desire, in secret, what they do not pos- 
sess, but make no effort to obtain it, not through Christian 
virtue, because of a timid and incapable nature. My God; 
if I reason badly, enlighten me, pardon me, pity me ! 

Thursday, June 22. When I used to hear Italy praised 
I was incredulous; I could not understand why there was 
so much enthusiasm about this country, and why it was 
spoken of as if it were different from other countries. It is 
because it is different from other countries. It is because 
one breathes there another atmosphere. Life is not the 
same as elsewhere; it is free, fantastic, large, reckless and 
yet languid, fiery yet gentle, like its sun, its sky, its glowing 
plain. Therefore it is that I soar upward on my poet's 
wings (I am sometimes altogether a poet, and almost always 
one on some side of my nature), and am ready to exclaim 
with Mignon: 

Italia, reggio di ciel, 
Sol beato ! 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 83 

Saturday, June 24. I was waiting to be called to break- 
fast when the doctor arrived,' quite out of breath, to tell me 
he had received a letter from Pietro. I turned very red 
and without raising my eyes from my book asked : 

"Well, what does he say?" 

"They refuse to give him any money. But you will 
yourself be able to judge from the letter, better than I." 

I took good care to show no eagerness to see it. I was 
ashamed to manifest so much interest in the matter as that 
would imply. 

Contrary to custom I was the first at table. I ate my 
breakfast with impatience, but I said nothing. 

"Is what the doctor has told me true?" I asked at last. 

"Yes," responded my aunt. "A has written to him." 

"Where is the letter, doctor?" 

"In my room." 

"Show it to me." 

The letter bears date of June 10, but as A directed it 

simply "Nice," it has traveled all through Italy before 
arriving here. 

"I have done nothing all this time," he writes, "but ask 
my family to allow me to go to Nice, .but they absolutely 
refuse to hear of it"; so that it is impossible for him to come, 
and there is nothing left him but to hope in the future, 
which is always uncertain. 

The letter was in Italian; they waited for me to translate 
it. I said not a word, but gathering up my train with 
affected deliberation, so that they might not attribute my 
departure to agitation, I left the room and crossed the gar- 
den, my countenance calm, but hell within my heart. 

This letter is not in answer to a telegram from some 
Monaco acquaintance, that one should laugh at it. It is in 
answer to me; it is an announcement. And it is tome! 
To me who had soared so high in imagination; it is to me 
he says this. What remains for me to do? 



84 JOURNAL Of MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

To die? God does not will it. To become a singer? I 
have neither the health nor this patience for it. 

What then? What then? 

I threw myself on a sofa, and with my eyes fixed stupidly 
on vacancy tried to comprehend the meaning of the letter, 
to think of what course to pursue. 

It is impossible to describe my suffering. Besides, there 
comes a time when complaints are useless. Crushed as I 
am of what should I complain? 

I cannot describe the profound disgust and discourage- 
ment I feel. Love! Word henceforth without meaning to 
me! This, then, is the truth? This man has never loved 
me; and he looks upon marriage only as the means of ac- 
quiring his freedom. As for his protestations, I do not take 
them into account. I have spoken of them to no one. I 
do not place sufficient confidence in them to speak of them 
seriously. I do not say that he has always lied to me. A 
man almost always believes in his protestations the moment 
he is uttering them, but afterward? 

And notwithstanding all these reflections, I am burning to 
be revenged. I will bide my time, but be sure I will be 
revenged. I went into my room, wrote a few lines, and 
then, suddenly losing heart, burst into tears. Oh, after all, 
I am nothing but a child. These sorrows are too heavy for 
me to bear all alone. I thought of awaking my aunt, but 
she would think I was crying from disappointed love, and 
I could not endure that. To say that love has no part in 
my tears would be to speak the truth. I am ashamed of 
that feeling now. 

I might write all night without being able to express what 
I feel; and if I could succeed in expressing it, I should say 
nothing new, nothing that I have not already said. 

Sunday, July 2. Oh, what heat! Oh, what ennui! 
But I arn wrong to say ennui (that one can never feel who 



1876.] JOURNAL OF AfARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. $ 

has so many resources within one's-self as I have). I do 
not feel ennui ; for I read, I sing, I paint, I dream; but I 
am restless and sorrowful. Is my poor young life, then, 
doomed to be spent in eating and drinking, and domestic 
quarrels? Woman lives from sixteen to forty. I tremble at 
the thought of losing even a single month of my life. If 
this is to be, why have I studied, and sought to know more 
than other women, priding myself on being as learned as 
great men are said in their biographies to have been. 

I have a general idea of many things, but I have devoted 
my attention chiefly to painting, literature, and physics, so 
that I might have time to read everything everything in- 
teresting, that is to say. It is true that once I begin, I find 
everything interesting. And all this produces in me a 
genuine fever. 

If this is to be so, why have I studied and reflected? 
Why were genius and beauty and the gift of song be- 
stowed upon me? That I might wither in obscurity and 
die of sadness. If I had been ignorant and stupid I might 
then, perhaps, have been happy. Not a living soul with 
whom to exchange a word! One's family does not suffice 
for a creature of sixteen above all, a creature such as I am. 
Grandpapa, it is true, is a man of intelligence, but he is 
old and blind ; he irritates one with his eternal complaints 
about the dinner and about his servant Triphon. 

Mamma has a good deal of intelligence, very little learn- 
ing, no knowledge of the world, no tact whatever ; and her 
faculties have deteriorated through thinking of nothing but 
the servants, my health, and the dogs. My aunt is a little 
more polished ; she is imposing, even, to those who know 
her but slightly. 

Have I ever' mentioned their ages? If it were not for 
ill-health, mamma would be still a superb woman. My aunt 
is a few years younger, but looks older ; she is net hand- 
some, but she is tall and she has a good figure. 



86 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

Monday, July 3. I leave Nice to-morrow. I feel an 
indefinable sadness at leaving Nice. I have selected the 
music I shall take with me, and some books the ency- 
clopaedia, a volume of Plato, Dante, Ariosto, Shakespeare, 
and several English novels, by Bulwer, Collins, and 
Dickens. 

I went into my room, followed by all the dogs. I drew the 
white box over to the table. Ah, that is my chief regret 
my journal ! That is the half of myself. I was accustomed 
to glance over some one of its volumes every day, when I 
wished to recall Rome or Nice, or something still further 
back in the past. 

And as if expressly for me on this the eve of my depar- 
ture the moon shone brightly, lighting up the beauties of 
my city with her pale and silvery light. My city? Yes, my 
city. I am too insignificant a person for any one to care to 
dispute its ownership with me. Besides, does not the sun 
belong equally to every one ? I entered the drawing-room ; 
the moon's rays poured in through the large, open windows, 
and lighted up the white plaster wall, and the white covers 
of the chairs. One feels melancholy without knowing why, 
on a summer night like this. 

To leave my journal behind, that is a real grief. 

This poor journal, the confidant of all my struggles 
toward the light, all those outbursts, which would be regarded 
as the outbursts of imprisoned genius if they were to be 
finally crowned by success, but which will be regarded only 
as the idle ravings of a commonplace creature if I am des- 
tined to languish forever in obscurity. To marry and have 
children ? Any washerwoman can do that. 

What then do I desire ? Ah, you know well what I 
desire I desire glory ! 

It is not this journal that will give it to me, however. 
This jouriial will be published only afier my death ; for I 
show myself too nakedly in it to wish it to be read during my 



:8?6] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK'IRTSEIF. 157 

lifetime. Besides, it would not in that case be the comple- 
ment of an illustrious existence. 

An illustrious existence ! Vain illusion ! resulting from 
an isolated life, much reading of history, and a too lively 
imagination. 

I know no language perfectly. My own is familiar to me 
only in connection with domestic affairs. I left Russia at 
the age of ten, and I speak English and Italian well. I 
think and write in French, yet I believe I still make mis- 
takes in spelling. And often, to my unutterable vexation, 
I find some thought which I had vainly sought to put into 
fitting words, expressed by some celebrated author with 
fluency and grace. Here is an instance : " To travel, what- 
ever we may say to the contrary, is one of the saddest 
pleasures in life ; when you begin to feel yourself at 
home in some foreign land, it is because you have already 
begun to make it your country." It is the author of Corinne 
who says this. And how many times have I lost patience, 
trying vainly, pen in hand, to express the same thought, and 
burst out, at last, into some such words as these: "I hate 
new cities ! It is a martyrdom for me to see new faces ! " 
We all think alike, then ; the only difference is in the way we 
express our thoughts ; as men are all made out of the same 
material, but how widely do they differ in feature, form, 
complexion, and character ! 

One of these days I shall no doubt come across some such 
thought as this, but expressed with spirit, eloquence, and 
grace. 

There, this volume is finished. When I arrive in Paris I 
will begin a new one that will no doubt suffice for Russia 
also. 

I shall take Pietro's last letter with me. 

I have just read it again. He is unhappy ! Why, then, 
has he not more energy ? 

It is easy for me obeyed as I am by every one to talk ; 



88 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

but for him And then those Romans there are no 
other people in the world like them. 

Poor Pietro ! The thought of my future glory forbids me 
to allow my mind to dwell seriously upon him. I feel as if 
it reproached me for the moments I dedicate to him. 

Dear Divinity, reassure thyself. Pietro is nothing more 
for me than an amusement a strain of music in which to 
drown the lamentations of my soul. If I reproach myself for 
allowing my thoughts to dwell upon him, it is because he 
can be of no service to me. He cannot even be the first 
rung of the divine ladder that leads to fame. 

GRAND HOTEL, PARIS, July 4. 

Amor, ut lacryoia, oculo oritur in pectus cadit. 

PUBLIUS SYRUS. 

Wednesday, July 5. I left Nice yesterday at two in the 
afternoon, accompanied by my aunt and Amalie my maid. 
Mamma cried for fully three hours at the thought of our 
separation, so that I was amiable and affectionate with her. 
At half-past two we reached Paris ; it must be confessed 
that if Paris is not the most beautiful, it is at least the most 
charming, the most spiiitnelle of cities. 



Thursday, July 13. We went to see the Countess M- 



this evening. She spoke to me on the subject of marrying. 

"Oh, no," I said, "I have no wish to marry. I want to 
be a great singer. See, dear Countess, we must do this ; I 
will disguise myself as a poor girl, and you and my aunt will 
take me to the most celebrated singing-master in Paris, as 
a little Italian protege's of yours who gives promise of being a 
singer." 

"Oh ! oh ! " cried the Countess in remonstrance. 

" That is the only way to learn the truth concerning my 
voice," I resumed tranquilly. "And I have one of last 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, 89 

year's dresses that will just produce the desired effect ! " I 
added, pursing up my mouth and pushing ^out my lips. 
" After all, it is an excellent idea ! " she said al last. 

Friday, July 14. Since morning I have been taking the 
greatest care of myself ; I have not coughed once more 
than was necessary. I have not moved. I am dying of 
heat and thirst, but I have not taken even a drink of 
water. . . , 

We set out at last, with Madame de M , and proceeded 

to No. 37 Chaussee d'Antin, when M.Wartel, the most cele- 
brated singing-master in Paris, lives. 

Madame de M had spoken to him of me as a young 

girl from Italy who had been particularly recommended to 
her, and whose family desired to know what hopes she gave 
of becoming a great singer. 

We reached the house at three . . . and were shown into 
a little salon adjoining the one in which the master was giv- 
ing a singing lesson. At last four o'clock struck. I felt my 
limbs tremble and my strength fail me. 

Wartel made me a sign that meant "come in." I did not 
understand. 

" Come in, mademoiselle, come in," he said. 

I entered the salon, followed by my two protectresses, 
whom I begged to return to the room we had left, lest their 
presence should intimidate me, and in truth I felt very much 
afraid. 

Wartel is an old man, but his accompanist is quite 
young. 

" Do you read music ? " asked the master. 

" Yes," I replied. 

" What pieces can you sing ? " 

" None ; but I can sing a scale or an exercise." 

"Take an exercise, then, Monsieur ("hose. What is your 
voice soprano ? " 



9 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

" No, monsieur, contralto." 

" We shall see.," 

Wartel, who did not rise from the arm-chair in which he 
was seated, made me a sign to begin, and I proceeded to 
sing the exercise with diffidence at first, then desperate, and 
at last satisfied. 

"Well," said the master, "your voice is rather a mezzo- 
soprano than a contralto. It is a voice that will gain in 
range. Have you ever taken lessons ? " 

" Never, Monsieur ; that is to say, ten lessons only." 

" Well, you must work hard. Can you sing a romance ? " 

" The aria from Mignon ! " cried my aunt from the other 
room. 

*' Very well ; sing the aria from Mignon." 

As I sang, the countenance of Wartel, which at first had 
expressed only attention, showed a slight surprise which 
gradually deepened into amazement ; at last he went so far 
as to keep time to the music with his head, smiling agree- 
ably as he did so, and finally to join in himself. 

" Good, very good ! now make her sing a " I have for- 
gotten the word he used. 

The accompanist made me sing the (it signifies little 
what its name was), he made me run through all my notes. 

" As far as si natural," said the old man. " Yes, it is a 
mezzo-soprano ; and that is better, much better, for the 
stage." 

I continued standing. 

" Sit down, mademoiselle," said the accompanist, examin- 
ing me from head to foot with his eyes. 

I sat down on the edge of the sofa. 

"In fine," said the severe Wartel, "you must work hard ; 
you will succeed." 

" How long will it take to develop her voice ? " said Ma- 
dame de M . 

"You can understand, madame, that that will depend 



1876.] JOURX.IL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 91 

u[)on the j)ui)il herself; some do not need so long those 
who have intelligence." 

" This one has more than is necessary." 

" Ah, so much the better ; in that case it will be 
easier." 

" But, finally, how long will it take ? " 

"To develop her voice, to perfect it, fully three years; 
yes. fully three years' work, fully three years ! " he repeated. 

I was silent, meditating vengeance against the perfidious 
accompanist, whose looks seemed to say, " This little girl 
has a good figure, she is pretty ; that will be amusing." 

After a few words more we rose : Wartel remained seated, 
and extended his hand kindly to me. I bit my lips. 

" Listen," I said at the door, " let us go back and tell them 
the truth." 

My aunt took out her card, and we returned, laughing. I 
told the severe maestro of my stratagem. 

What an expression the face of the accompanist wore ! 
I shall never forget it ; I was avenged. 

Sunday, July 23. Rome Paris the stage, singing, paint- 
ing ! 

No, no ! Russia before everything ! That is the founda- 
tion of everything. Since I am posing as a sage, let me play 
my part consistently ; let me not be led astray by any will-o'- 
the-wisps of imagination. 
. Russia first of all, if God will only help me. 

I have written to mamma. Here I am, out of love, and 
up to my ears in business. Oh, if God will only help me, 
then all will go well. 

May the Virgin Mary pray for me ! 



, July 27. We arrived this morning in Berlin. 
The city made a singularly agreeable impression on me ; 
the houses are extremely handsome, 



92 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

Friday, July 28. Berlin reminds me of Italy, of Florence. 
It reminds me of Florence because my aunt is with me here, 
as she was at Florence, and the life we lead is the same. 
Before going anywhere else we went to the Museum. 
Whether from ignorance or prejudice, I had not expected to 
see so fine a collection of works of art as we found here. As 
usual, it was the sculpture that most engaged my attention ; 
it seems to me that I have one sense more than other peo- 
ple a sense devoted especially to the comprehension of 
sculpture. 

Here I am lodged like Faust, before me an antique 
German bureau, at which I am seated with books, manu- 
scripts and rolls of paper around me. 

Where is the devil ? Where is Margaret ? Alas ! the 
devil is always with me ; my mad vanity that is the devil. 
O ambition unjustified by results ! O vain aspirations 
toward an unknown goal ! 

I hate moderation in anything. I want either a life of 
continual excitement or one of absolute repose. Why the 
thought should occur to me now I know not, but I do not 

love A . Not only do I not love him, but I do not 

even think of him any longer, and all that appears to me a 
dream. 

While I do not admire the plainness and the materialism 
of the Germans, I must concede to them many good quali- 
ties : they are very polite, and very obliging. What I like 
most in them is the respect they entertain for their history 
and for their rulers. This shows they are still far from being 
contaminated by the infection of what is called republican- 
ism. No other form of government can be compared to the 
ideal republic ; but a republic is like ermine the slightest 
blemish upon it renders it worthless. And where will you 
find a republic without blemish ? " 

No, life here is impossible ; this is a frightful country. 
Fine houses, broad streets but nothing for the spirit or the 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 93 

imagination. The most insignifican. town in Italy is the 
equal of Berlin in this respect. 

Sunday, July 30. Nothing can be gloomier than Berlin. 
The city bears the stamp of simplicity a simplicity with- 
out beauty or grace. The innumerable monuments that 
encumber the bridges, the streets, and the gardens seem 
unmeaning and out of place. Berlin reminds one of the 
pictures on certain clocks, where, at stated intervals, the 
soldiers come out from the barracks, the boatmen row, and 
ladies in hoods, holding little children by the hand, pass by. 

Now that the time has arrived when I shall cross the 
borders of Russia, and be left without either my aunt or 
mamma, my courage fails, and I begin to be afraid. The 
law-suit, the uncertainty and then, and then I don't know 
why, but I fear that I shall be able to alter nothing. 

In two hours more we leave Berlin. To-morrow I shall 
be in Russia. Well, then, no ; I will not be afraid. I am 
strong. Only, if my journey should prove to be in vain ! 
But it will not do to think of that. One must not despair 
beforehand. 

Oh, if any one could know what I feel ! 

The country here is flat, and thickly wooded, but the 
foliage, although fresh and luxuriant, has a certain look of 
sadness, after the rich and flourishing verdure of the South. 
We were conducted to an inn called the Russian Hotel, 
and installed in two small chambers with whitewashed 
ceilings and bare wooden floors, and furniture equally sim- 
ple and unpretending. 

Thursday, August 3 ; Friday, August 4 (July 23, Russian 
style). Yesterday at three o'clock I went to meet the train, 
and fortunately found my uncle, who had already arrived, 
waiting for me. ... At midnight I entered the carriage ; 
my aunt cried ; I held my eyes level and motionless, so that 



94 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

the tears might not overflow. The conductor gave the sig- 
nal, and, for the first time in my life, I found myself alone ! 
I began to sob aloud ; but don't imagine I derived no profit 
from it ! I studied from nature the art of crying. 

" Enough ! my child," I said at last, sitting erect. It 
was time. I was in Russia. On descending from the car- 
riage I was received in the arms of my uncle, who was ac- 
companied by two gendarmes and two custom-house officers. - 
I was treated like a princess ; they did not even examine 
my luggage. The station is large, and the officials are well- 
bred and extremely polite. I fancied myself in some ideal 
country, everything is so well-managed. . . . My com- 
patriots awaken no particular emotion in me, no species of 
ecstasy such as I have experienced on revisiting other coun- 
tries that I had seen before ; all I feel is a sort of sympathy 
for them and a sensation of extreme ease. It was still day- 
light at half-past nine. We had already passed Gatchina, 
the ancient residence of Paul I., who was so persecuted all 
his lifetime by his haughty mother ; and soon arrived at 
Tsarskoe Selo, within twenty-five minutes of St. Petersburg. 

Sunday, August 6. It is raining, and I have taken cold ; 
I have written in my letter to mamma, '* St. Petersburg is a 
filthy place ! The streets are disgraceful for the capital of 
a country ; one is mercilessly jolted over the rough paving- 
stones ; the Winter-Palace is a barracks, and so is the 
Grand Theater ; the cathedrals are richly decorated, but 
outlandish and badly planned." 

I tried to call up some emotion on looking at the portrait 

of Pietro A , but he is not handsome enough to make 

one forget that he is a despicable man, a creature one cannot 
but regard with contempt. I am no longer angry with him ; 
I despise him too much for that not from personal feeling, 
but because of his manner of life, of his weakness of char- 
acter. Stay, I am going to define for you the word weak- 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 95 

ness. The weakness which inclines us to the good, to ten- 
derness, to the forgiveness of injuries, may be called by that 
name, but the weakness which inclines us to evil-doing and 
wickedness is called cowardice. 

I thought I should feel the separation from my family 
more than I do. I am, however, not happy j but that is 
rather owing to the presence of disagreeable and common 
people (my poor uncle, for example, notwithstanding his 
beauty), than to the absence of those I love. 

Monday, August 7, 1876 (July 26). I have just come 
from the post-office, where I went to get my photographs 
and a dispatch from my father. He had telegraphed to 
Berlin that my coming would be for him a ''real happiness." 

Thursday, August 10 (July 29), 1876. This is a memor- 
able evening. I have finally ceased to regard the Duke of 

A as my cherished ideal. I saw at Bergamasco's a 

portrait of the Grand Duke Vladimir, from which I could 
not tear myself away ; a more perfect and pleasing type of 
beauty could not be imagined. Giro grew enthusiastic 
with me over it, and we ended by kissing the portrait on 
the lips. ... I adored the Duke when I might have adored 
a Prince Imperial of Russia ! It was stupid, but one can- 
not command these things ; and then, in the beginning I 

regarded H as my equal, as a man whom I might 

aspire to marry. Well, that is past. Who will be my idol 
now ? No one. I shall live for fame, and in the hope of 
finding a man. 

Behold me, then, free ! I have no longer an idol to 
worship ; I am in search of some one to adore, and I must 
find one soon, for life without love is like a bottle without 
wine. The wine must be good wine, however. 

Abundance in not the only merit of the fare here. It is 
also of the most delicate quality. When one eats well, one 



9 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

is in a good humor, one regards good fortune with greater 
joy and evil fortune with greater equanimity, and one feels 
well-disposed toward one's neighbors. Gluttony is a mon- 
strous thing in a woman, but to love good eating to some 
extent is as much a merit as it is to be intelligent or well- 
dressed ; without taking into account that simple and deli- 
cate food preserves the health, and, as a consequence, 
youth, the freshness of the complexion, and the roundness 
of the contours. Let my figure testify to this. Marie Sapo- 
genikoff was right in saying that a figure like mine was 
worthy of a more beautiful face ; and observe that I am far 
from being ugly. At thirteen I was too large, and everyone 
thought me sixteen. At present I am slender, but fully 
developed, remarkably rounded, perhaps too much so. I 
compare myself with all the statues I see, and I find none 
of them with contours as rounded, or with hips as large, as 
mine. Is this a defect? The shoulders, however, require 
a slightly fuller curve. 

At the station Grousskoe we were met by two carriages, 
six peasant-servants, and my good-for-nothing brother. 
Paul is tall of stature, and rather stout ; but he is beautiful 
as a Roman statue. 

We arrived at Chapatowka, after a drive of an hour and 
a half, during which I could detect the existence of much 
petty rivalry and spite on my father's side toward the Ba- 
banines. I held my head high and kept my brother in check, 
who, indeed, was enchanted to see me. I will not take 
part with either side. I need to be on good terms with my 
father. 

The house is small, and consists of a single story. It has 
a large garden, not very well kept. The women of the 
peasantry are remarkably well-formed, pretty, and piquante 
in their costume, that follows every contour of the figure 
and allows the leg to be seen as far as the knee. 

My Aunt Marie received us on the steps. After I had 



1876.] JOURNAL OF AtAKlE BASHKlRTSEFF. 97 

taken a bath we went in to dinner. I had several skirmishes 
with Paul. He tries to pique me, without meaning it, per- 
haps, and only in obedience to the impulse given him by 
my father. I put him haughtily in his place, however, and 
it is he who is humbled when he sought to humble me. I 
can read what is in the depths of his heart : Incredulity 
as to my success and petty resentment in regard to our 
relative positions in the world. The only name they give 
me here is " Queen." My father seeks to dethrone me, but 
I will make him yield to my power. I know his nature, 
for he and I are alike in many things. 

Thursday, August 15 (August 3). I was pacing slowly up 
and down, leaning on my brother Paul's arm, and my 
thoughts idly wandering, when, in passing under the trees 
whose interlaced branches formd a green canopy above 
that almost touched our heads, it occurred to me to think 

what A would say if he were walking here with me and 

I were leaning on his arm. He would say, bending slightly 
toward me, in those soft and penetrating tones he kept for 
me alone, " How happy I am, and how much I love you ! " 

No words could give an idea of the tenderness of his 
accents in speaking to me, in saying those things that were 
meant for me alone. Those tiger-cat manners, those 
burning glances and those .enchanting tones, veiled and 
vibrating, that murmured endearing words as if they were a 
complaint or a supplication so humble, so passionate, so 
gentle were they were for me alone ! 

But it was a superficial tenderness, that meant i.othing ; 
and if he looked at me tenderly, it was because this was his 
natural expression, as there are persons who appear always 
eager, others who appear always astonished, and others 
vexed, when they are none of these things in reality. 

Oh, how I should like to know the truth in regard to alt 
of this ! I should like to return to Rome married, other- 



98 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFP. [1876. 

wise it would be a humiliation. But I have no desire to 
marry. I want to remain free, and, above all, I want to 
study. I have discovered the right path at last. 

And, frankly speaking, to marry in order to spite A 

would be a piece of stupidity. 

That is not the question, however, but I wish to live as 
other women live. 

I am dissatisfied with myself to-night, without knowing 
exactly why. 

.... We had no sooner reached the open country than 
my father suddenly asked me : 

" Well, are we going to have a skirmish to-day, as we had 
yesterday? " 

" Just as you choose ! " I answered. 

He took me brusquely in his arms, wrapped his cloak 
around me, and rested my head on his shoulder. 

I closed my eyes ; that is my way of showing tenderness. 

We remained thus for a few moments. 

Then I begun to talk of foreign countries of Rome, and 
of the pleasures of society, taking good care to make him 
understand that our position there is a good one ; I spoke 
of Mgr. de Fallous, the Baron Visconti, and the Pope. I 
enlarged, then, on the society of Poltava. 

" To spend one's life losing money at cards," I exclaimed ; 
" to ruin one's-self in the heart of a province drinking cham- 
pagne in taverns ; to lead a purely animal existence and let 
one's faculties rust in inaction. Whatever one does, one 
should always keep good company." 

" Come ! you seem to want to insinuate that I keep bad 
company," he said, laughing. 

"I? No, indeed! I speak only in general terms; I 
allude to no one in particular." 

I dwelt so long upon the subject, that at last he asked me 
what a large apartment in Nice, in which one could give 
entertainments, would cost. 



1876-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BAStlKIRTSEFF. 99 

" You know," he said, " if I should go settle down there 
for the winter, the position would be a different one." 

" Whose position ? " 

" That of -the birds of the air," he answered, laughing, as 
if piqued. 

" My position ? " I said. " Yes, that is true ; but Nice is 
a disagreeable city. Why could you not come this winter 
to Rome ? " 

" I ? H'm ! well, h'm ! " 

All the same, the first seed is sown, and it has fallen on 
good ground. What I fear is the influence of others. I 
must accustom this man to my society, render myself agree- 
able to him, necessary to him, so that my Aunt T may 

find a barrier raised between her brother and her evi! 
influences. 

Wednesday, August 23 {August n). I have written almost 
as much in detail to mamma as 1 have written in my journal. 
That will do her more good than all the medicines in the 
world. I pretend to be enchanted, but I am not so, as yet. 
I have related everything exactly as it happened, but I am 
not sure of my success until the end of the story. In fine, 
we shall see ; God is good. 

Pacha is my real cousin the son of my father's sister. 
This man puzzles me. This morning, in speaking of my 
father, I remarked that children criticise their parents' 
actions, and when they marry and have children of their 
own, do the very things themselves they disapproved of in 
their parents. 

" That is perfectly true," he said ; " but my children will 
not criticise me, for I shall never marry." 

After a moment's silence I said : " Every young person 
says the same thing." 

"Yes, but in my case it is different." 

" And why so ? " 



too Jd URNAL $F MARIE BASHKIR TSEFF. [1876. 

"Because I am twenty-two years old, and I have never 
yet been in love ; I have never cast a second glance at 
any woman." 

" That is quite natural. Before the age of -twenty-two 
.one has no right to fall in love." 

" What ! and the boys who fall in love at fourteen or 
fifteen ?" 

"That sentiment has nothing at all to do with love." 

" That may be so, but I am not like others. I am pas- 
sionate ; I am haughty, that is I mean to say that I respect 
myself ; and then " 

" But all those qualities you mention are good ones." 

" Good ones?" 

" Yes, of course." 

Afterwards he remarked, apropos of something I do not 
remember, that if his mother were to die he would lose his 
reason. 

"Yes, for a time ; and then " 

"Oh, no ; I should lose my reason ; I know it." 

"For a time; every feeling yields eventually to newer 
impressions." 

"Then you deny the eternity of the feelings ?" 

" Decidedly." 

" It is strange, Moussia," he said to me, " how quickly 
one forms an attachment when one is free from other ties. 
The day before yesterday I called you Maria Constantinovna ; 
yesterday Mademoiselle Moussia, and to-day " 

" Moussia, simply, as I told you to do." 

" It seems to me as if we had always lived together ; your 
manners are so simple and engaging." 

"Are they not?" 

.... My father was waiting for us in the colonnade. 

" Well, did I deceive you ? " I asked. " Do I look badly 
in a riding-habit ? Ask Pacha how I ride. Do I look 
well ? " 



1876-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BAS1IK1RTSEFF. lot 

" Yes, very well h'm ; very well, indeed." 

He examined me with satisfaction. 

I am very far from regretting having brought thirty gowns 
with me ; my father is to be won over only through his 
vanity. 

At this moment M arrived, with his luggage and a 

servant. When he saluted me I responded with the custom- 
ary compliments, and then went to change my dress, saying 
I would return. 

I returned attired in a gown of Oriental gauze, with a* 
train two yards long, a silk bodice open in front, a la Louis 
XV., and fastened with a large white bow. The petticoat 
was in one piece, and the train was a square one. 

M spoke of dress, and admired mine. 

They call him stupid, yet he can talk on every subject 
music, art, science. It is true that it is I who do all the 
talking, and he does nothing but answer, "You are per- 
fectly right ; it is quite true." 

I was silent about my studies, fearing to frighten him, but 
I was provoked into speaking of them at table. I used a 
Latin quotation, and discussed classic literature and the 
modern imitations of it with the doctor. 

They all cried out that I was wonderful ; that there was 
nothing about which I could not talk no subject of conver- 
sation in which I did not find myself at home. 

Papa made heroic efforts to conceal his pride. Finally a 
poulet aux truffes started a culinary discussion, during which 

I displayed a knowledge of gastronomy that made M 

open his mouth and eyes with still greater amazement. 

And then putting into practice my powers of sophistry, I 
went on to give my views in regard to the advantages of 
good cooking, sustaining that it made men virtuous. 

After dinner we went upstairs. The rooms are very 
large, especially the ball-room ; the piano was placed there 
only yesterday. 



102 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

I played. Poor Kapitanenko made the most desperate 
gestures to prevent Paul from talking. 

" Mon Dieu," cried the good man, " I forget while I listen 
that I 'have been vegetating here in a province for the last 
six years ; I begin to live again ! " 

When I had finished " Le Ruisseau " they all kissed my 
hand. 

Papa sat on a sofa with half-closed eyes. The Princess 
.worked on at her embroidery without speaking. She is a 
good sort of woman, though. 

When the others were gone I said to my father: " This 
is the way we shall live after we leave Russia. You will 
come with me ? " 

" I will think of it ; yes perhaps." 

Friday, August 25 {August 13). My father proposed an 
excursion to Pavlovska, his other estate. He is very good 
to me, but to-day I was extremely nervous, and scarcely 
spoke ; the least attempt at speech threatened to make me 
burst into tears. 

Thinking, however, of the effect this complete absence of 
pomp and festivity would have upon mamma, I told my 
father I should like to see something of society and amuse- 
ments. 

"Very well," he answered; "if you wish it, it shall 
be done. Shall I take you to see the wife of the 
Prefect?" 

" Yes." 

"Very well ; it shall be done." 

Reassured on this point, I was able to inspect the work on 
the farm with a tranquil spirit, and even to enter into all its 
details something I found not at all amusing, but which I 
thought I might make use of in the future to astonish some 
one by my knowledge on the subject, mixing up a mot de con- 
noisseur in such matters as the planting of barley and the 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 103 

good points of wheat with a quotation from Shakespeare or 
a discourse on the Platonic philosophy. 

You see that I try to derive some profit from everything. 

Pacha procured an easel for me, and near dinner-time I 
received two large canvases sent me from Poltava by M . 

" How do you like M ? " asked papa. 

I told him. 

" Well," said Pacha, " I did not like him at all, at first, 
and now I like him very much indeed." 

" And me did you like me at first ?" I asked him. 

"You? Why?" 

" Come, tell me." 

" Very well, yes ; I liked you ; I expected to find you 
different ; I thought you did not speak Russian ; that you 
were affected, and and, now, you see how it is ! " 

" It is very well." 

Pacha grew enthusiastic, to the point of asking me to give 
him my likeness to wear in a locket all his life. 

" For I love and honor you as I do no one else," he cried. 

The Princess opened her eyes wide, and I laughed, and 
offered my cousin my hand to kiss. 

At first he refused, coloring deeply, but ended by obey- 
ing me. 

A strange and untamed nature ! This afternoon I spoke 
of my contempt for humanity. 

"Ah, that is how it is !" he cried. "I am, then, only a 
dastard a wretch ! " 

And, flushed and trembling, he left the room hastily. 

Saturday, August 26 (August 14). The country is killing! 

I with surprising rapidity sketched two portraits to-day 
my father's and Paul's. The whole thing occupied thirty- 
five minutes. 

My father, who thinks my talent for painting something 
to be truly proud of, examined them and was pleased. As 



104 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

for me, I was enchanted ; for to paint is to do something 
toward furthering one of my aims in life. Every hour not 
spent in that, or in coquetry, presses like a weight upon my 
head. To read ? No, to act ! 

This morning my father entered my apartment. After a 
few commonplace phrases, Paul having left the room, he 
suddenly grew silent, and as I felt he had something to say 
to me that I too wished to speak of, I remained purposely 
silent also, as much for the pleasure of seeing his embarrass- 
ment and hesitation as in order to avoid broaching the 
subject myself. 

" H'm well, then, what do you say ? " he asked. 

"I, papa? Nothing." 

" H'm ! you said h'm ! that you wished me to go 
with you to Rome, h'm ! And how, then ? " 

" Very simply." 

"But" 

He hesitated, moving my combs and brushes about from 
one place to another. 

" But if I should go with you h'm ! and your mamma 
she might not come. And then you see if she did not 
come h'm ! what then ? " 

" Mamma ? Mamma will come." 

" Ah ! " 

" Besides, mamma will do anything I want her to do. She 
exists no longer; there is only I." 

Then, visibly relieved, he put a number of questions to 
me, as to the manner in which mamma passed her time in 
regard to an infinity of things, in fact. 

The Cardinal is dying. 

Despicable man ! (The nephew, I mean.) 

Tuesday, August 29 (August 17). I dreamed that Pierre 

A was dead. I approached his bier and placed around 

hrs neck a rosary of topazes, to which was attached a cross 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 105 

of gold. No sooner had I done this, however, than I saw 
that the dead man was not Pietro. 

To dream of death is a sign of marriage, I believe. 

A young man was in love with a girl who loved him in 
return. After some time he married another, and when he 
was asked the reason of his fickleness, he answered : 

" She kissed me, consequently she has either kissed 
others, or she will kiss them." 

" He was quite right," said my uncle Alexander. And 
every man reasons in the same way. 

A mode of reasoning which is in the highest degree un- 
just, but that does not prevent me being now shut up in my 
room, beside myself with rage. 

I took it for granted that they meant me. But think of 
the cause I had for the supposition. 

Grant me, O Heaven, the power to forget ! O my God 
have I then committed a crime, that thou shouldst punish 
me in this way? 

That which neither education, nor books, nor advice could 
teach me, experience has taught me. 

Friday, September % (August 27). Despicable fear, I shall 
conquer thee at last. Did I not take it into my head yester- 
day to be afraid of a gun ? It is true that Paul had loaded 
it, and that I did not know how large a charge of powder he 
might have used, and that I was unacquainted with the gun. 
It might have gone off, and that would be a stupid death ; 
or, I might be disfigured for life. 

So much the worse ! It is only the first step that is diffi- 
cult. Yesterday I fired at fifty paces, and to-day I fired 
without any fear whatever. May God forgive me, but I 
think I hit the mark every time. 

We read Poushkine aloud to-day, and discussed the 
passion of love. 

" Oh, I should like to be in love to know what it is like ! " 



106 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

I said ; " Or perhaps I have already been in love ? In that 
case, love is a contemptible thing that one picks up in 
order to cast it away again." 

" You will never be in love," said my father. 

" If that should prove to be the case, I would thank 
Heaven for it," I answered. 

I wish, and I do not wish, to love. 

Yet in my dreams I love. Yes, but an imaginary hero. 

And A ? I to love him? No; is it thus one loves? 

No. If he were not the nephew of the Cardinal, and if he 
were not surrounded by priests, and monks, and ruins, and 
the Pope, I should not have loved him. 

Besides, what need have I to explain? You know all 
better than I do. You know then that the music at the 

opera, with A in the barcaccia, produced together a 

charming effect, and you ought to know how great the 
power of music is. That was an amusement, but it was not 
love. 

When, then, shall I really love? I shall still continue to 
pour out on all sides the superabundance of my affection, 
still grow enthusiastic, still shed tears and for creatures 
who are less than nothing! 

Saturday, September 9 {August 28). The days are 
passing; I am losing precious time, and in the best years of 
my life. 

What ennui! Never a witty saying! Never a polished 
phrase! Unhappily I am a pedant, and I love to hear an- 
cient literature and the sciences discussed. Find me any of 
this here if you can ! Cards and nothing else ! I would 
shut myself up and read, but since my object in coming 
here was to make myself loved, that would be a bad way to 
set about doing it. ... 

Thursday, September 2 (14.) Here I am still in this de- 



li,6.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHR'IRTSEFF. 107 

tillable city of Poltava! I am more familiar with Kharkoff. 
I spent a year there before going to Vienna. I remember 
a 1 ! the streets and all the shops. This afternoon at the sta- 
tion I recognized a physician who had attended grand- 
mamma, and I went over and spoke to him. 

I long to return there! "Knowest thou the land where 
the orange-tree blooms?" Not Nice, but Italy. 

GAVRONZI, Sunday, September 17. While waiting for my 
future fame I went to a hunt, arrayed in masculine attire, 
and with a game-bag slung around my shoulder. 

We set out, my father, Paul, the Prince, and I, at about 
t\vo o'clock in a char-a-banc. 

Now I find myself without a word with which to describe 
our excursion, not knowing the name of in fine, of any- 
thing pertaining to the chase. The brambles, the reeds, 
the shrubs, the trees, were all so thick that we could hardly 
make our way through them. The branches brushed 
against us on all sides, the air was deliciously pure, there 
was no sun, but a fine rain fell such as is the delight of 
hunters when they feel warm. 

We walked, walked, walked. 

I made the tour of a small lake, armed with my gun, and 
ready to fire, expecting at every instant to see a duck rise. 

But nothing! I was already asking myself whether I 
should fire at the lizards that hopped about my feet, or at 
Michel, who walked behind me, and whose admiring gaze 
I could feel fixed upon me in my masculine attire. 

I chose the happy medium and fired at a crow (killing 
him instantly) that was perched upon the topmost branch 
of an oak, suspecting nothing, the less so as his attention was 
arrested by my father and Michel, who had thrown them- 
selves on the ground in a clear space in the wood. 

I pulled out its tail-feathers and made myself an aigrette. 

The others did not shoot once; they did nothing but walk. 



lo8 'OURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

Paul killed a thrush, and that was the whole of the 
chase. 

Friday r , September 22. O Rome! the Pincio, rising like 
an island from the plain traversed by aqueducts; the Porta 
del Popolo; the obelisk, the churches of Cardinal -Gastolo, 
at either side of the entrance to the Corso; the Corso itself, 
the Palace of the Republic of Venice; and those dark and 
narrow streets, those palaces black with the dust of cen- 
turies, the ruins of a little temple to Minerva, and finally 
the Coliseum. I think I see them all before me now; I 
close my eyes and I walk through the streets of the city, I 
visit the ruins, I see 

It is not with me as it is with those who say "Out of 
sight, out of mind." A thing is no sooner out of my sight 
than it acquires for me a double value; I dwell upon its 
minutest details, I admire it, I love it. 

I have traveled a great deal; I have seen many cities: 
but two of them only have raised me to the highest pitch of 
enthusiasm. 

The first is Baden-Baden, where I spent two summers 
when I was a child; I can still remember those delicious 
gardens. The second is Rome 
I love Rome, only Rome. 

And St. Peter's! St. Peter's, where a ray of light enter- 
ing through the roof falls upon the floor and casts there 
shadows and tracks of light as regular as the architecture of 
its columns and altars a ray of light that, by the aid of 
shadows only, creates in the midst of this marble temple a 
temple of light. 

With closed eyes I transport myself in imagination to 
Rome, and it is night. And to-morrow the hippopotamus 
will come from Poltava, and I must make myself beautiful, 
and I shall be beautiful. 

The country has done me a great deal of good; my 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 109 

complexion was never fresher nor more transparent than 
now. 

Rome! and I will not goto Rome! Why? Because I 
will not go. And if you knew what it has cost me to come 
to this resolution, you would pity me. Indeed I am 
already in tears. 

The first touch jof cold weather has compelled me to make 
use of my fur coat. Kept from the air as it has been, it 
has preserved the odor of Rome, and this odor this gar- 
ment! 

Have you ever observed that it needs but a perfume, a 
strain of music, a color, to transport one in imagination to 
any particular place? To spend the winter in Paris 
oh, no! 

Thursday, September 28. I cry with ennui. I wish to 
leave this place. I am unhappy here. I am losing my 
time, my life ! My faculties are rusting in inaction. I am 
exasperated yes, that is the word. 

Friday, September 29. I was in despair yesterday, for it 
seemed to me as if I were chained down here for life. The 
thought of this exasperated me, and I wept bitter tears. 

Tuesday, October 17. . . . "Pacha," I said, "what 
would you do to the person who had wounded me cruelly 
wounded me?" 

"I would kill him," he responded quite simply. 

"You use very fine words, but you are laughing, Pacha." 

"And you?" 

"I have been called a devil, a hurricane, a demon, a tem- 
pest; I am all this since yesterday." . . . 

When I grew a little calmer I began to give expression 
to the most contradictory opinions regarding love. 

My cousin has thoughts ideally lofty, and Dante might 
have borrowed from him his divine love for Beatrice. 



no JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

"I shall doubtless fall in love," he said, "but I will 
never marry." 

"What is that you are saying, young man? Do you 
know that one deserves a beating for such words?" 

"Because," he continued, "I desire my love to endure 
forever at least in my imagination in all its divine purity 
and strength. Marriage often kills love, just as it may give 
it being." 

"Oh! oh!" I cried, indignantly. 

"He is quite right," said his mother, while the bashful ora- 
tor blushed and grew confused, ashamed of his own words. 

All this time I was looking at myself in the glass, cutting 
the hair over my forehead, which had grown too long. 

"There," I said to the "young man," throwing him a 
handful of reddish gold hair, "I will give you that as a 
remembrance." 

Not only did he take it, but his voice trembled and he 
looked agitated as he did so; and when I would have taken 
it from him he gave me a pleading look, like a child who 
has got hold of a toy that appears to him a treasure, and 
that he fears to lose. 

I gave my cousin "Corinne" to read, after which he went 
away. 

Corinne and Lord Melvil were walking across the bridge 
of Saint Ange. "It was in crossing this bridge," said Lord 
Melvil, ' 'returning from the Capitol, that my thoughts for 
the first time dwelt seriously on you." I do not know what 
there is in those words to affect me so powerfully, but when 
I read them yesterday they actually made me feel faint. 
And every time I come across them, on opening the book, I 
have the same feeling. 

Has not some one said words like those to me? 

There is a sort of magic in some simple word, perhaps on 
account of their very simplicity. Or is their power derived 
rather from association? 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. m 

Monday, October 23. Yesterday we got into a coupe 
drawn by six horses and set out for Poltava. 

The journey was a gay one. The tears shed on leaving 
the paternal roof caused a general effusion of sentiment, 
and Pacha declared he was madly in love. 

"I swear that it is true," he cried, "but I will not say 
with whom." 

"If it is not with me," I said, "you shall receive my 
malediction." 

I complained that my feet were cold; he took off his 
pelisse and wrapped it about them. 

"Pacha, swear to me that you will tell me the truth." 

"I swear." 

"With whom are you in love?" 

"Why do you ask?" 

"It concerns me to know; we are relations. And then, 
I am curious; and then and then it amuses me." 
'"You see, it amuses you!" 

"Without doubt, but you must not take the word in a 
bad sense; you are a very good fellow." 

"You see you are laughing; you would ridicule me after- 
wards." 

"Here you have my hand and word that I will not ridi- 
cule you." But there was a smile upon my face while I 
spoke. 

"With whom are you in love?" 

" With you." 

"Truly?" 

"On my word of honor. I am not given to many words, 
as they say in novels. Must I fall upon my knees and talk 
a lot of nonsense to prove it to you?" 

"Oh, my dear fellow, you are following in the footsteps 
of some one I know." 

"As you will, Moussia; but I am speaking the truth." 

"But that is folly." 



112 jo URNAL OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [ 1 876. 

"Oh, not a doubt of it, that is what pleases me! I love 
without hope, which is what I needed. I needed to suffer, 
to torment myself, and then, when the object of my passion 
is gone away, I shall have something to dream about, some- 
thing to regret. I shall endure tortures, that will be my 
happiness." 

"Young man !" 

"Young man? Young man?" 

"But we are brother and sister." 

"No, cousins." 

"It is the same thing." 

"Oh, no!" 

Then I set myself to work to tease my lover always the 
lover I do not want. 

Tuesday, October 24. I never had a childhood, but the 
house where I lived when I was a child, if not dear to me, 
possesses an attraction for me. I am familiar with every- 
thing and everybody there. The servants, grown old in our 
service, are surprised to see me so tall, and I should enjoy 
many sweet recollections if it were not for the anxieties that 
poison my mind. . . . 

My -Agrippine gown had a great success. I walked up 
and down while I sang to conquer the timidity that always 
seizes me when I sing. 

Why write? What have I to recount? 

I must bore people to death. Patience! 

Sixtus V. was only a swineherd, and Sixtus V. became 
Pope. 

Sunday, October 29 (17). It is not probable that I shall 
ever again see Tcherniakoff. I spent a long time wan- 
dering from room to room, and found a tender pleasure in 
doing so. People laugh at those who associate sentiment 
with pictures and articles of furniture, and who bid them 



1876.] JOURXAL OF MARIE BASIIK'IRTSEFF. nj 

farewell on going away; who find friends in those pieces 
of wood and stuff that through their association with us 
receive, as it were, something of our life, and seem to be a 
part of our existence. 

Laugh then, if you will! The finest feelings are the most 
easily ridiculed, and where mockery enters, delicacy of 
feeling disappears. 

\\~t\IncsJay, November i. When Paul had gone out I 
found myself alone with that excellent and admirable being 
called Pacha. 

"Then you like me still?" I said. 

"Ah, Moussia, how would you have me speak to you?" 

"Quite naturally. Why this reserve? Why not be simple 
and frank? I will not laugh at you, and if I should laugh, 
it is only because I am nervous nothing else. Then you 
no longer like me?" 

"Why do you say that?" 

"Oh, because because I don't remember now." 

"One cannot account for those things." 

"If you no longer like me, you may say so; you are 
frank enough for that, and I indifferent enough. Come, 
is it my nose? Or my eyes?" 

"One can see that you have never been in love." 

"Why do you say that?" 

"Because from the moment one begins to look critically 
at the features to ask whether the nose is more perfect 
than the eyes, or the eyes more perfect than the mouth it 
is evident that one has never been in love." 

"That is quite true. Who told it to you?" 

"No one." 

"Ulysses?" 

"No," he replied, "one can't tell what it is one likes I 
will be frank with you it is your air, your manner, above 
all your disposition." 



H4 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

"It is amiable, is it not?" 

"Yes, unless you are acting a part, and it would be 
impossible to do that at all times." 

"Another truth. And my face?" 

"It has beauties it is a classic face." 

"Yes, I was aware of that. What more?" 

"What more? There are women one sees passing by that 
one calls beautiful, but that one does not give a second 
thought to. But there are faces that are beautiful and 
charming, that create a lasting impression, that produce a 
sensation that is delightful and agreeable." 

"Precisely so. What else?" 

"How you question!" 

"I want to avail myself of this opportunity to learn a 
little of what people think of me. I shall not easily find 
another whom I can question in this way without compro- 
mising myself. And how did all that take possession of 
you? Did it come to you suddenly, or by degrees?" 

" By degrees." 

" H'm, h'm." 

" That is the best way ; the impression is a more lasting 
one. What you conceive a sudden affection for you cease 
to care for as suddenly, while the affection that comes by 
degrees " 

" Endures forever." 

" Yes, forever." 

Our conversation lasted a long time, and I began to enter- 
tain considerable respect for this man whose affection for 
me is as reverent as a religion, and who has never profaned 
its purity by a word or a look. 

" Do you like to talk of love ? " I asked him sud- 
denly. 

" No ; to speak of it with indifference is a profanation." 

" It amuses one, though." 

" Amuses ! " he cried. 



1876] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASltKlRTSEFF. 11$ 

" Ah, Pacha, life is a wretched affair. Have I ever been 
in love? 

" Never," he answered. 

" Why do you think so ? " 

" Because of your character. You could love only through 
a caprice to-day a man, to-morrow a gown, the day after 
a cat." 

" I am delighted when people think that of me. And 
you, my dear brother, have you ever been in love ?" 

" I have told you so ; you know it very well ; I have told 
you so." 

" No, no, it is not that I am speaking of," I said quickly ; 
"but before." 

" Never." 

"That is strange. Sometimes I think that I am deceived 
in you, and that I take you for something better than you 
are." 

We talked for a while on indifferent subjects, and then I 
went to my room. Here is a man no, let me not think too 
well of him ; the disappointment would be too disagreeable. 
He told me a short time since that he was going to become 
a soldier. 

" To fight for glory, I tell you frankly," he added. 

Well, these words, uttered out of the depths of his heart, 
half-timidly, half-daringly, and true as truth itself, have given 
me extraordinary pleasure. It may be that I flatter myself, 
but I imagine that ambition was a feeling hitherto unknown 
to him. I think I see now the effect produced upon him 
by a few words I let fall in regard to ambition, one day, 
while I was combing my hair. The " young man " * suddenly 
rose to his feet and began to walk up and down the floor. 

"I must do something ; I must do something," he cried. 

Tuesday, November 7. I have broken my looking-glass ! 
* Homme vert, in the original. 



Ii6 JOURNAL Of MARIE BASHKlRTSEFF. [1876. 

That portends some misfortune. This superstitious thought 
freezes me with terror. I look out of the window, and all I 
see is frozen too. It is long since I beheld a scene like this. 

Pacha, with the eagerness natural to the young to show 
new-comers novelties, ordered a little sleigh to be got ready, 
and took me out in triumph for a drive. The sleigh is very 
impertinent to call itself by that name, for it is nothing mote 
than a few miserable pieces of wood nailed together, stuffed 
with hay, and covered with carpet. The horse, being quite 
close to us, threw the snow into our faces, as well as into 
my sleeves, my slippers, and my eyes. 

" You asked me to go with you to Rome," said the young 
man, suddenly. 

" Yes, and not through a caprice. You would confer a 
favor upon me by coming and you will not ! You do 
nothing for me ; for whom, then, would you do anything ? '* 

" Oh, you know very well why I cannot go." 

" I do not." 

" Because I love you." 

" But you would render me so great a service by 
coming ! " 

" I render you a service ? " 

" Yes ! " 

"No, I cannot go. I will think of you from afar. And 
if you knew." he continued, in gentle and touching accents, 
" if you knew what I sometimes suffer, one must possess 
as much moral courage as I do to appear always indifferent 
and always calm. When I see you no longer " 

" You will forget me." 

" Never." 

" But in that case?" 

My voice had lost all trace of raillery. I was touched. 

" I don't know," he answered. " I only know that this 
state of things makes me too miserable." 

" Poor fellow ! " 



1876] JO URN A L OF AfA RIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. 1 1 7 

I quickly recovered myself. This pity from me was an 
insult. 

Why is it so delightful to listen to the confession of the 
sufferings of which one is the cause ! The more unhappy 
any one is for love of you the happier you are. 

" Come with us," I said. " My father does not wish to 
take Paul. Come with us." 

i_ 

" You cannot I know it. Enough ! I will ask you no 
more." 

I assumed an inquisitorial air, like one who is preparing 
to be amused by the confession of a folly. 

" Then I have the honor of being your first love," I said. 
" Admirable ! You are a deceiver." 

" Because my voice does not change its tone, and because 
I do not shed tears ? I have an iron will, that is all." 

" And I wanted to give you something." 

" What ? " 

" This." 

And I showed him a little image of the Virgin suspended 
around my neck by a white ribbon. 

" Give it to me." 

"You do not deserve it. 

"Ah, Moussia," he cried with a sigh, " I assure you that 
I do deserve it. What I feel for you is like the attachment 
of a dog for its master, a devotion without limit." 

" Come nearer, young man, and I will give you my bene- 
diction." 

" Your benediction ? " 

"Yes. If I have made you tall: in this way, it is because 
I desire to know what those who are in love feel, for sup- 
pose I should take it into my head to fall in love some day, 
I should want to recognize the symptoms." 

" Give me that image," said the young man, without 
removing his eyes from it. 



n8 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

He knelt on the chair on the back _ of which I was lean- 
ing, and tried to take the image in his hand, but I stopped 
him. 

"No, no, around your neck," I said. 

And I put the ribbon around his neck, warm as it still 
was from contact with mine. 

" Oh ! " he cried, " thanks for that ! thank you ! thank 
you !" 

And he kissed my hand only, for the first time. 

Wednesday, November 8. This evening I sat do\vn at the 
piano to play the " Reading of the Letter of Venus," a 
charming morceau from " La Belle Helene." 

But " La Belle Helene " is a ravishing opera. Offenbach 
had only just begun his career when he wrote it, and had 
not yet debased his genius by writing insignificant oper- 
ettas. 

I played for a long time I cannot now remember what 
but something, I remember, that was slow and passionate, 
tender and charming, as only Mendelssohn's " Songs Without 
Words," well rendered, can be. 

Afterwards I drank four cups of tea, while we talked 
about music. 

" Music exercises a powerful influence over me," said the 
"young man." "I feel something altogether strange while I 
listen to it it produces a sentimental effect upon me, and 
I say then things that I should never dare to say otherwise." 

"Music is a traitress, Pacha; distrust her, she will cause 
you to do a great many things you would not do in your 
calmer moments. She seizes hold of you, twines herself 
around you, makes you lose your senses and then it is 
terrible ! " 

Afterward I spoke of Rome. Pacha listened and sighed, 
in his corner ; and when he approached the light the 
expression on his countenance told me more plainly than 



1876.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 119 

all the words in the world could have done, what the poor 
fellow suffered. 

(Observe this ferocious vanity, this eagerness to ascertain 
the extent of the ravages one has caused ! I am a vulgar 
coquette, or no, I am a woman, nothing more.) 

" We are rather melancholy this evening," I said softly. 

"Yes," he answered ; "your playing, and then I don't 
know what the matter is, but I think I have a fever." 

" Go to sleep, my friend," I said ; " I am going to my 
room ; but first help me to carry my books." 

Thursday^ November g. My sojourn here will at least 
have given me an opportunity of becoming acquainted with 
the splendid literature of my country. But what do her 
poets and writers speak of? The South. 

And first let me mention Gogol, our humoristic star. His 
description of Rome made me shed tears, and sigh ; one 
can form no idea of him without reading his works. 

Some day they will be translated ; and those who have 
had the happiness to see Rome will then understand my 
emotion. 

Oh, when shall I leave this country ? gray, cold, arid, 
even in summer, even in the sunshine. The foliage is sickly, 
and the sky is less blue than down yonde r. 

Friday. I have been reading until just now. I am dis- 
gusted with my diary troubled, disheartened. 

Rome. I can say nothing more. I remained fully five 
minutes with my pen in my hand, without knowing what to 
write, my heart was so full. But the time is approaching, 

and I shall see A again. The thought of seeing A 

again fills me with terror. And yet I believe that I do not 
love him, I am even certain of it. But that memory, my 
chagrin, my uncertainty regarding the future, the fear of 

being slighted ! A ' How often this name returns to 

my thoughts and htnv hateful it is to me ! 



120 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1876. 

You think T wish to die ? Fools that you are ! I love 
life as it is, and the vexations, the tortures, the tears that 
God has sent me I bless them and I am happy. 

In fact, I have so accustomed myself to the idea of being 
unhappy, that when I think over my troubles alone in my 
room, and far away from the world, I say to myself that per- 
haps after all I am not so much to be pitied. 

Why weep then ? 

Saturday, November n. This morning at eight o'clock 
I left Gavronzi, and not without some slight emotion 
caused by regret at leaving the place ? No, by the inter- 
ruption of a habit. 

The servants were all assembled in the courtyard, and I 
gave to each one of them some money, and to the house- 
keeper a gold bracelet. 

Wednesday, November 15. Last Sunday I set out on my 
homeward journey, accompanied by my father. During 
my last two days in Russia, I saw a good deal of Prince 
Michel and the others. 

There was no one at the station to see me off but the 
members of my own family, but there were several strangers 
there who looked with curiosity at our " traps." 

Alexander, Paul, and Pacha entered the compartment 
with us ; the ringing of the third bell announced the de- 
parture of the train, and they all crowded around me. 

" Paul ! Paul ! " cried the young man, " let me at least 
say good-by." 

" Let him come here," I said. 

He kissed my hand, and I kissed him on the cheek, near 
the eye. It is the custom in Russia, but I have never been* 
able to approve of it. 

We were only waiting for the bell to sound, and it did 
not delay long. 



1877 ] JOURNAL OF MARIS 6ASHKJRTSEFF. 121 

" Well ? " I said. 

" There is still time enough," said the young man. 

The train began to move slowly, and Pacha began to talk 
very fast, but without knowing a word of what he was 
saying. 

" Good-by, good-by," I cried, "jump off." 

" Yes, farewell, good-by." 

And he jumped on to the platform after having once 
more kissed my hand the kiss of a faithful and obedient 
dog. 

" Come, come," cried my father from our compartment, 
for we were in the passageway of the coach. 

I returned to him, but I was so troubled at the spectacle 
of grief of which I was the cause, that I lay down at once 
and closed my eyes to think and dream at my ease. 

Poor Pacha ! Dear and noble boy ! If I regret anything 
I leave behind me in Russia, it is this heart of gold, this 
loyal character, this upright spirit. 

Am I really troubled ? Yes. As if it were possible to be 
so insensible as not to feel a just pride in possessing such a 
friend. 



1877. 

NICE, Wednesday, January 17. When shall I know, then, 
what this passion called love is, of which people talk so 
much ? 

I could have loved A , but now I despise him. The 

Duke of H I loved extravagantly when I was a child 

a love due to the effect produced on an excitable imagina- 
tion by the wealth, the name, and the eccentricities of the 
man. 

Tuesday, January 23. Last night I was seized by a fit of 
despair that found utterance in moans, and that finally 



122 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

drove me to throw the dining-room clock into the sea. 
Dina ran after me, suspecting some sinister design on my 
part, but I threw nothing into the sea except the clock. It 
was a bronze one a Paul, without the Virginia in a very 
becoming hat, and with a fishing-rod in his hand. Dina 
came back with me into my room, and seemed to be very 
much amused about the clock. I laughed, too. 
Poor clock ! 

Thursday, February i. Mamma and I went out for an 
airing. On reaching home I sat down to read Livy. The 
heroes of antiquity, the classic folds of the toga, the Capitol, 
the dome, the masked ball, the Pincio Oh, Rome ! 

ROME, Thursday, February 8. I fell asleep at Vintimille, 
and only woke up, mind and body, when we arrived at 
Rome. Against my will I was obliged to remain there till 
evening, as the train for Naples does not leave till 10 o'clock. 
A whole day in Rome ! 

At twenty minutes past ten we left Rome. I fell asleep, 
and we are now at Naples. My sleep was not so sound, 
however, as to prevent my hearing an ill-tempered passen- 
ger complaining to the conductor of the presence of Prater 
in the coach. The gallant conductor took the part of 
our dog. 

But here is Naples. Does it happen to you as it does to 
me? On nearing a great and beautiful city I grow restless, 
my heart palpitates ; I feel as if I should like to clasp the 
city in my embrace. 

It took us more than an hour to reach the Hotel du 
Louvre. There was an obstruction in the way what cries, 
and what confusion ! 

The women here have enormous heads ; they look like 
the women they exhibit along with the tigers, serpents, and 
other animals, at the menageries. 



1877.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 123 

In Rome I like only what is old ; at Naples there is noth- 
ing to admire but what is new. 

NAPLES, Monday, February 26. I continued my excur- 
sions to-day. We visited San Martino, an ancient convent. 
I have never seen anything more interesting. Museums, as 
a general thing, give one a chill. That of San Martino 
attracts and charms. The antique carriage of the Syndic, 
and the gallery of Charles III., enraptured me; and those 
corridors, with their mosaic floors, those ceilings with their 
magnificent moldings ! The church and the chapels are 
something marvelous. As they are not large, every detail 
of the workmanship can be fully appreciated. Polished 
marbles, precious stones, mosaics on all sides, overhead and 
underfoot, on the ceiling as well as on the floor ! With the 
exception of those of Guido Reni and of Spagnoletto, the 
pictures are the most remarkable I have ever seen : the 
patiently wrought works of Fra Buenaventura, the ancient 
porcelains of Capo-di-Monte, the portraits on silk, and a 
painting on glass representing the story of Potiphar's wife. 
The court-yard of white marble, with its sixty columns, is of 
rare beauty. 

Our guide told us that there are but five monks remaining 
in the convent three brothers and two laymen, who dwell 
somewhere upstairs, in a neglected wing of the building. 

We went up into a sort of tower, with two balconies sus- 
pended one above the other, and I felt as one might feel 
looking over the edge of a precipice ; the view is distract- 
ingly beautiful. One sees the mountains, the villas, and the 
plains of Naples through a sort of Hue mist that is only an 
illusion of the senses, produced by distance. 

" What is going on at Naples to-day ? " I asked the guide, 
as I listened to the noises that reached us from the city. 

" Nothing; it is only the Neapolitan people," he answered, 
smiling. 



124 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

"Is it always so? " 

"Always." 

There rose up above this mass of roofs a clamor, a cease- 
less sound of cries, like a series of shouts, of which one can 
form no idea in the city itself. In truth, this noise that rises 
up above the city with the blue mist produces a species of 
terror in the mind, and, by making one strangely conscious 
of the height at which one stands, causes a sensation of 
vertigo. 

The marble chapels charmed me. A country that pos- 
sesses treasures such as there are to be found in Italy, is the 
richest country in the world. To compare Italy with the 
rest of the world is like comparing a magnificent painting 
to a whitewashed wall. 

How did I dare to judge Naples a year ago ? I had not 
even seen it then. 

Saturday, March 3, 1877. I went to the chapel in our 
hotel this evening. There is an infinite charm in letting the 
thoughts dwell upon love when one is in a church. You see 
the priest, the images, the glow of the tapers shining through 
the obscurity all this took me back to Rome ! Divine 
ecstasy, celestial perfume, delightful transports ah, how 
describe them here ! Only in song could feelings such as 
pervaded me be expressed. 

Rome ! Its statues, its mosaics, its wonders of art, anti- 
quity, the middle ages, its great men, its monuments of the 
past, St. Peter's with its columns and its mysterious shad- 
ows I thought of all these. 

What is to be gained by weeping ? Tears will do no good. 
Unhappiness is to be my destiny that, and an artist's fame. 
And what if I should fail ? 

Make your minds easy ; I was not born to spend my life 
in some obscure corner of the world, letting my faculties 
rust through neglect. 



JS/7.] JOL'RXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 125 

I will not now speak of love, for I once made use of that 
word lightly ; I will no longer invoke the help of God ; all 
I wish for is to die. 

Lord God, Jesus Christ ; suffer me to die ! My life has 
been a short one, but the lesson taught me has been hard. 
Everything has been against me. I desire only to die. 
My thoughts are as incoherent and disordered as the lines 
I trace ; I hate myself, as I hate everything that is con- 
temptible. 

Let me die, my God ! Let me die ! I have lived long 
enough ! 

A peaceful death ! To die while singing some beautiful 
air of Verdi ; no rebellious feeling rises up within me at 
the thought, as formerly ; then I desired to live that others 
might not triumph and rejoice over me. Now all that is 
indifferent to me ; I suffer too much. 

Sunday, April i. I am like the patient and untiring al- 
chemist who spends whole days and nights beside his retorts 
that he may not miss the moment he has longed for and 
waited for. Every day it seems to me that it is going to hap- 
pen. And I think of it and wait for it. And how do I know 
whether it has happened or not ? I examine myself curi- 
ously and with eager eyes in the glass, and I ask myself anxi- 
ously if this be not perhaps it. But I have formed such an 
opinion of //, that I have come to think it does not exist, or 
rather that it has already happened, and that there was 
nothing wonderful in it, after all. 

But all my imaginings, then, and the novelists and the 
poets? Would they with one accord have made their theme 
a feeling that does not exist, solely for the purpose of dig- 
nifying by its name the grossness of human nature? No ; 
for in that case it would be impossible to account for our 
preferences. 



126 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877- 

Friday, May n. Have I mentioned that Gordigiani came 
to see us ; that he gave me great encouragement, and pre- 
dicted an artistic future for me ; that he found much to 
praise in my sketches, and wished very much to paint my 
portrait ? 

FLORENCE, Saturday, May 12. My heart is oppressed at 
the thought of leaving Florence. 

To go to Nice ! I look forward to it as I would to going 
to live in a desert. I should like to shave my head that I 
might not have the trouble of arranging my hair. 

We have packed our trunks, we are going ! The ink 
dries upon my pen while I try to write in vain, so oppressed 
am I by grief. 

NICE, Wednesday, May 16. I have been running about all 
the morning in search of a few trifles that I want for my 
antechamber, but in this wretched place one can find 
nothing. I went to the shop of a painter on glass, to a tin- 
smith's, and I don't know where else. 

The thought that my diary may not prove interesting, the 
impossibility of making it interesting by preparing surprises 
for the reader, torment me. If I wrote only at intervals I 
might be able to do so, perhaps, but these notes written 
down each day will be read with interest only by some 
thinker, or some student of human nature. Whoever has 
not the patience to read it all, will be able to read none of 
it, and, above all, will be able to understand none of it. 

I am happy in my comfortable and pretty nest in the 
midst of my garden full of flowers. Nice no longer exists 
for me ; I am in my country-house. 

NICE, Wednesday, May 23. Oh, when I think that we 
have only a single life to live, and that every moment that 
Tosses brings us nearer death, I am ready to go distracted ! 



JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 127 

I do not fear death, but life is so short that to waste it is 
infamous. 

One pair of eyes is not enough if one desires to accom- 
plish anything. Reading and drawing fatigue me greatly, 
and while I am writing these wretched lines at night I grow 
sleepy. 

Ah, what a happy time youth is ! 

With what happiness shall I look back, in times to come, 
on these days devoted to science and art ! If I worked 
thus all the year round but a day, or a week, as the chance 
may be ! Natures so richly endowed as mine consume 
themselves in idleness. 

I try to tranquillize my mind by the thought that I shall 
certainly begin work in earnest this winter. But the thought 
of my seventeen years makes me blush to the roots of my 
hair. Almost seventeen, and what have I accomplished? 
Nothing! This thought crushes me. 

I think of all the famous men and women who acquired 
their celebrity late in life, in order to console myself ; but 
seventeen years for a man are nothing, while for a woman 
they are equal to twenty-three for a man. 

To go live in Paris, in the North, after this cloudless sky, 
these clear, calm nights ! What can one desire, what can 
one hope for, after Italy ! Paris the heart of the civilized 
world, of the world of intellect, of genius, of fashion nat- 
urally people go there, and remain there, and are happy 
there ; it is even indispensable to go there, for a multitude 
of reasons, in order to return with renewed delight to the 
land beloved of God, the land of the blest, that enchanted, 
wondrous, divine land of the supreme beauty and magic 
charm of which all that one could say would never equal 
the truth ! 

When foreigners come to Italy they ridicule its mean little 
towns, and its lazzaroni, and they do this with some clever- 
ness and not without a certain show of reason. But forget 



128 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

for the moment that you are clever ; forget that it is a mark 
of genius to turn everything into ridicule, and you will find, 
as I do, that tears will mingle with your laughter, and that 
you will wonder at all you see. 

Tuesday, May 29. The nearer I approach to the time 
when my youth shall be over, the more indifferent do I 
become to everything. Few things affect me now, while 
formerly anything had power to movelne, so that in reading 
over this record of the past I see, from the impression they 
made upon me, that I attached too much importance to 
trifles. 

Trust in others, and that sensitiveness of feeling that is 
the bloom of the character, are soon lost. 

I regret the loss of this freshness of feeling all the more, 
as when it is once gone it is gone forever. Without it one 
is more tranquil, but one no longer enjoys as much. Dis- 
appointment ought not to have come to me so early in life. 
If it had not come, I feel that I might have achieved great 
things. 

I have just finished a book that has disgusted me with 
love the story of a charming princess who had fallen in 
love with an artist. Fie ! I do not say this with the stupid 
intention of seeking to belittle the profession of an artist, 
but without knowing why, I have always had aristocratic 
tendencies, and I believe as much in race where men as 
where animals are in question. It is true that often always, 
indeed, in earlier times the foundation of a noble race was 
based on moral and physicial training, the effects of which 
were transmitted from father to son. And of what conse- 
quence is the origin of a thing ? 

On glancing through those pages of my journal that record 

the A episode I am filled with wonder and admiration 

for myself to see how just and true were my reflections con- 
cerning it at the time it occurred. I had forgotten them, 



S877-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKI'RTSEFF. 129 

and I was a little uneasy lest it might be thought that I had 

entertained an affection (a past affection) for Count A . 

Fortunately, however, no one can think so now, thanks to 
this dear journal. No, truly, I did not think I had made so 
many just reflections at the time, and, above all, that I had 
felt them. That was a year ago, and I feared I had written 
a great deal of nonsense ; but no, I am quite satisfied with 
myself. The only thing that I cannot understand is how I 
could have behaved so foolishly and reasoned so wisely. 

I must repeat to myself again that no advice in the world 
nothing but personal experience could ever have kept me 
from doing anything I wished to do. 

That is because the woman who writes these words and 
the woman she is writing about are two different persons. 
What do all these sufferings matter to me? I write them 
down ; I analyze them ; I transcribe my daily life, but to 
me, to me myself, all that is completely indifferent. It is my 
pride, my self-love, my interests, my complexion, my eyes, 
that suffer, that weep, that rejoice ; but 7, I take part in it 
all only to observe, to narrate, to write about and reason 
coldly concerning all these trifles, like Gulliver among the 
Liliputians. 

I have a great deal more to say in explanation of myself, 
but enough for the present. 

Monday, June i r. While they were playing cards last 
night I made a rough sketch of the players by the unsteady 
light of the two wax candles, and this morning I transferred 
the sketches to canvas. 

I am delighted to have made a picture of persons sitting 
down in different attitudes ; to have copied the position of 
the hands and arms, the expression of the countenance, etc., 
I had never before done anything but heads, which I 
satisfied to scatter over the canvas like flowers. 



13 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

PARIS, Saturday, July 7. I think I may truly say that I 
have been growing much more sensible for some time past ; 
that I begin to see things now in a more natural light, and 
that I have abandoned a great many illusions and a great 
many regrets. 

True wisdom can be learned only from personal ex- 
perience. 

Sunday, July 15. I am so weary of life that I should like 
to die. Nothing amuses me, nothing interests me. I desire 
nothing, I hope for nothing. Yes, there is one thing I wish 
for not to be ashamed of being as I am. I desire to be 
able, in a word, to do nothing, to think of nothing, to live the 
life of a plant, without feeling remorse for it. 

Reading, drawing, music but ennui ! ennui ! ennui! In 
addition to one's occupations one requires some amusement, 
some interest in life, and this is why I am weary of it. 

I am tired of life, not because I have not married no, I 
am sure you think better of me than to imagine that I am 
tired of life because everything has gone wrong with me, 
and because I am tired of it. 

Paris kills me ! It is a cafe, a well-kept /.otel, a bazar. 
I must only hope, however, that when winter comes, what 
with the opera, the Bois, and my studies, I shall be able to 
accustom myself to it. 

Tuesday, July 17. I have spent the day looking at veri- 
table marvels of artistic and antique embroidery, gowns 
that are poems, all sorts of splendors that have given me a 
glimpse of a luxury I had scarcely an idea of before. 

Ah, Italy ! If I devoted a month twice a year there to 
my wardrobe, I had no need to think of it again. Dress is 
so stupid when one makes it a matter of special study. 

Wednesday, July 18. The mere word " Italy "causes me 



1877.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 131 

an emotion such as no other word, such as no one's presence, 
has ever done. 

Oh, when shall I be there ! 

It would annoy me exceedingly if any one were to sup- 
pose I wrote these Ah's and Oh's through affectation. 

I don't know why this should be the case, however ; and, 
besides, I affirm and declare that all I say, stupid and dis- 
agreeable though it may be, is the truth. 

The thing is that I wish to write now in a different style, 
quite simply ; and I fear that on comparing this with my 
former exaggerated way of saying things, people will no 
longer be able to understand what I want to say. 

I want to express myself quite naturally, and if I make 
use of a few figures of speech, do not think it is for orna- 
ment ; oh, no ! it is simply for the purpose of describing as 
nearly as possible the confusion of my thoughts. 

It vexes me greatly to be able to write nothing that is 
pathetic. I long so much to make others feel what I feel ! 
I weep, and I say I weep! That is not what I \vant. I 
want to make you feel the whole thing I want to touch 
your hearts ! 

That will come, and other things will come with it, but it 
must not be sought after. 

T/iursJay y July 26. I have spent almost the whole day 
drawing; in order to rest my eyes I played for a while on 
the mandolin ; then again came drawing, then the piano. 
There is nothing in the world to be compared to Art ; and 
it is as much a source of happiness for the beginner as for 
the master. One forgets everything in one's work ; one 
regards those outlines, those shadings, with respect, with 
emotion one is a creator, one feels oneVself almost great. 

Tli rough fear of injuring my eyes I have given up read- 
ing at night for some little time past. I begin to see things 
blurred, even at so short a distance as from the carriage to 



132 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

the sidewalk. This troubles me. What if, after losing my 
voice, I should be obliged to give up drawing and reading 
also ! In that case I should no longer complain, for that 
would mean that in all my other sufferings no one was to 
blame, and that they were the will of God. 

Monday, July 30. Fauvel has stopped my excursions to 
Enghein, and will perhaps send me to Germany, which 
would again turn everything upside down. Walitsky is a 
skillful doctor and understands a great deal about sickness ; 
I was in hopes he was mistaken in wishing me go to Soden, 
but it seems that Fauvel is of the same opinion. 

Sunday, August 5. When one is in want of bread, one 
does not ask for sweets ; therefore it is that I am ashamed 
to speak of my artistic hopes at present. I no longer dare 
to say that I would like such or such an arrangement made 
to enable me to work better, or that I want to go to Italy to 
study. To say such things now would cost me a great 
effort. 

Even if I were to have everything I desire, I think it 
would no longer make me happy as it might have done 
before. 

Confidence, once lost, can never be restored ; and to 
lose this as is the case with every irrevocable loss is an 
inconsolable sorrow. 

I am disenchanted with life ; I take notice of nothing, 
and no one interests me ; I wear an anxious look, instead 
of my former confident expression, thus depriving my coun- 
tenance of its principal charm ; I sit silent and apart while 
others are conversing around me ; my friends look at me 
with astonishment at first, and then leave me to myself. 
Then I try to be amusing, and I am only odd, extrava- 
gant, impertinent, and stupid. 



1877.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 133 

Monday, August 6. Do you suppose that the condition 
of Russia causes me no anxiety ? Who is there so unhappy 
or so contemptible that he forgets his country in her hour 
of danger ? 

Do you think one hundred thousand slaughtered Rus- 
sians would now be lying dead if my prayers could have 
availed to save them, or my anxious thoughts to protect 
them ? 

Tuesday, August 7. I have been stupefying myself at the 
Bon Marche, which pleases me, as everything else does that 
is well arranged. We had some friends to supper ; they 
laughed, still I am sad, wretched. ... So then, IT is IM- 
POSSIBLE ! Horrible word ! Hideous, maddening word ! 
To die, my God, to die ! To die and leave nothing behind ! 
To die like a dog to die as a hundred thousand other 
women have died whose names scarcely survive upon their 
tombstones ! To die ! 

Mad creature, who will not see what it is that God desires ! 
God wishes me to renounce everything and to devote my- 
self to art ! In five years to come I shall still be young, 
still beautiful perhaps. But what if I become only a medi- 
ocre artist such as there are already too many of ? 

With other things to interest one, that might do, but to 
devote one's life to it and not to succeed ! 

What is life without society ? What can one who leads a 
solitary existence hope to accomplish ! This thought makes 
me hate the whole world, my family, myself ; it makes me 
blaspheme ! To live ! To live ! Holy Mary, Mother of 
God, Lord Jesus, help me ! 

But if, I wish to devote my life to art, I must go to Italy ! 
Yes, to Rome. 

This is the wall of granite against which I dash my head 
at every instant ! 

I will remain here. 



*34 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

Sunday, August 12. I have sketched the portrait of An- 
toinette, our chambermaid. She has a charming face, with 
large, bright blue eyes of an exquisitely sweet and innocent 
expression. The sketch is always a success with me, but 
to finish a portrait one must have studied. 

Friday, August 17. I am convinced that I cannot live 
outside of Rome. In fact my health is visibly deteriorating, 
but at least I have no wish in the matter. I would give 
two years of my life never to have been in Rome. 

Unhappily, one learns how to act only when there is no 
longer need for action. 

The thought of painting enrages me. Because there are 
the materials in me to accomplish wonders, and yet, so far 
as study is concerned, I am less fortunate than any poor 
boy whom some benevolent person sends to school because 
he has been discovered to possess talent. I hope, at least, 
that posterity, in revenge for the loss of the pictures I might 
have painted, will decapitate every member of my family. 

Do you fancy I still wish TO GO INTO SOCIETY ? No, no ; 
I am soured and disappointed, and if I wish to become an 
artist, it is for the same reason that malcontents become 
republicans. 

I think, after all, I slander myself in saying this. 

Saturday, August 18. When I was reading Homer I com- 
pared my aunt, on one occasion, when she was angry, to 
Hecuba at the burning of Troy. No matter how much 
ashamed we may be to confess our admiration for the class- 
ics, no one, I think, can escape in secret from the charm 
exercised over the mind by the ancient writers. No mod- 
ern drama, no romance, no sensational comedy of Dumas or 
of George Sand, has left so clear a recollection or so vivid 
and profound an impression upon me as the description of 
the fall of Troy. 



I877-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 135 

I almost feel as if I had witnessed those horrors; as if I 
had heard those cries, and seen those flames, with Priam's 
family, unhappy ones, seeking refuge behind the altars of 
their gods, to be followed there by the flames and delivered 
by them at last from their sufferings. 

I have thrown aside in disgust the "Journal d'un Diplo- 
mate en Italic." This French elegance of style, this polite- 
ness, these hackneyed phrases of admiration, are an insult 
to Rome. When a Frenchman is describing anything I 
always picture him to myself as dissecting it with a long 
instrument held delicately between his fingers, and eye- 
glasses on his nose. 

Rome should be, as a city, what I imagined I should be as 
a woman; any expression of admiration uttered in the pres- 
ence of others, where we are concerned, is a profanation. 

Sunday, August 19. I have just finished reading "Arca- 
dia," by Ouida. This book has left a sad impression on 
me, yet I almost envy the lot of Gioja. 

Gioja grew up to womanhood under the joint influence of 
Homer and Virgil; after her father's death she went on 
foot to Rome, and received there a terrible disappointment, 
for she had expected to see the Rome of Augustus. 

For two years she studied in the studio of Marix, the most 
celebrated sculptor of the time, who secretly loved her. 
But she had no thought for anything except her art until 
the appearance of Hilarion, a poet whose poems drew tears 
from every one, and who -himself turned everything into 
ridicule; a millionnaire as beautiful as a god, and who was 
adored by all who knew him. While Marix worships her in 
silence, Hilarion causes Gioja to fall in love with him to 
gratify a whim. 

The ending of the romance saddened me, yet I would 
accept without hesitation the lot of Gioja. First, she wor- 
shiped Rome, then she experienced the delight of an absorb- 



136 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

ing passion. And if she was deserted, it was by him; if 
she suffered, it was through him ; and I cannot picture to 
myself how one can be unhappy because of anything that 
comes from the man one loves as she loved, and as I shall 
love, if I ever love! 

She never discovered that he had sought to make her love 
him for a whim. 

"He has loved me," she says, "it is I who have been un- 
able to retain his affections." 

She won fame; her name, uttered in accents of admira- 
tion mingled with wonder, was on every one's lips. 

She never ceased to Iwe him ; he never descended in her 
eyes to the rank of common men; she believed him always 
to be perfect, almost divine; she did not wish to die then, 
because he lived. "How can one kill one's self," she says, 
"while the man one loves still lives?" 

And she died in his arms, hearing from his lips the words, 
"I love you." 

But in order to love thus, one must find a Hilarion. The 
man one loves thus must belong to no obscure family; 
Hilarion was the son of a noble Austrian and a Greek prin- 
cess. The man one loves thus should never know what it 
is to be in want of money; he should never falter in any of 
his undertakings, nor be afraid of anything or of any one. 

This man, finally, must never find the door of a palace 
or of a club barred to him; he must never find himself 
obliged to hesitate regarding the purchase of a statue he 
desires to possess, or the propriety of any one of his actions, 
however foolish it may be. He must be superior to the 
slights, the annoyances, the difficulties of other men. He 
must be a coward only in love, but a coward like Hilarion 
who could break a woman's heart with a smile, and who 
would weep to see a woman want for anything. 

Such a man should find, wherever he travels, a palace of 
his own in which he may repose, a yacht to transport him 



i77] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 137 

wherever his fancy may lead him, jewels, servants, horses, 
flute-players even, if he should desire them. 

Thursday, August 23. I am in Schlangenbad! 

Fauvel has ordered me to rest, as he says. I do not 
think myself cured yet, however, and in the matter of dis- 
agreeable things I never deceive myself. 

I shall soon be eighteen. Eighteen years are not a great 
many to one who is thirty-five, but they are a great many to 
me, who in the brief period of my existence as a young girl 
have had few pleasures and many griefs. 

Art ! If I had not that magic word before me in the dis- 
tance I should have died already. 

But for Art one has need of no one; we depend entirely 
upon ourselves, and if we fail, it is because there was noth- 
ing in us, and that we ought to live no longer. Art! I 
picture it to myself like a great light shining before me in 
the distance, and I forget everything else but this, and I 
shall press forward to the goal, my eyes fixed upon this 
light. And now oh, no, no! now, my God, do not terrify 
me! Some horrible thought tells me that Ah, no: I will 
not write it down, I will not bring bad luck upon myself! 
My God ! I will make the attempt, and if Then there 
will be no more to be said, and let God's will be done! 

I was at Schlangenbad two years ago. What a difference 
between then and now ! 

Then -I hoped all things; now I hope for nothing. . . . 

Thanks to my habit of carrying a "heap of useless things" 
about with me I can make myself at home anywhere by the 
end of an hour my dressing-case, my writing materials, 
my mandolin, a few good big books, my foot-warmer, and 
my photographs that is all. But with those any room in 
an inn may be made comfortable. What I am most 
attached to are my four large red dictionaries, my Livy, 
bound in green, a small copy of Dante, a medium-sized 



138 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

Lamartine, and my likeness, cabinet size, painted in oil and 
framed in dark blue velvet, encased in a Russia leather 
case. With this my bureau assumes at once an air of ele- 
gance, and when the light of the two wax candles falls on 
these warm and pleasing colors, I feel almost reconciled to 
Germany. 

Dina is so good, so amiable! How I should like to see 
her happy! 

And a word in regard to that; what a vile humbug the 
life of certain persons is ! 

Monday, August 27. I have added a clause to my even- 
ing prayer these five words: My God, protect our armies! 

I, eighteen years old it is absurd! My talents still un- 
developed, my hopes, my passions, my caprices, will be 
ridiculous at eighteen. To begin to learn to paint at eigh- 
teen, when one has had the pretension of being able to do 
everything quicker and better than other people! 

There are people who deceive others, but I have deceived 
myself. 

Saturday, September i. I spend a great deal of my time 
alone, thinking and reading, without any one to direct me. 
Perhaps this is well, but perhaps also it is ill. 

Who will assure me that my head has not been filled with 
erroneous notions, and my judgment distorted by false 
methods of reasoning? That is a question that will be 
decided when I am dead. 

Forgive, forgiveness: here are a verb and a noun exten- 
sively used in the world. Christianity commands us to for- 
give. 

What is forgiveness? 

It is the renunciation of vengeance or of the desire to 
inflict punishment for an offense received. But when we 
have had neither the intention of taking vengeance nor of 



I877-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 139 

inflicting punishment, can we be said to forgive? Yes, and 
no. Yes, because we assure ourselves and others that \ve 
have forgiven; and we act as if the offense had never existed. 
No, because one is not master of one's memory, and so' 
long as we remember we have not forgiven. 

I have spent the whole of the day in the society of my 
family, and I mended with my own hands a Russia leather 
shoe belonging to Dina ; then I washed a large wooden 
table, as any chambermaid might do, and set to work to 
make on this table varenki (a paste made of flour, water, 
and fresh cheese). My people were amused to see me 
kneading the paste with sleeves turned up, and a black 
velvet cap upon my head, like Faust. 

Sunday, September 2. How can people who are free to do 
as they choose go to spend a day at Wiesbaden ? 

We went there nevertheless, in order to see the most 
ridiculous people in the world celebrate the defeat of the 
most cultured. 

Thursday, September 6. I will stay in Paris. This is 
what I have definitively resolved to do, and my mother also. 
I spent the whole evening with her. Everything would have 
gone very well if she had not been ill, as she was, particu- 
larly toward night. She has not left her bed since. 

/ have resolved to remain in Paris, where I will pursue my 
studies, going to a watering-place in the summer for relaxation. 
All my caprices are exhausted. Russia was what I needed, 
and I am noiv completely reformed. And I feel that the 
moment has at last come to pause in my course. With my 
abilities, in two years 1 shall have made up for lost time. 

So, then, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost, and may the divine protection be with me. This is 
not a resolution made to be broken, like so many former ones, 
but a final one. 



14 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

PARIS, Wednesday, September 19. I don't know why ex- 
actly, but I think I shall like to live in Paris. It seems to 
me that a year in the atelier Julian will lay a good founda- 
tion. 

Tuesday, October 2. To-day we removed our belongings 
to 71 Champs Elysees. Notwithstanding the confusion I 
found time to go to the atelier Julian, the only one of any 
note here for women. The hours of work are from eight 
in the morning till noon, and from one in the afternoon to 
five. 

To-day not being the fourth, which is an unlucky day for 
me, I was eager to begin work on as many things as possible. 

I sketched a three-quarter head in crayon in ten minutes 
at the studio, and Julian told me he had not expected any- 
thing so good from a beginner. I left the studio early, as 
all I wanted was to make a beginning to-day. We went to 
the Bois. I plucked five oak-leaves there and took them to 
Doucet, who in half an hour made me a charming little blue 
scapular. But what shall I wish for ? to be a millionnaire ? 
To get back my voice ? To obtain the Prix de Rome under 
the guise of a man ? To marry Napoleon IV ? To go into 
the great world ? 

/ wish more than anything to get back my voice. 

The day passes quickly when one draws from eight in the 
morning till noon, and from one in the afternoon to five. 
Only to go to the studio and back takes almost an hour and 
a half. To-day I arrived a little late, so that I worked but 
six hours. 

When I think of the entire years that I have lost it makes 
me angry enough to give up everything ! But that would 
only make matters worse. Come, be miserable and hateful 
as you will, but be satisfied, at least, to have at last suc- 
ceeded in making a beginning. And I might have begun at 
thirteen ? Four entire years lost ! 



IS??-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 141 

I might be painting historical pictures by this time if I 
had begun four years ago. All that I have done is worse 
than nothing ; it must be undone again. 

At last I am working with artists real artists, who have 
exhibited in the Salon, and whose pictures are bought who 
even give lessons themselves. 

Julian is satisfied with the beginning I have made. "By 
the end of the winter," he said to me, "You will be able to 
paint very good portraits." 

He says some of the women pupils give as much promise 
as the men ; I would have worked with the latter but that 
they smoke, and then there is no difference in the work. 
Formerly the women pupils did not draw from the nude, but 
since they have been admitted to the Academy there is 
no difference made in that respect between them and the 
men. 

The servant at the studio is just like one of those they 
describe in novels. 

" I have always lived among artists," she says, " and I am 
not by any means one of the bourgeoisie ; I am an artist." 

I am happy, happy ! 

Friday, October 5. " Did you do that by yourself ? " M. 
Julian asked me on entering the studio to-day. 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

I grew as red as if I had told a falsehood. 

" Well, I am satisfied with it, very well satisfied with it." 

" Truly ? " 

"Very well satisfied." 

In .the studio all distinctions disappear. One has neither 
name nor family ; one is no longer the daughter of one's 
mother, one is one's self, an individual, and one has be- 
fore one art, and nothing else. One feels so happy, so free, 
so proud ! 

At last I am what I have so long wished to be. I have 



142 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

wished for it so long that I scarcely believe it now to be 
true. 

Apropos, whom do you think I saw in the Champs 
Elysees to-day? 

None other than the Duke of H occupying a fiacre 

all by himself. 

The handsome, vigorous young man with yellow locks 
and a delicate mustache now looks like a big Englishman ; 
his face is very red, and he has little red whiskers that grow 
from the tip of the ear to the middle of the cheek. 

Four years, however, change a man greatly ; at the end 
of half an hour I had ceased to think of him. 

Sic transit gloria Duds. 

The sense of shame disappears in the presence of perfect 
beauty, for supreme beauty leaves room in the mind for no 
other feeling than admiration. 

And so with other things. The music that allows the 
defect of the stage-setting to be noticed is not perfect. An 
act of heroism that, after it has taken place, has left the 
judgment free, is not the heroic act you have dreamed 
of. ... 

To be supreme of its kind a thing must occupy the mind to 
the exclusion of every feeling that is not connected with it. 

Thursday, October n. M. Julian told the seivant at the 
studio that Schoeppi and I were the pupils who gave great- 
est promise of being artists. Schoeppi is a Swiss. M. 
Julian added that I may become a great artist. 

The weather is so cold that I have taken cold, but I can 
forgive all that provided only I can learn to draw. 

To draw ? And why ? 

To compensate me for everything I have been deprived 
of since the day I was born ; to supply the place of every- 
thing I have ever longed for, and everything I still long for ; 



I877-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, 143 

to enable me to achieve success by my genius, by by any- 
thing you choose, provided only that I achieve success ! 

Saturday, October 13. It is on Saturday that M. Tony 
Robert-Fleury comes to the studio. He is the artist who 
painted Le Dernier Jour de Corinthe, which was purchased 
by the State for the Luxembourg. The most distinguished 
artists of Paris come to the studio from time to time to give 
us the benefit of their advice. 

When he came to me and proceeded to pronounce judgment 
I interrupted him, saying : 

" I beg your pardon, Monsieur, but I began only ten days 
ago." 

" Where did you draw before ? " he asked, examining my 
drawing. 

" Nowhere." 

" How, nowhere ?" 

" Yes, I took thirty-two lessons in painting for my own 
amusement." 

" But that is not studying." 

" No, Monsieur, for that reason " 

" You had never drawn from nature before coming 
here ?" 

" Never, Monsieur." 

" That cannot be possible." 

" But I assure you " 

And as he appeared still incredulous, I added : 

" I will give you my word of honor that it is as I say, if 
you wish." 

" Well, then," he said, " you have extraordinary talent for 
painting ; you are specially gifted, and I advise you to work 
hard." 

Let me go on with and conclude the history of my suc- 
cess. 



144 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

"How is this, Mademoiselle?" said Julian this evening, 
standing in front of me with his arms folded. 

I felt something like fear, and asked him, reddening, what 
the matter was. 

"Why, this is splendid," he said; "you work all day 
long on Saturdays, when every one else is taking a little 
relaxation ! " 

" Why, yes, Monsieur, I have nothing else to do ; I must 
do something." 

" This is fine. Do you know that M. Robert-Fleury is 
not at all dissatisfied with you ? " 

" Yes, he has told me so." 

" This poor Robert-Fleury ! . He is still somewhat in- 
disposed." 

And the master, installing himself beside me, began to 
chat with me a thing he very seldom does with any of his 
pupils, and which is very much appreciated. 

Mme. D dined with us to-day; I was quiet, reserved, 

silent, scarcely amiable, indeed. I had no thought for any- 
thing but art. 

As I am writing, I stop and think of all the labor that 
will be necessary the time, the patience, the difficulties 
that will present themselves. 

It is not as easy to become a great painter as it is to say 
the words ; even if one has the genius, there exists still the 
necessity for the indispensable mechanical labor. 

And a voice within whispers to me : " You will feel 
neither the time nor the difficulties that may present 
themselves ; you will achieve success before you are aware 
of it." 

And I believe this voice ! It has never yet deceived me, 
and it has too often predicted misfortune for it to speak 
falsely this time ; I hear it, and I feel that I am justified in 
believing it. 

I shall take the Prix dc Rome ! 



JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 145 

Tuesday, October 16. M. Robert-Fleury came to the 
studio this afternoon and honored me with his special 
attention. 

I spent all the morning at the studio, as usual, from nine 
till half-past twelve. I have not yet succeeded in arriving 
there at eight precisely. 

At noon I come home to breakfast and return to the 
studio at twenty minutes past one, to remain till five, and 
again in the evening at eight to remain till ten. That gives 
me nine hours a day. 

This does not fatigue me in the least ; if it were physi- 
cally possible for me to do more, I would do it. There are 
people who call this work ; I assure you that for me it is 
play, and I do not say this in order to boast of it. Nine 
hours are so little, and to think that I cannot work even so 
long as that every day, the distance is so great from the 
Champs Elysees to the Rue Vivienne, and very often there 
is no one to accompany me in the evening. 

It will be dark at four o'clock in winter ; I will go to the 
studio in the evenings then at all costs. 

We drive to the studio in a coupe" in the morning, and in 
a landau in the latter part of the day. 

You see the question is to accomplish in one year the 
work of three. And, as I am making rapid progress, these 
three years' work in one will be equal to six years of work 
for a person of ordinary ability. 

I am talking now like the fools who say, "What it would 
take another two years to accomplish she will accomplish in 
six months." There can be no more mistaken way of rea- 
soning than this. 

The question is not one of time ; if that were the case, 
there would be nothing to do but work for so many years. 
Doubtless with patience any one might achieve a certain 
amount of success. But what I will accomplish in a year 
or two the Danish girl will never accomplish. Whenever I 



146 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

undertake to correct the mistakes of humanity I become 
confused and irritated, because I never have the patience 
to finish a sentence completely. 

In brief, if I had begun three years ago, I might be sat- 
isfied with six hours' study daily ; but as it is, I need nine, 
ten, twelve as many hours as I can devote to it, in short. 
Of course, even if I had begun three years ago, I would 
still do well to work as many hours as possible, but what 
is past, is past ! " 

Thursday, October 18. Julian, speaking of my drawing 
from the nude to-day, said that it was extraordinary, re- 
markable, for a beginner. And the fact is, if it is not re- 
markable, at least the composition is good, the torso is not 
bad either, and the drawing is very well for a beginner. 

All the pupils got up and came over to look at my drawing, 
while I blushed to the roots of my hair. 

Heavens, how happy I am ! 

Last night's drawing was so bad that M. Julian advised 
me to do it over. Wishing to make it too good, I spoiled it 
this evening. It was better before I retouched it. 

Saturday, October 20. Breslau received a great many 
compliments to-day from Robert-Fleury, and I not one. 
The drawing from the nude was good enough, but the head 
was bad. I ask myself with terror when I shall be able to 
draw well. 

I have been working just two weeks, taking out the 
Sundays. Two weeks ! 

Breslau has been working at the studio two years, and she 
is twenty ; I am seventeen ; but Breslau had taken lessons 
for a long time before coming here. 

And I, miserable creature that I am ? 

I have been taking lessons only two weeks ! 

How well that Breslau draws ! 



I877-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, 147 

Monday, October 22. The model to-day was an ugly one, 
and every one refused to draw. I proposed that we should 
all go to see the Prix de Rome, on exhibition at the School 
of Fine Arts. Half the party went on foot, and Breslau, 
Madame Simonides, Zilhardt, and I in a carriage. 

The exhibition had closed yesterday. We walked on the 
quays for a while ; we looked at the old books and engrav- 
ings, we discussed art. Then we drove in an open fiacre to 
the Bois. Do you understand what that means? I did 
not want to say anything it would have been to spoil their 
pleasure. They were so amiable and behaved with so much 
decorum, and we were just beginning to feel at ease with 
one another. In short things were going on very well, 
when we chanced to meet the landau containing my family 
which followed our fiacre. 

I made a sign to our driver not to take t"he lead ; they 
had seen me and they knew it, but I did not care to speak 
to them in the presence of my artist-friends. I wore my 
little cap, my hair was in disorder, and I looked confused. 

My family, naturally, were furious, and, worse than that, 
ashamed. 

I was terribly embarrassed. 

Altogether a disagreeable event. 

Wednesday, October 24. M. Robert-Fleury came to the 
studio last night, and told me I had done wrong in absenting 
myself from the lesson, as I was one of the best of the 
pupils. M. Julian repeated this to me in a sufficiently 
flattering manner. 

It was already flattering to have my absence noticed by a 
professor like Robert-Fleury. 

And when I think that I might have begun to work four 
years ago at least at least ! And I never cease to think of it. 

Saturday, November 3. M. Robert-Fleury had already 



148 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

corrected all the drawings when I arrived at the studio to- 
day. I gave him mine and hid myself behind his seat, as 
usual. Well, I- was forced to come out from my place 
of concealment, he had so many pleasant things to say 
to me. 

" There is still a crudeness in the outlines, indeed, but 
the freedom and truth of the drawing are admirable," he 
said. " The action of this is really very good. Of course 
it is true that you are wanting in experience, but you have 
that which is not to be learned. Do you understand ? 
That which is not to be learned. What you do not yet pos- 
sess is to be learned, and you will learn it." 

"Yes," he repeated, "it is admirable, and if you will only 
study hard you will do very well and remember it is I who 
say so." 

"And I say' so too," I answered. 

Thursday, November 8. There is only one thing that 
could have taken me away from the studio for the whole 
afternoon, and that is Versailles. 

On the stairs I came face to face with Julian, who was 
surprised to see me leaving so early. I explained to him 
how it was, and said that nothing but Versailles could have 
taken me away from the studio. He said that was so much 
the more to be commended, as I had so many temptations 
in the way of amusements. 

" I find pleasure nowhere but here, Monsieur," I said. 

" And you are right ; you shall see how glad you will be 
that it is so two months hence." 

" You know my desire is to be a great artist, and that I 
am not learning drawing as an amusement." 

" I should hope so ! That would be to put a bar of gold 
to the same use as a bar of copper, and that would be a 
crime ; I assure you that with your ability I see evidence 
of that in the admirable things you have already done 



is;?.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 149 

you do not need more than a year and a half to accom- 
plish wonders." 

" Oh ! " 

" I repeat it, wonders ! " 

" Take care, Monsieur, I shall go away enchanted." 

" I speak the truth, you shall see for yourself ; by the end 
of this winter you will "be able to draw very well. I give 
you six months in which to familiarize yourself with colors, 
without neglecting your drawing to accomplish wonders, 
in a word." 

Merciful Heaven ! During the drive home I did nothing 
but laugh and cry for joy ; and I already began to indulge 
in dreams of receiving five thousand francs for a portrait. 

So much happiness makes me afraid. A year and a half 
for portraits, but for a picture ? Let us say two or three 
years more we shall see. 

Saturday, November 10. M. Robert-Fleury was tired and 
indisposed to-day, and corrected scarcely half of our draw- 
ings. No one received a compliment from him, not men I ; 
I was a little surprised at this, as Julian had thought my 
work very good. Yes, but I was dissatisfied with it myself. 
I am disgusted. 

Afterwards I made some sketches ; one of them, a sort 
of caricature, turned out a success. Julian made me put my 
name to it, and placed it in his album. 

How much more easily we are affected by disagreeable 
things than by pleasant ones ! 

Fora month past I have heard nothing but words of 
commendation, with the exception of one occasion, a fort- 
night ago. This morning I was scolded, and I have for- 
gotten everything but the scolding. But it is so always. A 
thousand persons applaud ; a single one hisses, and his voice 
drowns the voices of all the others. 



ISO JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

Wednesday, November 14. To-day I went to look for 
some books and plaster casts in the neighborhood of the 
School of Medicine. I was delighted ; the streets were full 
of students coming out of the various schools those narrow 
streets with shops where musical instruments are sold. I 
was enchanted with everything. Ah ! sapristi! I can 
understand now the magic charm, if one may say so, of the 
Latin Quarter. 

Talk to me now of the Latin Quarter if you will that is 
what reconciles me to Paris ; one might fancy one's-self in 
another country almost in Italy ; it is another sort of life 
altogether, something that I cannot describe. 

My mother was horrified to see me go to a shop where 
" one sees such things oh, such things ! naked peasants." 
Bourgeoise ! Wait till I shall have painted a fine picture 
When the flower is in bloom, the fruit ripe, no one thinks of 
the soil from which they have sprung. 

I think only of the end in view, and I press on to that 
end without pausing or turning aside. 

I love to go to workshops and to places where, thanks to 
my modest costume, I am taken for a Breslau, as it were ; 
they look at me in a certain benevolent, encouraging fashion, 
altogether different from before. 

I can never forgive myself for not knowing as much as 
Breslau. The thought that troubles me is this : I have 
learned a little of everything, but nothing thoroughly, and I 
am afraid the same thing may happen in this case. But no, by 
the way in which I am progressing, this is going to be serious. 
That one has not done a thing before is no reason why one 
should never do it. But each first time I am incredulous. 

Friday, November 23. That miserable Breslau has com- 
posed a picture " Monday Morning, or the Choice of the 
Model." Every one belonging to the studio is in it Julian 
standing between Amelie and me. 



I8?7-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. 151 

It is correctly done, the perspective is good, the like- 
nesses everything. 

When one can do a thing like that, one cannot fail to be- 
come a great artist. 

You have guessed it, have you not ? I am jealous. That 
is well, for it will serve as a stimulus to me. 

But it is six weeks since I began to draw. Breslau will 
be always in advance of me, because she began before me. 
No ; in two or three months more I shall be able to draw 
as well as she does that is to say, very well. It pleases 
me, besides, to have found a rival worthy of me ; if there 
were only the others I should go to sleep. 

Grandpapa is ill, and Dina is at her post, devoted and 
attentive. She has grown much prettier, and she is so good ! 

Monday, November 26. I took my first lesson in anatomy 
at four o'clock to-day, just after my drawing lesson. It 
lasted till half-past four. 

M. Cuyer is my teacher ; he was sent to me by Mathias 
Duval, who has promised to obtain permission for me to 
visit the School of Fine Arts. I began with the bones, of 
course, and one of my bureau drawers is full of vertebrae 
natural ones. 

This is frightful when one thinks that the other two con- 
tain perfumed paper, visiting cards, etc. 

Sunday, December 9. Dr. Charcot has just gone. I was 
present during the consultation and listened to what the 
doctors said afterward, for I am the only self-possessed 
person in the house, and they treat me as if I were a doctor 
like themselves. At all events they do not expect a fatal 
result at present. 

Tuesday, December u. Grandpapa can no longer speak. 
It is horrible to see this man, who so short a time ago was 



"IS 2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1877. 

still strong, energetic, young to see him lying there almost 
a corpse. 

Wednesday, December 12. At one o'clock the priest and 
the deacon came and administered the last sacraments to 
grandpapa. Mamma wept and prayed aloud ; after their 
departure I went to breakfast. How much of the animal 
there still, of necessity, remains in man. 

Saturday, December 15. As was to be expected, Breslau 
has met with a great success ; that is because she draws 
well. As to me, they found my head very good, and my 
drawing from the nude not bad. 

I am I don't know what. Breslau has been drawing for 
three years, and I for only two months ; no matter, it is 
abominable ! Ah, if I had begun three years ago only 
three years ago, that is not so long I should be famous 
to-day. 

Saturday, December 22. Robert-Fleury said to me to- 
day : "One must never be satisfied with one's-self." Julian 
said the same thing, and as I have never been satisfied with 
myself, these words have given me food for reflection. And 
when Robert-Fleury said a great many agreeable things to 
me afterward, I told him it was well he did so, for that 
I was altogether dissatisfied with myself, disheartened, 
despondent which made him open his eyes wide with 
astonishment. 

And I was in truth disheartened. From the moment I 
cease to be admired I grow discouraged ; that is unfor- 
tunate. 

After all I have made unheard-of progress. He repeated 
to me that I had extraordinary talent. I "catch the like- 
ness." I "group well." I " draw correctly." " What more 
would you have. Mademoiselle ? Be reasonable," he ended. 



1877] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSE11-. 153 

He remained a long time standing beside my easel. 

" When one can draw like that," he said, pointing first to 
the head and then to the shoulders, " one has no right to 
draw shoulders like those." 

The Swiss girls and I went, disguised, to Bonnat, to ask 
him to receive us in the men's studio. 

Naturally, he explained to us that those fifty young men 
not being under any surveillance whatever, it would be 
impossible for him to do as we asked. Afterward we went 
to see Munkacsy I don't know if -I spell the name cor- 
rectly a Hungarian painter, who has a magnificent house, 
and who is a great genius. 

Saturday, December 29. M. Robert-Fleury was very well 
pleased with me to-day. He stood for at least half an hour 
before a pair of feet, life size, that I had drawn, and asked 
me again if I had never painted before ; if I indeed wished 
to make a serious study of painting ; and how long I 
intended to remain in Paris ? He expressed a desire to see 
the first things I had done in colors, and asked me how I 
had come to do them. I told him I had done them for my 
own amusement. As he stayed talking so long they all came 
behind him to listen, and in the midst (I dare to say it) of 
the general amazement he declared that if I wished I might 
begin to paint at once. 

To this I replied that I was not dying to paint, and that 
I should prefer to perfect myself first in drawing. 

Sunday and Monday, December 30 and 31. I feel very 
melancholy ; we are not keeping the Christmas holidays 
this year, and that makes me sad. I went to see the .Christ- 
mas-tree at the house of the Swiss girls ; it was very gay 
and pretty, but I was sleepy, as I had worked till ten 
o'clock. We had our fortunes told. Breslau is to receive 
wreaths ; I the Piix de Rome, 



154 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

1878. 

Friday, January 4. How strange it is that my old 
nature should lie so completely dormant. Scarce a trace of 
it is to be seen. Occasionally some souvenir of the past 
reawakens the old bitterness, but I immediately turn my 
thoughts to to what ? To art. This is amusing. 

Is this, then, the final transformation ? I have so long 
and so eagerly pursued this aim, this means of contriv- 
ing to live without passing the day cursing myself or the 
rest of the creation, that I can scarcely believe that I have 
found it. 

Dressed in my black blouse, there is something in my 
appearance that reminds one of Marie Antoinette at the 
Temple. 

I begin to become what I desired to be, confident in my 
own powers, outwardly tranquil. I avoid quarrels and in- 
trigues ; I am scarcely ever without some useful occupa- 
tion. 

In short, I am gradually perfecting my character. Under- 
stand what I mean by perfection ; perfection, that is to say, 
for me. 

Oh, time ! Time is required for everything. 

Time is the most terrible, the most discouraging, the 
most unconquerable of all obstacles, and one that may 
exist when no other does. 

Whatever may happen to me, I am better prepared for it 
now than I was formerly, when it enraged me to have to 
confess that I was not perfectly happy. 

Sunday, January 6. Well, then, I agree with you ; time 
is passing, and it would be infinitely more amusing to spend 
it as I formerly desired to do, but, since that is impossible, 



18:3.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 155 

let us await the results of my genius ; there will still be time 
enough for the other. 

We have changed our place of residence ; we are now 
living at 67 Avenue de 1'Alma. From my windows I can 
see the carriages on the Champs Elysees. I have a salon- 
studio of my own. 

Monday, January 7. Am I, or am I not to believe in my 
future as an artist ? Two years are not a lifetime, and 
when two years are passed I can return, if I wish, to a life 
of idleness, of amusement, of travel. What I want is to be 
famous ! 

I will be famous ! 

Saturday, January 12. Walitsky died at two o'clock this 
morning. 

When I went to see him last night he said to me, half- 
jestingly, half-sadly, "Addio, Signorina," in order to remind 
me of Italy. 

Perhaps this is the first occasion during my life on which 
I have shed tears free from egotism or anger. 

There is something peculiarly affecting in the death of a 
being altogether inoffensive, altogether good ; it is like see- 
ing a faithful dog die that has never done harm to any one. 

As he felt slightly better toward one o'clock the women re- 
tired to their own rooms ; only my aunt remained with him. 
Then his breath failed him so that it was necessary to dash 
water into his face. 

When he had recovered himself a little he rose, for he 
desired at all hazards to bid adieu to grandpapa, but he 
had scarcely gone into the hall when his strength failed 
him ; he had only time to cry. out in Russian, "Adieu ! " 
but in so strong a voice that it wakened mamma and Dina, 
who ran to his assistance, only to see him fall into the arms 
of my aunt and Triphon. 



T 5 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

I have not yet been able to realize it ; it is so terrible ! 
It seems impossible ! 

Walitsky is dead ! It is an irreparable loss ; one would 
never suppose that such a character could exist in real 
life. 

We read of people like that in books. Well, then, I de- 
sire that he may now be conscious of my thoughts ; that 
God may concede him the power to know what I say and 
think of him. May he, then, hear me from whatsoever be 
his place of abode, and, if he has ever had reason to com- 
plain of me, he will pardon me now because of my profound 
esteem and sincere friendship for him, and because of the 
sorrow for his loss which I feel in the innermost recesses of 
my soul ! 

Monday, January 28. To-morrow the prizes are to be 
awarded. I so much fear being badly placed ! 

Tuesday, January 29. I had such a terror of the concours 
that poor Rosalie was obliged to make superhuman efforts 
to make me get up. 

I expected either to receive the medal or to be classed 
among the very last. 

Neither the one nor the other was the case. I am just in 
the same place that I was two months ago. 

I went to see Breslau, who is still sick. 

They sang " Traviata " at the Italiens to-night, with Albani, 
Capoul, and Pandolfini in the cast great artists all of 
them ; but I was not pleased. In the last act, however, I 
felt, not the desire to die, but the thought that I was destined 
to suffer thus and to die thus, just as all was going to turn 
out happily. 

This is a prediction that I make concerning myself. 

I wore a baby-waist, which is very becoming when one is 
slender and well made. The white bows on the shoulders 



1878] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 157 

and the bare neck and arms made me look like one of Velas- 
quez's infantas. 

To die ? It would be absurd ; and yet I think I am going 
to die. It is impossible that I should live long. I am not 
constituted like other people ; I have a great deal too much 
of some things in my nature, a great deal too little of others, 
and a character not made to last. If I were a goddess, and 
the whole universe were employed in my service, I should 
still find the service badly rendered. There is no one more 
exacting, more capricious, more impatient, than I am. 
There is sometimes, perhaps even always, a certain basis of 
reason and justice in my words, only that I cannot explain 
clearly what I want to say. I say this, however, that my 
life cannot last long. My projects, my hopes, my little vani- 
ties, all fallen to pieces ! I have deceived myself in every- 
thing ! 

Wednesday, February 13. My drawing does not progress, 
and I feel as if some misfortune were about to happen to 
me ; as if I had done something wrong and feared the con- 
sequences, or as if I anticipated receiving an insult. 

Mamma makes herself very unhappy through her own 
fault ; there is one thing I beg and implore her not to do, 
and that is to touch my things or put my room in order. 
Well, no matter what I may say, she continues to do so, with 
a pertinacity that resembles a disease. And if you only 
knew how exasperating this is, and how it increases my 
natural impatience and my inclination to say sharp things, 
which stood in no need of being increased ! 

I believe that she loves me tenderly. I love her tenderly, 
also, but we cannot remain two minutes together without 
exasperating each other, even to the extent of shedding 
tears. In a word, we are very uncomfortable together, and 
we should be very unhappy apart. 

I will make every sacrifice that may be required of me 



*5 8 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

for the sake of my art. I must bear in mind that that is 
myself. 

Therefore, I will create for myself an independent exist- 
ence, and what must come, let it come. 

Saturday, March 16. " I have noticed for some time past," 
said Robert-Fleury to me this morning, " that there is a 
certain limit beyond which you cannot go ; that is not as it 
should be. With your really great ability you should not 
stop short at easy things, the more as you succeed in the 
more difficult ones." 

I know it well ! But next Monday you shall see that I 
will cross the limit of which Robert-Fleury speaks. The 
first thing is to convince one's-self that one must succeed, 
and that one will succeed. 

Saturday, March 23. I promised that I would cross the 
limit of which Robert-'Fleury spoke. 

I have kept my word. He was greatly pleased with me. 
He repeated that it was worth while to work hard with such 
ability as I possessed ; that I had made astonishing progress, 
and that in a month or two more 

Saturday, April 6. Robert-Fleury really gives me too 
much encouragement ; he thought the second place was my 
due, he said, and it did not surprise him at all that I should 
receive it. 

And to think that M on leaving our house to-night 

probably went home to dream of me, and imagine, perhaps, 
that I am dreaming of him 

Whilst I, en deshabille, with my hair in disorder and my 
slippers thrown off, am asking myself if I have not suc- 
ceeded sufficiently in bewitching him, and, not satisfied with 
asking myself, am asking Dina also. 

And yet O Youth J I might once have thought that this 



1878.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKlRTSl.ir. 159 

was love. Now I am more sensible, and I understand that it 
is merely an amusement to feel that you are causing some one 
to fall in love with you, or rather to perceive that some one 
is falling in love with you. The love one inspires and the love 
one feels are two distinct sentiments which I confounded 
together before. 

Good Heavens ! and I once thought I was in love with 

A , with his long nose that makes me think of that of 

M . How frightful ! 

How happy it makes me to be able to clear myself from 
this suspicion how happy ! No, no, I have never yet 
loved, and if you could only picture to yourself how happy 
I feel, how free, how proud, how worthy of him who is 
to come ! 

Friday, April 12. Julian met Robert-Fleury at the cafe 
yesterday, and the latter said I was a truly remarkable and 
interesting pupil, and that he expected great things of me. 
It is such words as these that I must constantly bear in 
mind, especially when my spirit is invaded by a species of 
inexplicable terror, and I feel myself sinking in an abyss of 
doubt and of torturing thoughts of all kinds, for none of 
which are there any real grounds. 

It has happened very often, for some time past, that they 
have put three candles in my room together, that signifies 
a death. 

Is it I who am to depart for the other world ? I think 
so. And my future ? And the fame that awaits me? Ah, 
well, they would be of no value to me in that case. 

If there were only a man on the scene, I should fancy 
myself in love, so restless am I ; but, besides there being no 
one, I am disgusted with the whole thing. 

I begin to believe that I have a serious passion for my 
art, and that reassures and consoles me. If it were not for 
this restlessness and this terror, I might be happy ! 



160 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

/ remember that in my childhood I had a superstitious fear 
somewhat similar to the feeling I have at present. I thought 
2 should never be able to learn any other language but French; 
that the other languages ivere not to be learned. Well, you 
see there was absolutely nothing in it; yet that was as much a 
superstitious fear as my present feeling is. 

Saturday, April 20. I glanced through a few pages in my 
journal before closing it last night, and came by chance 
across A 's letter. 

This made me think of the past, and I sat dreaming of it, 
and smiling and dreaming again. It was late when I went 
to bed, but the time spent thus was not lost ; such moments 
are precious, and cannot be had at will ; there are no mo- 
ments lost when one wills it except when we are young ; 
we must make the most of them and be grateful for them, 
as for everything else that God has given us. 

Owing to Robert-Fleury I was unable to go to confession 
before mass to-day, which has obliged me to defer taking 
communion until to-morrow. 

My confession was a peculiar one ; it was as follows : 

" You have committed some sins, no doubt," said the 
priest, after the customary prayer. "Are you prone to 
idleness ?" 

"Not at all." 

"To pride?" 

"Very much so." 

"You do not fast?" 

"Never." 

"Have you injured any one?" 

"I do not think so perhaps; in trifles it may be, father, 
but not in anything of importance." 

"Then may God grant you pardon, my daughter." 

I have recovered my mental balance. I proved this to- 
night by conversing with the others without running into 



1878.1 JOURNAL OF MARIE BA$HK1RTSFF. 161 

exaggerations of speech; my mind is tranquil, and I have 
absolutely no fear, either physical or moral. It has often 
happened to me to say: "I am terribly afraid" of going to 
such a place, or of doing such a thing. This is an exag- 
geration of language which is common to -almost every one 
and which means nothing. What I am glad of is that I am 
accustoming myself to talk with every one. It is necessary 
to do that if one desires to have a pleasant salon. Formerly 
I would single out one person to converse with, and neglect 
the others entirely, or almost entirely. 

Saturday, April 27; Sunday, April 28. I foolishly took 
the notion into my head to invite some men to attend the 
midnight mass at our church. On our right were the Am- 
bassador and the Duke de Leuchtenberg and Mme. Aken- 
kieff, his wife. The Duke is the son of the Grand Duchess 
Marie, who died at Florence, and the nephew of the Empe- 
ror. This couple were at Rome when I was there, and 
Mme. Akenkieff was not then received at the Embassy. At 
present, however, she plays the part of Grand Duchess to 
perfection. She is still beautiful and has a majestic car- 
riage, though she is almost too slender. 

The husband is devoted in his attentions to the wife; it 
is admirable and altogether charming. 

The Embassy gave an Easter supper, which took place at 
two in the morning, after the mass. It was given in the 
priest's house, which was chosen for the purpose on account 
of its proximity to the church. It was the Ambassador, 
however, who issued the invitations and received the guests, 
so that we had an opportunity to sit at the same table as the 
Grand Duke and his wife, the Ambassador, and all the best 
people of the Russian colony in Paris. 

I was not very gay, though in reality not sad at heart; for 
this will send me back to my studies with renewed ardor. 

Why does not Prince Orloff, who is a widower, fail in 



162 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKlRTSEFF. [1878. 

love with me and marry me? I should then be Ambassa- 
dress in Paris, almost Empress. M. Anitchkoff, who was 
ambassador at Teheran, married a young girl for love when 
he was fifty-five. 

I did not produce the effect I had intended. Laferriere 
disappointed me, and I was compelled to wear an unbe- 
coming gown. I had to improvise a chemisette, as the gown 
was decollette and that would not do. My gown affected my 
temper, and my temper my appearance everything. 

Monday, April 29. There is no better way of spending 
the time from six in the morning till eight in the evening, 
taking out an hour and a half for breakfast, than in some 
regular occupation. 

Changing the subject: I will tell you that -I think I shall 
never be seriously in love. I invariably discover something 
to laugh at in the man, and that is the end of it. If he is 
not ridiculous, he is stupid, or awkward, or tiresome; in 
fine, there is always something, if it were only the tip of 
his ear. 

Yes, until I have found my master nothing else shall cap- 
tivate me; thanks to my readiness in discovering the defects 
of people, not all the Adonises in the world could tempt me 
to fall in love. 

Friday, May 3. There are moments when one would 
give up all the intellectual pleasures in the world, glory and 
art itself, to live in Italy a life of sunshine,, music, and love. 

Thursday, May 9. I might possess a beautiful hand if 
my fingers had not been vilely disfigured by playing on 
stringed instruments, and by biting my nails. 

My form like that of a Greek goddess, my hips too much 
like those of a Spanish woman, perhaps; my bust small and 
perfect in shape; my feet, my hands, and my childlike 
countenance of what use are they, since no one loves me? 



1878.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASURIRTSEFF. 163 

Thursday, May 30. As a general thing, the family and 
friends of great men do not believe in their genius: in my 
case it is too much the other way; that is to say, that it 
would not surprise my family if I were to paint a picture 
as large as Medusa's raft, and receive the cross of the 
Legion of Honor for it. Is this a bad sign? I hope not. 

V 

Friday, May 31. The hardest thing to bear is to be con- 
tinually disappointed in those nearest to us. To find a 
serpent where one had expected to find flowers, that is 
indeed horrible. But these constant shocks have produced 
in me at last a species of indifference to them. No matter 
what is passing around me I take no notice now. I put my 
head out of the door only to go to the studio. 

You think, perhaps, that this is the resignation of despair; 
it is the result of despair, but it is a sweet and tranquil feel- 
ing, although a sad one. 

Instead of being rose-colored my life is gray, that is all. 

I have accepted my fate and I am resigned to it. 

My character has changed completely, and the change 
seems to be a permanent one; I no longer have need even 
of wealth; two black blouses a year, a change of linen that 
I could wash myself on Sundays, and the simplest food, 
provided it does not taste of onions and is fresh, and the 
means to work; these are all I want. 

No carriages; the omnibus or to goon foot: at the stu- 
dio I wear shoes without heels. 

But why live at all then? In the hope that better days 
will come, and that is a hope that never abandons us. 

Everything is relative: thus, compared to my past tor- 
tures the present is ease; I enjoy it as an agreeable change. 
In January I will be nineteen: Moussia will be nineteen. 
It is absurd; it is impossible; it is frightful. 

Sometimes I am seized with a fancy to dress myself, to go 
out for a walk, to go to the opera, to the Bois, to the Salon, 



164 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [187$. 

to the Exhibition; but I say to myself, "What for?" and I 
sink back again into my former state of apathy. 

For every word I write I think a million thoughts; I ex- 
press my thoughts only by fragments. 

What a misfortune for posterity! 

It may not be a misfortune for posterity, but it prevents 
me from being able to make myself understood. 

I am jealous of Breslau; she does not draw at all like a 
woman. Next week I will work so hard! you shall see. 
The afternoons shall be devoted to the Exhibition, and the 
Salon. But the week after I am resolved to be a great 
artist, and I will be one. 

Monday, June 3. In heart, soul, and thought I am a 
republican. 

Let titles be preserved, but let there be equality of rights 
before the law; any other sort of equality than this is im- 
possible. 

Let ancient families continue to be respected, foreign 
potentates honored; let arts and all that contributes to the 
comfort and the elegance of life be protected. The repub- 
licans are reproached with having in their ranks a few mis- 
erable wretches. And where is the party that has not had 
such ? 

If France were to become altogether Legitimist or alto- 
gether Imperialist, would every one then be pure and virtu- 
ous ? Good-night I write so fast that what I am saying 
is little better than the ravings of a lunatic. 

Wednesday, June 12. To-morrow I resume my work, 
which I have neglected since Saturday. My conscience 
reproaches me for it. and to-morrow everything will return 
to its accustomed order 

M. Rouher surprised me in many things. I was surprised 
at myself for employing so much tact and so much delicate 



1878.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 165 

flattery. Gavini and the Baron evidently approved of me 
unreservedly, and M. Rouher himself was pleased. They 
talked of votes, of laws, of pamphlets, of loyalists, of traitors, 
before me. Did I listen ? You may well believe it. It was 
like the opening of a door into Paradise. 

I am sorry I am a woman, and M. Rouher is sorry he is a 
man. *' Women," he said, "are exempt from the annoy- 
ances and the cares that we have." 

" Will you permit me to remark, Monsieur," I said, " that 
men and women alike have their cares and their annoy- 
ances ; the only difference is that the cares of men bring 
with them honors, fame, and popularity ; while the cares of 
women are attended by no advantage whatever." 

"You believe, then, Mademoiselle, that our cares always 
bring us those compensations ? " 

" I think, Monsieur," I answered, " that that depends 
upon the man." 

It must not be supposed that I entered all at once into 
the conversation like this ; I remained quietly in my corner 
for fully ten minutes, embarrassed enough, for the old fox 
did not seem to be charmed at the presentation. 

Shall I tell you something ? 

I was enchanted. 

Now I have a mind to repeat to you all the fine things I 
said, but I must not. I will only say that I did my best not 
to use hackneyed phrases, and to appear full of good sense ; 
in that way you will think my speeches finer than they 
really were. 

Gavini remarked that the Bonapartists were happy in 
having the sympathies of all the pretty women with them, 
bowing to me as he said so. 

" Monsieur," I answered, addressing myself to M. Rouher, 
" I do not give my sympathies to your party as a woman, I 
give them as an honest man might do." 



1 66 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

Wednesday, July 3. M came to say good-by, and as 

it was raining, he proposed to accompany us to the Exhi- 
bition. 

We accepted ; before we went, however, he and I being 
alone together for a moment, he entreated me not to be so 
cruel. 

" You know how madly I love you," he said, " and how 
much you make me suffer. If you could but know how 
terrible a thing it is to see only mocking smiles, to hear 
only words of raillery when one truly loves ! " 

" You only imagine all that." 

" Oh, no, I swear it to you ; I am ready to give you the 
proofs of it the most absolute devotion, the fidelity and 
the patience of a dog ! Say but a word ! say that you have 
some confidence in me why do you treat me as a buffoon, 
as a being of an inferior race ? " 

" I treat you as I treat everybody." 

" And why ? since you know that my affection is not like 
that of everybody that I am heart and soul devoted to 
you ? " 

"I am accustomed to inspiring that sentiment." 

" But not such a love as mine. Let me believe that your 
feelings toward me are not altogether those of hatred." 

"Of hatred ? Oh, no ; I assure you they are not that." 

" The most terrible feeling of all for me would be indif- 
ference." 

" Ah, well ! " 

" Promise me that you will not forget me in the few 
months I shall be away." 

"It will not be in my power to do so." 

" Let me remind you from time to time that I am still in 
existence. Perhaps I may amuse you, perhaps I may make 
you laugh. Let me hope that sometimes, occasionally, you 
will send me a word a single word." 

"What is it you are saying ? " 



1878.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 167 

"Oh, without signing your name; simply this: 'I am 
well ' ; only this, and that will make me so happy." 

" Whatever I write I sign my name to, and I never deny 
my signature." 

" You will grant me your permission to write ? " 

" I am like Figaro; I receive letters from all quarters." 

" God ! if you .but knew how maddening it is never to 
be able to obtain a serious word to be always scoffed at ! 
Let us talk seriously. You will not let it be said that you 
had 'no pity for me in the moment of my departure ! If I 
might only hope that my devotion, my regard for you, my 
love impose any conditions you choose, put me to the 
test. If I might only hope that one day you will be kinder, 
that you will not always mock me ? " 

" As far as tests are concerned," I replied very seriously, 
" there is only one test that can be relied upon." 

" And that ? I am ready to do anything." 

" That is time." 

" Be it so, then. Put my affection to the test of time ; 
you shall see that it will stand it." 

" That would cause me great pleasure." 

"But tell me, have you confidence in me ?" 

" How, confidence ? I have confidence enough in you to 
entrust you with a letter with the certainty that you will not 
open it." 

" No ! not that ! but an absolute confidence." 

" What grand words ! " 

" And is not my love for you something grand ? " he 
said softly. 

" I ask nothing better than to believe it ; such things 
flatter a woman's vanity. And, stay, I should really like to 
have some confidence in you." 

"Truly?" 

" Truly." 

This is enough, is it not ? We went to the Exhibition, 



j68 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

and I was vexed to see that M was in high spirits, and 

made love to me as if I had accepted him. 

I experienced a feeling of genuine satisfaction this even- 
ing. I find that M 's love produces precisely the same 

emotions in me as did that of A . You see, then, that 

I did not love Pietro ! I was not even for a moment in 
love with him, though I came very near being so. But you 
know what a horrible disinchantment that was. 

You understand that I have no intention of marrying 
M . 

" True love is always a sentiment to be respected," I said 
to him ; " you have no reason to be ashamed of yours ; only 
don't get foolish notions into your head." 

" Give me your friendship." 

" Vain word ! " 

" Then your " 

" Your demands are exorbitant." 

" But what am I to say, then ? You are not willing that 
I should try to gain your affection by degrees that I 
should begin by friendship " 

" Friendship ! A chimera ! " 

" Love, then ?" 

"You are mad." 

" And why ? " 

" Because I hate you ! " 

Friday, July 5. ... After the concert my aunt took the 
arm of Etienne, Dina Philippini's, and I the other's. The 

night was so lovely that we walked home. M , who 

was restored to good-humor, spoke to me of his affection 
for me. It is always thus ; I do not love him, but the fire 
of his love warms me ; this is the same feeling that I mis- 
took for love two years ago ! 

I was touched by the words he spoke ; he even shed 
tears. As we approached the house I grew more serious ; 



1878 ] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 169 

I was moved by the beauty of the night and by those melo- 
dious words of love. Ah, how delightful it is to be loved ! 
There is nothing in the world so delightful as that. I know 

now that M loves me. One does not act a part like 

that. And if it were my money he wanted, my disdain 
would have caused him to abandon his pretensions before 
this ; and there is Dina, whom every one believes to be as 
rich as I, and plenty of other girls he might marry if he 

chose. M is not a beggar ; he is in every sense a 

gentleman. He could have found, and he will find, some 
one else to love. 

M is very amiable. Perhaps it was wrong of me to 

let him hold my hand in his as long as he did when we were 
about to part. He kissed it ; but I owed him that much ; 
and then he loves me and respects me so much, poor fellow! 
I questioned him as if he were a child. I wanted to know 
how it had happened, and when. He fell in love with me 
at first sight, it seems. " But it is a strange kind of love," 
he said ; " other women are to me only women, but you 
are a being superior to the rest of humanity ; it is a 
curious sentiment. I know that you treat me as if I 
was a hump-backed buffoon ; that you have no feeling, 
no heart ; and yet I love you. And I at the same 
lime that I adore you I know that our characters are not 
congenial." 

I listened to all he had to say, for to tell the truth a 
lover's speeches are more amusing than all the plays in the 
world, unless when one goes to them to show herself. But 
that, too, is a sort of adoration ; you are looked at, you are 
admired, and you feel your being expand like the flower 
under the rays of the sun. 

SODEN, Sun Jay, July 7. We left Paris for this place at 
seven. . . . Imagine yourself transported, from Pans to 
Soden. " The silence of death" feebly describes the calm 



I?o JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1879. 

that reigns at Soden. I am confused by it as one is con- 
fused by too much noise. . . . 

Dr. Tilenius has just gone. He put the necessary ques- 
tions to me regarding my illness, but did not say after- 
wards, like the French doctor : 

" Very good ; this is nothing ; in a week we shall have 
you well, Mademoiselle." 

To-morrow I am to begin a course of treatment. 

The trees here are beautiful, the air is pure, the landscape 
sets off my face. At Paris I am only pretty, if I am that ; 
here there is in my appearance a certain poetic languor ; 
my eyes are larger, and my cheeks less rounded. 

SODEN, Tuesday, July 9. How tired I am of all these 
doctors ! I have had my throat examined pharyngitis, 
laryngitis, and catarrh ! Nothing more ! 

I amuse myself reading Livy and taking notes of what I 
read in the evening. I must read Roman history. 

Tuesday, July 16. I am resolved on being famous, 
whether it be as an artist or in any other way. Do not 
think, however, that I am studying art only through vanity. 
Perhaps there are not many persons more completely artis- 
tic in their natures than I a fact which you, who are the 
intelligent part of my readers, must have already perceived. 
As for the others, I regard them with contempt. They will 
find me only fantastic, because, without desiring to be so, 
I am peculiar in everything. 

Wednesday, July 24. Dr. Tomachewsky, who is physi- 
cian to the opera-troupe at St. Petersburg, must know 
something ; besides his opinion is the same as that of Dr. 
Fauvel and the others ; and then I know myself that the 
waters at Soderj, from their chemical composition, are 
hardly at all suited to my disease. If you are not very 



1878.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASSKIRTSEFP. 171 

ignorant, you must know that they send only convalescents 
and consumptives to Soden. 

At six o'clock this morning my aunt and I, accompanied 
by Dr. Tomachevvsky, went to Ems, to consult the doctors 
ihere. 

We have just returned. 

The Empress Eugenie is at Ems. Poor woman ! 

Friday. For some days past I have been thinking of 
Nice. I was fifteen when I was there, and how pretty I 
was ! My figure, my feet, and my hands were not perhaps 
as perfect as now, but my face was ravishing. It has never 
beer, the same since. On my return to Rome, Count Lau- 
rent: almost made a scene about me. 

" Your face has changed," he said ; " the features, the 
coloring are as before, but the expression is not the same. 
You will never again be like that portrait." 

He alluded to the portrait in which I am represented 
resting my elbows on the table and my cheek on my clasped 
hands.* " You look as if you had fallen naturally into that 
position, and with your eyes fixed upon the future, were 
asking yourself, half in terror, ' Is that what life is like ? " 

At fifteen there was a childlike expression in my face 
that was not there before, and has not been there since, and 
this is the most captivating of all expressions. 

Wednesday, August 7. My God, ordain that I may go to 
Rome. If you only knew, my God, how I long to go there ! 
My God, be merciful to your unworthy creature ! My 
God, ordain that I may go to Rome ! No doubt it will not 
be possible for me to go, for that would be to be too happy ! 

It is not Livy who has been putting these thoughts into 
my head, for I have neglected my old friend for several 

days past. 

* See Frontispiece. 



I7 2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

No ; but only to remember the Campagna, the Piazza del 
Popolo, and the Pincio, with the rays of the setting sun 
shining upon it ! 

And that divine, that adorable morning twilight, when 
the rays of the rising sun begin to give form and color 
to surrounding objects what a blank everywhere else ! 
And what sacred emotions the remembrance of the wcn- 
drous, the enchanted city awakens ! Nor am I the only one 
whom Rome inspires with these feelings, which no wcrds 
can be found to express feelings due to the mysterious 
influence exercised over the mind by the blending of the 
traditions of the fabulous past with the sanctified associa- 
tions of the present, or perhaps But no, I cannot explain 
what I would say. If I were in love, it is in Rome, in the 
presence of the setting sun, as its last rays fall upon the 
divine dome, that I would make the avowal to him I loved. 

If I were to receive some crushing blow, it is to Rome I 
would go to weep and pray with my eyes fixed upon that 
dome. If I were to become the happiest of human beings, 
it is there, too, that I would go. 

PARIS, Saturday, August 17. This morning we were still 
at Soden. 

I detest Paris. I do not deny that it may be possible to 
live there happier and more contented than elsewhere ; that 
one may lead there acompleter, a more intellectual, a more 
renowned existence. But for the kind of life I lead one 
needs to love the city itself. I find cities, like individuals, 
sympathetic or antipathetic to me, and I cannot succeed in 
liking Paris. 

I am afflicted with a terrible disease. I am disgusted with 
myself. It is not the first time I hate myself, but that does 
not make it the less terrible. 

To hate another whom one may avoid is bad enough, but 
to hate one's-self that is terrible, 



1878.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 173 

Thursday, August 29. I don't know by what providen- 
tial chance I happened to be late this morning, but they 
came at nine, before I was yet dressed, to tell me that 
grandpapa was worse. Mamma, my aunt, and Dina were 
crying. ... At ten the priest arrived and in a few minutes 
all was over. 

Wednesday, September 4. Kant has said that the material 
world exists only in the imagination. That is going too 
far, but I accept his system when the domain of feeling is in 
question. In effect, our feelings are caused by the impres- 
sions produced on us by things or persons ; but, since 
objects are not objects in other words, since they possess 
no objective value and exist only in our minds But in 
order to follow up this train of argument, it would, be neces- 
sary for me not to have to hurry to bed, and think at what 
hour in the morning I must begin my picture to have it 
finished by Saturday. . . . 

I have a passion for all those learned, patiently conducted, 
abracadabrante follies these arguments, these deductions, 
so logical, so learned. There is only one thing about them 
that grieves me, and that is that I feel them to be false, 
though I have neither the time nor the inclination to find 
out why. 

I should like to have some one to discuss all these matters 
with. I lead a very lonely life. But I declare beforehand 
that I have no desire to impose -my own opinions on other 
people, and that I would willingly acknowledge the justness 
of their arguments when I saw them to be in the right. 

Without wishing to be thought ridiculous by the preten- 
sion, I long to listen to the discourse of learned men ; I 
long, oh, so much, to penetrate into the precincts of the 
intellectual world ; to see, to hear, to learn. But I neither 
know how to set about doing so myself, nor whom to ask 
advice of ; and I remain here in my corner, dazed and won- 



TJ4 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

dering, not knowing what direction to take, and catching 
glimpses on all sides of treasures of art, of history, of lan- 
guages, science a whole world in short. I long to see 
everything, to know e*verything, to learn everything ! 

Friday, September 13. I am not in my right place in the 
world. . . . There are statues that are admirable, set on 
a pedestal in the middle of a grand square, but put them in 
a room and you will see how stupid they look, and how 
much they are in the way. You will knock your head or 
your elbow against them a dozen times a day, and you will 
end by finding detestable and unbearable that which, in its 
proper place, would have excited the admiration of every 
one. 

If you find " statue " too flattering a word for me, change 
it for whatever word you choose. 

When I have finished Livy I shall read Michelet's history 
of France, and afterward the Greek authors, whom I know 
only from allusions to them or quotations from them in other 
books, and then My books are all packed away, and we 
must take a more settled lodging than our present one 
before unpacking them. 

I have read Aristophanes, Plutarch, HeYodotus, a little 
of Xenophon, and that is all, I think. And then I am very 
familiar with Homer, and slightly so with Plato. 

Thursday, October 3. We spent almost four hours to-day 
at a dramatic and musical international entertainment. 
They gave scenes from Aristophanes in hideous cos- 
tumes, and so abridged, arranged, and altered that it was 
frightful. 

What was superb, however, was a dramatic recitation 
Christopher Columbus in Italian, by Rossi. What a 
voice ! What intonation ! What expression ! What truth 
to nature ! It was better than the music. I think one 



1878.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 175 

could feel the charm of it even without understanding a 
word of Italian. 

I almost worshiped him as I listened. 

Ah, what a power lies in spoken words, even when they 
are not our own words, but those of another! The hand- 
some Mounet-Sully recited afterward, but I shall say noth- 
ing of him. Rossi is a great artist; he has the soul of an 
artist; I saw him talking with two men at the door of the 
theater, and he had a common air. He is an actor, it is 
true, but so great an actor as he is should have a certain 
greatness of character even in every-day life. I noticed 
his eyes; they are not those of a common man, though the 
charm exists only while he speaks. Then it is wonderful! 
What nihilists are those who despise the arts! 

What a frightful existence mine is ! If I possessed genius 
I might be able to change it, but my genius must be taken 
on trust; you have nothing but my word for it. Where 
have I given any proof, any evidence of genius? 

Monday, October 7. Stupid people may fancy that I want 
to be another Balzac. I have no such intention; but do you 
know why he is so great? It is because he describes with 
naturalness, without fear, and without affectation all that he 
has felt. Almost every intelligent person has had the same 
thoughts, but who has expressed them as he has? 

No, it is not true that almost every one has had the same 
thoughts, but in reading Balzac one is so struck with his 
truth, with his naturalness, that one thinks one has. It has 
happened to me a hundred times in conversation, or in re- 
flection, to be horribly tormented by thoughts that I had 
not the power to disentangle from the frightful chaos of my 
mind. 

I have also another pretension; it is this: when I make 
any just or profound observation I fear people may not 
understand me. 



I? 6 JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

Perhaps, indeed, they do not understand me as I wish to 
be understood. 

Good-night, good people. 

Sunday, October 20. I ordered the carriage at nine 
o'clock this morning, and accompanied by my demoiselle 
d'honneur, Mile. Elsnitz, went to visit Saint-Philippe's, the 
church of St. Thomas Aquinas and Notre Dame. I went 
up into the tower and examined the bells just as any English- 
woman might have done. Well, there is a Paris to be ad- 
mired it is old Paris; and one might be happy there, but 
only on condition of keeping away from the boulevards and 
the Champs Elysees; in fine, from all the new and beautiful 
quarters of the city which I detest, and which irritate my 
nerves. In the Faubourg Saint-Germain, however, one feels 
altogether different. 

We went afterward to the School of Fine Arts; it is 
enough to make one cry out with rage. 

Why can I not study there? Why can I not have a 
course of instruction as complete as that? I went to see the 
exhibition of the Prix de Rome. The second prize was 
awarded to a pupil of Julian's. Julian is consequently 
very happy. If I am ever rich I will found a school of arts 
for women. 

Saturday, October 26. My painting was much better 
than the previous ones, and my drawing from the nude very 

good. M. T distributed the prizes at the concours 

Breslau first, I second. 

In short, I ought to be satisfied. 

Sunday, November 3. Mamma, Dina, Mme. X- and 

I went to-day to take an airing together. They want to 
marry me, but I told them plainly, so as not to be made use 
of to enrich some monsieur, that I was quite willing to 



1878.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 177 

marry, but only on condition that the person should be 
either rich, of a good family and handsome, or else a man 
of genius, or of note. As for his character, if he were 
Satan himself, I will take charge of that. 

Saturday, November 9. It is a shameful thing! There 
was no medal at all! All the same, I am first; I think I 
should have been so even if Breslau had exhibited, in which 
case they would have made two firsts. This has nothing to 
do with the matter, however, the fact is the same. 

Wednesday, November 13. Robert-Fleury came to the 
studio this evening. It would be useless to repeat the 
words of encouragement he spoke after giving me a long 
lesson; if what they all say be true, you will know by the 
time you read this what opinion to entertain of me. 

It is a happiness, all the same, however, to find that peo- 
ple take you altogether in earnest. I am very silly; I en- 
tertain the greatest hopes with regard to myself, and when 
people tell me I have realized them I am transported with 
joy, as if I had never had any hopes at all. I am as much 
surprised at my good fortune, and as delighted with it, as a 
monster might be with whom the most beautiful woman in 
the world had fallen in love. 

Robert-Fleury is an excellent teacher: he leads one on- 
ward by degrees, so that one is conscious at every step of 
the progress one is making. To-night he treated me some- 
what like a pupil who has learned her scales and to whom 
for the first time a piece of music is given to play. He has 
lifted the corner of the veil and disclosed to me a vaster hori- 
zon. It is a night that will hold a place apart in my studies. 

In the matter of drawing I am the equal of Breslau, but 
she has had more practice than I. Now, I must give my- 
self a certain number of months to paint as she does, for, 
if I cannot do that, there is nothing extraordinary in my 



I? 8 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFf. [1878. 

work. But she will not stand still during the eight or ten 
months I shall allow myself. I should therefore be obliged 
to progress so fast as to make up this time in the eight or 
ten months we shall continue working together, which does 
not seem to me probable. Well, by the grace of God, we 
shall see. 

I looked all of a sudden so beautiful, after I had taken 
my bath this evening, that I spent fully twenty minutes 
admiring myself in the glass. I am sure no one could have 
seen me without admiration ; my complexion was absolutely 
dazzling, but soft and delicate, with a faint rose tint in the 
cheeks; to indicate force of character there was nothing but 
the lips and the eyes and eyebrows. 

Do not, I beg of you, think me blinded by vanity: when 
I do not look pretty I can see it very well ; and this is the 
first time that I have looked pretty in a long while. Paint- 
ing absorbs everything. 

What is odious to think of is that all this must one day 
fade, shrivel up, and perish! 

Thursday, November 21. Breslau has painted a cheek so 
true to nature, so perfect, that I, a woman and a rival artist, 
felt like kissing it. 

Friday, November 22. I am terrified when I think of 
the future that awaits Breslau ; it fills me with wonder and 
sadness. 

In her compositions there is nothing womanish, common- 
place, or disproportioned. She will attract attention at the 
Salon, for, in addition to her treatment of it, the subject 
itself will not be a common one. It is stupid, indeed, of 
me to be jealous of her. I am a child in art, and she is 
a woman. For the moment the light seems hidden, and 
everything is dark before me. 

Friday, December 27. This week has been lost to me for 



1878.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 179 

study. For the past three days I have wanted to write 
down some reflections what about, I do not exactly know; 
but, distracted from my purpose by the singing of the 
young lady on the second story, I began to glance through 
the account of my journey in Italy, and afterward some 
one came to interrupt me. and I lost the thread of my 
ideas, together with that feeling of gentle melancholy in 
which it is so pleasant to indulge. 

What surprises me now is to see what grandiloquent 
words I employed to describe the simplest incidents. 

But my mind was full of lofty sentiments, and it irritated 
me to have no wonderful, startling, or romantic situations 
to describe, and I interpreted my feelings. Artists will 
know what I mean. This is very well; but what I cannot 
understand is how a girl who pretends to be intelligent did 
not better learn to estimate the value of men and things. I 
say this because the thought has just suggested itself to me 
that my family ought to have enlightened me on such sub- 
jects, and told me, for instance, that A was a person of 

no worth, and one on whose account one should not give 
one's-self the slightest trouble. It is true that they took a 
mistaken view of the matter altogether, my mother having 
even less experience of the world than I, but that is only 
by the way, and, as I had so high an opinion of my own 
intelligence, I should have made some use of it, and treated 
him as I did others, instead of bestowing so much attention 
on him, both in my journal and elsewhere. 

But I was burning with the desire to have something 
romantic to record, and, fool that I was ! things could not 
have turned out less romantic than they did. In a word, I 
was young and inexperienced ; notwithstanding all my folly 
and all my boasting, this is the confession I must make at 
last, no matter what it costs me to do so. 

And now I think I hear some one say : " A strong-minded 



180 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1878. 

woman such as you should never have occasion to retract 
her words." 



Sunday, December 29. I have lost my hold on art, and I 
cannot take up anything else in its place. My books are 
packed up, I am losing my knowledge of Latin and of 
classic literature, and I am growing altogether stupid. 
The sight of a temple, a column, or an Italian landscape 
fills me with loathing for this Paris, so cold, so learned, so 
wise, so polished. The men here are ugly. This city, 
which is a paradise for superior natures, has no charms for 
me. Ah, I have deceived myself : I am neither wise nor 
happy. I long to go to Italy, to travel, to see mountains, 
lakes, forests, seas. In the company of my family, with 
parcels, recriminations, annoyances, the petty disputes of 
every day ? Ah, no ; a hundred times no ? To enjoy the 

delights of travel one must wait for . And the time is 

passing. Well, so much the worse. I might marry an 
Italian prince at any time, if I wished to do so. Let me then, 
wait. 

You see if I married an Italian prince I might still be an 
artist, since the money would be mine. But then I should 
have to give him some of it. Meantime I shall remain here 
and work on at my painting. 

On Saturday they thought my drawing not at all bad. 
You understand that it is only with an Italian I could live 
in France, where I wish to live, according to my own ideas ; 
and in Italy ah ! what a delightful life ! I shall spend 
my time between Paris and Italy. 



1&79-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 181 



1879. 

Thursday, January 2. What I long for is to be able to go 
out alone ! To come and go ; to sit down on a bench in 
the Garden of the Tuileries, or, better still, of the Luxem- 
bourg ; to stand looking into the artistically arranged shop 
windows ; to visit the churches and the museums ; to stroll 
through the old streets of the city in the evening. 

Friday, January 10. Robert-Fleury came to the studio 
this evening. . . . 

If my art does not soon bring me fame, I shall kill my- 
self, and end the whole matter at once. This resolution I 
took some months ago. When I was in Russia I thought 
of killing myself, but the fear of a hereafter deterred me. I 
shall give myself till thirty, for up to that age one may still 
hope to acquire fortune, or happiness, or glory, or what- 
ever it is one desires. So then that is settled, and if I am 
sensible, I shall torment myself no more either now or in 
the future. 

Saturday, January 1 1. They think at the studio that I go 
a great deal into society; this, together with the difference in 
station, separates me from the other pupils, and prevents 
my asking them any favors as they do among themselves ; 
as, for instance, to accompany me to the house of an artist 
or to a studio. 

I worked faithfully all the week up to ten o'clock on 
Saturday night, then I came home and sat down to cry. 
Heretofore I have always asked the help of God in my 
troubles, but as He does not seem to listen to me at all, I 
scarcely believe in Him any longer. 

Those who have experienced this feeling will understand 
all the horror of it. 



1 8 2 JO URN A L OF MA RIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [1679. 

Tuesday, January. I did not awake this morning till 
half-past eleven. The prizes were awarded by the three 
Professors, Lefebvre, Robert-Fleury, and Boulanger. I did 
not go to the studio until one o'clock, to learn the result. 
The first words I heard on entering were : 

" Well, Mile. Marie, come and receive your medal." 

Wednesday, January. I have been dreaming all day of a 
blue sea, white sails, a luminous sky. On entering the 

studio this morning I found P there. He goes to Rome 

in a week, he says, and while we were talking he mentioned 
Katorbinsky and others of our friends ; and I I felt my- 
self grow faint, before the vista opened up to me by his 
words, of sculptured stones, of ruins, of statues, of churches. 
And the Campagna, that " desert," yes, but I adore that 
desert. And there are others, thank Heaven ! who adore it 
too. 

Sunday, February 16. Yesterday I received a scolding. 

" I do not understand how it is that with your talent you 
find it so difficult to paint," said Julian. 

Nor I either, but I seem paralyzed ; there is no use in 
keeping up the struggle any longer. There is nothing left 
me but to die. My God, my God ! Is there, then, nothing 
to be hoped for from any one ? What is detestable to think 
of is, that I have just filled up the fire-place with wood with- 
out any necessity for it, for I was not at all cold, while there 
are miserable creatures who are at this very moment, perhaps^ 
crying with cold and hunger. It is reflections such as these 
that are most effectual in drying the tears I love to shed. 
And yet I sometimes think that I would as soon be at the 
lowest depths of misery as where I am ; for when one has 
touched bottom, there is nothing further to be feared. 

Tuesday, February 18. I threw myself on my knees be- 
side my bed just now to implore God for justice, pity, or 



I&79-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 183 

pardon ! If I have not merited the tortures I endure, let 
Him grant me justice ! If I have committed evil deeds, let 
Him grant me pardon ! If He exists, and is such as we 
are taught to believe Him to be, He should be just, He 
should pity, He should pardon. I have only Him left me ; 
it is natural therefore that I should seek Him and entreat 
Him not to abandon me to despair ; not to lead me into sin ; 
not to suffer me to doubt, to blaspheme, to die. 

Doubtless my sufferings are no greater than my sins ; I 
am continually committing petty sins that amount to a 
frightful total in the end. 

Just now I spoke to my aunt harshly, but I could not 
help it. She came into my room while I was crying, with 
my face buried in my hands, and calling on God to help 
me. Ah, misery of miseries ! 

No one must see me weep ; it might be thought my tears 
were caused by disappointed love, and that would make 
me shed tears of rage. 

Wednesday, February 19. I must do something to amuse 
myself. I say this from the stupid habit we have of repeat- 
ing what we read in books. Why should I amuse myself ; 
I still find pleasure in being miserable ; and then I am not 
like other people, and I detest doing the things other people 
do to preserve their moral or their physical health, for I 
have no faith in them. 

NICE, Friday, February 21. Well, I am at Nice ! 

I had a longing to luxuriate in pure air, to bask in the 
sunshine, and to listen to the sound of tne waves. Do you 
love the sea ? I love it to distraction ; it is only in Rome 
that I forget it almost. 

I came here with Paul. We were taken for husband and 
wife, which annoyed me exceedingly. As our villa is rented, 
we put up at the Motel du Pare our old Villa 



184 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1879. 

Viva, that we occupied eight years ago. Eight years ! This 
is a pleasure trip. We are going to dine at London House ; 
Antoine, the mattre-d'hdtel, came to pay his respects to me, 
as did several of the shop women also ; and all the drivers 
smiled and bowed, and the one we selected complimented 
me on my height he recognized me ; and then another of- 
fered his services, saying he had served Mme. Romanoff ; 
and afterward I met my friends of the Rue de France. All 
this is very agreeable, and these good people have given me 
a great deal of pleasure. 

The night was beautiful, and I stole out alone and did 
not return to the house until ten o'clock. I wanted to 
wander on the sea-shore, and sing to the accompaniment of 
the waves. There was not a living soul near, and the night 
was enchanting, especially after Paris. Paris ! 

Saturday, February 22. What a difference between this 
place and Paris ! Here I awake by myself ; the windows 
remain open all night. The room I occupy is the one in 
which I used to take drawing-lessons from Binsa. I see the 
first rays of the sun gilding the tops of the trees beside the 
fountain in the middle of the garden, as I used to see them 
then every morning. My little study has the same paper 
on the walls as then the paper I chose myself. Probably 
it is occupied by some barbarian of an Englishman. I was 
able to recognize it only by the paper, for they have made 
a new corridor that confuses me. 

We will dine at London House while we remain at 
Nice. One sees every one there, especially during the 
Carnival. 

Sunday, February 23. Yesterday we went to Monaco. 
This nest of cocottes is more hateful to me than I can find 
words to express. I remained in the place only ten minutes, 
but that was enough, as I did not play. 



1879.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKlRTSi 185 

Monday, February 24. I am always happy when I can 
take a solitary walk. The sea was unspeakably beautiful 
to-night ; before going to hear Patti I went to listen to the 
sound of the waves. It had been raining, and the air was 
delightfully fresh and pleasant. How soothing it is to the 
eyes to let them rest on the deep blue of the sky and of the 
sea at night ! 

PARIS, Monday, March 3. We left Nice yesterday at 
noon. The weather was superb, and I could not help shed- 
ding tears of genuine regret at leaving this delightful and 
incomparable country. From my window I could see the 
garden, the Promenade des Anglais, and all the elegance of 
Paris. From the corridor I could see the Rue de France, 
with its old Italian ruins, and its lanes, with their pictur- 
esque lights and shadows. And all the people who knew 
me " That is Mademoiselle Marie," they would say, when 
I passed by. 

I should now like to leave Paris. My mind is distracted, 
and I have lost all hope. I no longer expect anything ; I no 
longer hope for anything ; I am resigned, with the resigna- 
tion of despair. I grope my way darkly in search of light, 
but find none. I breathe a sigh that leaves my heart more 
oppressed than before. Tell me, what would you do in my 
place? 

Wednesday, March 5. To-morrow I begin to work again! 
I will give myself another year a whole year, during which 
I will work harder than ever. What good will it do to des- 
pair ? Yes, we can say that when we are beginning to get 
out of our difficulties, but not while we are in the midst of 
them. 

Saturday, June 21. For almost thirty-six hours I have 
done nothing but cry, and last night 1 went to bed exhausted. 



1 86 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. [1879. 

As I was about to leave the studio at noon yesterday, 
Julian called to the servant through the speaking-tube ; 
she put her ear to the tube, and then said to us with some 
emotion: 

" Ladies, M. Julian desires me to tell you that the Prince 
Imperial is dead." 

I gave a cry and sat down on the coal-box. Then as 
every one began to talk at once, Rosalie said : 

" A moment's silence if you please, ladies. The news is 
official ; a telegram has just been received. He has been 
killed by the Zulus ; this is what M. Julian says." 

The news had already begun to spread ; so that when 
they brought me the Estafette, with the words in capital 
letters, " Death of the Prince Imperial," I cannot express 
how much I was shocked. 

And then, no matter to what party one may belong, 
whether one be a Frenchman or a foreigner, it is impossible 
to avoid sharing in the feeling of consternation with which 
the news has been everywhere received. 

One thing I will say, however, which none of the papers 
has said, and that is that the English are cowards and as- 
sassins. There is something mysterious about this death ; 
there must be both treachery and crime at the bottom of it. 
Was it natural that a prince on whom all the hopes of his 
party were fixed should be thus exposed to danger, an only 
son ? I think there is no one so devoid of feeling as not to 
be moved at the thought of this mother's anguish. The 
most dire misfortune, the crudest of losses, may still leave 
some gleam of hope in the future, some possibility of conso- 
lation. This leaves none. One may say with truth that 
this is a grief like no other. It was because of her that he 
went; she gave him no peace; she tormented him.; she 
refused to allow him more than five hundred francs a 
month a sum upon which he could hardly contrive to live. 
The mother and son parted on bad terms with each other | 



I879-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 187 

Do you perceive the horror of the thing ? Can you un- 
derstand how this mother must feel ? 

England has treated the Bonapartes shamefully on every 
occasion when they were so blind as to ask the help of 
that ignoble country, and it fills me with hatred and rage 
to think of it. 

Sunday, August 3. My dog Coco II. has disappeared. 
You cannot conceive what a grief this is to me. 

Monday, August 4. I could not sleep last night thinking 
of my poor little dog. I even condescended to shed a few 
tears for him, after which I prayed to God that I might find 
him again. I have a special prayer that I repeat to myself 
whenever I want to ask for anything. I cannot remember 
ever to have said it without receiving some consolation. 

This morning they wakened me to give me my dog, 
which had been found, and the ungrateful creature was so 
hungry that he showed scarcely any joy at seeing me. 

Mamma exclaims that it is a miracle to have found him, 
as we have already lost four dogs and never found any of 
them before. She would not be so surprised, though, if I 
were to tell her of my prayer. I confide it only to my diary, 
however, and I am not quite satisfied with myself in doing 
even this. There are secret thoughts and prayers which to 
repeat aloud makes one seem foolish or ridiculous. 

Saturday, August 9. Shall I go or stay ? The trunks are 
already packed. My physician does not appear to believe in 
the efficacy of the waters of Mont-Dore. No matter, I 
shall have rest there. And when I come back I shall lead 
a life of incredible activity. 1 will paint while there is day- 
light, and model in the evening. 

Wednesday, August 13. At one o'clock yesterday we 
arrived at Dieppe. 



1 88 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1879. 

Are all seaport towns alike ? I have been at Ostend, at 
Calais, at Dover, and now I am at Dieppe. They all smell 
of tar, of boats, of ropes, and of tarpaulin. It is windy ; 
one is exposed to the weather on all sides, and one feels 
miserable. It is like being sea-sick. How different from 
the Mediterranean ! There one can breathe freely and there 
is something to admire ; one is comfortable, and there are 
none of the vile smells that are here. I would prefer a 
little green nest like Soden or Schlangenbad, or what I 
imagine Mont-Dore to be, to this place. 

I have come here to breathe good air, ah, well ! doubt- 
less outside the city and the port the air 'is better. None of 
these Northern sea-ports please me. From none of the 
hotels, below the third story, is a view of the sea to be had. 

Nice ! O San Remo ! O Naples ! O Sorrento ! you 
are not unmeaning names ; your beauties have not been ex- 
aggerated, nor profaned by guide-books ! You are indeed 
beautiful and delightful cities ! 

Saturday, August 16. We laugh a good deal, though I 
find this place very tiresome ! but it is in my nature to 
laugh; it is something altogether independent of the humor 

1 am in. 

In former times, when I was at any watering-place I took 
pleasure in watching the passers-by ; it amused me. 

I have grown completely indifferent to all that now ; it is 
all the same to me whether men or dogs be around me. 
Painting and music are still what I most enjoy. I ex- 
pected to play a very different part in the world from the 
one I am playing ; and since it is not what I thought it 
would be, what it is matters little. 

Tuesday ', August 19. I took my first sea-bath to-day, and 
the whole thing disgusted me so much that I would have 
been glad of an excuse to cry. I would rather wear the 



1879.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. .189 

dress of a fisher-girl than clothes that look common ; my 
disposition is, besides, an unfortunate one. I crave an ex- 
quisite harmony in all the details of life ; very often things 
that are thought by others beautiful or elegant shock me 
by their lack of artistic grace. I would like my mother to 
be elegant or spirituelle, or at least dignified and majestic. 
Life is a wretched affair, after all. In truth, it is not right 
that people should be made to suffer thus. 

These are trifles, you say ? Everything is relative, and 
if a pin wounds you as sharply as a knife, what have the 
sages to say in the matter ? 

Wednesday, August 20. I think I can never experience 
any feeling into which ambition does not enter, i despise 
insignificant people. 

Friday, August 29. Fatalism is the religion of the lazy 
and the desperate. I am desperate, and I can assure you 
that I am entirely indifferent to life. I would not make 
use of this hackneyed phrase, if this feeling were a tran- 
sitory one ; but I am so always, even when I am most 
happy. I have a contempt for death ; if there is nothing 
beyond the thing is quite simple ; and if there is, I com- 
mend myself to God. But I do not think that in any case 
I shall be in Paradise ; the unhappiness I suffer here will 
find a continuance there ; I am doomed to it. 

Monday, September i. I hope you have noticed the great 
change that has been taking place in me for some time past. 
1 have become serious and sensible ; and then, too, 1 can 
better appreciate certain ideas now than formerly. Many 
things in regard to which I had no settled convictions I now 
begin to understand. I can see, for instance, how one may 
cherish as profound a sentiment of devotion to an idea, and 
entertain for it a passion as strong, as for an individual. 



19 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1879. 

Devotion to a prince, or to a dynasty, is a sentiment that 
might arouse my enthusiasm, that might move me to tears, 
and even impel me to action under the influence of some 
powerful emotion, but there is a secret feeling within me 
that makes me distrust these fluctuating emotions. When- 
ever I consider, in regard to great men, that they have been 
the slaves of other men, all my admiration for them vanishes. 
Perhaps it may be because of a foolish vanity on my part, 
but I look upon all these servants as little less than contemp- 
tible, and- 1 am only truly a royalist when I put myself in 
the place of the king. 

As far as I myself am concerned, I might be willing to 
bow the head before a king, but I could neither love nor 
esteem a man who would do so. 

I might accept a constitutional monarchy like that of 
England or of Italy, but even in those there is much to ob- 
ject to. It disgusts me to see those salutes to the royal 
family ; they are a useless humiliation. Where the ruler is 
in sympathy with the people, as was the case with Victor 
Emmanuel, who was the exponent and advocate of a great 
idea, or with Queen Margaret, who is both amiable and 
good, this may be tolerated ; but it is much better to have 
a ruler who is chosen by the people, and who, as a conse- 
quence, will always be in sympathy with them. 

The old order of things is the negation of progress and 
of intelligence. 

PARIS, Wednesday, September 17. To-day, Wednesday, 
which is a lucky day of the week for me, and the iyth, a 
lucky day of the month, I made my arrangements to begin 
modeling. 

Wednesday, October i. The papers have come, and I have 
just finished reading the two hundred pages that make the 
first number of Mme. Adam's review. This disturbed me 



i79-] JOL'KXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEl-F. 191 

a little, and at four o'clock I left the studio to go for a 
walk in the Bois. I wore a new hat which attracted a good 
deal of attention. Now, however, I have become indiffer- 
ent to such things. Mme. Adam has reason to be very 
happy, I think. 

Thursday, October 30. France is a delightful country and 
an amusing one ; the country of riots, of revolutions, of fash- 
ion, of wit, of grace, of elegance of everything, in a word, 
that gives animation, charm, and variety to life. But we 
must look for neither a stable government, a virtuous man 
virtuous, that is to say, in the antique sense of the word a 
marriage based upon love, or true art. The French paint- 
ers are very good, but, with the exception of Gericault, and 
at present of Bastien-Lepage, the divine spark is wanting. 
And never, never, never, will France produce works equal 
to those which England and Holland have produced, in a 
certain style. 

France is a delightful country, where pleasure and gal- 
lantry are concerned, but how about other things? It is 
always this, however ; and other countries, with all their 
respectable and solid qualities, are very often dull. And 
then, if I complain of France, it is because I am unmarried. 
France for young girls is an infamous country the word is 
not too strong a one. Trade, traffic, speculation, are hon- 
orable words in their proper place, but applied to marriage 
they are infamous ; yet they are the only words that can 
justly be applied to French marriages. 

Afonday, November 10. I went to church yesterday. I 
go occasionally, so that I may not be thought a nihilist. 

Friday, November 14. If I have written nothing here for 
some days past, it is because I have had nothing interesting 
to say. 



I9 2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1879. 

Thus far, I have always been charitably disposed toward 
my fellow-beings ; I have never spoken ill of others, nor 
repeated the evil I have heard spoken of them ; I have al- 
ways defended any one who was slandered in my presence, 
no matter who it might be, in the selfish expectation that 
others would do as much forme in return ; I never seriously 
entertained the idea of injuring any one, and if I have de- 
sired fortune or power, it has not been from selfish motives, 
but rather with the purpose of performing such acts of gen- 
erosity, of goodness, of charity, as it now astonishes me to 
think of although in regard to this last particular, I have 
not been very successful ; I shall always continue to give 
twenty sous to a beggar in the street, because such people 
bring tears to my eyes but I really fear now that I am 
growing wicked. 

And yet it would be a noble thing to remain good, em- 
bittered and unhappy as I am. It would be amusing, how- 
ever, to be wicked to injure others, to speak evil of them 
since it is all the same to God, and He takes cognizance of 
nothing. Beside, it is very evident that God is not what 
we imagine Him to be. God is, perhaps, nature ; and all 
the events of life are directed by chance, which sometimes 
brings about those strange coincidences and events that 
make us believe there is a Providence. As to our prayers 
to God, our communion with Him, our faith in Him, I have 
learned to my cost that there is nothing in them. 

To feel within one's-self the power to move heaven and 
earth and to be nothing ! I do not proclaim this thought 
aloud, but the anguish of it may be read upon my counten- 
ance. People think such thoughts are of no consequence 
so long as one does not utter them aloud, but feelings like 
these always come to the surface. 

Wednesday, November 19. Robert-Fleury came to see me 
this evening, and, besides the profit I derived from the 



I879-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHXlRTSEFF. 193 

good advice he gave me, we spent a pleasant evening to- 
gether in my studio beside the samovar ; he explained very 
clearly to me how it was necessary to arrange the light. 
Fleury neither receives pay nor has he any selfish interest 
in the matter ; besides, he is a person whose words are to 
be relied upon, and he repeated to me this evening what he 
told Mme. Breslau that her daughter and myself are the 
only pupils in the studio who have exceptional talent for 
drawing. The others are worth nothing. He passed them 
all in review, and I was amused to see how unceremoni- 
ously he treated their pretensions. 

In short, he has taken me absolutely under his wing. So 
to compensate him in some way for this, I have given him 
an order for a portrait of myself, small size, and this has 
already begun to detract from my pleasure in his society, 
on account of the expense. 

Saturday, November 21. As I expressed a great deal of 
admiration to-day for a sketch he had made for the ceiling 
of the Luxembourg, he (Tony) offered it to me in the most 
amiable manner possible, saying it gave him pleasure to 
present it to one who knew as much about art as I did, and 
who could appreciate it so well. 

" But there must be a great many," I said, " who appre- 
ciate your painting." 

"No, no, it is not the same thing, it is not the same 
thing," he replied. 

I am already more at my ease with him, and am scarcely 
at all afraid of him now. After seeing him for two whole 
years at the studio, once or twice every week, it seems very 
odd to chat with him and have him help me on with my 
pelisse. A little more and we shall be good friends. If it 
were not for the portrait, I should be well contented, for 
my master is as amiable with me as possible. 



194 JOURNAL OF MAklE SAStiKlRTSEFF. [1879. 

Monday, No-vember 23. We went to-day to invite Julian 
to dine with us, but he made a thousand excuses, saying 
that, if he accepted the invitation, it would take away ail 
his authority over me, and that then there would be no 
means of getting on, particularly as the least mark of com- 
plaisance toward me on his part was regarded as favoritism. 
They would say I could do as I liked at the studio because 
he dined with us, because I was rich, etc. The good man 
is right. 

Tuesday, November 24. The studio at No. 37 has been 
taken and is almost arranged. 

I spent the whole day there ; it is a very large room, 
with gray walls. I sent there two rather shabby Gobelins 
which conceal the side of the wall furthest from the entrance, 
a Persian carpet, some Chinese matting, a large square 
Algerian seat, a table for modeling, a number of pieces of 
stuff, and some satinette draperies, of a warm, undecided 
color. 

I also sent a number of casts the Venus of Milo, the 
Venus of Medicis, and the Venus of Nimes ; the Apollo, the 
Neapolitan Faun, an Scorch/, some bas-reliefs, a portman- 
teau, an urn, a looking-glass that cost me four francs 
twenty-five centimes, a clock that cost thirty-two francs, a 
chair, a stove, an oak chest of drawers, of which the upper 
part serves as. a color box, a tray with everything necessary 
to make tea, an inkstand and some pens, a pail, a jug, and a 
number of canvases, caricatures, studies, and sketches. 

To-morrow I shall unpack some drawings but I fear that 
they will make my paintings appear still worse than they 
are an arm and a leg, natural size, of an e"corche, a lay- 
figure, and a box of carpenter's tools ; the Antinoiis is still 
to be sent. 

Wednesday, December 30. I think that I am going to be 



l88o.] JOURNAL OF MARIE kASHKIRTSEFF. 195 

ill. I am so weak that I cry without any cause. On leav- 
ing the studio to-day I went to the Magasin du Louvre. 
It would take a Zola to describe this excited, busy, disgust- 
ingcrowd, running, pushing, with heads thrust forward, and 
eager eyes. I felt ready to faint from heat and weakness. 

What a melancholy ending to the year ! I think I shall 
go to bed at eleven and sleep while waiting for midnight 
to have my fortune told. 



I880. 

Thursday, January i. I went to the studio this morning ; 
so that by working on the first day of the year I may work 
the whole year through. We made some visits afterward, 
and then went to the Bois. 

Saturday, January 3. I cough continually ! but for a 
wonder, far from making me look ugly, this gives me an air 
of languor that is very becoming. 

Monday, January 5. Well, things are going badly. 

I have begun to work again, but as I did not take a com- 
plete rest, I feel a languor and a lack of strength such as. I 
never felt before. And the Salon so near ! I have talked 
it all over with Julian, and we are both agreed that 1 am 
not ready. 

Let me see : I have been working for two years and four 
months, without deducting time lost, or spent in traveling 
little enough, yet after all it is a good deal. I have not 
worked hard enough, I have lost time ; I have relaxed my 
efforts, I in a word, I am not ready. "The constant prick- 
ing of a pin would drive one mad," Edmond has said, 
' but a blow from a club, provided it were not given in a 
vital part, might be courageously borne." It is true ; the 



*9 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKiRTSkFF. [1880. 

same eternal comparison Breslau. She began in June, 
1875, which gives her four years and a half, with two years 
at Zurich or Munich ; total, six years and a half, without 
deducting either time spent in travel or time lost from study, 
as in my case. She had been painting a little more than 
two years when she exhibited. I have been painting a year 
and four months, and I cannot exhibit with as much credit 
as she can. 

As far as I myself am concerned, this would not matter ; 
I could wait. I am courageous ; if I were told I had to 
wait a year, I could answer from my heart, " Very well." 
But the public, and my family they would believe in me 
no longer. I might send a picture, but what Julian desires 
is that I should paint a portrait, and this I could do only 
indifferently well. See what it is to be of importance ; 
there are pupils in the studio who have exhibited, who can- 
not paint a fifth as well as I, and no one has said anything 
about it. But when it 'is I who am in question "Why do 
it ? " they say. " You do not want to teach, nor to be paid 
fifty or a hundred francs for a picture ; what you want is 
fame. To exhibit such a thing as the others might very 
well do, would be unworthy of you." 

This is my own opinion, too ; but the public and my 
family, and our friends and relations in Russia, what will 
they say ? 

Saturday, January 17. The doctorwould haveme believe 
that my cough is a purely nervous one, and it may be so, 
for I have not taken cold ; neither my throat nor my chest 
hurts me. I simply experience a difficulty in breathing, 
and I feel a pain in the right side. Be that as it may, I 
came home at eleven, and, all the time wishing that I might 
fall suddenly ill so as not to have to go to the ball, dressed 
myself for it. I looked beautiful. 



tSSo.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 197 

Tuesday, January 20. When I came home from the 

studio to-day I found that Mme. G had been here, 

expecting to find me in my room, and that she was furious 
because I do not take care of myself just as if I were an 
old woman. And then, the tickets we were promised for 
to-morrow have been given to Mme. de Rothschild. 

Oh, not to have to ask for tickets ! To be independent ! 

Saturday, January 31. I went to-night to a concert and 
ball, given for the benefit of the suffers by the inundations 
in Murcia, at the Continental Hotel, under the patronage 
of Queen Isabella, who, after listening to the concert, 
descended to the ball-room, where she remained an hour. 

I am not very fond of dancing, and to whirl around in 
the arms of a man does not seem to me to be very amusing. 
On the whole, though, it is a matter of indifference to me, 
for I could never understand the feeling of the Italians 
with respect to the waltz. 

When I dance I think of nothing but the persons who 
are observing me. 

I should like to do every day as I have done to-day : to 
work from eight until noon ; and from two until five ; at 
five to have the lamp brought in and draw till half-past 
seven. 

At half-past seven to dress; to dine at eight, read until 
eleven, and then go to bed. 

To work from two till half-past seven, however, without 
stopping, is a little fatiguing. 

For this year's Salon I have thought of this : A woman 
seated at a table reading, her elbow resting on the table, 
and her chin in the palm of her hand, while the light falls on 
her beautiful blonde hair. Title The Divorce Question, 
by Dumas. This book has just appeared, and the subject 
is one that is agitating the whole world. The other picture 
is simply Dina in a white crepe-de-chine, seated in a large 



I9 8 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1880. 

antique easy-chair, her hands in her lap, and her fingers 
loosely interlaced. The attitude is so easy and graceful 
that I hastened to make a sketch of her one evening she 
had seated herself thus by chance, while I was trying to 
pose her. It is somewhat in the style of Mme. Recamier, 
and in order that the waist may not look too immodest I 
shall add a colored, sash. 

To-day, I float in air, I feel myself a superior being, 
great, happy, capable of all things. I have faith in my 
future. 

Monday, February 16. We went to the Theatre Fran- 
ais to-night to see the first representation of " Daniel 
Rochat," by Sardou. It was a really important event. 
We had an excellent box containing six seats. There was 
a splendid house ; every one of any importance, socially or 
politically, being there. 

As to the play itself I must see it again. I thought it 
in some parts diffuse and tiresome ; but the audience 
shouted, applauded, and hissed so much, some approving, 
others condemning, that I could scarcely hear half of the 
piece. The hero is a great orator, a sort of atheistic 
Gambetta. The heroine is a young girl, an Anglo-Amer- 
ican Protestant, extremely liberal in her views, and a repub- 
lican, but a believer. 

You can imagine what might be made out of such ma- 
terials at the present time. 

Wednesday, March 3. I must give up going out in the 
evening for the present, so that I may be able to rise re- 
freshed in the morning and begin my work at eight o'clock. 

I have only sixteen days left in which to complete my 
picture. 

Friday } March 12. If mamma goes away to-morrow, 



1880.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 199 

Dina will accompany her ; there are only seven days left 
now, and I shall never be able to find a model ; even if I 
succeed in finding one to-morrow, there will be only six 
days, then, and it would be impossible to finish my picture 
in that time. I must therefore give up the hope of exhibit- 
ing this year, and I will not conceal from you the fact that 
I have shed tears of rage, not only on account of that, but 
also at the thought that nothing succeeds with me. I con- 
ceive an idea for a picture a sensational subject that 
would produce an effect, whatever shortcomings there 
might be in the execution, and give me in a day the reputa- 
tion I could scarcely hope to acquire otherwise in a year 
and now there is an end to everything. The labor of so 
many days is lost, and lost without hope of a return. This 
is what may be called a misfortune. Think of me as you 
will, but while Paul's romantic sorrows left me unmoved, 
this sorrow of my own exasperates me and plunges me into 
despair. Yet there is something more in this feeling than 
selfishness, though what it is I cannot explain. And even 
if there were nothing in it but selfishness, I am unhappy 
enough, and forlorn enough, to excuse my being selfish. 

Friday, March 19. At a quarter-past twelve Tony arrived. 
Why had I not begun sooner? he asked; the picture was 
charming, enchanting, he declared: what a pity it was that 
it was not finished ! On the whole, he consoled me, but he 
said that I must ask for more time. 

"You rnight send it as it is," he added, "but it would 
not be worthy of you; this is my sincere opinion; ask for 
more time, and you will produce something really good." 

Then he turned up his sleeves, took the palette and 
brush, and dashed in a stroke here and there to show whore 
more light was wanted. But I will retouch it all if tlu-y 
grant me the time. He stayed more than two hours. He is 
a charming fellow; he entertained me greatly, and I was in 



200 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1880. 

such good-humor that it mattered little to me what became 
of the picture. Those dashes of the brush were in fact an 
excellent lesson. 

I had already recovered my spirits even before I knew 
the result of mamma's efforts with Gavini, who had written 
to Turquet. Well, I am to receive my six days' grace. 
I do not know precisely whom to thank for this, but we 
went to the opera with the Gavinis to-night, and I thanked 
the elder Gavini. It is to him, I think, that I owe it. I 
was radiant, triumphant, happy. 

Monday, March 22. Tony is surprised to see how much 
I have accomplished in so short a time. All the same, with 
the exception of the background, the hair, and the flesh, 
the painting has a muddy look. There is no freshness 
about it. I might have done better. This is Tony's opin- 
ion also; he is satisfied with it, however, and says that, if 
there were any possibility of its being refused at the Salon, 
he would be the first to tell me not to send it. He says he 
is surprised to see how much I have accomplished. "It is 
well conceived, well composed, and well executed; it is full 
of harmony, of charm, of grace." 

Ah, yes, but I am dissatisfied with the flesh. And to 
think they will say this is my manner! It is like parch- 
ment! I shall be obliged to have recourse to glaze! I who 
adore freshness and simplicity in painting, who have always 
made it my aim to secure the effect at the first stroke! I 
can tell you that it costs me not a little to exhibit a thing 
the execution of which falls so far short of what I should 
like it to be a thing so different from my ordinary work. 
It is true that I have never done anything that has altogether 
pleased me, but this is muddy, it is a daub. Tony says 
that Breslau shows the influence of Bastien-Lepage in her 
painting this year. She shows his influence as I show hers. 

Tony is as good as he can be. And to say that I might 



i8So.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSE1-1-. 20 1 

have done better! Miserable self-depreciation; miserable 
want of self-confidence! If I had not begun to hesitate 
and to say to myself, "To be, or not to be!" But let me 
not commit the folly of grieving for a thing that is past. 

I cannot tell why my mind should dwell on Italy to- 
night. This is a subject that awakens torturing thoughts 
within me, and one that I seek to avoid thinking of as far 
as possible. I have given up reading Roman history; it 
excited my imagination too much, and I have fallen back 
on the French Revolution and the history of Greece. But 
when I think of the Italian sunshine, the Italian air, when 
I think of Rome, I grow wild! 

Even Naples Ah, Naples by moonlight! And what is 
curious is that there is no man in the case. When I think 
that I might go there if I chose, I am almost mad. 

Thursday, March 25. I have given the final touches to 
my picture: there is nothing now to be done to it, unless to 
do it all over again. It is finished, as far as so wretched a 
thing can be finished. 

This is my debut; nay first independent public act. At 
last it is accomplished; my number is 9091, "Mademoiselle 
Marie-Constantin Russ." I hope it will be accepted; I 
will send the number to Tony. 

Wednesday, April 7. I must not forget to say that Julian 
announced to me this morning that my picture has been 
accepted. Curiously enough, I experienced no feeling of 
satisfaction at the news. Mamma's delight irritates me; 
tli is kind of a success is unworthy of me. 

We spent the evening at Mme. P 's, amiable people, 

but surrounded by a curious set; the dresses were of another 
century; no one of any note was there: I was sleepy and 
cross. And poor mamma left her seat to present to me the 
Mexican, or the Chilian, "who laughs." He makes fright- 



202 JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1880. 

ful grimaces which give him a habitually sneering expres- 
sion. It is a nervous affection, and along with it he has a 
round, smooth face! He has twenty-seven millions, and 
mamma has taken it into her head that I might marry this 
man it would be almost as if I were to marry a man with- 
out a nose! Horrible! I might marry an old man, an 
ugly man they are all alike to me but a monster, never! 
Of what use would his millions be to me with this laughing- 
stock attached to them. There were several people there 
we knew,, but it was enough to put one to sleep amateurs 
who made faces and showed their teeth while they sang, a 
violinist who could not be heard, and a handsome man who, 
after sweeping his audience with a triumphant glance, gave 
us Schubert's "Serenade," with his hand resting on the piano. 
But for that matter I cannot understand how a gentleman 
can thus make an exhibition of himself in public. 

The women, their heads dressed with that white powder 
that gives the hair so dirty an appearance, looked as if they 
had just been stuffing mattresses or threshing straw. How 
foolish, how disgusting a practice it is! 

Thursday, April 29. We dine with the Simonides this 
evening. Everything about their menage is curious (I 
made the acquaintance of the wife at Julian's); the husband 
is young and handsome, the wife is past her thirty-fifth year, 
though still beautiful ; they are very much attached to each 
other. They live in retirement, seeing no one with the ex- 
ception, of a few artists, andproduce the most extraordinary 
drawings and paintings, something after the style of the 
Renaissance, and on subjects surprising by their naivete! 
"The Death of Beatrice," "The Death of Laura" (the woman 
who concealed her lover's head in a flower-pot, from which 
flowers sprouted afterward), and all in the manner of cent- 
uries ago. Madame w r ears costumes of the time of Boccaccio ; 
to night she wore a soft Japanese crepe, with long, narrow 



I88o.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSF.FF. 203 

sleeves, such as the Virgin is represented wearing, fastened 
behind, and a plain skirt hanging in straight folds ; a gir- 
dle of antique galloon, which made her look rather short- 
waisted ; a bouquet of lilies of the valley in the corsage, 
pearls around her neck, and earrings and bracelets of gold 
of antique workmanship. With her pale complexion, her 
black wavy hair, and her gazelle-like eyes, she looked like 
a fantastic apparition. If she only had the sense to dress 
her hair simply, instead of tumbling it up and making her 
head look like a fright, she would be very striking. 

Friday, April 30. My little American friend, whose 
name is Alice Brisbane, came at ten, and we left the house 
together. I had set my mind on going alone or with but a 
single companion to see how my picture was hung. I went 
to the Salon, then, very nervous, and imagining the worst 
tha,t could possibly happen, so that I might not be disap- 
pointed. None of my forebodings were realized, however, 
for my picture was not yet hung. 

As for Bastien-Lepage, his picture produces on the be- 
holder, at the first glance, the effect of space of the open 
air. Jeanne d'Arc the real Jeanne d'Arc, the peasant 
girl leans against an apple-tree, of which she holds a 
branch in her left hand, which, as well as the arm, is of 
extreme perfection ; the right arm hangs loosely by her 
side ; it is admirable the head thrown back, the strained 
attitude of the neck, and the eyes that look into the future 
clear, wonderful eyes ; the countenance produces a striking 
effect ; it is that of the peasant, the daughter of the soil, 
startled and pained by her vision. The orchard surround- 
ing the house in the background is nature's self ; but there 
is a something in a word, the perspective of it is not good ; 
it seems to crowd forward on the view, and spoils the effect 
of the figure. 

The figure itself is sublime, and it produced on me so 



204 JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1880. 

strong an impression that I can scarce!} 7 restrain my tears 
as I write. 

This was what most interested me in the Salon. Now 
for myself : We were all going to visit the Salon together, 
alter breakfast, or at least so I thought. . . . But no ; my 
aunt went to church, instead, and mamma wanted to go 
too, and it was only when they saw that I was astonished 
and offended, that they decided to accompany me, and then 
with a very bad grace. I do not know if it was the modest 
place I occupied that displeased them, and made them un- 
willing to go, but it is really very hard to have such a 
family ! Finally, ashamed of her indifference, or whatever 
else it may have been, mamma went with me, and Dina 
also, and we met at the Salon, first, the whole studio, then 
some acquaintances, and finally Julian. 

Saturday, May i. One of the most stupid, unlocked for, 
and annoying things imaginable has just happened to me ! 
To-morrow is Easter Sunday, and we were to go to-night 
to high mass, at which the whole Russian colony, beginning 
with the embassy, was to be assembled all the beauty and 
elegance and vanity of the colony in the front seats. The 
Russian women and their gowns were of course to be passed 
in review and commented upon by everybody. 

Well, at the last moment they brought me my gown, and 
it looked like nothing but a heap of old gauze. I went, 
however, but no one shall ever know the secret rage I felt. 
My waist was hidden by a badly made corsage, all askew ; 
my arms were cramped by ill-fitting sleeves, much too 
long ; altogether I presented a ridiculous appearance, and, 
in addition to all this, the gauze, that I had seen only by 
daylight, looked positively dirty at night. 

Friday, May 7. Mme. Gavini came again to-day to tell 
mamma that I am wearing myself out ; that is true, but it 



l88o.] JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 205 

is not with painting ; to avoid wearing myself out it would 
be only necessary for me to go to bed every night at ten or 
eleven o'clock, while, as it is, I stay up till one, and waken 
in the morning at seven. 

Last night it was that idiot S who was the cause of 

this. I was writing and he came over to speak to me ; then 
he went to play cards with my aunt ; then I waited up in 
order to hear a few silly words of love from him. And 
twenty times he bade me good-night, and twenty times I 
told him to go, and twenty times he asked permission to kiss 
my hand ; and I laughed and said at last, " Very well, it is 
all the same to me." Then he kissed my hand, and I am 
sorry to have to confess that this kiss gave me pleasure, not 
because of the person who bestowed it, but for many rea- 
sons. And after all, one is only a woman. 

I could still feel this kiss upon my hand this morning, 
for it was not a kiss bestowed simply through politeness. 

Ah, what creatures young girls are ! 

Do you suppose I am in love with this young man with 

the long nose ? No, you do not ? Well, the A affair 

was nothing more than this. I had been doing my best to 
fall in love, and the Cardinals and the Pope lent their as- 
sistance ; my imagination was excited ; but as for love 
oh, no ! Only as I am not now fifteen, and, besides, am 
not as silly as I was then, I exaggerate nothing, and relate 
the occurrence just as it took place. 

The kiss upon ray hand troubled me especially because I 
saw that it had given me pleasure. Consequently, I have 

resolved to treat S with coldness in the future ; but he 

is such a good fellow, and so simple-minded, that it would 
be stupid of me to act a part ; it would not be worth while ; 
it is better to treat him as I did Alexis B , which is 
what I do. Dina, he, and I remained together to-night till 

eleven o'clock, S and I reading verses and making 

translations from the Latin, and Dina listening. I was 



206 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1880. 

surprised to see that this young fellow knows a great deal, 
at least a great deal more than I. I have forgotten a good 
deal of what I knew, and he is just fresh from his studies 
for his degree of bachelor of arts. Well, I should like to 
make a friend of him but, no, he does not please me well 
enough for that, but a friendly acquaintance. 

Saturday, May 8. When I am spoken to, even in a loud 
tone of voice, I cannot hear ! Tony asked me to-day if I 
had seen anything of Perugino, and I answered " No," 
without understanding what he said. 

Thursday, May 13. I have snch a buzzing in my ears 
that I have to make the greatest efforts to prevent the dis- 
tress it causes me from being perceived. 

Oh, it is horrible ! With S it is not so much matter, 

because he sits near me, and whenever I wish I can tell 

him that he bores me. But the G s raise their voices 

when they speak to me ; and at the studio they laugh at 
me, and tell me I am growing deaf. I pretend that it is 
only absent-mindedness, and make a jest of it, but it is 
horrible ! 

Sunday, May 16. I went to the Salon alone early this 
morning; only those who had cards of admission were 
there. I looked for a long time at the Jeanne d'Arc, and 
still longer at -the " Good Samaritan " of Morot. I seated 
myself in front of the Morot, with a lorgnette in my hand, so 
as to study it carefully. It is the picture that, of all I have 
seen, has given me the greatest pleasure. There is nothing 
cramped in it ; all is simple, true, natural ; every object in 
it is copied from nature, and there is nothing that recalls 
the hideous conventional beauty of the school. It is charm- 
ing to look at ; even the head of the ass is perfect ; the 
landscape, the mantle, the very toe-nails, Everything is 



I88o.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BAS1IK1RTSEFF. 207 

harmonious, everything is correct, everything is as it 
should be. 

The head of the Jeanne d'Arc is sublime. These two 
paintings are in two adjoining rooms. I went back and 
forth from the one to the other. I was looking through 
my lorgnette at the Morot and thinking of that poor fellow 
, when he passed in front of me, without seeing me, 
however, and when I was going away I again saw him from 
the garden pointing out my picture to another person who 
looked like a journalist. 

Friday, June 18. I have worked all day to-day at my 

painting. In the evening S came. I attributed his 

evident depression to his being in love, but there was 
something more than this the matter. He goes to Buch- 
arest or to Lille as director of his brother's bank. But, 
besides this, and above all, he desires to get married ; ah, 
his heart is set upon it ! As for me, I smiled and told him 
he was bold and presumptuous, and explained to him that I 
had no dowry, as all my dowry would be no more than 
enough for pin-money, and that he would have to lodge 
me and feed me, and provide me with amusement at his 
own cost. 

Poor fellow, I felt sorry for him all the same. 

He kissed my hands a hundred times, entreating me to 
think of him sometimes. " You will think of me sometimes ? 
Speak, I entreat you ; tell me you will sometimes think of 
me," he said. 

" Whenever I find time." 

But he begged so hard that I was obliged at last to give 
him a hasty yes. Ah, our adieus were tragic at least on 
his side. We were standing near the door of the drawing- 
room, and I gave him my hand to kiss, so that he might 
carry away with him a romantic recollection of our parting, 
and then we gravely shook hands. 



208 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1880. 

I remained pensive for a full minute after he had gone. 
I shall miss this boy. He is to write to me. 

Sunday, June 20. I spent the morning at the Salon, 
which closes this evening. The " Good Samaritan " has 
received the medal of honor. 

The landscape of Bastien-Lepage is not perfect, it spoils 
the figure ; but what an admirable figure ! The head is 
a piece of art that stands absolutely unrivaled. I found 
Morot's picture almost tiresome to-day, while Bastien- 
Lepage I admired more than ever. I went from the one 
to the other, and then to a " Sleeping Head," of Henner, and 
a little nymph by him also. Henner is grace itself. It is 
not altogether nature, but but no, it must be nature ; it is 
adorable. His " Nymphs by Twilight " is incomparable 
and inimitable. He nevers varies, but is always charming. 
His nude figures at the Luxembourg are not so good as his 
later work. His last year's picture is the best of his work 
that I have seen. I longed passionately to buy it. I look 
at it every day. Ah, if I were only rich ! The effect the 
Morot produces on me is a singular one. I find him tire- 
some beside Bastien-Lepage and Henner. Henner ! his 
charm is inexpressible ! 

MONT-DORE, Tuesday, July 20. I went to Julian's yester- 
day with Villevielle, to get my keys, which I had forgotten. 
This man encourages me greatly, and I leave Paris in good 
spirits. One consolation is that I am no longer afraid of 
Breslau. " The thing with her " (meaning me), Julian 
says, " is that it is not painting, but the object itself ; and 
even when she does not quite reach it, you can see that the 
effort has been in that direction." 

We are badly lodged, the house is full, and the cooking 
atrocious. 

Wednesday, July 21. I have begun a course of treat- 



1880.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 209 

ment. They come for me with an air-tight sedan-chair, 
and a costume of white flannel trousers reaching to the 
feet, and a cloak with a hood. 

Then follow a bath, a douche, drinking the waters, and 
inhalations. I agree to everything. This is the last time 
I shall submit to all these things, and I should not do so 
now, if it were not for the fear of growing deaf. My deaf- 
ness is much better ; almost well, in fact. 

Friday, July 23. Who will restore me my youth my 
squandered, stolen, vanished youth ! I am not yet twenty, 
and the other day I" pulled out three gray hairs. I am 
proud of them ; they are the terrible proof that I have 
exaggerated nothing. If it were not for my childish 
figure I should look like an old woman. Is this natural at 
my age ? 

I had a wonderful voice ; it was a gift from God, and I 
have lost it. Song for a woman is what eloquence is for a 
man a power without limit. 

In the park which my window overlooks I saw Mme. 
Rothschild to-day, with her horses, her grooms, etc. The 
sight of this fortunate woman gave me pain ; but I must be 
brave. Besides, when suffering becomes too severe there 
comes deliverance from it. When it reaches a 'certain 
point then we know it must begin to diminish ; it is while 
awaiting this crisis of the heart and soul that we suffer ; 
when it has once come, then our sufferings begin to admit 
of consolation then one can call Epictetus to one's aid, 
or one can pray ; but there is this about prayer : it stirs the 
emotions. , 

Tuesday, July 27. I tried to paint a landscape to-day, 
but it ended in my flinging away the canvas ; there was a 
little girl of about four years old standing beside me watch- 
ing me while 1 painted, and instead of looking at my land- 



210 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEF2'\ [iS8o. 

scape I looked at the child, who is to sit for me to-morrow. 
How can any other subject be preferred to the human 
form? 

I have such a pain running from the right ear down the 
neck that it almost drives me crazy. I have said nothing 
about it it would only trouble my aunt ; and then I know 
it is caused by my sore throat. 

Here I have been for the last twenty-four hours suffer- 
ing tortures. I find it impossible to sleep, or to do any- 
thing else whatever. Even my reading I have to leave off 
at every moment. I think it is this pain that makes every- 
thing look black around me. Misery of miseries ! 

Saturday, July 31. Before I left Paris I read "Indiana," 
by Georges Sand, and I can assure you I did not find it 
amusing. As I have only read " La Petite Fadette," 
" Indiana," and two or three other novels of hers, perhaps 
I ought not to express an opinion on the subject ; but so 
far I do not enjoy this author at all. 

I thought of taking a ride to-day, but I have no mind 
for anything, and when I spend the day without working I 
suffer the most frightful remorse, and there are days when 
I can do nothing ; on such occasions I say to myself that I 
could work if I tried, and then follow self-reproaches, and 
it ends by my exclaiming, " Better give it all up ! Life is 
not worth the trouble ! " And then I sit down and smoke 
cigarettes and read novels. 

Tuesday, August 17. I have never had the perseverance 
to finish any piece of writing. Something, of interest takes 
place ; it occurs to me to write an article about it ; I sketch 
this out, and on the following day I see in one of the 
papers an article resembling mine, or at least one that 
renders mine useless. My studies in art have taught me 
that in order to succeed in anything persistent effort in the 



i8So.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASH KIRTSEFF. 211 

beginning is indispensable. " The first step is the most 
difficult one." This proverb never struck me so forcibly 
as now. 

And then there is the question also, and above all, of en- 
rironment. Mine may be characterized, notwithstanding 
the best will in the world, as stultifying. The members of 
my family are, for the most part, ignorant and common- 
place. Then there is Mme. G , who is a worldly 

woman, par excellence ; and you know who our habitues are. 

M and some insignificant young people. So that I can 

assure you if it were not for my own companionship, and 
my reading, I should be even less intelligent than I am. 

Wednesday, August 18. We took a long ride to-day, 
five hours on horseback, and with this debilitating treat- 
ment, and I am literally tired to death. 

I fear the result of the treatment will prove this stupid 
doctor here, who pretended that I was weak, to be in the 
right. It is true that he assured me, when I had got 
through with it, that in order to have borne twenty-one 
baths as well as I did, I must have been very strong. Med- 
icine is a sorry science. 

We ascended to the summit of Sancy ; the mountains 
that frame in the horrible Mont-Dore, seen from this 
height, appear flat. The spectacle from the top of Sancy 
is truly sublime ; I should love to see the sun rise from 
there. The far horizon has a bluish tint that reminded me 
of the Mediterranean, and that is all there is that is beauti- 
ful about the place. The ascent on foot is very fatiguing, 
but when one has reached the top one seems to dominate 
the world. 

Thursday, August 19. I am good for nothing this morn- 
ing ; my eyes are tired, my head aches. And to think I 
shall not leave here till Saturday ! To-day it is too late, 



2 i 2 jo URNAL OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. 

to-morrow is Friday, and if I were to travel on Friday, I 
should think all the stupid things that invariably happen to 
me on such occasions happened on that account. 

PARIS, Sunday, August 29, eight o'clock. How comfort- 
able and pretty my studio looks ! 

I have been reading the illustrated weekly papers, and 
some pamphlets. Everything goes on in the same routine 
as before, just as if I had not been away. 

Two o'clock. I console myself by thinking that my trou- 
bles are only the equivalent of the troubles of other kinds 
that other artists have to suffer, as I have neither poverty 
nor the tyranny of parents to bear for it is those, is it not, 
that artists have chiefly to complain of ? 

I make some good resolution, and then on a sudden I 
commit some folly, as if I were acting in a dream ! I de- 
spise and detest myself, as I despise and detest every one 
else, including the members of my own family. Oh, one's 
family ! My aunt employed a dozen little stratagems on 
the journey to make me sit on the side of the car on which 
the window did not open. Tired of resisting I at last con- 
sented, on condition that the window on the other side 
should be opened ; and no sooner had I fallen asleep than 
they closed it again. I woke up exclaiming that I would 
break open the window with my heels, but we had already 
arrived. And then at breakfast, afterward, such frowns, 
such looks of anguish, because I did not eat. Evidently 
these people love me, but it seems to me that when people 
love one they should be able to understand one better. 

Just indignation renders one eloquent. 

And then mamma is always talking about God : " If 
God wills it"; "With the help of God." When one in- 
vokes the name of God so often it is only as an excuse for 
leaving a number of petty duties undone. 

This is not faith, nor even religion ; it is a mania, a vice, 



ISSo.j JOURNAL Of MARtE BASHKlRTSEFF. 213 

the cowardliness of laziness, of incapacity, "of indolence. 
What can be more unworthy than to seek to cover all one's 
shortcomings by the word " God." It is not only unwor- 
thy, it is criminal, if one believes in God. " If it is written 
that such a thing is to happen, it will happen," she says, 
so as to avoid the trouble of exerting herself, and re- 
morse. 

If everything were ordered beforehand, God would be 
nothing more than a constitutional president, and free will, 
vice, and virtue idle words. 

Tuesday, September 7. It is raining ; all the most disa- 
greeable events of my life pass in review before me, and 
there are some of them, far back in the past, that to think 
of makes me start in my chair and clinch my hands as if a 
physical pain had suddenly seized me. 

In order that I should grow better, it would be necessary 
for me to change all my surroundings ; I know beforehand 
all that mamma or my aunt will say or do in such or such 
circumstances, what they will wear receiving visitors, 
when they go out to take an airing, when they are in the 
country and all this irritates me frightfully ; it produces 
the same effect upon me as it would to listen to the cutting 
of glass. 

It would be necessary for me to change my surround- 
ings completely, and then, when my spirit was more 
tranquil, I should no doubt love them as they deserve to 
be loved. Meantime, however, they worry me to death. 
When I refuse any dish at table they wear the most fright- 
ful looks ; they employ every device to avoid the use 
of ice at table, as they fancy it might hurt. me. When I 
open a window they steal to it like thieves to close it again ; 
and do a thousand other silly things of the kind that irritate 
my nerves. But I am possessed with a hatred for every- 
thing belonging to this house. What gives me most 



214 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIR TSEFF. [1880. 

uneasiness is that my faculties are rusting in this solitude ; 
all these somber colors tinge my. thoughts with gloom and 
throw my mind back upon itself. I fear that these dark 
surroundings may leave a lasting impression upon my 
character, and render it sour, morose, and embittered. I 
have no wish that this should be so, but I fear that it will 
be the case, owing to the efforts that I am compelled to 
make to prevent the rage with which they are continually 
inspiring me, from appearing on the surface. 

Friday, September 10. A profound emotion for my aunt 
to-day ! Dr. Fauvel, who examined my lungs a week ago 
and found nothing the matter with them then, examined 
them again to-day and discovered that the bronchial tubes 
are affected. He seemed serious, moved, and somewhat 
confused at not having foreseen the gravity of the disease ; 
then followed prescriptions for the remedies used by con- 
sumptives cod-liver oil, painting the chest with iodine, hot 
milk, flannel underwear, etc., and finally he advised me to 
consult Dr. See or Dr. Potain, or to call them in in consul- 
tation with him. You may imagine the expression in my 
aunt's countenance ! For my part all this amuses me; I 
have suspected something of the kind for a long time past ; 
I have been coughing all the winter, and I cough still, and 
experience difficulty in breathing besides. The wonder 
would be if nothing were the matter with me ; I should be 
well pleased if something were the matter, so as to be done 
with it. My aunt is terrified ; I, delighted. The thought 
of death does not frighten me. I should not dare to kill 
myself, but I should like to be done with life. If you but 
knew I shall wear no flannel and I will not stain my chest 
with iodine. I have no desire to get well. I shall have life 
enough and health enough without that for all I want to do. 

Friday, September 17. I went again yesterday to see the 



iSSo.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 21$ 

doctor who was treating me for my deafness. He con- 
fessed to me that he had not thought the trouble so serious, 
and told me that I shall never again be able to hear as well 
as formerly. I was completely overwhelmed by his words. 
It is horrible ! I am not deaf, it is true, but my ear per- 
ceives sound only through a mist, as it were. For instance, 
I can no longer hear, and perhaps shall never be able to 
hear again, the tick-tick of my alarm clock, unless by put- 
ting my ear close to it. This, indeed, may be called a mis- 
fortune. In conversation many things escape me. Well, 
let me thank Heaven, that I have not also became blind or 
dumb. 

Tuesday, September 28. Since last night I have been 
happy. I dreamed of //////. He was ill, and he looked 
ugly, but that did not matter ; I know now that love is not 
dependent for its existence on the possession of beauty by 
the beloved object. We talked together like two friends as 
we used to do, as we would do now if we were to meet 
again. All I asked for was that our friendship might not 
transgress the limits beyond which it would become subject 
to change. 

This was the dream I cherished in my waking hours, also. 
In a word, I have never been so happy as I was last night. 

Wednesday, September 29. Since yesterday my complex- 
ion has been wonderfully fresh and clear and beautiful, and 
my eyes brilliant and animated. Even the contour of my 
face is more delicate and more perfect than before. Only 
it is a pity that this is at a time when there is no one to see 
me. It is a silly thing to say, but I remained standing for 
half-an-hour before the glass for the pleasure of looking 
at myself ; it is a long time since this has happened. 

Friday, October i Oh, Frenchmen who complain that 



2i6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1880. 

you are neither free nor happy ! The same state of things 
exists now in Russia as existed in France during the Reign 
of Terror by a word, a gesture, one may bring ruin on 
one's-self. Ah, how much there still remains to be done 
that men might be even approximately happy ! 

Sunday, October 3. I am very sad to-day. 

No, there is no help for me. For four years I have 
been treated by the most celebrated doctors for laryngitis, 
and my health has been going from bad to worse during all 
that time. 

For the last four days I was able to hear well ; now, how- 
ever, the deafness is beginning again. 

Well, I will make a prediction : 

I am going to die, but not just yet that would be too 
much good fortune that would be to end my sufferings at 
once. I shall go on dragging out a miserable existence for 
a few years longer with my cough, my colds, fevers, and 
other ailments. 

Monday, October 4. I wrote to my music-teacher at 
Naples, a short time since, for some*music for the mando- 
lin. I have just received his answer. I confess, notwith- 
standing my realistic tendencies (a word very little under- 
stood) and my republican sentiments, I am very sensible to 
the charm of the flowery style of these Italians. 

And why should not the two things go together ? 

But this style must be left to the Italians ; in others it 
appears ridiculous. Ah, when shall I be able to go to 
Italy ? 

How tame every other place is after Italy ! Never has 
any other country, never has any one's presence produced 
in me so strong an emotion as the mere recollection of Italy 
now awakens within me. 

Why should I not return there? And my painting? Do 



l88o.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEI1. 217 

I know enough to go on in the right direction without 
further instruction ? I cannot say. 

No, I will remain in Paris this winter. 1 will go to spend 
the Carnival in Italy. The winter of 1881-1882 1 will spend 
at St. Petersburg. If I do not marry a rich man then, I 
shall return to Paris or to Italy in 1882 or 1883. And then 
I will marry a nobleman with fifteen or twenty thousand 
francs a year, who will be very glad to accept my income 
and myself. Am I not wise to allow myself three years of 
liberty before capitulating? 

Tuesday, October 5. There is nothing left me to do but to 
resign myself to the inevitable ; or rather to summon all my 
courage, and, standing face to face with myself, ask myself 
if this be not, after all, a matter of indifference. To have 
lived in one manner or in another, what does it matter ? 
I must learn to conquer my sensations, and to say with 
Epictetus that it is in one's own power to accept evil as a 
good, or rather to accept with indifference whatever hap- 
pens. One must have suffered horribly to be reconciled to 
this species of death as a way out of life, and it is only after 
one has endured indescribable sufferings, after one has sunk 
into a state of complete despair, that one begins to compre- 
hend how it is possible to lead this living death. And yet, 
if one were to make the effort one might learn to accept 
one's fate with calmness at least. This is not a vain delu- 
sion ; it is something possible. 

When one has reached a certain point in physical suffering 
one loses consciousness, or else falls into a state of ecstasy. 
The same thing takes place in the case of mental suffering. 
When it has reached a certain point the soul soars superior 
to it, one regards as insignificant one's former sufferings, 
and goes forward to one's fate with head erect, as the mar- 
tyrs did of old. 

For the fifty years or so I may still have to live, of what 



218 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASPIKIRTSEFF. [1880. 

consequence would it be whether they were passed in a 
prison or in a palace, among people or in solitude ? The 
end would be the same. What I am troubled about, then, 
is the sensations experienced during this period, and which, 
when they have passed, leave no trace behind ? But what 
does a thing matter which is of short duration, and which, 
when it is past, leaves no trace of its existence ? What it 
concerns me to do, since I have the power, is to utilize my 
life in the pursuit of art this may give evidence of my 
existence after I am dead. 

Saturday, October 9. I have done nothing this week, and 
inaction has made me stupid. I glanced through the 
account of my journey to Russia, and it interested me 
very much. 

Georges Sand is a writer with whom I have no sympathy ; 
and she does not even possess, in the same degree as Gau- 
tier, the vigor, the audacity, that inspire one with admira- 
tion, if not with liking, for him. Georges Sand well, she is 
well enough. Among contemporary writers I like Daudet 
best. His works, it is true, are only novels, but they are 
full of just observations, of truth to nature, of genuine feel- 
ing ; his characters live. 

As for Zola, I am not on very good terms with him. He 
has thought fit to attack, in Figaro, Ranc, and others of the 
Republican party, with a virulence that is both in bad taste 
and unbecoming alike to his great genius and his high liter- 
ary position. 

But what do people see in the writings of Georges Sand ? 
Novels beautifully written, yes ; but what more ? As for 
me, I find her novels tiresome, which is never the case with 
Balzac, the two Dumas, Zola, Daudet, or Musset. Victor 
Hugo, in his most wildly romantic prose-writing, is never 
tiresome ; one feels the spell of his genius. But Georges 
Sand ! How can any one have the patience to read three 



iSSo.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 219 

hundred pages filled with the sayings and doings of Valen- 
tine and Benedict, the uncle, a gardener and so on. Her 
theme is always the same : the equalizing of classes by 
means of love which is an ignoble one. 

Let social distinctions be abolished well and good ; but 
let it be done by a more dignified means than this. 

To present the picture of a countess in love with her 
valet, and to write long dissertations on the subject in 
this does the genius of Georges Sand consist. She has writ- 
ten some good novels, it is true, containing some very pretty 
descriptions of country life ; but I require in a writer some- 
thing more than this. 

I am reading "Valentine " at present, and the book irri- 
tates me, because, while it is interesting enough to make me 
wish to finish it, every time I lay it down I find that it has 
left nothing in my mind but a vaguely disagreeable impres- 
sion. I feel as if .1 lowered myself by this species of read- 
ing ; I dislike the book, and yet I go on reading it and 
shall go on with it to the end, unless it should prove as tire- 
some as the " Dernier Amour," of the same author. " Val- 
entine," however, is the best of Georges Sand's novels that 
I have read ; the " Marquis de Villemer," too, is good. I 
believe there is no groom in love with a countess in it. 

Sunday, October 10. I spent the morning at the Louvre, 
and was dazzled by what I saw there. I see now that I 
never had a clear understanding of art before ; I looked, 
and admired in set phrases like the great majority of people. 
Ah, when one can feel and comprehend art as I do now, 
one has no ordinary soul. To feel that a thing is beauti- 
ful, and understand why it is beautiful this is a great 
happiness. 

Monday, October n. I set to work on my picture to-day, 
full of yesterday's excitement. It is impossible not to 



220 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1880. 

achieve success when one .has had revelations such as I had 
yesterday. 

Tuesday, October 19. Alas ! All this will end, after drag- 
ging out a few more years of miserable existence, in death. 

I have always felt that it must end in this way. One 
could not live long with a brain like mine. I am like those 
too precocious children who are doomed to an early death. 

I required too many things for my happiness, and circum- 
stances were such that I was deprived of everything, even 
physical well-being. 

Two or three years ago even six months ago each time 
I went to a new doctor in the hope of recovering my voice, 
he would ask me if I did not feel such and such asymptom, 
and when I answered no, he would say : " No, there is 
nothing in the bronchial tubes or the lungs ; it is the larynx 
only that is affected." Now I begin to feel all the symp- 
toms the doctors imagined I had then. Therefore the 
bronchial tubes and the lungs must now be affected. True 
it is nothing as yet, or almost nothing. Fauvel ordered 
iodine and a .blister ; naturally I cried out in horror ; I 
would rather break an arm than suffer myself to be blistered. 
Three years ago a doctor at one of the watering-places in 
Germany found some trouble I don't know just what in 
the right lung, under the shoulder-blade. This made me 
laugh heartily. And again at Nice, five years ago, I felt 
something like a pain in the same spot. The only thing I 
feared, however, was that I was going to become hump- 
backed, as two of my aunts, sisters of my father, were ; 
and now again, a few months since, the doctors asked me if 
I felt anything there. I answered, no, without thinking. 
When I cough now, or even when I draw a full breath, I 
feel the pain there, in the right lung, at the back. All these 
things together make me believe that there may be really 
something there. I take a sort of pride in showing that \ 



i83o.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 221 

am ill, yet I am scarcely pleased at it. It is an ugly death 
a very slow one, four, five, ten years perhaps, and one grows 
so thin, and loses all one's good looks. 

I have not as yet grown much thinner ; I am just as one 
ought to be ; the only thing is that I look tired. I cough 
a great deal, and I find difficulty in breathing. And yet for 
the past four years I have been under the care of the most 
celebrated doctors ; I have taken the waters they have 
ordered, yet not only have I not recovered my beautiful 
voice so beautiful that it almost makes me cry to think of 
it but I grow worse and worse every day, and, let me write 
the horrible word, a little deaf. 

Provided death come quickly, however, I shall not com- 
plain. 

Friday, October 22 It is raining, and the weather is 
cold, bitterly, frightfully cold. So I am in sympathy with 
the weather, and I cough without ceasing. Ah, what mis- 
ery, and what a horrible existence is mine ! At half-past 
three there is no longer light enough to paint, and if I read by 
artificial light my eyes are too fatigued to paint on the 
following day. The few people I might see I shun through 
the fear of not being able to hear what they say. There are 
some days when I can hear very well, and others when I can 
scarcely hear at all, and then I suffer nameless tortures. It 
cannot be that God will allow this state of things to con- 
tinue. I am ready to suffer every kind of misery, however, 
provided only I am not asked to see any one. Every time 
the bell rings I shudder. This new and horrible misfortune 
makes me dread everything that I had before desired. 
Think what it must be for me who am by nature gay and 
fond of jesting ! I laugh as much as Mile. Samary of the 
Theatre Fran?ais ; but this is rather from habit than 
any wish to conceal my feelings. I shall always laugh. 
All is over with me ; not only do I believe that all is over, 



222 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [iSSo. 

but I desire that it should be so. There are no words with 
which to express my dejection. 

Monday, October 25. I am reading "Les Chatiments "; 
Yes, Victor Hugo is a genius. Perhaps I do wrong even 
to suspect that I have found certain of his lyrical transports 
extravagant, not to say tiresome. No, it is not the case ; 
he is beautiful, he is sublime, and, notwithstanding the 
exaggerated expressions he at times makes use of, he is 
human, 'he is natural, he is charming. But I like his passages 
of touching simplicity best the last act of Hernani, for 
instance, where Dona Sol pleads with the old man for pity ; 
and the words of the old grandmotherwhose grandchild had 
received two bullets in the brain. 

Monday \ November i. Our studio now enjoys the same 
advantages as the studio of the men, that is to say, we draw 
from the nude every day from the same model in the same pose 
as they do ; consequently we can now paint compositions 
of more importance than before. This would have been use- 
less to me for the last few months, but I have now reached 
the point at which I am able to profit by it. We are only 
eight in the studio now ; the other pupils, to the number 
of twenty-two, have gone to Julian's new studio, 51 Rue 
Vivienne, which is on the same basis as this was formerly. 

Tuesday, November 2. For a week past I have had my 
breakfast brought from the house to the studio. This is 
much more sensible than to run back and forth between 
the Rue Vivienne and the Champs Elyse"es, and thus lose 
the best hours of the day. In this way I am able to work 
from eight o'clock till noon, and from one till four. 

Wednesday, Noi'ember 10. It is horrible to have worked 
without ceasing for three years, only to find out at the end 
of them that one knows nothing. 



iSSo.] JOURNAL OP MARIE BASHKIRTSEFP. 223 

Tuesday, November 16. I fear that I spoke of the church 
with some exaggeration the other day. I afterward felt some 
compunction in the matter, and it depended on the merest 
chance whether I should get up out of bed or not, to make 
the amende honorable. For it cannot be denied that the 
church has been the means of diffusing a truer knowledge 
of God, it has greatly ameliorated the condition of human 
society, and it has carried the name of God and civilization 
among savage nations. Without meaning any offense to 
religion, I think the work of civilization might have been 
carried on without the aid of Catholicism, but on the whole, 
the church has been a useful institution, as the feudal system 
was, and, like it too, it has served, or almost served, its turn. 
There are too many "things in Catholicism that shock the 
understanding, without being therefore odious, however 
sacred things mixed up with childish legends. The world 
is too enlightened now for these holy falsehoods to be any 
longer respected. But we are passing through a transition 
period, and unhappily the masses are not yet sufficiently 
enlightened to be able to dispense with these idle supersti- 
tions, that bring contempt upon religion and conduce to 
atheism. 

True, there are men who are sincerely religious, but are 
there not also men who are sincere monarchists? for there 
are people who believe that monarchical institutions are 
necessary to the prosperity of certain countries. Stay, I 
did not think of this the other day, when I said one needed 
to have the soul Of a lackey to advocate a monarchical form 
of government. 

Sunday, December $. Dr. Potain came this morning, and 
he wishes me to spend the winter in the south, at least until 
March ; otherwise I shall not be able to breathe at all soon, 
or even to leave my bed. Truly I am getting on finely ! 
For the last four years I have done everything the best 



224 JO URNAL OP MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [1880. 

physicians have ordered me to do, and I am going from bad 
to worse. I have even laid violent hands on my beauty in 
accordance with their orders. I have painted the right side 
of my chest with iodine, and the pain is still there. Can it 
be possible that the continual annoyances I suffer have 
undermined my health ? And yet the larynx and the bron- 
chial tubes are not generally affected by mental conditions. 
I don't know what to think. I do everything they tell me 
to do ; I avoid imprudences, I wash myself with warm water 
only, and yet I grow no better. 

Villevieile told me yesterday that Tony, when he came 
to the studio on Saturday to correct the drawings, asked to 
see our pictures for the concours, and said of mine that the 
eyes were drawn in a peculiar manner, but that there were 
some good things about them, and that the coloring was 
charming. He was not satisfied with the paintings for the 
concours, in general. If I do not receive the medal, I shall 
at least have made a good study. 

Tuesday, December 21. I have no longer a buzzing in 
the ears, and I can hear very well. 

Wednesday, December 22. A picture by a pupil of the 
Rue Vivienne was awarded the medal ; she is a new pupil 
a young American. I received first mention. 

Sunday, December 26. Potain wishes me to go away at 
once. I refused point-blank, and then, half-laughingly, 
half-seriously, I began to complain to him of my family. 
I asked him if the throat could be affected by continual fits 
of anger, and he said decidedly it could. I will not go away. 
It is delightful to travel, but not in the company of my 
family, with their tiresome little attentions. I know that I 
should rule them all, but they irritate me, and then, no, 
no, no \ 



i88o.] JOURNAL OF MARlE BASHKlRTSEFF. *2$ 

Besides, I scarcely cough at all, now. Only, all this 
makes me unhappy. I fancy I can no longer extricate 
myself from it from what ? I haven't the least idea ; but 
I cannot restrain my tears. Do not suppose they are tears 
of disappointment at not being yet married no, those are 
not like other tears. After all, perhaps it is that ; but I 
don't think so. 

And then, everything is so gloomy around me and I have 
no outlet for my feelings ; my poor aunt leads so isolated a 
life, we scarcely ever see each other ; I spend the evenings 
reading or playing. 

I can no longer either speak or write of myself without 
bursting into tears. I must indeed be ill. Ah, how foolish 
it is to complain ! Does not death end everything ? 

Why, then, notwithstanding all our fine phrases, notwith- 
standing our certainty that death ends everything, do we 
still persist in complaining of the ills of life ? 

I know that my life, like that of every other human being, 
will end in death in annihilation ; I consider all the circum- 
stances of existence, which, however flattering they may 
seem, are mean and wretched enough in my eyes, and yet 
I cannot resign myself to die ! Life, then, is a force, it is 
something ; it is not merely a transient state of being, a 
period of time that it matters little whether it be spent in a 
palace or in a prison ? There is, then, something beyond, 
some higher truth than we are able to give expression to in 
the foolish phrases in which we strive to give utterance to 
our thoughts on those subjects ? This, then, is life, not a 
transient state, a thing of no value, but life, the dearest 
treasure we possess, all that we possess, in fact ! 

People say it is nothing, because it is not eternal. Ah, 
fools ! 

Life is ourselves ; it belongs to us, it is all that we pos- 
sess; how then is it possible to say it is nothing ! If life 
be nothing, tell me, then, what something is. 



226 JOURNAL OF MARIE 8ASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

Thursday, December 30. I went to see Tony to-day, and 
came home feeling somewhat comforted. We talked a 
great deal about myself in a general way ; he said no one ever 
expected great results after only three' years' study ; that I 
want to go too fast, that he is convinced I shall succeed, 
and much more to the same effect. In short, I requested 
him so earnestly to be frank with me that I think he spoke 
as he felt. Besides, he has no interest in trying to deceive 
me ; and then, what he said was hot much after all. I have 
recovered my spirits, however, in some degree, and I am 
ready to begin work on my picture. 

What a good, kind fellow Tony is ! He says the greatest 
painters have begun to be something only after a dozen 
years or so of study ; that Bonnat, after seven years of study, 
was still unknown ; that he himself exhibited nothing until 
after eight years. Of course I know all this, but, as 1 had 
counted on winning a name before my twentieth year, you 
can imagine what my feelings are. 



1881. 

Saturday, January 8. I have a genuine passion for my 
books: I arrange them on the shelves, I count them, I gaze 
at them ; only to look at these shelves filled with old books 
rejoices my heart. I stand back from them to look at them 
admiringly, as I would at a picture. I have only seven hun- 
dred volumes, but as they are almost all large ones, they are 
equivalent to a much greater number of the ordinary size. 

Sunday, January 9. Potain refuses to attend me any 
longer, as I do not obey his orders. Ah, it would please 
me very well to go away to go to Italy, to Palermo. Oh 
for the cloudless sky, the blue sea, the beautiful, tranquil 



iSSi.J JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 227 

nights of Italy! Only to think of seeing Italy again makes 
me wild! It is as if there were some great good in store for 
me which I am not yet ready to enjoy. No, that is not 
what I want to say. It is as if some great happiness awaited 
me which I want to enjoy free from every care, from every 
anxiety. When I say to myself, "I will go to Italy," I 
think immediately afterward, "No, not yet." I must 
first strive, first work, and then how soon I cannot tell 
complete repose. Italy! I know not wherein the charm 
consists, but the effect this name has upon me is magical, 
marvelous, indescribable. 

Oh, yes, it is necessary for me to go away! I must be 
very ill indeed, for Charcot, Potain, and the others to order 
me away! I feel that the air of the* South would have made 
me well at once, but the fault is theirs. 

And why does not mamma return? They say it is unrea- 
sonable on my part to want her to do so, but the fact that 
she does not come remains the same. Well, at last it is all 
over! I have another year, perhaps 1882 is the important 
year I had looked forward to in all my childish dreams. I 
had fixed on 1882 as the year that was to decide my des- 
tiny but in what sense I could not tell. By my death, 
perhaps. At the studio to-night they dressed up the skele- 
ton to represent Louise Michel, with a red scarf, a cigar- 
ette in its mouth, and a palette-knife for a poignard. In 
me, too, is concealed a skeleton ; to that must we-all come 
at last. Annihilation! Horrible thought! 

Thursday, January 13 (The Russian New- Year's Day). 
I still cough a little, and my breathing is painful ; otherwise I 
am not noticeably changed; I am neither thin nor pale. 
Potain has left off coming; my malady, he thinks, needs 
only sunshine and fresh air to cure it. He is honest, Potain 
is; and he does not wish to fill me with useless drugs. But 
I take ass's-milk and water-wort. I am sure that a winter 



22 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

spent in a warm climate in the open air would cure me, 
but I know better than any one what it is that is the mat- 
ter with me; I have always had a delicate throat, and con- 
stant agitation of mind has contributed to make it worse. 
After all there is nothing the matter with me but the cough 
and my deafness, and that is of very little consequence, as 
you may see. 

Saturday, January 15. To day M. Cot, who is to take 
turns with Tony at the studio, entered upon his duties. I 
showed him nothing I had done, though Julian had pointed 
me out to him as the person he had spoken to him about. 
"It is Mademoiselle," he said, "who is going to do this," 
showing him the large canvas they had so much trouble to 
bring into the studio yesterday. 

Tony is a man who understands his business an artist 
of reputation, an academician, a man of recognized author- 
ity in his art, and the lessons of such a man are always an 
advantage. It is in painting as it is in literature: first 
learn the grammar of the art, and your own nature will tell 
you whether you are to write dramas or songs. So that if 
Tony were to be assassinated I would take in his place 
Lefebvre, Bonnat, or even Cabanel which would not be 
pleasant. Painters by temperament, like Carolus, Bastien- 
Lepage, and Henner, compel you to imitate them against 
your will-; and they say one learns only the faults of those 
one copies. And then I would not choose for my master a 
painter of single figures only. I want to see an artist sur- 
rounded by historical pictures; the figures in his picture, 
the persons, lend him the support of their names, and 
would compel me to listen to his counsels ; though there are 
pictures of a single figure which I would prefer to half a 
dozen pictures with half a dozen figures in each of them. 

The least interesting face in the world may become inter- 
esting under certain conditions. I have seen, in the case of 



i88i.j JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 22$ 

models, the most commonplace heads rendered superb by 
a hat, a cap, or a piece of drapery. All this is in order to 
tell you with becoming modesty that every evening, after 
coming home from the studio, I wash my hands and face, 
put on a white gown, and drape a white muslin handker- 
chief around my head, after the manner of the old women 
of Chardin, or the young girls of Greuze. This gives my 
head a surprisingly charming effect. To-night the handker- 
chief, which was rather large, was draped & CEgyptiennc, 
and I don't know how it was, but my face looked regal. 
As a general thing this word would not be applicable to my 
countenance, but the drapery wrought the miracle. This 
has put me in good spirits. 

I have fallen into this habit of late. To remain with my 
head uncovered in the evening makes me uncomfortable, 
and my "sorrowful thoughts" like to be under shelter. I 
fancy myself more at home, thus more at my ease, as it 
were. 

I have not learned to understand how one can sacrifice 
one's life for the beloved object for a mortal like one's 
self and for love of him. 

But I can understand how one might suffer tortures and 
death itself for a principle for liberty, for anything that 
could serve to ameliorate the condition of humanity. 

For my part I would be as ready to defend all these fine 
things in France as in Russia; one's country comes after 
humanity; after all, there are between different nations but 
shades of differences; and I am for simplicity and broad- 
ness of view in treating every question. 

I am not easily carried away by my feelings on this point; 
I am neither a Louise Michel nor a nihilist, not at all; but 
if I thought liberty were seriously menaced, I should be the 
first to take up arms in her defense. 

\rnlnesJa\\ January =6. After coming home from the 



230 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASttKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

studio on Tuesday I grew feverish; and I sat in the dark 
in my arm-chair, shivering and half-asleep until seven 
o'clock. I kept my picture constantly before my eyes, as 
has been the case every night during the last week. 

As I had taken no nourishment during the day except a 
little milk, the night was still worse. I could not sleep, for I 
had set my alarm-clock, and it wakened me; but the pic- 
ture was still before me, and I working on it in imagina- 
tion. I did the opposite of everything I ought to have 
done, however, impelled by an irresistible desire to efface 
all that was well done. It was impossible for me to remain 
quiet: I tried to convince myself it was but a dream. In 
vain. "Is this, then, the delirium of fever?" I asked my- 
self. I think there was something of that in it. I know 
now what it meant, and I should not regret it, if it were not 
for the fatigued feeling I have more especially in my 
limbs. 

But the strangest part of it was that, in my delirium, 
I fancied I was waiting for Julian to give me his advice 
concerning one of the figures I had changed. 

He came yesterday and found that everything I had done 
was wrong; before my dream I had effaced all that was 
good in the picture. 

And last night, by a curious coincidence, I could hear 
perfectly well. 

I feel bruised all over. 

Thursday, February 3. I have now before my eyes the 
portrait of my father and mother, taken just before they 
were married. I have hung them up as "documentary 
evidence." According to Zola and other philosophers of 
greater fame, it is necessary to know the cause if we 
would understand the effects. My mother at the time of 
my birth was young and full of health, and exceedingly 
beautiful, with brown hair, brown eyes, and a dazzling 



l88i.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIR TSEFF. 231 

complexion ; my father was fair, pale, delicate in health, 
and was himself the son of a robust father and a sickly 
mother, who died young, leaving four daughters, all more 
or less deformed from their birth. Grandpapa and grand- 
mamma were endowed with vigorous constitutions, and 
they had nine children, all of them healthy and robust, and 
some of them, mamma and Etienne for instance, handsome. 

The sickly father of our illustrious subject has become 
strong and healthy, and the mother, blooming with health 
in her youth, has become feeble and nervous, thanks to the 
horrible existence she has been compelled to lead. 

I finished " L'Assommoir" the day before yesterday. I 
was so forcibly impressed with the truth of the book that 
it almost made me sick. I felt as if I had lived among 
those people and talked with them. 

Monday, February 7. My picture, set aside for a time on 
account of a figure I could not get to my liking, goes for- 
ward again. I feel as light as a feather. 

My favorite Bastien-Lepage has exhibited a portrait of 
the Prince of Wales, in the costume of Henry IV., with the 
Thames and the English fleet in the background. The back- 
ground has the same tone as the " Joconde." The face is 
that of a sot ; it has altogether the air of a Holbein, it might 
be taken for one. I don't like that. Why imitate the style 
of another? 

Ah, if I could only paint like Carolus Duran ! This is 
the first time I have seen anything I thought worth covet- 
ing anything I should like to own, myself, in the way of 
painting. After that everything else seemed to me mean, 
dry, and daubed. 

Saturday, February 12. At noon to-day the servant came 
running into the studio, her face flushed with excitement. 
M. Julian has received the Cross of the Legion of Honor. 



232 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHtflRTSEFF. 

Every one was rejoiced, and A. Neuve"gliss and I ran to 
order a splendid basket of flowers, with a large red bow, at 
Vaillant-Roseau's. Vaillant-Roseau is not an ordinary 
florist, he is an artist 150 francs was not too dear. 

Villevielle returned at three for the express purpose of 
felicitating the master. Julian wore his ribbon, and, for 
the first time in my life, I had the pleasure of seeing a per- 
fectly happy man. He declared he was this. "There may 
be people who have still something to wish for," he said ; 
"as for me I have everything I desire." 

Then Villevielle and I went downstairs to the studio of 
the director to see the basket ; there were rejoicings, felici- 
tations, and even a little emotion. He spoke to us of his 
old mother, for whom he feared the news might be too 
much ; and then of an old uncle who would cry like a child, 
he said, when he heard it. 

" Only think a little village down yonder ! I imagine 
what an effect it will have a poor little peasant-boy who 
came to Paris without a sou Chevalier of the Legion of 
Honor ! " 

Sunday, February 13. I have just received a very affec- 
tionate letter from mamma ; here it is : 

" GRAND HOTEL, KARKOFF, January 27. 

My adored angel, my cherished child Moussia, if you but 
knew how unhappy 1 am without you, especially as I am 
uneasy on account of your health, and how I long to go to 
you at tliQ earliest possible moment ! 

" My pride, my glory, my happiness, my joy ! If you 
could imagine the sufferings I endure without you ! Your 
letter to Mme. Anitskoff is before me ; I read it over and 
over again like a lover, and I water it with my tears. I kiss 
your little hands and your little feet, and I pray the good 
God that I may soon be able to do so in reality. 

" I tenderly embrace our dear aunt. 

" M. B." 



i88i.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASUKIRTSEW, 233 

Monday, February 14. The head in Alice Brisbane's 
portrait was finished in two hours, and Julian told me not 
to retouch it. And at other times one spends a week in 
making a daub. A part of the bodice and of the skirt is 
also painted in. 

Thursday, March 3. I am very ill. I have a violent 
cough, I breathe with difficulty, and there is an ominous 
sound in my throat. I believe this is what they call laryn- 
geal phthisis. 

I opened the New Testament lately, a thing I had not 
done for some time past ; and on two different occasions, 
within a few days of each other, I was struck by the appo- 
siteness to my thought of the passage at which I chanced 
to open. I have begun again to pray to Jesus ; I have 
returned to the Virgin, and to a belief in miracles, after 
having been a deist, and, for a short time, even an atheist. 
But the religion of Christ, as He taught it, bears little 
resemblance either to your Catholicism or to our orthodoxy, 
the rules of which I do not observe, limiting myself to fol- 
lowing the precepts of Christ, and not concerning myself 
about allegories which have been taken in a literal sense, 
nor with the superstitions and other absurdities intro- 
duced into religion later on, by men, from political or other 
motives. 

Friday. \ have finished my picture, with the exception 
of a few final touches. 

Saturday, March 19. Julian cries out that he is furious 
with himself for having given me the subject he did for my 
first picture. " Ah, if it were only your second," he says. 
" Ah, well," I answered, " let us. leave it then for next 
year." 

Thereupon he looked at me with eyes shining with hope 



2 34 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [iSSi. 

at finding me capable of renouncing the vain satisfaction of 
exhibiting an unfinished and mediocre picture. He would 
be delighted if I renounced it ; and so should I ; but the 
others ? my friends ? They would say my work had been 
thought too ill of by the professors ; that I was not able to 
execute a picture ; in short, that my picture was rejected at 
the Salon. 

I have spoken seriously to Julian, and explained my feel- 
ings to him. He comprehends the state of things very well, 
and so do I. He says I shall be honorably received, and 
achieve even a certain measure of success ; but this is not 
what we have dreamed of. The men below will not come 
and 3tand before my picture, and say, " What ! is it a woman 
who has painted that ? " Finally, to save my pride, I pro- 
posed to make it appear as if an accident had happened to 
the picture ; but he would not consent. He had expected 
a success ; he confesses that he is not altogether satisfied, 
but that it may do. And under these conditions I exhibit ! 

Well, it is done with, and I am rid of my picture, but 
how anxious I shall be until the first of May is over ! If I 
only have a good number ! 

Thursday. I have just found a little jar of tar under my 
bed. It was placed there by Rosalie to benefit my health. 
And by the advice of a fortune-teller ! My family thought 
this mark of devotion on the part of a servant very touch- 
ing ; mamma was very much affected ; but I poured a jug 
of water over the carpet under the bed, broke a pane of 
glass, and went to sleep in my study through rage. 

Tuesday, March 29. I learned at the studio thatBreslau's 
picture was accepted, and I have heard nothing of mine. 
I painted until noon, and then went for a drive, that appeared 
to me interminably long. 

Wednesday, March 30. I pretended to be asleep until 



iSSi.] JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHKlRTSl.l-]-. 235 

ten o'clock, so as not to go to the studio, and I am very 
unhappy. 

Friday, April i. April-fooling apart, I am to be queen. 
Julian came himself at midnight last night to tell me so, 
after leaving Lefebvre's. Bojidar went to find out from 
Tidiere, one of the young men downstairs, without my 
asking him, and declares that I am No. 2. This seems to 
me too much to expect. 

Sunday, April 3. Never have I heard Patti sing with 
greater spirit than last night. Her voice had such power, 
such freshness, such brilliancy ! Heavens ! what a beauti- 
ful voice I had ! It was powerful, dramatic, entrancing ! 
It made a chill run down one's back to hear it. And now, 
not even the memory of it left ! 

Shall I never recover it, then ? I am young ; it may be 
possible. 

Patti does not touch the heart, but she can bring tears of 
enthusiasm to the eyes. To listen to her voice reminds 
one of an exhibition of fireworks. In one passage, last 
night, her notes were so pure, so brilliant, so bird-like, that 
I was completely carried away. 

Tuesday, April 5 .A great surprise ! My father is here ! 
They came to the studio for me, and when I went home I 
found him in the dining-room with mamma, who paid him 
a thousand little attentions. Dina and Saint-Amand, who 
were there also, were charmed with the spectacle of this 
conjugal happiness. 

Wednesday, April 6. I was delayed until nine by my 
father, who .insisted upon it that I should not work to-day ; 
but I am too much interested in my torso for that, and I 
shall not see the august family again until dinner-time, 



23 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [1881. 

after which they go to the theater and I remain at home 
alone. 

My father cannot conceive how one can be an artist, or how 
being one can redound to one's credit. I sometimes think 
he only pretends to have such ideas. 

Sunday, May i. Alexis came early; he had a ticket 
admitting two persons,. so that, as I have one also, we can 
all four go Monsieur, Madame, Alexis, and I. - 1 am not 
too well pleased with my dress a costume of dark-gray 
wool, and a handsome, but rather commonplace, black hat. 
We found my picture at once ; it is in the first salon to the 
left of the salon d'honneur, in the second row. I am 
delighted with the place, and very much surprised to see 
the picture look so well. Not that it looks well, but I 
expected to see it look frightful, and it is not bad. 

Through an error, however, they have omitted my name 
in the catalogue. (I have called their attention to it, and it 
will be rectified.) One cannot see the pictures very well on 
the first day. One wants to see everything at once. Alexis 
and I left the others from time to time, to look around a 
little ; then we lost sight of them entirely, and I took his 
arm, for I do as I choose ; I come and go without fear of any 
one. We met a crowd of acquaintances, and I received a 
great many fine compliments that did not seem as if they 
were dragged in by the hair. This is but natural ; these 
people, who understand nothing about the matter, see a 
large picture with a good many figures in it, and they think 
it is everything it should be. 

A week ago I gave a thousand francs to be distributed 
among the poor. No one knows of this. I went to the 
principal office, and quickly slipped away when I had finished 
the business that brought me, without waiting for thanks. 
The director must have thought I stole the money, in order 
to give it away. Heaven grant me a return for my money j 



iSSi.] JOURXAL OF MARIE BA SUKIRTS1: //: 237 

Abbema, who was walking through the rooms with 
Bojidar, sent me word that he was pleased with my picture ; 
he says that it is strong, full of spirit, etc. A few moments 
afterward we met and made the acquaintance of the cele- 
brated friend of Sarah Bernhardt. She is a very good girl 
and I value her praises. 

We breakfasted in the building ; altogether we spent six 
hours with Art. I shall say nothing of the pictures. I will 
only say that I think highly of Breslau's picture ; it has 
great beauties, but the drawing is bad, and the colors too 
thickly laid on in places. And then, such fingers, like the 
claws of a bird ! Such noses, with slits for nostrils ! Such 
nails ! And such stiffness and heaviness in the execution ! 
In short, the picture is of the impressionist school and 
Bastien-Lepage is the master she copies. 

Where does one see such colors and such perspective in 
nature ? 

Notwithstanding all this, however, it possesses beauties ; 
and those three heads, placed between the portrait of Wolff 
and the " Mendicant " of Bastien-Lepage, attract a good 
deal of attention. 

Friday, May 6. I went this morning to the Salon, where 
I met Julian, who made me acquainted with Lefebvre. 
The latter said to me that my picture possessed great merit. 
At home here they are always talking of the changes that 
are to take place. They all irritate me. My .father's ideas 
are absurd at times. He does not himself think so, but he 
persists in speaking as if it were of the greatest importance 
that I should consent to spend the summer in Russia. 
" People will see then," he says, " that you do not live 
apart from your family." 

Have I ever lived apart from them ? Well, I shall wait 
for whatever chance may bring ; but, at all events, I will 
not travel. I shall remain tranquilly (!) here, and I can 



238 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

then be miserable at my ease in my arm-chair, where, at 
least, I am physically comfortable. 

Oh, this dreadful lassitude ! Is it natural to feel thus at 
my age ? 

And this it is that drives me to despair. If I should 
ever meet with any good fortune would I have the capacity 
to enjoy it ? Could I avail myself of any opportunity that 
might present itself ? I think at times I can no longer see 
as well as other people though still well enough. 

In the evenings when I am tired out and half asleep, 
divine harmonies float through my brain ; they rise and 
fall, like the strains of an orchestra, but independent of my 
volition. 

Saturday, May 7. My father wishes to leave Paris to- 
morrow, and mamma is to accompany him. This will un- 
settle everything. 

And I, am I to accompany them ? I could sketch there 
in the open air and return in time for Biarritz. 

On the other hand, they say Ems would benefit me. Ah, 
everything is indifferent to me. There is nothing left me 
to hope for. 

Sunday, May 8. I am almost glad to see that my health 
is giving way, since Heaven has denied me happiness. 

But when it is completely ruined, everything will perhaps 
change, and then it will be too late. 

Every one for himself that is true ; but my family pre- 
tend to love me so much, and they do nothing for me. I 
am nothing now ; there seems to be a veil between me and 
the rest of the world. If one only knew what there is 
beyond but we do not ; and then, it is precisely this feel- 
ing of curiosity I have about it that makes the thought of 
death less terrible to me. 

I cry out a dozen times a day that I want to die ; but 



iSSi.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 239 

that is only a form of despair. One says to one's-self, " I 
desire to die," but it is not true ; it is only another way of 
saying that life is unendurable ; one always, and in every 
case, desires to live, especially at my age. Besides, there is 
no need to grieve about me. I have life enough still to 
last for some time longer. No one is to be blamed in the 
matter ; it is God who wills it so. 

Sunday, May 15. Nothwithstanding everything in a 
word, I am to go to Russia with them, if they will wait a 
week for me. I should find it unendurable to be present at 
the distribution of prizes. This is a very great chagrin that 
no one knows anything about except Julian ; and I shall 
leave Paris on account of it. I went incognito to consult a 

famous doctor, C . I shall never recover my hearing, 

he says. The pleura of the right lung is diseased, and has 
been so for some time ; and the throat is in a very bad 
state. I asked him about all this in such a way that, after 
making a careful examination, he was obliged to tell me 
the truth. 

It will be necessary for me to go to Allevard, and under- 
go a course of treatment. Well, I will do so on my return 
from Russia ; and from there I will go to Biarritz. I will 
go on with Tny painting in the country ; I will sketch in the 
open air, and that will benefit my health. I write all this 
filled with rage. 

But here in the house the situation is enough to make 
one weep. Mamma in despair, on the one side, at having to 
go, and I unwilling to go with her, and equally unwilling 
that my aunt should be obliged, in accordance with the non- 
sensical notions of the family, to stay here to take care 
of me. 

My strength is exhausted. I remain the whole day with- 
out opening my lips, so that I may not have to burst into 
tears. I feel suffocating ; there is a constant buzzing in my 



240 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [iSSi. 

ears, and I have a curious sensation, as if my bones were 
breaking through the flesh, and this were melting away. 
And my poor aunt, who wants me to be happy, and to talk 
to her and to stay here with her ! I repeat it, my strength 
is exhausted, I have no faith in anything good happening, 
and I think everything evil is possible. I desire neither to 
go. nor to stay, but I think that if I were to go they would 
not remain there so long. Besides I cannot say ; it is the 
thought of Breslau's receiving the medal that makes me 
wish to go. Ah, I am unlucky in everything ! I must 
then die miserably I who had so much faith in the future ; 
who prayed so fervently. Well, after the most moving 
arguments on all sides, our departure has been fixed for 
Saturday. 

Friday, May 20. In two words, I have again begun to 
hesitate about going to Russia. Potain came to see me 
to-day, and I count on his aid to be able to remain without 
causing my father too much vexation. Well, there is a pos- 
sibility of my not going. 

But it is Bojidar who has given me the fatal blow. The 
committee made its examination of the pictures in the Salon 
to-day, and admired Breslau's picture greatly! My tears, 
which had been already flowing, fell in torrents at this news. 
My father and mother think it is what Potain has said that 
is troubling me, and I cannot tell them the truth; but I 
shed tears enough for both causes. 

After all Potain has said very little that is new, and he has 
made it possible for me to remain here if I wish to do so. 
But Breslau's picture is the thing! I have asked Potain to 
represent my condition to my family as worse than it is, and 
to say to them that my right lung is affected, so that my 
father may not be vexed at my remaining here. 

Monday, May 23. Finally everything was packed up 



iSSi.] JOURNAL OF MARtE BASIfA'IKTSEFf. 24! 

and we went to the station. Then, at the moment of de- 
parture, my hesitation communicated itself to the others ; I 
began to cry, and mamma with me, and then Dina and my 
aunt ; and my father asked what was to be done. I re- 
sponded by tears; the bell rang; we ran to the cars, in 
which no seat had been secured for me, and they entered 
an ordinary compartment (which I objected to doing). I 
was going to follow them, but the door was already closed, 
as the compartment was full, and they went away without 
our even saying good-by. It is all very well for people of 
the same family to abuse one another, and say they detest 
one another, but when it comes to parting they think of 
those things no longer. I cried at the thought of going 
with them, I cry now because I am left behind. I scarcely 
think at all of Breslau. But, after all, I shall be able to 
take better care of my health here, and then I shall not 
lose time. 

Tuesday, May 24. I am in despair at not having gone 
with the others. ... I shall telegraph to them to Berlin to 
wait for me there. 

BERLIN, Wednesday, May 25. Accordingly I left Paris 
yesterday. Before leaving I went to see Tony, who is very 
ill, and for whom I left a letter of thanks, and to Julian's; 
he was not at home, which was as well perhaps, as he might 
have made me change my mind and remain, and it was nec- 
essary for me to go. For the last week no one of the fam- 
ily dared look at the others for fear of bursting into tears! 
And when I was left alone I wept constantly, thinking, at 
the same time,'how cruel this was for my aunt. She must 
have seen, however, that I also wept when the question was 
one of leaving her. She thinks I do not care for her at all, 
and when I consider what a self-sacrificing life this heroic 
creature has led, I am melted to tears. She has not even 



-- JOUXBAL OF MAMIE &ASHKl*TSEfF. -: 



of bemg loved as a good aant! Bat then 
I love better. la fine, I am at Bafin; my 

: - : -. - : - 7-7 :: : r .-. f-.i: : T_ :: :: --: : . t IT _ v - 
; :--.-. ::-r;-.t: 
What is the cammmnoa of honor is my deafness; dikes 

nudhave luxituL. Inowdiead 



: ' _ i -7 : - - -7 ; :---:::: 7 :: -7 7^:7- 

"" : ~ . . "';":":"':: :::.::: . - _ -. ' - : . 

: - : - . .- -: :- :.7 - - -.-. ~ : :: i 7 : :: --7 

ipodd wdd be at viy coBiiurad iff I cooald onhr bear as 
btfiuic. Jka>d in T diicj'm Ikis happens oahr once in a 

thi jhj"^**"^ I 

,"" they wvld say; " 

.... ...-._ _.._._ v 






Aad it has happened precisely to me. Yon 
: " : ~~ " : - ~ - ". - ' ' ' : .~. : '- : : " - : : 

- - ..... it:: -- r : : . _- 
;so midk tdbose who have ahravs knom 
wish those whoa I seidoH see; bit at the stvdio, for 

Ihey kamr it ifceie. 

how it affects Ac iBfcflE0CDCc! How is it pnrrahlr 
: \ : ~i - " :-t : : *: :~7 1 : : f -. 
>-_ :_. _r : 7: 



(Bear Km), Ttmn&y* M*y 26. I ceded to 
fake thk long JIMIBJJ, nMhaig is to be seen OR an j side 
brt BKBoe pboatSi. The view is grand: I am l*^gpi'^f 

^ - ' - ' - -.- -- - - --------. ----:- -.'- . - : - 

a MJUL of n^Eootj; vhuL there aie villages or forests to be 
^PE* * Njiyv tfc^ ^ftBrt; What chauBs me O|>f t Lilly hcic 

the lowest of them. Tbe people of the castom-lMmse chat 
wkh yoa as if they weir acqwahrtrd with yam. Bot I hare 

- . ' - - . ' : ----.. ' - : . - .-_ 



: : JOURNAL OF ItAKIE BASHfltTSEFF. 243 



are still thirty before me. These HiuiMir^. make one dizzy 
to think of. 



GAVBQXZT, kerr, J/*p 29. Last night we reached 
Poltava, 

Paul has giown frightfully stout. 

This morning Kapuanrnko, Wolkovisky, and some others 
came to see us. My father is very happy, bat a htde 
troubled at seeing the melancholy effect this country pro- 
duces on me after five years of absence. I do not seek to 
conceal this feeling, and now that I am more familiar with my 
father I no longer try to humor him. 

At dinner a dish dicaaed with onions mas served. I got 
up and left the dining-room; die Princess and Paul's wife 
were surprised. Paul's wife is quite pretty ; she has superb 
Mack hair, a fine complexioe, and not a bad figure; she is 
. ::.- 



er, Jmmt 4. Julian writes that Tony R_ F. took 
cold while driving home from his mother's in an open car- 
riage, and that he has been between fife and death ever 
He mourns for him as if he were already dead. 



.Skmfar, Jmmt 5. I telegraphed to Juhan yesterday for 
news about Tony. I am extremely anxious on his 



Jftwfer, Jmmt 6 (M*y 25). Tony is out of danger! 
am delighted. Rosalie burst into tears at the news; she 
said that if he had died, it would certainly have made me 
fflL She exaggerates a htde, but she is a good girt A 
letter from Juhan, containing die good news, arrived at me 
: -. :-..-..- 1 :: 



peasant-girl, life-size; she stands fcaaing against a hedge of 
intet woven branches. 



244 JOURNAL OF MARIE SAStiKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

Monday, June 27 (15). I have sketched out one of my 
pictures for the Salon. I am delighted with the subject; it 
is all planned out, and I am burning with impatience to 
begin. 

Wednesday, July 6 (June 24). I have finished my pic- 
ture: it is better than anything I had done so far; the head, 
which I have done over three times, is especially good. 

Monday. Nini, her sister, and Dina came for me, where 
I was working out of doors, to take me back with them to 
the house. Some one chanced to allude to the superstition 
that the breaking of a mirror portends misfortune. This 
reminded me that on one or two occasions I have found 
three candles together in my room. Does this portend that 
I am going to die? There are times when the thought of 
death turns me cold. But I have less fear when I let my 
mind dwell upon God, though this does not reconcile me to 
the thought of death. Or perhaps it means that I shall 
become blind; but that would be the same thing as to die, 
for I should then kill myself. What shall we find on the 
other side, though? But what does it matter? At least we 
escape from our present sorrows. Or perhaps I shall lose 
my hearing completely ; perhaps I shall grow deaf. The 
very thought of this word, that it scorches my pen to write, 
enrages me. My God but I cannot now even pray as for- 
merly. What if it should portend the death of a near rela- 
tion of my father, for instance? Or of mamma? I should 
never be able to console myself, in that case, for the many 
unkind words I have spoken to her. 

Doubtless what most displeases God with me is that I 
take note of all the inward movements of my soul, thinking, 
involuntarily, that such a thought will be set down to my 
credit, such another to my discredit. For, from the moment 
in which we recognize a thought to be good, all the merit 



1 83 1.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 24$ 

of it is lost. If I have some generous, or noble, or pious 
impulse, I am immediately conscious of it ; as a consequence 
I involuntarily experience a feeling of satisfaction on 
account of the benefit that must accrue to my soul from 
this. And because of these thoughts the merit of the 
action resulting from this impulse is lost. Thus, a moment 
since it occurred to me to go downstairs and throw myself 
into mamma's arms, and ask her to forgive me for all my 
past unkindness to her, and naturally the thought that fol- 
lowed this impulse was favorable to myself, and all the 
merit of it was at an end. I felt afterward that to have 
carried out my intention would not have benefited me much, 
for that, in spite of myself, I should have done it a little 
cavalierly, or awkwardly ; for a genuine, serious expansion 
of feeling between us would not be possible ; she has 
always seen me turn everything into ridicule ; to do any- 
thing else would not seem natural in me ; she would think 
I was acting a part. 

Monday, July n. To-day is the feast of St. Paul. I 
have on a ravishing gown ; Dina, too, looks charming. I 
laughed and chatted awhile with Lihopay and Micha, as 
amiably as if it amused me. The others listened to our 
witty sayings. Then we danced, papa and mamma together, 
having Paul and his wife for their vis-ct-vis. Dina, in the 
wildest spirits, danced alone, one fantastic dance after 
another, and really with a great deal of grace. I, too, not- 
withstanding this dreadful affliction (my deafness) which is 
turning me gray, danced for a few minutes, but without 
gayety or even the .pretense of it. 

Friday, July 15. We are at Karkoff ; I cough a great 
deal and breathe with difficulty. I have just been looking 
at myself in the glass, expecting to see traces of my mahcly; 
but no, there is nothing as yet. I am slender but far from 



246 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

being thin, and then my bare shoulders have a smooth and 
rosy appearance that does not agree with my cough, nor 
with the sounds to be heard in my throat. I cannot hear as 
well as formerly, however. I have taken cold, and that is 
probably the reason why my cough is worse. Ah, well ! 

Mamma and I went, into one of the convents here, to-day, 
and mamma knelt down and prayed with fervor before an 
image of the Virgin. How can any one pray to a picture ? 
I had, indeed, intended doing so, but I could not. It is 
different when the desire comes to me of itself, when I am 
in my own room then I feel the better for having prayed. 
And I believe that God can cure me, but God only. Before 
doing so,; however, He would have to forgive me first for so 
many little sins ! 

Satiirday, July 16. This morning Pacha, my old admirer, 
arrived here. He has grown stouter, but he is still the 
same rude and uncultivated, but harmless being, as before. 

Thursday, July 21. Here we are at Kieff, the "holy 
city," the " mother of Russian cities," according to St. 
Wladimir, who, having received baptism himself, afterward 
baptized all his people, with their own consent or without 
it, as the case might be, driving them into the waters of the 
Dnieper. Some of them must have been drowned, I fancy. 
What troubled the imbeciles most, however, was the fate of 
their idols, which were cast into the river at the same time 
that the people were baptized in its waters. The rest of 
the world is so ignorant with regard to everything that con- 
cerns Russia that I shall perhaps tell you something you 
did not know before, when I say that the Dnieper is one of 
the most beautiful rivers in the world, and that its banks 
are extremely picturesque. The houses in Kieff have an 
appearance of being thrown together in confusion,/^;;///^, 
no matter how, as it were. There is an upper city and a 



l88i.j JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSE1-F. 247 

lower city, and the streets are very steep. This is not very 
agreeable, for the distances are enormous, but it is pictur- 
esque. Nothing remains of the ancient city. The Rus- 
sian civilization of that time contented itself with construct- 
ing mean temples, without art or solidity, to which fact it 
is due that we possess few or no monuments of the past. 
If I were given to exaggeration, I should say that there are 
as many churches in the city as there are dwelling-houses. 
There are also a great many cathedrals and convents ; in 
fact, three or four of these buildings may at times be seen 
standing together in a row, all adorned with numerous 
gilded cupolas ; the walls and columns are whitewashed 
and the roofs and cornices are green. Often the entire 
facade of the structure is covered with pictures of the saints, 
and scenes from their lives, but all executed with extreme 
crudeness. 

We first visited La Lavra, a convent which thousands of 
pilgrims from all parts of Russia come to visit every day. 

The iconostase, or partition that separates the altar from 
the body of the church, is covered with images of the saints, 
either painted or inlaid with silver. The shrines, and the 
doors, which are completely covered with silver, must have 
cost an immense amount of money ; the coffins of the saints 
too, which are inlaid with wrought silver, and the candela- 
bra and candlesticks, all of the same metal, must be of great 
value. They say these monks have in their possession sacks 
full of precious stones. 

Mamma prayed with unexampled fervor. I am quite 
sure that Dina and papa prayed for me also. 

The miracle did not take place, however. You laugh 5 
Well, as for me I almost counted upon it. I attach no im- 
portance whatever to churches, relics, or masses ; no, but I 
relied on their prayers, on my prayers. And I rely upon 
them still. God has not yet heard my prayer, but perhaps 
one day He will. I believe only in God ; but is the God I 



248 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

believe in a God who listens to us, "and who concerns Him- 
self in our affairs ? 

God may not restore me to health, all of a sudden, in a 
church. I have not deserved this ; but He will have com- 
passion on me and inspire some doctor who will cure me 
or perhaps He will suffer time to do so. But I shall not 
cease to pray. 

As for mamma, she believes in images and relics her 
religion, in a word, is paganism as is the case with the 
greater number of people who are devout and not very 
intelligent. 

Perhaps the miracle would have taken place if I had 
believed in the power of images and relics. But at the 
same time that I knelt and prayed I could not succeed in 
doing this. I can more easily understand how one should 
kneel down anywhere else, and pray to God quite simply. 
God is everywhere. But how believe in these things ? It 
appears to me that this species of fetichism is an insult to 
God and a wrong done Him. In the case of the majority 
of persons, of the pilgrims, for instance, God is lost 
sight of; they see nothing but a piece of dry flesh that has 
the power to work a miracle, or a wooden image to which 
they may pray, and which will hear their prayers. Am I 
wrong ? Are they right ? 

PARIS, Tuesday, July 26. I am at last here ! This is 
to live ! Among other places, I went to the studio; they 
received me there with kisses and cries of welcome. 

Wednesday, July 27. I mentioned to Julian a subject I 
had thought of for a painting, but he was not very enthusi- 
astic about it. And then for two hours he did nothing but 
talk to me of my health, and that without any disguise. 
He thinks my condition serious. He may well think so, 
since two months' treatment have made no change in it for 



iSSi.] JOCRX.IL Or MARIE BASHKIR TS1-. TI-. 249 

the better. I know myself that it is serious; that I grow 
worse every day ; that I am gradually fading away ; and at 
the same time I refuse to believe such horrible things. 
Breslau has received her honorable mention. She has al- 
ready had some orders. Madame M , who has taken a 

great interest in her, and at whose house she has met the 
most celebrated artists in Paris, has given her an order for 
her portrait, for the coming Salon. She has already sold 
three or four pictures; in short, she is on the road to for- 
tune. And I ? And 1 am a consumptive ! Julian tries 
to frighten me so as to induce me to take care of myself. 
I would take care of myself if I had any confidence in the 
result. It is a melancholy fate to befall one at my age. 
Julian is in truth right. In a year from now I shall see how 
changed 1 shall be ; that is to say that there will be then 
nothing left of me. I went to day to visit Colignon. She 
will die soon ; there is one who is indeed changed ! Rosa- 
lie had prepared me for it, but I was shocked to see her ; 
she looks like death itself. 

Can you not fancy you already see me feeble, emaciated,- 
pale, dying, dead ? 

Is it not atrocious that this should be so ? But, dying 
young, I shall at least inspire every one with pity. I am 
myself touched with compassion when I think of my fate. 
No, it does not seem possible ! Nice, Rome, my girlish 
dreams, the mad delights of Naples, art, ambition, illimit- 
able hopes all to end in a coffin, without ever having pos- 
sessed anything even love ! 

I was right ; it is not possible to live, constituted as I 
am, when one's life is such as mine has been from child- 
hood. To live to be old would have been too much to ex- 
pect in such circumstances. 

And yet we see people who are more fortunate than I 
ever hoped to be, even in my wildest dreams. 

For every other sorrow there may be found some con- 



2 5 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. [1881. 

solation ; but for the pangs of wounded vanity there is 
none ; they are worse than death itself. And what of disap- 
pointed affection, of absence from those we love ? These, 
at least, are not death. I can scarcely keep back my tears ; 
I believe that my health is irretrievably ruined, and that I 
am going to die. But it is not that I complain of, it is my 
deafness ! And then, just now, Breslau ; but Breslau is a 
blow that was not needed. Everywhere beaten, everywhere 
repulsed. 

Well, then, let death come. 

Tuesday, August 9. I went to the doctor's this morn- 
ing ; this is the third time in two weeks ; he makes me go 
to him so that he may receive a louis for every visit, for 
the treatment is always the same. 

Truly it is enough to drive one mad. They say that in a 
thousand cases of the disease I suffer from, in not more 
than one case does deafness occur, and that happens to be 
precisely my case. We see people who suffer from the 
throat, people who have consumption, every day, but 
they do not become deaf. Ah, it is such an unlooked- 
for misfortune ! It was not enough that I should lose 
my voice, that I should lose my health, but this un- 
speakable torture must be added to my other trials. 
This must be a judgment upon me for complaining about 
trifles. Is it God who thus chastises me ? The God of 
pardon, of goodness, of mercy ? But the most cruel of 
men could not be more pitiless than this ! 

I am in a state of constant torture. To have to blush 
before my family ; to be made to feel their complaisance in 
raising their voices when they speak to me ! To be obliged 
to tremble every time I enter a shop lest I should betray 
my deafness ! Then it is not so bad, however, but when I 
am with my friends all the stratagems I am compelled to 
make use of to conceal my infirmity ! No, no, no, it is too 



i88i.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. 251 

cruel, it is too frightful, it is too terrible ! And the mod- 
elswhen I am painting ! I am not always able to hear 
what they say to me, and I tremble every time I think they 
are going to address me. Do you think my work does not 
show the effects of this ? When Rosalie is present she 
helps me, but when I am alone I grow dizzy, my tongue 
refuses to say, " Speak a little louder, I cannot hear very 
well ! " My God ! have pity upon me ! And to cease to 
believe in God would be to die of despair ! First, the sore 
throat, then the affection of the lungs, and now deafness. 
Now I must undergo treatment for that ! But I have al- 
ways been under treatment. Dr. Krishaber is to blame for 
all this ; it is in consequence of his treatment that I 

My God, must I then be so cruelly cut off from commu- 
nication with the rest of the world ? And it is I, \, 1 I who 
have to bear this. There are many people to whom it 
would not be so terrible a misfortune, but to me 

Oh, what a terrible thing ! 

Thursday, August u. I go to Passy every day, but I 
have no sooner begun work on a picture than I conceive a 
horror of what I have done. And I injure my eyes, and 
waste my time reading in order to quiet my nerves. 

And there is no one whom I can consult in regard to my 
doubts. Tony is in Switzerland, Julian is in Marseilles. 

It may be true that I have no greater cause for com- 
plaint than others have. This may be so ; but it is equally 
true that I am no longer good for anything ! Social life, 
politics, intellectual enjoyments in none of these can I 
take a part, except through the medium of a fog, as it were, 
through which everything reaches my senses dulled and 
confused. 

And should I venture to seek these pleasures, I would 
only run the risk of covering myself with ridicule or of 
being taken for a fool. All the eccentricities, the fits of 



25 2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

absent-mindedness, the brusqueness I must affect, only to 
conceal from Saint-Amand the fact that I cannot hear well ! 
It is enough to discourage the stoutest heart. How is it 
possible to confess that one is deaf, when one is young and 
elegant, and pretends to be able to do everything ? How 
is it possible to solicit indulgence or pity in such circum- 
stances ? Besides, of what use would it all be ? My head 
feels splitting, and I no longer know where I am. Oh, no ! 
there is no God such as I have imagined God to be. There 
is a Supreme Being, there is Nature, there is, there is 
but the God I have prayed to every day, this God does not 
exist. That God should deny me everything well and 
good ; but to torture me to death in this manner ! To 
render me more wretched, more dependent than any beggar 
in the street ! And what crime have I committed ? I am 
not a saint, it is true. I do not spend my life in churches ; 
I do not fast. But you know what my life has been with 
the exception of treating my family disrespectfully, who do 
not deserve it from me, I have nothing to reproach myself 
with. Of what use would it be to ask pardon every night 
in my prayers for being compelled by circumstances to say 
disagreeable things to my family ? For if it be true that I 
am to blame with regard to mamma, you know well it was in 
order to spur her to action that I have spoken harshly to her. 

Friday, August 12. You think perhaps that I have 
decided upon a subject for my picture ? I can do nothing. 
I am possessed by the horrible certainty of my incapacity. 
Here is a month or more gone already, counting the time 
lost in traveling, during which I have done nothing. I am 
disappointed beforehand with my work ; I see it in imagina- 
tion, without a trace of animation, beauty, or genius. It is 
odious ! I can do nothing ! 

Saturday, August 13. You are not ignorant of the fact 



i88i.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIK1RTSEFF. 253 

that my right lung is affected ; well, you will no doubt' be 
glad to learn now that the left lung is affected also, though 
it is true that none of those idiots of doctors have told me 
so as yet. I felt the first symptoms of this in the catacombs 
of the relics at Kieff, but I thought it was only a temporary 
pain caused by the dampness. Since then I have felt it 
constantly ; to-night it is so severe that I can scarcely draw 
my breath. I feel it very distinctly between the shoulder- 
blade and the chest, in the spot where the doctors strike 
their little blows. 
And my picture? 

Sunday, August 14. Last night I could scarcely sleep, 
and this morning I still feel the pain in my chest. 

I have given up the idea of painting my picture that is 
decided upon. But how much time I have lost with it ! 
more than a month. 

As for Breslau, encouraged as she must be by her honor- 
able mention, things are no doubt prospering with her; for 
me, my hands are tied ; I have no longer any confidence 
in myself. 

Thursday, August 18. . ... I have been looking 
through my portfolios, where I can follow my progress step 
by step. I have often said to myself that Breslau knew 
how to paint before I had begun to draw. " But is this 
girl the whole world to you, then ? " you will say. However 
this may be, I know it is no petty feeling that makes me 
fear this rival. I knew from the beginning that she had 
talent, whatever the professors or our fellow- pupils might 
say to the contrary. And you see that I was right. Only 
to think of this girl vexes me. I have felt a stroke of her 
pencil on one of my drawings like a blow on my heart. 
This is because I am conscious of a power in her before 
which I must at last succumb. She always made com- 



2 54 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

parisons between herself and me; the dunces at the studio 
said she would never know how to paint ; that she had no 
idea of colors ; that she only knew how to draw exactly 
what they say of me now. That ought to be a consolation 
to me ; indeed it is the only one left me now. 

In 1876 (in February) she received the medal for drawing 
She began to draw in June, 1875, after having studied for 
two years in Switzerland. As I myself saw, it was not until 
after she had struggled for two years against the most dis- 
couraging failures that she began to succeed in painting. 
In 1879 she exhibited in accordance with Tony's advice. At 
this time I had been painting for six months. In a month 
it will be three years since I first began to paint. 

The question now is whether I am capable of doing any- 
thing equal to the pictures she exhibited in 1879. Julian 
says that her picture of 1879 was better than that of 1881, 
only, as they were not good friends, he made no effort to 
push her forward, although he refrained from doing any- 
thing to keep her back. Her picture of last year was placed, 
as mine was, in the morgue, that is to say, in the outer 
gallery. 

This year she made her peace with Julian, and finding 
favor with the new school also, she was placed on the line. 
The medal follows, as a matter of course. 

Saturday, August 20. I have been to see Falguiere, the 
sculptor. I told him I was an American, and showed him 
some of my drawings, telling him of my desire to study 
sculpture ; a few of these he thought excellent, and the 
others good. He directed me to a studio where he gives 
lessons, saying that should I not succeed in making ar- 
rangements there, his instructions were at my service either 
at my own house or at his. This was very kind on his 
part, but for a teacher I have Saint Marceaux, whom \ 
adore, and I shall content myself with the studio, 



1 83 1.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 255 

BIARRITZ, Friday \ September 16. Having bade ourfriends 
adieu, we left Paris Thursday morning. We passed the 
night at Bordeaux, where Sarah Bernhardt was acting. We 
secured two stalls in the balcony for fifty francs. The play 
was " Camille." Unfortunately I happened to be very tired ; 
this actress has been so raved about that I can scarcely tell 
what 1 think of her myself. I expected to see her do every- 
thing in a different way from any one else, and I was a little 
surprised at the natural manner in which she talked, and 
walked, and sat down. I have seen her only four times ; 
once, when I was a child, in " The Sphynx," and again in " The 
Sphynx" not long ago, and in " L'Etrangere." I paid the 
greatest attention to her every movement. I think, perhaps, 
after all, that she is charming. 

What there is no doubt about is that Biarritz is beautiful, 
beautiful ! 

The sea has been of an enchanting color all day. Such 
exquisite gray tints ! 

Saturday \ September 17. So far I have seen none of those 
extraordinary natural beauties that I expected to see at 
Biarritz. As for the beach, from an artistic point of view, 
it is ugly and disagreeable. 

Oh, Nice ! Oh, bay of Naples ! 

Sunday, September 18. My costume here is a simple gown 
of batiste or of white flannel, without trimming, but charm- 
ingly made, boots bought here, and a youthful-looking 
white hat, a hat such as a happy woman might wear. This 
forms an ensemble that attracts a great deal of attention. 

Tuesday, September 27. We spent the day en famille t 
yesterday at Bayonne ; to-day we spent at Fontarabia, also 
en famille. I seldom go out ; I would like to take a 
ride, but my riding-habit does not fit me, and then it would 



256 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

bore me to ride in the company of a Russian whom I 
scarcely know, and whom I find tiresome. 

There is a roulette table here at which I tried my luck ; 
when I had lost forty francs I stopped, and occupied my- 
self in sketching instead. I sat in an obscure corner, and 
I hope no one observed me. 

We left Biarritz on Thursday morning, and reached 
Burgos last night. I was struck by the majestic beauty of 
the Pyrenees. I made a rough sketch of the Cathedral ; 
but how describe these painted sculptures, these gewgaws, 
this conglomeration of gilding and ornamentation that go 
to make up a magnificent whole ? The chapels, however, 
with their immense gratings and shadowy recesses, are 
wonderful. In the Cathedral is the Magdalen of Leonardo 
da Vinci. Shall I confess that I found it ugly, and that it 
caused me no emotion whatever, which, for that matter, 
was the case with the Madonnas of Raphael also. 

Since yesterday morning we have been in Madrid. We 
went this morning to the Museum. Compared with this 
collection the Louvre, Rubens, Philippe de Champagne, 
even Vandyke and the Italian painters, sink into insignifi- 
cance. There is nothing in the world to equal Velasquez ; 
but I am still too dazzled to be able to judge clearly. And 
Ribera ! He is wonderful ! -These, these indeed are the 
true exponents of naturalism ! Can there be anything 
more admirably, more divinely true to nature than these ? 
Ah, how it moves me, and how unhappy it makes me to see 
such things ! Ah, how it makes me long for genius ! And 
they dare to compare the pallid pictures of Raphael, and the 
uusubstantial paintings of the French school, with these ! 
And the coloring ! It is impossible that one who feels color 
as I do should be unable to produce it. 

At nine o'clock this morning I was already at the Mu- 
seum, among the paintings of Velasquez, beside which 
those of every other artist look hard and cold, not except- 



1 88 1.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 257 

ing even those of Ribera, who, indeed, cannot be considered 
his equal. In the " Portrait of an unknown Sculptor " there 
is a hand which is the clue to the secret of Carolus Duran's 
admirable execution : the latter, as is well known, purposes 
editing the works of Velasquez. 

We* bought a Spanish guitar and a Spanish mandolin. 
The rest of the world has no idea of what Spain is like. 
And they say Madrid is less distinctively Spanish than the 
cities we have yet to see Toledo, Granada, Seville. Such 
as it is, I am enchanted to be here. I am feverishly eager 
to get my hand in by copying something at the Museum, 
and afterward painting a picture, even if I should have to 
stay here two months to do it. 

Thursday. I have copied the hand of the Velasquez. I 
went to the Museum, dressed quietly in black, with a man- 
tilla, such as all the women here wear ; yet a great many 
persons came to stand behind my chair and look on while I 
worked one man in particular. 

It seems that in the matter of gallantry the men in Ma- 
drid are even worse than those in Italy ; they walk up and 
down under their mistresses' windows, playing the guitar ; 
they follow you and talk to you in the street, and they are 
persistent in their alterations. Love-letters are exchanged 
in church, and every young girl has five or six of these 
admirers; they are extraordinarily gallant with ladies, with- 
out, however, transgressing the bounds of delicacy ; they 
accost you in the street and tell you that you are beautiful 
and that they adore you ; they ask in all honor and good 
faith, knowing that you are a lady, to be allowed to accom- 
pany you. 

Here you may see men spread their cloaks on the ground 
that you may pass over them. For my part I find all this 
delightful. Whenever I walk in the streets, tastefully and 
simply dressed, as is my custom, the men stop to look at 



258 JOURNAL OP MARIE BAS8KIRTSEFP. [1881. 

me. This makes me feel a new life ; it is a romantic and 
novel existence, colored with the chivalry of the middle 
ages. 

Sunday, October 9. As I was painting at the Museum, two 
men, neither of whom was young or handsome, came up and 
asked me if I were not Mile. Bashkirtseff. I answered that 
I was ; they appeared delighted. M. Soldatenkoff is a 
millionnaire from Moscow, who has traveled a great deal, 
and who adores art and artists. Pollack told me after- 
wards that Madrazo, the son of the director of the Museum, 
and himself an artist, admired my copy very much, and 
asked to be presented to me. Soldatenkoff asked me if I 
wished to part with the picture, and I was so foolish as to 
say no. 

As for painting, I am on the way to learn a great deal 
about it here. I can see things now that I never saw 
before. I keep my eyes wide open ; I walk around on tip- 
toe ; I scarcely dare to breathe, so to speak, lest the spell 
should be broken, for it is a veritable spell ; I hope at last 
to realize my dreams. I think I know now how to set 
to work ; all my energies are directed toward the one 
absorbing aim to produce something that shall be good, 
that shall be real flesh something lifelike and when I 
can do that I can do greater things; for everything 
everything is in the execution. What is the "Vulcan's 
Forge " of Vela?quez, or his " Spinners " ? Take away from 
these paintings their wonderful execution, and nothing but 
commonplace figures remain. I know that many people will 
cry out in disapproval of this, beginning with the fools 
who pretend to adore feeling ; and feeling, indeed, is 
much ; it is the poetry of style, the chief charm of art. 
This is more true than we are apt to think. Do you 
admire the primitive style of art ? its crude and meagre 
forms, its smooth execution ? It is curious and interesting, 



iSdi.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 259 

but it is impossible to admire it. Do you admire the Vir- 
gins in the cartoons of Raphael ? 1 shall be considered 
wanting in taste, but I confess that they do not touch me ; 
there is in them a feeling and a nobility of style that com- 
mand my respect, but I cannot admire them. There are 
some other compositions of Raphael, however, as the 
" School of Athens " for instance, that are admirable, incom- 
parable ; especially engraved or photographed. There is 
feeling in them, thought, true genius. Observe that I dis- 
like equally the gross flesh of Rubens, and the magnificent, 
but soulless, flesh of Titian. Soul is as necessary in a paint- 
ing as body. The true artist should conceive as a man of 
genius, and execute as a poet. 

Monday, October 10. I dreamed last night that they 
were explaining to me what was the matter with my right 
lung ; into certain portions of it the air cannot penetrate, 
and this causes an accumulation but it is too disgusting 
to describe ; let it suffice that the lung is affected. And I 
am convinced that it is so, for I have felt a species of 
malaise for some time past a debility, for which I cannot 
account. In short, I have a strange sort of feeling as if I 
were different from other people ; as if I were surrounded 
by an enervating atmosphere, so to speak ; I feel a pecu- 
liar sensation in my chest, I have But why describe all 
these symptoms ? the disease will soon make itself suffi- 
ciently evident. 

Wednesday, October 12. I am finishing my copy of the 
" Vulcan " of Velasquez, and if I am to judge by what the 
public think of it, it must be good. The poor devils of 
artists, who make copies on a reduced scale of celebrated 
pictures for sale, come often during the day to watch me 
while I work, and the young fellows from the School of 
Fine Arts, as well as many of the visitors, French, English, 



260 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [i88r. 

and Spanish, discuss my work among themselves, and say 
the most flattering things of me. 

Friday, October 14. At seven o'clock yesterday we set 
out for Toledo. I had heard so much of this city that I 
expected to see something wonderful. In defiance of 
reason and common-sense i had pictured it to myself as 
something in the style of the Renaissance and the Middle 
Ages with marvelous buildings, sculptured doors black- 
ened with time, balconies exquisitely carved, etc. I knew 
very well it must be quite different from all this, but such 
was the image of it fixed upon my mind ; and the contrast 
it formed with the thin walls and broken-down gates of 
the city, as they presented themselves to my view, spoiled 
Toledo for me. Toledo is situated on a height like a 
citadel ; it is a labyrinth of little streets, narrow and 
crooked, into which the sun never penetrates, and where 
the inhabitants seem to be camping out, so little do their 
houses resemble ordinary dwellings. It is a Pompeii pre- 
served entire, but looking as if it might crumble into dust 
at any moment, through age ; the soil is parched, and the 
high walls burned by the sun ; there are wonderfully 
picturesque courtyards, mosques converted into churches, 
and daubed with whitewash, beneath which may be seen, 
however, where this peels off, paintings and arabesques of 
which the colors are still vivid, with ceilings of carved 
wood divided into compartments, that have grown black 
with time, and beams crossing each other curiously over- 
head. The cathedral is as fine as that of Burgos, and is 
profusely ornamented ; its doors are marvels of beauty, 
and the cloister, with its courtyard filled with oleanders 
and rose-bushes, that have made their way into the gal- 
leries and twined themselves around the pillars and the 
somber statues there is an indescribable charm about all 
this, when a ray of sunlight falls upon it. 



iSSi.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIR TSEFF. 261 

No one, who has not seen them, can form an idea of the 
Spanish churches the guides in rags, the sacristan in vel- 
vet, strangers walking around, or kneeling down praying, 
dogs barking all this has a wonderful charm. One almost 
expects, on coming out of one of these chapels, to meet 
suddenly, behind some pillar, the idol of one's soul. 

It is incredible that a country so near the center of 
European corruption should be still so primitive, so uncon- 
taminated, so rude. 

And what colonnades, what pilasters, what antique doors, 
studded with large Spanish or Moorish nails ! Everything 
is a picture. One has not even the trouble of choosing ; all 
that is to be seen is odd and interesting. 

Sunday, October 16. One of the most curious things to be 
seen is the Rastro, a street lined with booths, resembling 
the shops in Russian villages, where all sorts of things are to 
be found. And what life, what animation, under this 
burning sun ! It is wonderful ! Here marvelous articles 
of bric-a-brac are stored away in dirty houses. In little 
back-shops and up romantic staircases are to be found 
such stuffs as might make one wild with rapture. 

And their wretched owners seem to be absolutely indiffer- 
ent to the value of these things ; they pierce the most beauti- 
ful stuffs, with wliich the walls are covered, with nails on 
which to hang up old pictures ; they walk over embroideries 
spread out upon the floor, over pieces of antique furniture, 
pictures, sculptures, reliquaries, silver-ware, and old rusty 
nails all heaped together. I bought an embroidered 
curtain of a reddish salmon color, for which they asked me 
seven hundred francs and gave me for a hundred and 
fifty, and a cloth skirt embroidered with flowers of a pale 
pretty tint, for a hundred sous, after they had asked me 
twenty francs for it. 

Escobar came to-day to take us to see the bull-fight. 



262 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [if Si. 

Eight bulls had been announced to appear, and it was, 1 be- 
lieve, the last Sunday of the season. The spectacle was 
a brilliant one ; the King, the Queen, and the Infanta 
were all in their places. There were music and sunshine, 
wild cries, stampings of the feet, and hisses ; handkerchiefs 
were waved, hats thrown in the air. The spectacle is a 
unique one of overpowering grandeur. I began after a 
time to enter into the spirit of the thing, and to take an 
interest in what was going on, though I had gone there 
against my inclinations, and with a shudder of disgust. In 
full view of this butchery, carried on with the utmost refine- 
ment of cruelty, I was able to maintain a tranquil air, sus- 
tained by my pride. I. did not once turn my eyes away. 
One leaves the scene slightly intoxicated with blood, so 
to say, and feeling a desire to thrust a lance into the neck 
of every chance person one meets. 

I stuck my knife into the melon I was cutting at table, 
as if it were a banderilla I were planting in the hide of a 
bull, and the pulp seemed like the palpitating flesh of the 
wounded animal. The sight is one that makes the knees 
tremble and the head throb. It is a lesson in murder. 
Yet these men are elegant and graceful, and notwithstand- 
ing their extreme agility their movements are dignified 
and noble. 

Some people regard this duel between man and brute, in 
which the latter seems to have so much the advantage, both 
in size and strength, over the former, as a noble spectacle ; 
but can it with truth be called a duel, when one knows from 
the first which of the combatants it is that must succumb ? 
I will confess that there is something to captivate the 
imagination in the sight of the matador, with his brilliant 
costume, that displays the graceful contours of his figure, 
as he places himself, after thrice saluting the spectators, 
just in front of the animal, and stands calm and self- 
possessed, his cloak on his arm, his sword in his hand. 



1881.] JO URXA L OF MARIE BA. VIK'IRTSEFF. 263 

And this is the best part of the performance, for so far 
there is scarcely any blood shed. As for the sufferings of 
the horses, the Spaniards themselves do not like that part 
of it. Have I become reconciled, then, to this barbarous 
amusement ? I do not say that, but it has its grand, almost 
its heroic, side. In this amphitheater with its fourteen or 
fifteen thousand spectators, we seem to catch a glimpse of 
antiquity that antiquity I so much admire. But on the 
other hand it has also its sanguinary, its horrible, its ig- 
noble side. If the men who engage in it were less skill- 
ful ; if they were more often to receive a serious wound 
or two, I should say nothing. But what revolts me in 
it is this exhibition of human cowardice. Yet it is said the 
profession of a matador requires the courage of a lion. 
I do not think so. These men know very well how to 
avoid the attacks of the brute, terrible it is true, but 
attacks which they themselves have provoked, and which 
they are prepared for. The real danger is in the case of 
the banderillero, where the man invites the attack of the 
animal, and just as the latter is about to transfix him with 
his horns, anticipates him by planting his banderillas be- 
tween the shoulders of the brute. For this, exceptional 
courage and skill are required. 

Wednesday, October 19. I cough so violently that I fear 
it must end by causing some injury to the lungs. And 
along with this I am growing thin, or rather yes, I am 
growing thin ; look at my arm, for instance ; when I stretch 
it out it has a delicate look, instead of its former insolently 
robust one. It is pretty, still, however. I do not complain 
as yet. This is the interesting period, when one is slender 
without being thin, and there is a certain air of languor in 
my appearance that is very becoming; but if I continue 
thus, in a year more I shall be a skeleton. 



264 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

Thursday, October 20. I spent two hours in Cordova this 
morning just the time necessary to take a glance at the 
city, which is charming in its way. And I adore cities 
like Cordova ; there are some Roman ruins that absolutely 
enchanted me, and the mosque is a veritable wonder. 

Saturday, October 22. Well, here we are in Seville, this 
much-vaunted city. Indeed I lose a great deal of time 
here. I have seen the Museum a single hall full of Mu- 
rillos; I would have liked better to see something else, es- 
pecially here ; there are only Virgins and other sacred 
pictures. I, rude and ignorant barbarian as I am, with 
whom the opinions of others have but little weight, have 
never yet seen a Virgin such as I imagine her to have been. 
The Virgins of Raphael are beautiful in photographs ; I 
confess that the Virgins of Murillo, with their round faces 
and rosy cheeks, appeal but little either to my imagination 
or my heart. I will make an exception in favor of that in 
the Louvre, however, which has been so extensively copied ; 
that is the one which is painted with most feeling ; indeed, 
it might almost be characterized as divine. 

And the manufactory of cigars and cigarettes ! What 
an odor prevails there ! If it was only that of the tobacco, 
well and good ! But the building is crowded with women 
in bare necks and arms, little girls, and children, most of 
whom are very pretty. Our visit here was an interesting 
one. The Spanish women are endowed with a grace not 
to be found among any other people. Cigarette-rollers, 
women who sing in cafes, walk with the air of a queen. 
And the way in which the head is set upon the shoulders ! 
And such arms, round and beautifully molded, and rich 
in coloring. They are indeed captivating and wonderful 
creatures. 

Tuesday, Octqber 25. We have seen the Cathedral, 



l83i.] JOL'RXAL OF MARIE BASHKUtTSEFF. 265 

which is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful, as well 
as one of the largest, cathedrals in the world ; the Alcazar, 
with its delightful gardens, and the Bath of the Sultans ; 
afterward we took a stroll through the streets. I do not 
exaggerate when I say that we were the only women who 
wore hats, so that it is to our hats I attribute the attention 
we attracted. 

If I had even been more elegantly dressed, but I wore a 
gray woolen dress, a black coat, and a black traveling hat. 
But strangers here are regarded somewhat as learned mon- 
keys might be ; people stop to look at them, and either hoot 
at them or pay them compliments. 

The children hoot at me, but the grown-up people tell 
me I am beautiful and salada ; to be salada is, as you know, 
to be very chic. 

Seville is white all white ; the streets are narrow ; 
through a few of them only can a carriage pass ; and yet it 
is not so picturesque as one would expect to find it. Ah, 
Toledo ! I perceive now what a barbarian I am ! 

These half-savage women and children in their rags are 
wonderful in coloring. The view is ravishing, notwithstand- 
ing the bare look of the white houses. But it rains all the 
time ; and then, I am en famille. 

I expected to meet with no end of amusing adventures 
in Seville, and I am so bored that I remain in my room in 
the hotel almost all the time, and then, it rains without 
ceasing. 

There is no romance here, no poetry, no youth even. 
There is nothing I repeat it, there is nothing to interest 
me in Seville ; I feel as if I were buried alive as I felt this 
summer in Russia. Why all this traveling ? And my 
painting? It is now five months since I was at the studio. 
Of these five months I have lost three in travel I, who 
have so much need to work. The mention of Breslau lias 
awakened a world of thoughts within me, or rather it has 



266 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

brought nearer to me, it has rendered possible, and given a 
character of reality to that dream of the medal of the Salon 
which was so far in the distance, which I dreamed of in the 
romances I wove before going to sleep at night, as I dreamed 
of receiving the cross of the Legion of Honor, or of being 
Queen of Spain. When Villevielle came to announce to 
me the probability of Breslau's mention, she looked as if 
she thought it made me in short, others, by admitting 
that I might dare to dream of a prize, have given me the 
daring, to dream of it ; or rather, to say to myself that since 
others think I might hope to receive it, there must be a 
possibility of my doing so. In brief, for the past five 
months I have cherished this dream. 

It appears as if I were digressing, but all the events of 
life are linked one with another. Lorenzo's studio would 
be a good subject for a picture. 

Thursday, October 27. Oh, happiness ! I have quitted 
that frightful Seville ! 

I say frightful, the more especially because since last 
night we have been in Grenada, because we have been 
sight-seeing since morning, and because I have already seen 
the inevitable Cathedral, the Generalife, and something of 
the caves of the Gypsies. I am in a state of rapture. At 
Biarritz and Seville I felt as if my hands were tied, as if 
everything were at an end dead. From the little I saw- of 
Cordova it impressed me as being an artistic city ; that is 
to say, I felt that I could have worked there with enthusi- 
asm. As for Grenada there is only one thing I regret, 
and that is that I cannot remain here for six months or 
a year. I don't know on what side to turn, there are so 
many things to be seen. Such streets ! such views ! such 
outlines ! 

To-morrow I am to visit the Alhambra, and to sketch 
the head of a convict which I am going to paint. 



I88t.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 267 

Friday, October 28. I spend yesterday, accordingly, in 
the prison of Grenada. The prisoners enjoy a delightful 
degree of liberty ; the courtyard looks like a market-place, 
the doors do not even appear to close well ; in brief this 
prison bears no resemblance whatever to the descriptions 
we read of the French prisons. 

The prisoner condemned to death walks up and down the 
courtyard with the same freedom as the one condemned to 
imprisonment for a year or two for some trifling offense. 

Saturday, October 29. At last I have seen the Alhambra. 
I refrained purposely from devoting much attention to its 
beauties ; in the first place, so that I might not become too 
much attached to Grenada, and in the second place, because 
our guide interfered by his presence with my artistic enjoy- 
ment. I promise myself to revisit it, however. 

Grenada, seen from the tower, is wonderfully beautiful 
the mountains covered with snow, the gigantic trees, the 
shrubs, the exquisite flowers, the cloudless sky, and then 
the city itself, with its white h uses bathed in sunshine, sur- 
rounded by all these natural beauties ; the Moorish walls, 
the tower of the Generalife, and the Alhambra ! And, far 
as the eye can reach, a sea of space ; indeed, nothing but 
the sea itself is wanting to make this the most delightful 
country in the world. There is nothing that can be com- 
pared to the majestic grace of these superb draperies. My 
mind is filled with thoughts of Boabdil and his Moorish 
companions whom I can fancy I see walking through the 
halls of this palace, unique of its kind. 

Sunday, October 30. Grenada is as picturesque and artistic 
as Seville is commonplace, notwithstanding her famous 
school. The streets of Grenada are almost all wonderfully 
picturesque. 

One is dazzled and distracted in every sense. One might 



268 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

copy the first chance view one sees, and it would be a 
picture. 

I shall return here next August to remain until the middle 
of October. 



Monday ', October 31. I am glad that the cold drives me 
away, for otherwise I could not make up my mind to leave 
this country, and it is necessary for me to return to Paris. 
It is five months since I have seen Tony, and it is time for 
me to think of hiring a studio so as to be able to paint my 
picture for the Salon at my leisure, and with my utmost 
skill. The first year did not count ; the year after you 
know how short was the time I had in which to prepare my 
picture, besides the other drawbacks ; but this year I hope 
to send something really interesting. 

I should like to paint the bric-a-brac shop of Lorenzo a 
brilliant light falling on the staircase at the further end, 
with a woman in the background arranging some draperies 
on this species of estrade. In the foreground another woman 
bending down, engaged in cleaning some brass ornaments, 
and a man who stands looking at her with his hands in his 
pockets, smoking a cigar. 

The women would be dressed in their ordinary chintz 
gowns, which I could buy in Madrid. I have almost all the 
other accessories ; all that would remain to be done is the 
arrangement of the estrade, which would cost a hundred 
francs or so. But it would be necessary to find a studio 
large enough. Well, we shall see. We are to set out 
to-night, and I can scarcely contain myself for joy. 

My travels in Spain will have the good effect of curing 
me of eating simply for the sake of eating ; which is a 
waste of time and dulls the intelligence. I have become as 
abstemious as an Arab, and eat only what is strictly neces- 
sary just enough to sustain life, 



i S3 1 . ] JO URNAL OF MARIE BA MI KIR TSEI / . 269 

Wednesday, November 2. Here we are again in Madrid, 
where I came a week ago, to remain three days in the hope 
of retouching a sketch of the shop of Lorenzo. 

Although she had heard me speak of nothing but this for 
some days past, and knew how impatient I was to reach 
Madrid, it was quite natural, was it not, that my aunt 
should come, ready dressed to go out, and say to me ; 
" Well, shall we spend the day doing our shopping ? " And 
when I answered that I was going to paint, she looked at 
me in astonishment and told me I was crazy. 

An idea strikes me : I think I have found a subject for a 
picture ; I collect all my energies : the vision takes form 
in my mind, I sketch it out, I am completely absorbed in 
my work ; I rack my brain to find a harmonious arrange- 
ment, and just as I think I have found it, and am trying to 
fix it upon my mind before it vanishes, comes some one of 
that dear family who are so uneasy every time I cough, to 
interrupt me. And yet I am not exceptionally sensitive, 
either ! Compared with other artists, indeed, I regard 
myself as exceedingly practical, though not sufficiently so, 
as you see. Ah, thoughtless and careless family ! they 
will never understand that any one less strong, less 
energetic, less buoyant in spirit than I am would be 
already dead ! 

Saturday, November 5. I am back in Paris ! What hap- 
piness ! I counted the hours, as I sat shivering in the 
railway coach, until we arrived. The recollection of the 
scorching sun and the burning air of Spain makes the cool, 
subdued tints of this beautiful city seem refreshing to my 
senses, and I think with delight of the ceramics of the 
Louvre I who was bored to death by the very thought of 
them before. 

Julian thought I should not return until much later and 
then, ill ; that perhaps, indeed, I should not return at all. 



270 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

Ah, how sweet is sympathy ! and above all, how sweet 
is art ! 



Tuesday, November 15. I have shown Julian a sketch 
of a picture, which he approves of. But he no longer 
inspires me with confidence ; he looks confused when he 
speaks to me ; in short, I can imagine what he is thinking 
about. 

Tony is still left me, but I have not cultivated his friend- 
ship as I have Julian's, and then well, we shall see. 

Thursday, November 17. Yesterday I could scarcely 
drag myself about ; my throat pained me, my chest pained 
me, my back pained me, I coughed, 1 had a cold in the 
head, I could swallow nothing, and I was hot and cold by 
turns a dozen times in the course of the day. 

I am a little better to-day, but that is not saying much, 
considering that I am now, and have been for a long time 
past, under the care of the greatest physicians in the world ! 
For ever since the time when I first lost my voice they 
have been treating me. Yes, that is the ring of Polycrates 
that I have thrown into the sea, very much against my 
will, it is true. 

Monday, November 21. They sent for Potain on Wednes- 
day ; he came to-day ; in the mean time I might have died. 

I knew very well that he would again order me South ; I 
set my teeth hard, and my voice trembled, and it was only 
by an effort that I could keep back my tears. 

To go South ! That is to acknowledge myself con- 
quered. And the persecutions of my family make it a 
point of honor with me to keep on my feet, in any case. 
To go away would be to give all the vermin of the studio 
cause for triumph to make them say, " She is very ill ; 
they have taken her South." 



iSSi.J JOURXAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEI 1. 271 

Tuesday, November 22. I cannot describe the feeling of 
despair which this banishment to the South would cause 
me. I should feel as if everything were ended I who 
came back intoxicated with the idea of leading a quiet life 
a life devoted to study hard study, study without relaxa- 
tion ; of keeping up with the times. And now to see all 
this at an end ! 

And while the others are steadily progressing here in 
Paris, the home of art, I shall be down there doing nothing, 
or making futile attempts to paint a picture in the open air, 
which is something frightfully difficult to do. 

There is Breslau it is not her picture of a peasant 
woman that has won her a reputation my heart is ready to 
break at the thought of it all ! 

This evening I saw Charcot, who says the disease is no 
worse than it was last year ; as for the trouble I have had 
for the past six days, it is a simple cold that I shall soon be 
well of. In regard to my going South, he thinks as Potain 
does I must either go there or shut myself up in the house 
like a prisoner. Otherwise I run the risk of being seriously 
ill, seeing that the right lung is affected, although it appears 
there is still some hope of my getting well ; it is a curable 
disease, confined to one spot, and it grows no worse, not- 
withstanding my pretended imprudences. They said the 
same thing last year, about going South, and I would not 
even listen to them. Now I hesitate, and I have done 
nothing since four o'clock but cry at the thought of leaving 
Paris, and again interrupting my studies. 

It is true that if I am to be often as ill as I have been for 
these last few days I should profit little by remaining in 
Paris. 

To yield, to acknowledge myself beaten, to say " Yes, 
the doctors are right, yes, I am ill "this is the thought 
that renders me desperate. 



272 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

Saturday, November 26. I was to have gone to see Tony, 
as you may remember, to show him my sketch, and decide 
upon some subject for a picture, that I was to paint under 
his guidance ; but I have not left the house. I am weak, 
and I can eat nothing ; I am probably still feverish. It is 
horribly sad to be kept in this state of inaction by by I 
don't know what, by want of strength; in short, Charcot has 
resumed his visits. 

Mamma and Dina arrived yesterday, recalled by the fool- 
ish dispatches of my aunt. This morning Dina received a 
letter from her sister asking how I was. 

I have taken cold, I know, but that might happen to 
any one. 

But no ; everything is ended ; my hearing is in a deplor- 
able state with this cold and this fever. What can I aspire 
to ? What can I attain to ? There is no longer anything to 
hope for. It is as if a veil had been torn from before my 
eyes, that day nearly a week ago. Everything is at an 
end everything, everything. 

Tuesday, November 29. Well, this has lasted now for 
fourteen days, and will probably last fourteen days longer. 
Madame Nachet brought me a bunch of violets to-day, 
which I accepted as any one might have done, for notwith- 
standing the fever, which has not left me for two weeks, and 
a congestion of the right lung, otherwise pleurisy, and two 
blisters, I have not yet given in ; 1 get up every day and 
act in every way like an ordinary person, only the quinine 
makes me deaf. The other night I thought I should die of 
terror, because I could no longer hear the ticking of my 
watch ; and it seems I must go on taking it. 

Otherwise I feel almost strong, and if it were not that I 
have been able to swallow nothing for the last fortnight, I 
should scarcely be aware that I am ill. 

But my work, my picture, my poor picture ! It is now 



i$8i.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASttKIRTSEFF. 273 



the ZQth of November, and I shall never be able to com- 
mence it before the end of December ; I shall not be able 
to finish it in two months and a half. What a piece of ill- 
luck ! And how useless it is when one has been born to 
misfortune to struggle against Fate ! You see painting 
was a sort of refuge for me, and now at times I can hardly 
hear ; the consequences of this are the greatest embarrass- 
ment with the models, continual anguish of spirit, and the 
impossibility of painting a portrait unless I make up my 
mind to acknowledge my infirmity a thing I have not yet 
the courage to do. Then this illness, the impossibility of 
going on with my work, and the necessity of shutting myself 
up in the house for a month. It is too much ! 

Dina never leaves me ; she is so good ! 

Paul and his wife arrived yesterday. The Gavfnis and 
Gery, Bojidar and Alexis also came. And I try to keep up 
my courage and extricate myself from the embarrassing 
situations that are continually presenting themselves, by 
dint of joking and bravado. 

The doctors are the subjects of our pleasantries just now. 
As Potain cannot come himself every day, he has sent me a 
doctor who will come in his stead. 

And this serves to amuse me, because I pretend to be 
crazy, and avail myself of this pretended madness to give 
utterance to the wildest nonsense. 

Wednesday, November 30. Julian was here last evening; 
I could see by his affected cheerfulness that he thinks me 
very ill ; as for me, I am in the deepest affliction ; I can do 
nothing, and my picture is at a standstill. But worst of all 
is to be able to do nothing ! Can you conceive the anguish 
of that ? To stay with your arms hanging idly by your 
sides while others are studying, progressing in their work, 
preparing their pictures ! 

I thought that God had left me painting as a refuge from 



2 74 JOURNAL OF MA KIM BAStiKlRTSEFF. [1881. 

my troubles, and I gave myself up entirely to it, and behold ! 
it has failed me, and now there is nothing left for me to do 
but weep. 

Thursday, December i ; Fri ay, December 2. The second 
of December already ! I ought to be at my work ; I ought 
to be looking for the draperies for my picture, and the 
large vase which figures in the background. But why these 
details ? They only serve to make me shed tears. Yet I 
feel much stronger ; I eat, I sleep, I am almost as well as 
usual. 

But there is congestion of the left lung. That on the 
right side the chronic trouble is better, it seems ; but 
that is of no consequence ; it is the acute attack, which 
might Be cured, that will keep me shut up in the house for 
a few weeks longer. It is enough to make one go drown 
one's-self. 

Ah, how cruel it is of God to afflict me in this way ! I 
had my annoyances family troubles but they did not 
touch my inmost heart. I had extraordinary hopes of being 
a great singer and I lose my voice ; this was the first 
blow ; finally I become accustomed to the loss, I resign 
myself to it, I get over it, I console myself for it. 

" Very well, then," Fate steps in and says, " since you 
have accommodated yourself to this, you shall be deprived 
of the power of working." 

I can neither study, nor work on my picture, nor do any- 
thing eise. Here is a delay of a whole winter. I, who had 
put all my life into my work. Only those who have been 
situated as I am, can understand me. 

Wednesday, December 7. What exasperates me most is 
my illness ; yesterday the horrible sub-Potain, who comes to 
see me once a clay, as the great man can only put himself 
out twice a week to do so the sub-Potain asked me, as it 
were casually, if I were preparing for my journey. 



I&8I.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEW. 275 

Their South ! The bare idea of it puts me in a rage ! 
At dinner I could not eat for thinking of it, and if Julian 
had not come I should have cried all the evening with rage. 

Well, then, so much the worse! But I will not go to 
their South. 

Friday, December 9. There is a drawing of Breslau's in 
the Vie Moderne. If I had not cried so much I might have 
been able to make use of my time while I am ill in making 
rough draughts and sketches ; but my hands are still 
trembling. 

The lung is now free from the congestion, but the tem- 
perature is still 38 degrees. I am playing but a sorry part, 
however, in giving you all these details. 

I feel that there is no hope for me, and I dare not ask a 
question lest I should hear of Breslau's next success. 

Ah, my God, hear me, grant me strength, have pity upon 
me ! 



Thursday, December 15. Here are four weeks and two 
days that I have been ill. When the sub-Potain came I 
made a scene by beginning to cry. He did not know what 
course to pursue in order to quiet me; for abandoning the 
subterfuges, nonsensical excuses, and other delightful things 
with which I am in the habit of regaling him, I began to utter 
complaints and to shed genuine tears, my hair falling loose 
about my shoulders the while. I stammered my infantile 
complaints to him in the language of a child. And to think 
that I did it all in cold blood, and that I did not mean a 
word of what I said! And so it is with me when I take 
part in a real play I grow pale in earnest, and I shed genu- 
ine tears; in short, I think I should make a magnificent 
actress ; but for the present all I can do is to cough, and I 
have scarcely even breath enough left me for that. 

Monsieur my father arrived this morning. Everything 



276 JOUKA T AL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

goes on very well, with the exception of Paul's poor wife, 
who is quite disillusionized, seeing an indifference toward 
her on his part that is little short of hostility. As for me I 
am all that is right in regard to her ; I gave her a very 
beautiful emerald given me by mamma, and for which I 
have no use. 

I was a little sorry for it afterward: I might have given it 
to Dina, who adores jewels; but there is no help for it now. 

I do not say that papa is irritating; on the contrary, he 
resembles me a little, physically as well as mentally (this is 
a compliment to him), but he will never be able to under- 
stand me. 

Imagine that he has conceived the project of taking us to 
our country to spend Easter. 

No, it is too much ; it is too great a want of consideration, 
in the present state of my health to speak of taking me to 
Russia in February or March ! I leave it to your own 
judgment. But let that pass not to speak of all the rest! 
Ah, no, I who refused to go South! No, no, no! Let us 
speak no more of it, decidedly, not. 

Sunday, December 18. I have been telling my trouble to 
Julian ; and after doing his best to console me, he advised 
me to sketch every day whatever I saw that chanced to 
strike me. What is there to strike me? What do you 
suppose I should find to strike me in the surroundings 
amidst which I live? Breslau is poor, but she lives in an emi- 
nently artistic sphere ; Marie's best friend is a musician; 
Schoeppi, although of the people, is original ; and there is 
Sara Purser, artiste and philosopher, with whom one may 
hold discussions on the philosophy of Kant, on life, on the 
ego, and on death, that stimulate thought, and that impress 
upon the mind what one has heard or read everything is 
artistic, even to the neighborhood in which she lives, Les 
Ternes. And the neighborhood in which I live, so clean, 



:88i.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 27) 

so regular, where not a sign of poverty is to be seen, not a 
tree that is not trimmed, not a street that is not straight. 
Do I, then, complain of my fate? No, but I wish to say 
that easy circumstances tend to prevent the development of 
artistic talent, and that the environment in which one lives 
is half the individual. 

Wednesday, December 21. To-day I went out for a 
drive! But wrapped in furs, the carriage-windows closed, 
and a bear-skin around my feet. Potain said this morning 
that I might go out if the wind ceased, and if I took pre- 
cautions. The weather is splendid and as for precautions ! 

But that is not the question; it is Breslau "that will not 
let go her prey." My picture for the Salon is accepted. 
What shall I have to show beside her picture this summer? 

This girl is a power in my life ; there are others, it is 
true ; but she and I are of the same cage, not to say of the 
same nest, and I divined her genius from the beginning, 
and announced it to you, little as I then knew of art. I 
despise myself; I refuse to believe that I have any talent; I 
cannot understand why Julian and Tony should speak of 
me as they do; I am nothing; I have nothing in me. 
Compaied with Breslau I seem to myself like a thin and 
fragile pasteboard box compared to a massive and richly 
carved oaken casket. I despair of myself, and so convinced 
am I of my worthlessness that if I were to say what I think 
to the masters I should convert them to my opinion. 

But I will go forward blindly, all the same, my hands 
stretched out before me, groping for the light, ready to be 
engulfed if it must be so. 

Thursday, December 29. It is a week since I have 
written anything in my diary; this will show you that my 
glorious existence has been divided between work and 
society. There is nothing new; and yet there is, for I am 



278 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1881. 

well and I go out as usual. I went on Saturday to have 
some new gowns fitted, to the Bois, and to Julian's, with 
mamma and Dina. And on Sunday I went to church, so 
that they may not say I am at the point of death, as the 
charming Bertha tells every one. 

On the contrary I have gained new life; my arms, that 
were so thin ten days ago, are now rounded ; that is to say, 
that I am much better than I was before my illness. 

A week more of this and I shall have to stop growing fat; 
I shall be just right then ; for I do not wish to have again 
the large hips I had three years ago. Julian, who came to 
see me last night, thinks my figure much better as it is now. 
We laughed all the evening. I am painting the portrait of 
Paul's wife. Yesterday I had so far recovered my energy 
that I wanted to paint, all at once, the portraits of Dina, 
Nini, and Irma. 

Fiiday, December 30. They have spent the whole day 
here quarreling. In order to recover my tranquillity I went 
to see Tony, taking with me the sketch of the portrait of 
Paul's wife, to shew him. He thought it very original in 
treatment and well begun. The sympathetic Tony seemed 
delighted at seeing me in good health again. After chatting 
gaily together on different matters we touched on the serious 
subject of art, speaking of Breslau in connection with it, 
among other things. "Her picture is certainly very good," 
he said; "she is richly endowed." 

Ah, it would be impossible to transcribe my feelings 
here to describe the fever, the fire, that consumes me. 
Oh, I must work day and night, without ceasing, to pro- 
duce something that shall have merit! True, he told me 
that the day I wished I might produce a picture equal to 
any of hers; true, he thinks I have as much talent as she 
has, but I am ready to weep, to die, to hide myself any- 
where \vhere I might be able But would I be able? Ah, 



1882.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 279 

Tony has confidence in me, but I have no confidence in 
myself. I am consumed by the desire to accomplish some- 
thing, and I know my own powerlessness But here I must 
stop. As my readers no doubt take me literally, they 
might believe what I say to be true whereas I only say 
these things in the hope of being contradicted. 

Ah, heavens! I spend my time writing down all this, 
and selecting words in which to describe the annoyances I 
suffer, while Breslau, wiser than I, spends hers drawing and 
painting. 



l882. 

The thing I take most delight in is my painting; I do not 
feel myself worthy of saying, " my art." In order to speak 
of art we must first have won a name ; otherwise one has 
the air of an amateur, who deserves only to be laughed at. 

Wednesday, January 4. Julian spent the evening rally- 
ing me on my liking for Tony, and on his for me. At 
midnight we took chocolate. Dina was very amiable. 

I always dress with particular care, and in an entirely 
different fashion from other times, when I go among art- 
ists in long gowns, and flowing draperies ; in society my 
waist would not be found sufficiently slender nor my gown 
sufficiently fashionable ; so that all my pretty fancies too 
extravagant for the world of society will serve me in my 
ministry of the Fine Arts ; I still cherish the dream of hav- 
ing a salon that shall be frequented by every one of note. 

Friday, January 6. Art, even in the case of the hum- 
blest of its votaries, elevates the soul, and makes one supe- 
rior in some degree to those who are not of the sacred 
fraternity. 



280 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

Wednesday, January n. To-morrow, our New Year's 
Eve, we give a soiree ; they have been making preparations 
for it for the last week ; more than two hundred arid fifty 
invitations have been sent out, for a great many of our 
friends have made requests for them. As no one is receiv- 
ing yet, this will be an event, and I think we shall have 
some very chic people. In short, it will be a pleasant affair. 
Etincelle makes allusion to it in her notes in Figaro, adding 
a eulogy of M-lle. Marie, who is beautiful and an artist, 
etc., etc. But even if she had said nothing of all this, I 
should still regard her as the most charming of ugly peo- 
ple ; there are fifty women I know who are not so attract- 
ive as she is, and then she bears the undefinable Parisian 
stamp, as well as the stamp of a person of note. Observe 
well what I say, for it is profoundly true all people of 
note, whether they be men, women, or children, young or 
old, have a certain tone in the voice, a certain air, which is 
the same among them all, and which I will call the family 
likeness of persons of celebrity. 

We are to have the two Coquelins. The elder Coquelin 
came yesterday to inspect the rooms, and to consult with 
us respecting the pieces. G was present, and he dis- 
gusted me with the airs he gave himself of being a con- 
noisseur a little more and he would have taken it upon 
himself to advise Coquelin, who is very agreeable, by the 
way, a very good fellow, who does not make you feel, the 
moment you speak to him, that sort of embarrassment 
which so many people experience in the presence of any 
one of note. 

Friday, January 13. The two Coquelins were superb ; 
and the rooms presented a charming appearance ; there 
were a number of pretty women present the enchanting 
trio, the Marquise de Reverseaux, the daughter of Janvier 
de la Motte, Mme. Thouvenel and Mme. de Joly, the 



i882.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKJRTSEFF, 281 

Countess de Kessler, in short, almost all the women were 
pretty, and, in the words of Tony (who did not come, how- 
ever, nor did Julian), "very desirable guests." Muie.G 

was enchanted, and finished the evening by dancing with 
Count Plater. 

The reception was preceded by a dinner. 

As for artists, the brother of Bastien-Lepage is still 
absent ; so he was not with us (on Thursday we are to visit 
the real Bastien-Lepage) ; there was George Bertrand, who 
exhibited last year an admirable and touching picture called 
Le Drapeau. I alluded to it in a notice, and he wrote me 
a few amiable words in return. I sent him an invitation 
signed "Pauline Orell." It was Pollack who presented 
him to me. It was very amusing he paid me a great 
many fine compliments, for, although I wished to hide 
them, Dina showed some of my studies to such of our 
guests as she thought had a right to see them. Carrier- 
Belleuse succumbed to the power of my eyes, and toward 
the end of the evening grew quite tender and sentimental. 

Here is a man who is capable of falling very much in 
love ; perhaps he has done so already ; but 

We had supper at three o'clock ; Gabriel sat on my right ; 
about sixty persons had remained. Nini was charming, 
and looked very pretty : her shoulders were dazzling, and 
she wore an exquisite gown, as did Dina, mamma, and my 
aunt. I wore a gown made by Doucet and myself in part- 
nership, an almost faithful reproduction of Greuze's Cruche 
Casste. I wore my hair loose in front and fastened in a 
knot on the back of the head, high above the neck. A long 
chain of Bengal roses with loose leaves lost itself among the 
folds of the short skirt, which was of silk mull, pleated ; the 
bodice was of satin, laced in front, and very long, with a 
handkerchief crossed over the breast. There was a second 
skirt of mull, turned up with satin, open in front, and 
gathered up behind, forming panniers, of which one was 



282 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

covered with roses. I looked charming. The odious sub- 
Potain followed me like a shadow so as to catch me if I 
should attempt to dance. 

Sunday, January 15. There was a long article of 
Etincelle's about our soiree, but, as we had expected this 
article, mamma and my aunt were not satisfied with it. She 
compares me to the Cruche CassJe, and they are afraid that 
this may be taken in Poltava as an insult. They are too 
stupid ! The article is very good, only that, as she had 
said two days ago that I was one of the prettiest women of 
the Russian Empire, and she contents herself this time with 
describing my gown, I am rather disappointed. 

I am wrapped up in my art. I think I caught the sacred 
fire in Spain at the same time that I caught the pleurisy. 
From being a student I now begin to be an artist. This 
sudden influx of power puts me beside myself with joy. I 
sketch future pictures ; I dream of painting an Ophelia. 
Potain has promised to take me to Saint-Anne to study the 
faces of the mad women there, and then I am full of the 
idea of painting an old man, an Arab, sitting down singing 
to the accompaniment of a kind of guitar ; and I am 
thinking also of a large affair for the coming Salon a view 
of the Carnival ; but for this it would be necessary that I 
should go to Nice to Naples first for the Carnival, and 
then to Nice, where I have my villa, to paint it in the open 
air. I say all this, and yet I wish to remain here. 

Saturday, January 21. Madame C came to take 

me to see Bastien-Lepage. We found there two or three 
American women, and the little Bastien-Lepage himself ; 
he is very small, very fair, wears his hair a la Bretonne* has 
a retrousst nose and the beard of a youth. I was altogether 
taken aback. I adore his painting, but it is impossible tc 

* Cut square across the forehead. 



1 8S 2 J JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 283 

regard him with the respect due to a master. You want to 
treat him as a comrade, and his paintings are there to fill 
you with admiration, astonishment, and envy. There are 
four or five of them, all life-size, and painted from nature. 
They are admirable ; one of them represents a little girl of 
eight qr ten guarding some cows in a field ; the tree stripped 
of its foliage, and the cow resting under its branches, are 
touchingly poetic ; the eyes of the little girl have a look of 
childlike dreaminess in them the dreaminess of one who 
lives in companionship with nature that it would be impos- 
sible to describe. He has the air of a good little man who 
is very well satisfied with himself this Bastien. 

I returned home in time to help mamma to receive a 
number of visitors. This is what it is to give soirees in 
Paris, you see, as one of our friends says. 

Saturday, January 22. For the time being I am full of the 
idea of the Carnival ; I am making sketches for it in char- 
coal. If I only had the genius, it would be delightful to 
paint it. 

Monday, January 30. It is decided that we are to go 
to the Villa Gery at Nice. I spent a delightful day on 
Saturday. Bastien, whom I had seen the evening before 
at the ball given at the Continental Hotel for the benefit 
of the Breton life-savers, and presided over by the Queen, 
came to see me and remained more than an hour. I 
showed him some things of mine, and he gave me his opin- 
ion respecting them with a flattering severity. And then 
he said I was maivelously gifted. And it did not seem as if 
this was a compliment merely. For the moment I was so 
overcome with joy that I was on the point of taking the 
good man's face between my hands, and kissing him. 

I am very well pleased, however, to have heard his 
opinion. He gives me the same advice as Tony and Julian, 



2 84 JO URNAL OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [1882. 

and says the very same things. And then is he not a pupil 
of Cabanel ? Every artist has his own peculiar tempera- 
ment, but as far as the grammar of the art is concerned, it 
is necessary to learn it from a master. Neither Bastien nor 
any one else can communicate his gifts to another. Noth- 
ing can be learned but what may be taught ; the rest de- 
pends upon one's-self. 

Mme. de Peronny (Etincelle) came to-day, and I spent a 
delightful quarter of an hour in the company of this super- 
ior woman and great artist, first seated around the fire, 
and afterward under the palm. I shall say nothing of our 
other visitors, whom I left in the official drawing-room with 
mamma. 

s 

NICE. We left Paris at eight in the evening, Paul, Dina, 
I, Nini, Rosalie, Basili and Coco. The Villa Gery is all that 
we could desire, and is situated in the open country only 
ten minute's distance from the Promenade des Anglais ; it 
has gardens and a terrace, and is a large and comfortable 
house. 

We found everything ready to receive us ; and M. Pi- 
coux, the agent, had bouquets for each of us. 

I took a trip on the tramway this evening that delighted 
me ; there was, in what I saw, a blending of the Italian 
and the French gayety, but without any of the vulgarity 
that is to be met with among the populace of Paris. As I 
wrote to Julian, life here is as comfortable as it is in Paris, 
and as picturesque as it is in Grenada. Within five yards 
of the Promenade des Anglais are to be found so many dif- 
ferent costumes, so many different types of humanity, and 
all so picturesque ! Why go to Spain ? Oh, the South ! 
Oh, Nice ! Oh, the Mediterranean ! Oh, my beloved 
country, through which I have suffered so much ! Oh, my 
earliest joys, and my profoundest griefs ! Oh, my child- 
hood, my ambitious dreams ! 



1882.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, 285 

Try how I will, those days will always form an epoch in 
my existence, and side by side with the recollection of the 
sufferings that darkened my early youth will remain the 
recollection of its joys joys that will remain forever the 
sweetest flowers of memory. 

I am boiling over with rage. Wolff has devoted a dozen 
lines as flattering as they could possibly be to Breslau. 

But after all I am not to blame ; one does what one can. 
She has nothing to occupy her attention but her art ; while 
I invent new fashions for my gowns, I devise new ways of 
arranging draperies, I think of how to be revenged or. the 
society of Nice. I do not say that I should have her talent 
even if I were to do as she does ; she obeys the instincts of 
her nature, I those of mine. But my hands are tied. The 
trouble is that I am so convinced of my powerlessness as to 
be tempted at times to give it all up. Julian says I might 
to do as well as she does if I wished. If I wished but in 
order to have the wish it is necessary to have the power. 
Those who have succeeded because they willed to succeed 
were sustained by a secret strength which is wanting in me. 
And only to think that at times I have not only faith in my 
future power to succeed, but that I feel burn within me the 
sacred fire of genius ! Oh, misery ! 

But here, at least, no one is to blame, and that is less 
maddening. There is nothing more horrible than to have 
to say to one's-self, " If it were not for this or for that, I 
should have succeeded, perhaps." I know that I do all I 
can, and yet I have accomplished nothing. 

my God, grant that I may deceive myself, and that the 
feeling I now have of my mediocrity may be a mistaken 
one. 

Friday, February 10. I have received so rude a blow that 
it has caused me to spend three very unhappy days. 

1 shall not now paint my large picture. I will paint sun- 



2S6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, [1882. 

pier things things more within the compass of my pow- 
ers studies. I have taken a solemn resolution not to waste 
another moment, and not to paint another stroke without 
some purpose. I shall concentrate my powers. Bastien 
has advised me to do this, and so have Julian and the for- 
tunate Breslau. Yes, fortunate, indeed ; to be as fortunate 
as she is I would give, without a moment's hesitation, all 
that people call my happiness and my wealth a hundred 
thousand francs to have independence and to have talent : 
when one has these, one has everything. 

But how fortunate she is, this girl ! It makes me so 
unhappy every time I think of that article of Wolff's. Yet 
it is not what is called envy that makes me feel this. I have 
not the heart to analyze this feeling and to select words in 
which to describe it. 

Monday, February 13. I am making sketches in aquarelle 
for the first time ! Every moment of the day is occupied, 
and I have decided on a subject for my picture, for, in ad- 
dition to the smaller things, I must take back a large study 
to Julian. It is three little boys standing near a gateway : 
that seems to me an interesting subject, and one that ad- 
mits of realistic treatment. The blow I received in Wolff's 
article has done me good. I was for the moment crushed, 
annihilated, and the reaction from this feeling has given me 
the power to understand things in art that previously to 
that had tormented me, for while I suspected their existence, 
I could not discover them. This has compelled me to make 
salutary exertions. I begin too, to understand now what I 
used to read respecting the trials and struggles of artists. I 
used to laugh at all this as romantic stories that had no 
foundation. That famous will of Breslau I have called it 
to my aid, and I see that it is necessary to make great efforts 
in order to obtain the success that one fancies has dropped 
down from the skies. The thing is that I have made no 



i8S 2 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 287 

real effort up to the present. The extreme facility with 
which I worked has spoiled me. Breslau obtains good 
results, but only after working hard for them ; as for me, 
when success does not come at once, and without effort, I 
can do nothing. I must conquer this feeling. Thus, in 
sketching a picture, in making charcoal sketches, for instance, 
I found it necessary to make great efforts, in order to attain 
to the desired purity of outline, and I have succeeded in 
accomplishing things of which I had before thought myself 
incapable, and which I thought others had accomplished by 
means of tricks, of sorcery almost, so difficult is it to con- 
cede to others the possession of those qualities in which we 
ourselves are lacking. 

Wednesday, February 15. It is only by degrees that we 
learn to see things as they really are. Formerly all that I 
could see in a picture was the subject and the composition, 
and now ah ! if I could only copy what I see, I should 
produce something great. I see the landscape, I see, and I 
love the landscape, the water, the air, the coloring the 
coloring ! 

Monday, February 27. After a thousand hesitations and 
doubts I have destroyed my canvas ; the boys would not 
pose ; attributing my want of success in making them do so 
to my own incapacity, I tried again and again, and at last- 
it was happily settled. The frightful little monsters moved 
about, and laughed and cried and fought with each other 
I shall simply make a study of them ; to make a picture 
wonld be too much torture. 

PARIS, Thursday, April 20. Well, it is not now as it was 
when I came back from Spain. I am not enchanted to see 
Paris again, I am only pleased. Besides, I am so preoccu- 
pied about my painting that I scarcely know what my feel- 



288 jo URN A L OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [ \ 882. 

ings are. I tremble to think what will be said of it, and I 
am completely crushed by the thought of Breslau, who is 
treated by the public as if she were already a successful 
artist. I went to see Julian yesterday (we have been in 
Paris since yesterday morning), and he treats me no longer 
as if I were making a serious pursuit of painting. " Bril- 
liant, yes," he says, "but no depth, no power of will." He 
had hoped for, he had expected, something better. All 
this, told me in the course of our conversation, wounded me 
deeply. I shall wait until he sees what I painted at Nice, 
but I no longer expect anything good 

Saturday, April 22. No, what was necessary to me in 
order that I should continue to live, was genius. I can 
never be happy in the same way as other people are. To be 
loved and to be famous, as Balzac says, this is to be happy ! 
And to be loved is only the natural consequence of being 
famous. Breslau, who is thin, cross-eyed, and haggard, 
although her face is an interesting one, can never exercise 
any feminine attraction except through her genius, while, 
if I had her talent, I should be superior to any woman in 
Paris. But that must come. In the wild desire that it 
should come, I seem to see a hope that it will. 

These journeys, these interruptions to my work, the lack 
of advice and encouragement they are ruinous. One looks 
as if one had come back from China, one knows nothing of 
what is going on. 

Ah ! after all, I think there is nothing I love like paint- 
ing ; that must, as I believe, procure me every other 
happiness ! Mistaken vocation, mistaken talent, mistaken 
hopes ! And yet I slander myself. I went to the Louvre 
this morning. When one sees as clearly as I do, one ought 
to be able to interpret what one sees. Formerly I had the 
self-confidence of ignorance, but for some time past I have 
been able to see things in art that J had never seen before. 



1882. ] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEI-I-. 289 

This morning it was Paul Veronese, who appeared to me in 
all his splendor, in all his glory. What incomparable rich- 
ness of coloring ! How explain the fact that these glorious 
paintings have seemed to me until now only large, uninter- 
esting pictures, dull in coloring and flat in execution ! The 
beauties to which my eyes were before sealed I can now 
appreciate. The celebrated paintings that I admired before 
only out of regard for the opinion of others, now delight 
me and hold me spellbound. I feel all the delicate grada- 
tions in the coloring ; I appreciate color, in. short. 

A landscape by Ruysdael compelled me to return to look 
at it a second time. A few months ago I could see in it 
nothing of what I saw there this morning atmosphere, 
space ! In short, it is not painting, it is nature itself. 
Well, it is because my eyes have been practiced that I now 
perceive these beauties that I could not see before. And 
is it not possible for the same thing to happen with the 
hand ? 

Sunday, April 23. I have just been looking over the 
studies I made at Nice. The sole thought that they might 
find something to admire in them makes a shiver run down 
my back. For Tony, Julian, and Bastien appear to me 
themselves so insignificant compared to the immense effect 
their words are capable of producing on me ! 

I have as yet formed no plans for the future. On Mon- 
day I shall go to the studio to get into the habit of regular 
work again. 

The sky is gray and stormy ; it rains, and a piercing win 
is blowing ; the state of the elements is in harmony with 
the condition of my mind ; \vh.it I feel then is due t<> a 
physical impression merely. 

But there was something else I wanted to write abc 
a few reflections concerning love suggested by something I 
read this morning. 



290 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

Love this is the inexhaustible subject. To allow your- 
self to be loved by a man to whom you should be so superior 
that he would regard you as a goddess descended from the 
skies this would have a certain charm. To know that 
your glance would diffuse happiness around there is a 
benevolent side to this that is flattering to the generous part 
of one's nature. 

Tuesday, April 25. My own anxiety was sufficient, with- 
out seeing around me the anxious countenances of my 
family, who were all looking at me to see if I betrayed emo- 
tion. Well, to sum up, this is what Tony has said : The 
costume of Dina very good, very good ; the man standing 
on the sea-shore very good also ; the head of The"rese not 
altogether bad. The tones of the landscape, however, do 
not harmonize with the costumes ; the smaller landscape is 
very good ; the old man correct in drawing, but not suf- 
ficently simple, and not sufficiently something else in fine, 
there is something good in it. " Well," you will say, " you 
ought to be satisfied." Ah ! in addition to all this he said 
I ought to follow a conscientious course of study, and that 
he would pay particular attention to my progress ; he also 
said that he was at my disposal whenever I chose to send 
for him. 

I ought to be satisfied but no, I am almost crushed, 
This was not enough ; he should have said to me ; " Good, 
this timeyou have succeeded ; this is good ; your execution 
is as good as Breslau's, and your other qualities are superior 
to hers." 

Nothing less than these words would have satisfied me; 
or even sufficed to take me out of the despair in which I 
have been plunged, on account of my painting, for more 
than a year past. Why should I not be satisfied with all 
these " goods " ? when I still keep in my memory the " very 



i88 2 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 291 

good " he bestowed on Breslau for a little picture she made 
in Brittany two years ago. 

Yet when he said the same words to me regarding the 
little picture I did at Nice, it seemed to me as if they no 
longer possessed the same value. And why ? Before my 
departure for Nice he said to me that Breslau's " Fisher 
Girl " was " very good," and now that this same " Fisher 
Girl " has been accepted, receiving a number 3, he says it 
is " not bad," only. In short, I am not satisfied. And 
why ? In the first place, because my family based such 
extravagant hopes on these few studies of mine that only 
the most extravagant praises could satisfy them ; and 
then nerves, the effects of the spring weather. Whenever 
I am over-excited, as I am now, I feel a burning sensation 
in my arms, just above the elbow ; it is very curious ; 
explain to me, ye learned doctors, what this means. 

Saturday, April 29. I am not a painter ; I learned draw- 
ing, as I learn everything, with facility that is all. Yet 
when I was a child of three I used to draw profiles with 
chalk on the whist-tables in the country, and afterward, 
and always. One would swear it was a true vocation and 
yet you see ! But there is nothing more to be said, only so 
much time to be lived through ; my arms fall clown power- 
less by my sides. And after all, what is it that has hap- 
pened? Nothing. Breslau has been studying much longer 
than I almost twice as long. Admitting, then, that I am 
as gifted as she, things have followed their natural course ; 
I have been painting for three years, while she has been 
painting for five. 

Sunday, April 30. Since morning I have been watching 
the varnishing of the pictures, with Villevielle, Alice, and 
Webb. I was in black and looked very well. I was amtisi-d 
to see how many people I know in Paris. C'arolus Duran 



293 JOURNAL OP MARIE &ASHKIRTSEFF. 

came to speak to me this man is fascinating. Breslau's 
picture is hung very high, and produces a deplorable effect. 
I was so uneasy on account of her possible success that this 
was a great consolation. I do not deny it. Her friends 
came to me in distress, to learn my opinion, and I said that 
I did not think the picture a very good one, but that they 
should have given her a better place. 

The conclusion to this brilliant day was a conversation 
with Julian, during which he reproached me with wasting 
my energies, with not justifying the magnificent promise 
I had given, etc. In short, he thinks I have gone beyond 
my depth ; so do I, and we are going to see if I cannot be 
brought into safe waters again. I told him I was aware of 
this deplorable condition of things, that it made me des- 
perate, and that I thought all was over with me ; he re- 
minds me of the clever things I have done, and says that a 
sketch of mine, which he has in his possession, makes every 
one stop to look at it, and so on. Ah, my God, take me out 
of this state of misery ! God has been good to me in not 
suffering me to be killed outright by Breslau at least to- 
day. In short, I know not how to express my thought that 
it may not seem a base one. If her picture had been what 
I expected it would be, that would have been my death in 
the pitiable condition in which my work is at present. I 
have not for a single instant wished that it might be bad 
that would be ignoble, but I trembled lest she should meet 
with a decided success. I felt so strong an emotion on 
opening the newspapers that perhaps God took pity on me. 

Tuesday, May 9. Tony and Julian dined with us this 
evening. I wore a fantastic costume, and we sat chatting 
till half-past eleven. Julian was very amusing, after the 
champagne, and Tony very amiable, very abstemious, very 
tranquil, with his fine head and his languid air. One would 
like to stir to its inmost depths this tender and melancholy 



1&S2.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASI1KIRTSEFF. 293 

soul where all is calm and still. I cannot imagine this pro- 
fessor as indulging in any strong emotion. He is dispas- 
sionate and logical, and, where matters of the heart are in 
question, he will quietly demonstrate their causes, and their 
progress, as if he were explaining the qualities of a painting. 
In a word, and to sum up, as he says, he is charming. 

The portrait of a young girl, by Sargent, haunts me ; it 
is ravishing. It is an exquisite piece of work, worthy of a 
place beside the paintings of Vandyke and Velasquez. 

Saturday, May 20. Ah, how discouraged I am ! What 
have I accomplished since I came to Paris? I am no longer 
even eccentric. And in Italy, what did I accomplish ? 
Once I allowed myself to be secretly kissed by that stupid 

A . Well, and afterward? Ah, it disgusts me to think 

of it ! Yet not a few young girls have done the same thing, 
and do it every day, and no one speaks ill of them for it. I 
declare that when I hear, as I have heard just now, of the 
remarks people make about us, and especially about me, so 
strong is the emotion I feel that it overwhelms me. 

We went yesterday to the Salon with E , the brother 

of Bastien, and Beaumetz. Bastien-Lepage is going to 
paint a picture representing a little peasant-boy looking at 
a rainbow. It will be sublime you may take my word for 
it. What genius, what genius ! 

Monday, May 22. I am convinced that I shall never 
love any one except one ; and he, it is probable, will never 
love me. Julian is right the best way to revenge myself 
would be by conquering a brilliant position in the world 
by marrying some man of note who is rich as well as 
famous. That would be magnificent ! Or to develop a 
genius like that of Bastien-Lepage, that would make all 
Paris turn round to look at me when I pass by. Truly tl 
is charming ! I talk as if this might happen to me, who 



294 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK'IRTSEFF. [1882. 

have never had anything but misfortune all my life. Oh, 
my God, my God ! grant me my revenge ! I will be so 
compassionate to those who suffer ! 

Thursday, May 25. We went this morning to see Caro- 
lus Duran. What a charming and admirable being he is! 
People are disposed to laugh at him because he can do a 
little of everything. He shoots well, he rides, he dances, he 
plays the piano, the organ, and the guitar, and he sings. 
They say he dances badly, but -as for the other things, he 
does them with inimitable grace. He fancies himself a 
Spaniard, and a Velasquez. His appearance is very attractive, 
his conversation interesting, and there is in Iris whole air 
something so amiable, so frank, and so self-satisfied, he has 
so evident an enjoyment in the admiration of his own proper 
person, that one cannot bear him ill-will for it on the con- 
trary ; and if one smiles at him occasionally, one is none 
the less charmed by him, especially when one thinks of 
those one has to put up with, who do not possess a quarter 
of his merits. 

He takes himself altogether au serieux; and which of us, 
in his place, would not have his head a little turned? 

Sunday, May 28. The Duchess of Fitz-James came to- 
day to say that she would present us this evening to her 
daughter-in-law. There was to be a ball. Mamma declares 
that no one could be more amiable than this lady. They 
see each other quite often, but just how often I cannot say. 
We agreed to call for her and go together. 

Everything was perfect; the society was of the best; the 
young girls looked fresh and charming; the gowns were 
beautiful. The old Duchess has any number of nephews 
and nieces and grand-children. The persons whose names 
I heard mentioned are among the best known and the most 
aristocratic in Paris, and those 1 met there all distin- 



1882.] JOURNAL OF MAR^E BASHKIRTSEFF. 29$ 

guished. For my part, delighted as I was to find myself in 
this salon, I could not get the thought of a pastel 'I had 
finished this morning out of my head, so troubled was I by 
the remembrance of its defects. 

And then one cannot go into society in this way I should 
need a couple of months, at least, to accustom myself to it. 
But do you think that in my heart I find it entertaining? I 
find it stupid, hollow, dull! And to think that there are 
people who live only for this ! As for me, I should like to 
go out occasionally, just enougl to keep up an interest in 
what is going on in the world of fashion ; but for relaxa- 
tion only, as distinguished men go; so as not to seem like 
a Hottentot, or an inhabitant of the moon. 

Monday^ May 29. Yesterday we went to the Bois with 
Adeline,, who congratulated us on being launched into the 
most aristocratic society of Paris, and to-day we visit the 
Queen, the two Duchesses of Fitz-James, the Countess of 
Turenne, Mme. de Briey, and, finally, the American. 

The question that chiefly occupies my attention now is 
the subject of my picture for next year's Salon. The sub- 
ject I should prefer, I feel profoundly; my heart and mind 
are alike captivated by it, and it is one that I have thought 
of for nearly two years past. It is when Joseph of Arima- 
thea has placed the body of Jesus in the tomb, and the 
stone has been rolled before it ; the people have departed, 
the night is falling, and Mary Magdalen and the other 
Mary remain alone, seated before the mouth of the sepul- 
chre. 

Tuesday, Jtine 20. Well, there is nothing new to record; 
a few visits exchanged, and my painting and Spam. Ah, 
Spain ! It is a work of Theophile Gautier that has been the 
cause of this. Can it be possible that I have been in Toledo, 
Burgos, Cordova, Seville, Grenada? Grenada! What! 



29 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

Have I indeed been in all those cities, only to pronounce 
the names of which is to feel one's-self ennobled? Well, I 
have caught the infection : I must return there ! I must see 
those wonders once more! I must return there alone, or 
with congenial companions. I have suffered enough already 
through the company of my family there. O Poetry! O 
Art ! Ah, how short is life ! And how unfortunate we are 
that it should be so short ! 

Wednesday, June 21. I have effaced everything in my 
picture, and even disposed of the canvas, so as not to have 
it before my eyes! This is killing me! O Art! I shall 
never attain to a mastery of it. But, as soon as one 
destroys what one is dissatisfied with, one feels consoled, 
free, and ready to begin again. The studio in which I am 
painting was lent to Mile. Loshooths by an American 
named Chadwick, who returned to-day, and we have restored 
his temple to him. 

Friday, June 23. At five o'clock L , Dina, and I 

went to see Emile Bastien, who is to sit for me. 

I shall paint with the palette of the true Bastien, with his 
colors, his brushes, in his studio, and with his brother for 
a model. 

Well, it is a dream, a piece of childishness, a silly fancy! 
The little Swedish girl took his palette in her hands, and I 
took away some of the paint he had used as a souvenir; my 
hand trembled as I did so, and we both laughed. 

Saturday, June 24. It is decided that we are to take the 
the house in the Rue Ampere. It consists of a basement 
with a kitchen and billiard-room. The ground-floor, to 
which one ascends by a flight of ten steps, has a vestibule; 
then there is a pretty glass door opening on an antecham- 
ber, from which the staircase to the other stories ascends; 



1882.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 297 

to the right is a room which they have converted into a par- 
lor by making an entrance from it into a little chamber 
which opens on the garden ; a dining-room, and a court- 
yard which carriages can enter, and into which one descends 
by steps from the drawing-room, and dining-room. 

On the first story there are five bed-rooms, with dressing- 
rooms adjoining, and a hall, with baths. As for the second 
story it belongs to me, and consists of an antechamber, 
two bedrooms, a library, a studio, and a store-room. The 
studio and the library open into each other, forming a large 
apartment, nearly thirty-six feet long, and twenty-one feet 
wide. 

The light is superb, entering on three sides, as well as 
from above. In short, for a hired house there could be 
nothing that would suit me better. It is No. 30 Rue Am- 
pere, on the corner of the Rue Bremontier, and may be 
seen from the Avenue de Villiers. 

Wednesday, July 12, I am making preparations to begin 
my famous picture, which will be an extremely difficult 
piece of work. I must select a landscape like the one I 
have pictured to myself. And the tomb hewn out of the 
rock I should like to paint it near Paris at Capri, for 
instance, which is altogether Eastern ; but it would be nec- 
essary to copy a real tomb, such as there must be many of 
in Algeria, and still more in Jerusalem any Jewish sepul- 
chre hewn out of the rock. And the models? Oh, there 
must be magnificent ones to be found there and with the 
original costumes. Julian says this is a piece of folly. He 
can understand, he says, how a great artist one who is 
master of his art should go to paint his picture on the 
scene; he seeks the only thing in which he is lacking, a 
knowledge of the real object he is to copy; but I who am 
deficient in so many things! Well, it seems to me it is just 
for that reason that I should paint my picture on the scene, 



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JOURXAL OF XAKIE BASBKIKTSEFF. 299 

gromnd is not yet tmshrd, bat the ignr! Ah, 




What idiots are they who say he excels only m exeeabna! 
He k an ongmal, a powerfal artist; he is a poet; he B a 
philosopher; other artists arc mercwuAmen naapjiul to 
hat; he is graad, as aatne is, as He is. The other day 
Tony Robert-fleny was obhged to agree wmh ae that, to 
copy Natare, one anst be a great artist, aad that aoae bat 
a great artist caa uaaptthtad Katarc so as to copy her 
fattmfaHr. The fdrel qvamty of the 

his choice of a sabject; as for the rin !, itshoaMhelhe 
pefectioa of vhjt the 

yoar sabject Eagaenaid de Marigay or^Agaes Sord, if JOB 
wfll, bat let then- hai 

. -' '. ' '- ~ - - ~ .<. ' ~ - - 

Ac execatioBL Xo doubt it is man easy to n il Ae 

Bastiea-Lepage were to paiat MBe. de h Taffiere or Mary 
Staart, dead and taoracd to dst as they air, they ^ 

There was akoanttle portrait of the elder 
cottld iad ao words to empress a^ ahaii itlna, 

the act of aukiag with his haad, hs eyes wiak. 

nUaesdbj, Axgxtf *j. lastead of wortoag oa aay of 
my stadies I hawe beea gniag oat Yes, IfjihaMBMlr has 
beea t!a ^g obserfatioas in the latcrest of art. 

: - r i.- : t : : : 

Jfiaaarr. Amga&f a&. I hare read for the jrcnad 
book by Owida, a woaaa whoisaot eadowcd wiha ] 
deal of Mains; it is cafflcd "i 



300 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

Tuesday, August 29. This book has disturbed me; 
Ouida is neither Georges Sand, nor Balzac, nor Dumas, but 
she has produced a book which, for professional reasons, 
has thrown me into a fever. Her ideas and opinions con- 
cerning art, acquired among the studios in Italy, where she 
has lived, are extremely just. 

She says, among other things, that with the true artist 
not the artisan the conception is immeasurably superior to 
the power of execution. Again, the great sculptor Marix, 
when he had seen the first attempts at modeling of the 
young heroine, the future woman of genius, says: "Let her 
come; she will accomplish all that she desires to accom- 
plish." So Tony Robert-Fleury said, after he had carefully 
examined my drawings at the studio: "Work hard, Made- 
moiselle, you will accomplish whatever you desire" were his 
words. 

But my work has, no doubt, been one-sided. Saint- 
Marceaux said that my drawings were the drawings of a 
sculptor y and I have always loved form beyond everything 
else. 

I love color, also, but now, since I have read this book 
and even before painting appears a miserable thing com- 
pared to sculpture. And, then, I ought to hate it, as I 
hate every imitation, every imposture. 

Nothing irritates me more than to see artificial objects 
imitated in painting on a surface necessarily smooth and 
flat, whether it be a work of art that is concerned, or a com- 
mon wall-paper. The sight of such things enrages me as 
the sight of red enrages a bull. What can be more odious, 
for instance, than imitations of pictures on walls, as we 
sometimes see even in the Louvre or the friezes on the 
walls of furnished apartments imitating carved wood or lace. 

What is it, then, that prevents me from being a sculptor? 
Nothing. I am free; I am so situated that all my artistic 
needs are supplied. I have, an entire floor to myself an 



i8S2.] JOURNAL Of MARIE BASHKIRTS&FF, 301 

antechamber, a bed-room, a library, a splendidly lighted 
studio, and finally, a little garden, in which I can work 
when I choose. I have had a speaking-tube put up, so 
that I may not be disturbed by any one coming upstairs 
and that I may not have to go downstairs too often. 

And what am I painting, with all this? A little girl who 
has turned up her black petticoat over her shoulders, and 
who holds an open umbrella in her hand. I work in the 
open air, and almost every day it rains. And then what 
does all this signify? What is it compared to a thought 
expressed in marble? And what use have I made of the 
sketch I did three years ago, in October, 1879? They gave 
us the subject Ariadne at the studio, and I was enthusi- 
astic about it, as I was about the Holy Women at the Sep- 
ulchre. Julian and Tony thought the subject a good one. 
Here it is now three years since I first determined to learn 
modeling for the purpose of doing it in marble. I feel my- 
self powerless where commonplace subjects are concerned. 
And the terrible words, ' ' To what end ? " keep my hands tied. 

Yes, the prejudice in favor of linear perspective is a mis- 
taken one, the preference for colors a false sentiment col- 
oring is a purely mechanical art which gradually absorbs all 
one's powers, and leaves no room for original conception. 

The execution of the painter who is a thinker or a poet 
is generally of an inferior degree of excellence. How could 
I have deceived myself as I have done in regard to this 
truth, and clung to this art with such mad persistency? 

August 30. I am engaged in drawing my Magdalen, for 
which I have an excellent model. I sa-v three years ago 
the face I wanted for it, and this woman has the very 
same features, and the same terribly intense expression of 
despair. 

No painting has ever affected me like the Jeanne d'Arc 
of Bastien Lepage ; there is something mysterious, super- 



302 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

natural, in her expression, born of the intensity o^ feeling 
produced by her vision a feeling understood by the artist 
who has painted it as at once grand, human, inspired, and 
divine; all that it was, in fact, but which no one before 
him had comprehended. 

Friday, September i. I have received a letter from 
mamma in which she tells me that our young neighbors are 
visiting at our house, with some friends of theirs, and that 
they are getting up a grand hunt. She is ready to return, 
but, as I had asked her to let me know if she has done 
so. Well, this plunges me in a sea of uncertainty, doubt, 
and anxiety. If I go to Russia, there is an end to my pic- 
ture for the Exhibition. If I had even been working all 
the summer, I might have the pretext of needing rest, but 
this is not the case. It would be splendid, of course, but 
nothing is less probable. And to travel for four days and 
nights in a railway-coach, and sacrifice the labor of a year 
to go and try to make a conquest of some one I have never 
seen there is neither sense nor reason in it. If I begin to 
think of committing this piece of folly, I shall, perhaps, be 
guilty of it, for I no longer know what. I am doing. I shall 
go to see Mother Jacob the fortune-teller about it; the same 
who foretold that I should have a serious illness. 

For the sum of twenty francs I have just purchased 
good fortune enough to last me for at least two days. 
Mother Jacob has predicted, from the cards, the most 
delightful things for me a little mixed up, it is true. But 
what turns up with most persistence is that I am going to 
achieve a brilliant success, of which all the newspapers will 
talk ; that I shall be a great genius, and that a change for 
the better is going to take place ; that I am to make a 
splendid marriage, to have great wealth, and to travel a 
great deal. 

The delight all this gives me is insensate, if you will, but 



1882.] JOURNAL OF MAKIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 303 

all it costs me is twenty francs ; I shall not go to Russia, 
but to Algeria, for if all these things are going to happen 
to me, they will happen to me there as well as in Russia. 

Good-night ; this has done me good ; I shall work well 
to-morrow. 

Wednesday, September 6. I am not an artist. I desired 
to be one, and, as I am intelligent, I learned certain details 
of the art. How then explain what Robert-Fleury said to 
me when I began : " You have already what is not to be 
learned." He deceived himself, that is all. 

I paint, as I do anything else, with intelligence and skill 
nothing more. Why then did I draw heads with chalk on 
the card-tables in our country-house when I was only four 
years old ? 

All children draw. But whence the constant desire to 
draw to copy engravings, both before we left Russia, and 
afterword, at Nice, when I was only eleven ? They thought 
then I had an extraordinary talent for drawing, and I 
studied, under various masters, for a couple of years. 

Well, upon reflection, I find that I always had the desire 
to learn drawing, the impulse toward art ; that I made 
efforts, but without any one to direct them. And then 
came the journey to Italy Rome. They say in novels 
that it is possible to appreciate the beauties of art without 
any previous instruction, but I confess that I have only 
learned gradually to appreciate the beauties, that is to say, 
the merits of paintings. In short, I have lost confidence, I 
have lost courage. I am deficient in some sense. I appre- 
ciate beauty of coloring, but I cannot say precisely that I 
have not been able to attain it, for I have done two or three 
things which are good, both in coloring and execution. If 
I have done some good things, that means that I can do 
Others this is what encourages me. And I was going to 
abandon my rtte of artist and painter especially of painter. 



34 JOURNAL QF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. [1882. 

In short I paint not so badly, but I think I should do better 
as a sculptor I have certain conceptions of forms, ges- 
tures, attitudes that cannot be expressed in color. 

Sunday, September 24. The days follow one another in 
unbroken monotony ; from eight in the morning till five, 
painting ; an hour for the bath before dinner ; then dinner, 
eaten in silence, for I read the newspapers while I eat, 
interchanging an occasional word with my aunt. She must 
be bored to death, poor woman ! Truly I am not very 
amiable ; she has never enjoyed any happiness in life ; 
formerly she sacrificed herself for mamma, who was the 
beauty of the family, and now she lives only for us, for me ; 
yet I cannot succeed in being amiable and pleasant during 
the rare moments in which we are together ; and then, I 
enjoy a silence during which my thoughts do not dwell 
upon my infirmities. 

In RUSSIA, Saturday, October 14. My aunt left me at 
the frontier, and I made the rest of the journey with Paul. 
We have to wait five hours here for the train. The place 
is called Znamenka. It is cold, and the sky is overcast ; 
if it were not quite so cold, it would be delightful to be in 
the open air. I have been observing the peasants, with 
their garments discolored by exposure to the inclemency 
of the weather, and I see how true to nature are the paint- 
ings of Bastien-Lepage. " The tones are gray, the atmos- 
phere is flat, it has no body," say those who are unaccus- 
tomed to observe nature out-of-doors, who know her only 
in the exaggerated effects of the studio. But this is pre- 
cisely what nature is ; his rendering could not be truer or 
more faithful. Ah, Bastien ought to be a happy man ! 
And I who left Paris filled with chagrin at the thought of 
my ruined Fisherman ! 

But I will try to finish it in March, in time for the Salon. 



J8S2.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 305 

It is Robert-Fleury who has advised me to retouch it ; 
I am to leave the background and the dress as they are ; 
there is nothing to be done but to retouch the head. 

GAVRONZI, Sunday, October 15. We went to bed at seven 
o'clock this morning, as we came direct to Gavronzi. 
Mamma, papa, Dina, and Kapitan were at the station to 
meet us. Paul's wife has a little boy two weeks old. The 
little girl is a year old, and is a charming child, with long, 

black lashes. The young P s are to arrive to-morrow. 

Michka has gone to see them, instead of waiting here for 
me with tfie others. 

Thursday, October 19. Here we have them with us at last. 
They arrived in time for breakfast with Michka. Victor, 
the elder, is slender and dark, and has a large aquiline 
nose ; he is rather stout, has full lips, is distinguished in 
appearance, and has agreeable manners. The younger, 
Basili, is about the same height, but much stouter ; he is 
very fair, with a florid complexion, and cunning eyes ; he 
seems quarrelsome, turbulent, brutal, and yes vulgar. I 
wore the same gown as yesterday a white wool, short and 
extremely simple, with kid shoes of antique red ; my hair 
was twisted in a knot at the back of the head. This was 
not one of my brilliant days, but neither, on the other hand, 
did I look my worst. 

I do not think I shall make a conquest of either of the 
brothers. There is nothing in me that could please them ; 
I am of medium stature, well proportioned, and neither 
dark nor fair ; my eyes are gray, and I have neither a large 
bust nor a wasp waist ; and, as for my mental qualities, 
I think, without flattering myself, that I am sufficiently their 
superior not to be appreciated by them. And as a woman 
of the world I am no more charming than many other women 
of their own set. 



306 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

On reaching the railway at St. Petersburg Sarah Bern- 
hardt was hissed by the populace because they were disap- 
pointed at not seeing her tall and dark, with enormous eyes, 
and a mass of tangled black hair. Aside from this piece of 
stupidity I think the judgment formed here of the actress 
and the woman a just one, and I am altogether of the opin- 
ion of the Russian journals, which place Mile. Delaporte 
above her. For my part, with the exception of the music of 
her voice when she declaims, I find little in. her to admire. 

PARIS, Wednesday, November 15. I am in Paris ! We 
left Russia on Thursday evening. Uncle Nicholas and 
Michka accompanied us as far as the first station, and Paul 
and his wife as far as Karkoff. We remained twenty-four 
hours at Kieff, where Uncle Alexandre's daughter is at the 
Academy. She is fourteen years old, and is a sweet girl. 

Thursday, November 16. I have been to see a great 
doctor, a surgeon who visits the hospitals. I went incog- 
nito, and quietly dressed so that he might not deceive me. 

Indeed, he is not a very amiable person. He simply told 
me that I SHOULD NEVER RECOVER MY HEARING. It may 
grow better, however, so that my deafness will be endur- 
able. It is so already, in fact. But if I do not follow strictly 
the treatment he prescribes for me, my deafness will increase. 
He has given me the address of a little doctor who will 
attend me for a couple of months, as he himself has only 
the time to see me twice a week, which is all that will be 
necessary. 

For the first time I had the courage to say : " Doctor, I 
am growing deaf." Up to the present I have used such 
expressions as, " I cannot hear very well," " My ears seem 
stopped," etc. This time I have had the courage to say the 
hateful word, and the doctor has answered me with the 
brutality of his profession. 



1882.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 307 

I only hope that the misfortunes foreshadowed in my 
dreams may be nothing more than this. But let me not 
trouble myself beforehand about what blows Providence 
may still have in store for me. For the time being I am 
only partially deaf. 

And then he says that my hearing will certainly improve. 
So long as I am surrounded by my family, to watch over me 
and come to my assistance when I need them, it can be 
borne ; but how would it be if I were alone, and in the 
midst of strangers ! 

And what if it should fall to my lot to have a bad hus- 
band, or one who would be wanting in delicacy of feeling! 
If this were even the price I had to pay for some great good 
fortune which had befallen me without my deserving it. 
But Why do they say that God is good, that God is just ? 

I shall never recover my hearing, then. It will be en- 
durable, but there will always be a veil between me and the 
rest of the world. The wind among the trees, the murmur 
of the brook, the rain striking against the window-panes, 
whispered words I shall hear none of these. With the 

K 's I have not found myself once embarrassed, nor do 

I find myself embarrassed at table. So long as the con- 
versation is animated I have nothing to complain of. But 
at the theater I miss a great deal of what is said, as I do 
also with my models, the silence is so profound that they 
are afraid to raise their voices. Well, I had in a certain 
measure foreseen this for a year past ; I ought to be ac- 
customed to the thought by this time. I am accustomed 
to it, but it is none the less horrible. 

I have been stricken in that which was most dear to me, 
most necessary to my happiness. 
Provided only that it stop here ! 

Friday, November 17. So then I shall be henceforth less 
than the least of human beings incomplete, infirm. 



308 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

I shall stand in constant need of the complaisance and 
the co-operation of my family, and of the consideration 
of strangers. Independence, freedom, all that is at an 
end. 

I, who have been so haughty, shall have to blush and 
hesitate at every moment. 

I write all this so as to accustom myself to the thought 
not because I believe it yet ; it is too horrible. I have not 
yet realized it ; it is too cruel, too hard to be believed. 

The sight of my fresh and rosy countenance in the look- 
ing-glass fills me with pity. 

Yes, every one knows it, or soon will know it, those 
who have already taken such delight in disparaging me 
" She is deaf." O my God ! why this unexpected, this 
terrible blow? 

Tuesday, November 21. I have been painting at the 
studio since yesterday. I have returned to the simplest 
studies, taking note neither of the beauty of the model, nor 
of anything else. " With six months of this regime" Julian 
says, "you will accomplish whatever you wish." He is 
convinced that I have made no progress during the last 
three years, and I shall end by believing him. In fact, 
since I began painting I have made but little progress. Is 
this because I have not worked as hard as before ? No, I 
have, on the contrary, worked harder than before, but I 
have undertaken subjects that are too difficult for me. 

But Julian will have it that it is because I do not work 
hard enough, that I have made no progress. 

I am tired of them all ; I am tired of myself ! I shall 
never recover my hearing. Can you understand how hor- 
rible, how unjust, how maddening this is ? 

I can bear this thought with calmness, for I was prepared 
for it ; but no that is not the reason ; it is because I can- 
not believe it will be forever. 



I882.J JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEI-F. 309 

Do you understand what that means ? all my life long 
until I die. 

But I repeat, I cannot yet believe it to be true. It is im- 
possible but that something can be done, impossible that it 
is to be forever, that I am to die with this veil between the 
universe and me, that I shall never, never, never hear again ! 

Is it not true that it is impossible to believe that this 
sentence is a final, an irrevocable one ? That there is not 
the shadow of a hope ? 

This thought makes me so nervous when I am working, 
that I am in constant dread lest the model, or some one 
else in the studio, may have spoken without my having 
heard ; or that they are ridiculing my infirmity ; or that 
they are raising their voices so as to make me hear. 

But when the model comes to me here, can I not say 
plainly that what? That I cannot hear well? Let me 
try it, then. To make confession of my infirmity, like that ! 
And so humiliating, so stupid, so pitiable an infirmity an 
infirmity, in short ! 

I have not the courage to confess it, and I still cherish 
the hope that it may not be perceived. 

Thursday, November 23. All I have done this week 
is so bad that I myself cannot understand it. Julian called 
me to him, and spoke such useless, such cruel words to 
me, I cannot understand it ! Last year he said almost 
the same thing to me : and now, looking over last year's 
studies, he says : " That was good work ; you would not 
be able to do so well now." To believe him, then, I have 
made no progress during the last three years ; that is to 
say, he had begun his lamentations and his reproaches and 
his sarcastic speeches three years ago, ever since I began 
to paint, in fact. 

Perhaps he thinks he will force me to work, in this way ; 
on the contrary, it paralyzes me ; I was unable to do any- 



3 10 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

thing for more than three hours my hands trembled, my 
arms burned. 

Last summer I painted a portrait of Irma, laughing, and 
every one thought it good. This summer, on my return 
from Spain, I made a pastel, after my illness, which every- 
one thought extremely good ; and a picture which they 
thought good. What have I done since ? I have spoiled 
my Fisherman ; and then, I have been in Russia six 
weeks of vacation ; on my return I chanced upon a model 
I did not like, I chose a bad position ; notwithstanding all 
this I forced myself to work against my will ; I produced 
a wretched thing, which I destroyed. Then, I attempt to 
paint an arm ; Julian comes to see it just as I have sketched 
it, and finds it very bad, and tells me so privately. That I 
am not a Breslau I know very well ; that I need to study I 
know too ; but between that and telling me that my case is 
hopeless, that I can no longer paint upon my word, one 
would imagine that I knew nothing at all about^art ! 

If I do not make as rapid progress in painting as I did 
in drawing, that is no reason why he should say such horri 
ble things to me. 

Monday, November 27. Now that I have returned to the 
studio and he can no longer say I do not work, Julian 
tells me that I am pretending. This continual fault-find- 
ing becomes monotonous. The day before yesterday he 
said it was only during the last two years that I had made 
no progress. During "those two years I was ill for five 
months, and convalescing for six months more. In the re- 
maining time I have painted my picture for the Salon a 
woman, life-size, painted from life in Russia, the Old Man of 
Nice, Therese, Irma, and Dina. So much for large paint- 
ings ; I do not count several studies. That they are not 
good I know very well but it is not as if my shoemaker 
had painted them for his own amusement. 



1882.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEII-'. 311 

I suppose he thinks his words will spur me on ; that he 
is witty, perhaps. How exasperating this is ! Of course I 
am not situated like Breslau, who moves in an artistic 
circle, where every word spoken, every step taken, bears 
some relation to art. But all that I can do, in the environ- 
ment in which I am placed, I do. 

No doubt I lose a great deal of time from study ; in the 
evenings, for instance, which Breslau employs in drawing, 
and in sketching compositions, my attention is distracted 
and dissipated by the persons who surround me. 

Environment half one's progress depends upon that, 
during the time one is a student. Letting my thoughts 
dwell continually on this idea gives to my countenance an 
expression of concentrated rage, or rather of alienation 
from those who surround me. If I were not afraid of 
drawing down upon my head other misfortunes, I would 
say that God is unjust. Yet why should I say so ? I have 
a horror of myself ; I have grown stout ; my shoulders, 
that were large enough already, are broader, my arms are 
rounder, and my chest fuller than before. 

Tuesday, December 5. I have just read " Honorine " at 
a sitting. What would I not give to be mistress of this 
fascinating style, that I might be able to interest my read- 
ers in my dull existence. 

It would be curious if this record of my failures and of 
my obscure life should be the means of procuring for me 
the fame I long for, and shall always long for. But I 
should not be conscious of it then ; and, besides, in onli-r 
that any one should wade through these interminable 
pages, would it not be necessary that I should first win a 
name ? 

Two or three days ago we went to the Hotel Drouot, 
where there was an exhibition of precious stones. Mamma, 
my aunt, and Dina were lost in ail miration of some of the 



312 jo URNAL OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [i 882. 

ornaments ; I, however, made little of anything, with the 
exception of some enormous diamonds which, for a single 
instant, I desired to possess ; it would be delightful, I 
thought, to possess a pair of them ; but such a thing was 
not to be thought of. I contented myself with thinking, 
therefore, that if I should one day marry a millionnaire, I 
might own a pair of earrings with diamonds of this size, or 
a brooch, for stones of such a size would be almost too 
heavy for earrings. This was the first time I had ever fully 
appreciated the beauty of precious stones. Well, last night 
those two stones were brought to me ; my mother and my 
aunt had bought them for me, yet I had only said, without 
the slightest expectation of ever having them, " Those 
are the only diamonds I have ever cared to possess." 
They are worth twenty-five thousand francs ; they are 
yellow, otherwise they would have cost three times that 
sum. 

I amused myself with them during the whole evening ; I 
kept them in my pocket while I was modeling. Dusautoy 
played, and Bojidar and the others chatted. I did not 
part with the stones all the evening, and I placed them 
beside my bed when I went to sleep. 

Ah, if certain other things that seem as impossible might 
only be so easily obtained even if they should prove to be 
yellow, and should cost only four thousand instead of 
twenty-five thousand francs ! 

Thursday, December 7. I spent a few moments chatting 
with Julian, but we never have the long and friendly con- 
versations together now that we used to have. We have 
no longer anything to talk about, everything has been said ; 
we are waiting until I shall accomplish something. I re- 
proached him with his injustice toward me, however, or 
rather with the means he took to spur me on. 

My pastel is to be sent to a club, and then to the Salon. 



IS82.] JOCA'A'.IL OF MAK1K BASJIKIKTSEW. 313 



"It could not be better," said Julian, and I felt like throw- 
ing my arms around his neck. 

Well, then, I must paint a picture that artists will stop to 
look at. But I shall not be able to do that just yet. Ah, 
if I only thought that by working, no matter how hard, 1 
might at last succeed ! That would give me courage, but 
at present I feel as if it were impossible. 

Thursday, December i 4 ._We went this morning to see 
the paintings which the real Bastien has brought back with 
him from the country. We found him engaged in making 
some alterations in his pictures. Our meeting was like that 
of good friends ; he is so amiable, so unpretending ! 

Perhaps he is not quite that ; but then he has so much 
genius ! But yes, he is charming. 

As for the poor architect, he is completely cast in the shade 
by his brother's splendor. Jules brought with him several 
studies of " The Soir au Village ": a peasant returning from 
his labor in the fields, has stopped to talk with a woman 
who is going toward a house in the distance, the windows 
of which are lighted up by the rays of the rising moon. 
The effect of the twilight is marvelously rendered ; 
one can feel the calm of the hour pervading everything. 
It is full of poetry and charm, and the coloring is 
wonderful. 

There is also a scene representing a Forge, at which an 
old man is at work. It is very small, and is as fine as those 
wonderful little dark pictures that are to be seen at the 
Louvre. Besides these there are landscapes and marine 
views Venice and London and two large pictures, an 
English flower-girl, and a little peasant-girl in a field. 

At the first glance one is dazzled by the versatility and 
the force of this genius that disdains to confine itself to a sin- 
gle style, and that treats every style in a masterly manner. 

This English boy is far superior to the two pictures I 



3H JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

have just mentioned. As for the boy of last year, entitled 
" Pas-meche," it is simply a masterpiece. 

Sunday, December 17. The real, the only, the great Bas- 
tien-Lepage came to see me to-day. I received him with 
embarrassment, for I was vexed and humiliated at having 
nothing worth while to show him. 

He stayed looking at my pictures for more than two hours, 
although I did m\ r best to prevent his seeing them. This 
great artist is extremely amiable ; he tried to put me at my 
ease, and we spoke of Julian, who is the cause of my present 
discouragement. Bastien does not treat me like a society 
girl. His opinion is the same as that of Tony Robert- 
Fleury and of Julian, only he does not make use of the 
horrible jests of the latter, who says all is over ; that 1 shall 
never be able to accomplish anything ; that there is no 
hope for me. This is what afflicts me. 

Bastien is adorable ; that is to say, I adore his talent ; 
and I think my embarrassment in his presence was the 
most delicate and flattering compliment I could have paid 
him. He made a sketch in the album of Miss Richards, in 
which she had asked me to draw something, and, as the 
paint passed through, and stained the following page, he 
wished to lay a piece of paper between. 

" Leave it so," I said ; " she will then have two sketches, 
instead of one." I don't know why I should do a favor to 
Miss Richards, but at times it amuses me to give pleasure 
to a person who does not expect it from me, or one who is a 
stranger to me. 

Wednesday, December 20. I have made no choice of a 
subject yet for the Salon, and nothing suggests itself. This 
is torture ! 

Saturday, December 23. The great, the real, the incompar- 



1882.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BAS1IKIRTSE1-1-. 315 

able Bastien-Lepage and his brother dined with us this 
evening. We had invited no other guests, which made me 
feel a little embarrassed. As it was the first time they had 
dined with us, it might seem as if we were treating them 
with too much familiarity ; and then I was afraid, besides, 
of not being able to entertain them. 

As to the brother, he is received here with almost the 
same familiarity as Bojidar, but our concern was for the 
real, the great, the only, etc. And the good little man, 
whose genius is worth more than his weight in gold, is 
flattered and pleased, I think, at being regarded in this 
way ; no one has yet called him a "genius." I do not call 
him so, either. I only treat him as such, and, by means of 
artifices, make him swallow the most extravagant compli- 
ments. Bojidar came for a few moments in the evening ; 
was in an amiable humor, and agreed with everything I said. 
We treat him like one of the family, and he is pleased to 
meet here celebrities such as Bastien. 

But in order that Bastien may not think I carry my 
admiration for him to excess, I couple Saint-Marceaux 
with him whenever I speak of them. " You two," I say- 
He stayed until midnight. He thought a bottle I had painted 
very good. " That is the way you must work," he added, 
" with patience and concentration ; use your best efforts to 
copy nature faithfully." 

Tuesday, December 26. Well, it seems that I am really 
ill ; the doctor who is attending me is unacquainted with 
me ; he has no interest in deceiving me, and he says the 
right lung is affected ; that it will never be completely 
cured, but that, if I take care of my health, it will grow no 
worse, and I may live as long as any one else. Yes, but it 
is necessary to arresjt the progress of the disease by heroic 
measures by burning, and by a blister everything that is 
delightful, in short ! A blister ! that means a yellow stain 



316 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1882. 

for a year or more. I might, indeed, conceal the mark by 
wearing, in the evening, a bunch of flowers over the right 
shoulder. 

I shall wait for a week longer ; if 1 am no better by that 
time, I shall consent to this atrocity. 

Thursday, December 28. So this, then, is what the 
matter is I have consumption ; he told me so to-day. 
" Take care of yourself," he said ; " try to get well, or you 
will regret it." 

He is a young man, and has an intelligent look, this 
doctor ; to my objections regarding the blister, and other 
wretched things of the kind, he answered that I would 
regret it if I did not follow his advice, and that he has 
never in his life seen so extraordinary a patient as I am ; 
and also that from my appearance no one would suppose 
that my lungs were affected. And, indeed, although both 
my lungs are affected, the left much less seriously than the 
right however, I look the picture of health. 

The first time I felt anything in the left lung was on 
leaving the sacred catacombs of Kieff, where we had gone 
to pray to God and to the saints for my recovery, reinforc- 
ing our prayers by paying to have a great many masses 
said. A week ago scarcely anything was noticeable in the 
left lung. He asked me if any of my family had had con- 
sumption. 

" Yes," I replied, " my grandfather, and two of his sisters, 
the Countess of Toulouse-Lautrec, and the Baroness Stral- 
borne, a great-great-grandfather, and two grand-aunts." 
At any rate, I have consumption. 

My knees trembled slightly as I went downstairs, after 
my interview with this good man, who is interested in so 
eccentric a patient. The disease might be checked if I 
would follow his orders ; that is to say, apply blisters to 
the chest, and go to the South disfigure myself for a year 



1882.] JO URN A L OF MARIE BA SIIKIR TSK1-I-. 3 1 7 

and go into banishment. And what is a year compared to 
one's whole life ? And my life is so beautiful ! 

I am quite calm, but I have a sense of strangeness at 
being the only one in the secret of my misfortune. And 
how about the fortune-teller who predicted for me so much 
happiness ? Mother Jacob, however, told me that I should 
have a serious illness, and here it is. In order that her 
predictions may be altogether fulfilled there are still to 
come : A great success ; wealth, marriage, and the love of 
a married man. This news about the left lung troubles me, 
though. Potain would never acknowledge that the lungs 
were affected ; he made use of the phrases usual in such 
cases the bronchial tuoes, bronchitis, etc. It is belief to 
know exactly what the matter is ; that will decide me to do 
all I ( can except to go away this year. 

Next winter I shall have my painting of Ihe Holy Women 
as an excuse for this journey. To go this winter would be 
to begin over again the follies of last year. I will do every- 
thing that it is possible for me to do, then, except go 
South and trust in the grace of God ! 

What has made this doctor speak so seriously is, that 
since he has been attending me my lungs have become 
much worse. He was treating me for my deafness, and I 
mentioned my chest to him by chance, and laughingly ; he 
examined my lungs and prescribed some remedies for then* 
a month ago, and laid particular stress on blislering ; on 
this latler, however, I could not resolve, hoping that the 
trouble would not progress so rapidly as it has done. 

I have consumption, then, but my lungs have been 
affected only for the past two or three years. And after all 
the trouble is not so serious as to cause my death, ihough 
il is very distressing ! 

But how, then, explain my blooming appearance, and the 
fact that the waists of my dresses, made before my illness, 
and when no one had any idea that there was anything the 



3 1 8 JO URNAL OF MARIE BA SHKIR TSEFF. [i 882. 

matter with me, are all too small for me ? I suppose I shall 
grow thin all of a sudden. 

Well, if I am granted ten years of life, and during those 
ten years love and fame, I shall be content to die at thirty. 
If there were any one with whom it would be possible to 
make this agreement, I would do so to die having lived 
up to that time at thirty. 

But I should like to get well ; that is to say, that the prog- 
ress of the malady might be arrested, for the disease is 
never cured, though one may live with it a long time as 
long as any one else, in fact. I will apply as many blisteis 
as they like to my chest, but I must go on with my painting. 

Ah, I was right in predicting that it was my fate to die 
early. After being overwhelmed with misfortunes death 
now comes to end all. I knew well that I must die early; 
my life, as it was, could not last. This desire to possess all 
things, these colossal aspirations, could not continue, I knew 
it well ; years ago at Nice I foresaw dimly all that would be 
necessary to make life possible for me. But others possess 
even more than I desired, and they do not die. 

I shall speak to no one of my condition, with, the excep- 
tion of Julian, who knows it already. He dined with us 
this evening, and, finding myself alone with him for a mo- 
ment, I nodded to him significantly, pointing to my throat 
and chest as I did so. He cannot believe it, I appear so 
strong. He tried to reassure me by telling me of friends of 
his in regard to whom the doctors had said the same thing, 
and had proved to be mistaken. 

Then he asked me what my ideas respecting Heaven 
were. I told him Heaven had used me very ill. "As to 
my ideas respecting it," I added, "I have thought but little 
about it." He says he thinks, however, that I believe 
there is something after this life. "Yes," I said, "it is 
possible." I read him Musset's "Espoir en Dieu," and he 
responded by reciting Franck's invocation, "I must live!" 



1882.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 319 

I, too, wish to live. Well, this position of one con- 
demned to death almost amuses me. It is an opportunity 
to pose ; it is a new sensation ; I hold a secret within me. 
I have been touched by the hand of Death ; there is a cer- 
tain fascination in all this it is a novelty, in the first 
place. 

And then to be able to talk in earnest of my death that 
amuses me, that is interesting. Only it is a pity that I can- 
not conveniently have any other audience than my con- 
fessor Julian. 

Saturday, December 30. The disease progresses. There, 
now I begin to exaggerate ; yet, no, it is true that it pro- 
gresses, and that I shall never be well again, and that the 
good God, who is neither just nor good, will probably 
inflict still further punishment upon me for daring to say 
so! He inspires me with such dread that I shall submit 
myself to His will a submission which He will probably 
not take into account, since it is the result of fear. 

Provided only the worst of it is that I cough a great 
deal, and that ominous sounds are to be heard in my chest. 
Well, let us leave everything till the fourteenth. If I can 
only keep in any kind of health until then! If I only 
remain free from fever ; if I am not obliged to take to bed. 
That is not likely, however. Yet perhaps the disease is 
already beyond control, it is one that progresses so rapidly. 
And both lungs ! Ah, woe is me ! 

Sunday, December 31. As it was too dark to paint, we 
went to church; after that we went to the Exhibition, in the 
Rue de Seze, of the paintings of Bastien, Saint- Marceaux, 
and Cazin. This is the first time that I have seen any of 
Cazin's paintings, and they have completely captivated me. 
They are poetry itself; butBastien's "Soirau Village" is in 
DO way inferior to any of the pictures of this poet-painter, 



320 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASI1KIRTSEFF. [1883. 

Cazin, and observe that Bastien has often been unjustly 
said to excel in execution only. 

I spent a delightful hour there. How many things there 
were to be enjoyed! Never was there a sculptor like Saint- 
Marceaux. The words, so often used as to become hack- 
neyed, "It is lifelike!" are in his case absolute truth. 
And, in addition to this important quality, which alone 
would be sufficient to make the success of an artist, there is 
in his work a depth of thought, an intensity of feeling, an 
indescribable something which shows Saint Marceaux to be 
an artist, not alone of great talent, but almost of genius. 

It is only because he is young, and is still living, that I 
seem to exaggerate his merits. 

For the moment I am disposed to place him above 
Bastien. 

I have at present a fixed idea it is to possess a picture 
by the one, and a statue by the other. 



1883. 

Monday, January i. Gambetta, who had been lying ill 
and wounded for many days past, has just died. Died, 
notwithstanding all his seven physicians could do to save 
him, notwithstanding all the interests of which he was the 
center, all the prayers offered up for his recovery ! Why 
should I torment myself? Why should I hope to recover ; 
Why should I grieve ? The idea of dying terrifies me, 
now, as if I had already come face to face with death. 

Yes, I think it must come soon, now. Ah, how I feel 
my littleness ! And yet why ? There must be something 
beyond the grave ; this transitory existence cannot be all ; 
.it does not satisfy either our reason or our aspirations ; 



1883.] JOURNAL OF MAKlE kASHXlRTSEll. 32! 

there must be something beyond ; if there were not, this life 
would have no meaning, and God would be an absurdity. 

The life to come there are moments when one catches 
mysterious glimpses of it that terrify one. 

Tuesday, January 16- Emile Bastien took us to Gam- 
betta's house at Ville d'Avray, where his brother is working. 

Bastien-Lepage was seated at the foot of the bed, paint- 
ing. Everything in the room remains as it was the sheets, 
the eiderdown coverlet, that still retains the impress of the 
body, the flowers on the bed. The picture is truth itself. 
The head, thrown back, and taken in a three-quarter view, 
wears the look of nothingness that succeeds to intense suf- 
fering a serenity that is lifelike, but that has in it also 
something of eternal peace. You fancy you see before you 
the man himself. The body, stretched motionless on the 
bed, and from which life has just departed, is strikingly 
impressive. 

What a happy man Bastien-Lepage must be ! I feel 
when in his presence a certain awkwardness. Although he 
has the physique of a young man of twenty-five, he has 
that air of unaffected and amiable serenity which is charac- 
teristic of great men of Victor Hugo, for instance. I 
shall end by thinking him handsome ; at all events he 
possesses the infinite charm conferred by the consciousness 
of power in which, however, there is nothing of either 
arrogance or conceit. 

On the wall is to be seen the mark left by the bullet 
which caused Gambetta's death. He called our attention 
to it, and the silence of this chamber, the faded flowers, the 
sunlight entering through the window, all this brought 
the tears to my eyes. He was absorbed in his painting, 
however, and his back was turned to me ; so, in order not 
to lose the benefit of this display of sensibility, I extended 
my h?\nd to him abruptly, and hastily left the room, the 



322 JOURNAL OF MARIE BA SlIKlRTSEFF. [1883. 

tears running down my face. I hope that he observed 
them. It is hateful, yes, hateful, to have to confess that 
one is always thinking of the effect. 

Monday, January 22. For the past two months I have 
been going twice a week to see the doctor recommended to 
me by M. Duplay, who had not the time to attend me him- 
self. The treatment that was to have produced such good 
results has not done so. I am no better, but they hope the 
disease will not progress. " And if it should not progress," 
he says, "you may consider yourself very fortunate." This 
is hard. 

Thursday, February 22. I have been playing airs from 
Chopin on the piano, and from Rossini on the harp, all 
alone in my studio. The moon shone brightly ; through 
the large window of the studio I could see the beauti- 
ful cloudless blue sky. I thought of my picture of the 
Holy Women, and was so carried away by the impression 
it made upon me, as it presented itself to my imagination, 
that I was seized with an irrational fear lest some one else 
should do it before me. This thought troubled the pro- 
found peace of the night. 

I have been very happy this evening : I have been read- 
ing Hamlet in English, and I have been reveling in the 
music of Ambroise Thomas. 

There are dramas that never lose their power to move 
the souj, characters that are immortal " Ophelia," for in- 
stance, pale and fair ! we give her a place in our hearts. 
Ophelia ! She makes us long to experience an unhappy 
love. Ophelia with her flowers, Ophelia dead ! How 
beautiful is all this ! 

Ah, if God would only grant me power to finish my pic- 
ture my large picture, my real picture. My picture for 
this year will be only a sort of study inspired by Bastien ? 



i88 3 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSE1 1-. 323 

Yes, of course ; his painting so closely resembles nature 
that whoever copies nature faithfully must resemble him. 

His faces are living faces; they are not merely fine paint- 
ing like the faces of Carolus, they are art ; in short they 
are the real flesh, they breathe, they live. The question 
here is not one of skill, nor of a fine touch. This is nature 
itself ; it is sublime ! 

Saturday, February 24. My thoughts, as you know, tire 
constantly occupied with Bastien-Lepage ; I repeat his 
name to myself continually, but I avoid speaking it aloud, 
as if to do so were something to be ashamed of. When I 
do mention it, it is with a tender familiarity which would 
seem to be only natural, considering his genius, but which 
might be misunderstood. 

Good heavens ! what a pity it is that he cannot come to 
see me, as his brother does ! 

And what should I do if he were to come ? Make him 
my friend, of course ! What ! Do you not believe there 
is such a feeling as friendship ? As for me I could wor- 
ship those of my friends who are famous, and this not 
through vanity alone, but also because of the delight I take 
in their talents in their intelligence, their ability, their 
genius. Those who are endowed with genius are a race 
apart ; when we have escaped from the region of medi- 
ocrity we revel in a purer atmosphere, where we may join 
hands with the elect, and dance a round in honor of 
What was I about to say ? But the truth is, that Bastien- 
Lepage has a charming head. 

I fear, indeed, that my painting may be found to resem- 
ble his. I copy nature faithfully, I know, but while I am 
doing so I am thinking of his pictures. And then, an art- 
ist of any genius who loves nature, and who desires to copy 
her faithfully, will always resemble Bastien. 



3 2 4 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

Tuesday, February 27. This has been a series of happy 
days. I sing, I chat, I laugh, and the name of Bastien- 
Lepage recurs constantly in my thoughts, like a refrain. 
Not himself, not the corporeal man, scarcely his genius 
nothing but his name. Yet I am filled with a certain dread. 
What if my picture were to resemble his ? He has 
lately painted a number of boys and girls among others 
the celebrated " Pas-meche"; what could be finer than 
this? 

Well, my picture represents two little boys who are 
walking along the pavement holding each other by the 
hand ; the elder, a boy of seven, holds a leaf between his 
teeth, and looks straight before him into space ; the 
other, a couple of years younger, has one hand thrust 
into the pocket of his little trousers, and is regarding the 
passers-by. 

This evening I enjoyed an hour of intense happiness. 
Why ? you ask. Did Saint-Marceaux or Bastien come ? 
No, but I made a sketch for my statue. 

You have read the word correctly. When the fifteenth 
of March is past, it is my intention to begin a statue. In 
my lifetime I have modeled two groups, and two or three 
busts, all of which I threw aside before they were finished ; 
for, working as I did, alone and without instruction, I could 
work only at something in which I was interested, into 
which I could throw my life, my soul, as it were 
something real, in short, not a mere exercise for the 
studio. 

To conceive a figure, to throw myself heart and soul into 
the work, this is what I wish to do. 

It will be bad ? no matter ; I was born a sculptor. I 
carry my love of form to the point of adoration. Color can 
never exercise the same power over the soul as form does, 
though I adore color also. But form ! A noble gesture, a 
beautiful attitude, fixed in marble, look at it from what 




JEAN ANP JACQUES. 



1883.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 325 

side you will, the outlines may change, but the figure still 
preserves the same significance. 

Oh, happiness ! Oh, joy ! 

The figure is that of a woman who stands weeping, her 
face buried in her hands ; you know what the attitude of 
the shoulders is when one weeps. 

I felt an impulse to kneel down before it ; I addressed a 
thousand foolish speeches to it. The clay model is thirty 
centimetres in height, but the statue itself will be life-size. 
But that will be an outrage on common-sense. And why ? 

Finally I tore up a fine batiste chemise in which to wrap 
this fragile statuette. I love this clay more dearly than my 
own flesh. 

And then, as my sight is not very good, when I can no 
longer see to paint I shall devote myself to sculpture. 

How beautiful this moist white linen is as it follows every 
curve of this little figure. I wrapped it up with a senti- 
ment of respect so fine, so delicate, so beautiful is it. 

Wednesday, February 28. My picture will be finished 
to-morrow. I shall have spent nineteen days on it. If I 
had not had to do over one of the boys, it would have been 
finished in a couple of weeks. But he looked too old. 

Saturday, March 3. Tony came to see the picture. 'He 
is very much pleased with it. One of the heads is very 
good, he says. 

Thursday, March 15. My picture is at last finished ! I 
was still working at it at three o'clock, but a great many 
visitors came, and I was obliged to leave it, Madame and 
Mademoiselle Canrobert, Alice, Bojidar, Alexis, the Princess, 
Abbema, Mme. Kanchine, and Tony Robert-FIeury came in 
the morning. They are all going to Bastion's to sec his 
picture, " L'Amour au Village." It is a young girl standing 



326 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

with her back to the spectator, leaning against a hedge in an 
orchard ; her eyes are bent upon the ground, and she holds 
a flower in her hand ; a young man stands beside the 
hedge, facing the spectator ; his eyes also are cast down, 
and he is looking at his fingers which he is twisting together. 
The picture is exquisite in sentiment and full of poetry. 

As for the execution this is not art, it is nature's self. 
There is also a little portrait of Madame Drouot, the guard- 
ian-angel of Victor Hugo, which is wonderful in point of truth, 
sentiment, and resemblance. None of these pictures look 
like each other, even at a distance ; they are living beings 
who pass before your eyes. He is not a painter only, he 
is a poet, a psychologist, a metaphysician, a creator. 

His own portrait, which stands in a corner of the room, is 
a masterpiece. And he has not done his best work yet 
that is to say, we hope to see a large picture from him, in 
which he will give such proof of his genius that no one will 
dare to deny it any longer. 

The young girl, with her hair in short braids, standing with 
her back to the spectator, is a poem. 

No one has ever penetrated more deeply into the realities 
of life than Bastien. Nothing can be at the same time more 
elevated and more human than his painting. That the 
figures are life-size contributes to render the truth of his 
pictures more striking. Who can be said to surpass him ? 
The Italian painters painters of religious and, as a con- 
sequence, of conventional subjects? There are sublime 
painters among them, but they are necessarily conventional, 
and then their paintings do not touch the heart, the soul, 
the intelligence. The Spanish painters? Brilliant and 
charming. The French are brilliant, dramatic, or academic. 

Millet and Breton are poets, no doubt, but Bastien unites 
everything. He is the king of painters, not alone because 
of his wonderful execution, but on account of the sentiment 
expressed. The art of observing could not be carried fur- 



i88s.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 327 

ther, and Balzac has said that almost the whole of human 
genius consists in observing well. 

Thursday, March 22. I sent for two workmen yesterday, 
who constructed the framework, life-size, for the statue I 
had modeled in clay. And to-day I worked on it, giving it 
the pose I desired. My mind is full of my picture, the 
Holy Women, which I will try to paint this summer ; and 
in sculpture, my first thought is Ariadne. Meantime I have 
done this figure, which is, in fact, the other Mary of the pic- 
ture. In sculpture and without drapery, taking a younger 
model, it would make a charming Nausicaa. She has 
buried her face in her hands and is weeping ; there is in 
her attitude so genuine an abandonment, a despair so com- 
plete, so naive, so sincere, and so touching, that I am capti- 
vated by it. 

Sunday, March 25. Since two o'clock yesterday I have 
been on the rack, as you may imagine when I tell you what 
has happened. 

Villevielle came to see me and asked me if I had heard 
any news from the Salon. " No," I answered. " What ! 
you have heard nothing ? " she said. " Nothing." " You 
have passed." " I knew nothing of it." " There can be no 
doubt about it, since they have reached the letter C.' 
And this is all. I can scarcely hold the pen ; my hands 
tremble, I feel utterly powerless. 

Then Alice came and said to me," Your picture has been 
accepted." 

11 Accepted but how ? Without a number ? " I asked. 

" It is not yet known." 

I had no doubt about its being accepted. 

And all this has thrown mamma, my aunt, and everybody 
else into a state of agitation that it irritates me in the high- 
est degree to see. I have had to make the greatest efforts 



328 JOURNAL OF MARIE BAStiKlRTSEFF. [1883. 

in order to appear unconcerned, and to bring myself to see 
visitors. 

I sent about forty telegraphic despatches. Later on I 
received a few lines from Julian, which I copy here word 
for word : " O naivete ! O sublime ignorance ! I am 
going to enlighten you at last. 

" Your picture has been accepted, and with a number 3 
at the least, for there is some one I know who wished to give 
you a number 2. You have conquered at last. Greeting 
and congratulations." 

This is not happiness, but it is at least tranquillity. 

I do not think that even a number i would have given 
me pleasure after these twenty-four hours' humiliating un- 
certainty. They say joy is more deeply felt after anxiety. 
Such is not the case with me. Difficulties, doubts, and 
suffering spoil everything for me. 

Friday, March 30. I worked until six o'clock ; as it was 
still daylight I opened the door leading out into the bal- 
cony, in order to hear the church clock striking, and to 
breathe the spring air while I played upon the harp. 

I am very tranquil ; I worked faithfully all day, after 
which I took a bath, dressed myself in white, and sat down 
and played upon the harp ; now I am writing ; I am calm, 
contented, and happy in this apartment arranged by myself, 
where I have everything I want at hand ; it would be so 
pleasant to go on leading this life, while waiting for fame. 
And even if fame were to come, I could sacrifice two months 
in the year to it, and live shut up in my room working the 
other ten months. And indeed it is only by so doing that 
those two months would be possible. What troubles me is 
to think that I must one day marry, but this is the only way 
in which to escape the wounds my self-love is constantly 
receiving. 

" Why does she not marry ? " people ask. They say I 



1333.] JOCA'.Y.IL OF MARIE />'./. SY/A7A' TSL 1-I-. 329 

am twenty-five, and that enrages me ; while if I were once 
married but whom shall I marry ? If I were only well, 
as before. But now if I marry, it must be some one who 
has a good heart and delicacy of feeling. And he must 
love me, for I am not rich enough to marry a man who 
would leave me entirely to myself. 

In all this it is not my heart that speaks. One cannot 
foresee everything ; and then it would depend And be- 
sides it may never happen. I have just received the fol- 
lowing letter : 

" PALACE OF THE CHAMPS-ELYSES. 
ASSOCIATION OF FRENCH ARTISTS FOR THE AN- 
NUAL EXHIBITION OF THE FINE ARTS. 

" MADEMOISELLE : 

" I write to you here in the committee room to inform you 
that the Head in Pastel has had a genuine success with the 
committee. Receive my heartiest congratulations. I need 
not tell you that your paintings have been very well re- 
ceived. 

" You have met with a genuine success this year, which 
makes me very happy. 

" With friendly regards, 

" TONY ROBERT-FLEURY." 

Well, and what then ? The letter itself I shall pin down 
here, but I must first show it to a few friends. Do you 
imagine I am wild with joy ? Not at all ; lam quite calm. 
Doubtless I am not worthy of experiencing a great joy, 
since such a piece of news as this causes me no more emo- 
tion than if it were the most natural thing in the world. 
And the fact of the letter being addressed to me makes it 
lose much of its significance. If I knew that Breslau had 
received a letter like it I should be greatly troubled. This 
is not because I value only that which I do not possess, but 
because of my excessive modesty. I lack confidence in 
myself. If I were to take this letter literally, I should be 



33 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

too happy. When good fortune comes to me I am slow to 
believe in it. I fear to rejoice too soon. And after all the 
cause for rejoicing is not so great. 

Saturday, March 31. Nevertheless I went to Julian's 
this morning, in order to hear a repetition of these flatter- 
ing things. It seems Bouguereau said to him : " You 
have a Russian who has sent something that is not bad 
not at all bad." " And you know," added Julian, " that 
this from Bouguereau, where one of his own pupils is not 
concerned, means a great deal." In short, it seems I shall 
receive some sort of mention. 

Sunday, April i .... I cough a great deal, and although 
I have not grown visibly thinner, I fear I am seriously 
ill. Only I don't want to think about it. But if I am seri- 
ously ill, why do I present so healthy an appearance in 
every way ? 

I try to discover some cause for my sadness, and I can 
find none, unless it be that I have done nothing for the last 
fortnight. The statue is falling to pieces ; all this has 
made me lose a great deal of time. 

What vexes me is that the pastel should be thought so 
good, and the painting simply good. Well, then ! I feel 
that I am capable now of producing something equally 
good in painting and you shall see ! 

I am not sad ; but I am feverish, and I find difficulty in 
breathing. It is the right lung that grows worse, that 
is all. 

Tuesday, April 3. The weather is delightful ; I feel 
new strength. I feel that I possess the power to produce 
something really good ; I feel it, I am sure of it. 

So, then, to-morrow. 

I feel within me the capacity to render with truth to 



1883.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BAS1IKIRTSEW. 331 

nature whatever strikes my imagination. I feel a new 
force, a confidence in my own powers that will give me 
thrice the ability to work that I had before. I shall begin 
a picture to-morrow, the subject of which charms me. I 
have another very interesting one for later on in the autumn 
when the bad weather commences. I feel that now every 
stroke will tell, and I am intoxicated with the thought of 
my work. 

Red-letter day, Wednesday, April 4. Six little boys in a 
group, their heads close together, half-length only. The 
eldest is about twelve, the youngest six. The eldest of the 
boys, who stands partly with his back to the spectator, holds 
a bird's nest in his hands, at which the others stand looking. 
The attitudes are varied and natural. 

The youngest boy, whose back only is to be seen, stands 
with folded arms and head erect. 

This seems commonplace, according to the description, 
but in reality all these heads grouped together will make an 
exceedingly interesting picture. 

Sunday, April 15. My disease has reduced me to a state 
of prostration that renders me indifferent to everything. 
Julian writes to say that my picture is not yet hung ; that 
Tony Robert-Fleury cannot PROMISE (sic) to have it hung on 
the line ; but that, as it is not yet hung, all that can be done 
in the matter will be done. That Tony Robert-Fleury 
strongly (sic) hopes to receive some slight recompense in 
the shape of a painting (sic) or a pastel ! Two months ago 
I had not expected anything of the kind, yet I am as in- 
different to it all now as if I were not concerned in it. 
This mention, which I once thought it would make me 
faint with emotion to receive, now that they tell me i 
probable, almost certain indeed, will, I feel, cause me no 
emotion whatever. 



33 2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

There is a logic in the events of life by which each event 
prepares us for that which is to follow ; and this it is that 
diminishes my pleasure. I should have wished this news 
to come like a thunder-clap I should have wished the 
medal to fall down from the skies, as it were, without giv- 
ing time to cry out " Take care ! " and plunge me in a sea 
of happiness. 

Wednesday, April 18. If I receive a mention this year, I 
shall have progressed more rapidly than Breslau, who had 
already studied hard, before commencing with Julian. In 
short 

I have just been playing the piano. I began by playing 
the two divine marches of Chopin and Beethoven, and then 
went on playing whatever chanced to come into my head, 
melodies so exquisite that I fancy I can hear them still. Is 
it not curious ! I could not play a single note of any one 
of them now, if I were to try, nor if I wished to improvise 
could I do so. The hour, the mood, a certain something is 
necessary, yet the most heavenly harmonies are running 
through my head. If I had the voice I could sing the most 
ravishing, the most dramatic, the most original airs. To 
what end ? Life is too short ; it does not give one time to 
accomplish anything. I should like to take up sculpture, 
without giving up painting. Not that I wish to be a sculp- 
tor, but because I have visions of the Beautiful which I feel 
an imperious necessity of giving form to. 

Sunday, April 22. Two pastels only have received a 
number i Breslau's and mine. Breslau's picture is not 
hung on the line, but her portrait of the daughter of the 
editor of Figaro is on the line. My picture is not on the 
line, either, but Tony Robert-Fleury assures me that it 
looks well, and that the picture under it is not a large 
one. The head of Irma is on the line, and in an angle 



iSS 3 ] JOL'KXAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSLI-F. 333 

in a place of honor, consequently. In short, he says my 
pictures are well hung. 

We have people to dine with us almost every evening, 
and I often say to myself as I listen to their conversation, 
" Here are people who spend their lives doing nothing but 
making silly or artificial remarks. Are they happier than 
I ? " Their cares are of a different nature, but they suffer 
as much. And they do not take as much enjoyment in 
everything as I do. Many things escape their notice- 
shades of language or of coloring, for instance, which to me 
are sources of interest or of pleasure, such as are unknown 
to vulgar souls. But perhaps I am more prone than most 
people to observe the beauties of nature, as well as the 
countless details of city life, and if it be true that I am in 
one sense inferior to the rest of the world, since I am occa- 
sionally unable to hear as well as others, perhaps I am not 
without some compensation for it. 

Ah, no ; every one knows it, and it is the first thing they 
say to each other when they mention my name. " She is a 
little deaf, did you know it?" I do not understand how I 
am able to write the word. Is it possible to accustom one's- 
self to so terrible an affliction ? It is conceivable that this 
should happen to an old man or to an old woman, or to 
some miserable creature, but not to a young girl like me, 
full of ardor, full of energy, eager for life ! 

Friday, April 27. I think that in art a certain glow of 
enthusiasm may supply in some sort the want of genius. 
Here is a proof of this : it is six or seven years since I 
have played on the piano ; that is to say, I have remained 
for whole months without touching it, and then played five 
or six hours at a time once or twice a year. Under such 
circumstances the fingers lose their flexibility, so that I now 
never play before people ; the merest school-girl would put 
me in the shade. 



334 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

But let me only hear a masterpiece played, like the 
march of Chopin, or that of Beethoven, for instance, let me 
be seized by the desire to play it myself, and in two or 
three days, practicing not more than an hour a day, I shall 
be able to play it perfectly, as well as any one, as Dusautoy, 
for instance, who took the first prize at the Conservatory, 
and who practices constantly. 

Monday, April 30. I have had the happiness of talking 
with Bastien-Lepage. 

He has explained his Ophelia to me ! 

This man is not an ordinary artist. He does not regard 
his subject from the standpoint of an artist, merely, but 
from that of a student of human nature, also. His observ- 
ations revealed an intimate knowledge of the most secret 
recesses of the soul ; he does not see in Ophelia a mad girl 
only, she is a lovelorn creature as well. In her madness 
there is disenchantment, bitterness, despair, hopelessness ; 
she has been disappointed jn love, and her disappointment 
has partly turned her brain. There can be nothing sadder, 
more touching, more heart-rending than this picture. 

I am wild about it. Ah, how glorious a thing is genius ! 
This ugly little man appears to me more beautiful and 
more attractive than an angel. One would like to spend 
one's life listening to him and watching him in his sublime 
labors. And then he speaks so simply. In answer to a 
remark of some one he said, " I find so much poetry in 
nature," with an accent of such perfect sincerity that I was 
inexpressibly charmed. 

I exaggerate, I feel that I exaggerate. But something 
of this there is. 

Tuesday, May i. And the Salon ? Well, it is worse 
than usual. Dagnan does not exhibit. Sargent is medi- 
ocre ; Gervex commonplace; Henner is charming; his 



1883.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASUKIRTSEFF. 335 

picture is a nude figure of a woman reading. The light is 
artificial, and everything is bathed in a sort of luminous 
mist, of so exquisite a tone that one feels as though envel- 
oped in it. Jules Bastien admires it greatly. A painting 
of Cazin's, that I like less than his landscapes, is Judith de- 
parting from the city to meet Holofernes. I did not look 
at it long enough to come under its spell, but what struck 
me most forcibly in it was that the attractions of Judith are 
not sufficient excuse for Holofernes's infatuation. 

I am not very enthusiastic about Bastien-Lepage's pic- 
ture. The two figures are faultless. The figure of the 
girl standing with her back to the spectator, the head, of 
which nothing is to be seen but one cheek, the hand play- 
ing with a flower there is in all these a feeling, a poetical 
charm, and a truth to nature which cannot be surpassed. 

The back is a poem ; the hand, of which we can just 
catch a glimpse, is a masterpiece ; we feel all that he has 
desired to express. The girl bends down her head, and is 
at a loss as to what she shall do with her feet, which have 
assumed an attitude of charming embarrassment. The 
young man is very good also. But the girl is the embodi- 
ment of grace, of youth, of poetry. The figure is true to 
nature, and full of feeling, delicacy, and grace. 

The landscape, however, is altogether disagreeable. Not 
only is it of too pronounced a green, but it obtrudes itself 
on the eye as well. There is a want of space. Why is this ? 
Some say that the colors in the background are too thickly 
laid on. At all events it is heavy. 

And Breslau ? Breslau's picture is good, but I am not 
quite pleased with it. It is well executed, but the picture 
expresses nothing ; the coloring is graceful, but common- 
place. It represents a group a brunette and a blonde, and 
a young man drinking tea at the fireside, in a bourgeois 
interior, without character. They all wear a solemn ex- 
pression ; the air of sociability we look for in such a scene 



33 6 JOURNAL OF AIARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

is wanting. She who talks so much about sentiment does 
not appear to be very richly endowed in that respect. Her 
portrait is good, that is all. 

And 1 ? 

Well, the head of Irma is pleasing, and the execution 
sufficiently bold. But the picture is unpretentious. 

The painting has a somber look, and, although executed 
in the open air, it does not look natural. The wall is not 
like a wall it is the sky, a piece of painted canvas, any- 
thing you choose. The heads are good ; but the back- 
ground is poor. They might have given it a better place, 
however, especially as things so inferior to it are on the 
line. Every one agrees that the heads that of the elder 
boy, particularly are very good. Probably I should have 
succeeded better with the rest of the picture, since the 
treatment is comparatively easy, if I- had had more time. 

Looking at my picture hanging there before me I learned 
more than I could have learned in six months at the studio. 
The Salon is a great school ; I never understood this as 
well as now. 

Wednesday, May 2. I ought to go to the opera, but 
what for? That is to say, I thought for a moment of 
doing so in order to show myself to the best advantage ; 
that Bastien might hear my beauty spoken of. And why 
do this? I do not know. Well, it was a stupid thought! Is 
it not silly to try to make people like me whom I care noth- 
ing about, and that through pique? I shall think of it, 
however, the rather as it would be in reality for the King of 
Prussia that I should go, for after all I have no serious 
cause of complaint against this great artist. Would I marry 
him? No. Well, then, what do I want? 

And why seek to analyze every sentiment so minutely. 
I have a wild desire to please this great man, and that is all. 
And Saint-Marceaux as well. Which of them most? No 



1883] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 337 

matter which: either would do. It woulfl be an interest 
in life. This feeling has given a new expression to my 
face. I look prettier; my complexion is smooth, fresh, and 
blooming; my eyes are animated and brilliant. At all 
events it is curious. What would not real love accomplish, 
if a silly fancy can produce an effect like this? 

After all, that is not the question. Jules Bastien dined 
with us this evening. I posed neither as a mad creature 
nor a child. I was neither silly nor mischievous. He was 
simple, gay, charming; we rallied each other incessantly; 
there was not an instant's embarrassment. He is very 
intelligent; and then I do not believe in specialties for 
men of genius ; a man of genius can be and ought to be 
everything he wishes. 

And he is gay too; I feared to see him insensible to that 
delicate humor that is half-way between wit and humbug. 
In short, like Roland's mare, he has every quality; the 
only thing is that he is dead or almost so, as far as I am 
concerned. Is it not stupid? 

Sunday, May 6. There has been a great deal of talk 
about young Rochegrosse's picture. It represents Astyanax 
being torn from the arms of his mother Andromache, to be 
cast over the ramparts. 

It is a modern and original treatment of an antique subject. 
He imitates no one and seeks inspiration from no one. The 
coloring and the execution are of unexampled vigor there 
is no other artist of the present day who is capable of them 
In addition, he is the son-in-law of M. Th. de Banville, 
so much for the press. 

Notwithstanding this latter fact, however, he has wonder- 
ful gifts. He is only twenty-four, and this is the second 
time he exhibits. 

This is the way one would like to paint composition, 
color, drawing, all are indescribably spirited. 



33 8 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

And this is the quality expressed by his name Roche- 
grosse. It is like the rumbling of thunder. After the idyllic 
Bastien-Lerage. Georges Rochegrosse comes on you like a 
torrent. It is possible that later on his talent may become 
more concentrated, and that he will aim at being a poet and 
psychologist in painting, like Bastien-Lepage. 

And I? What does my name express Marie Bashkirt- 
seff I would willingly change it; it has a harsh, bizarre 
sound ; though it has a certain ring of triumph in it too; there 
is even a certain charm in it, something expressive of arro- 
gance, of renown ; but it also has a quarrelsome, jerking 
sound. Tony Robert-Fleury is it not cold as an epitaph? 
And Bonnat? correct and vigorous but short and com- 
monplace. Manet sounds like something incomplete a 
pupil who will be known at fifty. Breslau is sonorous, calm, 
powerful. Sain t-Marceaux is like Bashkirtseff, nervous, but 
not so harsh. Henner is tranquil and mysterious, with an 
indescribable something in it of antique grace. 

Carolus Duran is a mask. Dagnan is subtle, veiled, deli- 
cate, sweet, and strong, with little beyond this. Sargent 
makes one think of his painting, of the false Velasquez, of 
the false Carolus, not so great as Velasquez, yet good, 
nevertheless. 

Monday, May 7. I have begun the little gamins over 
again from the beginning. I have drawn them full-length, 
and on a larger canvas ; this will make a more interesting 
picture. 

Tuesday, May 8. I live only for my art; I go down- 
stairs only to dine, and talk with no one. 

I feel that I am passing through a new phase. 

Everything seems petty and uninteresting, everything 
except my work. Life, taken thus, may be beautiful. 

Wednesday, May 9. We had some visitors this evening, 



1883.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHX1RTSEFF. 339 

who were entirely different from our usual set and who 
would shock these very much, but whom I found very 
entertaining. 

Jules Bastien, who lays such stress on concentrating all 
one's forces on one particular point, does not, for his own 
part, expend his energy uselessly. For myself, so supera- 
bundant are my energies that it is a necessity with me to 
have some outlet for them. Of course, if conversation or 
laughter fatigues one, it is better to abstain from them, 
but he must be right, however. 

We went up to my studio, and I almost quarreled with 
Bastien to prevent him looking at my large picture, the face 
of which was turned against the wall. 

I praised Saint-Marceaux extravagantly, and Jules Bas- 
tien declared he was jealous of him, and that he would 
never rest until he had ousted him from the place he holds 
in my regard. 

He has said this several times already ; and although it 
may be only a jest, it delights me to hear him say it. 

I must make him think that I admire Saint-Marceaux 
more than I admire him in an artistic sense, of course. 

"You like him, do you not?" I said to him. 

"Yes, very much." 

"Do you like him as much as I do?" 

"Oh, no; I am not a woman; I like him, but 

"But it is not as a woman that I like him." 

"Oh, yes, there is a little of that in your admiration for 
him." 

"No, indeed, I assure you." 

"Oh, yes, unconsciously there is." 

"Ah, can you suppose ?" 

"Yes, and I am jealous of him; I am not dark and 
handsome, as he is." 

"He resembles Shakspeare.' 

"You see!" 



340 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

The real Bastien is going to hate me ! And why should 
he hate me? I do not know, but I fear that he will. 
There is always a certain feeling of hostility between us 
little things one cannot explain, but that one feels. We 
are not in sympathy with each other; yet I have gone out 
of my way to say things before him that might perhaps 
make him like me a little. 

In regard to art we think alike, but I dare not speak of 
art in his presence. Is this because I feel that he does not 
like me? 

In short, there is a something 

Friday, May 18. To set my heart upon possessing the 
friendship of Bastien-Lepage would be to give too much 
importance to this feeling, to distort it, so to say, and to 
place myself, in my own eyes, in a false position. His 
friendship would have been a great pleasure to me, as Caz- 
in's or Saint-Marceaux's would be; but I am vexed to think 
I should have let my thoughts dwell upon him personally 
he is not sufficiently great for that. He is not a demigod 
in art, like Wagner, and it is only in such a case that it 
would be admissible to entertain a profound admiration 
for him. 

What I long for is to gather around me an interesting 
circle, but every time this hope seems about to be realized 
something happens to interfere; here is mamma gone to 
Russia, papa dying, perhaps. 

I had planned to give a dinner followed by a reception, 
every Thursday^ for instance, for society people, and on 
Saturday another dinner for artists ; at the receptions on 
Thursdays I would have the most distinguished of the 
artists, who had dined with me on the previous Saturday. 

And now there is an end to all this ; but I will try again 
next year to carry out my plan, as tranquilly as if I were 
conscious of the power to succeed, as patiently as if I were 



1883-1 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 341 

to live forever, and as perseveringly as if I had been 
already successful. 

I am going to begin a panel Spring: A woman leaning 
against a tree, her eyes closed, and smiling as if she were 
in a beautiful dream. Around is a delicate landscape 
tender greens, faint rose-tints, apple and peach trees in 
blossom, budding leaves all that gives to Spring its magic 
coloring. 

Bastien-Lepage is going to paint a picture representing 
the burial of a young girl, and his views in art are so just 
that he will be sure to make the landscape like this that I 
have been dreaming of. I hope it will not prove so, how- 
ever, and that he will give us a landscape of a vile green, 
instead yet it would vex me if he did not make a sublime 
picture of this subject. 

Sunday, May 20. Mamma arrived in Russia early on 
Friday morning; we received a dispatch from her on Satur- 
day in which she says that papa's health is in a deplorable 
state. 

To-day his valet writes that his condition is desperate. 
He says, too, that he suffers greatly; I am glad mamma 
arrived in time. 

To-morrow the distribution of prizes takes place, and the 
Salon is to be closed for three days. On Thursday it will 
be re-opened. 

I dreamed that I saw a coffin placed upon my bed, and 
that I was told a young girl was lying in it. And through 
the surrounding darkness glowed a phosphorescent light. 

Tuesday, May 22. I worked till half-past seven; but at 
every noise I hear, every time the bell rings, every time 
Coco barks, my heart sinks into my boots. How i-xpiv- 
sive this saying is; we have it also in Russia. It is nine 
o'clock and no news yet how many emotions! If I ro 



342 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

nothing, it will be very exasperating! They were all so 
sure of it at the studio Julian, Lefebvre, and Tony have 
spoken so much of it among themselves, that it cannot be 
but that I shall receive something. In that case they might 
have telegraphed it to mej one can never hear good news 
too soon. 

Ah, if I had received anything I should have heard of it 
already. 

I have a slight headache. 

Not that it is of so much consequence, however; but 
every one was so sure of it and then uncertainty about 
anything is odious. 

And my heart is beating, beating. Miserable existence! 
This, and everything else, and all for what? To end in 
death ! 

No one escapes this is the fate of all. . 

To end, to end, to exist no longer this is what is horri- 
ble. To be gifted with genius enough to last for an eter- 
nity and to write stupid things with a trembling hand 
because the news of having received a miserable mention 
delays in coming. 

They have just brought me a letter; my heart stood still 
for a moment it was from Doucet about the waist of a dress. 

I am going to take some syrup of opium to calm my 
nerves. To see my agitation one would suppose I had 
been thinking about my Holy Women ; the picture is all 
sketched in, and when I work on it or think of it, I am in 
the same state of agitation as at present. 

It is impossible for me to fix my thoughts upon anything. 

A quarter-past nine. It could not be that the discreet 
Julian should have committed himself as he has done, and 
that I should not receive it! But, then, this silence! 

My cheeks are burning; I feel as if I were enveloped in 
flame : I have sometimes had bad dreams in which I have 
felt like this. 



1883.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEPF. 343 

It is only twenty-five minutes past nine. 

Julian ought to have come before this; he must have 
known at six o'clock; he would have come to dine with us 
I have received nothing then. 

I thought that my picture would be refused when there 
was no possibility of that being the case. But that I should 
receive nothing now is very possible. 

I have just been watching the carriages as they passed. 
Ah, it is now too late! 

There is no medal of honor for painting, and Dalou will 
have received the medal for sculpture. 

What does this matter to me? 

Would I have given Bastien the medal of honor? No. 
He can do better than this ' ' Amour au Village, ' ' consequently 
he does not deserve it. They might have given it to him 
for his sublime "Jeanne d'Arc," the landscape in which dis- 
pleased me three years ago. 

I should like to look at it again. 

Thursday, Mav 24. I have received it ! And I am once 
more reassured ami tranquil, not to say happy. I might 
say satisfied. 

I learned it from the papers. Those gentlemen have not 
taken the trouble to write me a word about it. 

Nothing is ever so good or so bad in reality as it is in the 
anticipation. 

Monday, June ii. My father is dead. 

We received the dispatch announcing his death at ten 
o'clock ; that is to say, a few minutes since. My aunt and 
Dina thought mamma ought to return here at once without 
waiting for the interment. I went to my room very much 
agitated, but I shed no tears. When Rosalie came to show 
me my new gown, however, I said to her, "It is not worth 
while, Monsieur is dead," and 1 burst into an uncontrollable 
fit of weeping. 



344 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

Have I anything to reproach myself with concerning him ? 
I do not think so. I have always tried to do my duty 
toward him. But in moments like these one always thinks 
one's-self in some way to blame. I ought to have gone 
with mamma. 

He was only fifty years old. And he had suffered so 
much ! And he had never injured any one. He was be- 
loved by all around him ; he was strictly honorable in all 
his dealings, upright, and an enemy to all intrigue. 

Friday, June 15. The Canroberts have written me a 
charming letter ; indeed everyone has shown me the great- 
est sympathy. 

This morning, not expecting to meet any one I knew, I 
ventured to go to the Petit hall an exhibition of a hun- 
dred masterpieces for a benefit of some kind, of Decamps, 
Delacroix, Fortuny, Rembrandt, Rousseau, Millet, Meis- 
sonier (the only living artist represented) and others. And 
in the first place I must apologize to Meissonier, of whom I 
had little previous knowledge, and who had only very in- 
ferior compositions at the last exhibition of portraits. Yes, 
these are literally marvels of art. 

But what had chiefly induced me to leave my seclusion 
was the desire to see the paintings of Millet, of whom I had 
heretofore seen nothing, and whose praises were continually 
dinned into my ears. " Bastien is only a weak imitator of 
his," they said. Finally I was tempted to go. I looked at 
all his pictures, and I shall go back again to look at them. 
Bastien is an imitator of his, if you will, because both are 
great artists and both depict peasant life, and because all 
genuine masterpieces bear a family resemblance to each 
other. 

Cazin's landscapes resemble Millet's -much more closely 
than do those of Bastien. What is most admirable in 
Millet, judging from the six paintings I saw at the Exhibi- 



l83 3 .j JOURXAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 345 

tion, is the general effect, the harmonious arrangement, 
the atmosphere, the transparency. The figures are unim- 
portant and are simply treated, but broadly and correctly. 
And this it is in which Bastien has no equal to-day the 
execution, at once careful, spirited and vigorous, of his 
human figures his perfect imitation of nature. His " Soir 
au Village," which is only a sketch of small dimensions, is 
certainly equal to anything of the kind of Millet's ; there are 
in it only two small figures dimly seen in the twilight. I can- 
not think of his " Amour au Village," however, with patience. 
How faulty is the background ! How is it that he cannot 
see this ? Yes, in the larger paintings of Bastien there is 
wanting the tone, the general effect, that make the small 
pictures of Millet so remarkable. Whatever may be said to 
the contrary, everything else in a picture should be subor- 
dinate to the figure. 

" Le Pere Jacques" in its general effect is superior to 
" L'Amour au Village "; this is the case with " Les Foins," 
also. " Le Pere Jacques " is full of poetry ; the girl gather- 
ing flowers is charming, and the old man is well executed. I 
know that it is extremely difficult to give a large picture that 
character, at once soft and vigorous, which is distinctive of 
Millet, but this is what must be aimed at ; in a smaller pic- 
ture many details may be slighted. I speak of those pictures 
in which the execution is everything (not of those of the over- 
scrupulous Meissonier), like those of Cazin, for example, 
who is the disciple of Millet. In a small picture that indes- 
cribable quality called charm, which is a result of the 
general effect rather than of any particular detail, may be 
given with a few happy strokes of the brush, while in a 
large picture this is not the case there feeling must rest 
on a basis of science. 

Saturday. June 16. So then, I withdraw from Bastion's 
paintings the title of masterpieces. And why? Is it be- 



34 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIR TSEFF. [1883. 

cause his " Amour au Village " shocks me, or because I have 
not the courage of my opinions ? We can only deify those 
who are no longer living; if Millet were not dead, what 
would be said of him ? And then there are only six paint- 
ings of Millet's here. Could we not find six equally excel- 
lent paintings among those of Bastien ? " Pas-meche," 
"Jeanne d'Arc," the portrait of his brother, the "Soir au 
Village," " Les Foins." I have not seen all his paintings, 
and he is not dead. Bastien is less the disciple of Millet 
than is Cazin, who resembles him greatly with the dif- 
ference that he. is younger. Bastien is original; he is 
himself. One always imitates some one at first, but one's 
own personality gradually asserts itself. And then poetry, 
vigor, and grace are always the same, and it would be 
disheartening, indeed, if the attempt to attain them were 
to be called imitation. A picture of Millet fills you with 
admiration, one of Bastien's produces the same effect upon 
you ; what does that prove ? 

People of shallow minds say this is the result of imita- 
tion ; they are wrong ; two different actors may move you 
in the same manner, because genuine and intense emotion 
is always the same. 

Etincelle devotes a dozen flattering lines to me. I am a 
remarkable artist. I am a young girl, and a pupil of Bastien- 
Lepage. Mark that ! 

I saw a bust of Renan by Saint-Marceaux, and yesterday 
I saw Renan himself pass by in a fiacre. At least the likes 
ness is good. 

Monday, June 18. Here is a little incident : I had 
granted an interview for eleven o'clock this morning to the 
correspondent of the New Times (of St. Petersburg), who 
had written to me requesting one. It is a very important 

periodical; and this M. B. has contributed to it, among 

Other things, some studies on our painters in Parts, and 



I883-] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSE1-F. 347 

" as you occupy a conspicuous place among them, I hope 
you will permit me," etc. 

Before going downstairs I left him alone with my aunt 
for a few minutes, that she might prepare the way by telling 
him how young I was, and other things of the kind, for the 
sake of effect. He looked at all my pictures, and took 
notes of them. " When did I begin to paint," he asked, 
" at what age, and under what circumstances?" and so on. 
I am an artist on whom the correspondent of a great news- 
paper is going to write an article. 

This is a beginning; it is the mention that has procured 
me this. Provided only that the article be a favorable 
one. I do not know if the notes were correct, because I 
did not hear all that was said, and then the situation was 
embarrassing. 

It was my aunt and Dina who told him what ? I shall 
await this article with anxiety and it will not appear for a 
fortnight. 

They laid particular stress upon my youth. 

Thursday, June 21. To-morrow the distribution of 
prizes takes place ; they have sent me a list of the prizes to 
be given, with my name on it (section of painting); this is 
pleasant ; but I have some hesitation about being present 
it is hardly worth while, and then if 

What am I afraid of ? I cannot tell. 

Friday, June 22. I thought for an instant, as I looked 
at the people present, that it would be terrible to rise and 
go forward to that table. 

My aunt and Dina were seated behind me, for only those 
who were to receive prizes had the right to chairs. 

Well, the day is at last over, and it was altogether difler- 
ent from what I had thought it would be. 

Oh, to receive a medal next year, and to realize my 



34 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

dreams at last ! To be applauded, to achieve a triumph ! 
And when I have received a second-class medal, no doubt 
I shall want a first-class one ? Of course. 

And after that the cross ? Why not ? And afterward ? 
And afterward to enjoy the fruit of my labors, of my strug- 
gles, to go on working, to make as much progress as pos- 
sible, to try to be happy, to love and to be loved. 

Yes, afterward we shall see ; there is no hurry. I shall 
be neither uglier nor older, so to say, in five years to come 
than I am to-day. And if I were to marry hastily now, I 
might repent it. But, after all, it is indispensable for me 
to marry ; I am twenty-two years old, and people take me 
to be older ; not that I look to be so, but when I was thir- 
teen, when we lived in Nice, I was taken to be seventeen, 
and I looked it. 

In short, to marry some one who truly loved me j other- 
wise I should be the most unhappy of women. But it 
would be necessary that this some one should be at least a 
suitable parti. 

To be famous ! illustrious ! that would settle every- 
thing. No, I must not expect to meet an ideal being who 
would respect me and love me, and who would, besides, be 
a. good parti. 

Ordinary people are afraid of famous women, and 
geniuses are rare. 

June 24. I have been thinking lately of the nonsensical 
things I used to write about Pietro. As, for instance, 
when I said that I always thought of him in the evenings, 
and that if he were to come to Nice unexpectedly I would 
throw myself into his arms. And people thought I was 
in love with him my readers may think so. 

And this has never, never, never, been the case. 

Yet often of a summer evening, when vague longings fill 
the soul, one feels that one would like to throw one's-self 



i83 3 .] JOLWAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 349 

into the arms of a lover. This has happened to me a hun- 
dred times. But then this lover had a name, he was a real 
being whom I could call by his name Pietro. But enough 
of Pietro ! 

I had a fancy for being the grandniece of the Cardinal, 
who might one day become Pope but nothing more. 

No, I have never been in love ; and now I never shall be 
in love. A man must be very superior to other men to 
please me now that I have grown so exacting ; he must 
be. And to fall in love with some young fellow, simply 
because he is charming no, that can never be. 

Tuesday, July 3. The picture does not go forward. I 
am in despair. And there is nothing to console me for it. 

At last the article in the New Times has appeared. It 
is very good, but it causes me some embarrassment, as it 
states that I am only nineteen, while I am older, and am 
taken to be even older than I am. 

But it will produce a great effect in Russia. 

And love what of that ? 

What is love ? I have never experienced the emotion, 
for passing fancies founded on vanity cannot be called by 
that name. I have preferred certain persons because the 
imagination needs something with which to occupy itself. 
I have preferred them because to do so was a necessity to 
my great soul, not because of their own merits. There was 
this difference, and it is an enormous one. 

To turn to another subject that of art ; I scarcely know 
how I am progressing in painting. I copy Bastien-Lepage, 
and that is deplorable. An imitator can never be the equal 
of the master he copies. One can never be great until one 
has discovered a new channel through which to express 
one's nature, a medium for the interpretation of one's own 
individual impressions. 

My art has ceased to exist. 



35 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

I can discern a trace of it in the " Holy Women "; but in 
what else ? In sculpture it is different, but as for painting ! 

In the " Holy Women " I imitate no one. And I think the 
picture will produce a great effect, not only because I shall 
try to execute the material part of the work with the utmost 
truth to nature, but also because of the enthusiasm with 
which the subject inspires me. 

The picture of the little boys reminds one of Bastien- 
Lepage, though the subject is taken from the street, and is 
a very commonplace, every-day one. But this artist always 
causes me an indescribable feeling of uneasiness. 

Saturday, July 14. Have you read " L'Amour " of Stend- 
hal ? I am reading it. 

Either I have never been in love in my life, or I have 
never ceased to be in love with an imaginary being. 
Which is it? 

Read this book ; it is even more delicate than anything 
of Balzac ; it is more profoundly true, more harmonious, 
and more poetical. And it expresses divinely what every 
one has felt, what I myself have felt. But then I have 
always been too much given to analyzing my emotions. 

I was never really in love, except at Nice, when I was a 
child and ignorant of the world. 

And afterward when I had a sickly fancy for that hor- 
rible Pietro. 

I can remember moments alone in my balcony at Nice, 
listening to some delightful serenade, when I felt trans- 
ported with ecstatic joy, without any other cause for it than 
was to be found in the hour, the scene, and the music. 

I have never experienced these feelings either in Paris or 
anywhere else, except in Italy. 

Friday, August 3. Bastien-Lepage is enough to drive 
one to despair. When one studies nature closely, when one 



1883] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK'IRTSEFF. 351 

seeks to imitate her faithfully, it is impossible not to think 
constantly of the works of this great artist. 

He possesses the secret of rendering flesh with perfec- 
tion ; they talk of realism, but the realists do not know 
what reality is ; they are coarse, ad think they are natural. 
Realism does not consist in copying a vulgar thing, but in 
making the copy of whatever be represented an exact one. 

Sunday, August 5. People say that I had a romantic 

fancy for C , and that that is the reason 1 do not marry, 

for they cannot understand why, having a handsome dowry, 
1 am yet neither a marquise nor a countess. 

Fools ! Happily you, the few superior people who read 
me, you, my beloved confidants, know what to believe. 
But when you read these words, all those of whom I speak 

will probably be dead, and C will carry to the tomb the 

sweet conviction of having been loved by "a -young and 
beautiful foreigner, who, enamoured of this cavalier," etc. 
Fool ! Others also will believe it fools ! But you know 
very well that this is not the case. It would, perhaps, be 
romantic to refuse marquises for the sake of love ; but it is 
reason, alas ! that causes me to refuse them. 

Sunday, August 12. The bare idea that Bastien-Lepage 
is coming here has made me so nervous that I have not 
been able to do anything. It is truly ridiculous to be so 
impressionable. 

Our Pope dined with us. Bastien-Lepage is very in- 
telligent, but less brilliant than Saint-Marceaux. 

I showed him nothing of my work ; I scarcely spoke ; 
that is to say, I did not shine ; and when Bastien-Lepage 
introduced an interesting subject I could not answer him, 
nor even follow his remarks, which were as terse and full 
of meaning as his paintings are. If it had been Julian, I 
should have taken the lead, for this is the style of conver- 



35 2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

sation I like best. He is very well-informed, and has a 
keen intellect, while I had feared to find him in some 
measure ignorant. 

In short, when he said things to which I should have re- 
sponded in such a way as' to reveal the fine qualities of my 
head and heart, I let him go on speaking and remained 
silent. 

I can scarcely even write, so completely has the day 
upset me. 

I desire to be alone, completely alone, so as to commune 
with myself regarding the impression he made upon me, 
which was profound and interesting ; ten minutes after his 
arrival I had mentally capitulated and acknowledged his 
mastery. 

1 did not say a single word that I ought to have said ; 
he is indeed a god, and he is conscious of his power ; and 
I have contributed to strengthen him in this belief. He is 
small, he is ugly, in the eyes of the vulgar crowd, but for 
me and for people like me he has a charming countenance. 
What is his opinion of me? I was embarrassed ; I laughed 
too frequently ; he says he is jealous of Saint-Marceaux. 
What a triumph ! 

Tuesday, August 21. No, I shall not die until I am 
about forty, like Mile. Colignon. At thirty-five I shall 
grow very ill, and at thirty-six or thirty-seven, a winter in 
bed, and all will be over. 

And my will ? All I shall ask in it will be a statue and a 
picture, the one by Saint-Marceaux, the other by Jules 
Bastien-Lepage, placed in a conspicuous position in a 
chapel in Paris, and surrounded by flowers ; and on each 
anniversary of my death that a mass of Verdi or of Pergo- 
lesi, and other music, may be sung by the most celebrated 
singers in remembrance of me. 

Besides this, I shall found a prize for artists of both sexes, 



1883.] JOORtfAL OF MARIE nA$HK>IRTSl:l-i-\ 353 

I should, indeed, prefer to live, but as I am not gifted 
with genius, it is better that I should die. 

Wednesday, August 29. Notwithstanding the heat, I cough 
continually, and, and, as I was reclining half-asleep on the 
divan this afternoon, while my model was resting, I had a 
vision in which I saw myself lying on a couch, with a large 
wax taper standing lighted beside me. 

That will be the denouement of all these miseries. 

To die ? I very much fear so. 

And I do not wish to die ; it would be horrible. I don't 
know how the case may be as regards happy people, but as 
for me, I am greatly to be pitied, since I have ceased to 
expect anything from God. When this supreme refuge 
fails us there is nothing left us but to die. Without God 
there can be neither poetry, nor affection, nor genius, nor 
love, nor ambition. 

Thursday, September 13. Stendhal says that our sor- 
rows seem less bitter when we idealize them. This observa- 
tion is a very just one. But how shall I idealize mine? It 
would be impossible ! They are so bitter, so prosaic, so 
frightful, that I cannot speak of them, even here, without 
suffering horribly. How say that at times I cannot hear 
well ? Well, the will of God be done ! This phrase recurs 
to my mind involuntarily, and I have almost come to feel 
it. For I shall die, quite naturally and peacefully, notwith- 
standing all the care I can bestow upon myself. And this 
would be as well, for I am troubled about my eyes ; for a 
fortnight past I have been able neither to paint nor to 
read, and I am growing no better. I feel a throbbing sensa- 
tion in them, and little dark specks seem to float before me 
in the air. 

Perhaps this is because I have been suffering for the last 
fortnight from a bronchial cold, which would have made 



354 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

any one else take to bed, but notwithstanding which I go 
about as usual, as if nothing were the matter. 

I have worked on Dina's portrait in so tragical a mood 
that I shall have more gray hairs when I am done with it. 

Saturday, September 15. This morning I went to the 
Salon to see Bastien's pictures. What shall I say of them ? 
Nothing could be more beautiful. There are three por- 
traits which, according to Julian, who dines with us this 
evening, are the despair of .artists. Yes, the despair. 
Never has there been anything done to equal them. They 
are life-like ; they are endowed with soul. The execution 
is so admirable that there is nothing to be compared to it ; 
it is nature itself. One must be mad to go on painting 
after seeing these. 

There is also a little picture called " Les bles Murs." A 
man with his back to the spectator is reaping. The picture 
is good. 

There are two pictures life-size. " Les Foins " and " Les 
Ramasseuses de pommes de terre." 

What coloring ! What composition ! What execution ! 
There is a richness of tone in them that is to be found only 
in nature itself. And the figures live ! 

The tones blend into one another with a simplicity which 
is the perfection of art, and the eye follows each with genu- 
ine delight. 

When I entered the room I was not aware that the pic- 
ture was there, but the moment I saw " Les Foins " I stopped 
short before it, as one stops before a window that is sud- 
denly opened, and discloses a beautiful landscape to the 
view. 

They do not do him justice ; he is immeasurably superior 
to every one else. There is no one to be compared to him. 

I am very, very ill ; and I have applied an immense 
blister to my chest. After that, doubt my courage and my 



1883.] JOURNAL OF AfARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 355 

desire to live, if you can. No one knows of it, however, 
except Rosalie ; I walk up and down my studio, I read, I 
chat, I sing, and my voice is almost beautiful. As I often 
spend Sunday without working, this surprises no one. 

Tuesday, September 18. It seems that the notice taken 
of me by the Russian press has drawn the attention of many 
people to me that of the Grand Duchess Catherine among 
others. Mamma is intimately acquainted with her grand 
chamberlain and his family, and the question of appointing 
me to the post of maid of honor has been seriously dis- 
cussed. 

I must first be presented to the Grand Duchess, however. 
Everything has been done that could be done in the matter, 
but mamma was wrong to let things take their course, and 
return here. 

And then my belle-dme demands a sister-soul. I shall 
never have a. friend. Claire says I can never have a girl 
friend because I have none of the little secrets and love- 
affairs that other girls have. 

" You are too proper," she says ; " you have nothing to 
conceal." 

Monday, October i. We were present at the ceremonies 
which took place to-day on the removal to Russia of the 
remains of Tourgenieff, our great writer, who died a fort- 
night ago. Afterward we went to the Salon. I could not 
refrain from a burst of enthusiasm (inward enthusiasm, 
however, for I feared they might think me in love with 
him), as I looked at the paintings of Bastien-Lepage. 

Meissonier ? Meissonier is nothing but a prestidigitator ! 
He paints pictures with figures so minute that one would 
need to look at them through a microscope, and that cause 
one so much surprise that the feeling might almost be takm 
for admiration. But as soon as he departs from this minute 



35^ JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [18^3. 

style, when his heads are more than a centimetre long, his 
manner becomes hard and commonplace. But no one dares 
to say this, and every one admires him, although all his pic- 
tures for the Salon are merely good and correct. 

But is this art, to paint people in costume who play on 
the harpsichord or ride on horseback ? For after all many 
genre painters can do as much as this. 

Those of his paintings that I have seen that are really 
admirable are, in the first place, the " Joueurs de boules sur 
la route d'Antibes " ; it is a scene copied from the life, 
although the costumes are antique ; and is luminous and 
transparent ; next his father and himself, on horseback ; then 
the "Graveur a Teau-forte " ; the movement and expres- 
sion have been seized and depicted with truth. This man, 
absorbed in his own thoughts, carried away by them seem- 
ingly, touches and interests us, and the details are wonder- 
ful. There is also a cavalier of the time of Louis XIII., 
looking out of a window, of the same size ; the movement 
here is also just ; the action is human, natural, simple it is 
a bit of real life, in fact. 

Those of his pictures in which the heads are as much 
as two centimetres long are merely cartoons, and the 
larger his figures are the worse they are. 

I pay my tribute to his genius and pass on ; he does not 
touch my feelings. But look at the portraits of Bastien- 
Lepage ! Most people would make an outcry if I were to 
say that they are much better than those of Meissonier. 
And yet such is the fact. There is nothing that can be 
compared to the portraits of Bastien-Lepage. Object to 
his other paintings if you will you do not understand 
them, perhaps but his portraits ! Nothing better of the 
kind has ever been done. 

Saturday, October 6. I have just read, at one sitting, a 
novel in French by our illustrious Tonrgenieff, so as to be 



i83 3 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 357 

able to form an idea of the impression his books make upon 
foreigners. He is a great writer, a man of subtle intellect, 
an acute reasoner, a poet, a Bastien-Lepage. His descrip- 
tive passages are beautiful, and he interprets the most 
delicate shades of feeling in words as Bastien-Lepage in- 
terprets them in color. 

And Millet what a sublime artist ! Well, he is as poetic 
as Millet. I use this foolish phrase for the benefit of those 
imbeciles who would otherwise be unable to understand me. 

Whatever is grand, poetical, beautiful, subtle, or true in 
music, in literature, or in art reminds me of this wonderful 
artist and poet. He chooses subjects that are considered 
vulgar by fashionable people, and he extracts from them 
the most exquisite poetry. 

What can be more commonplace than a little girl guard- 
ing a cow or a woman working in the fields ? " But these 
have been already treated," you will say. Yes, but noother 
artist has ever treated them as he has done. He did well to 
choose them ; in a single picture he has given us a romance 
of three hundred pages. But there are perhaps, not more 
than fifteen of us who understand him. 

Tourgenieff, also, has depicted peasant-life the life of 
the poor Russian peasant ; and with what truth, what sim- 
plicity, what sincerity ! And how moving is the picture he 
has drawn, how poetic, how grand ! 

Unfortunately this can be appreciated only in Russia, 
and it is chiefly in these social studies that he excels. 

Monday, October 22. I should be well pleased if my 
malady proved to be an imaginary one. 

It seems that at one time it was fashionable to have con- 
sumption, and that people tried to make it appear, and even 
to persuade themselves, that they had it. Ah, if it might 
turn out that this disease of mine were an imaginary one ! 
I desire to live in any case, and despite of everythiii- I 



35& JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFf [1883. 

have neither love-sorrows, nor sentimental reasons, nor 
any other cause, to make me wish to die. I desire to 
achieve fame, and to enjoy whatever happiness is to be en- 
joyed on this earth. 

Monday, November 5. The leaves have all fallen, and I 
do not know how I shall be able to finish my picture. I 
have no luck. Luck ! How formidable a thing is luck ! 
What a mysterious and terrible power ! 

Ah, yes, it must be finished, but finished quickly, quick- 
ly ! in a fortnight. And then to astonish Robert-Fleury 
and Julian by showing it to them. 

If I could do this, it would give me new life. I suffer 
because I have done nothing of any consequence this sum- 
mer ; I experience the most frightful remorse. I should 
like to define my condition with more exactness I am 
altogether without strength, as it were, and at the same 
time I am profoundly calm. I fancy that one who has just 
lost a great deal of blood might feel as I do now. 

I have taken my resolution I shall wait until May. And 
why should this state of things change in May ? After all, 
who knows ? 

This has made me think of whatever virtues or talents I 
may possess, and I find a source of secret consolation in 
these thoughts. It has make me take part in the conversa- 
tion, at dinner, with my family, like any other person 
amiably, and with a calm and dignified air such as I had on 
the day I first wore my hair turned up. 

In short, I experience a feeling of profound tranquillity. 
I shall pursue my work with calmness ; it seems to me that 
henceforth all my actions must be tranquil, and that I shall 
regard the universe with gentle condescension. 

I am calm as if I were, or perhaps because I am, strong ; 
and patient, as if I were certain of the future. And who 
knows ? I feel myself in truth, invested with a new dignity ; 



1883.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 359 

I have confidence in myself ; I am a power. Then what ? 
May not this be love ? No ; but outside that feeling I see 
nothing that could interest me. This is what was needed, 
mademoiselle, devote yourself entirely to your art. 

When I see myself .famous in imagination it is as if I 
were dazzled by a flash of lightning, as if I had come in 
contact with an electric battery ; I start from my seat, and 
begin to walk up and down the room. 

It may be said that if I had been married at seventeen I 
should be like every one else. This is a mistake. In order 
that I should marry like any one else it would be necessary 
for me to be some one else. 

Do you suppose that I have ever loved ! I do not think 
so. These passing fancies look like love ; but they could 
not have been love. 

I still continue to feel this excessive weakness ; I might 
compare myself to an instrument of which the cords are 
relaxed. What is the cause of this ? Julian says that I re- 
mind him of an autumn landscape, a desolate and deserted 
walk enveloped in the fogs of winter. Just what I am, my 
dear monsieur. 

Monday, November 12. Dumont, of La Libert^ is com- 
ing to see us. He detests the style of painting I have 
chosen, but he paid me a great many compliments at the 
same time that he asked me in astonishment how it was 
that I, living as I do, in the midst of elegant and refined 
surroundings, should love the ugly. He thinks my little 
boys ugly. 

" Why did you not choose pretty ones ? " he said ; "they 
would have answered the same purpose." 

I chose expressive faces, if I may dare to say so. And 
then one does not see such miracles of beauty among the 
little boys who run about the streets ; for those it would be 
necessary to go to the Champs Elysees, and paint some of 



3^0 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883 

the poor little be-ribboned babies who are to be seen there, 
guarded by their nurses. 

Where, then, is action to be found ? Where the savage 
liberty of primitive times ? Where true expression ? For 
even the children of the better classes study effect. 

And then in short, I am right. 

Thursday, November 22. The Illustration Universelle (of 
Russia) has given an engraving of my painting (" Jean et 
Jacques ") on its first page. 

This is the most important of the illustrated papers of 
Russia, and I am, so to speak, at home in it. 

And I am not overjoyed at this ? Why should I be ? It 
pleases me, but 1 am not overjoyed on account of it. 

And why not ? Because this is not enough to satisfy my 
ambition. If I had received a mention two years ago, I 
should have fainted from emotion ; if they had given me a 
medal last year, I should have shed tears of joy upon the 
breast of Julian. But now Alas ! all the events of life 
follow each other in logical order ; they are all linked to- 
gether, and each prepares us for the one which is to follow. 
If I receive a third-class medal next year, it will seem noth- 
ing^more than natural ; if they give me nothing, I shall be 
indignant. 

One never rejoices greatly at any event except when it 
comes unexpectedly when it is in some sort a surprise. 

Saturday, December i. After all, may I not have been 
deceiving myself all this time ? Who will give me back the 
most beautiful years of my life wasted, perhaps, in vain ! 

But there is a sufficient answer to these vulgar doubts of 
mine in the fact that I had nothing better to do ; besides, 
anywhere and everywhere, leading the same life as others I 
should have had too much to suffer. And then I should 
not have attained that moral development which confers 



1883.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSE1 1-. 361 

upon me a superiority so embarrassing to myself. Stend- 
hal had come in contact with at least one or two persons 
capable of understanding him, while I, unfortunately for 
myself, find every one insipid ; and even those whom I ex- 
pected to find intelligent, I find stupid. Is this because I 
am what is termed a misunderstood being ? No ; but I feel 
that I have reason to be surprised and dissatisfied when 
people think me capable of things which reflect upon my 
dignity, my delicacy, my elegance, even. 

You see I want some one who should understand me 
completely, to whom I could confide everything, and in 
whose word I should see my own thoughts reflected. Well, 
my child, this would be love. 

That may be, but without going so far people who 
would be able to form an intelligent opinion concerning 
one, and whom one might talk to even that would be pleas- 
ant ; and I know no such person. The only one I knew 
was Julian, and he is growing every day more disagreeable ; 
he is even exasperating when he begins with his tiresome, 
teasing insinuations, especially in matters relating to art. 
He does not understand that I am not blind, and that I 
mean to succeed ; he thinks me infatuated with myself. 

After all, though, he is still at times my confidant. As 
far as an absolute parity of sentiments is concerned, that 
does not exist, except between lovers ! It is love, then, 
that works the miracle. But may it not be rather this abso- 
lute parity of sentiments that gives birth to iove? The 
sister-soul. As for me I find this image, which has been so 
much abused, a very just one. But who is this sister-soul ? 
Some one, not even the tip of whose ear can one catch 
sight of. 

It would be necessary that not a word, not a look, of his 
should be at variance with the idea I have formed of him. 
Not that I demand in him an impossible perfection, or that 
he should be a being superior to humanity; but I require 



3 6 2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASUKTRTSEFF. [1883. 

that his caprices should be interesting caprices that would 
not lower him in my eyes; that he should be in conformity 
with my ideal not the hackneyed ideal of an impossible 
demigod, but that everything in him should please me, and 
that I should not unexpectedly discover in him some stupid, 
dull, weak, foolish, mean, false, or mercenary trait; one 
such blemish only, no matter how small it might be, would 
be sufficient to ruin him in my eyes. 

Sunday, December 2. In short, my heart is absolutely 
empty, empty, empty. But I must indulge in these dreams 
in order to amuse myself. I have experienced almost all 
those feelings which Stendhal mentions, however, apropos 
of true love, which he calls passionate love those innumer- 
able caprices of the imagination ; those childish follies of 
which he speaks. Thus I have often seen the most hateful 
people with pleasure, because they had chanced to be near 
the beloved object on that particular day. 

Besides, I think that no one, whether man or woman, 
who is always busy, or who is constantly preoccupied by the 
thought of fame, can love like one who has nothing but 
love to think of. 

Monday, 'December 3. I am intelligent, I give myself 
credit for wit, for penetration, for every intellectual quality 
in fact, and I am unprejudiced. Well, having these condi- 
tions, why should I not be able to form a clear judgment of 
myself? 

Have I really any talent for, or shall I really ever be 
anything in art? What is my unbiassed opinion concerning 
myself ? 

These are terrible questions because I think little of 
myself compared with the ideal to which I strive to attain 
compared with others, however 

But one cannot form a correct judgment concerning one's- 



1383. ] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEI I'. 363 

self, and then as long as I am not a genius and I have 
never produced anything that could enable any one even 
myself to form a definite judgment concerning me. 

Monday, December 10. Hundreds of people whose names 
are never heard of accomplish as much as I have done, 
and never complain that they have no outlet for their 
genius. If you find yourself embarrassed by your genius, 
it is because you have none; any one who has genius will 
have the strength to support it. 

The word genius is like the word love-, I found difficulty 
in writing it for the first time, but, when I had once written 
it, I made use of it at all times and on all occasions after- 
wards. It is the same as with many other things which 
at first appear huge, terrible, or unattainable once you 
become familiar with them you abandon yourself to them 
completely so as to make up for all your former hesitations 
and fears. This spirituelle observation does not appear to 
me to be very lucid, but I must expend my energy. I 
worked until seven, but as there is still some of it remain- 
ing, I must let it flow away from the point of my pen. 

I am growing thin. Well God be merciful to me! 

Sunday, December 23. True artists can never be happy ; 
they are conscious, in the first place, that the majority of 
people do not understand them ; they know they are work- 
ing for a hundred people or so, and that all the others follow 
their own bad taste, or the opinions of Figaro. 

The ignorance that prevails among all classes respecting 
everything that pertains to art is frightful. 

Those who speak understandingly of art, for the most part 
repeat the opinions which they have heard or read of those 
who are considered competent judges in the matter. 

But I think there are days when one feels those things 
more acutely days when nonsensical talk is especially in- 



3 6 4 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1883. 

supportable; when foolish observations cause one actual suf- 
fering; and to hear people exchanging for hours silly re- 
marks that have not even the merit of sprightliness or the 
varnish of fashion to recommend them, is a positive 
affliction. 

And observe that I am not one of those superior beings 
who shed tears when they are compelled to listen to the 
hackneyed phrases of the drawing-room its affectations, 
its stereotyped compliments, its remarks about the weather 
or the' Italian opera. I am not foolish enough to require 
that all conversation should be interesting, and to hear the 
commonplace talk of society, lively, it is true, at times, but 
more often dull, does not disturb my tranquillity in the least. 
I can submit to it, occasionally, even, with pleasure; what I 
have reference to is real folly, real stupidity, a lack of in 
short, the commonplace conversation of people who are not 
only worldly but stupid. 

To listen to this is like being burned at a slow fire. 

Monday, December 31. The Marechale and Claire dined 
yesterday with the Princess Mathilde. and Claire tells me 
that Lefebvre said to her of me that I had undoubted talent, 
that I was a very uncommon person, that I went a great deal 
into society, and that, in addition to this, I was watched 
over and directed by a celebrated painter (this with a mean- 
ing look.) 

Claire (looking at him fixedly): "What celebrated 
painter? Julian? Lefebvre?" 

"No, Bastien-Lepage." 

Claire: "Oh, you are entirely mistaken, monsieur; she 
works all the time, and goes out very little. As to Bastien- 
Lepage. she sees him nowhere except in her mother's draw- 
ing-room; he never goes up to her studio." 

Claire is a love of a girl, and she said nothing but what 
is true, for God is my witness that this Jules gives me no 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEF1-. 365 

assistance whatever. Lefebvre, however, looked as if he 
thought he did. 

It is two o'clock in the morning; the new year has begun, 
and at midnight, at the theater, with my watch in my hand, 
I made a wish in one single word a word that is grand, 
sonorous, beautiful, intoxicating, whether it be written or 
spoken Fame ! 



1884. 

My Aunt Helene, my father's sister, died a week ago. 
Paul telegraphed the news to us. 

We received another telegraphic dispatch to-day : my 
Uucle Alexander has just died of apoplexy; the news was 
a great shock to us ; he was devoted to his family, and 
loved his wife to distraction. As he had never read Balzac, 
nor indeed any other novelist, perhaps, he knew but little 
about the romantic phrases employed by lovers to express 
their affection ; certain words of his, however, I remember, 
to recall which now makes me feel all the greater sorrow 
for his death. On one occasion someone tried to make him 
believe that his wife was receiving the attentions of a neigh- 
bor, and I remember to have heard him say: " Well, sup- 
pose this infamous thing they tell me were true ! Is not 
my wife, whom I have lived with for fifteen years, flesh of 
my flesh, blood of my blood, soul of my soul ? Are we not 
one ? If I had committed a fault, would I not forgive my- 
self for it? Why then should I not forgive my wife ? Not 
to do so would be like plucking out one of my eyes, or 
cutting off an arm." 

Frid.iy, Jannarv 4. It is true, then ; I have consumption, 
and the disease is far advanced. 

I feel very ill ; I have said nothing about it, but I have 
fever every night. 



366 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

Saturday, January 5. The opening of the Manet Exhi- 
bition at the School of Fine Arts takes place to-day. 

I am going there. 

It is not quite a year since Manet died. I do not know 
a great deal about him. The collection, take it all in all, is 
a remarkable one. 

It is at once childish, extravagant, and grand. 

There are some absurd things among the pictures, but 
there are also some that are magnificent. A little more and 
Manet would have been a great painter. The pictures are, 
in general, repulsive ; some of them are altogether out of 
drawing ; but all are life-like. There are some splendid 
sketches among them ; and even in the most faulty of the 
pictures there is a something that rivets the attention, and 
almost calls forth admiration they reveal so evident a self- 
confidence on the part of the artist, so profound a belief in 
his own powers, joined to an ignorance no less profound. 
They are such pictures as a great genius might have pro- 
duced in his childhood. And then there are things copied 
almost exactly from Titian (the sketch of the female figure 
and the negro, for instance), Velasquez, Courbet, and Goya. 
But then all these painters stole from each other. And has 
not Moliere taken whole pages from other authors ? 

Monday, January 14. I feel as if I myself had been at 
Damvillers, Emile Bastien has told us so much about it 
about the picture, his brother's manner of life, etc. Accord- 
ing to him, if the artist has not invited us to see the studies 
painted by him at Concarneau, it is because he never invites 
any one to see his paintings. He even thinks it would be a 
mark of conceit on his part to ask any one to go look at a 
few unimportant studies made while he was resting in the 
country ; and finally, he says he thought from the friendli- 
ness we showed him that he might be dispensed from using 
ceremony ; that he would have been delighted to see us if 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSRFP. 367 

we had gone there, etc. He says, that, even in the case of 
his more important paintings, he never invites anyone to see 
them ; he merely requests his brother to let his intimate 
friends know when he has finished one. 

But here is something more serious : when his brother 
spoke to him of my picture he said : " Why did you not 
tell me of it when I was in Paris ? I would have gone to 
see it." 

"I told him nothing about it in Paris," his brother added, 
"because if he had gone to look at it, you would have 
hidden everything away, according to your custom ; he 
has never seen any of your pictures except those you 
exhibited at the Salon. Do you know that he will never 
care to look at your pictures if you continue to act in this 
way ? " 

" He will, if I wish it if I ask him to give me his advice." 
" He will be always delighted to give you his advice," 
he said. 

" But unfortunately I am not a pupil of his." 
" And why are you not ? He would ask for nothing 
better ; he would feel very much flattered if you consulted 
him, and he would give you judicious advice disinterested 
advice ; he has a correct judgment, and is not prejudiced 
in favor of any school, and he would be delighted to have 
so interesting a pupil. I assure you it would please and 
flatter him very much." 

Wednesday, January 16. The architect has told me that 
there is a painting of the "Shepherds at Bethlehem "among 
his brother's pictures. For the last two days my head has 
been filled with this subject ; so strong is the impression it 
has produced in my mind that I can compare it to nothing 
else than the feeling entertained by the shepherds them- 
selves a blending of holy enthusiasm and profound adora- 
tion. 



3 6 8 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIR TSE.FF. [1884. 

Can you not already imagine with what mystery, what 
tenderness, what sublime simplicity, he will invest this sub- 
ject ? One who is familiar with his paintings can do so, in 
some measure, by observing the mysterious and fantastic 
resemblance that exists between the " Jeanne d'Arc " and the 
"Soir au Village" the effect of both which pictures will be 
in some sort reproduced in the " Shepherds." But perhaps 
you think it absurd of me to grow enthusiastic about a 
painting that I have never seen that is not even yet in 
existence ? Well, let us suppose that in the eyes of the 
majority of people I appear ridiculous by doing so, there 
will always be a few dreamers who will take my part ; and, 
if need were, I could do without even those. 

"Jeanne d'Arc" has never been appreciated in France ; in 
America it was enthusiastically admired. The "Jeanne 
d'Arc," both in composition and in sentiment, is a master- 
piece. 

The reception it met with in Paris was a disgrace to the 
French people. 

Are only the " Phaedras " and the " Auroras," then, to meet 
with success ? Neither Millet, Rousseau, nor Corot were 
admired by the public until after they had become famous. 

What is most to be deplored, in our day, is the hypocrisy 
of the enlightened few who affect to see nothing either 
serious or elevated in modern art, and who exalt to the 
skies those painters who follow the traditions of the old 
masters. Is it necessary to point out and insist upon the 
fallacies involved in these views of art ? What then is 
high art if it be not the art which, while it renders the 
flesh, the dress, and the landscapes with such perfection 
that we want to touch them, so to speak, to see if they be 
real, endows them at the same time with soul, with spirit, 
and with life. The "Jeanne d'Arc" they say is not 
high art because the artist depicts his subject, not clad in 
armor and with the white and delicate hands of a 



i8S 4 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 369 

lady, but as a peasant girl and in the midst of homely 
surroundings. 

Stupid or dishonest critics praise the " Amour au Village/' 
which is inferior to the "Jeanne d'Arc," with the purpose 
of making it appear that the artist excels only in this style, 
indignant that a painter who has made peasant life a study 
should take it into his head to paint anything else to paint 
a peasant famous in history, for instance, like the " Jeanne 
d'Arc." 

Pharisees and hypocrites ! 

For, after all, any artist can paint flesh, but who can 
portray the soul within, the divine spark, as he has done? 
No one. In the eyes of his characters I can read their 
lives ; I almost think I know them. I have tried to feel 
this in looking at other paintings, but without success. 

Who would prefer as a subject for a painting the execu- 
tion of a Lady Jane Grey or a Baj izet to some little girl 
who looks at you with clear and animated glance as you 
pass her by in the street ? 

This great artist possesses a quality which is to be met 
with only in the religious paintings of the Italians at a time 
when artists were also believers. 

Has it never happened to you, on finding yourself alone 
of an evening in the country, under a clear and cloudless 
sky, to feel your being pervaded by a mysterious longing 
a vague aspiration toward the Infinite ; to feel yourself, as 
it were, on the threshold of some great event, some super- 
natural occurrence ? Were you never, in your dreams, 
transported into unknown regions ? 

If not you would seek in vain to understand Bastien- 
Lepage, and I advise you to buy an " Aurora" by Bouguereau 
or a historical picture by Cabanel. 

And all this is in order to say that I worship the genius 
of Bastien-Lepage ? 

Yes. 



370 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

Sunday, January 20. It is a sad confession to make, but 
I have no woman friend : there is no woman who loves me 
or whom I love. 

I am well aware that if I have no such friend, it is 
because I allow it to be seen, without intending it, from 
what a height " I survey the crowd." 

No one likes to be humiliated. I might console myself by 
the reflection that truly great natures are never loved. 
Such persons are surrounded by worshipers who bask in 
the sunshine of their fame, but who, at heart, hate them and 
disparage them when the opportunity to do so presents 
itself. They are talking just now of erecting a statue to 
Balzac, and the newspapers are filled with recollections of 
the great man contributed by his friends. Such friends are 
a disgrace to humanity. 

They vie with one another to see which will be foremost 
in dragging before the public view his most secret faults 
and foibles. I would rather have such people as those for 
my enemies than for my friends. At least their slanders 
would in that case be less likely to be believed. 

Saturday, February 23. At about one o'clock the Mare- 
chale and Claire came to meet Madeleine Lemaire, who 
wished to see my picture. This lady, besides being a wo- 
man of society, is also a celebrated artist in water-colors, 
and obtains very good prices for her pictures. Of course 
she said only flattering things of my picture. 

I think I must be going to die soon, for my whole life, 
with all its stupid details, rises before me details that it 
makes me shed tears of rage to remember. It has never 
been my habit to go to balls, like other girls. I would go 
to one occasionally three or four times a year perhaps. 
For the last two years, when I no longer cared to do so, I 
might have gone as often as I chose. 

And is it I, you ask, whose ambition it is to become a 



i8S 4 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSFJ1-. 371 

great artist, who regret not having been allowed to go to 
balls more often ? Indeed, yes. And what are my regrets 
for now ? Not for balls, but there are other reunions where 
one may meet thinkers, authors, artists, singers, men of sci- 
ence all those who constitute the world of intellect, in 
short. The most rational, the most philosophical person in 
the world need not be ashamed of desiring to meet once a 
week, or once a fortnight, persons who are the flower of 
Parisian intellect. I have always been unfortunate in every- 
thing ! Through my own merits I have succeeded in be- 
coming acquainted with the best people in Paris, and only 
to be humiliated. 

I am too unhappy not to believe in a God who could take 
pity upon me if he would ; but if there were indeed a God, 
would He allow such injustice to exist ? What have I ever 
done that I should be as unhappy as I am ? 

It is not in the God of the Bible that I can believe, how- 
ever. The Bible is a narrative of primitive times, in which 
all that relates to God is treated from the point of view of 
a child. The only God I can believe in is the God of phil- 
osophy an abstract being the Great Mystery earth, 
heaven, the universe, Pan. 

But this is a God who can in no way help us ; this is a 
God on whom our thoughts may dwell in adoration as we 
look up to the stars at night, seeking to penetrate to the 
heart of the spiritual universe, A la Renan. But a God who 
sees everything that takes place, who interests Himself in 
our affairs, to whom we may pray for what we desire I 
should indeed, like to believe in such a God, but if Ik- 
existed, would He suffer things to be as they are ? 

Tuesday, March n. It is raining. But it is not that 
alone that depresses me ; I am sick Heaven has over- 
whelmed me with misfortunes. 



37 2 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

But I am still at an age when one may find a certain 
ecstasy in everything, even in the thought of death. 

I fancy there is no one who takes so intense a delight in 
all things as I do art, music, painting, books, society, diess, 
luxury, gayety, solitude ; tears and laughter, sadness and 
rejoicing ; love, cold, heat ; the solemn plains of Russia 
and the mountains that surround Naples ; the snows of 
winter, the rains of autumn, spring with its intoxicating 
joys, the calm days and the glorious starlit nights of sum- 
mer I love them and delight in them all. Everything in 
nature presents itself to me under an aspect either interest- 
ing or sublime ; I long to see everything, to grasp every- 
thing, to embrace everything, to enter into the heart of 
everything, and to die since die I must, whether in one 
year or in thirty years, I care not which to die, exhaling 
my being in an ecstasy of joy at solving this last mystery of 
all, the end of all things, or the beginning of things divine. 

And this sentiment of universal love is not the result of 
the fever that accompanies my malady. I have always felt 
it as strongly as I feel it now. Just ten years ago in 
1874, as I remember, after enumerating the pleasures of 
the different seasons I wrote thus : 

" In vain would I seek to choose ; all seasons of the 
year, all periods of life, are equally beautiful," 

The good, Robert-Fleury dines with us this evening ; he 
says that my picture of the little gamins is greatly im- 
proved that it is good, in fact, and that it will be accepted 
at the Salon. 

I forgot to say that it is called " A Meeting." 

Wednesday, March 12. The portrait of Dina will not be 
finished in time, so that I shall send on the " Meeting." 

There was a friendly gathering at Mme. Hochon's this 
evening. Among those present, besides ourselves, were the 
Duchess d'Uzes ; the Countess Cornet, and the Marechale ; 



I88 4 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 373 

and a number of artists Cabanel, Jalabert, Siebert, G. 
Ferrier, Boulanger, etc. There was music, and Salvayre 
played and sang some airs from his " Henri III." All these 
people, not excepting Cabanel, were very friendly to me. 

Saturday, March 15.-^- Abbema came to see my picture 
this morning. 

I thought the i5th would never come. The weather is 
glorious, and on Monday or Tuesday I am going into the 
country to work. I will no longer waste my admiration on 
Bastien-Lepage. Indeed I know but little of him, his dis- 
position is so reserved ; besides, it is better to spend one's 
energy on one's work than in worshiping at any one's 
shrine. 

Sunday, March 16. The pictures have been sent away. 

I came home at about half-past six so exhausted with 
fatigue that the sensation was delicious. Perhaps you may 
not believe it, but for me every overpowering sensation, 
even the sensation of pain, is a joy. 

I remember once when I had hurt my finger, some years 
ago, that for half an hour the pain was so acute that I took 
pleasure in it. 

And so it was with the lassitude I felt this evening, lying 
in the bath, and afterward in bed, my limbs powerless, my 
head full of vague and confused ideas. I fell asleep repeat- 
ing words as disconnected as the thoughts that passrd 
through my head Cabanel, varnishing-day, the Marechal, 
Breslau, art, Algeria, the line, Wolff. 

Wednesday, March 19. I have discovered an orchard 
for the scene of my picture, at Sevres ; I returned home 
very much fatigued. Some friends dined with us in the 
evening. 

Yesterday the election of members to the club of Russian 
artists took place. I was unanimously elected. 



374 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

Claire saw an acquaintance to-day who told her he had 
visited Bastien-Lepage not long ago, and that he had found 
him very ill ; he met Bastien's physician on the following 
day, who said to him : " The man is very ill, but I do not 
think his disease is rheumatism ; the trouble is here," and 
he tapped himself on the stomach. So, then, he is really 
ill ! He went to Blidah three or four days "go, accom- 
panied by his mother. 

Saturday, March 22. I have not yet begun work at 
Sevres, but all my preparations are made. 

Julian writes : " Your picture has been accepted and 
will receive a No. 3 at the very least." 

What does this at the very least mean ? 

God be thanked ! I had not the slightest doubt as to 
my pictures being accepted ! 

Monday, March 24. For the past few days we have lived 
in an atmosphere of discord ; and this has kept me apart 
from the others and given me an opportunity to look into 
the depths of my inner self. No, everything is too sad to 
make it worth while to complain of any one thing in par- 
ticular. I am overwhelmed by it all. 

I have just re-read a book which I read some years ago 
but did n4t then like. I now admire it greatly. The 
style of the book, its execution, so to say, is perfect. But the 
question is not one of style alone. The clouds that darken 
my mental horizon make me see the realities of life all the 
more clearly realities so hard, so bitter that I could not 
keep from tears if I were to write them down. Bat I cannot 
even write them down. Where would be the use of doing 
so ? What is the use of anything ? I have spent six years 
working ten hours a day to gain what ? The knowledge 
of all I have yet to learn in my art and a fatal disease. I 
went to see my doctor this morning, and I talked with so 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK'IRTSEFF. 375 

much animation that he said to me : " I see you have not 
yet lost your gayety." 

If I still wish to cherish the hope that fame is to recom- 
pense me for all my sufferings, I must live, and in order to 
live I must take care of my health. 

Here are dreams side by side with the frightful reality. 

One never believes in any coming trouble until it comes. 
I remember once when I was very young I was traveling for 
the first time in a railway coach for the first time I came in 
contact with strangers. I had just taken my seat and filled 
the two seats next to mine with all sorts of articles, when 
two passengers entered the coach. " These seats are 
taken," I said coolly. " Very well," answered the gentle- 
man I addressed, " I will speak to the conductor." 

I thought this was an unmeaning threat as if we had 
been en famille ; and it would be impossible to describe 
the feeling of amazement that came over me when the 
conductor came and removed my things from the seat, 
which the passenger took immediately. This was my first 
reality. 

For a long time now I have been saying to myself that I 
was going to be ill, without really believing it. But enough 
of this, I should not have had the opportunity to give you 
all these insignificant details," if it were not that I have been 
waiting for my model, and I might as well spend the time 
grumbling as doing nothing. 

There is a March wind blowing, and the sky is gray and 
lowering. 

I began my picture a rather large one in the old 
orchard at Sevres yesterday. It is a young girl seated 
under an apple-tree in blossom, that stands, with other 
fruit-trees in blossom also, in a grassy field sown with 
violets and little yellow flowers, like stars. The girl sits 
with half-closed eyes, in a revery. She leans her head in 



37 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

the palm of her left hand, while her elbow rests upon her 
knee. 

The treatment is to be simple, and the spectator must be 
made to share in the intoxication produced in the girl by 
the breath of Spring. The sunlight plays among the 
branches of the trees. 

The picture is to be about five feet in width, and a little 
more in height. 

So, then, my picture has only received a number 3 ; and 
it will not be even hung upon the line not even that ! 

This has caused me a feeling of discouragement, hope- 
less and profound. No one is to blame, however, if I am 
not gifted with genius. And this feeling of discourage- 
ment shows me that if I ceased to have faith in my genius 
I could no longer live. Yes, if the hope of success should 
again fail me, as it did this evening, then, indeed, there 
would be nothing left me but to die. 

Thursday. My mind has been greatly preoccupied 
about my work. Why have I not yet succeeded in pro- 
ducing anything in painting equal to my pastel of three 
years ago ? 

Monday, March 31. I have done very little to-day. I 
fear that my picture will be badly hung and that I shall 
receive no medal. 

I remained in a hot bath for nearly an hour, and this 
brought on a slight hemorrhage of the lungs. 

This was very foolish on my part, you will say, very 
likely ; but I am no longer prudent about my health ; I am 
discouraged, and almost distracted, from having so many 
things to struggle against. 

Well, there is nothing to be said nothing to be done. 
If this state of things continues, I may live for a year or so, 



i88 4 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSKFF. 377 

while if my mind were at rest I might live for twenty years 
longer. 

Yes, this 3 is hard to swallow. Zilhardt and Breslau have 
both received a number 3. And why then did I not re- 
ceive a number 2 ? There are forty members in the com- 
mittee, and it seems that I received so many votes for a 
number 2 that every one thought I should get it. Sup- 
pose I had fifteen votes in my favor, and twenty-five against 
me ; the committee is composed of fifteen or twenty men of 
note, and twenty wretchedly poor artists who have obtained 
the positions they occupy through intrigue. This is well 
known ; but even so it is bad enough ; the blow is a crush- 
ing one. It has not blinded me to the truth of the matter, 
however, and I can see myself a$ I am. I begin to think 
that if my picture had been really good 

Ah, never, never, never, have I touched the lowest depths 
of despair as I have done to-day. So long as there is a 
lower depth to be reached there is still room for hope, but 
when one has set foot, as I have done, on the black and 
slimy bottom of the gulf itself ; when one says to one's-self 
as I have done, " It is neither circumstances, nor surround- 
ings, nor the world, that is to blame, it is my own want of 
genius," then there is nothing further to be hoped for; 
then there is no higher power, human or divine, to appeal 
to. I can no longer go on working. All is over. 

Here, then, is an overpowering sensation. Well, accord- 
ing to my theories I ought to find enjoyment in it. I am 
caught in my own trap ! 

Never mind. I will take some bromide ; that will make 
me sleep. And then, God is good, and every great sorrow 
brings along with it some consolation. 

And to think that I cannot even tell my griefs to anyone ; 
that I cannot even have the consolation of talking them 
over with any one no, there is no one, no one ! 

Happy are the simple-hearted ; happy are they who 



37 8 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

believe in a God on whom they can call for consolation. 
What should I call on God to console me for ? Because I 
am not gifted with genius. 

You see this is the very bottom of the gulf ; I ought to 
find enjoyment in it. 

That might be the case if there were spectators to my 
misery. 

Those who become famous have their friends to tell their 
sorrows to the world for they have had friends to whom 
they could confide their sorrows. I have none. Even if 
I should utter my complaints to any one, if I should say, 
" No, I will never paint again ! " what then ? No one is the 
loser by it if I do not happen to be gifted with genius. 

But of all the sorrows thflt I hide within my heart because 
there is none to whom I can turn for sympathy, the deep- 
est, the most humiliating is this : to feel, to know, that I 
am nothing ! 

If this were to continue I could not live. 

Wednesday, April 2. I went to-day to Petit's (an exhi- 
bition of paintings in the Rue de Seze) ; I stayed for an 
hour admiring the incomparable paintings of Bastien-Le- 
page and of Cazin. 

Then I went to Robert-Fleury's and asked him with an 
unconcerned air, " Well, how did things go at the com- 
mittee ? " 

" Oh, very well," he answered ; "when your picture was 
inspected some of the members said not one or two of 
them, but several ' Stay, that is good ; it deserves a num- 
ber 2.' " 

" Oh, monsieur, is it possible? " 

"Yes, and do not think I say this merely to please you ; 
it was so. Then the votes were taken, and if the president 
had been in his right mind that day, you would have had 3. 
number 2," 



iS3 4 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASUKIKTSE1-F. 379 

" But what fault do they find with the picture ?" 

" None." 

" How, none ; is it not bad, then ? " 

" It is good." 

" And then ?" 

" Then it is a piece of ill-luck, that is all. Now, if you 
could find a member of the committee to ask to have it 
hung on the line, he would have it done, for the picture is 
good." 

" And you could you not have it done ? " 

" I am only a member of the bureau whose duty it is to 
see that the order of the numbers is not interfered with ; 
But if any other member should ask to have it done, be 
sure I shall not oppose it." 

Then I went to see Julian, who laughed a little at Robert- 
Fleury's advice, and said I might make my mind quite easy ; 
that it would surprise him very much if I were not on the 
line, and that. And then Robert-Fleury told me that he 
conscientiously thought I deserved a number 2, and that, 
morally speaking, I have received it. Morally speaking ! 
And then it would be only justice ! 

Oh, no ; To ask as a favor that which is my due, that 
would be too much ! 

Friday, April 4. The exhibition of Bastien-Lepage is 
no doubt a brilliant one, but the pictures are almost all old 
ones. They are : i. A portrait of Mme. Drouet, of last 
year. 2. Another portrait of 1882. 3. A landscape with 
two women washing in the foreground, and an apple-tree 
m blossom, of 1882 also; 4. His picture for the con- 
cours, which was awarded the Prix de Rome (he received 
only the second Prix de Rome) of 1875 ; and then there is 
a little sketch made last year at Concarneau five in all. 
" Le Mar de Damvillers," 6 ; " Les Bles ou les Faucheurs," 
in which only the back of one little mower is to be seen, 7 ; 



3^0 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

an aged mendicant gathering wood in a forest, makes eight. 
" Le Mar de Damvillers," the mowers, and the mendicant 
are in the full sunlight. His landscapes are of equal merit 
with his figures, for a truly great artist has no specialty. 

I saw an Andromeda in the studio of Bastien-Lepage 
which, although small, is a study of the nude such as few 
artists could make. Precision of outline, character, nobility 
of form, grace of attitude, fineness of tone, it possesses all 
these, and in addition an execution at once broad in spirit 
and exquisite in detail. In short, it is nature itself, the 
living flesh. Among twilight scenes the " Soir au Village " 
is a masterpiece. In his poetic style, a la Millet, he has per- 
haps gone to the extreme. I say a la Millet so as to make 
my meaning understood, for Bastien is always himself ; 
and because Millet has painted sunsets and moonlight 
scenes is no reason why others should not do the same if 
they choose. 

The effect of this "Soir au Village" is wonderful; why 
did I not buy it? 

He has also painted some English landscapes views of 
the Thames, in which one can almost see the water flow- 
ing that heavy, turbid water that moves onward in its bed 
with a snake-like motion. To conclude, nothing could be 
finer than his portraits in miniature; they are as fine as the 
portraits of the old masters. As for the portrait of his 
mother (life-size) the execution of it is wonderful; it is 
nature's self, and the illusion is preserved, however closely 
the picture be examined. The ' 'Jeanne d' Arc' ' is an inspira- 
tion of genius. 

Bastien-Lepage is thirty-five years old. Raphael died at 
thirty-seven, leaving behind him a greater number of works 
than Bastien has yet produced. But Raphael had been 
cradled, so to speak, in the lap of duchesses and of cardinals, 
who procured for him the instructions of the great Perugino ; 
Raphael at the age of fifteen made copies of his master's 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASIIKIRTSEFF. 381. 

paintings that could scarcely be distinguished from the orig- 
inalsat fifteen he was already a great artist. And then, 
in those great paintings that we admire as much for the 
time in which they were executed as for their merit, the 
chief part of the work was done by the pupils; in many of 
them, indeed, with the exception of the Cartoons, there is 
nothing of Raphael's work. 

Whereas Bastien-Lepage in his early years sorted letters 
in the post-office in Paris to gain a livelihood. He exhib- 
ited, I believe, for the first time in 1869. 

In this respect, however, he was no worse off than I, who 
have always lived amid surroundings little favorable to art. 
True, I took a few drawing lessons in my childhood, as all 
children do, and fourteen or fifteen lessons afterward, for 
a space of three or four years, still continuing to live in 
the midst of these same surroundings. That would give me 
six years and a few months of study, but then there were 
travels and a serious illness to interfere. But, after all 
what have I accomplished? 

Have I accomplished as much as Bastien had accom- 
plished in 1874? This question is a piece of insanity. 

If I were to repeat in public, even in the presence of 
those who are artists themselves, what I have written here 
of Bastien, people would declare me to be insane some 
from conviction, others on principle so that they might not 
be compelled to admit the superior merit of so young an 
artist. 

Saturday, April 5. Here are my plans: 

First, I will finish the painting at Sevres. Then I will 
take up seriously the study of sculpture in the mornings, 
and of the nude in the afternoons the sketch for to-day is 
already done. That will take me into July. In July I 
will begin a painting of "Evening," representing a meadow, 
with a far-stretching treeless road fading into the sunset sky 



382 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

in the distance. On the road is to be a wagon, drawn by 
two oxen and filled with hay, on the top of which an old 
man is lying face downward, his chin resting in the palms 
of his hands. The outlines stand in bold relief against the 
sunset sky. The oxen are led by a country boy. 

That would have a simple, grand, and poetic effect. 

As soon as I shall have finished this and two or three 
little things I have in hand, I will set out for Jerusalem, 
where I shall spend the winter both for my health and on 
account of my picture. 

And next winter Julian will call me a great artist. 

I write all this here because it is interesting to see after- 
ward how our plans turn out. 

Sunday, April 6. My aunt left for Russia this evening. 

Saturday, April 12. Julian has written to tell me that 
my picture is hung on the line. 

Wednesday, April 16. I go to Sevres every day. My 
picture has taken complete possession of me. The apple- 
tree is in blossom, the trees around are full of budding 
leaves, in which the sunlight falls, and little yellow flowers 
dot the grass; at the foot of the apple-tree the young girl is 
seated, "languid and intoxicated," as Andre Theuriet says, 
"by the balmy breath of Spring." If I can only render the 
effect of the sunlight and of the budding life of spring, the 
picture will be beautiful. 

Tuesday, April 29. To-morrow is varnishing-day. In 
the morning I shall see Figaro and the Gaulois; what 
will they say of me? Will it be good, will it be bad, or will 
they say nothing at all? 

Wednesday, April 30. Things are not so bad, after all, 
for the Qaitlois speaks very well of me ; it gives me a sepa- 




SPRING. 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASUKIRTSEFF. 383 

rate notice. The article is very chic. It is by Fourcaud, 
the Wolff of the Gaulois. 

The Voltaire treats me in the same fashion as the Gau- 
lois. Both notices are important ones. 

The Journal des Arts also mentions me, and Llntransi- 
gc'a/it speaks of me in terms of praise. The other journals 
will notice the Exhibition from day to day. It is only 
Figaro, the Gaulois, and the Voltaire that give a general 
mention of the pictures on varnishing-day. 

Am I satisfied? It is easy to answer that question ; I am 
neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. My success is just enough 
to keep me from being unhappy ; that is all. 

I have just returned from the Salon. We did not go until 
noon and we left at five an hour before the exhibition 
closes. I have a headache. 

We remained for a long time seated on a bench before 
the picture. It attracted a good deal of attention, and I 
smiled to myself at the thought that no one would ever 
imagine the elegantly dressed young girl seated before it, 
showing the tips of her little boots, to be the artist. 

Ah, all this is a great deal better than last year! 

Have I achieved a success, in the true, serious meaning 
of the word ? I almost think so. 

Breslau has two portraits, only one of which I have seen, 
and that surprised me greatly. It is a copy of Manet 
which I do not like, and is not so good as her previous 
work. Perhaps you will be shocked by the confession I am 
going to make, but this does not grieve me ; neither am I 
rejoiced at it, however; there is room for every one, but 
I confess I am better pleased that the picture is not a 
good one. 

Bastien-Lepage sends nothing but his little picture of last 
year "La Forge." He is not yet well enough to go on work- 
ing. The poor architect looks very dejected and says he 
is going to throw himself into the river, 



JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. | 

I, too, am sad, and notwithstanding my painting, my 
sculpture, my music, my reading, I believe I am tired of life. 

Saturday, May 3. Emile Bastien came to-day at about 
half-past eleven. I went down to see him, very much sur- 
prised at his visit. 

He had a great many pleasant things to tell me ; he says 
I have achieved a genuine success. 

" I do not mean compared with your previous work, or 
with that of your fellow-pupils at the studio," he said, " but 
as compared with that of any artist. I saw Ollendorff 
yesterday, who said that if it were the work of a French- 
man, the State would have purchased it. " Yes, truly, M. 
Bashkirtseff paints well," he added. (The painting is 
signed M. Bashkirtseff.) " I told him that you were a 
young girl and a pretty one, I added. He could not 
believe it. Every one has spoken to me of it as a great 
success." 

Ah, I begin to believe in it a little, myself. I am always 
slow to believe in any piece of good fortune, lest I should 
be disappointed afterward. 

In short, I shall be the last to believe that people believe 
in my genius. But it really seems as if they would, in the 
end. 

" A genuine and great success," Emile Bastien says. 

Is it then a success equal to that of Jules Bastien, in 
1874 or 1875 ? Ah, if it only were ! I am not yet over- 
joyed, however, for I can scarcely believe that. I want to 
be overjoyed. 

This very good friend of mine has asked me to sign a 
paper giving permission to Charles Baucle, the engraver, 
and an intimate friend of his brother, to photograph and 
engrave my painting for the Monde Illustrt. That will be 
of very great advantage to me, 



i88 4 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE 3ASHKIRTSEFF. 385 

He told me also that Friant (who is a man of talent) is 
enthusiastic about my picture. 

People whom I have never seen talk about me are inter- 
ested in me, discuss .my merits. What happiness ! Ah. I 
have waited for this and hoped for this so long that, now 
that it has come, I can scarcely believe it. 

I received a letter from a stranger yesterday asking my 
permission to photograph my picture. I prefer that Hande 
should do it, however (the one Bastien-Lepage calls Chariot, 
and to whom he writes letters eight pages long). 

I am going down to mamma's drawing-room now, to 
receive the congratulations of all the imbeciles who regard 
my pictures as the works of a woman of society, and who 
pay any little fool the same compliments as they pay me. 

Rosalie, I think, is the one who takes the liveliest satis- 
faction in my success. She is wild with joy ; when she 
speaks to me about it she shows the delight an old nurse 
might show at the success of her nursling ; and she talks 
of it to everybody, with the garrulity of a portress. For 
her this is an event, a piece of good-fortune that has befallen 
her. 

Monday, May 5. Death is a thing we write and talk 
about lightly enough, but to think one is going to die soon, 
to believe it that is another matter. Do I then believe that 
I am going to die soon ? No, but I fear it. 

The fact is not to be disguised ; I have consumption. 
The right, lung is far gone, and the left lung has bvi-n 
affected for a year past. Both lungs, then. If I were dif- 
ferently built, I should look almost thin. Not that I am 
much thinner than many other young girls are, but I am 
much more so than I was. A year ago my figure was per- 
fect neither too stout nor too thin. At present the flc^h 
on my arms is no longer firm, and on the upper part of the 
arm, near the shoulder, where a smooth round smf.ur \\.is 



3^6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. ' [1884 

to be seen before, the bone is plainly visible. In short, my 
health is gone past recovery. " But, wretched creature," 
you will say, " why then will you not take more care of your- 
self?" But I take excessive care of myself. I have had my 
chest burned on both sides, so that I shall be unable to 
wear a low-necked dress for four months to come. And it 
will be necessary to continue the burnings from time to time 
so that I may be able to sleep. The question is no longer 
one of getting well. It may be thought that I exaggerate 
matters ; but no, I say only what is the truth. And besides 
the burnings there are so many other things to be done. I 
do them all ; I take cod-liver oil, arsenic, and goat's milk 
they have bought me a goat. 

I may linger on for a while, but I am doomed. 

The trouble is that I have had too many things to con- 
tend against, and they are killing me ; this was only to be 
expected, but it is none the less horrible. 

There are so many things to make life interesting ; read- 
ing alone would be enough, 

I have just obtained the complete works of Zola and 
Renan, and some of Taine's works. I prefer Taine's 
" Revolution " to that of Michelet. Michelet is rambling, 
and wanting in precision of thought, and notwithstanding 
his sympathy with the heroic aspects of the Revolution, and 
Taine's evident purpose to depict it on its worst side, I like 
Taine's work best. 

And what is to be said of art ? Ah, if one could only 
believe in a beneficent God who interests himself in our 
affairs and arranges them to our satisfaction ! 

Tuesday, May 6. I have been devoting all my time to 
reading ; I have read all Zola's works. He is an intellectual 
giant. 

Here is another man of genius whom the French people 
evidently do not appreciate ! 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSl-.l I- . 387 

I have just received a letter from Dusseldorff, containing 
a request for permission to engrave and publish my picture, 
as well as some other things of mine. This is amusing. 
As for me I cannot believe in it yet. In short, 1 must 
acknowledge that I have achieved a success every one tells 
me so. They did not tell me so last year, however. I.u^t 
year I obtained some reputation as an artist, owing to the 
pastel ; but it was nothing compared to the reputation this 
year's picture has given me. Of course it is not an astound- 
ing success ; and my name, announced in any drawing- 
room to-night, would not create the slightest sensation. 
And to convince me of my success and make me perfectly 
happy, that would be necessary. 

Yes, when my name is mentioned every voice must be 
hushed, every head turned in my direction, in order to sat- 
isfy me. 

Since the opening of the Salon there is not a single jour- 
nal that has not spoken of my picture ; but that is not all ; 
there was an article by Etincelle in the Paris of this morn- 
ing. It is very chic ! I come immediately after Claire and 
have as many lines devoted to me as she has ! I am a 
Greuze ! I am a blonde, with liquid eyes and the imperi- 
ous brow of one destined to become famous; I dress witli 
elegance ; I have marked ability, and my pictures are good 
specimens of the realistic school, after the manner of Bas- 
tien-Lepage. But this is not all ; I have the smile and the 
winning grace of a child. And I am not transported with 
delight ? Well, no, not at all. 

Thursday, May 8. How is it that Wolff has made no 
mention of my picture ! It is possible, indeed, that he may 
not yet have seen it ; his attention may have been divi-rti-d 
by something while he was making the tour of the room in 
which it is hung. It cannot be because I am unworthy of 



388 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASI1KIRTSEFF. [1884. 

engaging the attention of so famous a man, for he has 
noticed persons of even less importance than I. 

What is it then ? Is it a piece of ill-luck, like the num- 
ber 3 ? I do not believe in making ill-luck an excuse for 
our want of success that would be too easy a way of 
soothing one's wounded self-love ; and, besides, it makes 
one look foolish. I attribute it rather to my want of 
merit. 

And the most astounding thing is that this is the truth. 

Friday, May 9. I am reading Zola, and I admire him 
greatly. His criticisms and studies are admirable, and I 
am delighted with them. To gain the love of such a man, 
what would not a woman do ? Do you suppose me, then, 
capable of love, as another woman might be ? Oh, Heaven ! 

Well, the affection I felt for Bastien-Lepage was the 
same as that I now feel for Zola, whom I have never seen, 
who is forty-five years old, and corpulent, and who has a 
wife. I ask you if the men one meets in society the men 
one is expected to marry are not altogether absurd ? 
What could I find to say to any one of those the whole day 
long ? 

Emile Bastien dined with us to-day, and told me he 
would bring M. Hayem, a well-known art-connoisseur, to 
see me next Thursday morning. 

He possesses pictures of Delacroix, Corot, and Bastien- 
Lepage, and he has a special gift for discovering latent 
genius. 

The day following the one in which the portrait of Bas- 
tien.- Lepage's grandfather was exhibited, Hayem went to 
see the artist in his studio and gave him an order for a 
portrait of his father. It seems he has an astonishingly 
keen scent for genius ; Emile Bastien saw him standing be- 
fore my picture to-day, looking at it. 

" What do you think of that ? " he asked him. 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BAS1IKIRTSE1-1-. 389 

"I think it very good," returned the connoisseur; "do 
you know the artist ? Is she young ? " and so on. 

This Hayem has been following me since last year, when 
he looked at my pastel, as he did at my painting this year. 

In short,.they are coming here on Thursday; he wishes 
to buy one of my pictures. 

Monday, May 12. After a period of intensely cold 
weather, the temperature for the last three days has risen 
to 28 or 29 degrees. This is overpowering. 

While waiting for M. Hayem's visit, I have been finish- 
ing a study of a little girl, in the garden. 

I forgot to mention that we met Hecht on the staircase 
of the Italiens. He spoke enthusiastically of my picture. 

I have not yet achieved the success I desire, however. 
But neither had Bastien-Lepage achieved the success he 
desired, before he exhibited the portrait of his grandfather. 
True, but nevertheless as I am fated to die soon, I want 
success to come quickly. 

AH the symptoms seem to indicate that Bastien-Lepage 
has a cancer in the stomach. It is all over with him, then. 
But perhaps they are mistaken. The poor fellow cannot 
sleep. It is atrocious. And his porter probably enjoys 
excellent health. It is atrocious. 

Thursday, May 15. E. Bastien came with M. Hayem 
this morning to see my pictures. .Is it not absurd ? I can 
scarcely believe it to be true : I am an artist. I have gen- 
ius and speaking seriously, not in jest. And a man of M. 
Hayem's reputation comes to see my paintings, and cares 
to look at what I have done. Can it be possible ? 

Emile Bastien is delighted at all this. The other day he 
said to me : " It seems to me as if it were I inysrif who 
was concerned." The poor fellow is very unhappy ; 1 
his brother will not get over this. 



390 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

May 15. I spent the whole afternoon walking up and 
down my room, very happy, with little shivers running up 
and down my back at the thought of the medal. 

The medal is for the public ; as a matter of fact, I prefer 
such a success as mine, without a medal, to some kinds of 
medals. 

Saturday, May 17. I have just returned from the Bois, 
where I went with the demoiselles Staritsky, who are in 
Paris for a few days ; I met Bagnisky there, who told me 
they were discussing the Exhibition at Bogoluboff's the 
other day, and that some one remarked that my pictures 
resembled the paintings of Bastien-Lepage. 

On the whole, I am flattered by the stir my picture has 
made. I am envied : I am slandered ; I am some one ; so 
that I may be allowed to put on airs if I choose. 

Instead of doing this, however, I cry out in a heart- 
breaking tone, " Is it not horrible and enough to discour- 
age any one ? I spend six years the six best years of my 
life working like a galley-slave, seeing no one, enjoying 
nothing ; at the end of that time I succeed in painting a 
good picture, and they dare to say I have received assist- 
ance in doing it ! The reward of all my efforts is to be 
vilely slandered ! " 

This I say half-jestingly, half seriously, reclining on a 
bearskin with my arms hanging listlessly by my sides. 
Mamma takes it all seriously, however, and this drives me 
wild. 

They give the medal of honor to X , let us suppose ; 

naturally I cry out that it is an injustice, that it is a shame ; 
that I am furious, etc. 

Mamma : " But, for Heaven's sake, do not get so excited ; 
they have not given it to him ; it is not true, they have not 
given it to him. And if they have done so, they have done 
it on purpose ; they know your disposition ; they know you 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKlRTSEFF. 391 

will fly into a rage about it. They have done it purposely, 
and you allow yourself to be caught in the trap, like a 
little fool ! " 

This is not an accusation, remember ; it is only a sup. 
position ; but wait until X receives his medal, and you 
shall see ! 

Another example : The novel of the pitiful creature Y, 
who happens to be in fashion just no\v, has reached I 
don't know how many editions. Naturally, I am enraged. 
"You see," I cry, "this is what the public like; this is 
what their minds feed upon! O temporal O mores!" 
Would you believe that mamma begins the same tirade 
over again, or almost the same as in the case of X. This 
has already happened more than once. She is afraid I 
shall break in pieces at the slightest shock ; that it will kill 
me ; and she seeks to save me from this fate by such means 
as cause me an attack of fever in the end. 

Again : X, Y, or Z chances to say in the course of a 
visit, " Do you know that the ball at Larochefoucauld's was 
a very brilliant affair?" 

I scowl at this. Mamma observes it, and five minutes 
later says something, as if by chance, that is calculated to 
disparage the ball in my eyes if she does not try to prove 
that it has not taken place at all. 

It has come to this inventions and childish subterfuges ; 
it makes me foam with rage to think that they should believe 
me so easily imposed upon. 

Tuesday, May 20. I went to the Sakn at ten o'clock 

this morning with M. H . He says my picture is so 

good that people think I have received assistance in paint- 
ing it. 

This is outrageous. 

He had the daring to say that Bastien has never com- 
posed a picture, that he is a portrait-painter ; that his pic- 



392 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

tures are only portraits, and that he has never done any- 
thing in the nude. The audacity of this Jew amazes me. 

He spoke of the medal and said he would interest himself 
about it ; he knows all the members of the committee. 

We went from the Salon to Robert-Fleury's. I told him 
very excitedly that I was accused of not having painted my 
own picture. 

He said he had heard nothing about it ; that such a thing 
was not mentioned by any member of the committee ; that 
if it had been mentioned, he was there to contradict it. He 
thought me much more agitated than I really was, and 
came home with me to breakfast, so as to soothe and con- 
sole me. " How can you let everything agitate you in this 
way?" he said. "Such things should be treated with the 
contempt they deserve." 

" I only wish one of the committee would say such a 
thing in my presence," he added, " I should be furious, I 
would annihilate him on the spot." , 

"Ah, thank you, monsieur," I said. 

" No," he returned, " you must not thank me ; the ques- 
tion is not one of friendship, it is one of justice ; and I 
know what you can do better than any one else." 

He repeated all these pleasant things to me again and 
again, and also said that my chances of receiving the medal 
were good ; one can never tell with certainty, of course, 
but it appears that I have a good chance. 

Saturday, May 24. The medals of the first and second 
classes are to be awarded to-day ; to-morrow those of the 
third class. 

To-day is warm and I feel tired. The France Ilhistre has 
asked my permission to reproduce the painting. Some one 
called Lecadre has written to me asking permission also. 
I have granted it in both cases ; let them reproduce it as 
much as they will. 



iS3 4 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 393 

And then medals are awarded to paintings that are not 
so good as mine. Oh, I am not at all uneasy ; true genius 
will make itself recognized under all circumstances ; only 
it is tiresome to be waiting for anything. It is better not 
to count upon it. The mention was promised as a certainty ; 
the medal is doubtful, but it will be unjust if I do not re- 
ceive it. 

Evidently. 

Sunday, May 25. What have I accomplished since the 
first of May ? Nothing. And why ? Ah, woe is me ! 

I have just come from Sevres ; it is frightful ; the land- 
scape is so changed that it will never do ; it is Spring no 
longer. And then my apple-blossoms (in the painting) 
have turned yellow ; I had mixed in too much oil. I was 
an idiot, but I have altered it ; well, we shall see. But this 
picture must be finished. What with the Salon, the news- 
papers, the rain, H and other stupid things of the kind, 
I have lost twenty-five days ; this is maddening ; but there 
is an end to it all now. 

The medal is to be awarded to-day, and it is now four 
o'clock. The rain is falling in torrents. Last year I was 
sure of receiving it, and all that troubled me was having to 
wait for the news. This year I am by no means sure of 
receiving it, and I am much more tranquil than I was thru. 

This year it is yes or no, without any doubt about the 
matter. If it is yes, I shall know it by eight o'clock this 
evening. Meantime I shall go recline in the easy-chair by 
the window, and amuse myself looking out at the passers- 
by while I am waiting for the news. 

It is now twenty minutes past five, and I am not much 
more tired than if I had remained idle all this time without 
waiting for anything. 

It vexes me to think of that oil that has turned my apple- 
blossoms jellow. When I looked at them for the first time 



394 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

the perspiration broke out on my face. Let us hope it will 
not be very noticeable, however. In two hours more I shall 
know. Perhaps you think I am very nervous about the 
matter. No, I assure you ; I am not much more nervous 
than I have often been after spending an afternoon listless 
and alone, doing nothing. 

In any case I shall learn the result from to-morrow's 
papers. 

I am tired to death waiting ; I am feverish, and I have a 
slight headache. 

Ah, I shall not receive it, and it is the thought of what 
mamma will say that most annoys me ! I do not wish my 
affairs to be pried upon by others, my feelings to be com- 
mented upon by them. It makes me turn hot, as if I had 
committed some immodest action. No matter what my 
feelings are, I wish to be allowed to indulge them in peace. 
Mamma will imagine that I am grieving, and that exasper- 
ates me. 

The air is close and foggy ; I can scarcely breathe. 

It is thirty-five minutes past seven ; I am called to dinner. 
All is over. 

Monday, May 26. This is better ; instead of stupidly 
waiting, I am now indignant, but indignation is a feeling 
one need not conceal and is rather refreshing than other- 
wise. Twenty-six medals were awarded yesterday ; there 

are still six more to be awarded. M has received a 

medal for his portrait of Julian. 

What can be the reason that I have received no medal ? 
For certainly pictures no better than mine have received 
medals. 

Injustice ? That is an excuse I am not very fond of. 
It is one that any fool can claim. 

They may admire my picture or not, as they choose, but 
it is an undeniable fact that it contains seven figures, life^ 



i3S 4 ] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 395 

size, grouped together, on a background that has some 
merit also. Every one whose opinion is worth having 
thinks it very good, or at least good ; some persons have 
even said that I received assistance in painting it. 1 
the elder Robert-Fleury, without knowing whose the pic- 
ture was, thought it very good ; and Boulanger has said to 
people who do not know me that he does not like that 
style, it is true, but that the picture is well executed and 
very interesting. 

What can be the reason I have received no medal then ? 

Paintings without any merit whatever have been awarded 
medals ; I know very well that this is often the case. But 
on the other hand, there is no artist of merit who has not 
received one or more medals. What then ? what then ? I 
also have eyes to see ; my picture is a composition. 

Suppose I had painted those urchins in the costume of 
the Middle Ages, and executed the work in a studio which 
is much easier than to work in the open air against a 
background of tapestry. 

I should then have a historical picture which would be 
very much admired in Russia. 

What am I to believe ? 

Here is another request for permission to reproduce my 
picture ; it is from Barschet, the celebrated editor. 

This is the fifth I have given. And what then ? 

Tuesday, May 27. It is over. I have received no 
medal. 

Oh, it is humiliating ! I had had hopes up to this morn- 
ing. And if you but knew the things that have received 
medals ! 

Why am I not disheartened by this ? I am very much 
surprised at it, however. If my picture is good, why has it 
not received a prize ? 

Intrigues, you will say. 



39 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE B A SHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

But all the same, if my picture is good, why has it not 
received a prize ? I have no wish to pose as an unsophisti- 
cated child who ignores that there are such things as in- 
trigues, but it appears to me that if the painting really had 
merit 

Then the trouble is that the painting is bad ? No, not 
that either. 

I have eyes to see for myself and then, others have 
praised it. And how about the newspapers ? 

Thursday, May 29. I have had a fever all night, and my 
nerves are in a state of the most frightful irritation ; it is 
enough to make one mad. This irritation of the nerves, 
however, is due as much to having passed a sleepless night 
as to my not having received a medal. 

I am very unhappy. I wish that I could believe in God. 
Is it not natural to look up to some power above when one 
is sick and miserable and unfortunate ? One would fain 
believe in an Omnipotent Being, whose aid one has only to 
invoke in order to receive it ; to whom one can address 
one's-self without being slighted or humiliated, and to 
whom one has access at all times. When physicians fail to 
help us, we ask that a miracle may be wrought ; the miracle 
is not wrought, but while we are waiting for it we are less 
miserable; this is not much consolation. If there be a 
God, He must be a just God ; and if He is just, how can 
He allow things to be as they are ? Alas ? if we let 
thoughts like this enter into our minds, we can no longer 
believe in a God. Why live ? What purpose is served by 
dragging on longer this miserable existence ? To die 
would have at least this advantage : One might then learn 
what this other life is that people talk so much about ; that 
is to say, if there be another life which is what we shall 
learn when we are dead. 



1884.] JOL'KXAL Of- MARIE BASHKIR 1 SI- 1 /'. 397 

Friday, May 30. I have been considering that it is very 
foolish on my part to take no thought of the only thing in 
life worth having the one thing that can compensate for 
every want, that can make us forget every misery love, 
in a word. Two beings who love each other believe each 
other to be morally and physically perfect, morally so, 
especially. One who loves you must of necessity be just, 
loyal, generous, and ready to perform a heroic action with 
simplicity. 

Two beings who love each other believe the universe to 
be what the philosophers, such as Aristotle and I, for in- 
stance, have dreamed it to be, admirable and perfect, and 
this is, in my opinion, the chief attraction love possesses 
for the soul. 

In our intercourse with our family, with our friends, with 
the world, some glimpse of the weaknesses of humanity is 
sure to be had ; here of avarice or of folly, there of envy, 
of meanness, or of injustice ; the friend we love most 
dearly has thoughts which he conceals from us, so that, as 
Maupassant says, man is always alone, for even in their most 
confidential moments there will still remain some thought 
hidden from him in the bosom of his friend. 

Well, love works this miracle of blending two souls in 
one. It is only an illusion, it is true, but what matter ? 
That which we believe to exist, exists. Love makes the uni- 
verse appear to us such as it ought to be. If I were 
God- 
Well, what then ? 

Saturday, May 31. Villevielle has just told me that the 
reason I did not receive a medal was because I made a fuss 
about last year's mention, and spoke publicly of the com- 
mittee as idiots. It is true that I did so. 

Mypicture is not indeed a very large one, nor is it \ 
bold in style ; if it were, the " Meeting "would be a master- 



39 8 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

piece. But is it necessary that a painting should be a 
masterpiece to obtain an insignificant third-class medal ? 
The engraving of Baude has appeared, accompanied by an 
article which says that the public are disappointed at my 
having received no medal. My painting is dry, it is said. 
But they say the same thing of Bastien's painting. . 

Is there any one in the world who can say that the por- 
trait of M "has more merit than my picture has ? 

Bastien-Lepage received eight votes for his "Jeanne 

d'Arc." M received a medal for his portrait. And the 

great M received twenty-eight votes, exactly twenty 

more than I received. There is neither conscience nor 
justice in the world. Truly I know not what to think. 

I went downstairs when H came, in order to show 

this Jew that I am not cast down. 

I appeared so haughty and unconcerned while we chatted 
of photographs, engravings, patrons of art, etc., that this 
son of Israel finally made up his mind to transact some 
business with me even though I have received no medal ! 
" I will buy your pastel " (" Armandine "), he said, " and the 
Head of the Laughing Baby." Two ! He arranged the 
matter of the purchase with Dina, but we referred him, as 
to the price, to Emile Bastien. I am very well satisfied. 

Sunday, June i. For a month past I have done nothing! 
Yes, I began the works of Sully-Prudhomme yesterday morn- 
ing and I have been reading them ever since. I have two 
of his books, and I like them extremely. 

I trouble my head but little about verse ; when it is bad 
it annoys me, but, otherwise, I think only of the idea ex- 
pressed. If people like to make rhymes, let them do so, 
provided only that they do it in such a way as not to dis- 
tract my attention from the thought. And the thought is 
what pleases me in Sully-Prudhomme. There is a n ele- 
vation of style, a subtlety of reasoning, that is almost ab- 



iS8 4 .] JOCKXAL 01- MAKIl- nASIIKlKTSKW. 399 

stract in his works, which is in harmony with my own way of 
thinking. 

I spent several hours, stretched on my divan or walk- 
ing up and down on my balcony, reading the preface to 
" Lucretius," as well as the work itself" De Natura 
Rerum." Those who have read the book will be able to 
appreciate this. 

To understand this work great concentration of thought 
is necessary. Even those accustomed to deal with such 
subjects must find it difficult reading. I understood all I 
read, though the meaning would at times escape me ; but 
on such occasions I read the passage over and over again 
until I had grasped the thought. I ought to admire Sully- 
Prudhomme greatly for writing things which I find it diffi- 
cult to understand. 

He is as familiar with the management of thoughts as I 
am with the management of colors. 

Then he ought to admire me greatly too, for with a few 
" muddy paints," as the antipathetic Theophile Gautier says, 
I can create a countenance that will express human emo- 
tions, landscapes that will reflect Nature in all her aspects 
the sky, the trees, the atmosphere. Probably he thinks 
himself a thousand times superior to a painter, because he 

is able to ransack the secret recesses of the mind. But what 

\ 

does he or any one else learn from that ? 

How mind works ? To give to the intellectual processes, 
swift and elusive as they are, names it seem to me in my 
ignorance that this is an unprofitable occupation for the 
mind. Jt is an interesting and refined amusement, and 
one that requires the exercise of skill, but what end does it 
serve ? Is it by giving names to strange and abstract 
things that the great writers and thinkers of the world have 
been formed. 

" Man," these metaphysicians say, "can take cognizance 
of an object only in so far as he comes into relations with it, 



4*> JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

etc." The greater number of my readers will be able to 
make nothing out of this. I will cite another passage: 
" Our knowledge, therefore, cannot exceed the knowledge 
expressed in our categories, as applied to our perceptions." 
Good : we can understand no more than we can understand. 
That is self-evident. 

If I had received a thorough and systematic education, I 
should be a remarkable person. Everthing I know I have 
taught myself. I myself drew out the plan of my studies at 
Nice, with the professors of the Lyceum, who could not get 
over their amazement at the intelligence displayed in it. In 
forming it I was guided partly by my own ideas in the 
matter, partly by ideas gathered in the course of my reading. 
Since then I have read the Greek and Latin authors, the 
French and English classics, contemporary writers every- 
thing I came across, in short. 

But all this knowledge is in a chaotic state, notwith- 
standing the efforts I have made, through my natural love 
of harmony, to reduce it to order. 

What is there in this writer, Sully-Prudhomme, to attract 
me ? I bought his works six months ago, and tried to read 
them then, but cast them aside, after a time, as agreeable 
verses, indeed, but nothing more. To-day I found thoughts 
in them that enchanted me and read on for hours, under 
the influence of Francois Coppee's visit. But neither Coppee 
nor any one else has ever spoken to me of him. In what 
then does his attraction for me consist, and how have I came 
to discover it only now ? 

I might, by a great effort of the mind, succeed in making 
a philosophical analysis of this great achievement of the 
human intellect " De Natura Rerum." But what purpose 
would it serve ? Would it make me alter a single one of 
my opinions? 

Thursday, June 5. Prater is dead ; he had grown up with 



i88 4 .] JOURNAL OF MARIE fl.lSI/A'/KTSEFF. 401 

me ; they bought him for me at Vienna in 1870; he was 
three weeks old at the time, and had a habit of hiding be- 
hind the trunks, among the papers in which parcels came 
wrapped from the shops. 

He was my faithful and attached dog ; he would whine 
when I left the house, and pass whole hours at the window, 
waiting for my return. Afterward, in Rome, I had a fancy 
for another dog, and mamma took Prater, who was always 
jealous of his rival, however. Poor Prater, with his tawny 
hide, like a lion's, and his beautiful eyes ; I blush for my- 
self when I think of my heartlessness ! 

My new dog, who was called Pincio, was stolen from 
me in Paris. Instead of taking back Prater, who had never 
been able to console himself for my abandonment of him, I 
was foolish enough to take Coco I. and afterward the real 
Coco. This was base, it was despicable. For four years 
these two animals were alway ready to devour each other, 
and finally it was necessary to shut Prater in an upper room, 
where he was kept a prisoner, while Coco walked over 
people and did as he chose. His death was due to old 
age. I spent a couple of hours with him yesterday ; he 
dragged himself to my side, and rested his head upon my 
knee. 

Ah, I am a pretty wretch, with my affectionate sentiments. 
What a despicable character is mine ! I shed tears as I 
write, and I think the while that these tears will procure 
me, with those who read me, the reputation of having a 
good heart. I always intended to take back the poor brute* 
but never went beyond giving him a lump of sugar, or a 
caress, as I passed him by. 

You should have seen his tail at such times ! It would 
turn round and round so fast that it looked like a wheel. 

It seems, after all, that the poor creature is not yet dead : 
I had thought he was dead because I no longer saw him in 
his room ; he had hidden himself behind a trunk or abatli- 



42 JOURNAL OF MARIE BAgHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

tub, as he used to do at Vienna, and I thought they had 
taken away his dead body, and were afraid to tell me of it. 
But his death must certainly take place either to-night or 
to-morrow. 

Robert-Fleury found me crying to-day. I had written 
to him in regard to the reproduction of my picture, and 
he came in answer to my letter. It appears I had neglected 
to sign a little paper by means of which others were to be 
prevented from reproducing the picture, and thus, perhaps, 
involving me in a law-suit. You must know that I am very 
proud of all these requests for permission to reproduce my 
picture, and I should be proud even of a law-suit. 

Friday, June 6. I have been thinking a great deal about 
the soiree at the Embassy ; I only fear that something may 
occur to spoil it for me. I can never believe in the possi- 
bility of anything pleasant happening to me. Everything 
may seem to be propitious, but in the end something is 
always sure to occur, some obstacle to oppose itself to the 
realization of my hopes. This has been the case for a long 
time past. 

We went to the Salon to-day I, for the purpose of see- 
ing the picture that had received the medal. We met 
Robert-Fleury there, and, as we were standing before one 
of the pictures that had been awarded a second-class medal, 
I asked him what he would say if I had shown him a pic- 
ture like that. 

" In the first place, I hope you will take good care not 
to paint pictures like that," he answered seriously. 

" But how about the medal then ? " I asked. 

" Oh, well," he answered, " he is a man who has been 
exhibiting for a long time, and then you can understand 
how it is " 

Saturday, June 7. We are preparing for this night's 
event in silence. 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE />'./. S7/AVA 1 7\SV 403 

I am to wear a gown of white silk mull. The bodice is 
trimmed with two pieces of the mull, crossing each other in 
folds, in front, and fastened on the shoulders with knot 
the material. The sleeves are short and trimmed in the 
same way. There is a wide, white sash with long ends fall- 
ing behind. The skirt is made of the mull draped from 
left to right, and falling to the feet. In the back are two 
lengths of the material, the one touching the ground, the 
other a little shorter. My slippers are white and quite 
plain. The general effect is charming. My hair is dr< 
& la Psyche, and is without ornament. The drapery in the 
front is a dream. It is all so simple and elegant that I shall 
look very pretty. Mamma will wear a black damask gown 
covered with jet, with a long train, and diamonds. 

Sunday, June 8. I looked as well as I have ever looked 
in my life, or as it would be possible for me to look. The 
gown produced a charming effect, and my complexion was 
as fresh and blooming as in the old days at Nice or Rome. 

People who only see me as I am every day looked at me 
with amazement. 

We arrived a little late. Madame Fredericks was not 
with the Ambassadress, with whom mamma exchanged a few- 
words. I was very calm and very much at my ease. \N e 

met many acquaintances. Madame d'A .whom I - 

the Gavinis, but who had not bowed to me, bowed to me 
last night very graciously. I took the arm of Gavini. 
looked very well with his ribbons and stars ; he presented 
Menabrea, the Italian Minister, to me, and we discussed art 
together. Afterwards M. de Lesseps talked to me for a 
long time about his children and their nurses, and the share 
of the Suez Canal. Then Chevreau gave me his arm, am; 
we took a turn through the rooms together. 

As for the charts d'affaires and the attache's, I IH- 
them in order to devote myself to the old men, with their 



44 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

decorations. Later on, having duly burned incense at the 
shrine of fame, I chatted with some of the artists who were 
there ; they were very curious to know me, and asked to 
be presented to me. But I was so pretty and well-dressed 
that they will be convinced that I did not paint my picture 
without assistance. There were Cheremetieff, Lehman, a 
very amiable old man, of some talent, and Edelfeldt, who 
has a great deal of talent. 

The latter is a handsome, though vulgar, young man a 
Russian, from Finland. Altogether I spent a very pleasant 
evening. The chief thing, you see, is to be pretty ; every- 
thing depends upon that. 

Tuesday, June 10. How interesting it is to watch the 
passers-by in the street ; to note the expression on their 
faces, their peculiarities ; to obtain glimpses into the souls 
of those who are strangers to us ; and to endow all this 
with life, or rather to picture to ourselves the life, of each 
of these strangers ! 

One paints a combat of Roman gladiators, which one has 
never seen, from Parisian models. Why not paint the 
gladiators of Paris from the Parisian populace, also ? In 
five or six centuries this would be antiquity, and the fools 
of that time would regard it with veneration. 

Saturday, June 14. AVe had a great many visitors to-day, 
as it is mamma's birthday. I wore a very handsome gown 
gray taffeta, with a white mull vest in the style of Louis XVI. 

Monday, June 16. We went to-night to see Sarah Bern- 
hardt in " Macbeth " (Richepin's translation). The Gavinis 
were with us. I so seldom go to the theater that 1 enjoyed 
it. The declamatory style of the actors, however, offended 
my artistic sense. How much more agreeable it would be 
if these people only spoke naturally ! 



i8S4.] JOVRtfAL OF MARlE BASHK1RTSEFF. 405 

Marais ("Macbeth ") was good at times ; his intonation 
was so theatrical, so artificial, that it was painful to listen to 
him. Sarah, however, is always admirable, though her 
voice is no longer the silvery voice it was. 

Tuesday, June 17. I am tormented by the thought of 
my picture, and the hands are still to be done ! It interests 
me no longer this apple-tree in blossom, and these vio- 
lets ; and this peasant girl half-asleep ! A canvas three 
feet in length would have been quite large enough for it, 
and I have made it life-size. It is good for nothing. 
Three months thrown away ! 

'Wednesday, June 18. I am still at Sevres ! What tor- 
ments me is that I have an attack of fever every day. And 
then it seems impossible for*me to grow fat. Yet I drink 
six or seven glasses of milk a day. 

Friday, June 20. The architect has written to me from 
Algiers. At the end of my letter to him I had drawn our 
three likenesses, with a medal around the neck of each. 
To Jules I had given the medal of honor, to myself a medal 
of the first, and to the architect a medal of the second class, 
for next year's Salon. I also sent him a photograph of 
"The Meeting." And he tells me he showed them both to 
his brother, who was delighted to be able to form some 
idea of the picture he had heard so much about, and which 
he thought very good. 

" How stupid they are," he says his brother exclaimed, 
" not to have awarded a medal to this painting, which seems 
to me very good indeed ! " 

He would like very much to have written to me, Emile 
adds, but it was not possible for him to do so. He still 
suffers greatly ; notwithstanding this, however, he has re- 
solved to start for home a week from to-day. He charged 



46 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFP. [1884. 

the architect to give me his friendly regards, and to thank 
me for the embroidery. 

A year ago this would have delighted me. He would 
like to have written to me ! I can only take a retrospective 
pleasure in this, for at present such things are almost indif- 
ferent to me. 

At the end of the letter is my likeness, with the medal of 
honor for 1886 around the neck. 

He must have been touched by the delicate manner in 
which I sought to console his brother in my letter. The 
letter began seriously, with comforting words, and- ended 
with pleasantries, according to my custom. 

Wednesday, June 25. I have just been reading my journal 
for the years 1875, 1876, and 1877. I find it full of vague 
aspirations toward some unknown goal. My evenings 
were spent in wild and despairing attempts to find some 
outlet for my powers. Should I go to Italy ? Remain in 
Paris ? Marry ? Paint ? What should I strive to become ? 
If I went to Italy, I should no longer be in Paris, and my 
desire was to be everywhere at once. What a waste of 
energy was there ? 

If I had been born a man, I would have conquered 
Europe. As I was born a woman, I exhausted my energy 
in tirades against fate, and in eccentricities. There are 
moments when one believes one's-self capable of all things. 
" If I only had the time," I wrote, " I would be a sculptor, 
a writer, a musician ! " 

I am consumed by an inward fire, but death is the inevit- 
able end of all things, whether I indulge in these vain long- 
ings or not. 

But if I am nothing, if I am to be nothing, why these 
dreams of fame, since the time I was first able to think ? 
Why these wild longings after a greatness that presented 



:88 4 .] JOURNAL of MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 407 

itself then to my imagination under the form of riches and 
honors ? 

Why, since I was first able to think, since the time when 
I was four years old, have I had longings, vague but intense, 
for glory, for grandeur, for splendor ? How many charac- 
ters have I been in turn, in my childish imagination ! First, 
I was a dancer a famous dancer worshiped by all St. 
Petersburg. Every evening I would make them put a low- 
necked dress on me, and flowers in my hair, and I would 
dance, very gravely, in the drawing-room, while every one 
in the house looked on. Then I was the most famous prima 
donna in the world ; I sang and accompanied myself on the 
harp, and I was carried in triumph, where or by whom I do 
not know. Then I electrified the people by my eloquence. 
The Emperor of Russia married me ; that he might be able 
to maintain himself on his throne. I came into personal 
relations with my people ; I explained my political views to 
them in my speeches, and both people and sovereign were 
moved to tears. 

And then I was in love. The man I loved proved false, 
and was afterward killed by some accident, generally a fall 
from his horse, just at the moment when I felt that my love 
for him was beginning to decrease. When my lovers died 
I consoled myself, but when they proved false to me I fell 
into despair and finally died of grief. 

In short, I have pictured every human feeling, every 
earthly pleasure to myself as superior to the reality, and if 
my dreams are to remain forever unrealized, it is better 
that I should die. 

Why has not my picture been awarded a medal ? 

The medal ! It must be because some of the committee 
thought I had received assistance. It has happened once 
or twice already that medals have been given to women 
who, as has afterward been discovered, had received a- 
ance in their work ; and when a medal has been once 



48 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

awarded the recipient has the right to exhibit on the follow- 
ing year, and may send the most worthless or insignificant 
picture if he chooses. 

Yet I am young and elegant, and have been praised by 
the papers ! But these people are all alike. Breslau, for 
instance, said to my model that I would paint a great deal 
better if I went less into society. They think I go out every 
evening. How deceitful appearances are ! But to suspect 
that my picture is not all my own work is too serious a 
matter ; thank Heaven, they have not publicly given utter- 
ance to their suspicions, however ! Robert-Fleury told me 
he was surprised that I had not received a medal, for that 
every time he spoke of me to his colleagues of the com- 
mittee, they responded, "// is very good; it is a very inter- 
esting picture." 

" What do you suppose they mean when they say that ? " 
he asked me. 

Then it is this suspicion. 

Friday, June 27. Just as we were going to take a drive 
in the Bois, who should appear beside the carriage but the 
Architect ! They arrived in Paris this morning, and he 
came to tell us that Jules is a little better ; that he bore 
the journey well, but that, unhappily, he cannot leave the 
house. It would give him so much pleasure, his brother 
added, to tell me himself how greatly my picture had been 
admired by every one to whom he had shown the photo- 
graph in Algiers. 

" Then we will go to see him to-morrow," said mamma. 

" You could not give him a greater pleasure," he 
answered ; " he says your picture but no, he will tell it 
to you himself to-morrow ; that will be better." 

Saturday, June 28. We went, according to our promise, 
to the Rue Legend re. 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 409 

He rose to receive us, and took a few steps forward to 
meet us ; he seemed mortified at the change that had taken 
place in his appearance. 

He is changed, indeed, very much changed ; but his dis- 
ease is not in the stomach ; I am no doctor, but his looks 
are enough to tell me that. 

In short, I find him so changed that all I could say was : 
" Well, so we have you here among us again." He was not 
at all reserved ; on the contrary he was as cordial and 
friendly as possible. He spoke in the most flattering terms 
of my picture, telling me again and again not to trouble 
myself about the medal that the success of the picture 
itself was sufficient. 

I made him laugh, telling him his illness would do him 
good ; that he was beginning to grow too stout. The Archi- 
tect seemed enchanted to see his invalid so gay and so amia- 
ble. Thus encouraged, I grew talkative. He complimented 
me on my gown, and even on the handle of my parasol. He 
made me sit at his feet on his reclining chair. How thin 
he has grown ! And his eyes look larger than they were 
and very bright, and his hair looks uncared-for. 

But he looked very interesting, and since he has asked 
me to do so, I shall go to see him often. 

The Architect, who accompanied us downstairs, asked us 
to do so also. " It makes Jules so happy," he said ; " it is so 
great a pleasure for him to see you ; I assure you he thinks 
you have a great deal of talent." 

I write all these details about the reception I met with, 
because it made me very happy. 

But the feeling I have for him is a maternal one, very 
calm and very tender, and one of which I feel proud, as if 
it conferred a new dignity upon me. He will recover from 
this, I am sure. 

Monday, June 30. I could scarcely keep from cutting 



410 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

my painting to pieces to-day. There is not an inch of it 
painted to please me. 

And one of the hands is still to be done ! But when this 
hand is done there will be only so much the more to be 
undone ! Ah, misery ! 

And it has cost me three months three months ! 

I have been amusing myself painting a basket of straw- 
berries such as were never before seen. I gathered them 
myself, picking a few green ones also, for the sake of 
the color. 

And such leaves ! In short, wonderful strawberries, 
gathered by an artist, with the delicate touch and coquettish 
air of one engaged in an unaccustomed occupation. 

And among them is a branch of red gooseberries. 

I walked with them through the streets of Sevres, and 
in the railway coach I held the basket in my lap, taking 
care to keep it slightly raised, so that the air might pass 
beneath, and prevent the heat of my dress from spoiling 
the strawberries, not one of which had a speck or spot on it. 

Rosalie laughed : " If any of those at home were only to 
see you now, mademoiselle ! " she said. 

" Could this be possible ? " I thought. 

" But then, it is for the sake of his painting, which 
deserves it, " not for his face, which does not. There is 
nothing however, which his painting does not deserve." 

" Then it is his painting that will eat the strawberries? " 

Tuesday, July i. Still at that odious Sevres ! But I 
got home in good time, before five o'clock. My picture is 
almost finished. 

I am in the deepest dejection, however. Everything 
goes wrong with me. It would be necessary that some 
great event should take place in order to dispel this gloom. 

And I, who do not believe in a God, have fixed my hopes 
upon God, 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASnKIRTSI.il-. 411 

Formerly, after these fits of depression something would 
always occur to bring me back to an interest in life. 

My God, why hast thou given me the power to 
reason? It would make me so happy if I could but 
believe blindly. 

I believe and I do not believe. When I reason I no 
longer believe. But in moments of extreme joy or extreme 
wretchedness my first thought is always of that God who is 
so cruel to me. 

Wednesday, July 2. We went to see Jules Bastien to- 
day this time to his studio. I really think he is growing 
better. His mother was there. She is a woman of about 
sixty, and she looks to be forty-five or fifty ; she is much 
better looking than her picture. Her hair is of a pretty 
blonde color, with here and there a silver thread or two. 
Her smile reveals goodness of heart ; and with her black 
and white gown she presents quite a pleasing appearance. 
She embroiders with skill from designs of her own. 

The two upper front teeth of Bastien-Lepage are far 
apart like mine. 

Thursday. I went to see Potain this morning at about 
seven o'clock. He made a superficial examination and or- 
dered me to Eaux-Bonnes. Afterward he will see, he says. 
But I have read the letter which he gave me for his col- 
league. In it he says that the upper part of the right lung 
is gone, and that I am the. most unmanageable and impru- 
dent patient he has ever had. 

Afterward, as it was not yet eight o'clock, I went to see 
the little doctor of the Rue de la Echiquier. He impressed 
me as being a very serious person ; he appeared disagree- 
ably surprised by my condition, and insisted strongly that 
I should consult some of the shining lights in the profession, 
Bouchard or Grancher, for instance. 



41* JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

As I at first refused to do this, he offered to accompany 
me, and I at last consented. 

Potain pretends that my lungs have been in worse con- 
dition than they are at present, but that an unexpected im- 
provement took place in them, and that the old trouble has 
now returned, but will soon pass away again. 

And Potain is such an optimist that when he speaks thus 
I must be in a very bad way indeed. 

Little B , however, is not of this opinion ; he says 

that my disease had indeed at one time assumed a more 
serious form than it now presents, but that the attack was 
an acute one which they thought would carry me off sud- 
denly ; this did not happen, and that is the improvement 
that has taken place. The chronic trouble, however, has 
now become aggravated ; in short, he insists on my seeing 
Grancher. 

I will do so. 

So, then, I have consumption ! 

That, and everything else. The prospect is not very 
encouraging. 

And nothing to console me in the least for all this. 

Friday, July 4. The Sevres picture is here in my stu- 
dio. I might call it " April." The name is of little con- 
sequence, however, if the picture itself were only good, 
which it is not. 

The green of the background is at once both bright and 
muddy, and the figure of the girl herself is not in the least 
like what I had intended it to be. 

I have hurried through with it as it was, without waiting 
to make it better, but there is nothing of the sentiment I 
had intended in the picture nothing at all. In short, it is 
three months thrown away. 

Saturday, July 5. I have a charming new gray linen 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASI1KIRTSEFF. 413 

gown ; the waist is a blouse, without any trimming except 
the lace around the neck and sleeves. The hat is an ideal 
one ; it is trimmed with a large and coquettish-looking bow 
of antique lace. It was so becoming to me that I thought 
of going to the Rue Legendre ; only I feared it might seem 
as if I went there too often. And yet why should I think 
so? I go there simply as a fellow-artist, an admirer, to 
help to make the time pass pleasantly for him whileihe is 
so ill. 

We went there, accordingly. His mother was delighted 
to see us ; she patted me on the shoulder, and said I had 
beautiful hair. The Architect is still downcast, but the 
great painter is a little better. 

He ate his soup and his egg before us. His mother runs 
for whatever he wants, and waits on him herself so that the 
servant may not have to come in. And he takes it all quite 
naturally and accepts our services with the greatest sang- 
froid, without manifesting the least surprise. Some one in 
speaking of his appearance said that he ought to have his 
hair cut, and mamma mentioned that she used to cut her 
son's hair when he was a child, and her father's when he 
was sick. " Would you like me to cut yours ? " she added ; 
" I have a lucky hand." 

We all laughed, but he consented immediately ; his 
mother ran to bring a peignoir and mamma set to work at 
once, and succeeded very creditably in her task. 

I wanted to have a hand in it, also, but the stupid fellow 
said I should be sure to commit some folly ; I revenged 
myself by comparing him to Samson in the hands of Dalilah. 
That will be my next picture ! 

He condescended to smile at this. 

His brother, emboldened by his good-humor, proposed to 
cut his beard also, which he did slowly and solemnly, his 
hands trembling slightly while he did it. 

This altered the expression of his face completely; it took 



4*4 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

away the sickly look it had before worn ; his mother gave 
little cries of joy when she saw him. " Now I see my boy 
again," she said, " my dear little boy, my dear child ! " 

She is an excellent woman so amiable and unaffected ; 
and then she has the greatest admiration for her distin- 
guished son. 
' They are very worthy people. 

Monday, July 14. I have commenced the treatment 
which is to cure me. And I am perfectly tranquil concern- 
ing the result. 

Even the prospects in regard to my painting seem 
better. 

What opportunities for study does the Boulevard des 
Batignolles, or even the Avenue Wagram, present to the 
artist ! 

Have you ever watched the faces of the people who 
frequent those streets ? 

With each one of the benches one may connect some 
tragedy or some romance. See the social outcast, as he sits 
there, one arm leaning on the back of the seat, the other 
resting on his knee, looking around him with furtive glance; 
the woman with her child seated in her lap ; the busy, bust- 
ling woman, sitting down to take a moment's rest ; the 
grocer's boy reading his little newspaper, as if he had not a 
care in the world ; the workman fallen asleep in his seat ; 
the philosophic or the hopeless man silently smoking. Per- 
haps I let my imagination run away with me, but look at 
all this any day at five or six o'clock in the evening, and 
judge for yourselves. 

Yes, that is it ! 

I think I have found a subject for my picture. 

Yes, yes, yes ! I may not be able to execute it, but I am 
quite satisfied as to the subject. I could dance for joy. 

How differently do we feel at different times ! 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 415 

Sometimes life seems a void, and sometimes I begin to 
take an interest in everything again in all my surroundings. 

It is as if a sudden flood of life had come into my soul. 

And yet there is nothing to rejoice about. 

So much the worse ; then I shall find something to cheer 
and please me even in the thought of my death. 

Nature intended me to be happy, but, 

Pourquoi dans ton ceuvre celeste 
Tant d' elements si peu d'accord ? 

Tuesday^ July 15. Every time I see people sitting on 
the benches in the public parks or streets an old idea of 
mine occurs to me that here are to be found splendid 
opportunities for the study of art. It is always better to 
paint scenes in which the characters are in repose, than 
scenes of action. Let it not be thought that I am opposed 
to action in painting, but in scenes where violent action is 
represented there can be neither illusion nor pleasure for 
persons of refined tastes. One is painfully impressed 
(though one may not be conscious of the fact) by this arm 
which is raised to strike, but which does not strike, by these 
legs depicted in the act of running, and which remain 
always in the same position. There are violent situations, 
however, in which one can imagine the actors as for an 
instant motionless, and for the purposes of art an instant is 
sufficient. 

It is always preferable to seize the instant following a 
violent action rather than the one preceding it. The " Jeanne 
d'Arc" of Bastien-Lepage has heard mysterious voices ; she 
hurries forward, overturning her spinning-wheel in her 
haste, and stops suddenly to lean against a tree. But in 
scenes where the arm is raised to strike, in which action is 
portrayed, the artistic enjoyment is never complete. 

Take the " Distribution of Flags by the Emperor at 
Versailles." 



41 6 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

Every one is rushing forward with arms raised ; and yet 
the action does not shock the artistic sense, because the 
figures are depicted during a moment of expectation, and 
we are ourselves moved and carried away by the emotion of 
these men ; we share in their impatience. The spirit and 
force of the painting are prodigious, precisely because it is 
possible to imagine an instant during which the action is 
arrested an instant during which we can tranquilly con- 
template this scene, as if it were a real scene and not a 
painting. 

But action, whether in sculpture or in painting, is never 
capable of the same sublimity of treatment as repose. 

Compare the pictures of Millet with the most powerfully 
treated scenes of action you are acquainted with. 

See the "Moses " of Michael Angelo ; he is motionless, but 
he is alive. His " Penseroso " neither moves nor speaks, but 
this is because he wills it to be so. He is a living man who 
is absorbed in his own reflections. 

The " Pas-meche " of Bastien-Lepage looks at you and you 
listen as if he were going to speak, because he lives. In 
Lepage's " Foins " the man lying on his back, his face covered 
with his hat, sleeps ; but he is alive ! The woman sitting 
down is in a revery, and is motionless, but we feel that she 
is living. 

No scene can satisfy the artistic sense completely but 
one in which the characters are in repose. This gives us 
time to grasp its beauties, to possess ourselves of its mean- 
ing, to endow it in our imagination with life. 

Ignorant or stupid people think scenes of repose more 
easy to paint than scenes of action. 

When I die my death will be caused by indignation at 
the stupidity of human nature, which, as Flaubert says, has 
no limit. 

During the past twenty years Russia has produced admir- 
able works in literature. 



1 884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 417 

In reading Count Tolstoi's " Peace and War," I was so 
impressed by this fact as to exclaim involuntarily, " Why, 
this is equal to Zola ! " 

And this is true. There is an article in the Revue des 
Deux Mondes to-day devoted to our Tolstoi, and my heart, 
as a Russian, leaped for joy when I read it. It is by M. de 
Vogue, who was Secretary of the French Embassy in Rus- 
sia. He has made a study of our literature and manners, 
and has already published several remarkably just and pro- 
found articles on this great and wonderful country of mine. 

And I, wretch that I am I live in France ; I prefer to be 
a stranger in a strange land to living in my own country ! 

Since I Love my country the beautiful, the great, the 
glorious Russia I ought to go there to live. 

But I, too, labor for the glory of my country though I 
may never become a celebrated genius like Tolstoi ! 

But if it were not for my painting, I would go there to 
live ; yes, I would go ! But my art absorbs all my facul- 
ties ; everything else is only an interlude, an amusement. 

Monday, July 21. I walked for more than four hours to- 
day in search of a background for my picture ; it is to be a 
street, but I have not yet fixed on the particular spot. 

It is evident that a public seat on a boulevard on the out- 
skirts of the city is very different from a seat in theChamps- 
Klysees, where porters, grooms, nurses, and idlers sit. 

Here there is no field for the artist ; here there is no 
soul, no romance. With the exception of some particular 
case these people are nothing more than human machines. 

But the outcast who sits on the edge of yonder bench, 
how he appeals to the imagination ! That is the real man 
a man such as Shakspeare might have portrayed. 

Now that I have discovered this treasure I am possessed 
by an unreasoning dread lest it should escape from me 
before I can fix it on canvas. What if the weather should 



418 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. [1884. 

not prove propitious, or if it should be beyond my powers 
of execution ? 

Well, if I have no genius, then Heaven has chosen to 
mock me ; for it inflicts upon me all the tortures that a 
genius could suffer Alas ! 

Wednesday, July 23. My picture is sketched in, my 
models have been found. I have been running about since 
five o'clock this morning to Villette and to Batignolles ; 
Rosalie spoke to the various people I pointed out to her. 

The whole affair is neither very easy nor very pleasant. 

Friday, August i. When I treat you to moving phrases 
you must not allow yourselves to be too much affected by 
them. . . . 

Shall I ever know what it is to love ? 

For my own part I think love impossible to one who 
looks at human nature through a microscope, as I do. 
They who see only what they wish to see in those around 
them are very fortunate. 

Shall I tell you something ? Well, I am neither an ar- 
tist, nor a sculptor, nor a musician ; neither woman, girl, 
nor friend. My only purpose in life is to observe, to reflect, 
and to analyze. 

A glance, a face I see by chance, a sound, a pleasure, a 
pain, is at once weighed, examined, verified, classified, noted. 
And not until this is accomplished is my mind at rest. 

Saturday, August 2. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 
Friday five days, and my picture is finished. Claire and 
I commenced on the same day, with the same subject, on a 
canvas 3 ft. 4 x 3 ft. 3 a picture of some size, as you see La 
Bievre, immortalized in his verse by Victor Hugo; in the 
background is a farmhouse ; in the foreground a young 
girl sits by the river-side talking to a youth who stands on 
the opposite bank. 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BAStlk'IRTSEFF. 419 

And is the picture a good one ? There is something too 
hackneyed in the sentiment of the composition for this to 
be the case, and then I wished to finish it quickly. It is 
amusing to hear them criticise it ; one says, "What a pretty 
scene ! " Another says the picture has no merit whatever, 
and yet another, " It is very good indeed ; a really pretty 
painting ! " Claire has not yet finished hers. 

Good heavens ! how many things there are that shock 
me ! Almost all true artists are like me in this respect. 

I wonder at people who can eat great pieces of raw fat 
mutton. 

I wonder at those fortunate people who can swallow 
raspberries whole, without minding the little insects that 
are almost always to be found in them. 

As for me, I must first examine them closely, so that tlu 
pleasure of eating them does not pay me for the trouble. 

I wonder at people who can eat all sorts of hashes and 
stews, without knowing what they are composed of. 

I wonder at, or rather I envy, simple, healthy, common, 
place natures, in short. 

Thursday, August 7. We have sent a little ice-box to the, 
Rue Legendre ; he wished to have one that might stand 
near his bed. 

I only hope he may not think we are paying him all these 
attentions in order to get one of his pictures for a mere 
song ! 

My picture is sketched in colors. But I do not feel 
very strong. I find it necessary to lie down and rest very 
frequently, and when I get up again I am so dizzy that for 
some moments I can scarcely see. At last, at about five 
o'clock I was obliged to leave my work, and go for a turn 
in the deserted walks of the Bois. ' 

Monday, August n. I left the house at five this morn- 



420 JOURNAL OP MARIE SASttKlKTSEFF. [1884. 

ing to make a sketch for my picture, but there were so 
many people in the streets already that I was compelled to 
return home furious. No less than twenty persons had 
gathered around the carriage, although it remained closed. 

I drove through the streets again in the afternoon, but 
succeeded no better. 

I went to the Bois. 

Tuesday, Aug. 12. In short, my friends, all this means 
that I am ill. I still struggle against the feeling, and try to 
drag myself about, but I thought this morning that I should 
at last have to succumb that is to say, lie down and give up 
work. But suddenly i felt a little stronger, and I went out 
again in search of some hints for my picture. My weak- 
ness, and the preoccupation of my thoughts, keep me apart 
from the real world, which, however, I have never seen so 
clearly as I do now. All its baseness, all its meanness, 
stand out before my mind with saddening distinctness. 

Foreigner though I be not to speak of my youth and 
my ignorance I find passages to criticise in the writings of 
the best authors and poets. As for the newspapers, I can- 
not read half a dozen lines in one of them without throwing 
it aside in disgust, not only because of the style, which is 
that of a scullion, but because of the sentiments expressed. 
There is no honesty in them. Every article is either written 
to serve a purpose, or is paid for. 

There is neither good faith nor sincerity to be found any- 
where. 

And what is to be said of men, who call themselves men 
of honor, who will deliberately falsify the truth through 
party spirit? 

It is disgusting. 

We came home to dine'after leaving Bastien, who is still 
in bed, though his eyes are bright and he seems to be free 
from pain. He has gray eyes, the exquisite charm of which 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 421 

vulgar souls cannot be expected to appreciate. Do you un- 
derstand what I mean by this? Eyes that have looked into 
the eyes of Jeanne d'Arc. 

We spoke of the picture, and he complained of not 
being sufficiently appreciated. I told him he was appre- 
ciated by those who had souls to understand him, and that 
"Jeanne d'Arc" was a work which people admired more than 
they dared say to his face. 

Saturday, August 16. This is the first day I have been 
really able to work in the fiacre, and I came home with such 
a pain in my back that I was obliged to have it bathed and 
rubbed. 

But how well I feel now ! The Architect put my paint- 
ing in place this morning. His brother is better. He went 
for an airing to the Bois to-day. They carried him down- 
stairs in an easy-chair. Felix told me this when he came 
for some milk this afternoon. 

For a week past Bastien has been drinking goat's milk 
the milk of our goat. Imagine the joy of our people. But 
this is not all. He condescends to be so friendly with us 
that he sends for it himself whenever he has a fancy for it. 
This is delightful. 

He will soon be lost to us then, since he is growing 
better. Yes, our good times are coming to an end. One 
cannot go visit a man who is well enough to go out. 

But I must not exaggerate things. He went to the Bois, 
but he was carried there in an easy-chair, and he went back 
to bed again on his return home. That does not mean that 
he is well enough to go out. 

Tuesday, August 19. I was so exhausted that I had 
scarcely strength enough to put on a linen gown and go to 
see Bastien. His mother received us with reproaches. 
Three days! she said, three days without coming to see 



422 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

him ! It was dreadful ! And when we were in his room 
Emile cried out: "All is ended, then? We are friends no 
longer?" "So, then, you have deserted me?" said he 
himself. Ah, I ought not to have stayed away so long. 

My vanity tempts me to repeat here all his friendly 
reproaches, and his assurances that never, never, never 
could we come too often. 

Thursday, August 21. I do nothing but lounge about all 
day, except for a couple of hours in the morning from 
five to seven when I work out-of-doors in a carriage. 

I have had a photograph taken of the scene I have chosen 
for my picture, so as to be able to copy with exactness the 
lines of the sidewalk. 

This was done at seven this morning ; the Architect was 
there at six. Afterwards we all drove home, I, Rosalie, the 
Architect, Coco, and the photograph. 

Not that the presence of the brother was at all necessary, 
but it was pleasant to have him with us. I always like to 
have a guard of honor around me. 

All is over ! He is doomed ! 

Baude, who spent the evening here with the Architect, 
told it to mamma. 

Baude is his most intimate friend the one to whom he 
wrote the letter from Algiers that I read. 

All is over, then. 

Can it be possible? 

I cannot yet realize what will be the effect of this crush- 
ing news upon me. 

This is a new sensation to see a man who is under sen- 
tence of death. 

Tuesday, August 26. All the confused thoughts that 
have filled my brain and distracted my mind have now set- 
tled immovably around this new misfortune. 



i3S4 ] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 423 

It is a new experience to see a man, a great painter to 
see him, in short 

Condemned to die ! 

This is something not to be lightly spoken of. 

And every day, until the day arrives, I shall be thinking, 
"He is dying!" 

It is horrible! 

I have summoned all my courage, and now I stand, with 
head erect, ready to receive the blow. 

Has it not been thus with me all my life? 

When the blow comes I shall receive it without flinching. 

At times I refuse to believe it, I rebel against it; I give 
way to lamentations, when I know that all is ended. 

I cannot utter two sentences connectedly. 

But do not imagine that I am overwhelmed ; I am only 
profoundly engrossed by the thoughts of how it will be with 
me afterward. 

Saturday, August 30. It seems that matters are growing 
worse. I am unable to do anything. I have done nothing 
since the Sevres picture was finished nothing, that is to 
say, except two miserable panels. 

I sleep for hours at a time in the broad daylight. I have 
finished the sketch for my picture, but it is laughable! 

The canvas is there; everything is ready, I alone am 
wanting. 

If I were to write here all I feel! the terrible fears that 
assail me! 

September is here now, winter is not far distant. 

The slightest cold might confine me to bed for a couple of 
months, and then, the convalescence 

And my picture! So that I should have sacrificed every- 
thing without 

Now is the moment to believe in God and to pray to Him. 

Yes, the fear of falling ill is what paralyzes me; in the 



424 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. [1884. 

state in which I am, a heavy cold would put an end to me 
in six weeks. 

And that is how I shall die at last. 

For I am resolved to work at my picture in any case 
and, as the weather will be cold and if I do not take cold 
working, I shall take cold walking; how many people there 
are who do not paint ; and who die all the same 

Here it is at last, then, the end of all my miseries ! So 
many aspirations, so many hopes, so many plans to die at 
twenty-four, on the threshold of everything. 

I knew that this would be so. Since God could not 
grant me all that was necessary to my life, without ceasing 
to be just, He will let me die. There are so many years 
in a lifetime, so many and I have lived so few and 
accomplished nothing! 

Wednesday, September 3. I am making the design for the 
Figaro, but I am obliged to leave off work from time to time, 
to rest for an hour or so. I have a constant fever. I can 
obtain no relief. I have never before been so ill as I am 
now, but I say nothing of it to any one; I go out, I paint. 
What need of further words? I am sick, let that suffice. 
Will talking about it do any good? But going out is an- 
other thing, you will say. 

It is a disease that permits of doing that in the intervals 
of comparative ease. 

Thursday, September n. On Tuesday I began a study in 
the nude, of a child. It might make a very good picture if 
well treated. 

The Architect was here yesterday; his brother desires to 
know why we have neglected him for so many days. So 
we went to the Bois in the afternoon, hoping to see him, 
but we arrived late ; he was taking his usual turn through 
the walks ; we waited for him, and you should have seen 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE B A SHKIRTSBFF. 425 

the surprise of all three to find us there. He grasped both 
my hands in his, and when we were going home he took a 
seat incur carriage, while my aunt returned with his mother. 
It is as well to get into this habit. 

Saturday, September 13. We are friends; he likes me; 
he esteems me ; he finds me interesting. He said yester- 
day that I was wrong to torment myself as I do; that I 
should consider myself very fortunate. There is not an- 
other woman, he says, who has accomplished as much as I 
have done in as short a time. 

"You have a name, " he added; "every one knows who 
Mile. Bashkirtseff is. There is no doubt about your suc- 
cess. But as for you, you would like to send a picture 
every six months to the Salon ; you are impatient to reach 
the goal. But that is quite natural, when one is ambitious; 
I have passed through all that myself." 

And to-day he said: "They see me driving with you; it 
is fortunate that I am sick, or they might accuse me of 
painting your picture." 

"They have done that already," responded the Architect. 

"Not in the papers!" 

"Oh, no." 

Wednesday, September 17. Few days pass in which I 
am not tormented by the recollection of my father. I ought 
to have gone to him and nursed him during his last illness. 
He made no complaint, for his nature was like mine, but 
my neglect must have made him suffer cruelly. Why did I 
not go? 

It is since Bastien-Lepage has come back since we have 
visited him so often and shown him so many little atten- 
tions, given him so many marks of our affection that I feel 
this especially. 

In mamma's case it was different, they had lived apart 



426 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

for so many years until within five of his death but I, his 
daughter! 

It is just, then, that God should punish me. But if we 
go to the root of the matter, we owe our parents no duty, if 
they have not protected us and cared for us from our 
entrance into the world. 

But that does not prevent but I have no time to analyze 
the question. Bastien-Lepage causes me to feel remorse. 
This is a chastisement from God. But if I do not believe 
in God? I scarcely know whether I do or not, but even if 
I did not, I still have my conscience, and my conscience 
reproaches me for my neglect. 

And one cannot say absolutely, "I do not believe in 
God." That depends on what we understand by the word 
God. If the God we desire to believe in, the God who 
loves us, existed, the world would not be what it is. 

Though there be no God to hear my evening prayer, yet 
I pray to Him every night in despite of my reason. 

" Si le del est desert, nous n'offensons personne, 
Si quelqu'un nous entend, qu'il nous prenne en pitie." 

Yet how believe? 

Bastien-Lepage continues very ill; we found him in the 
Bois, writhing with pain ; none of the doctors have been 
able to relieve him ; it would be well to bring Charcot to 
see him some day as if by chance. When we were alone 
Bastien said it was abominable to have neglected him for 
two whole days. 

Thursday, September 18. I have just seen Julian! I 
have missed him indeed, but it was so long since we had 
seen each other that we had but little to say. He thought 
I had a successful and contented look. There is nothing, 
after all, but art ; nothing else is worth a thought. 

The whole family are with Bastien-Lepage, his sisters as 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE HAMIKIRTSEFF. 427 

well as his mother ; they are to remain with him until the 
end ; they seem to be good women, though garrulous. 

That tyrant of a Bastien-Lepage will insist upon my tak- 
ing care of myself: he wants me to be rid of my cold in a 
month ; he buttons my jacket for me, and is always care- 
ful to see that I am warmly clad. 

Once when they were all sitting on the left side of his 
bed, as usual, and I had seated myself on the right, he 
turned his back to the others, settled himself comfortably, 
and began to chat with me softly about art. 

Yes, he certainly has a feeling of friendship for me of 
selfish friendship, even. When I said to him that I was 
going to resume work again to-morrow, he answered: 

"Oh, not yet, you must not desert me.'" 

Friday, September 19. He continues to grow worse; 
we scarcely know what to do whether to remain in the 
room while he is groaning with pain, or to go out. 

To leave the room would look as if we thought him very 
ill ; to remain would seem as if we wished to be spectators 
of his sufferings! 

It seems shocking to speak in this way as if I were 
wanting in feeling. It seems as if one might find words 
more that is to say, less. Poor fellow! 

Wednesday, October i. Nothing but sorrow and annoy- 
ance! 

But why write all this down ? 

My aunt left for Russia on Monday; she will arrive 
there at one in the morning. 

Bastien-Lepage goes from bad to worse. 

I am unable to work. 

My picture will not be finished. 

Here are misfortunes enough! 

He is dying, and he suffers intensely. When I am with 



428 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

him I feel as if he were no longer of this earth; he already 
soars above us ; there are days when I feel as if I too soared 
above this earth. I see the people around me; they speak 
to me, I answer them, but I am no longer of them. I feel 
a passive indifference to everything a sensation somewhat 
like that produced by opium. 

At last he is dying; I still go to see him, but only from 
habit; it is only his shadow that is there: I myself am 
hardly more than a shadow. 

He is scarcely conscious of my presence. I am of no use 
to him; his eyes do not brighten when he sees me; he likes 
me to be there, that is all. 

Yes, he is dying, and the thought does not move me ; I 
am indifferent to it ; something is fading out of sight that 
is all. 

And then everything will be ended. 

Everything will be ended. 

I shall die with the dying year. 

Thursday, October 9. It is as you see I do nothing. 
I am never without fever; my physicians are a pair of 
imbeciles. I have sent for Potain and put myself into his 
hands again. He cured me once before. He is kind, 
attentive, and conscientious. After all, it seems that my 
emaciation, and all the rest of it, do not come from the 
lungs, but from some malady I contracted without knowing 
when, and to which I paid no attention, thinking it would 
go away of itself; as for my lungs, they are no worse than 
before. 

But it is not necessary for me to trouble you with my 
ailments ; what is certain, however, is that I can do nothing. 

Nothing! 

Yesterday I went to dress myself to go to the Bois, and 
twice I was on the point of giving up, I was so overcome 
with weakness. 



1884.] JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 429 

I succedeed at last; however. 

Mme. Bastien-Lepage has been at Damvillers since Mon- 
day last, for the vintage, and, although there are women 
enough about him, he was glad to see us. 

Sunday, October 12. I have not been able to go out for 
the past few days. I am very ill, although I am not con- 
fined to bed. 

Potain and his substitute come to see me on alternate 
days. 

Ah, my God! and my picture, my picture, my picture? 

Julian has come to see me. They have told him, then, 
that I was ill. 

Alas! how could it be concealed? And how shall I be 
able to go see Bastien-Lepage? 

Thursday^ October 16. I have a constant fever that is 
sapping my strength. I spend the whole day in the draw- 
ing-room, going from the easy-chair to the sofa and back 
again. 

Dina reads novels to me. Potain came yesterday, and is 
to come again to-morrow. This man is no longer in need 
of money, and if he comes to see me so often, it must be 
because he takes some little interest in me. 

I cannot leave the house at all, but poor Bastien-Lepage 
is still able to go out, so he had himself brought here and 
installed in an easy-chair, his feet supported by cushions. 
I was by his side, in another easy-chair, and sO we remained 
until six o'clock. 

I was dressed in a white plush morning-gown, trimmed 
with white lace, but of a different shade; Bastien-Lepage's 
eyes dilated with pleasure as they rested on me. 

"Ah, if I could only paint!" he said. 

And I! 

There is an end to this year's picture! 



43 JOURNAL OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. [1884. 

Saturday, October 18. Bastien-Lepage comes almost 
every day. His mother has returned, and all three came 
to-day. 

Potain came yesterday : I am no better. 

Sunday, October 19. Tony and Julian are to dine with 
us to-night. 

Monday, October 20. Although the weather is magnifi- 
cient, Bastien-Lepage comes here instead of going to the 
Bois. He can scarcely walk at all now ; his brother sup- 
ports him under each arm ; he almost carries him. 

By the time he is seated in his easy-chair the poor fellow 
is exhausted. Woe is me ! And how many porters there 
are who do not know what it is to be ill! Emile is an 
admirable brother. He it is who carries Jules on his shoul- 
ders up and down their three flights of stairs. Dina is 
equally devoted to me. For the last two days my bed has 
been in the drawing-room, but as this is very large, and 
divided by screens, poufs, and the piano, it is not noticed. 
I find it too difficult to go upstairs. 



The journal stops here Marie Bashkirtseff died eleven 
days afterward, on the 3ist of October, 1884. 



A VISIT TO MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF.* 

BY FRANCOIS COPP^E. 

LAST winter I went to pay my respects to a Russian lady 
of my acquaintance who was passing through Paris, and who 
was stopping with Madame Bashkirtseff at her hotel in the 
Rue Ampere. 

I found there a very sympathetic company of middle-aged 
ladies and young girls, all speaking French perfectly, with 
that slight accent which gives to our language, when spoken 
by Russians, an indescribable softness. 

In this charming circle, with its pleasant surroundings, I 
received a cordial welcome. But scarcely was I seated near 
the " samovar," a cup of tea in my hand, when my atten- 
tion was arrested by a large portrait of one of the young 
ladies present a perfect likeness, freely and boldly treated, 
with all the fougue of a master's brush. " It is my daughter 
Marie," said Madame Bashkirtseff to me, "who painted 
this portrait of her cousin." 

I began by saying something complimentary. I could not 
go on. Another canvas, and another, and still another, 
attracted me, revealing to me an exceptional artist. I was 
charmed by one picture after the other. The drawing-room 
walls were covered with them, and at each one of my ex- 
clamations of delighted surprise, Madame Bashkirtseff re- 
peated to me, with a tone in her voice of tenderness, rather 
than of pride, "It is by my daughter Marie " or, "It is my 
daughter's." 

* Printed in the catalogue of Marie Bashkirtseff s paintings exhibited 
in Paris in 1885. shortly after her death. 

431 



43 2 APPENDIX. 

At this moment Mile. Bashkirtseff appeared. I saw her 
but once. I saw her only for an hour. I shall never for- 
get her. Twenty-three years old, but she appeared much 
younger. Rather short, but with a perfect figure, an oval 
face exquisitely modeled, golden hair, dark eyes kindling 
with intelligence eyes consumed by the desire to see and 
to know everything a firm mouth, tender and thoughtful, 
nostrils quivering like those of a wild horse of the Ukraine. 

At the first glance Mile. Bashkirtseff gave me the rare 
impression of being possessed of strength in gentleness, 
dignity in grace. Everything in this adorable young girl 
betrayed a superior mind. Beneath her womanly charms, 
she had a truly masculine will of iron, and one was reminded 
of the gift of Ulysses to the young Achilles a sword hidden 
within the garments of a woman. 

She replied to my congratulations in a frank and well- 
modulated voice without false modesty acknowledging her 
high ambitions, and poor child ! already with the finger of 
death upon her her impatience for fame. 

In order to see her other works we all went upstairs to 
her studio. There was this extraordinary young girl en- 
tirely "in her element." 

The large hall was divided into two rooms. The studio 
proper, where the light streamed through the large sash, and 
a darker corner heaped up with papers and books. In the 
one she worked, in the other she read. 

By instinct I went straight to the chef-d'&uvre to 
that "Meeting" which at the last Salon had engrossed so 
much attention. A group of little Parisian street boys, 
talking seriously together, undoubtedly planning some mis- 
chief, before a wooden fence at the corner of a street. It 
is a chef-d'oeuvre I maintain. The faces and the attitudes 
of the children are strikingly real. The glimpse of meager 
landscape expresses the sadness of the poorer neighbor- 
hoods. 



APPENDIX. 433 

At the Exhibition, before this charming picture, the pub- 
lic had with a unanimous voice bestowed the medal on 
Mile. Bashkirtseff, who had been already " mentioned " the 
year before. Why was this verdict not confirmed by the 
jury? Because the artist was a foreigner? Who knows? 
Perhaps because of her wealth ? This injustice made her 
suffer, and she endeavored the noble child ! to avenge 
herself by redoubling her efforts. 

In one hour I saw there twenty canvases commenced ; a 
hundred designs drawings, painted studies, the cast of a 
statue, portraits which suggested to me the name of Frans 
Hals, scenes made from life in the open streets ; notably 
one large sketch of a landscape the October mist on the 
shore, the trees half stripped, big yellow leaves strewing the 
ground. In a word, works in which is incessantly sought, 
or more often asserts itself, the sentiment of the sincerest 
and most original art, and of the most personal talent. 

Notwithstanding this, a lively curiosity impelled me to 
the dark corner of the studio, where I saw numerous vol- 
umes on shelves, and scattered over a work-table. I went 
closer and looked at the titles. They were the great works 
of the greatest intellects. They were all there in their own 
languages French, Italian, English, and German ; Latin 
also, and even Greek, and they were not " library books," 
either, as the Philistines call them, " show books," but well- 
thumbed volumes, read, re-read, and pored over. A copy 
of Plato, open at a sublime passage, was on the desk. 

Before my visible astonishment Mile. Bashkirtseff low- 
ered her eyes, as if confused at the fear that I might think 
her a "blue stocking," while her mother proudly kept on 
telling me of her daughter's encyclopedic learning, and 
pointed out to me manuscripts black with notes, and the 
open piano at which her beautiful hands interpreted all 
kinds of music. 

Evidently annoyed by the expression of maternal pride, 



434 APPENDIX. 

the young girl laughingly interrupted the conversation. It 
was time for me to leave, and moreover for a moment I 
experienced a vague apprehension, a sort of alarm I can 
scarcely call it a presentiment. 

Before that pale and ardent young girl I thought of some 
extraordinary hot-house plant, beautiful and fragrant beyond 
words, and. in my heart of hearts a sweet voice murmured, 
" It is too much ! " 

Alas ! it was indeed too much. A few months after my 
one visit to the Rue Ampere I received the sinister notice 
bordered with black, informing me that Mile. Bashkirtseff 
was no more. She had died at twenty-three years of age, 
having taken a cold while making a sketch in the open 
air. Once again I visited the now desolate house. The 
stricken mother, a prey to a devouring and arid grief, unable 
to shed tears, showed me, for the second time, in their old 
places, the pictures and the books. She spoke to me for a 
long time of her poor dead child, revealing the tenderness 
of her heart, which her intellect had not extinguished. She 
led me, convulsed by sobs, even to the bed-chamber, before 
the little iron bedstead, the bed of a soldier, upon which the 
heroic child had fallen asleep forever. . . . 

But why try to influence the public ? In the presence of 
the works of Marie Bashkirtseff, before that harvest of hopes 
wilted by the breath of death, every one would surely expe- 
rience, with an emotion deep as my own, the same profound 
melancholy as would be inspired by edifices crumbling before 
their completion, or new ruins scarcely risen from the ground, 
which flowers and ivy have not yet covered. . . . 



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