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Full text of "The new journal of Marie Bashkirtseff : (from childhood to girlhood)"

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3 



Last Will of Famous Marie 
Bashkirtseff Found Hid- 
den in Villa. 



HER SECOND JOURNAL 



Will Add a New Chapter to 
Her Already Celebrated 

Llfe - 

Special Cable to The Mall and Empire. 

(Copyright.) 

Paris, May 7. One of the most ex- 
traordinary human documents of 
recent times is revealed to-day by 
the Paris weekly, I/Illustration 
noted for its careful editorship. This 
document is t2ie last will and testa- 
ment of Marie Bashkirtseff, the bril- 
liant Russian gjirl, authoress, painter 
and musician, whose mausoleum in 
the Passy Cemetery here has recent 
ly been the subject of litigation. 

There also emerges that second, 
unpublished Journal written by 
Marie." It hasi been found in the 
Bashkirtseff villa at Nice which was 
recently put up at auction with the 
entire contents. The purchaser of 
the unpublished journal, which if it 
is anything like *he original diary 
( published at Mariefs death thirty-one 
,years ago, should make Margot As- 
quith's recollections read like twad- 
dle is Pierre Bonel, a young jour- 
nalist on the staff of a Nice paper. 
^'Illustration's corespondent, Alber- 
ic Cahuet, vouches for the authen- 
ticity of the document, which, he 
eays, will add a nemr chapter to the 
already celebrated life. It is three 
or four times as fomg as the long 
diary known to tbte world, and a 
largo number of etchings and paint- 
ings were also discovered in odd 
corners of the villa where they had 
;been secreted by Mairie's mother for 
nearly forty years, until the latter's 
'death recently. 



Material for two 
been found. And finally the will. 

This reads: "Having no personal 
possessions, I entrust my family with 
the execution of my wishes, for I am 
quite convinced that .they will bo 
respected just as though I had a 
'fortune to bequeath. 

"I die absolutely pure of heart, 
mind and body. Since God will it, 
and as, after all, it is greatness, I 
forgive everyone, but it is not great- 
ness, only indulgence, which, as 



not 



also' 16 or & an also should be placed in 
o . 



e chapel and once a year on the 
niversary of my death I wish 

d and beautiful music sung by 

eat artists. 
'Around my last resting place 

ould be a garden. The chapel 

Mild be detached from any other 

Marcedaix and 1 "* ^ * n 
f\, the only rai 
iple drapery (f 



one's 



under 25 years 

r h 



*, 

have not been sufficiently offended. 

"On my death-bed I wish to be 
dressed in the finest white cloth 
and draped as I loved to be in my 
lifetime. Very simple drapery. 
entrust this task to Mme. Valleid. 
the tryer-on at -Doucet's. and beg 
her to give me the best attention. 

Death Dress Desired. 

"The following is what I desire to 



'helped in Winter as much as p 
,sible. I bequeath-a^l I have writl 

to ( ) on condition that 

does not change a word, and it 
published ten years after my dea 
"Signed, Marie Bashkirtseff, 
July 22, 1884." 

Wishes Carried Out. 

All Marie's wishes were adhei 
to except cremation, which her n 



around the neck, arms and legs. No 
stockings, the feet will be covered 
by the dress. Hair down. 

"I request Mr. Bastien 
Robert Fleury and Dina to 
. my hair so I shall be fair to see, the! 
neck uncovered, the arms also as 
much as possible; the arms may be 
veiled but in such a way as to re- 
veal their form. Put flowers in my 
hands. The bed, before I am laid! 
upon it, should be covered by a large 
sheet of white silk which must fall 
all on the floor. No flowers on the 
bed or the body. 

"I wish to be painted thus life- 
size by Bastien Lepage. There 
should be candles- Afterwards I 
desire to be cremated and my ashes 
should be placed in a gold urn of 
antique design to be selected by 
Robert Fleury. 

"Then I should like a sort of 

chapel built for me, Bastien Lepage 

to be the architect. In the Champs 

Ulyses quarter. This I desire par- 

arly. The chapel to be large 

nough to contain eighteen to forty 

ersons. My portrait on my death 

>d to be placed above the urn. A 



the time, only surviving Marie 
kirtseff a few weeks. 

The Russian girl genius 



was wnite, including the coat 
tendants and horses. Tlie N 
villa, where the discoveries have n* 
been made, was recently purchas 
by an American who did not ta 
possession of the house because of 
dilapidated condition. The pres 



found scattered 
.. in the pavilion where 
[e worked. 

>r years before her death, the 

j er, a financial victim of the 

iievistic revolution, had lived 

. a recluse surrounded by mon- 

ind cats, which were found dy- 

f starvation, hopping over the 

of the old woman after she 

The latter had jealously guard- 

r well loved daughter's min- 

i possession for nearly 40 years 

hey have only now been reveal- 

the world. 



The New Journal 
of Marie Bashkirtseff 




THE NEW JOURNAL 
MARIE BASHKIRTSfFF 

(From Childhood to Girlhood) 

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH 
BY 

MARY J. SAFFORD 



,g 



'" 




New York -, 
Dodd, Mead and Company 



1912 









COPYRIGHT, 1912, BY 
DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY 

Published September. 1912 




The New Journal 
of Marie Bashkirtseff 



PREFACE 

THE SOUL OF A LITTLE GIRL 

MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, beginning at twelve 
years old, wrote her journal ingenuously, 
sincerely, amusing us by her whims, thrill- 
ing us by her enthusiasms, touching us by 
her sufferings. 

We have gone through these note-books 
bound in white parchment, slightly dis- 
coloured, like the winding sheet in which 
sleeps a memory, and have already gath- 
ered a volume, precious, not because it 
describes such an entertainment or such 
an event, but because it reveals the men- 
tality of a young girl. 

This time we have been especially inter- 
ested by the first books, written in a large, 
unformed hand, dashing, variable, follow- 
1 




THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
ing the successive impressions of a change- 
ful, sensitive nature. 

Very few documents exist concerning 
children, in whom the nineteenth century 
alone began to interest itself. 

In fact the real personality of the child 
is very secret, for it distrusts these 
comprehensive and authoritative beings, 
" grown-up people." And it hides its iron- 
ical observations, its dreams, all the 
ardour of its little soul. 

Children play. They have built, with 
sand and twigs, a fantastic world peopled 
with their familiar toys : a grey cloth ele- 
phant, a multi-coloured duck as big as that 
white plush bear. And they are in the 
jungle, tracking, hunting, killing. Then 
they dance round to a secret rhythm. 
Stop to look at them, the game will end. 
The little mouths will become silent. The 
child will always hide the ingenuous 
2 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

observations it makes with its clear 
eyes. 

Therefore it seems to us very interesting 
to show a little girl's existence, not told 
from the distance of past years, but writ- 
ten day by day. Marie Bashkirtseff was 
a child of precocious intelligence, ardent 
will, extreme intensity of life. Maurice 
Barres defines it sensibly in saying that 
she had, " when very young, amalgamated 
five or six exceptional souls in her delicate, 
already failing body." 

The nomad life led by her parents, resi- 
dences in Paris, London, Nice, Rome, has- 
tened the development of a vivid intel- 
ligence. 

This little " uprooted " girl accommo- 
dated herself to these varied lives with the 
versatility of children, but she knew how 
to reserve her personal life of study. It 
was a strange intellectual solicitude of the 
3 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
little girl living among idle people and 
dreaming of " becoming somebody fa- 
mous." And, completely surrounded by 
refined luxury, she knew how to see the 
humble folk, whose expressive features she 
has inscribed in a way not to be forgotten 
in her pictures. 

If this journal reveals a precocious in- 
tellect, it preserves and this is its charm 
a spontaneity of childhood for the lit- 
tle Slav was a bewitching little girl, with 
rosy cheeks and clear eyes. Has she not 
evoked all the marvellous imagination of 
the little ones in these words : " Because 
I put on an ermine cloak, I imagine that 
I am a queen " ? 

Marie's sentimental life has greatly per- 
turbed her biographers. They have ac- 
cused her of having a cold, indifferent 
heart. Others, more penetrating, have 
seen that Marie considered love as a re- 
4 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
ligion for which a god was necessary. 
Hence her dream as a young girl : " to love 
a superior being." And she wrote to Mau- 
passant. 

Jean Finot has pointed out that there 
was something " infinitely tragical in the 
approach from a distance of these two 
sublime beings already stamped by death." 
Besides, Marie did not know the novelist. 

Another person interested the young 
girl, Bastien-Lepage. Their double death- 
struggle drew them together for a mo- 
ment, and death permanently unites their 
names in our memory. 

So let us not seek the sentimental secret 
which Marie did not wish to reveal to us. 
Goncourt tells us the story of that Ho- 
kousa'i who signed " An old man crazy to 
be conspicuous." Let us think that Marie 
was also the young girl crazy to be con- 
spicuous. 

5 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
But let us go back to an idyl little known 
of Marie's twelfth year. The fact itself is 
not very extraordinary. The little girl 
is training herself for motherhood by lav- 
ishing caresses on wretched papier- 
mache baby dolls. She is practising for 
her part of woman by playing at being 
in love. Artless little affairs outlined in 
the catechism, pervaded by the fragrance 
of incense. Very similar to these appears 
to us the enthusiasm the little Slav felt 
for the Due de H . Candid, affection- 
ate little girl, she says deliciously : " I love 
him, and that is what makes me suffer. 
Take away this grief, and I shall be a 
thousand times more unhappy. The pain 
makes my happiness. I live for it alone. All 
my thoughts are centred there. The Due 

de H is my all. I love him so much ! 

That is a very ancient and old-fashioned 
phrase, since people no longer love." 
6 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

After such a passage of captivating 
vivacity, in which work and pleasures in- 
flame this ardent vitality, other days, 
numerous, alas ! have the mere mention of 
a date followed by a dash. These are the 
stations of the disease when the charming 
body was weakening like a dying flower. 
And there were the alternations of hope, 
the physicians consulted when at first she 
believed everything, to doubt, later, all 
the remedies with which their pity be- 
guiles anxiety, at last the resigned almost 
certainty : 

" And, nevertheless, I am going to die." 
Should the shortness of her existence 
be regretted for Marie? Certainly, thor- 
oughly in love, she would not have found 
happiness in marriage, which fashionable 
society too often transforms into a part- 
nership of egotisms, interests, and hypoc- 
risy. But would not maternity have con- 
7 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
soled her, affording her a delicious refuge, 
her who bent patiently over the faces of 
the very little children, expressed their 
fleeting occupations, their intent looks? 

Sly death did not permit her to finish 
her destiny, and the little Slav preserves 
for us her disturbing virgin charm. 

In that villa in Nice, where Marie Bash- 
kirtseff lived, clearly appears the vision 
of a young girl, harmonious in the white- 
ness of her usual clothing, with a gaze 
sparkling with ardent life, her who, Mau- 
rice Barres says,* " appears to us a repre- 
sentation of the eternal force which calls 
forth heroes in each generation and that 
she may seem of sound sense to us, let 
us cherish her memory under the proud 
name of Our-Lady who is never satisfied." 
RENEE D'ULMES. 

* La Legende d'une cosmopolite. 



NEW JOURNAL OF MARIE BASH- 
KIRTSEFF 

JANUARY, 1873 
(Marie was then twelve years old.) 

I must tell you that ever since Baden 
I have thought of nothing except the Due 

de H . In the afternoon I studied. I 

did not go out except for half an hour on 
the terrace. I am very unhappy to-day. 
I am in a terrible state of mind; if this 
keeps on, I don't know what will become 
of me. 

How fortunate people who have no se- 
crets are ! 

Oh, God, in mercy save me ! 

The face makes very little difference! 
9 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
People can't love just on account of the 
face. Of course it does a great deal, but 

when there is nothing else They have 

been talking about B . He has exactly 

my disposition. I am fond of society; he 
likes to flirt; he likes to see and to be 
seen ; in short, he is pleased with the same 
things that please me. They say he is a 
gambler. Oh ! dear ! What evil genius has 
changed him ! 

Perhaps he is in love hopelessly? 

Happy love ought to make us better, 
but hopeless love! Oh, I believe it must 
be that ! 

No, no, he is simply dragged down like 
so many young men by that terrible gulf. 
Oh, what an accursed place! How many 
wretched beings it has made ! Oh, fly 
from it ! Take your sons, your husbands, 
your brothers away from there, or they 

are lost. B is beginning. The Due 

10 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

de H has begun, too, and he will go 

on, while he might live happily. Live and 
be useful to society. But he spends his 
time with wicked men and women. He can 
do it as long as he has anything, and he 
used to be immensely rich. 

Dr. V has said that Mademoiselle 

C * is ill, that she may live five years 

or die in three weeks, because she is con- 
sumptive. How many misfortunes at 
once! 

If, when I am grown up, I should marry 

B what a life it would be! To stay 

all alone, that is, surrounded by common- 
place men, who will want to flirt with me, 
and be carried away by the whirl of pleas- 
ure. I dream of and wish for all these 
things, but with a husband I love and 
who loves me 

Ah, who would suppose it was little 

* Marie Bashkirtseff's governess. 
11 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

Marie, a girl scarcely twelve years old, 
who feels all this ! But what am I say- 
ing? What a dismal thought! I don't 
even know him, and am already marrying 
him how silly I am! 

I am really much vexed about all this. 
I am calmer now. My handwriting shows 
it. The spontaneous burst of indignation 
is a little quieted. It is soothing to 
write or communicate one's ideas to some- 
body. 

B isn't worth while. I shall never 

marry him. If he begs me on his knees, 
I shall be oh, I forgot the word I shall 
be firm. No, that isn't the word, but I 
know what I mean. Yet if he loves me 
very much, very deeply, if he cannot live 
without me vain phrases ! Do not let us 
meet. I don't wish to be weak. 

I am firm, I will be resolute. I mean 
to have the Due de H . I love him 
12 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

at least. His dissipated life may be for- 
given him. But the other no ! 

While writing I was interrupted by a 
noise. I thought some one was going to 
surprise me. Even if what I have written 
were not seen, I should blush all the same. 
Everything I wrote previously now seems 
nonsense. Yet it is really exactly what I 
felt. I am calm now. Later I will read it 
over again. That will bring back the past. 

I love the Due de H and I cannot 

tell him so. Even if I did, he would pay 
no attention to it. O, God ! I pray Thee ! 
When he was here, I had an object in 
going out, in dressing. But now ! I went 
to the terrace hoping to see him in the 
distance for at least a second. 

O God, relieve my suffering ! I can pray 

to Thee no more. Hear my petition. 

Thy mercy is so infinite, Thy grace is so 

great, Thou hast done so many things for 

13 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
me! Thou hast bestowed so many bless- 
ings upon me. Thou alone canst inspire 
him with love for me ! 

Oh, dear ! I imagine him dead, and that 
nothing can draw him nearer to me. What 
a terrible thought ! I have tears in my 
eyes, and still more in my heart. I am 
weeping. If I did not love him I might 
console myself. He would suit me for a 
husband in every respect. I love him, and 
that is what makes me suffer. Take away 
this anguish, and I shall be a thousand 
times more miserable. My grief makes 
my happiness. I live solely for that. All 
my thoughts, everything is centred there. 

The Due de H is my all. I love him 

so much! It is a very old-fashioned 
phrase, since people no longer love. 
Women love men for money, and men love 
women because they are the fashion or on 
account of their surroundings. 
14 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
I could not say, " On such or such a 
day I met a young man whom I liked." I 
do not know when I noticed him. I cannot 
even understand these feelings, I cannot 
find expressions. I will only say, " I do 
not know when, I do not know how this 
love has come. It came because it proba- 
bly had to come." I should like to define 
this, yet I cannot. 

Now, if he were paying me attention, 
he would think he was doing me honour, 
but then I should make him see that it 
is I who honour him by marrying him, 
because I am giving up all my glory. Yet 
what happiness can be greater: To have 
everything to be a child worshipped by 
its parents, petted, having all a child can 
have. Then to be known, admired, sought 
by the whole world, and have glory and 
triumph every time one sings. And at 
last to become a duchess, and to have the 
15 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
duke whom I have loved a long while, and 
be received and admired by everybody. 
To be rich on my own account and 
through my husband; to be able to say 
that I am not a plebeian by birth, like 
all the celebrities that is the life, that is 
the happiness I desire. If I can become 
his wife without being a cantatrice, I shall 
be equally well pleased, but I believe that 
is the only way I shall be able to attract 
him. 

Oh, if that could be ! My God ! Thou 
hast made me find in what way I shall be 
able to obtain what I ask. Oh! Lord! 
Aid me, I place all my hopes in Thee. 
Thou alone canst do all things, canst 
render me happy. Thou hast made me 
understand that it is through my voice 
I can obtain what I seek. Then it is upon 
my voice that I must fix all my thoughts, 
I must cultivate, watch, and guard it. I 
16 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
swear to Thee, O Lord, no longer to sing 
or scream as I used to do. 

On leaving the H 's, I was wrapped 

in an ermine cloak. I thought I looked 
very well. If I became a duchess, a cloak 
like that would suit me. I am growing too 
presumptuous. Because I put on an 
ermine cloak, I imagine that I am a queen. 

Monday, our day. We have plenty of 
callers. I went in only a minute to ask 
Mamma something, in my character of a 
little girl. Before entering I looked at 
myself in the mirror hanging there : I was 
good-looking, rosy, fair, pretty. 

Suppose I should write everything I 
think and everything I intend to do when 
I grow up, everything I mean to forget, 
and everything that is extraordinary? A 
dinner service of transparent glass. On 
one side a certain costume and arrange- 
ment of the hair; on the other side a dif- 
17 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
ferent costume and a different arrange- 
ment of the hair, so that on one side I 
shall be one person, and on the other side 
another. To give a dinner by letters. I 
have determined to end this book, for ex- 
travagant ideas rarely come to me in these 
days. 

March 14th, 1873. 

I saw Madame V on the Prom- 
enade. I was so glad, not on her own 
account yes, a little, but because all these 
people remind me of Baden. 

There I could see the Due, because he 
spent nearly all his time out of doors, but 
it did me no good, for I was a child. If 
I could be at Baden now for a summer! 
O, dear! When I think that Grandpapa 
made his acquaintance in a shop. If I 
could have foreseen, I should have con- 
tinued that acquaintance. 
18 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

I think only of him, I pray God to keep 
every trouble from him, protect, preserve 
him from every danger. 

All this time people talk about the Due 

de H and it pleases me immensely, if 

I don't blush. 

At last I can enjoy some bright 
weather on the Promenade. I have seen 
everybody, and I am happy. An hour 
driving, then walking, but the rain sur- 
prised us. 

In the evening we went to the theatre, 
which was filled with fashionable people. 

The W 's were next to us. I talked 

about the springs, horses, etc. To-day I 
have been reflecting. Not a moment must 
be lost, every instant must be spent in 
study. Sometimes (I am ashamed to con- 
fess it) I hurry through my lessons with- 
out understanding them, in order to finish 
more quickly, and I am glad when lessons 
19 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
are given me to review because, during 
the following days, I shall have less 
to do. 

I don't intend to behave so any longer. 
I must finish what I am learning quickly, 
that I may begin serious studies, like those 
of men, and occupy myself more with 
music, commence lessons on the harp 
and singing. These are great plans. 
They are sensible ones, too. Are they 
not? 

March 30th, 1873. 
I have been dreaming of the Due de 

H . He wore three jackets of the 

queerest cut, and was at our house to look 
at my pictures. He admired them, and 
I talked with him. I was very much agi- 
tated, and could scarcely conceal it. He 
talked with me very pleasantly, and spoke 

of B . He said : 

20 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

" I was talking with her. I made her sit 
down and I spoke of you." 

Oh! he talked to her about me, and it 
was on my account that he spoke to her! 
How happy I am! At last my prayer is 
granted! Then he brought some kind of 
paper or something, I don't know exactly 
what, to ask for an address to get clothes, 
I believe. He was in the large drawing- 
room, talked to me in low tones, encour- 
aged me by his frank manners, then I saw 
mountains on the pictures at which he 
was looking. It is strange that I felt 
nothing extraordinary, and I was less ex- 
cited than when I am awake. 

I was happy, I was calm and content. 

These transports overwhelm me at the 
mere sight of his name, for I am not sure 
of my happiness, and I ardently desire it. 
But when we have what we desire and love, 
we are calm. So, in my dream I was calm, 
21 

**"** *J 

f ~-.. .'. 
$- \ 

* fejtf J 

,.," 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
for I no longer had anything to desire. 
I said nothing, in order not to interrupt 
my happiness. I let myself go gently and 
quietly. 

What was my surprise to find, on 
waking, that all this happiness was only 
a dream! I spoke of it to members of 
the family, I laughed at myself, to con- 
ceal my joy and my love for him. He 
talked with me tenderly. Not exactly, but 
I know what I mean. He was not pre- 
cisely like himself, smaller and not so 
handsome. I thought I had reached port, 
but, on waking, I find myself in the open 
sea and in the midst of the tempest, as I 
was yesterday and shall be for a long 
time, perhaps, until he comes to lead me 
on board. That is a commonplace phrase, 
but it well expresses what I wish to say 
and I use it. Then an hour's practice on 
the piano. Then to the Promenade. 
22 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
Mademoiselle de G wore a broad- 
brimmed grey felt hat, turned up at one 
side. O, how I would like a hat like that ! 
It is so graceful. I would like a hat like 
that, and the same style of gown. It 
brings back the young ladies of former 
days, tall, well-formed, slender, beautiful. 
One would say that I am raving over a 
gown as I do over the man I love. 

Tuesday, April 8th. 
I had a geography lesson to-day. 
While looking for a city in America, my 
eyes were attracted by this tragical name : 
H island in the Arctic Ocean. It 
seemed as if a thunderbolt had struck me, 
I did not feel the earth under my feet. 
My heart beat violently, I was completely 
upset. Can I doubt that I love him? If 
he knew it ! But, with God's assistance 
he will know it some day. God is so good. 
23 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
He has given me all I have possessed up 
to the present moment. 

* 
* * 

Mademoiselle C scolded me to-day 

because people looked at me too much on 
the Promenade. While returning from 
church we talked about religion then 
went on to the Due de H . Made- 
moiselle C said: 

" What associates he has \ To-day he 



I want to describe conversations better. 
The Due de H was discussed. I de- 
fended him warmly, but I have seen that 
I went too far. 

Good Friday. 

At church, when we went to kiss the 
tomb of Christ, I looked at all the faces 
and suddenly his appeared as if he were 
24 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
there in person. Never has it presented 
itself so distinctly. This time I saw it as 
if it were himself. At this apparition my 
heart beat violently, and I began to pray. 
I wanted to recall this beloved face, but 
in vain. I no longer see it. 

At this vision, an idea came to me. 
There were a great many flowers near the 
tomb. I took a daisy. The flower is holy, 
it was near our Saviour. It will tell me 
whether our desires will be realised. With 
a throbbing heart, I pulled off petal after 
petal. Yes no O, God ! I thank Thee ! 
I believe this prediction, it is holy! 

I don't want to wait any longer. I 
shall die if I stay in this furnace. It is 
too warm. Knock, and it shall be opened 
unto you. I believe that, it is my consola- 
tion. We are going to Vienna Saturday, 
but Mamma will stay. There is no pleas- 
ure without pain. That is a great truth. 
25 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
So we shall start Saturday, I, my aunt, 
Dina, and Paul. 

July 29th, 1873. 

During the journey the most open- 
hearted gaiety did not cease to reign 
among us. O, how disagreeable Italy is 
on account of the Italians, how dirty they 
are ! We wanted to take a bath, and I did 
not expect to have such luck in an Italian 
hotel in Genoa. I was greatly surprised 
when they brought it to me. 

At ten o'clock we at last reached our 
destination. We went to the Grand Hotel. 
Everything is magnificent. I am pleased 
with it. I wanted to take a bath. It is 
too late. 

We all went to the Exposition and saw 
a part of Germany, England, and France. 
The costumes were heavenly. 

That is the way I shall dress later. 
26 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
How beautiful art can render finery! I 
adore dress, because it will make me pretty 
and give pleasure to the man I love, and 
I shall be happy. Then dress bestows 
Paradise upon earth. 

The Russian pavilion is extremely beau- 
tiful, everything is fine. We breakfasted 
at the Russian restaurant. It is neither 
restaurant nor Russian. It is a sort of 
German beer-hall. The servants are 
dressed in red, a perfect caricature. It 
isn't surprising that Russians should be 
taken for Turks. I am having a good 
time to-day. The first two it seemed as 
though I was in a lethargy. That happens 
to me sometimes. It is over now. The 
Italian statues are very original. There 
are some remarkable expressions of face. 

Say what you like, our native land is 
always our native land. Everything that 
is Russian in the pavilion is beautiful. I 
27 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
looked eagerly. There were Russian 
names on the goods. My eyes filled with 
tears. 

At seven o'clock, we went to hear the 
band. There were a great many people, 
the music was very captivating, thor- 
oughly Viennese. When this orchestra 
stopped, another began. All sorts of per- 
sons, members of the imperial family, fash- 
ionable ladies, young dandies, a whirl of 
gaiety. 

The Viennese climate is delicious, not 
like Nice, which is burning hot in summer. 

At last! We are leaving! We are in 
the train. There is no time to collect one's 
thoughts. We pass cities, cottages, huts, 
and in each dwelling people are talking, 
loving, quarrelling, bestirring themselves. 
Every human being whom we see, smaller 
than a fly, has his joys and sorrows. We 
are talking so much of Baden. We shall 
28 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
pass through it to-morrow. I should like 
to go there. 

At five o'clock in the morning I was 
waked. We were approaching Paris. I 
dressed quickly, but there were fifty min- 
utes to spare. We went to the Grand 
Hotel. 

Paris is comical in the morning. Noth- 
ing to be seen except butchers, pastry 
cooks, boot-makers, restaurant keepers, 
opening and cleaning their shops. 

Toward noon, I was not only settled, 
but ready to go out. In Paris I am at 
home, everything interests me; instead of 
being lazy, I am in too great a hurry. 
I should like not only to walk, but to fly. 
I wanted to make myself believe that there 
was society in Vienna, but that is impos- 
sible. The hotel is full of a very good 
sort of English people. We are going to 
Ferry's. I took the address in Vienna. 
29 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
We shall buy two pairs of boots, one 
black, the other yellow. 

We went on foot. I ordered some 
gloves. I dress myself. My allowance is 
2,500 francs a year. I received 1,000 
francs. Then we took a cab and went to 
Laferriere's. I ordered a tete-de-negre 
costume (three hundred francs). 

" Here comes the Due de H . 

Don't jump out of the carriage." My 
aunt looked at me sternly. This evening 
I asked myself if I really did love the Due, 
or if it was imagination. I have thought 
of him so much that I fancy things which 
do not exist I might marry somebody 
else. I imagine myself the wife of an- 
other. He speaks to me. Oh ! no, no ! I 
should die of horror! All other men dis- 
gust me. In the street, at the theatre, I 
can endure them, but to imagine that a 
man may kiss my hand drives me wild! 
30 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

I don't express myself well, I never 
know how to explain myself, but I under- 
stand my own feelings. 

To-night we are going to the theatre. 
This is Paris ! I can't believe that I am 
here. This is the city from which all the 
books are taken. All the books are about 
Paris, its salons, its theatres, it is the 
perfection of everything. 

At last I have found what I have de- 
sired without knowing it. To live is Paris 
Paris means to live! 

I was tormenting myself because I did 
not know what I wanted. Now I see it 
before me. I know what I want. To 
move from Nice to Paris. To have an 
apartment, furnish it, have horses as we 
do in Nice. To go into society through 
the Russian ambassador. That, that is 
what I want. 

How happy we are when we know what 
31 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
we want! But an idea has come to 
me I believe I am ugly. It is fright- 
ful! 

To-day is the first time we have seen 
the Bois, the Jardin d'Acclimatation, and 
the Trocadero, from which we had a view 
of all Paris. Really, I have never in my 
life beheld anything so beautiful as the 
Bois de Boulogne. It is not a wild beauty, 
but it is elegant, sumptuous. 

Since Toulon, I have been the prey of 
a great sorrow. All places are indifferent 
to me, except Paris, which I adore, and 
Nice. 

At last ! We have reached this 

spot, Princess G and W met 

us. 

Mamma was not there. We asked for 

her and were told that she was a little 

indisposed. The truth is that she fell out 

of bed and hurt her leg. We arrived. I 

32 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

made her sit in the dining-room. An ar- 
rival is always confused. People talk and 
answer, all speaking at once. 

During my absence a little negro boy 
was engaged, who will go out with the 
carriage. I cannot look through the win- 
dow. I can't bear this pale foliage, this 
red earth, this heavy atmosphere! So 
Mamma said that we will stay in Paris! 
Heaven be praised ! 

We were summoned to dinner, but first 
I arranged my room. Then I went back 
to the drawing-room, where Mamma was 
lying. We talked and laughed, I told what 
I had seen, in short, we discussed every- 
thing. I fear Mamma will be seriously ill. 
I shall pray to God for her. I am glad 
to be back in my chamber, it is pretty. 
To-morrow I mean to have my bed all in 
white. That will be lovely. 

I regard Nice as an exile. I intend to 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
occupy myself specially in arranging the 
days and hours of tutors. 

With winter will come society, with so- 
ciety, gaiety. It will not be Nice, but a 
little Paris. And the Races! Nice has 
its good side. All the same, the six or 
seven months which must be spent there 
seem like a sea I must cross without turn- 
ing my eyes from the light-house which 
guides me. I do not expect to approach, 
no, I only hope to see this land, and the 
sole thing which gives me resolution and 
strength to live until next year. After- 
ward ! Really, I know nothing about it ! 
But I hope, I believe in God, in His divine 
goodness, that is why I don't lose courage. 
Whoever lives under His protection will 
find repose in the mercy of the Omnipotent 
One. He will cover thee with His wings. 
Under their shelter thou wilt be in safety. 
His truth will be thy shield, thou wilt fear 
34 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

neither the arrows that fly by night; nor 
the pestilence that wastes by day ! I can- 
not express how deeply I am moved and 
how grateful I am for God's goodness to- 
ward me. 

September 12th, 1873. 

This morning I made a scene with 
Mamma and my aunt. I could stand it no 
longer, the bottle had to be opened, there 
was too much gas in it. I wept. It lasted 
two hours and a half. 

I asked forgiveness. Just at that mo- 
ment some one said that a house on the 
Rue de France was burning. I ran to 
see it. We were all at the windows. The 
carriages were brought from the stables, 
women came out carrying children. The 
building was not yet in flames. There was 
a courtyard surrounded by four sheds 
filled with hay. The fire flared high, but 
35 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
the people in Nice are always the same. 
They do nothing to subdue it, only stand 
at a distance to enjoy the spectacle. 

Oh! if it were in Russia, it would have 
been extinguished long ago. Our fire en- 
gines are terrible when they are heard a 
league away, every quarter has one. The 
firemen in golden helmets and lots of little 
bells. (The noise the Due de H 's car- 
riage makes coming from a distance re- 
minds me of the fire engines.) 

At last, after half an hour, a cart ar- 
rived, dragged by ten men, what a 
mere nothing! And four soldiers with 
guns. 

No doubt they were going to extinguish 
the fire with them ! But it was out before 
they came. 

So I return to what I was saying: A 
complete reform in my costume and char- 
acter, I will become kind, pleasant, gentle. 
36 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
I will try to be the good genius of the 
house. 

I want to make myself loved and es- 
teemed by every one, from the meanest 
beggar to the duke and king. This is the 
promise I make to God. Since I desire 
so great a happiness, I must deserve it. 
That is the way I hope to obtain it. 

Therefore I make a solemn vow to God 
that I will do what I say. If I fail once 
in my oath, I shall lose everything. I will 
address myself to the Holy Virgin and 
pray her, with Her Son, to guide and 
protect me. 

I rose at five o'clock to-day. I have 
worked well, I am satisfied with myself. 
How happy we are when we are content 
with ourselves ! All the rest matters little ; 
we find everything satisfactory, we are 
happy. My happiness depends upon my- 
self. I have only to study well. 
37 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
September 15th, 1873. 

I spoke Italian to-day for the first 
time. Poor M. (my professor) almost fell 
in a faint, or threw himself out of the 
window. I can say that I speak English, 
French, Italian, and am learning German 
and Latin. I am studying seriously. Day 
before yesterday I took my first lesson in 
physics. Oh, how well pleased with my- 
self I am ! 

I have received the Derby. I found a 
number of horses entered by the Due de 

H . The races at Baden ! How I 

should like to be there. Nothing prevents 
me, but I will not go. I must study. And 
with a heavy heart I read of the horse 
races. I calm myself with great difficulty 
and comfort myself by saying : " Let us 
study; our turn will come, if it is God's 
will." 

I have read this journal. My eyes are 
38 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

glittering, my hands are frozen. There is 
no doubt of it. I adore, I adore horses. 
They are my life, my soul, my happiness. 
By chance I shook my whip. There was 
the same hissing sound as at the races. 
I jumped. I no longer know where I am. 
Come ; it mustn't be talked about. 

September 20th. 

Only at five o'clock I am free, and I 
am going to the city with the Princess and 
Dina. In the French lesson I read Sacred 
History, the Ten Commandments of God. 
It says we must not make unto ourselves 
graven images of anything that is in the 
heavens. The Latins and the Greeks were 
wrong, they were idolaters who worshipped 
statues and paintings. I, too, am very far 
from following this method. I believe in 
God, our Saviour, the Virgin, and I honour 
some of the saints, not all, for there are 
39 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
some that are manufactured like plum 
cakes. May God forgive this reasoning if 
it is wrong. But in my simple mind this 
is the way things are and I cannot change 
them. 

Shall I ever believe that God has com- 
manded a tabernacle to be built to have 
His oracle heard from the ark in it? No, 
no! God is too great, too sublime for 
these unbearable Pagan follies. I worship 
God in everything. People can pray 
everywhere, and He is everywhere present. 

I went to the city for a turn on the 
Promenade. In the evening we played 
kings again, but the game isn't sufficiently 
interesting. We played like amateurs. 
For all that I had a good time and laughed 
heartily. 

G came and I no longer remember 

in what connection said that human be- 
ings are degenerate monkeys. He is a 
40 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
little fellow who gets his ideas from Uncle 
N . 

" Then," I said to him, " you don't be- 
lieve in God? " He: " I can believe only 
what I understand." 

Oh, the horrid fool! All the boys who 
are beginning to grow moustaches think 
like that. They are simpletons who believe 
that women cannot reason and understand. 
They regard them as dolls who talk with- 
out knowing what they are saying. With 
a patronising manner they let them go 
on. He has doubtless read some book he 
did not understand, whose passages he re- 
cites. He proves that God could not 
create because at the poles bones and 
frozen plants have been found. Then these 
lived, and now there are none. 

I say nothing against that. But was 
not our earth convulsed by various revolu- 
tions before the creation of man? We do 
41 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

not take literally the statement that God 
created the world in six days. The ele- 
ments were formed during ages and ages. 
But can we deny God when we look at the 
sky, the trees, and men themselves? 
Would we not say that there is a hand 
which directs, punishes, and rewards the 
hand of God? 

October 5th. 

We went with Paul to a secluded part of 
the garden to shoot. My hands trembled 
a little when, for the first time in my life, 
I took a loaded gun, especially because 
Mamma was so frightened. I chose a 
pumpkin twenty paces away for a target, 
and shot capitally. The whole charge was 
in the pumpkin. The second time I fired 
at a piece of paper twenty centimetres 
square ; again I hit, and a third time a leaf. 
Then I grew very proud and smiling. All 
42 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
fear disappeared and it seems as if I had 
courage enough to go to war. 

I carried the pumpkin, the paper, and 
the leaf in triumph to show to Mamma, 
who is very proud of me. 

Really, what harm is there in shooting? 
I need not become on that account one of 
those detestable men-women with specta- 
cles, masculine coats, and canes. To fire a 
gun will not prevent my being gentle, lova- 
ble, graceful, slender, vaporous (if I may 
use the word), and pretty. 

While shooting I am a man; in the 
water a fish; on horseback a jockey; in 
a carriage a young girl ; at an evening en- 
tertainment a charming woman; at a ball 
a dancer; at a concert a nightingale with 
notes extra low and high like a violin. I 
have something in my throat which pene- 
trates the soul, and makes the heart leap. 

Seeing me with the gun, no one would 
43 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
imagine I could be indolent and languish- 
ing at home. Yet, sometimes, when I un- 
dress in the evening, I put on a long black 
cloak which half covers me and sit down 
in an armchair. I seem so weak, so grace- 
ful (which I am in reality) that again no 
one would imagine I could shoot. 

I am a rarity. I shall be highly edu- 
cated, if God wills that I should live and 
blesses me. I am perfectly formed, my 
face is pretty enough, I have a magnificent 
voice, intellect, and I shall be, withal, a 
woman. Happy the man who will have me. 
He will possess the earthly Paradise ! 
Provided that he knows how to appreciate 
me! 

I lack everything here, and yet I adore 
Nice. We always love what does not love. 
Sic factce sumus. Everywhere else I am 
visiting, at Nice I am at home, and the 
proverb says: However well off we may 
44 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
be while visiting, we are better off at home. 
Nice ! Nice ! Thou ingrate ! 

I adore Nice and admire it from my 
window. I am happy and animated. 
Why? I don't know. After all Ah! let 
me alone ! The cards tell the truth, I be- 
lieve in the cards; they have always said 
yes to me. I must have an occupation, I 
am of a warlike disposition. I am ready 
for everything. I ask only an idea. 
No doubt I shall be depressed to-mor- 
row, for this evening I am certainly on 
stilts. 

The tower clock is striking nine. 
Lovely tower ; lovely I ! Ah ! H . 

October 8th, 1875. 

We went to N 's. The good woman 

vexed and made me laugh at the same 
time. 

" The first thing to be done in Rome," 
45 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
said Mamma, " is to get teachers of sing- 
ing and painting." 

" Yes," I replied, " and I am going to 
visit the galleries." 

" But what will you do there ? " asked 
Madame S . 

" Why, copy, study." 

"Oh, but you are so far from that 
point," she said earnestly. 

You understand, this foolish woman 
judges me in that way ; but pshaw. What 
do I care? Yet put yourself in my place, 
and you will comprehend my annoyance, 
my irritation. 

The good God is cruel. He gives me 
nothing. To ask the simplest, the most 
possible thing, to ask it as a mercy, as a 
happiness, to believe in God, to pray to 
Him, and to have nothing! Oh! I can 
see people scoffing at me because I bring 
God into everything. The poorest thing, 
46 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

by resistance, gains value ! My ugly tem- 
per gives importance to everything. No, 
frankly, I must become sensible and mount 
on my pedestal, raise myself above my 
troubles. Has it ever happened that 
everything goes wrong with you? The 
hair dresses badly, the hat tilts every min- 
ute, the flounce on my skirt tears each 
step I take, pebbles get into my slippers, 
cutting through my stockings, and prick 
my feet. 

I returned exasperated, and that horrid 
dog, F - , leaped joyfully upon me. I 
went upstairs and it pursued me with its 
caresses. I kept my patience, but when I 
reached my room I gave it a kick, and it 
ran howling under my bed, but after a 
couple of minutes came back, wagging its 
tail, and looking at me as if asking my 
pardon. Oh, the dog! the dog! 

No, never shall I be understood ! 
47 



.*' ^ 
,1 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
I should like to have whoever reads my 
words be myself for an instant in order to 
understand me, people cannot comprehend 
what they do not feel, to do so it is neces- 
sary to be myself ! and also myself in my 
lucid moments. 

M is seventeen to-day, and we 

lunched at W ? s. I was horribly 

bored. Imagine running down a long cor- 
ridor, so long that you cannot see the end, 
springing forward and finding only a delu- 
sion, coming with your outstretched hands 
against a wall. That is I ! 

I rate myself above everything, and the 
idea that I am placed on the same level 
with any one, that people do not con- 
sider me different from the rest of the 
world, the bare idea makes me angry. I 
wish them to forget, to trample every- 
thing under foot, to scorn and destroy all 
that has preceded me I desire that there 
48 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

should be nothing before, nothing after 
except the remembrance of me. Then only 
I should be content. 

When an opportunity offers, I will ex- 
press my meaning fully. 

* 
* * 

I went out with neither pleasure nor 

eagerness. N and her children were 

going to walk, and we enlarged their 
party. 

"Ah! if you knew how I have treated 
the human race this morning," I said to 

M in answer to a remark I no longer 

remember. 

" Ah ! if you knew how little it cares ! 
it is a matter of no importance," replied 
M , very wittily. 

How dreary it is to have nobody to care 
for! 

My head is heavy and my eyes are clos- 
49 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
ing, yet at the same time I want to write 
more, the pen glides easily over the paper 
and, though I might have nothing to say, 
I go on for the pleasure of filling the white 
pages and hearing the pleasant scratching 
of the pen. 

" My head is heavy and my eyelids close, 
Yet still my gliding pen I will not stay, 
Fain would I tell all my heart's j oys and 

woes, 
But cannot though so much have I to 

say." 

I am not successful with serious poetry. 

Sunday, October 10th, 1875. 
I was going to talk with my aunt, but 
why appeal to human beings? What can 
men do ? God alone can help ! God does 
not hear me! Just God! Holy Virgin! 
50 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
Jesus ! I am not worthy to be heard, but 
I pray you for it on my .knees, I pray 
so earnestly ! Is not prayer a merit, how- 
ever small it may be? Do not the most 
unworthy obtain what they ask through 
prayer? Is it nothing to believe and to 
turn to God? And though I should write 
until to-morrow I could say nothing but 
the words: 

" My God, have pity on me ! " 



I who thought I must succeed in every- 
thing, see that I am failing everywhere. 
I shall never console myself for it. How 
everything in this world repeats itself! I 
went lately to the Aquaviva terrace and 
looked to the right. It was in winter, and 
the mist was gathering on the Promenade. 

I saw the Due de H go into G 's, 

and now it is precisely the same thing, 
51 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
only then I ordered myself to love him, and 
now I forbid myself to love. 

Then I was crazy over the man; now 
he interests me because he looked at me. 

In a word, why and how? What do 
the reasons matter? I do not love him. 
Oh, but I am so provoked ! " Come," I 
said, " rouse yourself, I won't cry about 
that." 

To straighten myself, throw back my 
head, smile scornfully, then indifferently, 
and that is all ; moisten the ropes, as they 
did in moving the obelisk of SixtusQuintus, 
and I shall be on my pedestal and I have 
not an instant's strength. I preferred to 
stay in my armchair and murmur: 

" I fail in everything now." 

Confess, you who will read these lines, 
am I a man? Confess that I have reason 
to be angry over it. 

I, the queen, the goddess. I, who should 
52 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
be worshipped kneeling; I, who do not 
want to move my little finger lest I should 
bestow too much honour ; I with my ideas ; 
I with my ambition; I with my pride! I 
confess that, after having seen him go into 

G 's like a master, I feel a sort of 

respect for him; he acts the duke. 

This evening " Alice de Nevers" a 
comic opera by Herve, was given for the 
first time. Our box had been engaged a 
long while, first proscenium at the right. 
I was dressed with more care than usual; 
hair arranged in Marie Antoinette style, 
without the powder. The whole was drawn 
up, even the fringe in front. I left only 
a few little locks at each side. My beau- 
tiful white forehead, thus bared, gave 
me a royal air, and at the back I 
let two curls hang, waved just at the 
end. 

Gown of dove-grey taffeta and a white 
53 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
fichu. In short, Marie Antoinette in 
miniature. I felt well satisfied, and gazed 
at the base multitude from the height of 
my grandeur. Lighting a giorno. I was 
looked at quite enough. 

He could not help staring at me 
like the rest. Everybody came to our 
box. 

At every intermission I went to the 
back, so that I would not have to turn my 
head at each visit. Just as the curtain 

was rising the Prefect's son and A 

entered our box. I received them 
with perfect ease; he has a foreign 
air. 

" What, Mademoiselle, are you really 
going away? " 

" Oh, yes, Monsieur." 

" No, no," he said, as if he had been 
pricked by a pin, " Mademoiselle shall not 
go." 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
I did not deign to answer. I was cour- 
teous, agreeable, but cold. He turned and 
asked me if I always gave trouble. 
" Yes, always." 



We are going to the S - 's. I do not 
see M - . She is shut up at home. This 
is what has happened during the two 
months since the C - family arrived 
from Mexico, he has no longer written to 
her. 

I know that people who say what I 
have just said are not popular. We pre- 
fer those who, like Dina, veil what they 
know by a false sentiment of sham deli- 
cacy and misplaced pity. 

Listen carefully to these commonplace, 
but true words. C - deserts you. 
Write him a letter full of pride and with- 
draw with honour. 

55 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

I am very sorry for M . C 

will leave Europe in three days. 

Poor M . This is what it means to 

love with the heart. I understood at once 
when she told me that C had not writ- 
ten to her for so long. On account of 
anonymous letters he received ; because he 
thought that he no longer loved her. I 
instantly comprehended his object. I am 
frantic for her, when I think what a satis- 
fied face the booby will take with him 
to Mexico! And that poor girl has been 
crying ever since this morning. I am 
pleased. I foresaw everything, we must 
hold ourselves proudly, especially when the 
man wants to draw back. He invents ex- 
cuses, and the poor woman believes she is 
deserving of reproach, and this, that, and 
the other thing, while in reality she has 
no cause for blaming herself. I always try 
to protect myself against every affront. 
56 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

" Yes," said Mamma, " I was told that 
you received him yesterday from the sum- 
mit of your grandeur." 

" Not only yesterday," my aunt inter- 
rupted, " but for a long time past." 

" That is true," I replied ; " otherwise 
I should never console myself, for he has 
wounded me by confounding me with other 
young ladies." 

" How glad I am that we have no C 

in our house," remarked Mamma. " My 
daughter is pure and free from any love." 

"Oh! oh!" said my aunt. 

# 

* * 

Oh, women, women, you will always be 
the same. 

Learn to behave yourselves, wretched 
sex! See how man marches straight on, 
without fear, without reproach, and with- 
out being afraid of wounding you; he 
57 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
abuses you, and you endure and bow be- 
fore it. Oh, you men, if you read this, 
know that I am grieved to the bottom of 
my heart to allow you so much impor- 
tance, but it would be both bad taste and 
bad tactics to decry your worth ; the value 
of our enemies enhances our own. What 
credit is it to conquer dunces ? Know, you 
who wear trousers, know that in me you 
have a foe. I take pleasure in magnifying 
you men in order to maintain in myself 
the noble ardour which animates me. 

Saturday, October 23d, 1875. 
I forgot to tell my yesterday's dream. 
I saw some mice, against which I threw 
cats that choked them. Then these mice 
became serpents and went into their holes, 
while the cats rushed upon me, especially 
one that scratched my right leg. It is 
a bad dream. Ah! yes; malediction! I 
58 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

see that there is nothing good for me in 
this world. Why do you want to live 
when everything fails, everything goes 
wrong? We have courage up to a certain 
point, we make ourselves bold, we hope, 
but a moment comes when we have strength 
no longer. 

Well! Jeer at me, you hardened peo- 
ple. What! you will say, you dare to 
utter such words, when your mother is 
living, when you have an aunt who wor- 
ships you, a mother who obeys you, a 
fortune at your command, when you are 
neither infirm nor ill. You are tempting 
God. 

That is what you will tell me, and I 
shall answer that life is made up of little 
things as the body is formed of molecules. 
When all the molecules decay and go to 
the Old Nick, the body can no longer 
live. It is the same with life when all that 
59 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
composes it, colours it, makes it lovable, 
is lacking, turns out badly, when every- 
thing escapes, when not the slightest wish 
is realised, when everything vanishes, 
everything deceives. No, to go on in this 
way is impossible. So I believe that God 
will recall me soon. It is not in vain that 
two mirrors were broken this year. Peo- 
ple will say that when we are young, we 
often feel a desire to die, but that is non- 
sense. I have no desire to die ; but I fore- 
see my own death, for a life so useless, so 
miserable, cannot last. 

I have interrupted myself ten times to 
weep and to think of this summer; when 
I compare it with the present I am thor- 
oughly wretched. How many lost illu- 
sions! What hopes deceived! And I am 
rid of them. I was going to say that my 
heart is torn, but it is not true ; my heart 
is whole, my mind is embittered, and de- 
60 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

ceptions destroy man. Let us surround 
our hearts with triple brass. I will trouble 
myself no more about this man. I will no 
longer think of him, I will no longer speak 
of him as before, I forbid myself to do 
it. 

October 24th, 1875. 

I boasted of my conduct yesterday ; 
there was no reason for it; if I appeared 
indifferent it was because I was indiffer- 
ent. These people don't know how to 
talk; the Arts, history, one doesn't even 
hear their names. I feel that I am grad- 
ually growing stupid. I am doing noth- 
ing. I want to go to Rome to take up 
my lessons again. I am bored. I feel 
myself being gradually enveloped in the 
spider's web which covers everything here, 
but I am struggling, I am reading. 

At the theatre P - with R , her 

61 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
good friend, as they say in Nice, began to 
yawn when she saw all the people in our 
box. 

Why do women yawn when they are 
jealous and curious? My mother has no- 
ticed it a hundred times, and I, too, in 
my short life. 

Wretched feminine position ! Men have 
all the privileges, women have only that 
of waiting their good pleasure. 

I should be quite proud if I could make 
myself really loved by this man. 

Wild, reckless, ruined, vicious, fickle, 
brutalised by association with wicked 
women ! His feelings of delicacy, of true 
love, of virtue, which are the bloom of the 
human heart, have been early swept away 
from him. The desire for money holds the 
first place, money to lead a gay life, to 
support the riffraff he has in his train. 
62 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
How much women are to be pitied! It 
is the man who first takes notice, it is the 
man who asks to be introduced, it is the 
man who makes the first advances, it is 
the man who gives the invitation to dance, 
it is the man who pays attention, it is the 
man who offers marriage. The woman is 
like this paper, this nice paper on which 
we write whatever we please. God does 
not hear me, yet I will not doubt God. 
Often a desire to do it seizes possession of 
me, but I am very quickly punished. 
Pshaw ! Life is an ugly thing ! 



Before dinner we went to walk, it was 
wonderful moonlight. I said a thousand 

foolish things to O , and if Dina and 

M were as crazy as we, a great scan- 
dal would have happened, for we wanted to 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
dance a ring around a priest who was 
passing. 

Q is writing a novel, it appears. 

After dinner we went in search of her; I 
shut myself up with her, and the good 
girl read it. But at the second page I 
stopped her and proposed that we should 
write one together. I gave the idea, every- 
thing, everything, and the girl imagines 
she is composing too. It would be the 
story of Dumas with the Tour de Nesle, 
but I shall not assert my rights. I am 
giving her a love scene for to-morrow. She 
makes no pretensions, and asks for ideas, 
details, and love scenes with perfect sim- 
plicity. 

As for me, I set to work and, at one 
dash, wrote the first chapter, in which my 
hero bursts open a door and leaps through 
the window. 

People are doing me the honour to busy 
64 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
themselves very much about me, to gossip 
a great deal over me. Haven't I always 
desired it? 

My journal is suffering because I have 
begun to write a novel, and I shall suc- 
ceed. Thank Heaven, I am capable of 
doing everything I wish. Two chapters 
in two days is going on finely. I have read 
it to Dina, and my story interests her. 
But I am able to judge for myself per- 
sonally, and I believe it will go. 

While we were walking, surrounded by 
a group of young men, I was happy, 
proud, and of what ? I am little and vain ; 
I took good care to express a wish to 
return to the carriage, before my cavaliers 
desired to leave. They even begged me to 
take another turn. That was all right. 
They escorted me to the landau. 



65 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
Monday, November 15th, 1875. 

All day long the day of the opera I was 
restless. 

At half past eight o'clock we set off. 
I was dressed in a white muslin gown, a 
plain skirt with a wide ruche around the 
bottom, Marie Stuart waist, and hair ar- 
ranged to match the costume. A very 
pretty auditorium. Everybody admired 
me. Toward the middle of the entertain- 
ment, I began to feel as lovely as possible. 
In going out I passed between two rows 
of gentlemen who stared at me till their 
eyes bulged, and they didn't think me 
bad-looking, one could see that. My heart 
swelled with pride and joy. Leonie came 
to undress me, but I sent her away and 
shut myself up. As I entered I suddenly 
saw myself in the glass. I looked like a 
queen, a portrait that had come down 
from its frame. I no longer had to say: 
66 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
" Ah ! if I dressed as people used to 

do " I was dressed as people used to 

do. I was beautiful. 

It always seems as if others did not see 
me as I am. How unfortunate that, in- 
stead of these little black letters, I could 
not trace my portrait as I was my won- 
derful complexion, my golden hair, my 
eyes so dark at night, my mouth, my 
figure! Those who saw me know how I 
looked. 

While remaining simple, as suits one of 
m J a g e > barely beyond childhood, I was 
gowned like a grown person. That is 
where the difficulty lies to be like a grown 
person and yet not extravagant and over- 
dressed. 

Later I felt very unhappy and began 

to sing: "Knowst thou the land?" and 

fell on my knees, weeping. Why? It is 

a relief to lie on the ground. Because, in 

67 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

the last scene, a love scene, P had in 

her voice it gave one a thrill I would 
die for the truth and joyfully. 

This is it, he who slays with the sword 
shall perish by the sword. 

It seems as if I had loved. I feel 
in despair ; I don't know why, but it 
was a torturing feeling and made me 
weep. 

Tuesday, November 16th, 1875. 

I left Nice to-day with my aunt, I was 
ready to cry every instant. 

" Do you want a pillow ? " she asked. 

" No." 

"Are you ill?" 

" No." 

" But you look so pale." 

" I am tired." 

"You must be ill; where do you feel 
pain? " 

68 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

" Everywhere ! Come, Aunt, don't dis- 
turb me, I am composing." 

"Ah!" 

" Oh ! there is nothing like the rolling 
of a carriage to give ideas." 

"Aha! That's different; well, well, I 
didn't know." 

And she left me to compose at my ease. 
Then, after a silence: 

" Why did A turn so pale when 

P began to sing: 'Knowst thou the 

land?'" 

" How could you have seen ? For my 
part, I can never notice whether a person 
turns pale or blushes." 

" Yes, you, because you can't see at a 
distance, but I can. He turned as white 
as a sheet when she sang: ' There would I 
fain live!'" 

" I saw nothing." 



69 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
Wednesday, November 17th, 1875. 

Many things have changed since Mon- 
day. I don't wish to die, no matter where 
and no matter how, and I have since been 
ashamed of myself. I meant to trifle with 
the man, and it seems as if the man was 
trifling with me. This insult, joined to 
the wrath I feel for my weakness Monday, 
makes me detest him. 

At six o'clock we arrived without having 
secured any accommodations at the Grand 
Hotel, so we took rooms at the Hotel 
Splendide. 

" Is it worth while to choose for a hero 

a miserable Nice scamp like that A ? " 

said my aunt, " and to write a lot of stuff 
about him? " 

Certainly my aunt understands nothing 

of the matter, and that is very fortunate. 

I do think of him, and yet if he loved 

me, X would not consent to be his wife. No 

70 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

one in the household considered him a suit- 
able match. They noticed him because I 
was interested in him. They talked about 
him because they saw it gave me pleasure, 
yet if I said I wanted to marry him they 
would think me crazy, would raise a loud 
outcry, for they are dreaming of a throne 
for me. So I don't want to marry him. 
I only say I am jealous ; that is why I am 
going to Rome. If I stayed in Nice I 
could not work; I should only torment 
myself. Since knowing him, since he has 
paid me attention, my studies have suf- 
fered greatly, especially since it has 
seemed to me, and I am almost sure of 
it, that he is not madly in love with me, 
I have not been able to read a book or 
practise an hour on the piano. 



71 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
Paris, November 18th, 1875. 

Tired enough, finery will use me up, me 
and my money. But that is why I came to 
Paris, and we must do things conscien- 
tiously. I need not say that I am not 
having anything made in colours, every- 
thing is white. 

I feel sad, unnerved, I should like to 
smile and to weep. No, really, love is full 
of interest. 

I was in good spirits this evening, I 
talked with my aunt, and complained of 

M A . She answered that M 

A was a girl of the street, a worthless 

creature. I declared that she deserved 
every punishment for having, without 
knowing me, from mere gossip, formed a 
bad opinion of me and basely slan- 
dered me. Seizing a sheet of paper, I 
wrote : 

" Contemptible old creature, your 
72 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

daughter no longer loves G , she loves 

a door-keeper in the Theatre Italien, 
who is a very handsome fellow." 

I sent this to D , who is going to 

mail it as if it came from Nice. 

I wanted to howl this morning, but it 
would be too much like the dogs I sigh 
and I laugh, which is amusing. 

" Good Heavens," I said to my aunt 
yesterday, " do you suppose I could be in 
love? What I want is wealth. If my 
heart beats, it is when I see superb car- 
riages, magnificent horses; if I am agi- 
tated, it is with the longing to have all 
these things. 

" No, Madame, even if I loved any one, 
the luxury here would cure me very 
quickly. You don't know me, or you pre- 
tend not to know me." 

I never spoke more truthfully ; my aunt 
believed me, and began to comfort me ; to 
73 



\ 

." 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
calculate, to try to have money enough to 
satisfy my wants. 

I worship people when they show good 
will. But the line of railroad that leads 
me to the Due de H has made a tre- 
mendous curve! Yesterday he suddenly 
presented himself to my mind, so hand- 
some that I am again completely capti- 
vated. 

November 19th, 1875. 

I have spent a day between L and 

W . It is full of interest, for dress 

forms an art, a talent, a science ! Finery 
to this degree of perfection is a treat. 

Oh, dear, how tiresome life is when one 
hasn't an income of at least 300,000 
francs ! 

I have a dozen gowns made, a few hats, 
and stop there! It's absurd; one ought 
not to be embarrassed by such things. Oh, 
74 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

money, money! I must have it; I'll take 
any husband, if he will give it to 
me. 

" And she has such ideas at fifteen," 
said my aunt. 

" Yes, Aunt ; not at fifteeh ; since I was 
thirteen always." 

" You are crazy," replied my aunt. 

" I think so, too, but what is to be 
done?" 

" If you don't sleep for ten nights 
wealth will not arrive any the more ; come, 
go to bed; it's heartrending, heartrend- 
ing." 

" Madame, I must be married ! " 

"To E ? No, indeed, he doesn't 

suit me." 

I have written a lot of nonsense this 
evening; my ideas are very much con- 
fused, and the novel especially. And 
every time I talked seriously, my aunt 
75 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
was alarmed. Whenever I laughed, she 
laughed too. 

Saturday, November 20th, 1875. 
For three hours everything in the house 
has been in a state of revolution, but all 
the flames were extinguished in a business 

interview with D . With pride and 

confidence I assure myself that I am the 
wise head of the household. I believe that 
this time all the difficulties are smoothed, 
unless the matter is upset when I am no 
longer here. 

Sunday, November gist, 1875. 
I want to return to Nice, the longer I 
stay here, the longer my departure for 
Rome is delayed. I spend my time in com- 
plaining; my aunt says I am crazy. I 
laugh, and so does she. Life is full of 
interest. 

76 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
Monday, November 22nd, 1875. 

We went to my beautifiers, and also to 

B 's. To-morrow we shall decide upon 

the carriages. Then I went to see B , 

with whom I always keep up a corre- 
spondence. I spent an hour with her; we 
are not intimate friends, like young girls, 
we are mere acquaintances. 

We received a letter from Mamma, with 
a clipping from a newspaper in which the 
opening of the opera at Nice was de- 
scribed, and a number of complimentary 
things said about us. So people are in- 
terested in me, but let us pass on. 
Mamma has been to the opera again, there 
was some mistake about the box, and old 

A came to give her a box by the side 

of his. Everybody came to see her she 

was with Dina and O . Everybody 

enquired for us except G . 

While reading this letter I committed 
77 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
a thousand extravagances, to the amaze- 
ment of my aunt. Instantly taking a 
sheet of paper I wrote, disguising my 
hand, a letter to A D . 

" Sir, here is a recent and true story 
from which your wonderful talent will be 
able to make a drama or a striking ro- 
mance. 

" A rich man, forty-five years old, mar- 
ried in Spain a young girl of sixteen and 
took her to his chateau in France. He 
was a widower, and had a son eight years 
old. This child, at the end of fifteen years, 
became a young man of three and twenty. 
He is handsome, impetuous, spoiled, but 
good and loyal. His stepmother is 
scarcely thirty-one, and beautiful. They 
love each other. 

" Pursued by remorse, she could no 
longer endure the presence of her husband, 
who knew nothing. She planned that he 
78 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
should surprise her with some one else. 
The husband fired at her, but missed his 
aim. 

" She fled to a convent where the hus- 
band is going to pursue her, wants to 
bring a lawsuit, take away her chil- 
dren the oldest a girl of fifteen. The 
story could be turned to excellent ac- 
count. 

" There was also an interview between 
the young man and the woman, in which 
he sought to lead her into a reconciliation, 
showed her the scandal which this rupture 
would bring upon her daughters. It ended 
by a total separation, but if you wish you 
can kill off whichever you like, except the 
son, who is very well. 

" Answer me through the correspond- 
ence of the Figaro, if you think there is 
anything in it, addressing the initials C. 
P. L." 

79 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

" That is wicked and absurd," said my 
aunt. 

" It is worse than wicked, worse than 
absurd, it is cowardly, but what do you 
expect, doesn't everybody know the 
story?" 

" Yes, but people don't talk about it, 
not on account of the old man, who is a 
fool, whom everybody recognises as such, 
but for the sake of the young one, who is 
beloved. It is only since the son's appear- 
ance in society that his father has been 
let alone." 

"Why does he look so fierce?" C 

asked B one day. 

" Because so many stones have been 
thrown at him." 

Wednesday, November 24th, 1875. 
I slept for twelve hours and, while try- 
ing on at L 's I felt ill. True, they 

80 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
kept me two hours with those wretched 
gowns. 

We ordered from B - a landau with 
eight springs, dark-blue, five seats, every- 
thing the very best, at the price of 6,000 
francs ; also a park phaeton of the same 
colour, the phaeton is for me. I already 
see myself in that little carriage, driving 
and saying : " Knowst thou the land - " 

November 28th, 1875. 
I am in Nice. From Paris to Lyon, we 
were in the midst of snow, but it is strange 
that I am not so delighted as I was before 
on reaching my villa. 

At Toulon we met C - and took her 
with us. Mamma and the S - 's were 
waiting for us at the station. The 
grown-ups took a cab, and we entered our 
carriage. 

81 



<* 

>* r- - 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

We went to the opera. I wore a white 
barege costume made a little like a night- 
gown open in front, as if by chance, and 
confined at the waist by a wide sash like a 
child's. We laughed heartily in spite of 
the general dulness. 

I returned stupid, indifferent. It is the 
most detestable condition. I would rather 
weep. I don't love him. I hate him with 
all the strength with which I might have 
loved him. Nothing in the world effaces 
the resentment I have once felt. 

Do you remember all that is wounding 
and terrible expressed in the one word 
"scorn"? 

/ understand, I who remember the slap 
my brother gave me more than twelve 
years ago, at whose recollection I am still 
as furious as if I had received it now; I 
who have kept a sort of hatred of my 
brother on account of that childish af- 
82 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
front. It was my only blow, but to make 
up for it, I have given a goodly number 
and to everybody. There was so much 
wickedness in my eyes that, when I looked 
in the glass, I was frightened by it. 
Everything can be pardoned except scorn. 
I would forgive a cruelty, a fit of passion, 
insults uttered in a moment of anger, even 
an infidelity, when people return and still 
love, but scorn ! 

Monday, November 29th, 1875. 

We went out at three o'clock. I who 
came to Nice in search of fine weather en- 
countered Parisian cold. I wore an otter 
skin hat, made in the style of a baby hood, 
and my big sable pelisse covered with white 
cloth. The costume created a sensation, 
and my face did not look ugly, in spite 
of my fatigue. 

I am so happy to be at home in my 
83 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
own house. I am sleeping in my big 
dressing room. My chamber will be ready 
in a month ; I shall find it finished on my 
return from Rome. I am thinking only of 
that, of having my carriage, of spending 
a month in Nice, of continuing the studies 
I shall have begun in Rome, of following 
my professor's directions, and then of go- 
ing to Russia. So many things have suf- 
fered, so much money has been lost be- 
cause we failed to take our journey. 
There was a crowd to hear the band play. 

General B and V were near us. 

A was near the carriage. 

" Are you going to stay long in Nice? " 

" A week." 

" Are you going away again ? " 

" Why, yes," replied my aunt. 

"And where?" 

"To Rome." 

" Yes, to Rome," I added. 
84 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

" But you do nothing but travel, Made- 
moiselle, you are a regular whirler." 

" What a ridiculous man ! " 

We were walking, I, my aunt, and the 
General, who made me laugh by calling 
my attention to the different ways in which 
people looked at me, the men at my face, 
the women at my gown. 

From this time I will no longer trouble 
myself about any one. I will become 
Galatea, let people love me, if they 
like! 

I wonder why I am unhappy. No! I 
have no brains. Do people ask such things 
when they have? We are happy or we 
are unhappy, nothing does any good; 
neither prayer, nor tears, nor faith. I am 
a living proof, I lack everything. 

When shall I go to Rome? I want to 
study, I am losing my time for nothing. 
If one does nothing, one ought to go into 
85 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
society; I am losing my time and I am 
bored. 

O, misery of miseries! I will go 
all the same to pray to God, who 
knows ? 

While there is life, there is hope. 

Saturday, December 4th, 1875. 
I have told Mamma that I was going to 
study singing, and I shall do it, if it is 
God's pleasure to preserve my voice ; it is 
the only way of gaining the fame for which 
I thirst, for which I would give ten years 
of my life without hesitation. I need re- 
nown, glory, and I will have them. Deo 
juvante. It has never happened that peo- 
ple wanted it, and did not have it ! I have 
the most comprehensive ideas in the world. 
A fig for all that ! Do I want it? A hun- 
dred times, no, a thousand times no! I 
was born to be a remarkable woman, it 
86 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

matters little in what way or how. All 
my tendencies are toward the great things 
of this world. I shall be famous, I shall 
be great, or I shall die! 

It is impossible that God should have 

given me this gloria cupidatis, like S , 

for nothing, without an object; my time 
will come. I am happy when I think as 
I do to-day. Oh, my voice ! 

We went to the opera house to get a 
box for this evening. They gave the 
" Barber," my favourite little opera. I 
aspire to something unheard of, fabulous ; 
I want to be famous, I will sing. It is 
queer, the whole Italian company saluted 
me. We were in No. 2. I wore my Em- 
pire gown, in which I like myself best. 
Hair dressed like an Olympian goddess, 
falling lower than the belt, and curled nat- 
urally at the ends. The General, always 
charming, was with us. 
87 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

" Come," I said, " do you know what I 
am going to do ? " 

" What are you going to do, Made- 
moiselle? " 

" I am going to make a mirror." 

" How? " 

" Look." 

I took the attitude of old A , who 

sat opposite. He put his hand on the 
balustrade; I did the same. He leaned 
on his hand ; I leaned on mine. He played 
with his chain; I played with my ribbon. 
He pulled his ear ; I pulled mine. 

The General laughed, Dina laughed, 
everybody laughed. 

Every time he changed his position I 
imitated him like the most faithful mir- 
ror. 

It was the last act, the house was half 
empty, and I continued my game in free- 
dom till the last moment. I went out 
88 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
fairly jumping for joy and returned home 
gay and talkative. 

To-night " Mignon " was given at the 
theatre. 

I listened with pleasure and emotion. 
I forgot everything, toilette and audience, 
and, with my head resting against the 
pillar, I devoured the charming melodies. 
If I had " Mignon " given in my room I 
should enjoy it just as much, even more. 
With an interesting audience one hears 
nothing. I have seen this opera so many 
times ! And I am always moved. 

One could not imagine my impatience 
to go to Rome and resume my work. To 
study, to study, that is my desire! I 
grow joyous at the sight of my dear books, 
my adored classics, my beloved Plutarch. 

I shall carry with me a few volumes to 
read, for I suppose we shall not see many 
people ; we know no one there. 
89 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
Saturday, December llth, 1875. 

The weather is magnificent. A tre- 
mendous crowd when we go out. We 
move at a walk, between hedges formed of 
the young men of Nice. They all take 
off their hats, and it seems as if I were 
the daughter of a queen whom they salute 
as she passes. 

We met the Marvel, who alighted from 
his carriage and raised his hat to us twice. 
I was amused, I laughed, I went with 

O -. Why did we laugh so much? I 

shall remember later. 

Sunday, December 19th, 1875. 
To-morrow there is to be a concert at 
the Cercle de la Mediterranee for the 
benefit of the free Ecole des beaux-arts. I 
went to the club to get tickets. Entering 
through the big door I was ushered 
through well-heated, well-lighted corridors 
90 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
to the room of the secretary, who gave me 
the little book containing the by-laws and 
the names of the members. Men are 
lucky ! 

The club made a charming impression 
upon me. There is a fraternity of spirit, 
a homelike air, which reminds one of the 
convent. I am no longer surprised that 
these men avoid their badly lighted, poorly 
heated homes, with household cares neg- 
lected, ill-disciplined servants, a wife in 
a wrapper and a bad humour, to go to 
a place where everything is nice, comforta- 
ble, elegant (in a land where the orange 
tree blossoms, where the breeze is softer 
and the bird swifter of wing). 

O women, don't pity yourselves, but at- 
tend to your homes. 

Long instructions might be given. I 
am content to say : " Make your house 
resemble a club as much as possible and 
91 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

treat your husbands as these ladies, L 

and C , treat them, and you will be 

happy and your husbands too." 

Now I am calm and I think. O misery 
of miseries ! O despair ! What I have 
written expresses the best portion of what 
I feel. O God, have pity on me. Good 
people, do not jeer at me. Perhaps I 
give cause for amusement, but I am to 
be pitied. With my temperament, my 
ideas, I shall never explain what I feel. 
I shall never give an idea of my unhappi- 
ness, it is because while dying of shame, 
of scorn, of rage, I have the courage to 
jest. I really do have good health and 
a good disposition. Provided that what 
I have just said doesn't bring me mis- 
fortune ! 

I have a great many other things to 
say, but I am tired. I am going to write 
in big letters, " I am unhappy," and in 
92 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

letters still larger, " O God, aid me, have 
pity on me ! " 

These big letters represent an hour and 
a half of rage, tears, irritated self love, 
and two hours of prayer ! 

I have exhausted all words, I have ex- 
hausted my energy, I no longer have pa- 
tience or strength, yet I still have one 
resource. 

My voice. To preserve it I must take 
care of my health. Another week like this 
one, and good-bye to singing! 

No, I will be sensible, I will pray to 
God. I will go to Rome. I am desperate, 
I will implore the Pope to pray for me. 
In my madness, I hope for that. 

To-morrow I will talk with Mamma 
about my idea ; aid me, my God. 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

Thursday, December 23d, 1875. 
I am sorrowful and discouraged. My 
departure is an exile to me. I want to 
stay in Nice, and it is impossible. We 
always insist upon the impossible. The 
simplest thing, by resisting, gains in value. 

Friday, December 24th, 1875. 

B has been to our house. By a few 

words in the conversation he awoke in me 
so much love for Nice, so much regret 
at leaving, that I became unhappy and 
went to my room to sing with such ear- 
nestness, such warmth, that I am still 
weeping from it that eternal air, and 
these delightful words : 

" Alas ! Would it were possible I might 

return, 
Unto that vanished land whence I was 

torn, 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
There, there alone to live my heart doth 

yearn, 
To live, to love, to die." 

How I pity those who are not like me ! 
They do not understand how much truth 
there is in this familiar fragment that is 
sung in every drawing-room. Yes, there 
alone to live my heart doth yearn. Yes, 
at Nice, in my beloved villa. People may 
go through the world. They will find 
sublime landscapes, impressive mountains, 
frightful gulfs, wild beauties of nature, 
picturesque towns, great cities; but, on 
returning to Nice one would say that else- 
where it was beautiful, magnificent! but 
here it is pleasant, attractive, congenial; 
here one wants to stay; here one is alone 
and surrounded, hidden and in sight, as 
one desires. Nowhere else does one 
breathe as freely, as joyously. Nowhere 
95 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
else is there this extraordinary blending of 
the real and the artificial, the simple and 
the exquisite! Finally, what shall I say? 
Nice is my city. I am going, but I shall 
return. 

Go, but still regret it, 
Regret has its charms, 

as one of the pleasant simpletons called 
poets has said. 

To-morrow will be Christmas, and I am 
planning a joke with C . We are go- 
ing to buy a pair of huge slippers, a 
jockey, reins for driving (suitable for a 
child), and two little sheep. We will put 
these things into the slippers, make a 
package, and under the cord slip a letter 
written in this form: 

" Santa Claus has found little E 

very good, and hopes he will continue to 
96 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

be. The toys are for little E , the 

slippers for little ' papa.' ' And on the 
envelope one may guess what. But we 
shall not send it, Dina is going to dis- 
guise herself as a boy, and, with her blue 
spectacles and pale complexion, she ap- 
pears like a professor of mathematics. 
C and I will also make ourselves un- 
recognisable and, at eight o'clock, go to 
the club, and tell the coachman to give 
the package to the janitor from M. 

E . We laughed as we used to do. 

What amuses me is to see a serious woman 
play pranks with me. 

This morning we had a call from a 

Sister T . She left two visiting cards. 

The Sisters of the Good Shepherd. I took 
one, added P. P. C. and, with an address 
written on it, sent it to Tour. 



97 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
Saturday, December 25th, 1875. 

Ah! son felica! Ah! son rapita! 

Find me a language which expresses 
thought with so much enthusiasm. So I 
use it to define my condition. It is heav- 
enly weather, everybody is out of doors, 
in spite of my vigil yesterday, I look 
pretty. 

I go to walk enchanted, happy, I sing 
" Mignon " softly and everything seems 
beautiful to me. Everybody looks at me 
so pleasantly, those whom I know salute 
me. I should like to hug them all. Oh, 
how comfortable we are in Nice, I should 
not want to go away. 

I have a longing for amusement, I 
should like to invite everybody to the 
house, to give a dinner, a ball, a supper, 
a reception, to have some sort of diabolical 
carnival I should like to have everybody, 
98 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
everybody. I am not ill-natured at heart, 
I am only a little crazy. 

Ah! son felica! Ah! son rapita 
Dio Virgina Sanctissima. 

We went to the opera, Mamma and I in 
the 3d box in the first row, my aunt and 
Dina in the 2nd next to the Marvel. 

T came in, General B was with 

us. The door opened and the Marvel ap- 
peared. 

" Well," said I, " you celebrated Christ- 
mas." 

"Ah! yes, just think, I received a pair 
of slippers." 

" Slippers ! " 

" Yes, and mine were so worn out that 

they came very opportunely, and an 

anonymous letter which was not signed 

that is very natural, anonymous letters 

99 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
are never signed. And the same day I 
received a letter, a visiting card: The Sis- 
ters of the Good Shepherd.' 9 

Everybody laughed. 

" What does P. P. C. mean? " I asked. 

" Pays Parting Calls." 

" Oh, yes, that's true." 

" But for some time I have received a 
great many things, the other day a bit of 
broken rock, pierced by an arrow. All the 
people in the box shouted with laughter, 
and so did I. But I saw plainly that he 
was furiously angry and suspected every- 
thing. It is terrible that only the most fool- 
ish little pranks should be remembered." 

" You are very fortunate, I received 
nothing at all." 

" Ah ! If you wish, I'll send you some 
slippers." 

" But if they are so big, what should I 
do with them?" 

100 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

" Never mind, I'll send you all the 
things." 

" That is kind, I am quite overpow- 
ered." 



101 



BOOK LI 

From Sunday, December %6th, to Sunday, 
January 9th, 1876; Nice, Promenade 
des Anglais, 55 bis, in my 'villa. From 
Monday, January 3d, in Rome, Hotel 
de Londres, Piazza di Spagna. 

Sunday, December 26th, 1875. 
We went to hear the band. G. 

M came to talk to us and, among 

other compliments, said to me : " M , 

I would like to give you some of my ex- 
perience, I love you so much ! No, really, 
Madame," addressing my mother " she 
has such an extraordinary mind, so devel- 
oped, so broadened. But it lacks experi- 
ence. M , my child, I will give you 

some advice." 

" Give it, Monsieur, give it." 
" Well, never love seriously, for there 
102 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

is not in the whole world a man worthy 
of your love." 

" Yes, I know that. I know that 
men are not equal to women. You 
are not equal to your wife, I can tell 
you." 

"You are right, M ." 

He is right. I shall never love wholly. 
I shall worship, I shall rave, I shall commit 
follies and even, if opportunity offers, have 
a romance. But I shall not love, for can- 
didly, in my inmost heart, I am convinced 
of the villainy of men. Not only that, I 
do not find any one worthy of my love, 
either morally or physically. It is useless 

to say and think all I want. A will 

never be anything but a good-looking mem- 
ber of the fashionable society of Nice, 
a gay liver, almost a fop. Oh, no ; every 
man has some defect that prevents loving 
him entirely. One is stupid, another awk- 
103 <t1?H 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
ward, another ugly, another in short, I 
seek physical and moral perfection. 

Now that it is two o'clock in the morn- 
ing, that I am shut up in my room, 
wrapped in my long white dressing-gown, 
my feet bare and my hair down, like a 
virgin martyr, I can give myself up to a 
throng of bitter reflections. I shall go, 
carrying in my heart all the sorrowful and 
wicked things that can be contained there. 

December 28th, 1875. 
I don't want public pity, but I should 
like to have one creature to understand 
me, compassionate me, weep with me sin- 
cerely, knowing why she was weeping, see- 
ing with me into the farthest corner of 
my heart. What is there more dastardly, 
more ugly, viler than mankind? 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
Wednesday, December 29th, 1875. 

We went to see Mme. du M . She 

gave me seven letters of introduction for 
Rome. May God grant that they will be 
of the service this excellent woman de- 
sires, she loves me so much! No doubt 
everybody has trouble. One is ill, another 
is in love, another wants money, another 
is bored. You will say, perhaps, " Poor 
little idler, she thinks she is the only per- 
son who is unhappy, while she is happier 
than most people." But my sorrow is the 
most hateful of all. 

We lose a beloved one. We mourn for 
a year, two years, and remain sorrowful 
all our lives. The greatest grief loses its 
force with time, but an incessant, eternal 
torment! . . . 

I have just read Mme. du M 's let- 
ters. No one could be kinder, no one could 
be more charming. And, just think, the 
105 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
greater part of the time those who would 
like to do things cannot. It is six years 
since she left Rome and I doubt whether 
her acquaintances remember her ; and then, 
her influence was never great. 

" Have you suffered, wept, and lan- 
guished, 

Thinking hope was all in vain, 
Soul in mourning, torn heart an- 
guished ? 
Then you understand my pain." 

Sappho was given to-night. I wore a 
sort of Neapolitan shirt of blue crepe de 
Chine and old lace, with a white front. It 
can't be described it was as original and 
charming as possible, with a white skirt 
and an alms-bag of white satin. We ar- 
rived at the end of the first act, and were 

near P and R , and I heard the 

106 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
voice of the Marvel. Nothing can be said 
against her face, it is blooming; whether 
real or artificial is of little consequence. 
She has hair oh, I don't know. At Spa, 
she was fairer than I ; here, she is darker 

" d'un serpent, jaune et sifflant." 

Now the American has gone home, and 
is doubtless in a sleep which will preserve 
her twenty-seven-year-old complexion, 
while I am awake. Just now I fell on my 
knees sobbing, beseeching God, with my 
arms outstretched, my eyes fixed on space 
before me, exactly as if God was there in 
my room. I believe I am uttering insolent 
things to God. 

The S 's came, and after dinner we 

began to tell fortunes and laughed almost 

as much as we did before, that is, the 

others did, but I could not. Then we 

107 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

poured melted wax into cold water (it is 
the shadow that is looked at). I had in 
succession a lion couchant with one of his 
front paws extended, holding a rose ; isn't 
it odd? Then a great heap of something 
surmounted by a garland held by Cupids. 

As for M , her wax figure cast a 

horrible shadow. A woman lying as if 
dead with her hands crossed on her breast. 
O and Dina had insignificant shad- 
ows. And, at fifteen minutes before mid- 
night, four mirrors were brought, two for 
Dina and two for me, and we took up the 
great fortune telling. 

I looked with all my eyes, without stir- 
ring, almost without breathing. In the 
proper costume of night-gown and un- 
bound hair. But everything was very 
vague; it quivered, danced, formed, and 
reformed every instant. 



108 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

Saturday, January 1st, 1876. 

Here is the new year. Greeting and 
mercy. Well, the first day of 1876 was 
not so bad as I expected. They say the 
whole year is spent very much like the 
first day, and it is true. I spent the first 
of last January in the cars, and I have 
really travelled a great deal. 

To-morrow, yes, to-morrow I shall be 
glad to go. I am perfectly happy, for 
I have made a plan a plan that will fail 
like the others, but which amuses me in 
the meanwhile. If it were not two o'clock 
in the morning, I would write a whole story 
of the sale of a soul. The brutes I have 
not wept, I have not felt sad once. A 
very pleasant day to commence the year. 
I shall go and think only of returning. 
No doubt I shall change my mind in Rome. 
All the same, this is where I should like to 
live. 

109 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

I had already closed my book, but I 

find a lot of things to say. I have looked 

at the great caricature, there are five of 

us. I have thought of everything; of 

Mme. B , of the English, of the 

people of Nice, of S , of " Mig- 

non." In a word, a quantity of things. 
I had a great deal to say, and lo! I 
stop. 

It is tiresome to go, but it is horrible 

to stay. P has dramatic emotions so 

genuine that she delights and thrills me. 
Come, what was I going to write? That 
I am calm and agitated, sorrowful and 
joyous, jealous and indifferent. It seems 
to me that fastidious society is possible 
to have and, at the same time, it is im- 
possible. 

" I wish to stay and I wish to go, 
How it will end I do not know." 
110 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
I cannot lie down. I am sorrowful, ex- 
cited. Oh, calm yourself, for Heaven's 
sake. It hasn't anything to do with M. 

A , but simply that I am going. The 

uncertainty, the vagueness, leaving the 
known for the unknown. 

Sunday, January 2nd, 1876. 

" I shall go Sunday at three o'clock," 
I said or rather shrieked, and Sunday at 
one o'clock everything was topsy-turvy. 
The trunks were still empty, and the floor 
was covered with gowns and finery. For 
my part, I put on a grey dress and waited 

quietly. C and Dina worked, and so 

well that everything was ready for the 
hour of departure. 

At half past two, C and I got into 

a little cab and went to hear the band, and 

I listened once more to the municipal music 

of Nice. " Come," I said to Collignon, 

111 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

" if this piece is gay, our journey will be, 
too. I am superstitious." And the piece 
was very lively. So much the better ! 

I saw G , who bid me good-bye once 

more. I haven't seen the Marvel, but that 
doesn't matter. 

We got into the landau again, and went 
to the station. Our friends came there, 
one after another. I skipped about, I 
laughed, I chattered like a bird. How 
kind they are, and how hard it is to leave 
them. 

" You feign this gaiety," said B 

to me, " but in your heart you are weeping, 
I am sure of it." 

" Ah ! you think so ? No ! 

" When to Nice you bid good-bye, 
Unfeigned joy is in your eye. 
Easy 'tis from Nice to part, 
For she never wins your heart." 
112 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

"Bravo! Bravo!" 

The quatrain was made one evening 
when we were capping verses with G . 

" Give me some cigarettes," I said softly 
to my aunt. 

" Very well, later." 

I thought she had forgotten, but at 
Monaco she wrapped a number in paper 
and gave them to me. She, who cries out 
when I ask her for them at home. At 
Monaco we parted, and those horrid ciga- 
rettes made me cry. I was sorry for the 
poor old grandfather, my aunt, every- 
body. I am vexed to have to go with 
Mamma. I was with her at Spa and, be- 
sides, I am used to my aunt. 

Oh! torture! Imagine the tediousness 
of a journey in Italy. Mamma and Dina 
do not know Italian. I refused to use my 
tongue; I can scarcely use my limbs. By 
dint of complaining because I was not with 
113 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
my aunt, and saying : " Who asked you 
to come with us? I ought to go with my 
aunt. Why do you come with me? " I 
obtained a passive obedience and an alac- 
rity impossible to imagine. 

Night found us in a car. I complained, 
wept softly, and said the most provoking 
things to my mother, like the brute I am. 

At last, toward three o'clock, Monday, 
January 3d, ruins, columns, aqueducts be- 
gan to appear on the dreary plain called 
the Roman Campagna, and we entered the 
station of Rome. I saw nothing, I heard 
nothing. I was utterly limp after these 
twenty-four hours without sleep. 

We were taken to the Hotel de Londres, 
Piazza di Spagna, and we occupied an 
apartment on the ground floor, with a 
yellow drawing-room that was very fresh 
and neat. I was tired and depressed, in 
the condition in which I needed some one 
114 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
to sustain me. And Mamma was crying. 
Oh, dear ! 

We must set to work very, very quickly 
to look about us. There is nothing I hate 
like changing. 

New streets, strange faces, and no Medi- 
terranean. Only the miserable Tiber. I 
am utterly wretched when I am in a new 
city. I shut myself up in my room to col- 
lect my scattered wits a little. 

Tuesday, January 4th, 1876. 

Yesterday Mamma wrote to B , the 

brother of the empress's physician, and 
to-day he came to our house. He devotes 
himself to painting. After this visit, we 
went out. Oh! the ugly city, the impure 
air! What a deplorable mixture of an- 
cient magnificence and modern filth ! 

We went through the Corso, the Via 
Gregoriana, the Forum of Hadrian, the 
115 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

Forum of Rome, we saw the gates of Sep- 
timus Severus, and Constantine, the Via 
Pia, the Coliseum, but everything is still 
vague, I don't recognise myself. The drive 
on the Pincio is charming, the band was 
playing, but there were not many people 
when we were there. Statues, statues 
everywhere. What would Rome be with- 
out statues? From the summit of the 
Pincio we looked at the dome of St. Peter 
and also the whole city. I am glad to 
find it is not over large, it will be easier 
to know. 

On the drive we were amused to meet 

the S 's, A , and P of Rome. 

The sun did not appear, and the weather 
was dull and dreary. 

On arriving in Rome, I had no artistic 

feeling. It is Rome that opened my mind, 

so I have worshipped her since. I don't 

want to visit anything before we are set- 

116 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

tied. The evening was spent in consulting 
the cards and in writing letters. 

This stay in Rome seems an exile and 
it is with unequalled joy that I think of 
returning to Nice. The cards predict 
much good, but can the cards be be- 
lieved ? 

Ah! if I could marry some prince! 
Then I would return to Nice and make 
a triumphal entry. But no, it is indicated 
that nothing will succeed for me ; so I shall 
make no more plans or, if I do, it will be 
with the sorrowful conviction of their use- 
lessness. Each time I have been disap- 
pointed. 

Wednesday, January 5th, 1876. 
This is what I wrote to the General: 

" I am in Rome, and it is very wonderful 
(ah! it is very wonderful, very marvel- 
117 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
lous). It is cold as Russia, the water 
freezes in the fountains, but the cold would 
be nothing if it was only the cold. Since 
morning we have been in search of an 
apartment, and we have seen only one. I 
did not have courage to go up when they 
pointed out a black, yawning hole, dirty 
and frightful. I have looked in vain for 
a house with any resemblance to the 
French houses. I find only ruins or 
cracked columns. No doubt it is very 
beautiful, but agree with me that a good, 
comfortable apartment is infinitely more 
pleasant, though less artistic. 

I believe we shall end by lodging in the 
baths of Caracalla or in the Coliseum. 
The foreigners will take me for the 
ghost of a Christian martyr, devoured by 
some fierce tiger in the presence of some 
carnivorous emperor. As to the furni- 
ture, we will be content with fragments of 
118 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
statues or a few bones, the sublime re- 
mains of a henceforth impossible past. 
After my installation in the Coliseum, or 
in the Forum, I will give you the most 
minute details concerning the Eternal 
City. Meanwhile, I shall expect a letter 
from you, my dear General, which will be, 
I know, kind and charming. Now good- 
bye until we meet again. 

MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF." 

It is the truth, there is not a habitable 
apartment; where are we? Can this hor- 
rible city be called a capital? We are not 
in Europe ! Not a house fit to rent. I am 
discouraged, tired, but I will not stir be- 
fore May. 

O Rome! I think that we shall take a 

larger apartment in the hotel, and stay 

there. One can breathe only in the Piazza 

di Spagna. It is impossible that this is 

119 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
Rome! What a mixture of beautiful an- 
tiquities and modern trash! 

Thursday, January 6th, 1876. 

B has been here again and brought 

the addresses of some professors. Then 
we took a carriage, and Mamma went to 
the Russian priest's, the archimandrite 
Alexander. Being an archimandrite, he 
is married, for in our country priests and 
deacons can be married once. Mamma 
says that he is charming. Our embassy 
makes no show, and has not even any reg- 
ular reception day. 

This society makes me love Rome. I 
scarcely regret Nice, the ungrateful, 
wicked city. 

Sad and irresolute yesterday, I am gay 
and confident to-day. I have written to 

my aunt to send me F , the ugly little 

negro will be very nice to have here. 
120 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
I have had a good dinner, and spent the 
evening in reading the history of Charles 
the Bold. 

I thought, " in my ingenuous candour," 
that there was no society except in Nice, 
but there is a great deal, and even very 
excellent. 

After the drive we went down the 
Corso, thronged with carriages, between 

rows of pedestrians of all classes. D 

was among them. Now that my eyes are 
opened to see the beauties and antiquities 
of Rome, I am growing curious, eager to 
visit everything. I am no longer drowsy. 
I am in a hurry to be everywhere. I want 
to live at full speed again. Ah ! if only 
I could ! . . . Again a longing for Nice. 
The poorest thing, by resisting, gains 
worth. Be thoroughly convinced of this 
genuine truth. Do not believe that I am 
stupefied to the point of not seeing beyond 
121 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

the city of S ; on the contrary, I am 

more ambitious than ever. But meanwhile, 
to spit upon some one who has spit on us, 
to give the person a kick, is a pleasure 
which every well-born soul can permit 
itself. 

Friday, January 7th, 1876. 
Goodness ! What prices people ask in 
Rome ! For 1,800 francs one has only the 
barest necessaries ! At the Hotel de Rome 
I saw an apartment so large and so fine 
that it made my head ache. In France we 
have no idea of this grandeur, this ancient 
majesty. After much searching we have 
taken an apartment in the second story of 
the Hotel de Londres, with a balcony look- 
ing out upon the Piazza, di Spagna, a 
handsome drawing-room, several bed- 
rooms, and a study. We went to B 's 

studio. He has very fair talent. 
122 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
Tuesday, January llth, 1876. 

We did not go out, but the artist Ka- 
lorbinski came, and to-morrow the lessons 
will begin. Monseigneur de Faloux, being 
unable to go out himself, sent the Chev- 
alier Rossy to bring us a number of pleas- 
ant messages. I received him. I have 
learned a great deal about affairs in the 
city. 

I am very proud of receiving some one 
myself. It seems like a sovereign's first 
decree. The Russian priest has come to 
call on us too. I like the cowled monks 
in Rome. They are new to me, and that 
pleases me. 

At last I have a teacher of painting; 
that is something. This evening I see 
everything in rose-colour, and I am al- 
ready thinking of a letter in which it will 

be said of A : Et eum dicat super ma- 

litiosum, improbum, inhonestum, cupidum, 
123 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
luxuriosum, ebrlosum! Exactly what 
Septimus Severus said of Albinus. 

If only the winter would pass more 
quickly. With all my misfortunes, I feel 
better in Nice, I can give myself up to 
despair as much as I please. Only last 
Spring, there was nobody there. The best 

people gathered around us. P was 

deserted, so were the others. While this 
Spring there will again be nobody, but 
p w in have Miss R . These la- 
dies, under the leadership of T , will 

form a sort of court, like that of the 

young Princess G and Mme. T 

three months since. Both died three 
months ago. 

We shall see. Meanwhile let us study, 
and try to go into society. Let us pray 
to God, and amuse ourselves by writing 
letters. 



124 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
Wednesday, January 12th, 1876. 

B and his cousin have called to see 

us. When these Russians go, I put on 
my dressing gown again, and say a lot of 
things, and rank myself among the god- 
desses, then descend to calling myself a 
little bundle of dirty linen. 

I like to indulge in extravagant 
speeches, and make Mamma laugh. I re- 
ceived a letter from B , this charming 

friend gives me the news of Nice. P 

has had a reception, and everybody went. 
It seems that we were mentioned in the 
presence of quite a large number of per- 
sons in the consul's house, and the consul 
and his wife said nothing but good about 
us. 

" I was glad," B wrote, " to see 

that they were your friends, too, 
though you no longer went there so 
often." 

125 




THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
After all, I am very happy, very calm, 
and I am going to bed. 

Thursday, January 13th, 1876. 

Mamma and Dina are at church. It is 
our New Year's Day, and I have stayed 
at home to sew. That is my whim at 
present, and I must do what I wish. 
B called to offer his good wishes. 

Not until four o'clock did they succeed 
in dragging me out of the house and, at 
five o'clock, Mamma is going to the em- 
bassy. That is the hour Baronne D 

receives. 

We had a telegram from Barnola. He 
congratulates us, and reminded me of the 
promise I made to drink a glass of water 
at the Fountain of Trevi at two o'clock 
on the Russian New Year's Day. He 
vowed friendship, I did the same. 

I received a letter from my aunt, in 
126 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
which she told me that A - was paying 
attention to an English girl whom she 
has nicknamed Olive. My aunt has so 
lively an imagination. At the end of three 
days of our acquaintance with the Mar- 
vel, she told me that the poor fool was 
in love with me. And she pitied him with 
eager kindness while predicting for him 
the fate of the Polish count. Now she has 
seen him at Monaco with the girl, and she 
is already marrying them. Oh ! it is really 
atrocious always conjectures 1 Ah! if I 
could know the truth. Have patience, 
that is easy to write. But to show it! 
Patience is the virtue of sluggish but 
gentle, foolish souls. 

I don't think I love the Marvel, I don't 
find him in my heart ; but at any rate, the 
surface is very much occupied with him. 
If he loved me, I shouldn't care very much, 
that is the truth. 

127 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
Friday, January 14th, 1876. 

We met on the Pincio Count B , 
who started at seeing me, then bowed to 
my mother. 

At five o'clock we went to see Mon- 

seigneur F , a thin, black, agile old 

priest in a wig, a Jesuit, a hypocrite. He 
received us very courteously in his re- 
markable drawing-rooms, filled with things 
in the best taste. Gobelins, pictures, and 
all this in the dwelling of a detestable 
Jesuit. Well, well! 

We all went to walk in the Villa 
Borghese, which is more beautiful than the 
Doria. There was a crowd of people, and 
the pretty Princess M was walking 
like any ordinary mortal, followed by her 
carriage, with the coachman and two foot- 
men in red livery. This quantity of car- 
riages with coats of arms saddened me. 
We know nobody, God help me ! Perhaps 
128 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
I am ridiculous with my complaints, and 
my eternal prayers! I am so miserable! 
This evening Mamma asked the date of 
last year's carnival; I took out my journal 
and, without noticing it, spent two hours 
turning over the leaves. 

I said to myself: I am living to be 
happy ! Everything must bow before me ! 
And see how it is the idea that I could 
fail in anything never occurred to me. 

A delay, yes, but a complete failure, 
nonsense ! And I see with terror and hu- 
miliation that I was deceived, that nothing 
happens as I wish. It is not because I 
love some one; I do not love anybody seri- 
ously; I love a coronet and money. It 
is terrible to think that everything is es- 
caping. Each instant I long to pray to 
God, and each instant I stop myself. I 
shall pray again, let what will hap- 



pen! 



129 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
My God, Holy Virgin, do not scorn me, 
take me under your protection. 

Sunday, January 16th, 1876. 

I feel that I shall write badly, for I have 
just been reading my old journal. 
Mamma begged me to read the period of 

G . I read it, passing over a number 

of things. What is perfectly simple when 
written is no longer so when read aloud. 
My face burned, my fingers grew cold, and 
I ended by saying that I could not 
go on. 

" She will read it to us in two years," 
said Mamma. 

After St. Peter's, Mamma went to 

Baron d'l 's, the ambassador's cousin. 

She made his acquaintance at the ambas- 
sadress's. These people are very simple 
and agreeable. I liked the baron espe- 
cially. 

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MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

There was a crowd on the Pincio, the 
Corso and the Piazza, Colonna were 
thronged with carriages and people re- 
turning from the Pincio. 

We dined at the table d'hote because 
the son of the Grand Duke of Baden was 
to dine there. A number of society people 
were present, and the Grand Duke is a 
pleasant fellow enough for a Grand 
Duke. 

Wednesday, January 19th, 1876. 
We went to the Pincio, there were a 

great many people. The Due de L , 

son of the Grand Duchess M , the 

emperor's sister, was there with Mme. 

A , the wife of a Russian prefect. 

The Due de L saw her and was cap- 
tivated. Since then she is always with 
him. It is said that they are secretly 
married and live abroad. That is what 
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people call having happiness. She had 
liveried servants and magnificent horses 
suitable, I should think, for the niece of 
the Emperor of Russia. 

January 19th, 1876. 

At the church of St. John we met Ba- 

ronne d'l , the ambassadress's cousin, 

who came up to Mamma and talked with 
her a long time, apologising for not having 
yet called, on account of her husband's 
illness. Mamma went to her house last 
Sunday, three days ago. 

From there to the Pincio, then to the 
Corso, crowds everywhere, I like this an- 
imation. 

My aunt wrote that the Marvel, but she 
doesn't call him that, everybody at Nice 
in our house calls him nothing but the 
" shaved magpie," so my aunt wrote that 
the " shaved magpie " was at the opera, 
132 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

and did nothing all the evening but weep, 
actually weep. 

There is news from Russia, nothing 
good, I think of nothing but praying to 
God, and am in fear. 

I pity myself now, what would it be if 
we should lose our fortune ! Horrible ! 

I pray to God and tremble. God will 
not abandon me. 

* 

* * 

Rome bores me; Nice is my beloved 
country. I see Rome, Paris, London, 
kings, courts, but there is nothing so 
pretty as my dear villa. If ever I am rich, 
titled, and happy, I shall not forget it. 
I shall spend several months of the year 
there ! no, several months I could not do 
that, for everywhere, except in London, 
winter is the principal season. 

We went to the photographer, 
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THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
to tell him that I would come to pose on 
Monday. I saw there a number of por- 
traits of people I know. While looking 

at L , his wife, and L D , it 

seemed as if he were going to bow to me. 
Then a bewitching woman with big, deep 
eyes, and heavy eyebrows above a straight 

nose. She resembles R . Dina says 

it is she. But no, she has not that round 
chin with a dimple, and those magnificent 
eyes. No, it can't be, she is not so beau- 
tiful. 

Then to the Pincio, then to a milliner 
to order a Marie Stuart cap, and a Marie 
Antoinette turban. The woman showed 
me a gown she was making for a ball at 
the Quirinal, day after to-morrow. 

This plunges me into inconceivable tor- 
ture. If you knew how I dread spending 
the Carnival without a single amusement! 
We found the ambassadress's card at our 
134, 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

home, so she has returned the visit. It 
is rather late, all the same. Her cousin 
came at dinner time. The Grand Duke of 

L asked who we were (who is that 

pretty Russian?). B - says Mamma 
ought to go to call on the Marquise de 

M . He says it is the custom here, 

especially from a foreigner to a Roman 
lady. Let Mamma go anywhere, provided 
that I can go where I like. My torture 
has no bounds, I am dying of it every in- 
stant. Do you want a proof of my de- 
spair? There are times when I hope to 

marry A and be something at Nice 

with P ; that gives the measure of my 

discouragement, my desperation. 

I have had this humiliating thought 
once or twice. I tell you to show you 
how low I descend, how vexed, how mar- 
tyrised I am to live in this way. Who will 
restore my lost time, my best time? I 
135 



THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
have used every expression, and am dying 
because I cannot make myself under- 
stood. 

I have written to C and to B . 

I was in a hurry to tell them the good 
news. I have the very weak middle notes 
which accompany the abnormal compass 
of my voice. I have found a method of 
singing that strengthens them wonder- 
fully, so that they are almost as strong 
as the rest. This delights me, and I am 

eager to write about it to B , who is 

so much interested in my voice. But for 
that, it would have required two years 
study to render them satisfactory. I 
thank God, and will pray to Him for the 
other things. 

Thursday, January 20th, 1876. 
After three years study, if no accident 
happens, I shall have a voice such as is 
136 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

rarely heard, and I shall not yet be 
twenty. 

F is severe and just. 

I am afraid to say all that I think of 
my voice; a strange modesty closes my 
lips. Yet I have always spoken of myself 
as if I were talking of some one else, 
which has perhaps made people think me 
blind and arrogant. 

Friday, January 21st, 1876. 
I want to have a gown like the one worn 
by Dante's Beatrice. 

Saturday, January 22nd, 1876. 
Still another proof of the falsity of the 
cards. Yesterday I had a sort of sor- 
ceress come and she pretended to give me 
good luck. She told me to call the person 

I wanted. I called A and that woman 

told me he could not live without me ; that 
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THE NEW JOURNAL OF 

he was dying of grief and jealousy, and 
he was especially jealous because a wicked 
woman had told him that I loved another 
man. 

May all the witches die! May all the 
cards burn ! They are nothing but lies I 

Sunday, January 23d, 1876. 

I am making a large white garment for 
the house, for the spring, in Nice. Nice, 
miserable city, why cannot I live there as 
I like? In Nice I know everybody, but 
to live in Nice except as a queen isn't 
worth while. 

I am sad, I am in a foreign country, I 
long to return home, just for a single day, 
for if I stayed longer, I should want to 
go back. 

In the evening we went to the Apollo 
theatre, they gave the Vestal and a ballet. 
I wore white with a Greek coiffure. There 
138 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 
were a great many people, and an espe- 
cially large number of men. Not a single 
woman between our box and the stage. 



From Monday, January %4>th, to Feb- 
ruary IQth, 1876: Rome, Hotel de Lon- 
dres, Piazza di Spagna. 

I swear that all these tragic and jealous 

remarks about A were written under 

the influence of romantic reading, and that 
I only half believed them while I was 
writing, exciting myself for the pleasure 
of it, and I greatly regret these exaggera- 
tions. 

The archimandrite has been at our 
house. He is a charming man who, after 
having been a soldier, turned monk from 
despair at having lost his wife. He told 

us that there was a Madame S who 

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THE NEW JOURNAL OF 
greatly desired to make Mamma's ac- 
quaintance. 

Returning from the photographer's, 
such dismal thoughts filled my brain that 
I did not dress and let Mamma and Dina 
go out without me. Being left alone, I 
am very sad, I am singing " Mignon." 

Tuesday, January 25th, 1876. 

I am homesick. I took a singing lesson, 
and then went out with Mamma. We went 

to M. de E 's studio. He requested 

permission to present a very elegant and 
popular M. Benard, received everywhere 
in society. He told us a great many 
things about Rome. 

From there we went to Monseigneur de 

F 's, who yesterday asked if we had 

had our audience. 

This priest is turning out better and 
better, he has even made scandals. He 
140 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF 

told us that I had been noticed at the 
opera, my white dress had attracted at- 
tention, and said that to go to court we 
need only write to the Minister or Am- 
bassador. 

" I should like," he added, " to be able 
to open to you the other door, as I have 
opened the Holy One." 

" O Monseigneur," I replied, " the Holy 
Door is far preferable." 

From there to the residence of Madame 

S (the archimandrite had told her, 

and she was expecting us), who is the most 
charming and the ugliest woman in the 
world. She received us in the most de- 
lightful way, and immediately spoke of the 
Quirinal. 



user id: 21 7610061 6825801 

title: The new journal of Marie 
author :Bashkirtseff, Marie, 1860