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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Athénaïs Michelet1   9 March 1873

Paris | 76 rue d’assas

9 mars 73

Monsieur,

Il semble que vous ayez obligé une ingrate. Mais croyez le bien il n’y a que l’apparence. Votre beau livre ne quitte ma table que pour passer dans les mains de vos très grands admirateurs.—2 La France aime encore plus hors d’elle qu’en elle-même, à applaudir aux œuvres du génie.

Mes circonstances intérieures m’ont tout à fait absorbée. Maladies, convalescences lentes, affaires de famille, nous avons trois petits enfans orphelins, mille détails enfin, que j’ai pris à ma charge; m’ont fait pour ainsi dire esclave.—3 Pas une heure pour respirer, me ressaisir. Les femmes seules, je crois, trouvent moyen de vivre sans se rien réserver.—

Excusez-moi donc, je vous prie, d’un retard dont j’ai souffert.— Les grands esprits sont indulgens; ils sentent par eux-mêmes, les exigences de la pensée ou du devoir.—

Si jamais mon humble petit livre sur les félins s’achève, mon travail ne voudra que par votre nom autorisé et aimé.—4

Recevez je vous prie avec l’expression de ma reconnaissance, celle de mes sentimens d’admiration| A Michelet.

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
CD had sent Michelet a copy of Expression, which she had lent to Frédéric Baudry (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter from Frédéric Baudry, 4 December 1872 and n. 3).
Michelet’s husband, Jules Michelet, had been ill since October 1872. The Michelets shared responsibility for Jules Michelet’s three surviving grandchildren, Jules-Etienne Dumesnil (born 1845), Jeanne, and Camille-Marie (born 1852), following the death of his daughter Adèle Dumesnil, in 1855. (Viallaneix 1998.)
Michelet had written to CD about her book on the history and behaviour of cats, begun in 1868 and resumed in January 1872, in her first letter to him (Correspondence vol. 20, letter from Athénaïs Michelet, 17 May 1872); her incomplete manuscript was published after her death (A. Michelet 1904).

Translation

From Athénaïs Michelet1   9 March 1873

Paris | 76 rue d’assas

9 March 73

Dear Sir,

It seems as if you have obliged an ingrate. But, please believe it, this is only so in appearance. Your fine book only leaves my table to enter the hands of your very great admirers.—2 France loves to applaud works of genius, even more so outside herself than within.

My domestic circumstances have entirely absorbed me. Illnesses, slow convalescences, family affairs, we have three orphaned grandchildren, a thousand details in fact, which I have taken in charge; have so to speak enslaved me.—3 Not a single hour to breathe and recollect myself. Only women, I think, find a means of living without holding anything back.—

So please excuse me for a delay that has made me suffer.— Great minds are indulgent; they sense for themselves the demands of thought or duty.—

If ever my humble little book on felines is finished, my work would only be authorised and approved by means of your name.—4

Please believe me, with thanks and admiration, yours very truly | A Michelet.

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see pp. 118–19.
CD had sent Michelet a copy of Expression, which she had lent to Frédéric Baudry (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter from Frédéric Baudry, 4 December 1872 and n. 3).
Michelet’s husband, Jules Michelet, had been ill since October 1872. The Michelets shared responsibility for Jules Michelet’s three surviving grandchildren, Jules-Etienne Dumesnil (born 1845), Jeanne, and Camille-Marie (born 1852), following the death of his daughter Adèle Dumesnil, in 1855. (Viallaneix 1998.)
Michelet had written to CD about her book on the history and behaviour of cats, begun in 1868 and resumed in January 1872, in her first letter to him (Correspondence vol. 20, letter from Athénaïs Michelet, 17 May 1872); her incomplete manuscript was published after her death (A. Michelet 1904).

Summary

Thanks CD for one of his books.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-8804
From
Adèle-Athénaïs Mialaret (Athénaïs) Michelet
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Paris
Source of text
DAR 171: 173
Physical description
4pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8804,” accessed on 19 January 2018, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-8804

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21

letter