From LETTERS OF A POET OF PARIS.

Translated from Lettres d’un poète parisien, by Udolphe de l’Ennui.

My dear L——,

Autumn is come, with its crisp air and brightly colored leaves. Of such tawdry clichés is nature capable! I despise nature, as I despise everything in Art that is not natural. It is the duty of Art to be true to nature, and only what is natural in Art is praiseworthy. But what is natural in nature is merely commonplace…

Mme La Salle is demanding the rent again, though it is hardly a month since she last demanded it, the greedy bourgeois hussy… I despise her filthy bourgeois greed, and I despise this filthy bourgeois apartment. Yesterday I flung soup at the ceiling to make it filthier, so that I might despise it the more. I tell myself that one must live somewhere, yet something within me asks why—why must one live somewhere instead of nowhere?… This morning Mme La Salle came in and cleaned the soup stains while I was out. She has ruined a good day’s despising…

I was out this morning because I was eating madeleines at the café on the Rue du Nom Disyllable. I despise the empty allurements of bourgeois pastries. But I think I do not despise madeleines as much as I despise the rest. This has provoked a crisis of conscience…

Soon the winter will be upon us, that annual reminder of our mortality, grim metaphor for death. I despise metaphor; and therefore I despise the winter, because it is metaphorical. A season that has not the courage to say what it means directly is despicable;—nay, more than despicable: it is bourgeois. I despise bourgeois seasons as I despise bourgeois bourgeois, with their filthy greed and their petty talk of nothing but money. I know, my dear old friend, that you despise money as much as I do, which you might easily demonstrate by sending 120 francs for the rent.

Yours in misery of soul,

Udolphe.

P.S.—As always, give my love to Mme L—— and all the little L——s.