A moving letter from Debussy to Robert Godet.
"Dear Friend : despite all, I repent of having leaving you so far from me, but I was, these days, so afraid of myself, and would have nothing to show but a so afflicted soul that it was better to keep silent ! or, I would have like it, to have you near me, and, heart to heart, tell you about my little worries and my great suffering; - to relate all that, with adjectives of pain, is quite cold, and then one gives only a blistered picture of it. Well, God knows how I missed you !! Hear in that very sincere cry all the shame for a silence more affected than real! for I was craving to tell all, and not a single ear !(the complete letter is given in French here)
By the way, I am still very distraught; the end, sadly unexpected, of this affaire I had told you about; trivial end, with anecdotes, words that should have been never said, - I noticed this odd transposition : it is that when were falling from those lips those so cruel words, I heard in me the so unique and lovable things they had told me ! and the notes out of tune (real, alas!) offending those that were singing in me, tore me apart, without my being able to really understand : but I had to understand, since then, and I left much of my soul catched in thes thorns, and it will a long time before my consecrating again to art that heals all ! (that is a quite fine irony, that latter including all my suffering, and we know them, whom it healed.)
Ah! I realy liked her, and with a passion as sorrowful as I felt, out of obvious evidence, that never she would have token certain step that binds a whole soul, and that she was keeping unviolated by my enquiries on the solidity of her heart !
Now, the question remains, if she had inside her what I was craving for ! if it wasn't Nothingness ! All the same, I'm shedding tears upon the lost Dream of this dream ! after all; it could be less desolating ! Ah! those days when I fellt I had to die, and it was myself who was watching this death! May I never live this again.
Forgive me these selfish lines where I set my wound out, where I look to seek after compassion for a lot that is not rare : but I know you are so humanely tender that I take advantage of it, and - that will be said once and for all - not wanting from you but an assent to this proud weakness of desiring be two, without knowing if the second one share that point of view.
Add the worries of daily life, of time lost in silly labours, and the Music eloping, scared by all this clamour. [...]"
" Now I wish you answerd the most rapidly to what follows. Do you believe that gathering little money I could join you in London ? It would be very gentle to live, for a while, near you, I need it to heal, to recover, and you are among the rare who don't see life from a stricly material point of view, I've had enough with their ready-made programme! And there are streets whose pavement are martyrdom to me since they are just the sad echo of so nice ancient paces.
Try to tell me how much I would need.
See you, soon I hope, if you agree my desires, what I strongly hope; anyway, don't bother you more than needed ! not wanting, at any rate, come and complicate your life.
Cl. A. Debussy
Answer me at 27 rue de Berlin.
(letter addressed to : Monsieur Robert Godet, 15 Cecil street, Strand. Londres. Angleterre)
|Cf. the corresponence published by François Lesure or the edition of the letters written to Robert Godet et G. Jean-Aubry (Corti 1942).|