Have you really not noticed, then, that here of all places, in this
private, personal solitude that surrounds me, I have turned to you?
All the memories of my youth speak to me as I walk, just as the sea
shells crunch under my feet on the beach. The crash of every wave
awakens far-distant reverberations within me.
I hear the rumble of bygone days, and in my mind the whole endless
series of old passions surges forward like the billows. I remember my
spasms, my sorrows, gusts of desire that whistled like wind in the
rigging, and vast vague longings that swirled in the dark like a flock
of wild gulls in a storm cloud.
On whom should I lean, if not on you? My weary mind turns for
refreshment to the thought of you as a dusty traveller might sink onto
a soft and grassy bank.
Gustave Flaubert, French writer, to his wife Louise Colet
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