PROUST, Marcel. Two autograph letters signed to Lucien Daudet, both n.p. [Paris], the first n.d. [early July 1915], asking forgiveness for his silence for he thinks often of Lucien's solitude, but he has been too unwell to write. Reynaldo [Hahn]'s letters sadden him for he is too good-hearted to see endless suffering and dying, 'et cette tristesse a pris chez lui des proportions que je n'ai d'abord pas comprises, et qui maintenant me rendent malheureux'; mentioning a number of people he has seen at Henri Bardac's, and a conversation with General Gallieni about the war, with more gossip about the Princess Mathilde [Bonaparte] and others; declaring his intention of visiting Clary if he is well enough, and finally writing warmly of Bardac who is remarkably intelligent, nothing dazzling like Jean [Cocteau] but a sort of dry wit, 'une forme d'esprit sèche, compacte, dans la catégorie des personnages de Dumas', and with a postscript about a name-dropping conversation with Madame de Harcourt, 12 pages, 8vo; the second [including 29 unpublished lines], n.d. soon after mid-November 1915/, referring to its brevity, 'un mot de grande tendresse mais pas long', and describing how by one of those misfortunes perhaps set off by the unconscious when Reynaldo was there because of the fog and snow, he had a series of terrible [asthma] attacks so that he could hardly see Reynaldo for the swirling smoke; his regret at missing the gathering to hear Reynaldo's compositions was less than that of Reynaldo thinking he is always like this; saying that he would so much like his proofs to be corrected; then continuing about a problem of Lucien's, 7 pages, 8vo (together 19 pages, 8vo).
Reynaldo Hahn, Proust's intimate friend before Lucien Daudet, had applied to be sent to the Eastern front at the beginning of the war, which he was to survive. In a sympathetic unpublished passage Proust writes of Lucien's difficulty with 'Bonnet', perhaps meaning the extreme left-wing periodical Le Bonnet Rouge, which in 1915 attacked Léon Daudet and his monarchist journal L'Action Française in a vicious and scurrilous campaign. He also surmises in a postscript that a person with whom Lucien has had unpleasant dealings is André Germain, and 'Il me revient de temps à autre des choses plus que gentilles sur Swann de la part de sa soeur'. André Germain had been the first husband of Edmée Daudet, and was later to write a venomous review of Le Côté de Guermantes. The smoke which filled Proust's cork-lined room was from the burning of the 'poudres Legras' which he used as a remedy for his asthma.
Daudet suppressed names in both letters for publication. Kolb, XIV, 174 and 293. Cahiers V (XIII and XIX). (2)