Juliette Drouet (alias Julienne Gauvain,1806-1883), French actress who was the mistress of Victor Hugo for nearly fifty years. Autograph letter signed “Juliette “, no place [Paris], 31 July [1849 ?], saturday noon 1/2 “Day of Sta Panties ” [to Victor Hugo]. 4 pages in-8° on bluish paper.
Very beautiful love letter. Juliette Drouet humorously mocks her lover’s drawings; she tells him that she has copied, “what a humiliating concession ! ” his “margouillis ” (shapeless and disgusting mixture, confused cluster). “I had to conform to my model by spilling my bottle in ink on my paper under the pretext of color and effect “.
[Hugo will finally set up his painting studio in Juliette’s dining room in August 1850].
She expects as a reward her “panties adorned with all its accessories. The embroidery must prevail over the bottom which can only be very thin and very small in the way you measured it to me.. “
She looks forward to him, lovingly and crazy with desire.
“I acquitted myself, before you’ve even contracted anything, but I am in the beautiful and generous use of paying in advance all the debts that we pay with ink, scribbles, heart and soul. It’s my own way, it is worth many others.
I copied, copied! what a humiliating concession ! I copied, I said, your margouillis. I had to conform to my model by spilling my bottle in ink on my paper under the pretext of colour and effect. Finally I have nothing to reproach myself with except my too great weakness towards you. I hope you don’t repent me and give me my panties adorned with all its accessories.. Embroidery must prevail over the bottom which can only be very thin and very small the way you measured it to me. Wherever you go I will be happy as long as I see you and you smile at me[,] I will be happy and the horizon, whatever it is, will seem to me the earthly and celestial paradise. The only grace I ask of you, my love, it’s to come early if you can. Think that the memory of this evening should serve to illuminate many dark and sad evenings when you will not be with me.
I love you my Victor. I desire you. I’m waiting for you. Juliette “
Sale Cornette de Saint-Cyr, Hôtel Drouot-Richelieu, 22 June 2011, n° 27 (expert Thierry Bodin).
Slightly crumpled paper.