7. TO EDUARD AVENARIUS (1)

BOULOGNE, the 23rd August 1839.

MOST ESTEEMED SIR AND FRIEND—Please let me call you by that intimate name at once, Since for my own part I already feel so prepossessed by all that I have heard about the amiability and uprightness of your character, that I shall do everything I can to earn the corresponding rights and title of a friend. Forestalling that, 1 have repeatedly troubled you before through my good sister Cäcilie ; and the readiness with which you undertook a fairly difficult transaction for me is warrant that I shall not completely put my foot in it with the request that forms this letter's chief occasion. No doubt you have already been made acquainted by Cäcilie that my present somewhat daring, nay, haply adventurous object is Paris; how far I am prepared to face that mass of obstacles undaunted, you will judge for yourself when you have had the obligingness to lend ear in Paris to what I think of and propose; a matter in which I also reckon mainly on your good advice, for whose bestowal I beg you in advance most keenly.

After a ghastly and very perilous voyage of nearly 4 weeks, I arrived in London on a sailing ship about 12 days ago, and was forced to spend a week of gold-fraught days on its expensive pavement through the muddling of my captain, who had played silly tricks with my luggage. On the 20th I came by steamer to Boulogne, where I made haste to take as cheap a lodging as I could get for a few weeks in the country, that is to say a little under half an hour's walk from the town, I chose this halt for several reasons: 1°, I believe I am unlikely to find sundry persons of weight for my project in Paris just yet; 2°, I have still a few weeks' work ahead of me on what I should like to bring to Paris finished, in order to begin my machinations there immediately after arrival ; 3°, I really wished to be able to rest off some of the jolting I have gone through, before plunging afresh into such a hurly-burly as the Parisian is certain to be.

Might I therefore beg you in the meantime to find me a lodging in Paris, kindly observing the following :—An ordinary room with an alcove is fully sufficient, of course, for myself and my wife; a larger room without one would also do at a pinch. It will have to be furnished in fact, though we possess our own bedding and linen, table-gear, candlesticks, utensils, as we have brought almost our whole small outfit with us, and merely sold the most untransportable in Russia. My wife will do the housekeeping herself i.e., buy our victuals, cook, and so on; therefore needs no other service than of a charwoman to assist her in the roughest work. Naturally, I can only hire the lodging by the month, and as I don't quite know the price one has to pay for such a thing in Paris, I won't name any fixed one, but leave it to necessity and your own obliging nous. I hardly need assure you that in every respect I should prefer not to live too far away from you. So, would you have the kindness to look around you in a leisure hour for what I ask, and report to me hither thereon, Boulogne poste restante? In that case I would write you again before my departure from here, telling you the exact day of my arrival in Paris, so that you might be so good as to engage the apartment from that day, and spare us having to alight at an inn.

I know I am begging no trifling favour of you, but nevertheless nurse the perhaps impudent trust that, of all people, you are in a position to make me the sacrifice. At the same time I also beseech you to write me how your and Cäcilie's affairs are standing now. It would very much rejoice me to hear something joyful in that regard, more especially as I unfortunately have been unable to get any tidings from home for ever so long. If I might hope to see good Cäcilie in Paris soon, all my hopes of a favourable issue to my future endeavours would really become the fonder and more precious in no small degree. God give his blessing, and let all honest folk prosper!

Looking joyfully forward to a letter from you, I commend myself to your regard with all the cordiality of which my heart is capable.—Yours most sincerely,

RICHARD WAGNER (2)


(1) Avenarius was then betrothed to Wagner's half-sister Cecilie, whom he married March 5 of the ensuing year. Address of this letter: " à /Monsieur/ Monsieur AVÉNARIUS/pr. addresse :/LA LIBRAIRIE DE BROCKHAUS/ET AVÉNARIUS/à/Paris./Franco." Postmark : "Boulogne-sur-mer, 24 Août 1839.

(2) Note by recipient "Answered 27, viii. fr. poste rest."