"My dear friend,
According to Pincebourde's letter which I am sending you, you will see that your gift, in spite of Pincebourde's promise, is reduced to nothing...
The account he gave me, and which I am trying to transcribe, must not be exact, because I have Piogey in it, who has his chine, and I do not understand the gentleman from Le Mans well. - a fortiori I am right.
I have just met Caen who does not want to buy it. He even said it in a style that entertained me a lot. One more. So Pincebourde was to send me two copies, not counting the one from Caen, and you see his letter. You understand, dear friend, that I am incapable of trying to excite your bad temper against your employee; but at last I must get something out of your promise. That Pincebourde's letter is unseemly to me is of little importance.
What is important is that I should be agreeable to the people to whom I have services to ask. Get me out of this if you can. I have a little traffic to offer you, which might be good for you. In exchange for the copy of
Feydeau, full of notes, which I have just stolen from him, promising him a new copy, can you offer me ten ordinary copies? You can set the figure yourself. You can see that I'm beating money by all means. Feydeau's corrections and reflections are horribly numerous and very amusing. I must admit that there are some useful ones and I will transcribe them on my copy.
I am working on the Flowers of Evil. In two or three days you will have your packet, and the last piece, or epilogue, addressed to the city of Paris, will astonish you yourself, if I bring it to a successful conclusion (in snoring tercets).
You understand the purpose for which I am sending you the pieces of the trial.
Don't say that I am a bad sleeper and scold me for Pincebourde's benefit.
Summary: According to Pincebourde's admission, in spite of suspicious requests such as those of the gentleman from Le Mans, Piogey, Aubry and Caen, I was to receive two copies. He agreed to give me one. Moreover I know that Caen intends not to take any."
This letter relates to the volume of Paradis artificiels, recently published by Poulet-Malassis. René Pincebourde, the first clerk at Malassis refused to send Baudelaire a copy in a letter that offended the poet's sensibilities. It seems to me that Baudelaire felt a strong animosity towards the latter, for whom Malassis was hardly more tender. "Pincebourde," he wrote, "is for me neither a right nor a left arm, but a wooden arm whose movements are neither spontaneous nor agile enough for me to rely on him." Having founded his own publishing house, he will publish in 1872 a volume entitled Charles
Baudelaire, Souvenirs, correspondence, bibliography.
The characters who appear in this letter are Doctor Gérard
Piogey, "a real doctor of men of letters" close to Baudelaire, and the bookseller Caen, located in the passage des Panoramas, who refuses to take the volume ("one more", Baudelaire underlines). The "gentleman from Le Mans" is either Lanier, who stored the Malassis collection, or a friend of Baudelaire's who had discounted one of his tickets in that city.
In this letter Baudelaire mentions an epilogue dedicated to the city of
Paris, which he had thought of placing at the end of the second edition of the Fleurs du mal given by Malassis in 1861.